Epilepsy Foundation

If Gabrielle Giffords Were The Saint of Congressional Approval

Would she inspire a War on Bad Behavior?

Congressional job approval has reached an all-time low. According to a Gallup poll released on February 8, 2012, only 10% of Americans approve of Congress. With former United State Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Tuscon, Arizona leaving Congress, how low will job approval ratings drop? Gabby may have been the only member of Congress that Americans liked. Even fellow politicians liked her.


At the 2012 State of the Union address, politicians from both parties chanted her name. The President hugged her. It seemed that every politician praised her ability to inspire bipartisanship. After she retired, the US Navy named a warship after her. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus called Giffords "inspired." Gabby inspired politicians to be better. She inspired solutions and the ability to see. Unfortunately, she created new problems. Health care became personal, maybe too personal. 


Gabby's story follows a common script. "Inspirational" is just another word for good-bye. 



Since Gabby Giffords retired on January 25, 2012, political discourse around health care has become more tense. Some members have used the term, "war on women's health." More people are talking about the "war on religion now." Even the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which had been the model for non-profit non-partisanship, found itself in a heated argument with Planned Parenthood. Maybe politicians always talk this way, and I am just more sensitive to it, because I hoped for more after Giffords' departure.

Our unpopular politicians fight often. They start armed conflicts without declaring war, but they launch Wars of Incivility days after honoring Gabby Giffords. We do not need any more politicians who want to fight each other. We need more people who will fight to get along.

Originally I posted this on Saint Valentine's Day. (I am editing on February 16) St. Valentine is the patron saint of epilepsy. He is also the saint of bee keepers and lovers. Is there any room in his quiver to be the patron saint of "Good Congressional Behavior?"

Or do we need a new saint?

Views: 498


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Comment by bryan farley on March 5, 2012 at 12:41am


Your insight about the younger generation is interesting. What problems have you noticed? 

There are some issues where the younger generation sees the world differently. It would be interesting to see if there are generational differences on the issues that matter to people with epilepsy.

Comment by EpilepsyBlogger (Mandy) on March 1, 2012 at 4:52pm

@Bryan you have a really good point there! You are great at sparking a million thoughts in my head at ONE time lol!

Comment by EpilepsyBlogger (Mandy) on March 1, 2012 at 4:50pm

It's all about the stigma people, themselves, are putting around Epilepsy. We need to help others see how normal we really are. I laughed when someone told me "Oh, it's just old people who think that way, honey. And they're all gonna die soon! Then there will be no one to worry about."

Now, I didn't laugh about them dying. What I laughed about was the thought that only old people thing people with Epilepsy are possessed or abnormal. 99% of the people who have discriminated against me, or made fun of my illness were under the age of 25. We have a LOT of work to do!

Comment by LaQuida Monea' Jackson on February 23, 2012 at 11:49pm

@EpilepsyBlogger (Mandy) Thanks for the comment lol! You are right! Back then, Epilepsy did mean demon-possed. But, thanks to Jesus that he heals and bore our diseases and sicknesses, and binds every demonic spirit. I thank Jesus everyday for saving me and sparing my life. Well, I have a blog in my section called "My Story".

Comment by bryan farley on February 23, 2012 at 4:53pm

Just today I was thinking about epilepsy and demonic possession. What would we say about "religious freedom and health care" if religious organizations could stop health coverage to people with epilepsy?

Comment by EpilepsyBlogger (Mandy) on February 23, 2012 at 4:32am

I was going to mention what LaQuida Monea' Jackson mentioned. There is a story of Jesus healing someone with Epilepsy in Matthew 17 verses 14-18. However, that story does add a bit of a stigma since back then, "Epilepsy" meant demonically possessed most of the time. Maybe we do need a new saint! lol! Sorry for commenting so late. I've been sick and swamped!

Comment by LaQuida Monea' Jackson on February 21, 2012 at 3:27pm

@bryan I agree! There's more resources and information about epilepsy now. In the bible there's a the story of Jesus healing an epiletic in Matthew 17 vs 14-18.

Comment by bryan farley on February 21, 2012 at 1:15pm

I am always impressed by the diversity of our community. Sometimes, this diversity can be our weakness, but it can also be our strength. 

When Jeff Nelson discusses his return to faith or Jeremy Tischer mentions the "Dark Passenger," many of us know how life can change suddenly. We understand how Jeff's faith might have been shaken and restored. Many of us know what Jeremy expressed about people with epilepsy  learning more about ourselves in a way that others don't. We also know this knowledge can be painful.

When people with epilepsy remember that anyone can join our community at any time, we have the potential of learning more about people, because there was a time when we did not know as much as we do now.


Comment by LaQuida Monea' Jackson on February 21, 2012 at 1:09pm

@Jeff Nelson Amen! I agree! I'm christian too and I believe and love Heavenly Father God and Jesus Christ wholeheartedly and my life in his hands! They are the only one's that can help us and fix these problems!

Comment by Jeremy Tischer on February 19, 2012 at 9:30pm

People in our situation have a common enemy, our dark passenger, E. It's something that we fight with-some of us hourly, daily, others weekly or monthly, or maybe the unfortunate yearly breakthroughs. But it brings us together, a community here, support groups in the real world at churches, universities, campuses, schools... We learn a lot about ourselves in a way most people, healthy people, don't. Politicians aren't bred to see the world through our eyes. They go to law school and business school to learn to cheat and be cutthroats, an almost standard practice at some of the top tier universities is finding another student's notes and trashing them to gain the advantage on upcoming exams. They are bred to be a suit. I've worked in a corporate environment long enough to have seen plenty of identical suits walk by my desk. Fake, calculating smiles on what used to be peoples' faces. They're looking out for themselves by appealing to the least amount of people to still stay in the lead. We're only 3 million Americans strong. Youth in the states alone outnumber us 4 to 1 in obesity. Look who gets more attention. I hate to sound pessimistic but it's a losing battle when the real problems lay in the shadows of overeating and under-exercise... 

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