Those who know me best know that I am not into partisan politics. My stomach churns equally from the Left and the Right. This does not mean I don’t care about political issues. It is simply not possible to live well in a Democratic Republic unless we are concerned citizens who keep abreast of current affairs and think critically beneath Facebook fodder and Twitter tweets.

Politics is personal. It is not surprising that we care about issues close to us. If we are parents, are our children getting a good education? If we just graduated from college, what is the job market? If we are approaching retirement, how are our investments doing in the economy? In our diverse society, politics impact not only generations, but genders, ethnicity, faith, sexual identity, and other aspects of our lives.

You don’t have to know me very well to know that my identity as a Christ follower who battles bipolar disorder impacts all I think, feel, write, and act. Policies that impact these areas are most likely to affect me personally. This is why I composed this atypically political post.

D.J. Jaffe writes:

Mental Illness Policy Org is apolitical and I have and will work with both parties. But personally, I am a Dem and liked Bernie Sanders. So it pains me to say that his mental illness policy is a danger to mentally ill. It opposes freeing families of HIPAA Handcuffs that prevent us from helping seriously mentally ill loved ones; supports using Olmstead to force state hospitals to release our mentally ill loved ones who need inpatient care regardless of their ability to survive on outpatient basis; defines mental illness as a civil right to be protected, rather than illness to be treated, maintains laws that require people to become a danger to self or others before they can be treated over objection, and includes numerous other provisions demonstrating lack of understanding about the nature of serious mental illness, the level of support needed by some seriously ill, and the consequences of failing to provide that treatment. Am saddened.


I am still undecided who I will vote for in the 2020 elections. I am not a single-issue voter. But I do believe it is a critical time to wake up to the needs of my brothers and sisters who have SMI brain diseases and their loved ones. Our current system is broken and legislation much more than a slap on the hand or a pat on the back needs to be put in place to save lives being lost.

But what can I do? Well, I have been told I have a way with words. So I wrote to Bernie Sanders:


Dear Senator Sanders,
My name is Tony Roberts. I supported your 2016 bid. 
A little more about me… I served as a minister for 20 years while battling bipolar disorder. Then, the illness got the best of me and I went on disability.
When I heard of your recent ”Disability Rights Act,” I became very enthused. It is clear you get what many Americans who have different abilities need and desire.
Unfortunately, there is one essential issue lacking. Persons like me who have Serious Mental Illnesses (SMIs) which can manifest itself in psychosis sometimes need to be involuntary admitted to a safe and humane treatment facility which doesn’t currently exist. Prisons have become the de facto psych hospitals of our country. 
My SMI friends and family members are dying to get care our brains tell us we don’t need. I ask you, Senator Sanders, if you had a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other brain disorder, would you fight for their right to die on the streets? This is the unintended outcome of this plan.
Please consider keeping all the wonderful ingredients of Disability Rights while building in an exceptional clause for those with SMI brain diseases like schizophrenia,  bipolar disorder, and major depression.
Thank you for your consideration,
Tony Roberts


I don’t presume Bernie Sanders himself will read my letter but maybe someone on his team who has his ear will mention there’s a crazy guy who has a lot of crazy friends who would like him to care a little more about crazy people and their crazy loved ones.