Ugly irrationalism is not the way, but so often the path chosen by many.
Who had accountability? Who was responsible?
In 1989, I wrote a letter to our local La Porte, IN newspaper, the Herald-Argus. They were running a week-long, front page series on the rise in the local infant mortality rate. The focus for this series was the new poor, as they were titled, and those who were unable or unwilling to get pre-natal care either due to ignorance or lack of health insurance coverage . It’s fair to say that, I was disgusted – this was supposed to be investigative journalism? Even at 25 years old, I recognized a possible shush up. Infant mortality and premature deliveries were, indeed, on the rise but instead of investigating potential real causes, there was just a lot of finger-pointing as a governmental blame game developed.
This was Personal
It was personal. Two weeks prior to this series being launched, I had delivered a baby prematurely – almost three months prematurely. As I read the series, my baby lay in a neo-natal intensive care unit thirty-eight miles away from my home. Because answers were important to me, I felt the series was wasted print space. I was not part of what had been described as the new poor, both my husband and I worked – we also had a healthy two-year old, we had health insurance, and I received excellent pre-natal care. No answers were ever offered. And because I was healthy and took care of myself throughout my pregnancy – however short it was, my baby survived, unlike many other babies I sadly watched die in the NICU I visited daily.
What could I do?
I wrote to the newspaper, expressing my sorrow and anger that responsible, investigative reporting had not been accomplished. Surprisingly, the paper actually printed my letter. Many of our friends saw the letter and were shocked and surprised – we had not shared our misfortune, outside of family and close friends, mostly because we were unsure as to whether our baby would survive; she was very ill with many complications that included several pneumothorax procedures for collapsed lungs and a brain bleed of which we were uncertain. Thankfully, after 87 days in the hospital, our tiny Renee Christine, born weighing just 2 lbs. 5 ozs., came home weighing just under a whopping 5 lbs. She had fought hard to live and we were so grateful for the support of an incredible medical staff and the hundreds of prayers offered in our behalf.
My Words Made a Difference
Maybe they didn’t immediately, and maybe not at first. But I had sounded off at two entities, our local paper and our community hospital, which was not the hospital where my baby had been born or stayed for 3 months. Neither of which provided answers to the public or addressed even who “the new poor” were. Family, friends, and friends of friends were supportive and in agreement with us. One person asked if my mother had written the letter – surprised that I, at 25-years old, could write with such directed anger and expressiveness. It was the first time I felt powerful or that my words mattered. They did. They still do. As do yours!
Knowledge and Power
Opportunities abound daily which allow us to share knowledge, aggressively seek change, and dropping us in a place of discovery where we can open our minds and learn. Ugly irrationalism is not the way, but so often the path chosen by many. I think of the politics today that litter our airwaves and social channels or even phony religious fanaticism that dupes so many. Why? Because we want to have a place on high where blame or credit resides. Try looking inward to see what YOU can do, what YOU can change, how YOU can educate or be educated. Whether it is getting people to talk or encouraging people to listen, there is a place and a need for adult behavior. You truly can just scroll on by, as well.
And absoluteness lies only in mathematical equations.