Senator Scott Brown: An update

April 28, 2011By 32 Comments

It’s time to reflect on what we have already accomplished. (And I apologize that this is a bit longer than a blog should be but . . . what a week. So much to reflect on).

Okay so, I say “we” because even though I am the one who penned the widely-circulated blog “An Open Letter to Senator Scott Brown,” what happened after I pushed “post” almost exactly 48-hours ago is truly an example of a legion of warriors holding a front line impossible to ignore.

I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t know what to expect when I hit “post.” I’m very new to blogging (actually, I’m one week into it!) and while I’ve been a regular reader of a handful of really great blogs, I had yet to become a true believer in the awesome power of social media.

I get it now. In a way I never even imagined.

Here are some stats. The blog, which seemed to hit home with not just the entire diabetes community, but our national of represented constituents, has been read thousands and thousands and thousands of times. It’s been forwarded via email, by twitter and on facebook. It’s been featured on large, popular websites. Folks have commented from all over the world. Private messages have been streaming into my facebook inbox at a clip even I cannot hyperbolize about.

I’m stunned and honored. I’m beyond humbled. But it’s important to remember: This is not “me.” This is very much “we.”

I’ll review some of the timeline and make some comments and then, again, give you a call to action.

So honestly, even though my gone-awry meeting with Senator Brown happened a year ago, I would never have written about it had I not read, early Tuesday morning (thank you Google updates!) about a nice woman from Massachusetts who made a trip to DC for the ADA and was brushed off by the Senator. Something about that just got to me. It’s one thing for me to be ignored: after all, I’ve been lucky enough to experience advocating on the hill many a time. But something about this lovely woman showing up all hopeful and excited and getting the cold shoulder just got to me. I’m still trying to reach her (the reporter who wrote the story promised me to forward her the blog and results). I hope she knows, along with everyone out there that there is an army of supporters behind you when you take the time to make such visits.

So what did I expect when I hit “post?” Since my blog was only a few days old, my best hope was that a few friends would forward it on facebook and maybe, just maybe, someone who knew someone would point it out to the Senator’s office.

Wow. What happened was way beyond that. Within an hour or two, I could see that hundreds of people were reading it each hour. Comments started to pour in, via facebook and the blog, and what I heard was clear: the diabetes community and the public at large demands more from their elected officials.

And here I need to give some thanks. First of all, to the diabetes blogging community. Now remember, I’m old school. I was a crime reporter on a daily beat for an actual paper newspaper. In that world, it was all about competition. You’d never share information with your “competitor” and you’d never promote their “product.” I discovered quite quickly that in the blogging community – at least the diabetes blogging community – quite the opposite is true. Bloggers I think completely rock were posting my blog and asking their readers to pay attention to it (shout out to, and many others right here). It was an astounding revelation to me: these people are a team, not competitors. They’re doing this because they care, gosh darn it. Talk about refreshing.

I also need to thank my many friends on facebook and other places who don’t have an immediate family member with diabetes but who took it on themselves to forward this to all their friends along with a call for action. Scituate High School, Darmouth area friends and ski industry peeps: You rock too.

Another thanks goes out to the many diabetes organizations out there that took this and shared it with their constituents. Sometimes it seems like we might be in competition too, but when it come down to it, no matter what our “letters,” we are all a team. It’s no secret that I’ve been a huge JDRF supporter for a long time. But that does not mean I don’t admire and support others. Huge shout out here to DRI, DLife and CWD, again to just name a few. Your support in this effort has been remarkable.

So the thing went, I guess it’s fair to say “viral” by about, oh, noontime. Still, I wondered if Brown’s office would get wind of it. Things can be pretty insulating down there in DC, and everyone knows a US Senator is really a national position – not just a local one. Then someone sent me a note. “Have you checked out Senator Brown’s facebook page? Because you need to.”

Ummmm. No. I had not. I did and was astounded. Post after post after post was there, sharing the link to my blog and demanding the Senator make things right. I had no idea who most of the people posting were. But they were on our team. His Twitter account showed the same story. Scores of people were pointing this out to him.

At about 2 p.m. I got an email from the local JDRF office. Senator Brown’s office had called and asked for my contact information (I had not put it on the blog because frankly, I didn’t want some guy selling tree bark that “cures diabetes” contacting me). Would it be okay to share it with them?

Hell yeah.

And then my phone rang. With the Senator. And an apology. And an offer to set up a good, long meeting as soon as possible. In just six hours, the social media world had done what no one had yet been able to do: get Senator Brown to stop, think about us, and decide to dedicate some real time to us.

And then my phone rang again. And again. NPR (I accidentally called them NPH – diabetes friends will love that slip!). Fox News. ABC. PBS’s Emily Rooney. The buzz this push caused was showing up on radar screens everywhere. Wow.

So on May 16 late in the afternoon, my daughter with diabetes and I will sit down with Senator Brown and make good on my promise to “wipe the slate clean and start fresh.”

