Mostly Chewbacca + Obamacare
For Christmas, one of my sisters made me an adorable little stuffed felt Chewbacca doll. I carried him with pride in my jacket pocket at the home evening activity two days after coming home. Ashley asked to see him, so I took him out and showed her. A little while later I noticed with some alarm that he was no longer in my jacket pocket. Had she held onto him and I hadn't noticed? Had someone pickpocketed him? I hadn't left that room, so I retraced it in its entirety. It was an open room devoid of much furniture or nooks and/or crannies where something could get lost. I looked over the whole room about five times and he simply unequivocally was not there. I was forced to conclude that whether he had been pickpocketed or fallen out, he was in someone else's possession now. I was rather miffed because it was only the second time that a Star Wars craft I got from my sister for Christmas was stolen at church (the first was a knitted R2-D2 hat). By whom, I would probably never know. Possibly Ashley. I would hate to suspect her of such a thing, but... I announced his loss and asked people to keep a lookout, but I resigned myself to never seeing him again.
Two weeks later we again held home evening in the same room of the same building. When I showed up, Claire waved to me from across the room. I waved back. She motioned me over. Strange, I thought, she's not usually that friendly... And then I saw the little Chewbacca doll in her other hand. And then I knew what had happened. She had taken him, and now she was satisfied so she was giving him back. I wasn't even mad. I was just overjoyed to see him again. I ran over to her, and she explained that against all odds he had been folded up in one of the tables. She must be richly rewarded, but I don't know how yet.
State senator Lyle Hillyard came to speak and receive questions about the previously mentioned Republican initiative to destroy Utah's wetlands and worsen its air quality. The guy who organized the activism presentation the week before wanted everyone to come back for this, and he had a list of thoughtful and non-confrontational questions for us to ask, to show the senator that people really care about this. I had no intention of speaking but I still wanted to do my part by taking up space. It was in the same venue as the earlier meeting, and I thought I remembered its location better than I actually did, so I spent half an hour wandering around and through every block in that general vicinity except for the one it's actually in. When I found it, of course the presentation was well underway but more to the point, the place was packed wall-to-wall and I decided my presence wasn't needed after all. It's a pleasant surprise to see a substantial grassroots movement of people in this community who care about the environment.
I've often heard from Americans that the Canadian healthcare system sucks, but never thought to wonder what an actual Canadian might think of it.
Healthcare in the United States before Obamacare was a nightmare. Healthcare in the United States after Obamacare is a nightmare. For years I hoped and hoped for its repeal, but now I have mixed feelings. It's a bureaucratic train wreck, no doubt about it, but it has several steps in the right direction. I know several people who have benefited immensely from it and are terrified of the suffering they'll be in without it. I know people whose insurance rates have skyrocketed despite Obama's promises, and they're pissed. I know someone who was once a staunchly conservative opponent of Obama but now supports universal healthcare after some absurdly expensive health problems beyond her control nearly ruined her life. I know that I don't want to be forced to buy healthcare because I'm young and relatively healthy and would rather gamble that nothing super bad will happen to me. Why can't we repeal the bad parts and keep the good ones? Or why can't we at least have a superior replacement in mind after getting rid of everything? Because compromise and bipartisanship are not the American way.
In my previous job when I made survey calls on behalf of the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals - a glorious light in a very dark tunnel - I learned firsthand about how health insurance companies habitually screw people because they can. They will refuse to provide a service that they are blatantly required to provide, counting on the fact that most of their victims don't have the knowledge and/or patience to bring the issue to court. The minority who do soon discover that although these cases are required by law to be resolved within three months, the reality is usually closer to three years, thanks in large part to the judges having a huge backlog of these cases that never should have existed in the first place. Many of these people are elderly, don't have a lot of years left to begin with and are in severe discomfort, so three years is kind of a big deal. All I can say is that if I don't go to heaven I expect to have a lot of insurance people keeping me company. I can picture myself doing a lot of unethical things for the right price (hint hint), but that's just unconscionable.
The free market encourages innovation and improvement but brings out the worst in people. Government can force them to stop being ----s, but is generally incompetent and stifles those other things. Therefore I currently believe that elements of both belong in healthcare, but the wrong elements of both result in an unholy life-ruining abomination. I will not presume to map this out in detail because then my lack of expertise on these topics I'm spouting off on anyway would become too obvious. One way or another, the future of healthcare in this nation doesn't look bright to me. If it brings you a world of suffering, I guess just remember that someday you'll be dead and it won't matter anymore.
William Onyeabor - Good Name
William Onyeabor died this week. He was seventy going on seventy-one, which is almost two decades longer than the life expectancy in his native Nigeria, so yay for that. This is the song I discovered him through. The catchy tempo and simple, repetitive lyrics that despite their perfect grammar are obviously foreign in nature, with their simple yet beautiful and true message, make it a much-admired earworm in my book. I won't talk about the music in any more detail because then my lack of expertise on these topics that I'm spouting off on anyway would become too obvious.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.