Sitting here at Tryst in AdMo, which according to my target demographic new roommate is the place for DC hipsters to be hip. Which I knew five years ago, but it’s always nice to have a reminder. Gotta say there’s something about being in a room full of noisy strangers, all busy being, accompanied by the music of clanging dishes and warm, bass-driven techno grooves. My head bobs as I dig for words. Oddly I feel much further in a creative zone than I would feel at home, that these sounds which might seem distractions only push me further into a state of wanting to work and imagine. I have no idea what this blog post wants to be, but I’m well aware I’ve been a sporadic writer along the birthing period of this blog and it feels good to ramble.
Mmm, Coldplay. “Look at the stars, see how they shine for you.” I forget how much I love this song.
Jazz and politics, right? Tonight, politics.
As I blog, just a couple miles from where I sit, lawmakers are casting votes on the healthcare bill that could affect so many of our lives. (Unless of course we get another postponement, which is a very real possibility that only speaks to the urgency of acting now, IMHO.) In the process of making around 30 phone calls yesterday on behalf of MoveOn, I had a conversation on the phone with a woman in California and thought it might be good to write about that for a bit. Her name was Edwina and she was 61, a small business owner. We spoke in mostly heated tones for close to 30 minutes; I could hear in her voice a sense of desperation, a strangely confident confusion, but mostly an urgent need to be heard, to speak her peace and feel like someone was listening. Which I tried to do. Didn’t make me agree with her, in her mistrust of the government and easy scapegoating of “the illegals” who clog her local emergency room, asking for free government handouts and not playing by the rules, but it was still an exercise in trying to reason with “the other side.” She came back many times to the point that unless I had read the entirety of the health care bill currently up for vote, then I had no business throwing in my support for it. She claimed to have read one of the previous incarnations of the bill, something like 1,100 pages worth, and was really upset about the so-called “pork” projects (she mentioned school playgrounds) that she thought was weighing down the bill. I countered that I’m sure there had been policies she had supported in the past which had been based upon bills she hadn’t actually read. This point, like many of her arguments, seems Fox-inspired; it’s understandable that people might be upset by a fear that the government writes complex, bloated, deliberately confusing bills, and in the midst are trying to get away with some sort of bureaucratic triumph on the march toward Socialism. But I guess like many of the left, I don’t see government as a big bad wolf who can’t do anything right. I do think many government projects can be excessively bureaucratic and often are mishandled, but also this has more to do with their being improperly funded, rather than innately misguided.
To her credit, I did find her personal investiture and passion on the issues fairly remarkable. It made me question my factual knowledge about the Democratic plan for healthcare; at this stage, like just about everyone I know, my feelings about it have more to do with an innate “trust” of Obama and the new wave of change and liberal pride, with lots of the leftover positive vibes from this time last year, rather than concrete knowledge regarding the inner workings of the bill. And I’m not going to fault myself for this – providing universal health care is probably the most convoluted issue facing America today, and I think I’m probably more well read than the average man on the street. I know that I’m willing to make a change for the sake of change, that clearly the inequities in our current system, along with the absolutely obscene profits the insurance companies are pulling in, profiting off of sickness and disease, necessitate a new approach. Which I believe the Democrats are trying to craft; while the Republicans, 100% in the pockets of insurance companies, are much more in interested in the status quo; it seems they do just say “no” to whatever plans the Democrats come up with. (The plan they submitted a few weeks ago had NO financial data whatsoever! Can you imagine?) Edwina had no answer when I asked how someone who doesn’t have insurance and also can’t afford its exorbitant cost might be able to avoid catastrophic loss in case of a medical emergency. She agreed that change was needed, but was so vehemently against anything resembling government intervention, that I don’t think she’d be happy unless the insurance companies themselves were crafting the bills. Which obviously isn’t going to get us anywhere.
Could write lots more but let’s call it an evening for now. Off to see a play by one of my favorite writers, David Ives. No relation to Charles, as far as I know. Although they absolutely share a similar irreverence and cheeky approach to creation. Which is something to aspire to in my own work, for sure.
PS – As I post this the following afternoon, am so happy that the House did the right thing and barely… barely passed the healthcare bill. I wonder if within the pool of Democrats who voted for the bill were any reps whose offices were called by any of the folks I called the other day. Probably not, but it’s nice to imagine I’ve participated in this wonderful democracy.
Also, a quick plug for the terrific show I saw last night, A Flea in Her Ear, put up by DC’s hot young company Constellation Theatre. I’ve never driven a Lamborghini, but I imagine I might fell something like what it felt like to sit in that audience; the pitch-perfect ensemble executed some incredibly technically difficult stuff and really knocked the piece out of the park! Now someone needs to privately fund them so they can replace the canned 30s-era jazz music with some real live jazz players!