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Gail Schimmelpfennig's picture

Have you ever felt frustrated with lawmakers who don’t seem to “get it”? Have you ever felt they don’t understand what it’s like to be an ordinary mom with an ordinary family today? You’re probably right. And we need to tell them!

Not long ago, I was lucky enough to be one of three moms selected from across the country to fly to Washington, D.C. to tell my Medicaid story to White House advisors and staffers. I shared how Medicaid literally saved my life by providing treatment for my breast cancer at a very scary time when I had no health insurance. What an amazing experience it was to share my story at the White House! Even the buildings were awe-inspiring. I’ll forever be grateful to MomsRising for making it possible.

One thing I realized is that lots of these powerful “movers and shakers” need to know more about real life in America. Many of them realize it, too. They want to understand how things work. The kinds of questions the White House people asked showed me they wanted a better grasp of my ordinary problems in my ordinary life. Our stories are powerful!

As a writer, I know that if I write about “peace” or “family” or “cancer”, my readers will often feel lost. It’s only when I write about the concrete details, like sitting in the recliner at my oncologist’s office getting ice-cold red chemotherapy drugs squeezed into my arm vein, that my writing connects. Lawmakers are like my readers. They need the details. Details make it live.

And that’s why I encourage you, the real people who are living with all those real details, to find your voice. Together, our stories can show others what matters. They can convince. They may even change the world!

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