How do you sleep at night?

I need to put two things on this essay’s table in order to, I hope, make my point.

First. When I was a boy I complained to my father about a cliché, I don’t remember the cliché in question, what I do remember was my father’s thoughtful and accurate response. “Well, there’s a reason they become clichés.” He was and is right.

Second. I used to believe as I think many do that if you were able to factually establish that a behavior, a policy, a method, a strategy, would actually hurt innocent people, people would automatically care. Wrong. A sickening truth about some people is they simply don’t care. Even when you establish that, for, lack of a better phrase, their actions will hurt others, they still don’t care.

Okay, you may be wondering what it is that has me thinking about all this. Two things, really. An aspect of the presidential race and some who claim to care about those of us with brain injuries and it is becoming increasingly apparent they don’t.

When it comes to the  presidential race it is the blatant lying being done by the Romney-Ryan ticket that falls under the microscope of this missive. If they are elected and if they do what they say they will do and have done in the past the rights of women in my country will be, in a word, decimated. On top of that, millions will lose their health insurance and Romney’s assertion that we don’t let the uninsured die in our country because they can go to the emergency rooms is a lie, a flat out lie. He and those in his circle know damn well people will die if the affordable care act is  reversed. They don’t care.

And when Romney and Ryan say they support equal rights for women, they are, once again, lying. To lift a cliché into the light, actions speak louder than words. Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight for equal pay for equal work; he voted for a bill tagged as the “Let Women Die Bill”  that would allow hospitals to refuse abortion care even if the mother’s life was in immediate danger and he co-sponsored a bill that would deny rape victims on Medicaid access to abortion. Romney’s no better. After all, he picked Ryan as his running mate (safe to assume he agrees with him) and, while governor of Massachusetts, Romney vetoed a bill giving rape survivors access to emergency contraception (to it’s credit, the Massachusetts legislature overrode the veto).

So, if you think Romney and Ryan support women’s civil rights, you’re either delusional, gullible beyond comprehension, or, like Romney and Ryan, you’re lying and you know it, and, like Romney and Ryan, you don’t care either.

Now, brain injuries. For several weeks now members of the Brain Injury Association of NY State as well as former BIANYS board members have been in an email exchange with BIANYS seeking answers to some incredibly reasonable questions. Now, the two people at the top of the BIANYS food chain, as it were, are Marie Cavallo, the board president, and Judith Avner, the executive director. Let me quickly point out that is has been made clear that Ms. Avner will communicate with us in this email discussion (how does she earn her roughly $2,000 a week salary I wonder?).

The questions we are asking?  Well, judge for yourself.

1) How many people with brain injuries does BIANYS employ and how many have been employed since Ms. Avner  took the helm in the late 1980s. No answer.

2) How do you (BIANYS) decide what you are advocating for or against, how do you let membership know, and how do you solicit membership’s input? Ms. Cavallo referred us to their annual reports and newsletters but these questions are not answered in either, not even close. We pointed this out and they responded with…no answer.

3) Ms Cavallo said the reason she, not Ms. Avner, is talking with us, is because she represents BIANYS. And so we asked another reasonable question. If we, as BIANYS members are not part of BIANYS, then are we, the very people she and Ms. Avner claim to care about so much, merely an outside entity? Does BIANYS sees its members as something separate and apart from, well, BIANYS? If so, we asked Ms. Cavallo, who exactly is she representing?  No answer.

The point is you can’t tromp around the state asking everyone and anyone for money because you say you care about us and are on our side and then when we have questions ignore us and simply hope we’ll go away (we won’t) and expect us to believe you actually do care.

All this brings me to the cliché that is the title of this essay, a cliché that appropriately applies to the likes of Romney and Ryan and Avner and Cavallo. How do you sleep at night?




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