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