Tag Archives: Politics

I Am a Face of Medicaid

22 Jun


I am one of the millions of Americans on Medicaid.

No, it’s not because I didn’t work hard enough. In fact, I have a Master’s degree.

No, it’s not because I don’t want to work; I want to do that more than anything.

It’s because I unexpectedly became ill in my early 20’s.  

No one plans to get sick.

I don’t have enough money to afford health care so I am grateful for the life-giving medication provided to me by Medicaid.  I am thankful that I live in a country that takes care of the poor, of the widows, and of the orphans, like the Bible tells us to.

I am a face of Medicaid, but I don’t often publicly share that I am recipient because of the shame I feel, particularly from my conservative Christian friends and family.

I don’t like to admit that I need this help. I hate that I’m sick. I’m trying to live the best life possible in spite of my illness. Or maybe I’m living the best life possible because of my illness. Those who know me know that I am kind, compassionate, and giving. They know I have struggles. Yet they also know that I am railing against my body to achieve maximum health so I don’t have to tax the system. The last thing I ever wanted to be was a burden.

In fact, if you know me, you know I’m more than just a woman on medical assistance.  I enjoy music, superheroes (especially the very patriotic Captain America), absolutely love animals, and I am pretty good at karaoke. I mentor teenagers, blog openly about my life, and have a best friend named Sarah.  I don’t have a favorite color because there are too many to choose from and my pipe dream is to drive through the desert, see the Grand Canyon, and go to Yellowstone National Park.

What little girl grows up and hopes to be on medical assistance?  I sure didn’t. It’s hard to be intelligent, to see what you could’ve been, and to fight against all odds to change it.  Still, I dream and refuse to stop. My dreams have become small, manageable, and sometimes a little hopeless, but I still dream.

Even though I don’t want to be, I am one of the millions of faces of Medicaid. And my story is one out of millions. And now I’m terrified that my Republican senator (Pat Toomey) will look me in the face and tell me I’m not worth it. Actually, he refuses to look me in the face or hold any town hall meetings. 

If the Senate passes this health care bill, which they wrote in secret, they’re telling millions of Americans that their lives don’t matter. They are sentencing millions of Americans to a slow, painful death and in many cases bankruptcy or other financial ruin.

This is not my America. We help others. We love beyond our ability. We are founded on principles of dignity and justice. Yet a bunch of rich (mostly white men) politicians are deciding our fate.

And in doing so they turn their backs to the millions who are counting on them for help.

I never asked for these illnesses or dreamed this is what my life would become. I am so grateful that I have medical coverage that saves my life. Thank you to all the taxpayers who make my life possible because I’m trying to make the world a better place for all of us to live.

I am a face of Medicaid. Will you look me in the face and tell me I deserve to die?


Book Review:: Tea with Hezbollah by Ted Dekker & Carl Medearis

29 Jan

I always thought sitting down with chocolate chip cookies and a cold glass of milk was key to peace in the Middle East—if only we could all agree to sit down together. That’s what Carl Medearis suggested to novelist Ted Dekker one evening over dinner—only the pair would drink tea, a popular drink in the region, with the likes of Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Samaritans.

Tea with Hezbollah by Dekker and Medearis is the travelogue of the duo’s adventure into Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Israel to meet with some of the most dangerous key players on opposite sides of the Middle East conflict. The result is a fascinating book, which culminates with a visit to the 700 remaining Samaritans who occupy an area just outside Tel Aviv. Written primarily by Dekker, the book is a fascinating look into the world of Arabs, Christians, and Jews who are confronted with Jesus’ second greatest commandment—to love one’s neighbor. Dekker also weaves together the story of a girl named Nicole, an American who seeks to find her roots in the ghetto of Beirut.

Through Medearis’ extensive contacts g in the Middle East region, Dekker and Medearis are able to meet with everyone from Osama Bin Laden’s brothers, who think Osama is a jerk, to Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, known to Westerners as the political voice for Hezbollah. To me,  the most interesting parts of the book were not the interviews with Hamas leaders or sheiks, but the thoughts of every day people such as the scholarly Dr. Micah and Sami Awad, a Christian living in Bethlehem (not Pennslyvania—the one where Jesus was born) who embraces non-violent beliefs.

