Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Movers & Shakers & Regular Joes

It's not possible to walk the hallowed marble halls of government and not be impressed. It's easy to get tongue-tied in the presence of Legislators, Attorney General and the big city Mayor usually seen on a TV screen or campaign flier. But if you're lucky enough to have elected a few of the good guys, they'll greet you at the end of a long day as if yours was their most important appointment, look you in the eye and take humble interest in what their constituent has to say. I'm one of the lucky ones.
In addition to EIP, we encouraged our District 1 officials to retain funding for the critical nutrition and prevention programs that put Washington on the leading edge in the early war on AIDS. At a time when HIV-infected individuals are living longer, in growing numbers, yet a poor economy makes it increasingly difficult to afford expensive medicines and proper nutrition to maintain effectiveness, now is not the time to make the most vulnerable more so.
I've walked this road before but today it took a turn. Our elected officials listened intently and nodded knowingly but more slowly and with a sadness in their eyes. As is likely playing out in every state across the union, they appeared downright defeated by the monumental challenge of balancing a budget with an ever deflating dollar. They spoke of essential services, protecting the most vulnerable, and maintaining a shred of dignity in their decisions to cut the rest or dare impose a tax. I do not envy them and from today's experience have an even greater respect for those regular Joes working to make the best of a very bad situation.

No comments: