Another Open Letter to Colorado Senator Cory Gardner
Senator Cory Gardner 1961 Stout Street, Suite #12-300 Denver, Colorado 80294
5 October, 2020
I see that you voted for the bill calling for the Justice Department to to withdraw its support for the lawsuit that would end the Affordable Healthcare Act. I also see that you have introduced your own bill that putatively would protect those of us with pre-existing conditions. I thank you for your vote and hope that it portends a turn toward listening to and caring about the needs and opinions of your constituents.
However, your record of voting against the ACA makes this vote suspect. After the election, if you are returned to the Senate or during the liminal period between the election and the Senate’s new term, will you continue to support the ACA? Your own brief bill, which at first glance seems so promising, does not guarantee that insurers must accept applicants with pre-existing conditions, nor does it it spell out what kinds of coverage a plan must provide, nor does it contain a provision forbidding discrimination based on gender or sex. There are too many loopholes to bolster the impression you seem to want to cultivate that you are ready to stand up for health care and affordable insurance for all of us.
The most effective way to convince us that you do, in fact, care about the lives and health of your constituents, and of all inhabitants of the United States (we’re all too connected, as COVID-19 has taught us, to pretend that we need only be concerned with the health of our neighbours) is to oppose seating a new Supreme Court justice before the Inauguration. The push to put Amy Coney Barrett on the highest bench in the land before the tenth of November is motivated by the intention to destroy the act that has brought affordable insurance to millions of Americans. Commit to voting only for a nominee who will support not just the ACA, but who will also protect women’s health by preserving our reproductive choices, including our right to control our bodies, our lives, and our destinies through access to safe, affordable, and legal abortions.
If you vote for the Justice Department to step away from the legal challenge that is trying to eradicate the Affordable Healthcare Act, but also vote to confirm a new Supreme Court justice to sit in Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, a justice who will strike down the ACA and overturn Roe v. Wade, then you are merely attempting to have your cake and eat it, too.
Due to technical difficulties, I have fallen behind in my postings. And by “technical difficulties,” I mean that my daughter, who tries to make sure I take care of my assorted devices, told me that there was an iOS update and that I should download and install it. So I did that, and I saw that my iTunes button had turned red and that there was now a magnifier button on my screen, and I’m hoping to get Meredith to explain the new Privacy settings to me, but everything else seemed pretty much the same. That is, until (dramatic music here, maybe from a tragic opera or a truly frightening horror movie) I tried to upload my recent photos for my next blog post, and WordPress told me, and I quote, “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” I figured that I had just not given the photo enough time to latch onto the WordPress media library and tried again. And WordPress said, “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons,” though it sounded snarkier and more smug this time.
I thought maybe there was something wrong with the photo itself, so I took a new picture of the page, re-edited it, and tried to upload it to my media library. And what did WordPress say? “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” This time I think it was gloating. It may have stuck its tongue out at me, but it happened too quickly for me to be sure.
Obviously, I needed help. So I tried the WordPress fora. I immediately found an old thread started by someone who had had exactly the same problem with which I was struggling. I was sure that I was on my way to resolving my difficulty, but alas! All the thread had to offer was that, at the time the question had been asked, WordPress itself was being glitchy and the WP Fairies were working their magic to smooth out the bump. I couldn’t find anything more recent (and I was getting frustrated), so I sent my daughter a message, a cry for help, a plea for a light in the darkness of my blogging.
Now, Meredith is rather busy these days. She’s working full-time, going to school half-time, and volunteering with her local CASA organization. It is, therefore, not unreasonable that it took her a couple days to respond to me. But here I encountered a wrinkle I had NOT seen coming: Meredith didn’t know the answer. All of you who rely on your children to help navigate the often stormy seas of modern technology will understand how flummoxed I felt.
In desperation, I opened a browser window and typed in “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” One of the links I followed offered a list of file types that WordPress deems sufficiently innocuous to allow to cross its borders. “Huh,” I thought, “maybe I should make sure my photos are still JPEGs.” So after sifting through menus and sub-menus and randomly clicking on obscure options, I finally got my computer to confess that my new photos were NOT, in fact, JPEGs any longer. They were now something called HEIC. Apparently this new format saves space or something like that. I didn’t really care. I just wanted my JPEGgy photos back.