When I say Tea with Hezbollah is a must-read, I’m not mincing my words. To truly understand what Arabs think about Americans and their neighbors, you must read this book. Plus, you will also gain a sense of the “humanity” of our “enemies.” Ted Dekker’s true story of his journey in the Middle East with buddy Carl Medearis rivals the suspense found in any of his novels.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Because of the fine folks at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, one lucky reader can win a copy of TEA WITH HEZBOLLAH for free. Simply tell me your favorite kind of tea (if you don’t like tea, pick a favorite drink) when you reply below. Easy as pie and just as tasty. The contest will end on Feb. 5 at 12 PM EST. You can also e-mail your entry to amy@backseatwriter.com or reply via Twitter or Facebook.  Don’t forget to leave a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win…and don’t worry, I won’t share it with anyone!

Congrats to Donna S. for winning TEA WITH HEZBOLLAH! 🙂

**Don’t forget to enter BSW’s OWOH giveaway here!**

Open Letter to John McCain’s Campaign

27 Jul
All I want is this pin and its $5...for a pin to promote someone. The one I originally wanted was $7.

All I want is this pin and it's $5...for a pin to promote someone. The one I originally wanted was $7.

To John McCain’s Campaign HQ:

I’m an Independent Voter, who supports John McCain. I’ve already contacted McCain’s local campaign office to see about helping with the campaign. No response yet (and I have an undergraduate degree in journalism and have worked in public relations. Believe me, I would be a valuable asset to the team).

Then I decided to check out the merchandise section of the McCain Website to see about getting a bumper sticker or two or maybe a few pins–$7 for one pin! You have got to be kidding me! You can get Hannah Montana pins cheaper at the Disney Store, which has super-inflated prices. Plus, she’s just a fictional TV rock star, not a presidential candidate.

I’m all about slapping a McCain bumper sticker on the back of my vehicle or donning my purse, jacket, and other attire with a pin, but not at these prices. I can get a vintage “I Like Ike” pin for a better price. I understand that purchasing these items is also like making a donation to the McCain campaign. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of extra finances to do that, so I merely what to offer what I do have–time, talent, the back of my vehicle, and space on my personal belongings to promote John McCain.

Unfortunately, if you do not return my calls or e-mails or lower the prices of your promotions items (or give me a few for free like other campaigns have done in the past), I can’t help promote your candidate.

Amy, Independent Thinker for McCain (for now)

Yes, I did actually send this letter to McCain’s Campaign. If they fail to receive it but read this post, they can feel free to e-mail me. Oh, and if you support Obama, good for you, but I really don’t want to hear about how I’m an idiot because I like McCain or any of that. It’s unnecessary and makes me like Obama even less because he had such mean supporters.

Voting:: American Idol vs. American President

4 Jun

By Andrew J. Wilhelm Congratulations to the latest “American Idol” David Cook, who received the majority of the 99.7 million votes cast. While the inconvenience of college cut into my T.V. viewing, , I am a big fan of the show. The overall premise of the show, to give an amateur singer the chance of a lifetime, is a good one. It is also one that the American public can buy into–who doesn’t want dreams to come true? Still, 99.7 million is a daunting number! Since fans of the show can vote mutliple times, it doesn’t accurately reflect the actual number of viewers. Yet “American Idol” finales typically garner around 30 million viewers. Having 10% percent of the country captivated by a single television show is pretty impressive. Props to Simon, Paula, and Randy!

Although the 2004 presidential election garnered 40% of eligible voter turnout, “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell almost always gets more Americans to vote than political candidates. Primaries, even in this extra-thrilling campaign season, often struggle to reach double digits. Most people just don’t care enough to drive to the polling station and hit a button. Why are people more willing to vote for the nation’s next rock star, but seem lackadaisical about picking the next leader of the country? While his good looks and throaty vocals may make David Cook the next big thing; he’s not attempting to rule the free world (by political force anyway). Why do American citizens have more interest in pop stars than presidents?

