Citizenship and Recovery

In 1983 I turned 18. Ever since then I’ve been voting in an election. That’s 35 years of pulling the flapjack or insert the paper in the ballot machine.

Though I have zero faith in our elected officials I’ll vote in the coming election and continue to vote in those in the future.

In the early 2000s an advocate started the “I Vote I Count” campaign to register to vote people with mental illnesses.

We cannot allow ourselves to be “mushrooms”–kept in the dark and fed a lot of bull.

By not reading newspapers or watching TV news and using our critical minds to analyze what’s being told/sold we won’t get anywhere.

It’s often that change happens at the speed of the old Pony Express: it takes years for our elected officials to be wrestled to the mat to take action.

Yet putting on our Everlast boxing gloves might actually be the best way to show that we’re not going to remain silent on the things that matter to us.

The victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in a recent New York City election is a testament to how a scrappy underdog fighter could win out over a longtime establishment government official.

It’s called the “blue wave” if I remember right.

The next step is to call and write our representatives to make our voices heard.

Years ago at HealthCentral I wrote about Citizenship and Recovery. Back then I was only one of a couple people who detailed the benefit of participating in our democracy when you have schizophrenia or another mental illness.

I still say: if you want to vote Republican that’s your choice. If you want to vote for a Democrat that’s fine too.

I’m making the case–as I wrote in the blog before –that a band of committed citizen activists can make a difference.

Alas, people without economic equity in American society might think it’s not worth voting. In this regard we’ve ceded power to people with the money to write laws whose very word-for-word language is written by corporations and given to elected officials.

Also, laws are being enacted at the State level that prevent or make it harder for people to vote in elections.

It can seem like things are rigged against ordinary citizens.

That’s why it’s imperative that the disadvantaged among us don’t give up the fight for economic equity.

No one anywhere in traditional media (I read a lot of it) has used the actual word oppression or even repression to describe what the denial of rights constitutes.

Yet in effect laws being enacted serve to keep people from having equity of any kind in America.

These laws take away our right to decide what’s best for us and put it in the hands of the government.

Big Brother anyone? Remember the book 1984?

This trend of oppression will only continue unless ordinary citizens speak out.

We need to make our voices heard.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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