As I ran across the Brooklyn Bridge today, I felt honored to be living here in New York, and was uplifted by the beauty of the view, the Bridges, the Statue, the Manhattan Skyline. Climbing up and down the bridge I listen to songs that give me power. Right now I can’t stop listening to Santogold – Anson turned me onto them. And while I felt powerful and strong and ran faster than ever, I also had to keep fighting back tears but for what? It is September 11th, and this is New York: so maybe that. Or the election and how right one thing seems and some people aren’tseeing it: so maybe that. Or tests of my own that have played out recently, tests of my strength and belief in how people can and cannot act: so maybe that. I usually untangle my feelings as I run, and return home feeling resolved or at least at peace. But not today, so now I turn to writing to exercise this.
Immediately after the attacks in 2001, I booked tickets to come to New York for Anson and myself, because Dave Letterman asked in earnest for people to come back to the city, to bring the life back. In the spirit of being an advocate for tourism (and because my husband is a total fan-boy), I got us tickets to see Dave Letterman in advance, having no idea who his guest would be. It was the Maverick John McCain. And I liked that guy. I liked his authenticity and I liked his strength and I spoke the words “this is a Republican I could get behind”.
But the world has changed since then. My sister-in-law became very sick and healthcare became something more than a talking point. Elden (my brother) has been fortunate with his insurance situation, and to my knowledge has never had to make a choice regarding Susan’s options based on money. I am not capable of imagining what it would have felt like if he had. But I know people have been in that place. That is not ok. Our healthcare system needs to be better.
I received the following from a McCain-supporting reader living in Portugal:
Just remember Obama and Hilary want health care provided by the government, which means it [will] come out [of] our pockets, and I wish you could hear the Portuguese talk about their health care which would be similar. They hate it!! [They say] it is a joke to try and get care when you need it. Not many government driven projects have been successful on either side of the isle!
There is no perfect answer, true. But I have read Obama’s Healthcare platform, specifically his promises regarding Cancer Research. And I believe it will improve our lives in this country. Drastically. This past winter, I had Pneumonia. I knew it was Pneumonia because I’ve had it once before and it is unmistakabl
e. I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs to finish a sentence, and I was coughing up The Wickedness. At this point, our entire family was uninsured, because we made too much for assisted health coverage, and too little to foot the $850/month bill to cover ourselves. We had been uninsured for about six months, and been walking the world with fingers crossed. I didn’t have the money to see a doctor or go to the Emergency Room. So I found a (just try to follow) friend who had a girlfriend who had a father who was a sympathetic doctor, and wrote out a prescription of Zithromax to my friend who filled it and gave it to me. So essentially, four people broke the law and one doctor broke a Code of Ethics to get me some antibiotics, which I needed desperately. I would have taken sub-par health care over no health care at that point, with a smile and gratitude. Plus, I wouldn’t have let my health deteriorate to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed or speak before I got help, had that option been there for me. That was ridiculous, and just not ok. My family has made adjustments to be covered now, but it is a huge stumbling block every month financially, this insurance.
I understand that the election isn’t only about this one issue. But I also believe that we can’t accept more of what we’ve had for the past eight years, when it just hasn’t worked out so well. This time we have to hope that the guy who says “Yes We Can” will be given the occasion to show us how. We must be allowed to hope for change, that these seemingly insurmountable problems on the planet can be approached, and progress can be made.
As a mother, I have to hope for these things. I hold myself to a standard that is in-step with what I teach my son. I will not be unkind to people for the sake of hurting them. I will listen to what they need to say and if I disagree I can do it with love. I know I make mistakes but I will try to fix them if given the opportunity. I will not surround myself with negativity and aggressive behavior. I will continue to hope.