Who Are Our Own?

Snowy_WalkI was awake before dawn, fretting. At lease I was asleep at 3 a.m.; I’ve been awakening between 3 and 4, fretting. When light came, which was late as there was thick cloud, I discovered a light snow had fallen overnight; it’s still snowing! 

We live a block or so from the lake. Occasionally during the winter, before the lake freezes, which it now seldom does, we have “lake effect” snows. These events are a tad capricious and can give us a good deal of snow; go a couple more blocks away from the lake and snow depths will be much less!

The last couple of days I have received notes from two people I care for and respect. Each was writing about how proposed changes to health care would impact their lives. Both have chronic, life threatening conditions that require expensive medications and ongoing medical interventions. They would be the first to lose coverage, and would then have pre-existing conditions that would make acquiring new insurance virtually impossible. The loss of health insurance would at best impoverish them, and might well kill them.

I, too, have chronic health issues (mine accompanying a history of Bulbar Polio) that become more complex as I age. I rely on mechanical support for breathing at night, braces for walking, and a scooter or power chair for traveling long distances; new, Polio related, problems arise with some regularity. Then there are the everyday health challenges that accompany aging and are not polio related. My guess is that, at least for now, I can remain insured, although that may well prove challenging.

If you are of a certain age, you may remember that the March of Dimes promised to meet the health care needs of Polio survivors for the duration of their lives. By the time I was in my teens, they were no longer offering aid to most Polios. Now I am on Medicare, the nation wide health plan for seniors, and I am again facing broken promises. The incoming national administration seems determined to do away with the program, casting all of us to the winds. So familiar!

I was raised with the understanding that the community is only as well off as its least supported member. I am left, now, and at 3 a.m. many mornings, pondering the question so many Native people have been asking since early contact: “What sort of people abandon their own?” Sadly, those coming to power, like many of their predecessors, appear to have a very narrow definition of who constitute their own. That leaves a great many people, mostly those with the greatest need and the least resources, to their own devices.

18 thoughts on “Who Are Our Own?

  1. You are certainly not alone in your fretfulness. There are rallies across the country today for Our Revolution, specifically address health care and Social Security. I heaved a sigh of relief when I could finally afford health insurance with the ACA. I am not eager to lose it again as I did as a new widow. “Take care of widows and orphans” – the “least of these my brethren” – phrases like that resound in the collective conscience. Something in me keeps telling me that we will work it out. That may be simple stubborn optimism. We shall see.

  2. My physical body seems to continue existence by the grace of medicare disability and medical bebefits. Without this support life on earth will surely come quickly to an end for me and many others. We will all very soon see just what new health reforms will bring. I have no idea just what will unfold in the coming new government. This whole ‘new deal’ is wrapping it arms around us until fear kills us or makes us so miserable that we our lives are consumed from within. I would pray for peace not dependent upon health care but rather on awakening. Anything is possible and I pray for peace for myself and all my brothers and sisters. Always and forever.

    1. Oh, Gretchen. I also pray for peace for all. I am wondering how to let the world know about many people such as yourself whose lives hang in the balance. Sharing stories seems crucial. Yet I wonder how to do it effectively.

  3. I am always appalled when I hear people complain about paying taxes – obviously they don’t realize there are many quality-of-life rights that government should guarantee and pay for through taxation and/or regulation. I am concerned about the fact that so many of our citizens are uninformed about the reality of so many people because they have been fed lies about “welfare mothers who have 15 children, are single, won’t work, drive a Cadillac, and buy lobster with food stamps.” People who want government out of their lives, but then complain that the government was slow to respond when their community had a problem. My experience is that most people are very caring and generous, but they have a blind spot – an alternative reality part of their brain, that resents people who are in need, until they meet them and learn their story. Michael, did you hear the vote call for the financial bill that is the first step of appealing the ACA (I am angered that journalist refer to it as Obamacare because people what to repeal Obamacare but love the ACA because it has made healthcare possible for them)? They voted Nay on behalf of a specific family with health care issues, which is against House rules. Maybe all of us should e-mail our congress people to tell them how a vote to appeal will hurt us or someone we care about. I am so sorry, once again, for taking so much of your space.

    1. Pat, the propaganda and distortion is truly mind boggling. Our congressional legislators are actively opposing the changes so we offer them support.
      How do we get stories out in a way they can be heard? I have moments of inspiration that seem to disappear as quietly as they come. I’m sitting in the studio, watching the sun descend the western horizon and seeking some way to get unstuck. Seems I’ve been frozen in time since the election. I keep trying to grasp how, exactly, but have not gotten far.

      By the way, you have yet to write too much!

      1. I, too, am stuck. 🙂 I have been reading Andy Borowtz (New Yorker & his FB page) for laughter therapy. But I feel very helpless. I am communicating with my legislators but the 2 Senators are Democrats and doing what they need to do and our House Rep. is deaf to progressive ideas – like helping people who are struggling because of health issues or our changing social structure.

      2. Oh, Pat. We are in a similar situation, save all our legislators are on the same page as us. I’ve been reading “Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal” by Jeanette Winterson. Its a tough read, and very funny. She is a splendid writer and I enjoy both the thought and the content. What a marvelous stylist! She had a terrible childhood, voted for Thatcher, noted the disaster that ensued, and developed a deep view of the human condition. I find reading her to be life saving at the moment.

  4. I think my fear has melted into dread. I feel what you write and have no words of solace or comfort. This is just a dreadful time. I did imagine you moving to Canada where they do have health care for everyone!

  5. My heart breaks for a nation of people who do not want to care for their own, which is all of us. Prayers that love and healing may begin in me so they can happen in the world around us.

    1. Lindsay, I remind myself that only 25% of voters voted for this. Actually, many people who voted for the new administration are now terrified. It is the old adage, “they will eventually come for you.” We shall see where all this leads.

  6. It’s a cliché but it is the truth – the state of your health affects your quality of life. it should be the highest priority.

    Health of environment, people, communities, nations – they are all connected. Within the individual, psychological, emotional, physical, and mental health work together as one.

    Such simple concepts, but our modern life separates everything and makes it a product and we become blind to process. With process comes care and thoughtfulness and energy.

    It seems that there is a lot of hatred being directed towards the impending new administration in the US at the moment. That may make the new boss harder, meaner, and more determined, because he will brace himself and become more arrogant. I am viewing from afar but I do see a tiny spark of compassion within him. You have to treat a pouty cranky toddler with love and care (however I suspect that fella is a bottomless cup). Smother his wilful and wicked ways with kindness?

    1. Much of the hatred towards the incoming administration was created by their behavior, including lying. They are supported by white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations,and have made it clear they hate, and will attempt to destroy, anyone who disagrees with them. They have already targeted women, minorities, elders, and persons with disability. They have also targeted the poor (especially the hungry), and persons who are ill. The last five Presidents have come out against them and their policies. I fear we are on the brink of a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

      Ordinarily, differences can be worked out with patience and kindness. Sadly, they have made it clear they do not want to talk, are not kind, and are totally lacking in empathy or long farsightedness. So a toxic brew is being created. (Oddly, the leaders of the congress appear much more dangerous than the incoming president.)

      1. That’s bad news.
        To what end? Wrack and ruin?
        Sounds like the plot of a movie where you can’t believe how sinister people can be, and you sit on the edge of your seat hoping that the bad guys get their comeuppance. It’s a shame that it’s real life.
        How can people be so hungry for power and so shut-down? Very disturbing.
        So they become like the groups they say they despise? Full of hatred, abusive, and closed minded. They will create a climate of fear, and fear disables people.
        I understand the despair.

      2. Seems to be an international trend…. I am concerned the new administration vastly underestimates the potential for all out violence. We shall soon see whether they can respond to others in a constructive way. I hold out hope, even as I anticipate much suffering.

  7. Medical care is something I don’t have to worry about since we have a national health service – whatever the complaints sometimes about standards and waiting lists, I know that I won’t be refused care. So I find it very hard to understand why anyone would vote against or try to repeal legislation that makes health care more available.

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