Almost Like Being In Love

All week I’ve been smiling for no reason.  Shrugging easily when I get irritated.  Staying up too late and wearing my weariness lightly.  I’m in love.  With health care reform.

This infatuation is cleaner than all my romantic falls.  Every romantic love I’ve drunk has been laced with a touch of nerves.  I don’t know if it’s always that way, or I’m just a nervous type.  I’m not nervous about the health care reform bill we passed this week.  I am only joyful.

We had a minute of joy in the liberal media.  There was an article.  There was a report.  A minute later, reports were about lunatics threatening their elected officials.  The report about how Republicans would somehow stop this, even though it was over.  The report about how Americans hated the bill, although there was nothing in particular they hated.

I’m happy for friends who have had cancer and would never, otherwise, be eligible for health insurance.  I’m happy for friends who have gone years without seeing a doctor.  I’m happy that people stood up and said, this isn’t good enough.  We have to share more.  We can’t let the working poor and the middle class go without medical care they need.  When some of us are uninsured, we are losing so many valuable workers and thinkers, it hurts us all.

I’m happy for the Clintons, who tried to fix things and couldn’t.  I’m happy for my old buddy FDR, who understood how to explain investment in our citizenry as investment, not charity.  He would be proud.  I’m even a little happy for myself.  I have good health and good health care right now, but all my life I’ve worried that I would go without medical care, or bankrupt myself in bills, if something went wrong.

Perhaps I sound naive or ridiculous here.  I know government is made of people, and people are liars and assholes and saints and patriots.  And I think people who say government doesn’t affect them, or can’t change people’s lives for the better, are the naive ones.

Joy isn’t gloating, either.  I’m not happy like, hey, I won, or like, hey, I beat down those Republican fools.  Joy doesn’t require someone to lose.  But it does make people uncomfortable.  I kept approaching people this week and slyly revealing that I was over the moon, and everyone responded with “Yes, but….”    “Yes, but what will it cost?”  “Yes, but did it go far enough?”  “Yes, but did it give too much to the insurance companies?”  Do we need permission to celebrate?  Why do we have to look over our shoulders while we’re accepting a gift?  At a wedding, do you have to worry that the couple might divorce?  At a birth, do you have to be sad that the child will someday die?  I do worry at weddings, so I understand the neurosis.  People don’t trust joy.

Good things happen.  People change.  Bullies are stood down.  People find the money for critical needs, and care for each other in spite of their selfish natures.  I’m quite surprised to see it, but there it is.

A lot of great spiritual types have tried to tell us that joy is trustworthy and true.  Despair will be back, and I’ll have to let it sit with me.  I just want to remember that trusting joy isn’t any dumber than trusting despair.  It’s just more fun.

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