I decided to ask a few of my friends, mostly college students like myself, about this issue and have elicited several interesting answers to my inquiry.

The most popular answer was that politics is “boring.” A vague expression, but one I’ll try to uncover more fully. Most people fall into three categories of “political boredom”: they believe their single vote couldn’t possibly make a difference; they simply don’t understand government workings and don’t care to learn; or they have been disenchanted because of corruption, scandals, etc. In fact, among those who choose not to vote, I would conjecture that all three possibilities would apply.

I have heard an enormous amount of people say that they are unhappy with our current options–John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, who’s hanging on by the skin of her teeth. Their remedy to such disdain is to simply not vote. I’d urge everyone to at least limit the damage by voting for whoever they deem the lesser of the two (or three) “evils”.

The weather also has a lot to do with whether or not people show up to the polls. A sunny, pleasant day can yield up to twice the voters as a cold, rainy day. Lame? I sure think so. Unfortunately, Americans have become uncontrollably lazy. They are used to being able to do everything from the comfort of their own La-Z-Boy. What if voting could be done via the Internet or even text messiaging, as in “American Idol”? These are possibilities that would dramatically change the voting landscape, but must be explored to keep up with this generation’s demands. Can you imagine Hillary standing on stage urging viewers to vote for her by calling 1-888-PREZ-001?

The level of disengagement from politics is being felt as severely as ever. Some everyday Americans–the ones who who go to work, pick up the kids from school, go to bed, only to repeat the process don’t have a clue what’s happening in Washington. But the politicians don’t seem to know what’s going on in middle America either. Like the a monarchy, the wealthiest tend to rule (and make the rules for) big-time politics It seems our government will be ruled by older, wealthy, white men in the foreseeable future, which doesn’t bode well for the “American Idol” voting crowd. In fact, many might want to replace the President, Congress, and Supreme Court with the checks-and-balances of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, with AI host Ryan Seacrest as press secretary naturally.

In fact, the start-up of “American Idol” is arguably the best part of the show, and a lot more exciting than the primaries. The show’s preliminary auditions present viewers with freaks and tone deaf contestants that give us all a chuckle. After that, a few contestants who can actually sing make it through to the voting stages. Each contestants has his or her unique personality, hair style, vocal range, personal story, and connection with viewers. Not so in politics. While there has been some diversity in this year’s presidential election, politics is sill mostly wealthy white men who enjoy listening and arguing with other wealthy white men. Those who push the envelope threaten this hierarchy of power and can rarely penetrate the deep layers of aged power in Washington.

When it comes down to “American Idol” versus the American President, it seems we choose entertainment over politics, unless of course there’s a political scandal brewing. Nothing shoots up ratings like an old-fashioned affair or deep-seeded corruption. I enjoy “American Idol” as much as anyone else. In fact, I’ve for more AI contestants than politicians. In all fairness, I’m 19 and have only been eligible to vote a couple of times. I have voted every time since registering to vote and was proud to do so.

Though it’s a little more time-consuming to research and uncover the candidates’ positions, policies, and experiences, it is of the utmost importance. “American Idol” simply feeds its audience with stories, songs, flashing lights, and snarky judges; your vote only makes a super star. Despite dissatisfaction with politics and awe at “American Idol”, it is essential for Americans to get off their couches, put down their remotes, and head to the polls. As the United States continues to be the dominant force in the world; your vote will not only impact you, but millions around the globe. If you have the power to turn an obscure rocker into an “American Idol”, you have the chance to turn a candidate of your voice into the next American President.

Andrew Wilhelm is a sophomore at Wheaton College majoring in political science with a minor in economics. His two main passions are playing piano and golf. He also enjoys learning about and analyzing trends in culture, economics, and politics. For some strange reason, he consistently refuses to send his Nintendo Wii to Amy.

Print copy of Scribble.

Andrew Wilhelm a sophomore at Wheaton College majoring in political science with a minor in economics. His two main passions are playing piano and golf. He also enjoys learning about and analyzing trends in culture, economics, and politics.

