Please forgive me, but this is the second tenth letter. Reading back over the last letter there was something more I wanted to say. And it seemed an important way to end the first ten letters.
There is a big gap in Tennessee between those who believe their voice counts and those who believe they have no voice. If you are poor the overwhelming message right now is that your voice is not important. There are people whose life is in danger right from lack of medical care now who believe it is pointless to speak and if they do it should always be with apology. As Governor that should alarm and scare you. The overwhelming message they get is that they are disposable and their lives an inconvenience.
People who are poor, who have no insurance, who are sick or have family sick no longer believe anyone listens and that even their screams and cries are as a whisper.
It is accepted as common wisdom in this state that it is pointless to talk about TennCare expansion. Any reporter, any political figure will tell you it isnt going anywhere.
If people lose faith in the government do we not in the end lose faith in each other and eventually in ourselves?? As Governor my prayer is that you find a way to reach out to people who are convinced that you dont care and tell them you do. We really need that right now.
I really struggled with the decision to even start writing these letters. There was a part of me that said “what’s the point? Really what is the point??”
I came to believe that this was about much more than rather or not in the end you agree with me. In some sense it was about soul, about voice, about encouraging others and especially encouraging me not to give up on the fundamental decency of my neighbors.
Governor Haslam we could use some help here. Sometimes it feels like there is no one at the other end of the line.
Please expand TennCare. You can start by resuming the conversation. We are counting on you and really need your voice.