Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Draconian Loss

"We have failed to listen to America. And we have failed to reflect the will of our constituents. And when we fail to reflect that will -- we fail ourselves and we fail our country. Shame on us. Shame on this body. Shame on each and every one of you who substitutes your will and your desires above those of your fellow countrymen. Around this chamber, looking upon us are the lawgivers -- from Moses, to Gaius, to Blackstone, to Thomas Jefferson. By our actions today, we disgrace their values. We break the ties of history in this chamber. We break our trust with Americans." --House Minority Leader John Boehner, who certainly wishes people pronounced his name Bayner or Bonner but not Boner.  It's sad that the naming of things can sometimes be unfortunate.

I don’t mean to get serious because that’s certainly not why any of us are here (in the grand ironic scheme and particularly the internet), but clean, beautiful words led me to this place. Beauty is eternal. Keep that in mind. Beauty is intrinsic. I’ll include a link to the writer’s site at the end. Till then you’ll have to make do with me.

Imagine you don’t have anything. Imagine you’re not some politician going on about the unraveling of the American dream while pretending to give a damn about the vague, amorphous mass called the public. Not in a “there but for the grace of God” vein, you’re just you in your house and you don’t have anything beyond what you see turning your head side to side. Then imagine needing help. You’re sick. Not illness sick but the kind of sick people refer to as a “health issue”. Stopped dead in your tracks and you realize, dammit, you’re mortal. Your lovely bones will gleam only because they’ve been picked clean, not because you’re all that and a bag of chips. You never were all that. You were just you. The whole time, you were just you and we were just us.

Now you need help.

What are you going to do? A fifteen minute ambulance ride costs a thousand dollars. The time spent in ER on an IV will run you two. By the time a bed is freed for you and a doctor’s diagnosed then sent you home to await further instructions you could have attended college for a year. Your mortgage with all its attendant insurance scams and add ons requires the bulk of your monthly income. Miss those payments and say hello to America. The free market consumes whatever income is left. You think you have a right to energy? Please. So what do you do? Keep a roof over your head complete with utilities and enough food to forestall social service visits on behalf of the kids, or go to the hospital? Keep in mind: whatever is wrong with you is on the inside where it can’t be seen, so it just might go away.

You hope it goes away. That is precisely and exactly and unerringly and so very damningly what you do, will do, have done, and once again are. I don’t care what color you are or your pretend political stance, if you’re here that’s what you’re doing. One plus one plus one is three. You need health care. You can’t afford it. Me, the Wife’s job provides an insurance outlet, mine doesn’t. But I work everyday. I have worked my entire adult life. We try to keep ourselves healthy but in the world of Kraft, come on. If she loses her insurance, don’t let a cold virus get in our house ‘cause we will lose our minds. We’ve got cable TV, computers, video games, checking and savings accounts, and a new lawnmower. We are not unwashed and poor. But without the subsidized health coverage she and I consider the norm we would have the mortal cliché staring us straight in the face: health or hearth. Hearth would get it. Health is inside. Can’t be seen. Whatever’s wrong, it might go away.

President Obama signed a health care reform bill yesterday. America needed it. Don’t let anybody convince you otherwise. Don’t let me convince you of what I’m saying either. Just think about it. Ignore silly Draconian capitalism; it’s disingenuous. It’s voracious. You are its food. Think about it: what’s so fundamentally wrong with human beings receiving human medical care for human ailments? Isn’t there enough in our lives to worry about without adding something as basic as what do I do if I get sick? The Hippocratic Oath is not “First check for credit.” Other countries manage to figure ways to treat people as people. Why haven’t we? No, let me amend: why are we so resistant to the change?

In a word, greed. Listen, I’m happy about this attempt at reform. Obama can’t wave a wand and get all the big ITS done…but damn if the man ain’t making an honest attempt to get under the skin of America and heal a few things from the inside out. Something about slavery and indentured servitude appeals to this country. Let’s appeal instead to healthier reason.

For every Joe Blow out there bleating angrily: the guys you think are standing up for you are laughing at you behind more money than you’ll ever see, and you’d damn well better not knock on their door when you find yourself with nothing, because it’s at that rather singular point that you won’t be one of them. You’ll be an us.

Read Ms. Ru Freeman’s words here; treat yourself to some of her backlogs. Buy her book and read it. It’ll do your health some good.

Think about today. One day, someday, yesterday, today…

Think about the future. It doesn’t get here without today.

By the way, my sister died from cancer about 5 years ago.  She had to fight with her insurance company nearly every step of the way.  I heard a lot of those conversations.  It's not right being put on hold or being transferred 2 or 3 times after a chemo treatment.  Ain't right at all.

This is my sister.  She liked mysteries.


  1. So sorry to hear about your sister. I know the cancer drill both having gone through it and being close friends with people who have or are struggling now. Thanks for writing this.

  2. Money should not be anyone's god, I don't care how much or how little they have, and the entire faux debate over health care reform rests squarely in Mount Olympus' coffers. Add to that a seditty black man telling Politics what it's been doing wrong the last couple centuries and the resulting din of stupidity just gets my pressure up. He ain't gonna get everything right, but all hail the Uppity Negro, the Uppity Sri Lankan, the Uppity Latino, the Uppity White Dude, the Uppity College Chick and everybody else out there with enough common sense to realize Ronald Reagan was no god and if you give a man in a dessert a trickle of water he's likely to punch you in the throat when you put the canteen away. I hate violence but there are times when I get tired of hearing people screaming against no-brainer propositions. Universal health care is coming because it is proper and right. End of story. America is taking baby steps to get there but at least we finally took a concrete step off our fat, indolent asses toward being what this country should be. Sorry for the ranting response but thinking about my sister's post-chemo insurance calls raised my pressure up just a little higher.

  3. It's just plain cruel, the way the medical system puts sick people through additional trouble and humiliation when what they need is support and TLC. I am sorry for what your sister and family went through.

    All hail the Uppity Negro.

  4. Only now realizing I wrote "a man in a dessert" instead of desert...but all 3 people reading this feel me.

    All hail SVH.