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Alan, Betty, and Charlie

I’m going to tell you three quick stories about three real people I have known in my life, except the names have been changed.

Alan is a guy I know who had become estranged from his identical twin brother. They had done everything together as children and even into adulthood, and then opened a small business together. But the project failed and ruined both men financially. They did not speak for nearly two decades. And then they ran into each other at at the funeral of a mutual childhood acquaintance. That’s where Alan and his twin reconnected, forgave each other, and became best friends once again.

Betty is a middle-aged woman I met who had extreme chronic pain. For her, it was debilitating and random. She might be fine for a month, and then have to take an ambulance in the middle of dinner, and be unable to work for weeks. Then, her doctor got her referred to a specialist who put her on new medication. Almost overnight, everything changed, and she has been living for years, pain-free.

Charlie was a dog in a neighborhood where I used to live. His owner kept him chained up much of the time, mostly ignoring the poor creature. Many people called animal welfare services, but the owners were doing just enough to avoid any legal consequences. Finally, the people in the house decided to move out and didn’t want to keep the dog. A neighbor adopted Charlie. Ever since then, that pup was walked, fed, and loved daily, and became a fixture on the block.

These are not meant to be inspirational stories. Not everyone who has had a falling out can rebuild their relationship. Not everyone with severe health issues will find a miracle treatment. Not every long-suffering animal will be adopted into a loving home.

But: dramatic change does happen. It happens every day. And although it may seem like our government and our Congress is doomed to be broken forever, I don’t think it is.

I think things can change. But that means we have to be ready for everything to be different.

Starting right here, with you and me.

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