When I started this blog two years ago, I was careful to maintain my professionalism.  As a life coach, I have tried to keep my political biases and opinions out of discussions.  This blog was intended to be thought provoking, providing readers with new perspectives to apply to their own lives.  My job is to be demure and reserved while disseminating useful ideas.  Hence the name: Insights and Outcomes. Little did I know there was an expiration date on my being demure and reserved.  People who know me well, particularly those who have marched with me, attended Congressional hearings with me, lobbied Senators and Representatives with me, campaigned with me, or chatted with me at political fundraisers would never use the words "demure" or "reserved" when describing me.  Heck, who am I kidding--anyone who has ever had lunch with me knows that, too!  So, contrary to good advice, I am temporarily taking off my coaching hat in exchange for my political one.  If I don't do this, my head will explode.

Political Opinion #1.  I have very little patience for people who don't care about anyone other than their family and friends.  It's a big world out there, and too many people continue to suffer by lacking the basics, including food and clean water.  Add violence to this life of deprivation, particularly against women and girls, and you have inhumane and unbearable living conditions.  I don't expect everyone to spend a lot of time on these issues, particularly when trying to put food on one's own table, but there is something everyone can do.  Suggestion:  In lieu of gifts for a birthday or holiday, ask people to make a donation to a charity of your choice.  I have my favorites and would be glad to share them with you.

Political Opinion #2.  I am baffled (a somewhat demure word) by apathetic people who don't vote but complain that all politicians are corrupt and nothing ever gets done.  (That sound you hear is my head banging against the wall).  I can't promise that your opinion or candidate will always win, but quit kvetching if you're not willing to vote every 2-4 years (see "Kvetch" post, March 11, 2009).  Want your opinion heard?  Take two minutes out of your day to call, email or write your elected officials.  If you don't vote or speak out, then you have no right to criticize who holds power and what becomes law (less demure).  We live in a great, yet imperfect, democracy that is ever changing.  Apathy serves no one.  Some recent elections were squeakers where only hundreds, not thousands, of votes separated the winners from the losers. Suggestion: Vote.  Speak up.

Political Opinion #3.  Health care reform is the single most important domestic issue of our day, and underlies many other social and economic problems, including poverty, personal bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures.  We must have reform that includes a public health insurance option.  I prefer a single payer system, such as that found in Canada, but conservatives  would have a heart attack at such an attempt at "socialism" (really, really not demure).  That Canada is not a socialist country is irrelevant.  If you like your health insurance, then by all means keep it, but let the rest of us have a choice that doesn't include fighting with a for-profit insurer who makes money by denying coverage.  It is ludicrous that health care, like public education, isn't a basic right in the U.S.  If you are ever going to take action, now is the time.  Call or email your Senators and Representative and speak up.  If you know they are for health care reform with a public option, then thank them.  If they are against such "commie" ideas, remind them this is the health care option they have, and then tell them they just lost your vote.  (See "Political Opinion #2" above.)   If health care reform won't affect you one way or another, then think about all the people who will benefit by having access to affordable health care. (See "Political Opinion #1" above).  It is time to put a stop to insurance bureaucrats getting between doctors and patients, with patients always on the losing end.  Suggestion: Use your voice.

Phew!  I wasn't sure how long this post was going to be, but I think I've hit my high points for now.  The pressure cooker feeling in my head has dissipated, meaning no brains will be scattered on the ceiling.  My family thanks you.  I thank you.

Now, back to being demure and reserved... Ha!