Last year, I facilitated a constituent meeting with the local House Representative concerning his reluctance to support a good midwifery bill (one that his constituents supported) and insistence on presenting his own bill (one that his constituents wholeheartedly disagreed with). At this meeting, many families spoke passionately about midwifery. We heard from families who had to make the hard decision of whether to break the law by hiring an underground midwife (prior to legalization in 2008) or give birth without any trained attendant or go to the hospital. We heard the science backing the safety of homebirth with trained midwives as well as the enormous cost savings other states utilizing midwifery care have experienced. We pointed out the flaws in his bill and addressed his concerns about our bill. I was dismayed to get the inclination that these people who had rearranged their schedules twice (we were cancelled on the first time) were NOT being listened to, blatantly being ignored, or worse, spoken to in a condescending manner. At one point, I had to get quite firm that issues other than midwifery were not allowed for discussion, even though I made that quite clear in my initial contact. (This is a common tactic. A heated topic, other than the one at hand, can be brought up and distract the crowd from the task at hand.) I also noticed that men were received with more attention than women, something that I know from previous Capitol dealings, but still found myself surprised by, especially when done with such obviousness.
That night, I drove home swearing that I would make it my mission to help anyone other than him get into office next election. Fast forward to now…it’s one week until the closing of candidate filing and one person (another Republican) has filed. One. From what I’ve seen in politics, this candidate will have little or no chance of winning. He is not from the largest town in our district, for one thing, and he is not the “main” candidate. So where does that leave my promise to myself?
I think to myself that surely someone will sign up, but time is running out. Maybe I should run. WHOA! What? Yeah, I know. Am I crazy? Narcissistic? Both? Why can’t I? Isn’t the government supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people? Am I not person?
Then, the reality of what that might entail sets in. I am a stay-at-home-mom of four kids. I have no money. I have no time. I probably have a skeleton somewhere that I don’t even know exists. Lastly, believe it or not, I do keep some things private…such as my political thoughts on subjects other than midwifery. For the most part, I do this so that I can better serve midwifery. Sticking to this single issue has allowed me to do, say and be a part of things I could only dream of if I wasn’t able to keep my mouth shut. And yet, my promise to myself keeps nagging me. The silence (or worse) coming from an office that should represent me fuels a fire that I don’t know how to put out.