Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just Health Care and the Dog Days of Summer

In a summer that's been marked by too much sickness and death, I finally got back out to a club and saw some live music a couple of weeks ago. I saw a terrific performance by my hero Kristie Stremel at what may be the best live music venue in Kansas City, Davey's Uptown Rambler's Club. She played a fine focused set that reminded me of what it's all about, never more so than in that line at the heart of one of her most recent songs, "It's Not a Phase"--"There are no benefits/God, I pray that we don't get sick!"

Aside from Kristie's performance, what made that night so special was reconnecting with others whose music and friendship have fed my soul (not to mention saved my life) over the years, most prominently songwriter/rocker Gary Cloud and guitarist Chris Meck. They filled me in on a benefit they, along with half a dozen of Kansas City's other very best acts, were playing later in the week. It was a benefit for drummer Glen Hockemeir, who plays for Meck's very fine band, the GasLights, and who recently had to have surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It was a wonderful night, with fantastic performances by everyone involved. I plan on writing more about most of these acts soon, rather than scribble a couple of sentences that wouldn't do them justice right now, but let's just say it wouldn't be a bad use of your time to run them down at MySpace or on Google.

But what I'm really wanting to talk about was why we were all there. At some point in the evening, a poet/writer friend of mine began talking about Sicko, which I hadn't seen yet. She couldn't believe I hadn't seen it and urged me to go, speaking emphatically about how she wanted to get involved in the fight for just health care in America. We had a great conversation, and I found myself thinking about how we keep learning that this is the fight that really brings us all together, how it affects all of us and how it gets at the heart of all of the other issues we face today in such fundamental ways.

I did go see Sicko the next day, and it is Michael Moore's best movie for these same reasons.

Please check out the links below--watch Kristin's video, take a look through the resources RRC has compiled and read over the vision worked out by the Just Health Care Campaign. We can heal the soul of America by making sure we work to take care of one another. I don't want to just talk at people who read this blog; I want to talk with you about what we need and how we can build. If nothing else comes out of this grim summer, maybe it can be that.....

And for Glen Hockemeir, send donations to--
Chris Meck
110 W.Armour blvd #2
KCMO 64111
or the paypal account at: