Notes From The White House
Since the federal shut down I have spent some time most days in front of the White House in what might be called a “crazy old man supportive vigil.”
I carry a home-made sign saying, “US Shutdown = Tea Party” and a smaller sign saying, “Christ is for Healthcare.” I have also used a smaller sign about police not being paid during the furlough. That issue has been fixed, I think.
The signs have been photographed at least a 1,000 times and many people want to be in the picture or to hold the sign themselves. This vigil has hardly been a heavy lift as people seem to get and agree with the fact that the Tea Party has used their hate of affordable care as the basis to shut down the government.
On Friday, a Paul Bunyonesque veteran arrived carrying a huge American flag. He had spent the day at the WWII memorial and arrived at the White House about 6PM. Big Guy, bigger flag. He engaged me for a bit in friendly banter, proclaiming an instant kinship with me as he eventually discerned that I was a firefighter from my IAFF tee shirt. He ventured to tell me that he had spoken to several firefighters during the day who were upset that the Fallen Firefighter Memorial events might be affected by the shutdown. When I explained to him that this was not the President’s fault he proceeded to deliver several Elmer Gantry style mini-sermons, shouting at the crowd about Iwo Jima and water fountains being off.
As I disagreed with him about who was at fault, he proceeded to tell me I was not a firefighter, after all. I told him that if our relationship began and ended that quickly that perhaps it was not worth the bother in the first place.
Yesterday afternoon a trio of smartly dressed middle-aged ladies were fairly scandalized by my “Christ is for Healthcare” sign. One of them asked if I was a firefighter and then told me, ”You should be ashamed.” Their leader informed me that Christ “was for free agency” as if the Son of God was moonlighting as a major league player agent intent on getting the best deal for his clients.
This caused me to recall the Gospel according to John, Chapter 6, where Christ feeds the multitude with a few loaves and fishes. My favorite interpretation of this parable is that the crowd had food all along and when they saw Jesus give his all to them they were similarly compelled to share, the result being that everyone was cared for and there was much left over.
So let it be with healthcare in the most prosperous country on earth.