I was out in my front yard early this morning, and I noticed a surprisingly large number of pickup trucks driving by. Most of the drivers waved a friendly greeting. They were either small businessmen or self-employed workers: painters, tilemen, yardmen, plumbers, carpenters. You could tell that from the signs on the sides of their trucks and from the things they carried in their truckbeds. They were either going to jobs in the big houses that make up West Meade or looking for jobs in the big houses in West Meade.
Two of these trucks are parked in my driveway. One belongs to the painter who is painting my kitchen, the other to the electrician who is changing the outlets and switches in my house.
I remember two old men I met last year at Wildacres Writing Conference who did not want to extend health care to all Americans. It was clear to me they were concerned their own health care would suffer if everyone were covered.
If those old men had been with me in the yard this morning, they’d probably say the men in the pickup trucks need to work hard enough to be able to afford health care.
I would like to take health care away from those two old Wildacres men. Not forever, just long enough that they could experience what it feels like not to be able to afford to go to the doctor. Or to know the hospital will put a lien on your house if you can’t pay your bill. Or to shell out hundreds of dollars a month to an insurance company, and to know even that will not protect you if you or some member of your family gets sick.
The world is a different place from when those old Wildacres men were young. Big business has taken over health care. Big business dictates to doctors, to hospitals, and to our government.
Politicians often say our workers are the backbone of our country. I don’t think they really mean it. If they spent time in my front yard, watching those trucks, those hard-working Americans, if they saw this man who is painting my kitchen, listened to his story, or if they sat with this electrician, got to know him, they’d be better politicians.
I am wallowing in sadness this morning. Our country is in a bad place. The crazies are taking over. The men and women who are the backbone of our country don’t have much chance of making it through these awful times we are experiencing without enormous suffering.