I know you’ve had a rough 24 hours. You stood on your feet and argued for something that was going to pass anyways. I can’t imagine where you could have possibly gotten that idea from. The only difference between your filibuster and Wendy’s is that she was harassed and threatened when she dared to veer ever so slightly off message while you took a good 30 minutes to read a Dr. Seuss story to kill some time.
But the bottom line is that you lost. Even those in your party distanced from you. But I’m not here to gloat. Ok, I’m here to gloat a little. But more than gloating, I’m here to share with you what your defeat means to me personally.
I recently became self-employed. How did I do that, you ask? Well, here goes. I had an office job that I loathed with a company that was dubious at best. Every single day, I contemplated fantasies of how I would one day be able to leave that office and never come back to it again. I got called names and had to put up with sexism and rampant disrespect. And I took all of it because it provided me with one (and only one) thing that I couldn’t provide for myself: health insurance.
I had clients reaching out to me, asking me to take them on. And I did. In fact, because I could not be available to them during the majority of their working hours, I had to turn down work. All so I could have insurance. I’m lucky enough to not have any major health problems but the prospect of being left penniless if I were to get into a car accident or have a health issue was enough of a fear that I kept that job. And hey, I could always use that insurance to treat the ulcer I had developed from the stress of being belittled every day at work.
What I really wanted to do more than anything was to be my own boss and to be an entrepreneur. Surely you remember the entrepreneurial spirit that made our country the kickass place it is, Ted? Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and Bill Gates? Those dudes? People who took an idea and made it into a viable business plan and then employed hundreds of thousands of people to make that dream a reality.
I am lucky enough to know dozens of absurdly talented creative types who can write their asses off, who can take a few scattered thoughts and turn it into a visual masterpiece, who can code like their lives depended on it. And you know what? Most of them are working at jobs where they are underpaid for their skills because they made the horrible mistake (jokes!) of starting families and wanting to do silly things like provide their families with basic health care coverage.
I found myself at a crossroads where I don’t have dependents who will have to just ride out colic, frontier-style, without health insurance. I had the freedom to be able to take risks. And by risks, I mean finding a way to monetarily provide for myself and better my own future instead of coming home from a job I despise, crumpled and defeated, to weakly crawl into bed and wake up and dance the same limp, half-hearted dance the next day.
I can’t promise I’ll be the next Bill Gates or Mark Cuban but I can promise one thing. That bill you so valiantly tried to stand down, the Affordable Care Act, means that I can be self-employed and start my own business while paying less than I did at my day job for health insurance coverage. I don’t know what you have against Texans like myself, your constituents, becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own small businesses that might one day employ other creative and talented Texans. But it seems to run completely perpendicular to your Tea Party “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” schtick.
In short, I’m pretty happy you lost.