Proud Liberal Woman

Proud Liberal Woman

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Recently, I spent a week in the Tyler, Texas area with my mother. On Friday, my sister arrived for the weekend, my brothers arrived from their homes and jobs, and we all headed to the movies. Sister and I remained after everyone else left with mother who thought she would be ok for the night out. We finished the movie, and walked back to the car where I began experiencing extreme pain. After trying to gain some control over the matter at hand, I started off driving through the dark streets of unfamiliar territory to find medical help. Google had shown me surprising, and disappointing information: for a region as populated as the Tyler area, the choice for 24-hour access to medical care is dismal. There are two hospitals in Tyler next door to each other. After the harrowing drive across town, I walked into the emergency room of ETMC with my sister. We made our way through the large room, overflowing with people, to the check-in desk. Sister advised me to tell them I was having chest pains so triage would see me immediately. It worked. A nurse hooked me up, and did an EKG, ruling out any cardiac issues. Another nurse asked me several questions, noted my answers, and sent me back out into the waiting room. That's where I sat with my worried sister for the next two hours. In that time, only two people were called to go back to be put into a room for the additional wait to be seen.

After we found two seats together, I glanced around the room at all the people who were experiencing some health issue they deemed troubling enough to seek emergency care. Off to the left was a young mother wrangling three small children by herself, the baby being the obvious patient. At one point, a woman around my age came in from the cold night barefooted and seemingly lost. She was clearly not drunk, so my first thought was that there was some mental issue playing a big role in her visit to the ER that night. She spoke to the nurse at the desk, and then paced the room like a caged animal. Twenty minutes later, a man, her husband, I assumed, arrived, spoke to the desk, and retrieved her, and off she went back into the night. Behind me, an elderly woman sat alone on her walker, holding a hospital barf bucket in her lap, sobbing. Occasionally, I could hear her mutter, "I'm sick." The distress she was experiencing broke my heart.

My aunt, uncle, cousins, et al, have lived in the area for twenty-five years longer than my parents, who have been there for ten. I have come to know the region well. There are sick and dying people everywhere just in the community where they all live/have lived. There's drug addiction, mental illness, cancer, heart problems, asthma and other severe respiratory illnesses, gun violence, and the list goes on. I've seen it all over the years there, it exists in the other hundreds of communities like it all around Tyler, and now I understand why: healthcare accessibility.

For the last ten years of his life, my mother took care of my ill stepfather, all the while ignoring her own health. When he passed away three years ago, we began focusing on her health issues that are beginning to crop up in old age. With each new experience I have with her, traversing the healthcare system in that region of Texas where she chose to live, I have come to dread every interaction. I have only the Austin area to compare to, and can say with complete certainty that my region of Texas has a much better healthcare infrastructure than Tyler, not to mention, the level of care is much more professional. Last year, my mom's vascular surgeon required testing. She made the trip into Tyler for the tests which left her feeling weak, and disoriented. Staff follow-up was nil, and no one noticed her state, leaving her unchecked to leave, and drive herself back home, a fifteen-mile drive. I am five hours away from her; my trust in this community's medical integrity is zero.

So, here's the question: WHY? Why do we allow ourselves to be put in the position of literally fighting for our lives? This land is your land, this land is my land. Those aren't just words in a song we sang in allegiance back in grade school. This land was made for you and me, but in case you haven't noticed, our government works nicely for the billionaires and corporations, but for the rest of us, not so much.

We really are the richest country in the world, but the rich in this country surely do not have the burden of worrying about access to healthcare. I'm not rich, but I would still like to have equal access to healthcare. I would like for all of us to have that access. Look at all the other countries around the world that have a national healthcare plan in place for their citizens. WHY? Why do we Americans not demand the same from our government? We need to start. Google how to contact your two Senators and your Congressperson, and email them if you don't want to call, but do it everyday. If enough of us are taking this one, small action, they have to acknowledge us eventually. They can't ignore the will of the people.

