Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ghosts, Politics & Oppressing The Poor

My brother came home from the rural hospital where he's shadowing a primary care physician and told me that everyone in the place matter-of-factly acknowledges that if a patient sees a little boy running around the halls, that patient is going to die (or, in Bob's words, "He's toast.") Apparently, the little boy is a ghost. The decidedly settled and unsuperstitious doctor Bob is following said that his ex-schoolteacher mother was there for her final days and taught the little guy several lessons. Even ghosts can't play hooky forever.

A subcommittee of legislators at the South Carolina statehouse scheduled a hearing earlier this week about allowing nurse practitioners to treat patients for certain conditions which have been limited to physicians (who pay very high rates of malpractice insurance--the nurses don't want to pay these). Bob went to this, as his temporary mentor was due to testify. The hearing was slated for noon, so they arrived at 11. It was then pushed back to 1:30, and didn't actually get underway until 3. The room was stiflingly hot, and many of the nurses had brought campaign placards--which they were forbidden to hold up--but these came in useful as fans. Everyone was limited to a few minutes for statements, and Bob said emotions were high, and yet no one had a coherent argument, but all basically repeated the same themes over and over again. The basic mantra was that whatever legislation passed, rural care would suffer. I said it sounded like a nineteenth-century Southern funeral--everyone dressed up and sweaty and passionately repeating themselves while listeners waved paper fans. Bob said that the smell of death did pervade the room. After a while, people (including committee members) began getting up and leaving, whether overcome by boredom or heat, or a combination thereof, he couldn't tell. He said it was a colossal waste of time, and one of the lady legislators rightly pointed out that this infighting amongst medical professionals was not only unsightly, it didn't do anyone any good, since whatever bill was passed based on their conflicting testimony would be unsatisfactory for all.

As to daily injustice often practiced in more physically comfortable municipal buildings, to crush the helpless, exploit the needy, and stifle the appeals of the unjustly accused are characteristics of a wicked system that cannot be permitted by God or moral people to continue in existence. The stories of economic and legal injustice emanating from places around Ferguson, MO, illuminate a situation where people have so routinely been criminalized for negligible offenses (staggering numbers of arrest warrants for traffic tickets?!) that life has become a misery for most. There is no excuse for this behavior, generally perpetrated by white Haves against black Have Nots, but ultimately preying on those without resources.

I've been reading so many verses in the Bible which talk about God's judgment against people who mistreat the poor. The blight of title pawns and lottery vendors throughout the poor communities--leeches sucking the last few drops of lifeblood from the desperate and the deluded, respectively. The one takes a man's cloak in pledge, the latter entices with dreams of wealth without work.  One prevents productivity by making it difficult for people to retain their necessary transportation, and the other discourages productivity in investment in meaningful enterprise.

Speaking of bureaucratic systems that are working properly, and a poor person's hoped-for financial increase, I got my GA sales and use tax ID number yesterday, thanks to a very helpful lady on the phone from Atlanta who walked me through the Revenue office's online system (not something I could figure out on my own). I plan to begin selling Polish pottery at the Augusta Market on Saturday. I'm not as prepared for this readventure into the world of street markets as I would like, except for plentiful inventory (courtesy of a DC-area Polish friend) and the tax ID--I sold my old tent two years ago; I've ordered another one, but it's not to arrive until next week. I guess I will bring a golf umbrella and hope for the best!

1 comment:

the elder kinswoman said...

It's supposed to be only partly sunny Saturday with a high of 70, so you should be fine without a tent.