Pleasure and pain

Sunday 21 Mar 10

I am watching television, all agog at the prospect that America might do someting very radical tonight. Seven presidents have tried to reform healthcare and now it looks like Obama might do it. Of course, it doesn't have a public option, and of course there are a lot of watered-down elements to it, but let's look at the big things: 32 million people who currently do not have health insurance will now have it.  I think it's always hard for people who are healthy and who have insurance to imagine what it is like to get sick and not be able to visit a doctor, or to be in an accident and to have bills that will take you decades to pay off in order to not die.

There will also be a ban on anyone being refused insurance because of an existing condition.  That is HUGE!! The insurance companies in the US have been able to cheat and squirm their way out of paying for people's health visits, even their prescriptions, for the most ridiculous and unfair reasons, and there is nothing the people can do.  This bill, if it passes, finally redresses the balance, the abuse of power, it alters the status quo and begins to stop making a mockery of what every politician, Democrat and Republican alike, says aloud when they pledge allegiance to their flag: liberty and justice for ALL!!  (Even my dog Leon was refused health insurance for a pre-existing condition!!)

What's really horrifying are the demonstrators outside the Capitol.  Demonstrating is great, of course, I wish there was more of it in America.  But what I am appalled by is demonstrators shouting racial and homophobic slurs against elected officials.  One congressman was even spat at.  The idea that these T Party people, who expect to be taken seriously and expound a credible message, would use the 'n' word and condone such hatred is very frightening.  I also read that Barney Frank, a senator who is gay, was called the 'f' word.  Of course the media have not covered this as much or with the same degree of horror as the 'n' word incidents, but I think that it is just as heinous and that the 'f' word is a word of hatred and violence and equally unacceptable in our society. Here below is a PSA I made for GLAAD a couple of years ago about the use of the 'f' word. I wasn't completely happy with it because I felt that it was possile to watch this and not realise what the actual word I am exhorting people to stop using is.  Anyway, the word - which was the one used against Barney Frank yesterday -  is 'faggot', and I am horrified that on such a momentous day for the American people, and a day that one day I believe will be celebrated even by those people demonstrating against it  should be marred by hideous, ugly pure hatred.  How sad that at the same time as the best of America is on display, the very worst of it is too.

On a lighter note, here is a picture of the 1st Lord of Cawdor, John Campbell, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1778. Does it remind you of anyone?  Incidentally, all my father's side of my family worked on Cawdor estate  for generations.