I had the good fortune to grow up on one hundred acres of pristine, second-growth Illinois woodland with parents who allowed me to explore them freely, often to injurious end. Before the end of grade school I had visited the ER on a couple of occasions for legitimate injuries that were entirely my own fault as an adventuresome kid. In attempting to see how high I could climb a haystack, I fell and broke my leg. Later, I fell off my bike, chipping a tooth and permanently scarring my knee in the process. My parents gave me a lot of freedom to test my own boundaries, and when I pushed those boundaries too far, they would take me to the Emergency Room.
Many years later, my dad told me that during these ER visits, nurses would really pester him with questions about how this child became injured. He said that he felt the nurses were accusing him of something he did not do. I reminded him that nurses are trained to look for signs of child abuse, and he agrees that is a net good all around. He may not have enjoyed the moments when their questions were directed at him, but he recognizes that ER nurses having the skills and training to look for signs of child abuse, is ultimately a net good for society.
Earlier this year, I learned that ER nurses received training as a part of the implementation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. This federally-funded program was created to provide health insurance to millions of children in America whose families are ineligible for Medicaid, but whose incomes make purchasing private health insurance difficult. After then-First Lady Hillary Clinton was unable to pass universal health care in 1993, she was able to cobble together bipartisan support for the SCHIP program, which immediately provided health care to six million children. Since then, tens of millions more American children have received routine and complex health care through this vital program, and it was later expanded under Obamacare. While her role as First Lady prevented her from actually passing the legislation, she was its most vocal and active advocate. Most certainly, SCHIP would not have passed without her work. As a result of her work, ER nurses were given better tools and updated training to screen for child abuse. While my family was fortunate to have private health insurance and did not require the benefits provided by the SCHIP program, I still benefited from the program when those nurses made extra-super-sure that this kid who visits the ER with some frequency is not being abused by those who should be looking out for her.
So … basically, Hillary Clinton has been fighting for me since long before I knew it. She was fighting for millions of other children and families in America while I was learning to navigate a bike without training wheels. She isn’t an ideal candidate, and I sure do wish she hadn’t gotten so messed up with the Big Banks in the decades in between; but to say that she isn’t easily the most qualified person running, the best prepared to lead on day one, or an extremely resilient person who just refuses to quit fighting, would be flatly wrong.
She’s been fighting for me for my entire life, and I’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton on November 8.