Monday, February 15, 2010

a thank you note

an open thank you note to rep. kay granger (r-tx12), rep. joe barton (r-tx6), sen. kay bayley hutchison (r-tx), and sen. john cornyn (r-tx).

wanted to let you know how wonderful and thrilling it is that you've completely sandbagged any chance our state might have had at anything approaching health care reform.

i wonder, though, what the alternative might have been when i got sick a couple of weeks ago. you see, i'm a full-time college student, and i'm too old to be carried on a parent's insurance policy. of course, even if raising the age had passed, i'd still be too old, but we never really got to find out because you didn't want it to pass, so it didn't.

so i went to the student health center, which is free to students, and the only kind of health care available to me in the best health care system you seem to think we have here in the united states. i was diagnosed with bronchitis. over the following weekend, it exploded into a sinus infection, too. i was given antibiotics -- zithromax, which costs about $35 if, like me, you don't have coverage.

this is, of course, a very significant stretch of cash for me. because you see, because you've been so good as to oppose help for the unemployed, help for the poor, and help for students at every opportunity, i've been out of work for nearly two years now. yes, if i'd ever had cobra benefits (which would have been unaffordable anyway) they would have run out long ago. so cutting all of that has really done texans like me a lot of good, and i'm so thrilled you've been there to support us. my entire budget for the remainder of the semester is on the order of $250 (it's now february, so this has to last until may), and i know how helpful all your policies have been. yay tax cuts!

a week goes by, and i'm still not better, so back i go to the student health center, where, i am told, it might be pneumonia. so i get an order for a chest x-ray i can not afford ($40), and an antibiotic i can not afford ($180). but you've so helpfully made it so that i can't have those and i can't get help from anywhere else -- i'm not sick enough for an ER yet. and so now the only thing to do is dose up on cough syrup, sudafed, and advil and hope that holds out long enough so that i don't suffer an agonizing slow suffocating death. hopefully, instead, i'll just keel right over and die.

because we can't have any kind of health care system that would assist people like me. nothing is always better than something, if something isn't exactly what we want (which, interestingly enough, is nothing).

i hope you'll excuse me now. i'm going to go lay back down and wheeze. there's nothing else for me to do, and you've made sure of it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

god apparently loves some but not others

i repost herewith a comment i left on cecily's blog. for the zero people who read my blog, read the post and consider very carefully what she has to say.

and i've amplified beyond the lines and in the brackets.


i'm not a christian. i will never be a christian. i was raised jewish, but i'm not [really comfortable with] that either. a woman i am considering dating (who is a christian) asked me about god, and asked me to take her to a synagogue, so that she might learn [about my belief system and history]. i said that if she wants me to take her to the place i found god, i will be overjoyed to take her to an AA meeting. [as i have said elsewhere, if church is where you find god, AA is mine.]

what offends me most about cecily's experience at blissdom isn't that she felt overwhelmed and oppressed by the conservative christan contingent, or even that she recognizes that her feelings are (at least in part) self-inflicted. i feel that way as well, pretty much all the time, because i live in a place where possession of dildos can land you two years in the can, where it's illegal to sell cars on sunday, and where our state school board actively wants to bring creationism back.

what offends me most about cecily's experience is that the christian contingent is, unintentionally or not, totally oblivious to how their professions of faith affect, offend, and oppress those of us who don't share it ... even in AA meetings, which are supposed to be free of that sort of stuff. to me it speaks of a narrow-mindedness that infuses every aspect of their lives. [see the comment from "Kelly @ Wisdom Begun" on cecily's post to understand exactly what i'm talking about.]

makes me want to whump them with a clue bat.

maybe cecily judges less harshly because she herself is a stripe of [foul-mouthed liberal, feminist, fat, recovering alcoholic, mother, wife, woman, and writer, and imo totally awesome, as christians come] christian. but for those of you who have jesus as your ceo, you might consider sometime whether or not, in a just, tolerant society that respects and welcomes diversity (like, you know, the one we pretend we want to build for our children), you can keep what should be private, private, for a while.


when i came to AA, i learned about a merciful god who, if we let him, guides and teaches. but he's not an indian giver, he's not vengeful, he's not mean, he doesn't punish. i'm not a big fan of the "god has a plan for everyone" idea, but i acknowledge that there is sometimes no personal justice in the world. cecily and her experience with her twins, whom she named nicholas and zachary, didn't have a fucking thing to do with any kind of god i learned about in AA, or any kind of god i could ever believe in. instead, what happened to cecily, charlie, zach and nick are a manifestation of the shit happens factor."

that is now, and always has been, my biggest problem with christianity. there's no action involved. if i just believe hard enough, i'll get raptured, and tuff titties to anyone who doesn't.

i can not now, and will not ever, believe in a god who chooses to answer some prayers and not others. god loves everyone equally -- rich and poor, just and unjust, ugly and hot, gay and straight, married and single and fighting-for-marriage, stupid and smart, christian and witch, fat and thin -- or he does not. the rain falls on everyone.

the god i learned about provides comfort, not salvation, and not miracles. sometimes shit happens. humans invented gods to make sure things go right. that the sun would rise every day after its trip through the underworld. that the rain would come before everyone starved. to explain the world around us. even to give us a guide about how to live as reasonable, social people in a way that benefits everyone's survival. so that, really, the wild and crazy and scary world out there has a foundation from which we can take comfort, even when things don't go our way.

or, perhaps i might fall back to an only so-so movie starring george burns as god:

god: [answering tracy's question about why there is so much suffering in the world] i know this sounds like a cop-out, tracy, but there's nothing i can do about pain and suffering. it's built into the system.
tracy: which you invented.
god: right. but my problem was i could never figure out how to build anything with just one side to it.
tracy: one side?
god: you ever see a front without a back?
tracy: no.
god: a top without a bottom?
tracy: no.
god: an up without a down?
tracy: no.
god: okay. then there can't be good without bad, life without death, pleasure without pain. that's the way it is. if i take sad away, happy has to go with it.

and besides, i can't imagine a world i might want to create for my children where god doesn't love everyone.