Spooktacular skit talks Social Security and Medicare

The performance discussed threatened social programs.

Grass Roots Organizing, a community-based nonprofit, performed an original skit, “Witch Will It Be: Trick or Treat,” portraying various threatened social programs, such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, as familiar Halloween characters. The skit took place in front of the Boone County Health Department Wednesday.

“We’ve been planning this for about a month,” MU graduate student Andrew Bisto said. “It fits with the season.”

Bisto and MU senior John Buthod acted in the performance. Bisto was a spider complete with “webs of deception” while Buthod was a “deficit scarecrow.”

“We were the bad guys,” Bisto said.

“GRO wants economic, racial and social justice,” Buthod said. “We want real results for real people.”

After the performance, performers and GRO members delivered signed postcards to the Columbia offices of Sen. Claire McCaskill, Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Vicky Hartzler. The postcards were collected from families in over 150 Missouri towns, according to a press release.

“We went door to door in different communities,” skit organizer Mary Hussmann said. “We went to the farmer’s markets, the soybean festival, August fairs, campus. We just went out everywhere to give them out.”

The postcards were then taken to the senators’ and the representative’s offices where GRO Executive Director Robin Acree explained the Spooktacular event and gave the postcards to an aide.

“Fixing the debt is not going to cut it,” Acree said. “Talking about growing our economy is the only way to get out.”

The skit was designed to raise awareness about social programs and to deliver the postcards GRO had collected.

“We’re delivering what we told people we would deliver for them,” Hussmann said. “We have an obligation to the people who signed these postcards. This is what democracy looks like.”

The Spooktacular is not GRO’s first attempt at raising public awareness of social programs.

“GRO does a lot of things, mainly economic and social justice,” Hussmann said. “90,000 people were cut off Medicaid. GRO worked on protesting the increasing interest rates and tried to increase the minimum wage. We had over 3,080 signatures, but the industry poured money into trying to get it stopped.”

Hussmann also said she thinks it’s sad that big money can stop democracy.

“GRO supports the Affordable Care Act," she said. "The benefits will be more obvious in the future.”

Hussmann spoke of a family she knows that couldn’t get coverage for their son’s asthma.

“If Medicare is cut, the U.S. will be much less of a country," she said. "I don’t want to live in a country like that."

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