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Posted by on Mar 21, 2010 in Education, Health, Politics, Society | 16 comments

Health Care Bill Already Passed, In “The Quiet People’s” Hearts and Minds


For months, we’ve heard almost more about who hates whom, who is or isnt an idiot, who is a racist, who isn’t, who is ‘pure’, who isnt, and it all appears far too often to have deteriorated into an ‘I am right and you are wrong, and epithet you.’

For months, we hear very little about and from those who love and care for others; ‘the Quiet People’; the people who aren’t interested in who showed up at the latest press-released rally; or what rock ‘n roll wanna-bes who are also called politicians with hundred-dollar haircuts and $400 per syringe botox stuck in their foreheads, say they will or wont do x, y, or z….

but The Quiet People turn to give out one more loaf of bread, one more fish for food. Even as others ridicule them privately and publicly; even as others scorn them, even as others say ‘the Quiet People’ live in la-la land, even as others spit that the ones who care for others are in fact, ‘the problem,’ themselves, all those ‘bleeding heart do gooders.’ Get rid of them. Shut them up. Who cares about them?

However, they are the Quiet People, not because they’re told to shut up. For a majority, if the choice is between yelling and screaming at others, denigrating and demeaning and scorning others… or bending to care for one more struggling creature or being, the Quiet People, will, without other considerations, choose the latter. The Quiet People have eyes open and they are dedicated to doing a real triage that matters, daily.

I not only hear from The Quiet People, I live amongst the Quiet People, who pay crazy high rates for health insurance, because like two of my family members, W and Y, they have ‘prior conditions,’ or like my old friend J whose post-job-loss insurance the COBRA that bites and poisoned his bank account to death, has run out and no one will take he and his family for less than $2500 a month. He has no job, has been beating the bushes ten times each for nearly a year now.

SO many reasons why so many have no clear ease to gain health services: including my friend X being on Medicaid for true real need, but taking a job for a few hours a week at $8.00 an hour so he can buy a higher quality food, such as protein and calcium, and this, because he is honest in filling out government forms, caused him to lose his Medicaid, and now he travels uninsured.

I’ve listened for months, and today watched various Representatives and Senators waving from the Senate and House balconies, looking down upon and encouraging various protesters outside to yell ‘louder.’ But, instead of looking statesmanlike, they sort of more resemble the Pope waving at the pilgrims. And haven’t we yet had enough of that kind of yelling.

I listen to people from all sides say how it should be for others, and especially for “the Quiet People.” The oddest thing about the Quiet People, is they turn to help others, actually give from their own pantries, give away some portion of what little they have in goods and in time. To others. And often they give in love to others without asking questions, would give in a moment, even to the balcony-waving politicians, if they had need. But especially, they give to the strays. They rescue as many strays as they can. People tell them they ought not do that. They do it anyway.

It’s not a political stance. It’s a stance of the soul. The Quiet People who go their ways doing their helps as they can, I have know them all my life, and bless them every single day of my life…

Long ago I was a young welfare mother, who ran like a crazy woman with my barely breathing little daughter in my arms, …I had run out into the street and hailed a cab, Denver General! We screeched into the drive at hospital, I ran out of the cab without paying, and the cabbie bellowed Pay me!

I didnt look back, I ran like Johnny Unitas holding my daughter with her legs and arms limp and bobbing madly, up the stairs, ran like a crazed animal right past the check in desk at the Emergency room, the clerks yelling Stop! Stop! Security codes suddenly booming on the intercoms, and me runnning, running, screaming Help me! help me! Help us, dear God, please help us!

running running running down crazy mouse-maze corridors, sidestepping janitors with rolling barrels, until I hit the nurse’s and doctor’s station and they, angelic souls, asked no questions, just took my daughter from my arms and gave her oxygen and saline, and my child recovered from the first and last sudden asthma attack she’d ever have, but one that had turned her face deeply gray, and left her with only tiny breath.

And after, when I was assured and assured my child would live and I was led by security out to the front desks again where I would have to tell them I had no insurance and no money… the big unshaven cabbie was standing at the door of the ER… ‘I have no money to pay you,’ I sobbed. I felt I could fall down from the shame.

“I didnt come for the money,” he said, “I came to find out if your daughter is ok.”

I shook my head, was I in a dream? “But, you yelled,” I told him, “You yelled Pay me!”

And this brute of a man said, “You were running too fast to hear the rest. I yelled Pay me ….someday….”

What is pay for my cabbie who is likely now all these nearly forty years later gone from this planet, is this setting out of ‘yes’, whenever I can, for the The Quiet People. On that day, long ago, I saw and never ever forget the nurses and doctors and residents, underpaid and overworked at a big city hospital, such good souls. The Quiet People, It’s written on me: the cabbie who probably had several teenage kids at home and long hours on the road… his soul said ‘the child, the child, the child, came first. The child came first. The life of the helpless came first.’

The Quiet People, all of them, anywhere, any nation, any one, should be able to come in peace to a hospital or doctor or nurse, to not have to break the law to get the medicine or the help with health that they need for themselves and their loved ones to live to the best of one’s ability and to be educated and supported in self-care and especially much preventative care as well. Health and education first for strength, education again and again to rise up and remain strong.

The Quiet People and all people should be able not to suffer secondary trauma from watching their loved ones be tormented because they cannot afford care. I think of my friend L who sat in a recliner with known testicular cancer, and in such pain, for the three month ‘no care’ period before his new health insurance kicked in before he could seek help without losing the roof over his family’s head, how his children and wife suffered with his profound suffering.

The Quiet People who are in severe pain themselves, The Quiet People who are struggling to help their own and others… for them, ‘Health care for all’ is not a poltical document.

Health care for all is an imperative of the soul… the soul most often being the only wise inhabitant of the vulnerable ark of the body.

For the Quiet People, the Health Care Bill is already a done deal, despite the legal challenges that will ineveitably come with its passing, including old arguments and new about ‘state’s rights,’ and all other legal dodging and behind closed doors carrying ons (which are far harder to do with cell phones cameras and instant internet).

But. In the end, as with the civil rights’ legislation of the 1960s, despite the Wallaces trying to play both sides while actually only being on one side, despite the Maddoxes acting in ways that now only look like a thin reed shivering in a wind, despite the scurrilous and murderous klan many of whom thinking they could never be pulled up short by the law, eventually brought to justice…

despite the ignorant but often innocent young who had been taught hate by their generations previous… the will of the Quiet People prevails. Setbacks, zig-zags, sunk, plowed over. Nonetheless, the merciful principles of the Quiet People will continue to pull forward. For all. Including mercy for those who are their shrillest detractors.

The image above is that of a clover field that was once buried by the laying of grass for lawn. As in my book The Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale About That Which Can Never Die,(Harper Collins), clover has a deep rhizome base, a gold fuse at its center; no matter how many times you try to bury it, plant Kentucky Blue over it, it pulls on every dot of righteous dirt and water and pulls itself up and through whatever is planted over it.

This is often true of the one precious body we’ve each been given, too. We can surprise even ourselves with how strong we are if only given adequate water, light, ground. It’s an oddity of our culture that people sometimes think of health care as something that is ‘done’ to a person, that that person’s entire Being, Life Force, Soul and Spirit are not also pulling, straining, striving every moment to heal and to live. What is true about clover fields, is also true about ‘the Quiet People,’ they too, just keep coming back, growing up again through whatever was laid over them meant to eradicate them. They will never be be gone from the face of this earth.

And though the Quiet People often be silent, they absolutely, undeniably, irrevocably, do also vote. Quietly. Silently. Without braying, without bravura or fanfare.