Obama’s Not Rockin’ My Vote

12 May

BSW welcomes Andrew Wilhelm, who will be writing about issues related to culture, politics, and economics (and everything else you need to know about life from a college guy).

By Andrew J. Wilhelm Barack Obama, the electrifying, charismatic, charming young politician. Barack Obama, the breath of fresh air, the suave law professor, the speaker of the decade. Barack Obama, just what this country needs.

That is what we’ve been hearing all along, isn’t it? Ask the typical teenager or twenty-something and they’ll give you a description very similar to the one above. What draws people our age to Senator Obama? Why does practically everyone under the age of thirty seem unified in the belief that Barack Obama should (and will) be the next President of the United States?

It is important to first discuss what draws young voters to the Democrat Party in the first place. Why don’t we see such a rousing reaction among young voters for the GOP? Well, college students are used to change; change is all we know. Therefore, when someone speaks of change, we listen. Even if it’s not broken, we are more than willing to fix it.

Democrats also are the champion of the “little people.” They promise that the government will make everyone’s troubles go away and that we will live in peaceful harmony as long as we take money away from those mean old men at the oil companies and give it to those who really need it. Sounds great to a poor college student or recent graduate.

Finally, young people like Democrats because they proclaim that morality is too relative to really get in a huff about. No kid likes when his parents make rules–the same goes for the government. Who is the government to tell me if I can be gay and married, if I have to listen to that horribly offensive prayer at a graduation ceremony, or what I can do with my body (for example, “terminate my pregnancy”)? If you want complete moral relativism – and young people usually do – then visit your friends at the local Democrat Party Headquarters.

The first, most obvious reason anyone would vote for Obama is that he is black. In such a multicultural, pluralistic generation, young people make every effort to appear as diverse and tolerant as possible. One of my favorite blogs, Stuff White People Like, put it this way: “Since we are on the verge of electing a black president, it seems important to explain why white people want black friends. Every white person wants a black friend like Barack: good-looking, well-spoken, and non-violent. Obviously, whites want black friends so as not to appear racist.”

Ask anyone on the street why they would vote for Obama, and if you’re lucky, they will give you some feedback regarding his policy decisions. No matter how educated about the issues, the line, “We are long overdue for a black president” will usually arise at some point. Ah, how tolerant. Don’t get me wrong; I am far from racist. I voted for a black man for governor of my home state of Ohio (Ken Blackwell) and I would love for McCain to pick Condi Rice as his VP. The true racists are those who vote for (or against) a candidate based at least in part on the color of his or her skin.

Secondly, young people like young people. Duh. It just isn’t cool to have a 71-year-old running the country. It is much more hip to have a 47-year-old with a great jaw structure and shiny white teeth. Surely Obama knows the needs of our generation better than McCain or Hillary, who both probably still don’t know how to work an iPod.

Lastly, Obama is a great speaker with utopian ideas. Being surrounded by great speakers in high school and college, young people love good rhetoric. They love to be told that they can do anything as long as they are given the opportunity; they love to be told that it’s not their fault they are in a bad situation; they love to be told that they can be better off without working any harder. And that is exactly what Barack Obama preaches. (We don’t have time to discuss what his pastor preaches). Young people want people to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Sorry, McCain and Hillary just aren’t warm and fuzzy people.

In the end, the reality remains that Obama has been rated as the most liberal senator in office. He favors abortion, gun control, trade restrictions, higher taxes for anyone making over $30,000, huge expansions in health care that will drain our budget while decreasing quality, and some kind of foreign policy change.

Wait, exactly how much foreign policy experience does he have?

Look past the charisma and youth appeal of this man and see him for what he really is–a stereotypical liberal democrat. Vote for the person you think will benefit this country the most, not the one who would make this country “cool” again.

Andrew Wilhelm a sophomore at Wheaton College majoring in political science with a minor in economics. His two main passions are playing piano and golf. He also enjoys learning about and analyzing trends in culture, economics, and politics.

Print copy of Scribble.

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