Of course, one can say: well he’s just doing it under pressure. But you know what? He’s doing it. His scheduler was very clear to me that it was important for the Senator to be able to give us his undivided attention for as long as we needed.

I’m going to take advantage of that. I’m glad I have some time to think over exactly what I’ll say and what my goals will be that afternoon. I expect to need to do the Type 1 101 intro (by the way: even though when he stopped me short he said “My grandmother had diabetes,” we should not assume she had Type 2. While chances are she did, she very well could have had Type 1. I’ll want to find that out). I want to win him over to our side. I hope that by showing him the sheer numbers and power of our patient and friend base (I mean, according to the NPR woman, this is a pretty unusual and remarkable show of power even in this crazy social media world), he will realize he needs to understand our needs and be an outspoken and vocal supporter of research for a cure.

Of course I really am the cockeyed optimist (that made me remember my beloved Grandpa). I don’t want to go in there and shame him. I want to go in there and win him over. To our team.

So with that, a promise and a request.

I promise to use that time on May 16 to represent all of you: people with diabetes (adults and children), parents and loved ones of those with diabetes, friends of those with diabetes and yes, just people who care about government working the right way. I’ll work hard to be prepared and hopefully do you proud.

I request you continue showing our power until then. Comment on this blog (or on the original one). Go to Senator Scott Brown’s facebook page and thank him for setting up the meeting but beseech him to truly listen.

Because he won’t be meeting with “me” that day. He’ll be meeting with “us.”

From the bottom of my freshman blogger heart, I thank you all. Together, we can change the world.

For those of you in the Boston area, check out Fox 25 News tonight (April 28) for a story on this. I’ll post a link for those of you out of this area. More media to come. All respectful of Brown and more about our social networking power as a group than anything else.

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Comments (32)

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  1. Beth McCrary says:

    This gives me chills! We (the diabetes on-line community) are indeed a passionate and powerful crew! Thank you for stepping up and being a willing leader for all of us. I believe Rep. Brown will listen, after all, all eyes are on HIM now. And this whole experience, going back a year ago when he dismissed you so quickly, happened for a reason. It’s teaching us all to turn a negative into a positive! And look at all the awareness that is being raised! I think that we are all on a high right now and I know I can’t wait to hear about your meeting.

  2. Maureen says:

    As long as you’re talking with Channel 25, I hope you’ll mention all the work we’ve done (in particular Channel 25′s own Andy Sugg) working with Senators Brown’s Health Aides educating them on Type 1 and getting him to sign on to the letter in support of requesting that FDA quickly review the guidance they have been provided regarding outpatient testing of the artificial pancreas.

  3. Donna Washburn says:

    Thank you Moira for being “our” team leader! You certainly are a leader in showing everyone what intelligence and honesty IS! We will support you 100%

  4. Lisa says:

    As powerful as you are, you and Lauren are a team to be reckoned with…You will represent us well.

    Thank you

  5. Debbie Garelick says:

    Wow, Moira, you ROCK!!! My favorite quote from Gandhi “be the change you want to see in the world”. Thanks for being the “change” Moira!!!!

  6. Bonnie says:

    Way to go! What an impressive example of how social media can mobilize an army of supporters. And what a valuable lesson for the distinguished senator from Mass. to learn so early in his career.

  7. Shannon says:

    When the people speak up, the politicians should listen. I’m glad he is going to. Power of the people! :) I know you’ll do a great job representing us parents and D-folk.

  8. Jess says:

    yay!!!!!! i am so thrilled!

    isn’t the DOC amazing? watch out, world! i’m so happy you’re going to get your meeting!

    you go, girl! :D

  9. Michelle says:

    Thank you Moira. I am also from MA and even despite the diabetes connection it’s important to me to see how our senators respond to their constituents needs and wants. I make no secret that I did not vote for Brown, nor do I like his politics, but he still is my Senator and he still works for me.

  10. Thank you for fighting for us! Diabetes is all about never giving up, and using all if the resources and help you can get your hands on. This is a great example of that. :-)

  11. Excellent work, Moira!!! Good luck with the meeting. Hold Senator Brown’s feet to the fire. Ah, the power of one – plus lots of other activists who have her back.

  12. Robin says:

    Awesome! And thank you!

  13. Jill says:

    Thank you Moira! You are a really good writer. It is so important for all of us to know how our senators behave. How else can we make an informed vote? Senator Scott Brown obviously doesn’t behave nicely. He appears to be very close-minded and arrogant. We can only hope he learns about and then helps eradicate this horrible disease. Good luck with your meeting, and keep up the good work!

  14. Traci says:

    Thank you for representing us–all of us. Because of people like you who take the time and lead the charge, maybe one day my young son will not have to calculate every morself that goes into his mouth, prick his fingers ten times a day, battle through lows and suffer through highs, have accomodations for school tests and activities, etc. Maybe one day, because of people like you, our elected representatives like Senator Brown, will realize that they are who they are because of us–not in spite of us and they will listen. And maybe one day, my son who has type 1 can just enjoy being a kid.