Right now, our Congress is working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act with no published plan of replacement. In response to one of their many attempts at repeal in 2015 (HR 3762), the CBO predicted that the number of uninsured people would rise to 18 million in the first year alone, and top off at 32 million in 2026. It's crystal clear that our Senators and Congressperson are not there in their lofty positions of power representing our interests. That's THEIR ONLY JOB, and they're doing anything but. We have to stand up to them now, and put a stop to their outrageous actions.

At the risk of being redundant, I'm going to remind you of the most important element of our democracry: your vote. Look, you know you have to vote in every election, not just the big one for president. Not only that, you have to get others to vote. Talk to your friends, your neighbors, your community about the things we find unacceptable about our government. Let's fight for each other, and empower each other to do the work we must to elect representatives to send to Washington who will fulfill our wish lists. Healthcare is on the top of my wish list. I lost my job recently, which of course, means my health insurance is gone. And my state wouldn't, and never will expand Medicaid so that I might have access without going into debt, and being hounded relentlessly by credit agencies. It wasn't like this when I worked in the medical field in the early 80s. WHY have we let our government get so out of control, and corrupt. Each one of us has to come to terms with the answer, and fight like hell to regain control.

I was never seen in the ER that night; I couldn't endure the all-night wait. The lady sitting alone in her own vomit and despair, with no shred of dignity left, waited. And Jesus wept.


In Peace ~ Love ~ Solidarity

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


The disgust I feel this election year has brought me back from blogger retirement to get some things off my chest.

Can we all agree that we understand what has happened within the Republican party that has brought about the nomination of Donald Trump for President of the United States? It is beyond belief to me that this character was ever taken seriously as the potential leader of the free world, but people are actually going to cast their votes for him, and proudly. Scary.

Other than the fact that she's a woman, I really don't get what some people's problem is with Hillary. If you're buying into the garbage her political enemies have spoon fed you via Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, etc., shame on you for not giving her an honest look; do your own research to quell your doubts. One does not have to be a computer genius to use it to search for information. All the info you could ever want to know on any subject is yours for the taking via a few, simple keystrokes.

I happen to admire the hell out of Hillary Clinton because I've been watching her since she became our First Lady in 1992. She really caught my attention when she championed the issue of universal healthcare during her time in the White House. She wanted every citizen of this country to have access to healthcare....imagine that! The truth is, Hillary's been a fighter for the little guy from the beginning. After finishing law school, instead of accepting a position with a prestigious law firm, she went to work on behalf of children and families at the Children's Defense Fund. Her resume is impeccable; she is the most-qualified candidate to run for president in recent history. We should be celebrating such a worthy candidate, but all I see and hear is sneers and jeers for the lady. Pity.

With all I know and understand, I'm still stumped by the big question: why would any reasonable person support and vote for Donald Trump? I wonder why it isn't as clear to them as it is to me that he is the embodiment of all that is wrong with our government. The Donald Trumps of this country are grabbing all the power they can buy in Washington DC, leaving the rest of us in the dust. Representation for every citizen, as our founders intended, seems a thing of the past when we can entertain the possibility that a billionaire who has abused the system throughout his career, can become president.

Even if you've disconnected from all media outlets to the degree that I have, you've still undoubtedly had to endure hearing something more disgusting than the day before about this deplorable man, Trump. His arrogance, his bully tactics, his misogynistic behavior; it's all too much. Americans can't seriously want that man representing them as their president, right? Let's not risk that scenario becoming our reality.

And kids, Gary Johnson is an idiot. He never has, and never will have a snowball's chance in hell of becoming president. Please don't wast your precious vote on him when we have Hillary on the ballot. One of you is going to have to sit me down, and explain to me again what it is you young folks see in that goober.

PLS ~ Martha

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I have done nothing of note in these 50+ years other than raise three children.  I grew up the third of six siblings, and was the only one to graduate high school.  After high school, I completed a nine-month course in filing, typing, shorthand, etc, at the Executive Secretarial School of Dallas, and entered the workforce holding clerical jobs in several offices in the metroplex until my children came along.  I stayed at home with them until my baby started school when I went to work as a teacher's aide.  Politics had always been of interest to me, but I certainly wasn't paying close attention.

