Saturday, April 26, 2003

Start the Day Off Write

The goal is to write chapter 2 today. I got a really nifty idea for Chapter 3 (Aidan's POV), but I need to get a few plotlines going in Chapter 2 in Denise's POV. Chapter 2 most likely will be me just writing to get it done and I'll fix it later. Mainly because I'm not sure how she's going to come up with a cure that has eluded the scientific world for 15 years. (Well, longer, because her cure for Mike's Virus also cures AIDS - in at least one of my three different outlines for this part). So as I write this little essay here, maybe I'll come up with some ideas to fix the viral plotlines in Part 3.

One Voice in a Maelstrom of Sounds: So I wrote my congressmen this week. First time ever. It was a fairly lengthy letter about Senator Rick Santorum's now infamous AP interview. Much of the democratic party and the gay community is up in arms about his comments on homosexuality. While I had a problem with those tidbits, I was more concerned with the Senator's views on the right to privacy. He seemed to think that not only was it a fictitious right brought about by a contraception ruling, but that it was also causing the demise of society (more accurately, the demise of the American family).

So I wrote my letter, indicating my concern that a politician did not know the true origins of the right to privacy (I found them out with a very brief Internet search). I was also concerned that a senator high on the leadership totem pole would be interested in doing away with the right to privacy. (By the way, the Privacy Act of 1974 covers patient-physician and client-lawyer confidentiality). I expressed serious discomfort at the implication that Mr. Santorum would want to regulate my private sexual activities. Because he seemed to think the government needed to know whether or not Mark and I are doing anything sexually "deviant." Because such "liberal" acts were causing the destruction of society and had to be stopped. And so on and so forth.

But will either Senator Wayne Allard (R) or Representative Mark Udall (D) actually read my letter? If they do, will they find a poorly expressed sentiment or a wrong statement and harp all over it so they don't have to listen to what I was really trying to say? And if they do actually listen to my point and take it to heart, will they do anything about it? And if they do something about it, what will that be? Insist Mr. Santorum step down from his leadership position? The White House has already backed Santorum in this mess. But apparently they did that with Trent Lott at first, too. What it comes down to for me: will my letter make any difference to anybody but me? I wrote that letter feeling more and more powerless to do anything when it comes to politics and my government. I'm glad I wrote it. I would have hated to have gone through life never writing my congressmen at least once. But by the time I fired that letter off in emails, I felt resigned to the fact that Santorum would likely still be in his 3rd from the top position in the Senate and that if he and his pals decided to do away with the right to privacy that it would happen. I started out writing that letter hoping to feel empowered, that I had done something to make a difference, to let my voice be heard. Will it be heard? In the cacophony of opinions thundering through our nation right now, how is it possible that my one voice will be noticed unless I'm shouting the exact same thing as a large number of others in the throng?

I'm both dreading and anticipating a non-automated response from Allard and Udall. I'm eager to see what this entire process is like. But I'm also afraid of that response. Will it increase or decrease my annoyance with my government? Can I take another increase and still keep my sanity? One day when this nation isn't so battered by loud shouts, maybe I'll write my congressmen again and see how I feel. Maybe it is usually an empowering thing during peace and quiet in our nation. I hope so.

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