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Lawmakers: It’s Not Over Until… I Sing
11/16/2016 2:42:37 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch 

Well, the election is over and yes, I am still boo hoo, hooing. I am disappointed at the outcome but not discouraged. My disappointment lies squarely with the man that lacks experience and is a “hothead”. However, we must move forward and work in the best interest of America. Ain’t nobody gonna turn me around. We’ve got work to do and no matter how trivial things may seem, it’s the bottom line that counts. Whatever legislation comes forward, if it’s good for your health, the economy, education or overall quality of life, it’s worth fighting for. If it’s detrimental, then fight against it. America is supposed to be governed by the people. So, let’s lighten up a little this week.

There are laws on the books that are archaic and need to be tweaked for the good of this country. There should be laws on the books regarding the character of those who seek office and then there is a place for new legislation.

Straw Vote - I am reminded of an article I wrote some fourteen years ago when Rep. Leon Howard, Democrat from Columbia, introduced what some may have thought was frivolous legislation regarding whether straws used in restaurants should be covered or uncovered. Y’all know how servers bring out straws to the table wrapped in paper or just plain ole open up “nude”. Rep Howard’s legislation was challenged by the late Rep. John Graham Altman, Republican, from Charleston. I thought it was a good thought but some things should be common sense and not require legislation. So, I am hopeful that the new President and Congress can come together on common sense issues and recognize the difference between legislative matters and common sense matters.

Rep. Howard had every right to be upset over failed legislation regarding what I call the “covered straw” vote but it should have been a common sense and not a legislative matter. I have dined out to some of Charleston finest restaurants but to my chagrin I can remember a server bringing a “nude” straw to the table that had water and splashes of tea on it. I requested a new straw. The second time around, the straw was brought to the table by hand unwrapped and placed on the table in front of me. The problem with the second delivery is “did the waiter wash his hands before touching the straw”? So, there I was faced with the dilemma of whether to use the “nude” straw or drink out of a glass where the rim had been touched by the server. Now, here is where the rubber meets the road. How often have you been in a restroom at a restaurant and observed a server using the restroom and returning to work without washing their hands? I have observed this practice at two very popular area restaurants recently. So, I am sure it is widespread. It’s getting to the point where I am almost on a food lockdown. My son said I might as well be because I take just about everything to the restaurant except the plate and I probably would take that if it would fit into my pocketbook. I take plastic forks, napkins, Equals for my tea and now covered straws. Rep. Howard was dead right. It is unsanitary for straws to be uncovered and exposed to germs and those creepy little insects. That’s correct; restaurants are not impervious from the creepy crawlers. So, when you look at Re. Howard’s proposed legislation from a healthy point of view, it may not be frivolous after all. What ever happened to good ole cleanliness and good ole common sense? That’s what we need in the highest office of the land, good ole common sense.

Stolen Identity - I read a very interesting story of a young lady who was the victim of identity theft. The young lady, who I will refer to as Betty, had befriended a person that stole her driver’s license number and made life a living hell for her for the past eight years. If legislators can fight about whether a straw should be nude or covered, they can best expend that energy on passing Bills that can change the quality of life for victims. Citizens are constantly being victimized while legislators sit oblivious to the real issues. It is just inconceivable that a person can steal someone’s driver’s license, use it over and over again and get by with the activity for years. If our legislators want a fight, I’ve got one for them. Fight for the victims.

When a credit card is reported stolen, the old one is cancelled and a new one is issued with a new number. Why isn’t there legislation to do the same thing with a driver’s license? When the driver’s license is reported stolen, it should be red flagged immediately with the date that the license is being voided (taken out of circulation). A new license number is then issued to the victim. Whenever anyone attempts to use the voided license, that person is brought in immediately for questioning. Betty has experienced a great deal of pain and suffering and stress. She has lost hours from work for court appearances or to go to her lawyer’s office to defend traffic violations and tickets. She has had to respond often to numerous inquiries regarding traffic offenses she did not do. Betty’s insurance premium has increased and now she has a phobia of driving. She had to depend on her mother to take her places. When does common sense legislation kicks in? If those guys and gals up in Columbia need more specifics, tell them to give me a call. It sure doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that there are flaws in the system that need to be fixed. We have enough problems in this country without inviting Russia to tap into our system. Folks are already finding unique ways to compromise even secured information.

Alzheimer’s victims - My sister and I had quite an experience trying to get help for my cousin, Eartha, who had Alzheimer’s disease. I applaud my sister, Gwen, for the relentless work that she has done finding help and a safe nursing facility for Eartha. If you haven’t been around someone with the disease I challenge you to visit a nursing home. The problem is there are limited facilities that provide care for Alzheimer’s patient. You would not believe the red tape and mounds of paperwork that Alzheimer’s patients are subjected to when they don’t even know they are in the world. In Eartha’s case, we were her voice. Other patients are not as fortunate. They are not capable of supplying the information that medical professionals need to help them. After filling out numerous applications, you find that there are no Medicaid beds available.

While y’all are up there in Washington fighting, fight for the elderly. After all, y’all just two steps away from one of those Medicaid beds yourselves. My grandmother used to say, “you don’t know what ‘ya coming to.” If elected officials don’t start working on legislation now to ensure quality care for the elderly and begin building adequate facilities for patients with the Alzheimer’s disease, we are headed for “la,la land”. I’ve got a question for you. How are Alzheimer’s patients and legislators alike? Answer: They are out of this world.

Now don’t all y’all politicians start calling me and jumping on me about what you are doing in Washington. I will be watching YOU! I know the shoes don’t fit everybody and that’s why they come in different sizes. I applaud those of you who have worked diligently over the years to make a difference and not a name. President-elect Trump already has a name; now, my only hope is that he will work to make a difference. It ain’t over until I sing. I can’t sing so this will be one drawn out four years. Are y’all with me?


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