The year my youngest was a freshman in high school, I began taking courses at the community college.  Of all the pre-requisite classes required for a bachelor's degree, my favorites were the history and government disciplines.  It was my great fortune to have Professor Aundra Hawkins for GOVT2306, Texas Politics.  I soaked up every word of his lessons, and was left always wanting more of the knowledge, and the understanding.  He opened my eyes to the ugly realities of governance of a society, and the magnitude to which corporations rig the system in their favor, bully municipalities for tax breaks and incentives, and bilk the consumer.  This young professor, still unsure of his abilities as a lecturer and educator, who had introduced himself to us at the onset with an apology for his very noticeable stutter, sparked a fire in my belly that can never be extinguished.

I didn't finish that college education that I dearly loved, and at which I was excelling.  Excelling at everything but math.  My multiple tries to get through the developmental courses became costly, and ultimately ended the pursuit of a degree.  But, since that brief time, that 16-week semester in 2011, I have become hyper-vigilant of the wrongs taking place in our state government.  Abuses of power were happening left and right, and had been for some time.  I had noticed certain, questionable moves on the part of our governor long before I ever set foot in a college classroom.  My studies served to confirm what I had already begun to realize about the impact of Republican policy on the citizens of Texas.

After the legislative session of 2013, which culminated in the clash of the special session concerning HB2, and the famous filibuster that was viewed around the globe, the gloves came off, and the lines were drawn.  Those of us on the front lines of that fight became resolute in our goal of shutting down the GOP agenda at all cost.  They want to close all the family planning clinics statewide just in case a woman might decide to have an abortion.  Don't be surprised when birth rates start showing a steady increase, rates comprised primarily of economically-disadvantaged children who will require assistance from the state in the form of Medicaid, SNAP and TANF.  Current leadership also wants to keep the burden on us taxpayers for indigent and uninsured medical care by refusing the federal funds for Medicaid expansion.  Worse, they want to privatize the schools, further compromising the quality of our children's education.  The future generations are our greatest resource, and we owe them a square deal on the social contract to provide a stellar education. 

When the biennium budget came out of the legislature, I had to ask, where is all the money going?  Texas loves to brag about its robust economy, and it's true, but when we can't fully fund TxDOT so roads in the poorest counties in Texas, roads that have been destroyed by the oil and gas industry, are being returned to gravel instead of repaired, it makes you wonder.  The citizens of those counties already endure living in the plume of chemicals from fracking the Eagle Ford Shale.  Now, their lives and livelihoods become much more difficult and costly.  Those shameful elected officials in cahoots with big oil want to keep drilling and fracturing every square inch of our state for the last drop of oil they can get their dirty hands on...even if it literally kills us all.  Their lust for power and money knows no end, and spares no soul.  Jonathan Stickland, TEA Party Republican Representative from Hurst-Euless-Bedford, was a high-school drop-out working in pest control until he was elected to the State House.  Now, he's a consultant to the oil and gas industry making millions, and blocking all attempts to regulate the industry from poisoning our people, our water, our air.  Take a look around sometime at the folks we elect to go to Austin every other year, and make the laws we must abide.  In many cases, like with Stickland, you might be shocked and appalled at who these people really are.

And if this don't beat all of the above: Greg Abbott's OAG is so dysfunctional that it recently placed an ad in the paper for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks in the Corpus Christi office.  Volunteers!  I have my own horror story about dealing with the Child Support Division of that office that they still keep screwing up six years later.  I flat out just mourn for my state.  Texas is unrecognizable to this child of the 60s and 70s who was lucky enough to be born in a time when the promise of that stellar, substantive public education was kept.  Regardless of your beliefs or political leaning, it's not hard to see that our state is in ruins, and needs new leadership.