The next logical step, it seemed to me, was to find out how to change my HEIC photos back into nice, tractable JPEGs. So back to my browser I went to ask it how to effect such a transformation. My research revealed that it was possible to do this in fifteen simple steps that I would be able to understand as soon as I got a degree in computer programming. This sort of “solution” is why I like my pens and copy machine.
Even if I could have figured out how to take my poor image through these multiple stations, I don’t have the time to go through that process for every photo I want to upload to my blog. I was not happy. So I went to bed.
The next day I looked again for ways to re-dress HEIC photos in JPEG clothing, and after poking around on the ‘Net for years — well, maybe months, possibly days —OK: a couple hours, I FINALLY stumbled on a link that told me I COULD GO TO THE SETTINGS OF MY PHONE AND TURN OFF THE HEIC OPTION AND GO BACK TO TAKING JPEGS. And here, my friends, I realized that I had once again fallen prey to one of the persistent problems with my brain: not knowing what question to ask. (I once spend two weeks trying to order a new power cord for my computer and could NOT find one anywhere. Eventually I found out that what I wanted was a power cable, but I didn’t know to ask for one of those.)
In conclusion, I switched off the HEIC and restored the JPEG setting, re-took and re-edited the photos, and will now resume my “30 Inks in 30 Days” listing of a month of reasons to vote (really, if anyone is considering not voting, whether you agree with my views or not, please re-consider and vote. We all need to know what we, as a country, as a society, see as the direction in which we should take ourselves).
Thank you for reading. Stay well and safe and healthy.
Vote to elect representatives who will end voter suppression and will support just redistricting. When we deny people their voice, their vote, then protesting becomes the only reasonable option.
Here in Colorado, we have new laws designed to eliminate, as much as possible, the partisan gerrymandering that has impeded fair elections. A panel of diverse members will take over the redistricting. We hope to set an example for other states struggling for more equitable elections.
We shouldn’t have to say it any longer, but we do. Black Lives Matter. And today the news has given us a new name to say:
Mr. Prude was killed back in March, but the circumstances of his death while wearing a spit hood the police put on him only recently came to light. I’ll let you read the details in the accounts below.
There are other groups whose lives we similarly devalue. Some are subsets of the Black community (Black trans folk, Black women) and some are not (BIPOC groups) or may not be (Jews, Muslims, other minority religions). I’m not sure how to talk about these groups without seeming to diminish the BLM discussion,* but for the moment, perhaps the ink offers an analogy. The ink looks black when left alone, but a little water shows it comprises other colors and shades. I will continue to find a more elegant and effective means to discuss the broad swathe of people whose rights we need to affirm and whose wrongs — the ones done to them in the past and the ones we continue to tolerate, propagate, and commit — we must work to assuage.
* 4 September, 2020: I just read in the New York Times this excellent distinction made by Daria Allen, a sixteen-year-old who has been protesting in Portland, Oregon:
One of the few chants she consistently recites is “Black lives matter.” It annoys her that the phrase has become a subject of controversy, often met with the diminishing response “All lives matter.”
“When they have the breast cancer runs, you don’t see people out there yelling, ‘What about lung cancer?’” she said. “Just because I’m talking about what’s happening to me doesn’t mean I don’t care about what’s happening with you. Why do I have to constantly remind these people that I matter?”
When Ms. Allen
posted a link to the fund-raiser in a neighborhood Facebook group, a woman confronted her. Ms. Allen was destroying the city, she said. Ms. Allen fired back, arguing that the police were polluting the city with tear gas. The argument ended with the woman sending her a direct message, which Ms. Allen has saved in her inbox, just to remind herself of the mentality she is fighting against.
“If I see you on the street, you will be the next Black person hanging from a tree,” the woman wrote.
It makes me ill that anyone would throw the hateful and horrifying spectre of lynching at a Black teenager, one who is raising her voice and risking her health and life to call for justice and equality. Vote for Daria Allen because Daria Allen isn’t yet old enough to vote for herself.
Please write your senators, your congressional representatives, your secretaries of state, and your state attorneys general to urge them to keep voting safe and accessible and to stand up to everyone who is trying to undermine the postal service. Public pressure matters. Apply some daily.