Meandering down a Santa Barbara side street in the twilight I was not at all surprised to encounter Andreas, last seen where? Paris? Berlin?
My friends do tend to wander. Though right now I would prefer to have them over for a dinner party at my own house.
Summary, Week 4, Great American Road Trip: I miss London.
I'm honestly too tired to continue this holiday but one day ventured forth to the mission to see the the commemorative plaque for Juana Maria, because when I was about ten years old I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins.
When I was little I admired her indomitable courage in the face of profound isolation. Now? I have more complicated opinions.
In other news: US health care reform repeal vote? Told you so.
In fact, I predicted every aspect of the anti-reform movement. I said from the start that developing an entitlement program (while heroic in aspect) would be a heartbreaking, difficult slog. Displacing the financial obligation to individuals and businesses, neglecting to offset the complexities of interstate commerce? Huh - right. Good luck with that. I've been paying attention, I am a journalist and a trained bureaucrat, I have a personal investment as an expat with cancer. I might want to move home someday, if I can, but I think the health care bill as currently organised is a big fucking mess.
I said Yeah, nice idea, get back to me in ten years and let me know how that went.
People replied Something is better than nothing.
Forcibly reforming the mercenary insurance industry would have been a more elegant approach, but that was impossible . . . why? Because of the lobbyists, and money interests? Or something like that. What happened to Yes We Can? The sentiment vanished under political expediency.
Of course I appreciate the fact that the United States system of checks and balances works to protect the institutions and citizenry from abrupt and disruptive ideological reversals. Six years in the United Kingdom has confirmed my admiration of that aspect of my homeland. And the health care debate is far from over; we're looking at a brutal bloody fight to save some scrap of the reforms.
But in the meanwhile, people I care about are still going bankrupt trying to pay medical bills. People I admire are working until the second they enter hospice care just to maintain access to health insurance. People I love are dying for lack of health care - in one of the wealthiest nations on the planet.
Anticipating a debacle never makes it less painful.