I've come to know them well, so I've never felt more sure that Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte are those leaders, and 2014 is our chance to stand together as the citizens of Texas, and say "ENOUGH."  I pray that the work that must be done is being done, not just in Austin or Dallas/Ft Worth or Houston, but in every corner of the state, to elect these capable state senators as our next governor and lieutenant governor.  On November 5, I want to stand alongside Texans from every walk of life as we march up Congress Avenue together to reclaim the capitol, and our state government, for all the people of Texas.

To loosely quote our president speaking at the Civil Rights Summit currently happening in Austin, "with enough empathy, with enough effort, with enough perseverance, with enough courage, people who love their state can change it."  This election day, let's show Texas all our love.

PLS ~ Martha


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Last week, I made a visit to a specialty shoe store on the square in Seguin.  I spent almost two hours going through each shoe to find the perfect-for-me summer sandal.  The young woman who had begun attending me had long since gone home for the day when I finally made my choice.  A woman more my age had taken over.  Like everyday, I was wearing my Wendy Davis button, and the woman commented, "by the way, I like your button."  Those moments when connections happen with like-minded folk are gratifying.  I asked her to describe to me how Guadalupe County felt about the slate of Democrats running for office to which she replied, "Oh, I don't know; Guadalupe County has always been Republican."  Talk about being instantly deflated.  It's like we've rolled over and died just because the GOP has been in control of the dialog for so long.  Have we forgotten our history as a Democratic state?  I told the nice saleswoman that describing any county as Republican is a misnomer, and that non-voting is the reason.  I assured her that there are Democrats in Guadalupe, and expressed my hope that they are working to get other Democrats registered and to the polls in November.

I like my Wendy Davis button, too; heck, I love Wendy Davis, and believe in her and Leticia with every fiber of my being.  But, what is that going to do to get them elected?  The defeatist attitude I heard again that day, is frightening and so discouraging.  Surely, we won't let get away this once-in-a-lifetime chance of returning our state government to the people...we just can't.  It's no secret that the state of the state is dysfunction.  Two long decades of conservative control, and our Texas is the laughing stock of the nation.  How much more are we going to take when the simple fix is voters casting ballots? 

The list is long of the wrongs that need to be made right in Texas.  Suffice it to know that the election this year is quite literally a matter of life or death to many of our fellow Texans.  Get deputized, register voters, get them to the polls.  Seven months....


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


You know how Texas is ranked 51st in voter turnout?  Of all our dismal rankings, this one is the worst.  I wonder how we ever hope to elect Wendy Davis our next governor, or any Dem to statewide office for that matter.  I have a thought.  What if we all dedicate ourselves to registering 100 voters in our neighborhood?  That number is a ballpark figure.  You may be able to register more than that or you may not reach that number.  I know that this is only part of the equation of having a successful election in November, but it is an important one.

The first step to reaching this goal is to become deputized to register voters.  The way to do that is to visit your county's elections office.  You will be asked to attend a short training class before you can become deputized.  Now, you're ready to start knocking on doors.  Once you have the completed voter registration forms in hand, and before you turn in those forms to the elections office within the allotted five days, make a list of the voters name, address and phone number if given.  During early voting in October, make calls to those newly-registered voters.  Give them the location of early voting, and ask them if they need a ride.  To those folks who didn't include their phone number, send them a postcard with the information regarding early voting.  Include your contact information if they have any questions.  At the end of early voting, make follow-up phone calls to see if your voter has cast a ballot.  If they have not, give them the location of their polling place, and urge them to vote on November 4.

This year, we have a unique opportunity to impact the election that we simply cannot miss.  I know we are all working hard, and we cannot let up until we have installed Wendy Davis, Leticia Van de Putte, and a host of other statewide Democratic candidates into office.  Yes, fellow Democrats, 2014 is our year, and Wendy and Leticia are our ticket to the kind of Texas we are hoping to have after a generation of solid Republican control. 

Let's do this!!

