Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Missing Connections

For a nation with no qualms about telling the rest of the world how it should live, Americans seem to have a lot of trouble connecting causes and effects. We see them when they aren’t there, and don’t see them when they are. The latter is the subject of today’s diatribe.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) is about to come before the Supreme Court. Polls show the law is unpopular. Asking people how they feel about the individual provisions should show a wide band of dissatisfaction, right?

Not quite.

Pre-existing conditions can’t be held against you? Love it. Keep your kids on your insurance until they’re 26? Love it. Prescription benefits? Love it. Advances in maintaining medical records? Great idea. Better access to preventive care? Common sense.

Aside from amorphous conspiracy theories (European-style socialized medicine will corrupt your precious bodily fluids!), about the only thing people don’t like about the ACA is the individual mandate, which is necessary to keep younger, healthier people from cherry-picking their care. “You can’t make us have health insurance!” is the cry. “It’s a crumbling of our Constitutional liberties.”

What’s most interesting about this is those who are most hysterical about it have, in general, accepted the Patriot Act as an essential protection of the American Way of Life. These folks also have no issues with TSA requiring colonoscopies before allowing one to board an airplane. Americans insist on paying for their own invasive procedures, which is not the face I’d want to show the rest of the world.

Then there is government regulation. Ask any red-blooded American about government regulations and he’ll tell you they stymie business, cost jobs, and don’t do a damn bit of good.

Probe deeper and you’ll find this same person doesn’t want to have to do without food and drug inspectors, highway safety standards, environmental and workplace health rules, and on and on. Those are government regulations, folks, and the reason you like them is because the people those rules are intended to regulate will fuck you to death without them.

I could go on, but the point is made. Americans are perfectly happy to throw out a program that helps a thousand people because they heard someone gamed the system, even if they can’t prove that someone actually did what their buddy on the Internet (or Rush Limbaugh or Rick Santorum) said they did. Writers know never to let truth get in the way of a good story. The same rule should not apply to life decisions.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

March 1

It was about 8:00 PM when I dropped my coat on the stairs and made it to the bathroom barely in time to vomit from adrenaline and exhaustion. Awake for thirty-eight hours, hardly anything to eat, and I had the easy job. I might have fallen asleep on my way to the bedroom. When the phone woke me an hour later my shoes were on, neither foot on the bed. I would have ripped the caller a new one, but it was my mother-in-law, and she deserved a special dispensation.

She’d only been a grandmother for three hours.

She wasn’t home when I called from the hospital; she had only just received the message.

It took a little over thirty-four hours of labor to become an official father. Mom was getting stitched up when the midwife invited me to meet my daughter. Unseeing and cold, she looked everywhere and nowhere until they told me to speak to her, and she looked straight at me. We played that game a few times and it was time for neo-natal ICU after a less than perfect Apgar test.

That was twenty-one years ago today. Happy Birthday to The Sole Heir.

Almost eight years ago someone else with a March 1 birthday came into my life. She’s still around, too, known better to readers of this blog as The Beloved Spouse.

Happy birthday to the two women in my life. You are the reasons I look forward to every day.