  15. Colleen johnson says:

    That’s so powerful it brought tears to my eyes. When I first read your letter, I wondered if he had experience with type 2 diabetes. I have a daughter with type 1, but previously to this, my only experience was with type 2. My dad had it, I watched him slowly kill himself, it left me resentful and a little negative about people with diabetes. I really felt people who had it were irresponsible and self destructive. Since the event my daughter’s diagnosis and the education that comes with it, I now know better. So, be gentle and firm and educate this man. He could have had a loved one with self destructive tendencies.

  16. Anne says:

    Great job Moira! Wow! You are amazing, and thanks again for all you do. Did you know that Jeff (my 11 year old son with type 1 ) is a huge Scott Brown fan?he waited up on election night! I can’t wait to give him a good report on your meeting :)

  17. Amy says:

    Amazing. I didn’t expect the phone call…and burst into tears when I read that paragraph. Thank you and you’ll have lots of prayers from me as you move forward. :)

  18. Way to go. Keep on pushing. That’s what we all have to do in order to hold our elected officials accountable.

  19. Alysa says:

    Hooray! So glad he realized he had to step up and give you (“us”) some respect. By the way, you’re right – it’s possible his grandmother had Type 1 … I suspect not – by his attitude … but possible. Either way – the man needs some education! Glad you’ll be able to give it to him.

  20. Robbie says:

    My nine year old son, who has Type 1 Diabetes, says, “Thank You!!”

  21. Thank you Moira for being our voice. I commend you on the graceful way you handled his dismissive response to your visit; I could not have been so gracious and forgiving. I have raised a child with Type 1, diagnosed at 2 he is a productive hard-working college graduate now but my mother’s heart will still break for him when i think of the hopelessness of our situation, only blatantly reinforced by Brown’s egotistical, disgusting response. Although we are total strangers and worlds apart, you and I have shared a very sobering reality in raising a child with Type 1. It is not your “grandmother’s diabetes” Brown. Thank you for being out there and continued good luck with your most awesome advocacy on behalf of a very grateful community.

  22. Nikki D says:

    Great post Moira! You can definitely get things done :)

    Have a great weekend!

  23. Sally says:

    Thank you, Moira, for being a relentless Mom and a voice for all of us. Power to the People! :)

  24. Alysa says:

    I commented on Senator Brown’s facebook wall in support of his rescheduling the meeting. In order to comment though, it seemed like I had to “Like” him on Facebook. Not sure if I like him or not – right now I suspect not – but I’ll withold judgment until after I hear about the May 16 meeting … Funny though – he probably got lots of people “liking” him on Facebook just because they wanted to be able to tell him how rude he was to Moira and how much they DID NOT “like” that …

  25. Misty First says:

    Wow! This is such an amazing and inspiring story! I am so proud of you for sharing your story and getting this started…and so proud of the DOC and others who arose to the occasion. Looking forward to hearing about your meeting with the Senator.

    I would love to highlight this post in this week’s Blogger Basal on my blog!
    Thank you,
    Misty, mother of Ally T1 since 2009

  26. friedrich5 says:

    Great job and Thanks for the extra efforts… !!!!!!

  27. Jeanne says:

    WOO HOO!! You so totally rock…The DOC totally rocks and thank you all for reminding us that we all have a voice and together we can make it happen! You and the senator will be in our prayers here in California!

  28. Michelle says:

    This is truly an inspiration! Together our voice will be heard!!!

  29. Jane says:

    I have an adult son with type 1 diabetes. He has been living with this disease since he was 8 years old. I wished there had been this support group way back in the day. A friend sent my son this posting and he forwarded it to me because I wanted to start a blog hoping others out there wanted to make sure Scott Brown would not be re-elected next year. This gives me the courage to go forward with this undertaking. I have been trying to communicate with Mr. Brown for quite some time and he is non responsive. This is a pattern of the way he governs.

  30. A. Beauchamp says:

    It appears the “Peoples’ Seat” believes his own press clippings. It would seem the People should take back their seat in the next election. Sen Brown has most certainly monetized his position with his tale of sexual abuse announced coincidently on his “Peoples’ Seat Book Tour”. Brown is just another neocon talking out of both sides of his mouth. Congrats for putting the Senator in a box and getting this issue the heat and light it deserves. Well played.

  31. Laura Douglass says:

    Moira, this is Laura Douglass, the woman in the article. Thank you for your tremendous advocacy and for providing an opportunity for others to voice their opinion. I was sent your link by the reporter and would love to speak with you via email or phone. Like you, I am not a blogger and am impressed with the results. You inspire me to consider beginning a blog myself!

  32. Bobbi Young says:

    I am a type 1 diebetic who was refused the care of a specialist for a very long time . I had blood sugar readings from 32-over 600. I am trying to find a journalist that would like to collaborate on an article to help others with increased awareness.I almosyt went unconcious numerous times and feel strongly that this should not occur, My contact is

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