PLS ~ Martha

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Now is the time to be looking at the host of candidates vying for John Cornyn's Senate seat.  He is running for re-election against the expected lineup of extreme, right-leaning conservatives campaigning on the sole message that John is a RINO, and a traitor for not giving his support to Ted Cruz' 'filibuster' to repeal Obamacare.  Let them have their clown show, er, primary.  And, may the best clown win.  Democrats also have a multi-challenger primary to consider.  After reading bios on all the candidates, I have dedicated my support to Maxey Scherr, an attorney, and single mother from El Paso.  To those of us Texans who have been abandoned by Cornyn and Cruz, Maxey wants to be our voice in Washington.  Being businessmen, and failed congressional candidates, the other Democratic primary contenders, Michael Fjetland and David Alameel, leave a bad taste in my mouth.  Mr. Alameel is a wealthy man, and is spending lots of money on his campaign, but I questions his motives.  The idea of a girl from El Paso with principles, and a heart for the people, is much more appealing to me than a millionaire who wants power and control in Washington.  Alameel has a D next to his name, and is spouting all the correct ideology, but this yellow dog Dem smells something funny about him.  As an attorney, Maxey stands up in court on behalf of plaintiffs.  Her candidacy for the senate seat is her first foray into elected public office.  But, isn't that what we need?  I believe that a novice will serve us infinitely better than a career politician.  I finally met Maxey on Saturday in Austin, and am more confident than ever that she will make an excellent senator.  She's got my vote, and the vote of my family.

Texas, like every state, gets two representatives for six-year terms to serve the interest of Texans in the United States Senate.  In 2012, the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat was up for grabs.  In a dirty, no holds barred Republican primary with David Dewhurst, the tea party darling, Ted Cruz, came out the victor.  Texas Democrats had an honorable, experienced candidate for all the people in Paul Sadler.  I got to know him well; I still regret that we failed to come together to organize our precincts, neighborhoods, counties, to get him elected.  Ted Cruz is a hard lesson learned for us, and we've only seen the tip of the iceberg of just how deplorable a character he really is.  His obstructive actions in shutting down the government have caused harm to not just families in Texas, but nationwide, and our military abroad.  We will cringe and squirm until 2018 when his term is finally up.  Indeed, a harsh, but just punishment for our inaction.  Let Ted Cruz serve as a painfully embarrassing reminder that we had better work to elect Democrats.

I do not take lightly the election of our two United States Senators.  We screwed up with Cruz, but, we have a golden opportunity to redeem ourselves here in 2014, folks.  Stop what you're doing right now, and resolve to do your part in your county or community to organize, and get out the vote.  Go to your county's Democratic party meetings and functions.  Get to know and promote Democratic candidates, work for their campaigns making calls, knocking on doors, entering data, donating money.  You'll meet like-minded people from across town or right down the street.  The sense of empowerment you'll get from these alliances cannot be overstated.  Get deputized by your county's voting official.  Then, get out and register voters and get them to vote in elections.  I have a list of all the folks I've registered so I can get them to the polls on election day.  Here in Caldwell County, we are fortunate to have Gary Job Corps, a career technical training facility in San Marcos.  Part of their curriculum now incorporates civic duty because of the efforts of one Caldwell County Democrat.  That woman then formed teams that went out in 2012, and registered a total of 1500 voters.  On election day, the facility transported the youth to their polling location where they cast their vote, most all of them for the first time.  Being a part of democracy in action is one of my favorite things to do!  Our beloved Texas, and all its people, deserve a democracy.  Let's re-engage our communities so they can vote to elect people who will serve their best interests.

I have nothing but love and pride for you, fellow Texas Democrats!

Peace, Love, Solidarity ~

Monday, November 25, 2013


On Saturday, November 23, I participated in the Central Texas Region phone bank for Wendy Davis for Governor.  El Paso had just had a phone bank with 300 volunteers.  Those dedicated Democrats made over 3000 calls in that one day.  We set our sights on beating their numbers, and brother, did we manage that task with ease; we made 8000 calls an hour and a half ahead of our goal.

