So I don’t usually cry when I talk to reporters... I try
really hard to keep my composure because I know if you cry in front of a
camera, it doesn’t matter how red my nose gets, or how much my mascara smears,
it doesn’t matter if the words that are coming out of my mouth even make sense,
if I’m crying, it’ll make the cut. I can spurt out fabulous quotes, along with mind-blowing insight, but none of
that will be in the news clip, if the alternative is a candid shot of the
I nervously watched Kendra Nichols’coverage of the committee vote yesterday, hoping that I didn’t come across as
too much of a flake. And then there it was, the teary eyed, blubbering mom,
pleading with anyone who would listen, “Help them all.” I was embarrassed, of
course, and had no intention of sharing the clip, except with a few of my
fellow Campaign for Compassion team members, although I knew darn well, Les
Stark, our resident media hunter would find it and share it by the end of the
Not many people know this about me, I’d like to think I hide it well, but I get
nervous all the time. Sometimes I feel as if I’m choking on my own self-doubt.
I can waste hours of my time stewing over something stupid that I said or did,
obsessing over what I should have said. Naturally, that’s what I did for the
remainder of last evening. But I woke up this morning with the intense realization that each tear I shed
over the thought of my fellow man suffering, is a tear shed for very good reason.
There is no shame in being completely overcome with emotion at the thought of
an entire community of my friends, my fellow advocates, my kindred spirits,
being denied compassionate use of cannabis because their disease is excluded
from SB3. And yes, I know the board can add more conditions, but in that moment
of shear terror when I imagine them continuing to suffer, on the verge of
slitting their own wrists, just to finally be free of their pain, I am not
comforted by that possibility.
I think now that what overwhelms me almost as much as the thought of the vast
amount of needless suffering in our state, is the fact that there is no one
representing these people. When our elected officials take office, they also
take an oath to uphold the state constitution. Article 1 of this constitution
men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and
indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and
liberty, of acquiring, possessing and protecting property and reputation, and
of pursuing their own happiness.”
This likely means that each district that elects their representative is
perhaps under the assumption that said representative vows to serve each one of
them, whether they are a small child with intractable epilepsy, or an adult
with cancer, a veteran with PTSD, or a middle aged man with chronic, and
debilitating pain, a wife stricken with neuropathy due to DIabetes. Every man, woman, and child residing in the Commonwealth is
meant to have the same rights, meant to have the opportunity to enjoy and
defend their life, destined to pursue happiness.
So I must ask. Why on earth are we allowing our elected
leaders to determine which of the people that elected them get access to compassionate use, and which don’t? Just let that sink in...
After it sinks in,
you may feel the urge to channel your frustration into something meaningful.
I assure you, it is not too late to get involved. If my loved one, or myself
were being deliberately excluded from a life saving program, wild horses
couldn’t drag me away from the fight to change the outcome.
Please go to legis.state.pa.us to
find your legislator. Call them, write them, visit them. Urge your elected
officials to help them all!