And that is the only reason I have health insurance right now.
The Affordable Care Act is currently in the process of saving my life. So you can imagine the joy and profound sense of hope that I felt this morning upon hearing that the law was upheld. I began to cry, in fact (and amazingly) only the second time that has happened since this whole brainchancery began nearly three months ago.
That isn’t to say I’m not a man who cries– I think I cried four separate times during Toy Story 3. I cry all the time. I cried when the Eagles went to the Super Bowl. Not won it, went to it.
Anyway I’ve actually been wanting to mention the other time I was brought to tears from the brain chance, but I hesitate to do so now for fear of distracting from the topic at hand and minimizing the moment itself. Ah fuck it, here goes anyway:
One of the most amazing moments of my life occurred alone in my hospital bed in Hong Kong, shortly after my surgery. I’d opened my laptop for the first time and was pummeled by this flood of messages from seemingly everyone I’d ever known, every one of you expressing hope and friendship and confidence and love and so much care that I just totally lost it. In a good way. In the best way you could possibly imagine. I’d never felt less alone in my life, and there I was, thousands of miles from home, with a giant hole in my skull, feeling happy. As happy as I’ve ever been. I wept like I’ve rarely wept, the tears streaming down over the biggest smile I’ve probably ever mustered.
And then I wrote this:
“To wake up feeling so loved by all of the people in the world that I love so deeply and so dearly is the best gift I have ever been given in my entire life. Thank you, my family, my friends… You mean everything to me. I am overwhelmed with the joy you have brought me.”
I am still overwhelmed. And it is for this very reason that I’m not sure I’d take back getting brain cancer if I had the choice. It’s hard to reach a point where you feel the confidence that you really are not alone in this world– I think a lot of us struggle constantly with that idea. I know I did. But I don’t anymore.
Because of all of you, I know I’m not alone.
(Insert 400 foot tall thank you card with live fireworks here for every last one of you. And my undying affection and devotion, wrapped with a nice crisp ribbon. But not by me, I’m a crappy wrapping paperer.)
But wait, weren’t we supposed to be talking about politics?
I guess that story kindof dovetails with what I was originally getting at: the idea of care and compassion and the unexpected and utterly overwhelming effect it has had on me in both of these situations.
To feel that kind of care and compassion when you absolutely need it most, when you just can’t do it by yourself, when you really need other people to lift you up, is one of the most profound things I’ve ever experienced.
And this is the point that utterly too often is being missed in this entire debate over what law or system is right and who’s gonna pay what and tax tax fear fear tax: the point of this law is to help people. The point of our government is to help us live better lives. And the best way — I would argue the only way — for that to actually happen is if we actually allow ourselves to believe that it is possible. And if we take that belief, and allow ourselves to try.
So to hell with cynicism about government, about politics, about the left or the right or the top or the bottom. To hell with cynicism forever. Brain cancer to cynicism! If we don’t believe we can do anything good, if all we focus on is the fact that we’re arguing and divided and that it’s all gone to shit and there’s nothing we can do, then what good is going to come of us?
This law was made to help people, and it’s already helping a lot of people. Let’s keep trying. Let’s see if we can make it even better and help even more.
As my BFF BF said:
“We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
I totally wanna hang with every last one of you.
And with Barrack. Cuz despite the raging clouds of cynicism spiraling and swirling over our heads, I can tell you one thing that I know from experience to be true:
This man actually cares.
And I can’t thank him enough for that.