Music, Literature and The Fight of My Life
I must confess that my recent Renaissance in music listening has been sadly influenced by a catastrophic last two years, building up to the climax of the ultimate fear. How will I live? I have been reclaiming my personal self as much as I can because the world turmoil going on with the current regime in office, running/ruining my country, has me in mortal fear of the country heading to a civil war, and the great loss of the Human Race. The battles are already begun. The most recent being internment camps for children. This must mean we are already at war. We have lost 80 years of the Civil Rights fights. And we don’t have guaranteed health care in this country. Life itself is under threat. And don’t get me started on how all our lawmakers get free guaranteed healthcare that I pay for.
So I started really listening to music again and going back to my youth and the mindset of fighting The Machine. I guess you can accuse me of the mid-life crisis thing, but really it’s about history sadly repeating itself. It’s about me sitting in a B&B in Oban, Scotland in 2016 crying to John Lennon’s “Imagine” and George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”. They’re back, the evil crushing conservative nightmare from the 80s. It’s Thatcher and Reagan all over again.
Two years later I have been hit with a personal crisis. One that makes me think Punk Rock/Neo Punk will always have it, that voice to bash at The Machine with a resounding, belligerent “no”. I have been told I need a heart operation or I will not make it. At least it’s not a triple bypass, or that extreme. Still, incredibly invasive and a price tag I cannot reach. But it’s the thing that keeps you alive, without the heart the rest doesn’t work. You have only one heart. There is no choice, no shopping around. I was told I must do this or I may not live. What hit me like a barreling train down the track more than the fear of surgery, was what would come after. The American Corporate Medical Machine, and all the conservatives that make money off our failing health, is what has frightened me to the core. You see in the US we don’t have universal healthcare. We don’t do that socialist thing. We don’t have a guarantee of health coverage. The Medical Care Act just forces many to buy insurance they still can’t afford, and doesn’t cover serious, catastrophic life issues. Still a very broken system.
The Next Great Civil Battle: The Right to Medical Care and Life
Countries like the UK, Canada, France and most of the EU, have socialized medicine. It’s something many of us have been fighting for in this country for years. While many things about access and wait lists make it an imperfect system, at least it is acknowledged that everyone should have a right to life. If your life is in danger due to life threatening illness and following treatment, it will get addressed, however belatedly. The UK is fighting to keep their NHS system, and so is Canada. It appears that corporatization has started to eat at their systems just like here. People are raging against it in the press. We all must vote to stop this madness, while we still can.
In my country, even if you have insurance of any kind, you fight it and then there are the looming costs not covered that hit you two months down the line when you are trying to get your life back after the first pitched battle. Try doing that when you have had Chemo for months. Many a person has had to declare bankruptcy after their operations. Results can be devastating. Parents with a child having multiple surgeries who will never get to buy a house for that child to grow up in. Adults that don’t own a house, probably never will due to having surgery that amounts to the cost of a house, and having to bankrupt themselves. Some of them ending up sleeping rough on the streets after losing everything. Welcome to the American Medical Machine. A mentality created by corporations that we as humans in America don’t have the right to feel that our most basic need is met, that of existing. Sadly the government is ignoring a right that even the Founding Fathers thought of when forming this nation. Life was in there, read a little Locke, a little Rousseau.
Music and Literature as Savior
During my youth, music and literature are what kept me sane. Getting bullied at school and all the walls I was up against, it’s what gave me something to feel I had a voice and shared a commonality with others. During the 6 weeks of not being able to work and recovering, I shall go mad if I don’t have music and literature to get me through it. While I may be forced to be quiet and rest, my mind will not. So maybe some Rage Against The (Medical) Machine is in order, definitely many Punk, Post-Punk and other music movements of the 80s and 90s will get me through. There is always Bowie and the Beatles. Music is an anthem, a light, a thing that always uplifts and gets you back on the ground, while somehow floating above it. The power to heal and fight with an anthem of spiritual medicine, and a cause. I better start my list of songs, in my head.
I want to thank a favorite musician, Mike Scott of The Waterboys (@MickPuck), for taking time to send me a Tweet back with a list of C.S. Lewis books that were not so religious. I had heard the author had some Sci Fi and other fiction writings, but the books had been hard to find in the shops where I am. I now have a stack of books to read while this phoenix crawls out of the ashes and goes on to the next battle. I may even re-read the Chronicles of Narnia books that I read so many times the pages started falling out. Thank you, kind Puck, for taking time out of your busy musical schedule.
To Go a Begging
Now I am faced with a bizarre decision. I may be forced to put together a crowd sourcing page to help me fight this battle. I am really even embarrassed to have to think about it. If I can’t win a battle with the state to help with the costs, I don’t know what else to do. I’ve never had to ask for help like this before.
I hope maybe that someday musicians can take up the fight and rally us towards a social healthcare system in this country. I’ll buy tickets to that tour. Thanks for allowing me to rant and rage Against The Machine. I will be hunting more vinyl as soon as I am physically able.