Monday, September 29, 2008

New Beginnings?


I've been thinking about posting an open letter to Barack Obama. I am feeling overwhelmed by the problems with our society as it stands. I'm coming off a few weeks when I have been especially sensitive to the suffering of my patients. It seems there are problems related to poverty and poor health care that are insurmountable. Thursday I learned that a family I work with had to declare bankruptcy due to health care costs (not from me!)and are losing their home. It sounds like a cliche nowadays but it isn't when you know the people. They are hard working people, continuously employed, but the wife became disabled and needs an organ transplant. She is only a few years older than I am and will die without it. They are insured but not for a transplant and the required medications. Other patients of mine are going hungry, unemployed, disabled. A kid wants drug rehab and no programs will take him.
I know that bad things happen to good people (another cliche) but the past year seems worse somehow. These are things a 700 billion dollar bailout won't fix. I wish we could redistribute all those "golden parachutes" to people who really need it.
I am relatively blessed with stability at home but that doesn't make me sleep that much more easily. I can't run for office--I have no ambition, no drive, no hope beyond helping the few individuals that I can invest in in my office and personal life. I always say I try to save the world one person at a time.
We need leaders who somehow "get" the big picture. I'm sure McCain isn't it, Palin less so. Cynically, I guess that Barack is just another politician but he is what we have. Or, what I hope we will have.
Tonight is the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. I hope that all my friends and readers, Jewish or otherwise are inscribed for a good new year. Tonight and in the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I will be struggling to reconcile an unhappy world with something bigger than I am.
I was listening to NPR last night--they had a theologian speaking about the meaning of the Jewish High Holidays. He said one thing that was meaningful to me. He said that in the Jewish faith, "God does not intervene but we are profoundly helped by the knowledge that our pain is heard." Perhaps that is, in a humbler way, my part in this world. To hear pain. Just for this one moment, you are hearing of mine.


A Free Man said...

Of the two, Obama certainly offers more hope for a major change. Like you, though, I fear it won't be enough. I heard on the radio today that "only 1 in 170 American families are being foreclosed on". Only? And Congress and the President can't agree on what to do to keep things from getting worse. Arrrgh.

self taught artist said...

maybe world leaders should be forced to sit one on one with people for weeks at a time. live with people, work with people, get in the dirt and feel what it is like to be human.
i can't imagine how overwhelming it is to have the kind of contact that you do.
happy new year, god or no god, your pain is heard.

JL said...

I saw the mayhem coming 20 years ago. I worked construction and got sick and tired of doing frivolous bullshit for people borrowing against their nonexistent 'equity'.

I moved back into Chicago and watched stone ghetto bullet-swept properties in East Village increase in 'value' from $60K to $500K in less than five years. THAT IS BULLSHIT. That is indefensible inflation; nothing more than a Hogarthian South Seas Bubble.

Obama, from Hyde Park, makes me want to PUKE. I am so sick of DIPSHITS from other places in the US thinking he's so special. I'm from Chicago. A clean Obama is IMPOSSIBLE. He is dirty and beholden to dirty interests.

McCain makes me want to nuke not only his home state, but the entire SouthWest, or at least shut off all their water and watch them die of thirst.

Personally? I think the end result of all this crap should be the elimination of the tax credit for interest payments on a primary home.

I'll repeat that, as I taught school today, and most of the class wasn't listening:

I think the end result of all this crap should be the elimination of the tax credit for interest payments on a primary home.

Eliminate the tax break. I've built or participated in building hundreds of homes in the Chicago area. There is no God Damn thing you can put into a God Damn home unless it's God Damn gold-plated to make it worth more than US$50K.

The rest of it is either white Flight or stone cold INFLATED VALUE FOR FOOLS.

Just so.

Sarala, My two cents. Your choice.



sarala said...

Like a turtle every now and then I stick my neck out and state my opinions hoping I won't get my head chopped off.
I don't agree with everything you say, Joel, or with your level of anger but I always appreciate hearing where you are coming from. It keeps me honest and you know Chicago for far longer and from a different perspective than I do.