There is a lot that I might write about Senator Kennedy, but so many writers have gotten there before me, and I never had the pleasure of meeting the man, unfortunately, but I hope he might appreciate that I wrote this instead.He was a political hero of mine, and, honestly, I shed a tear this morning, I have to admit, although it was my mom that was the RFK liberal as a teen, and ever after and I grew up knowing only one "Bobby" and "Teddy"(it's probably her fault that I think Senator Kerry's accent is cute, actually.)
This is my first diary...please be kind. Also, I'd never have had this idea if I hadn't been worshipfully mainlining Special Comments for, dag, three years now, although I don't claim Olbermann's preppy flair and only a trace of his erudition...think of this as a Special Ed Special Comment.
Dear Senator Coburn:
Pretend I am your neighbor, although I'm not the hippie-dippy kind of liberal who's especially eager for all of humanity to pile up in some cosmic catpile, I know there are miles between me in the desert and you in Oklahoma(I'm not harshing on OK, James Garner is from Oklahoma and so was my grandfather, and I can picture them both calling you fourteen kinds of heartless idiot right now. It's kind of funny, if you'll excuse me...I need a laugh today with Senator Ted passing and all)
I'm your neighbor, and when I was born, something went terribly wrong.I don't remember that part--the siren-squealing part that so fascinates people when they first meet me. Sometimes I wish I did; I'm a writer and a first-hand account makes for a better story, after all, and do not imagine that your medical background exempts you from some appalling ignorance, the more comic examples being questiions like "Cerebral palsy? That usually affects children, doesn't it?" as if I started life as a goat.
But what they don't quite mean to say is that they don't quite expect me to be here, much less hoching them about side effects and such.I very nearly wasn't, and almost 36 years later, I'm still not sure how much that means.But what it means on the surface is that particular "miracle" comes with some pretty hefty strings attached.I can't walk or move from my bed to my wheelchair without someone's assistance,which means that there are thousands of other stupid things you do every day that I can't manage without a lot of...support.If my mother hadn't fought for me like a titian, I wouldn't have gotten the education(or the guts) to challenge you on this.
It's still hard to get by, even with government support. How are my neighbors supposed to handle it? Especially the one who's over seventy with chronic respiratory problems who sleeps most of the day and is up at night because of her medication.Wait, I think I know what you'll say...a family member, right? Another one, because I'm already living with my mama, who, in addition to my impairment, must cope with my night-owl ways and taste for art movies.Well, maybe I can ask my brother. Although the downturn in his business means he's already working two jobs and having to juggle his civic involvements around all that.
My father started a new life in another zip code, so if it's more intense than a birthday card? I can't ask him. Besides, we all end up taking care of him eventually; nobody's sure how it happens.
Government support has huge flaws, which I would be willing to enumerate in another post, perhaps, but it has one distinct advantage. It's not a favor, Senator. Not something to squeeze in after the person's other tasks have been done, not something to be skipped if the charitable person feels tired, or like they have done enough that day, or if my attitude seems rotten, skimped on. Flimsy as it is, that Medicaid waiver timesheet is the closest I get to a guarantee besides my mother's love.
Why not try to get real, "neighbor"?