The American People are Good and Decent

Listening to hours and hours of nitwittery today, between C-SPAN and MSNBC and reading along on Twitter, it’s easy to think this country just completely sucks. I mean completely. Between the teabagger theatrics and Stupak’s self-serving horseshit you had to start wondering if the eco-terrorists were right and human beings really were a curse on the planet.

But even in the midst of this crisis, even faced with indisputable evidence that many of our beloved countrymen are total assholes, there is proof many of them have always cared aboutpeople poorer than they are:

Long ago I was a young welfare mother, who ran like a
crazy woman with my barely breathing little daughter in my arms, …I had
run out into the street and hailed a cab, Denver General! We screeched
into the drive at hospital, I ran out of the cab without paying, and
the cabbie bellowed Pay me!

I didnt look back, I ran like Johnny Unitas holding my daughter
with her legs and arms limp and bobbing madly, up the stairs, ran like
a crazed animal right past the check in desk at the Emergency room, the
clerks yelling Stop! Stop! Security codes suddenly booming on the
intercoms, and me runnning, running, screamingHelp me! help me! Help us, dear God, please help us!

running running running down crazy mouse-maze corridors,
sidestepping janitors with rolling barrels, until I hit the nurse’s and
doctor’s station and they, angelic souls, asked no questions, just took
my daughter from my arms and gave her oxygen and saline, and my child
recovered from the first and last sudden asthma attack she’d ever have,
but one that had turned her face deeply gray, and left her with only
tiny breath.

And after, when I was assured and assured my child would live and I
was led by security out to the front desks again where I would have to
tell them I had no insurance and no money… the big unshaven cabbie was
standing at the door of the ER… ‘I have no money to pay you,’ I sobbed.
I felt I could fall down from the shame.

“I didnt come for the money,” he said, “I came to find out if your daughter is ok.”

I shook my head, was I in a dream? “But, you yelled,” I told him, “You yelled Pay me!”

And this brute of a man said, “You were running too fast to hear the rest. I yelled Pay me …someday…”

What is pay for my cabbie who is likely now all these nearly forty
years later gone from this planet, is this setting out of ‘yes’,
whenever I can, for the The Quiet People. On that day, long ago, I saw
and never ever forget the nurses and doctors and residents, underpaid
and overworked at a big city hospital, such good souls. The Quiet
People, It’s written on me: the cabbie who probably had several teenage
kids at home and long hours on the road… his soul said ‘the child, the
child, the child, came first. The child came first. The life of the
helpless came first.’

The Quiet People, all of them, anywhere, any nation, any one, should
be able to come in peace to a hospital or doctor or nurse, to not have
to break the law to get the medicine or the help with health that they
need for themselves and their loved ones to live to the best of one’s
ability and to be educated and supported in self-care and especially
much preventative care as well. Health and education first for
strength, education again and again to rise up and remain strong.

The Quiet People and all people should be able not to suffer
secondary trauma from watching their loved ones be tormented because
they cannot afford care. I think of my friend L who sat in a recliner
with known testicular cancer, and in such pain, for the three month ‘no
care’ period before his new health insurance kicked in before he could
seek help without losing the roof over his family’s head, how his
children and wife suffered with his profound suffering.

The Quiet People who are in severe pain themselves, The Quiet People
who are struggling to help their own and others… for them, ‘Health care
for all’ is not a poltical document.

Health care for all is an imperative of the soul… the soul most
often being the only wise inhabitant of the vulnerable ark of the body.

Via the Balloon Juice comments, which have been awesome all day today.


3 thoughts on “The American People are Good and Decent

  1. Thank you for posting that A. I’m always amazed by the power of well written words.

  2. Oh, my. That got me choked up. I tell you what, I have been disheartened and frustrated over this health-care fiasco, but today… I’m so hopeful again. It’s not perfect–far from it. I want single payer.
    But tonight I am proud again that we have made it through the mire and that this thing Might. Just. Pass.
    Imperfect, flawed… and still, it’s going to mean a lot to “The Quiet People.”
    Athenae, as always, you are pitch-perfect in your links and your writing.

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