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"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

...............................................................Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Enough is Enough

On his last living day in North Dakota, my Mr. Sunshine broke through the fog that newly transforming acute leukemia tried to envelop him in. Our old friend, dear friend, came to the hospital to bid him well, godspeed, take care, see you soon.

And ran into the Linc-n-Sand tagteam determined to tell him to relay to Kent and Earl and Byron how important it was that they get health care reform right. That the status quo could not go on. That health care reform, real reform, is about patients first, people first. With the public option.

The false profits, false prophets, the golden calf crowd of medicine, must not conduct business as usual. The ghouls and vampires who suck the lifeblood from the healthcare system, the deniers of treatments, the rationers of healthcare, the profiteers, the predators, must not be rewarded, enabled, bailed out. Not any more.

Our old friend, dear friend, can bear witness, attest this is true.

We went to Mayo Clinic/Methodist Hospital in crisis. Grasping for one last chance. A chance that was not meant to be. But in the going, we found what Mr. Sunshine's doctor called medical utopia.

Patients first.

Expertise. Caring. Heck, even computers in every unit's visitor's lounge. A brother-and-sisterhood among families and patients and doctors and medical teams and nurses and the woman at the checkout in the cafeteria and....

We found something else.

Fear. That the reform will be screwed up. And while a medical person talks in outraged tones about the greedy hyperpriced cost of the medicines of treatment. And you read on the faces of families, the shadows under their eyes, the brimming tears, the hopefulness, the sorrow...

The fear...

We're seeing the partisan lines being drawn. The predictable weasels being their weaselly worst... the DeMinted cackling about causing pain for Senators, for Obama, not looking in the mirror and seeing the rot of their own souls... the cowards cravenly hanging on to their own socialized healthcare while denying us ours....

And we're seeing hope...

That maybe, just maybe, this time, if enough voices are raised, if enough people refuse to settle for the same ol' same ol', then maybe, just maybe, this time...we'll get it right.

I understand Frank Ricci now. I understand Cindy Sheehan now. Some fundamental values, principles, rights, demand us speaking out. No matter how inconvenient the timing.

I'm conflicted. I'm mourning my Mr. Sunshine right now. It would be oh, so easy to sit back and say someone else can shoulder the load. But if not me, then who? Will it be you?

Words are my tears now.

It's not just Senator Kennedy who believes healthcare reform is the cause of a lifetime. It's the medical community at Mayo, it's the small town and urban patients and families who fill its halls, their Minnesota license plates dwarfing the abundance even from across these United States and those who fly in for Mayo care.

It's good enough for sheiks and princes and Bushes... and for the 85-year-old woman from Sioux Falls, and the retired RVer from Rockford, and the Sunshines from Fargo...

It's up to the Senators and Congress now. Will it be good enough for the rest of US?
Crossposted at firedoglake's The Seminal and Prairie in Dakota Territory, hosted by Fargo's Forum newspaper

1 comment:

Kathleen Eagle said...

Prairie, my lifelong friend, you do our world such an honor by declaring health care reform your cause of a lifetime at this time–such a critical time in your personal life, such a critical time in the life of this country.

We have to find ways to fight the lobbies. They throw so much money at our supposedly representative government. Somehow we have to find ways to make our votes trump their money. How can we do that?

You hit the nail on the head when you speak of fear. We have to wake up and start fearing fear itself. It paralyzes us. Catastrophic illness is like the threat of an explosion. We see that a once unassailable tower in our personal lives is terribly vulnerable, and we freeze. We cower. We make deals with the devil we know because the one we don’t know is terrifying.

How can we take this power away from the lobbyists? Big insurance, big pharma, bottomless pockets? How can we make the people we voted into office listen to us?

Can we send our Prairie Sunshine to Washington?