I am a fan of Seth Rogen. His humor is edgy, he pushes the envelope, he misses, he hits, but he takes risks and in an industry that plays it safe, he seems fearless in trying for something different. And, I will admit, he also revisits things that work well, hey a guy has to eat, right?
But Mr. Rogen’s best performance was not acting at all. It was when he testified on Capitol Hill about his mother-in-law’s Alzheimer’s battles. It was this, more than anything else, that tied the knot on becoming a fan. His passion for someone he loves captures your attention immediately.
Capitol Hill. Having been on the Hill quite a few times in my life, I can share that it is as exciting as it is intimidating. Not only because of who sits there now; but for the history of those who have come before……our democracy is represented in just a few buildings.
But I am here to tell you today, that in as much as there has been major star power over the years; I have been told by more than one Representative in my life that is the heartfelt stories of parents that resonate on how they vote. It is important for you to know that. It is important for you to also do something about it.
If I told you that George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Ben Affleck, Elton John, Bono, Richard Simmons, Mohammad Ali, John Denver, and even Frank Zappa and Sesame Streets’ Elmo have all testified on Capitol Hill…….could you tell me for what cause? In some cases I’m sure you can and in others, not; but rest assured it was something of very big interest to them.
If I told you that Charlton Heston spoke about one issue and Tony Bennett on almost an exact opposite point of view, and you were the Representative…..who do you respond to? Star Power….going back to Elizabeth Taylor and her personal backing of AIDS support, the Hill has surely attracted major star power. But the broo-ha-ha over such celebs has not as much impact as it used to have when it comes to testifying. That leaves ‘us’ to stay the course and be the force.
Hmmmmmm a great tag line there. Diabetes Advocacy: Stay the course-be the force.
For over twenty years, Jim Manly has served on Hill for the likes of Ted Kennedy, George Mitchell, and Harry Reid and he once stated: “Beautiful though she may be, Angelina Jolie coming through town? Already seen that a couple of times before….”
With so many doing it, maybe that explains the so many empty chairs when Seth Rogen was testifying.
But more often than not, the rooms ARE full and the interest is high. That stated, there can be no mistake about it; having celebrities involved not only adds the star power aspect for the cause, it will add media attention as well. But the star power alone pales in comparison with the personal stories…….your personal stories.
There are many people I know who have been to Washington DC with the organizations they support in our ‘diabetes world’. Many people give both their time and enormous energy getting the word out about diabetes and to the credit of many diabetes organizations the mixing of both the ‘star-power’ and the many, many, many stories from people living with diabetes, moms, dads, and other family members has surely impacted media surrounding diabetes causes as well as government and private funding.
In as much as there is no question that the incredible efforts of Mary Tyler Moore representing diabetes causes (and add to that Nick Jonas, Kevin Kline, Sugar Ray Leonard, Ray Allen, and many others), it is the hundreds of families that join in those efforts in a one-on-one with representatives that count as a 1-2 punch in impacting every member on the Hill. It is the letters. It is the signed petitions. It is the many, many points ‘of attack’ that have an impact.
It is not just these group efforts that work, it is the efforts of a father (and also having T2) wanting better strip control, it is the mom of a child who passed away from a missed diagnosis, it is the efforts of what individuals find important that are heard by legislators. It’s in Washington, it’s in the State Capitols around the United States—-it is many, many parts.
These efforts do not happen by accident. They happen with much planning. They happen with much organization. They happen with much passion. They happened by people who, when they started, did not know much more than you do know. They learned by doing. If you are looking for something to do, think about getting involved in an aspect of diabetes that is important to you. If we do not advocate for ourselves, you can almost bet that no one else will. Something to think about. Something to act upon.
I am a diabetes dad.
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