My first bumpersticker, and playing the card

I’m going to play the cancer card to tell a story.

I should fess up, I detest the idiomatic phrase to play any card, but it seems to crop up a bit these days–usually to obfuscate a matter. My intention is to shed light on one.

Most folks don’t know (or forget) that I was diagnosed with Non-hodgkins Lymphoma over 10 years ago. Long past the date I statistically should have expired, I am still here: Taking pictures, wandering around, enjoying the seasons, and sharing the company of kind folk.

Generally I just try to get by, and do good.

It wasn’t always cheery.

Many of these years, the bulk of my income would go to health care or medical costs that my inflated premium did not cover. If you’ve never had a CT-scan, they’re not only uncomfortable, they’re really expensive. I was trapped by escalating costs and the inability to shop around because I had what they call a ‘pre-existing condition.’

There were the slim years where I’d pay my insurance and didn’t have enough to pay for electric–eating out of the cupboard because the fridge wasn’t working.

Things are better now. I’ve got health care coverage through my partner–a fella who loves me and I love right back.

But I’m not about to forget the pain of being trapped by a system that simply does not work.

So when Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination, I listened intently to his speech, applauding loudly in the living room when he said,

"As someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most."

And it wasn’t just that part. There were so. many. issues. where I agreed with Barack’s values, judgement, and vision.

With my optimism beaten by many months of smears, negative ads and disturbing commentary on and offline, I needed to be reintroduced to these ideals.

"Hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess."


I’m reminded not to waiver. It is not enough to just get by and try to do good. It is time to to roll up my sleeves and find a way to be of service.

The bumpersticker is not just a statement to someone following me on the road–It is a reminder to myself.

However things turn out this election, I need to hold these notions dear. Together, we can make things happen, no matter what cards we’re dealt.

If you haven’t seen Obama’s acceptance speech, you can view it online (43:00 minutes), or download it through iTunes (video | audio).

Curious about Barack’s positions on the economy, healthcare, foreign policy or anything else? Visit his website.

13 responses to “My first bumpersticker, and playing the card”

  1. Here. Freaking. Here.
    Thanks for that Chris. I’ve been planning an Obama post for awhile but am having trouble condensing it down to a clear and concise message. There are just too many reasons and I tend to ramble. Thanks again for standing up. Ohio is going to be critical this year (I’m from Youngstown originally) so I hope the State can finally get it right this time around.

  2. Glad you’re still kicking! Also, slightly off-topic, but where did you get that particular bumper sticker? It’s elegant and simple and I think it might actually be worthy of being my first sticker as well…

  3. great post, chris. i am going to link to it on my blogsite. it says exactly what so many people feel!
    the world is a better place because you are still: “Taking pictures, wandering around, enjoying the seasons, and sharing the company of kind folk.” we need more of your kind around.
    big alohas.

  4. The idea to have to pay for a CT-scan as someone who suffers from cancer seems ridiculous to me. I hope for all of you Americans that change will happen.
    May you enjoy the seasons for a long time to come.
    (from Austria)

  5. Glad you’re still here! The internet wouldn’t be nearly as fun of a place without you. I’ve dealt with a family member with cancer and can relate a bit how much it can change your perspective. Obviously, I can’t really fathom going through something like that myself, so, well, thanks for sharing.
    And yes, Obama rules.

  6. You have inspired me Chris. I too sit on the sidelines too often, thinking I have one vote, what can I do to influence anyone else? I haven’t figured out exactly what I can do, but I do have a bumper sticker courtesy of my step-son who borrowed the truck and left us a gift…it is Obama’s face on a Bob Marley sticker. It’s a small step in the right direction.

  7. Chris,
    Your inspiring post finally made it possible for me to articulate what I care about most. I’ve added a post to today. Hope you’ll take a look for what it is worth. Thanks again for helping me to find my voice.

  8. I’m heartened by the dozens of American friends I have who are ALL passionate about voting for Obama – it’s those intelligent, caring ones among you who CAN and WILL outvote the other side with their lies and smear campaigns. To be honest, the choice is a no-brainer to me but since I live in the UK, I can’t cast my vote. I can only watch intently as the US makes its biggest decision in a long, long time. Fingers crossed for you all xx