Being new to the activist game, this was actually my first phone bank.  I have made many calls for President Obama, Paul Sadler, and Rose Meza Harrison, who was running for Congress in my district against Tea Party Republican, Blake Farenthold.  I even made calls a few weeks ago on behalf of Pro-Choice America for Terry McAuliffe for Governor of Virginia.  I have become a good caller, and, now, I've gained some valuable experience to bring home to my county when we start organizing in January.

After all the time I spent at the capitol during the special sessions this summer, I never saw Senator Davis in person.  On the day of her filibuster, I was at home watching the Senate hearing until mid-afternoon when I finally headed to Austin.  By the time I got there, the line to get into the chamber was wrapped around the dome.  Instead of waiting in line, with no guarantee of ever getting in, I headed downstairs to watch via closed circuit on the big screen in a basement auditorium.  I left the capitol that night around 2 am.  An hour later, Senator Davis, and other Senate Democrats, came outside the capitol to greet supporters.  On the following Monday, a rally was held at the capitol at noon.  Senator Davis spoke to the throngs of people, but I couldn't get close enough to lay eyes on her, or hear her for that matter.  I watched her speech later at home. 

When she heard about the phone bank during the preceding week, Senator Davis planned to stop by  to greet us volunteers.  I was finally going to have my chance to meet her! At the beginning of the phone bank, I positioned myself at the first table by the door which provided me the best seat in the house to see her arrive.  Much to my disappointment, she came into the building, went through a maze of offices, and entered the room from another door more central to the entire group, and what felt like a world away from my vantage point.  But there she was in all her glory.  Even from across the room, about fifteen feet, I finally got to look into the eyes of the woman in whom my hopes and dreams for this state are pinned.

She was humbled by the sight of the roomful of people assembled on that bitter cold, rainy day in Austin, to work for her election.  She spoke to us about her priorities as governor, education being a highlight.  She's fought the Texas GOP for education since the day she arrived in Austin as the state senator from Fort Worth.  In 2011, she used her filibuster power to try to stop the deep $5.4 billion dollar cut to education.  Cuts that closed entire campuses, and left hundreds of thousand of teachers and other staff unemployed.  Of course, she was unsuccessful in her fight, because, well, Texas.  No Democrat lucky enough to even be elected in Texas, has any power at all in the legislature.  To our keen misfortune, the Texas GOP is a super majority party in our state.  That hasn't stopped Texas Dems from trying to kill their destructive policy, and Senator Davis has been a champion for public education.

Living in Texas, it's inevitable that I know many who bristle at the mere thought of Wendy Davis.  The senator's enemies wasted no time in capitalizing on the only thing people likely knew about Wendy before the summer special sessions of the legislature.  Now, everyday on social media, I have to endure the terms "Abortion Barbie" and "baby killer" to denounce this honorable woman.  Perish the ridiculous thought.  Her filibuster this biennium was against the Texas GOP's further cuts to women's healthcare.  Perry had already refused the millions of federal funds Texas receives annually for Title X, funds used for rural programs addressing reproductive health education and birth control.  Then, he cut out the Women's Health Program.  And with SB5/HB1 this summer, he put Texas women further from access to health care by enacting restrictions and regulations on clinics performing abortions that the State Affairs Department, soon after, deemed unwarranted.  Abortion.  That already safe procedure will become even safer, and clinics are closing around Texas.  Clinics in the barrios of the valley, in El Paso, and in rural east Texas.  Clinics that also provide education, and birth control to the masses.  The Texas GOP has done their level best to see to it that these clinics disappear from communities across the state. 

Wendy Davis' election feels like life or death to me, just as it does to every person I've met while working toward our goal.  I know that the people of Texas are as ready for change as I am.  The time is now, and Senator Wendy Davis is our chance.  I looked into her eyes on Saturday, and saw a future that is dedicated to every Texan from every walk of life.  If you are ready to put behind the croney politics of the Perry years, you will want to take a look for yourself.