To the editor:
At age 80, I sit in my new "Lake Room," overlooking Cottonwood Lake and watch the last leaves fall in the wind through the thin fall light. In my world on TV, I hear the raucous and often raging political clamor against "big government." If we are Christian, we are apparently to only care about people on a personal basis as people we know and help out of personal Christian love. What matters about the thousands we do not know personally? Are we equipped to help them only through donations to our favorite charities, or does Christian responsibility encompass the people I do not know personally who are hurting here in the United States? They are the poor, the people with a disabled family member, the children who go hungry too many days and are trying to concentrate on learning, with growling stomachs.
My Christian faith tells me that I need to be a citizen who cares about people with serious needs for food, services for people with disabilities, people who have medical needs. It seems to me that I need to be able to contribute, through my taxes, to the needs of these people, through government, in order to have a country which cares about individuals, not just profits.
Recently, as a post-polio individual who needs an electric wheelchair to get around, I had some health needs which required having an aide come into my home to assist me. My current home health aide is a married young woman with several children. If Medicaid is cut for the clients she is assisting, she will either find her income drastically reduced or no longer in existence. Fellow citizens, where will you be when these spinal cord injured folks, or children with special needs for assistance, no longer have the government's help? Who will take care of their daily needs?
Despite my disability from polio, I was able to work as a social worker for 34 years, walking with crutches and a leg brace until my shoulders, not built for walking. gave out on me, and shoulder surgery put me into my electric wheelchair. I had financial help from the Minnesota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to enable me to afford to finish college. The State has been repaid for that assistance many times over through my increased taxes from a higher income than I could have earned as a secretary, which is what DVR wanted me to do.
Citizens of Marshall, I challenge you to examine your religious beliefs in relation to the People Needs of our nation and to get in touch with your senators and representatives if you come to the conclusion that you have a Christian responsibility to support government programs for people in need. Ask your representatives to fight the proposed cuts in Medicaid, which is the program which helps families who have a disabled member.
The Supercommittee of Congress will meet to decide by, I believe, Nov. 23, whether they will cut Medicaid funds. This is your moment to get in touch with your representatives and tell them where you stand. Yes, you elected them! Yes, you are the people they represent! Your voice does count!