Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

July 5th, 2012 1:58 PM

What You Did for the Least of These, California, You Do for Us All

Notes from the road in California:  I’ve been on the National Nurses United Medicare for All for life bus tour since mid-June, with one break to travel to Philadelphia for the SiCKO 5th reunion.  So first let me admit I have a bit of “bus brain” going on.  It’s a condition that goes along with being on an advocacy tour, without the restorative comforts of home.  Today we head for Santa Cruz.  Click on the link for details over the next few days.  And join us.

But yesterday, we were part of the Alameda Fourth of July parade.  The bus was in the parade.  Our incredible nurses inspired by Lynn O’Connor, RN, of Alameda were in the parade.  My fellow bus travelers, fellow staff, their families and friends were in the parade.  My 84 year-old mom and I shared our first time together since I’ve been in California on the tour.  I’ve been in parades before when I marched with the band as a youngster and as I ran a campaign for state representative years ago in Colorado.  At 84, my mom has never been in a parade.  But this was a wholly different experience.

Our nurses want everyone to have access to a single standard of high quality care under an improved Medicare for all for life model.  I want that too.  I am sick to death (almost literally) of fighting with insurance companies and waiting for providers to fight on my behalf and then waiting for the deductibles and co-pays to slash at my funds even after insurance finally covers part of the costs of my care.  So over the past five years since Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, SiCKO, was released and my story was featured in that film, I have spent every moment I was asked to spend on a bus – touring and advocating and educating.  Six months of my life has been spent on buses of the last 60 months.  And even now as I work through my most recent cancer diagnosis, I am on the bus – and I wouldn’t have it another way – at least until we win or I die.

Back to Alameda and the incredible parade.  This community hosts the second largest 4th of July parade in the nation each year, so adding our bus and our message was a natural fit.  We sang.  We walked and saw so many of the 200,000 people it was estimated were there to enjoy the parade.  We talked about Medicare for all for life.  We talked about the Robin Hood Tax.

We had little Luke, 8, and Mason, 4, and another little darling girl cradled in her dad’s arms as our youngest Robin Hoods marching with us.  We hugged people, and we were hot and tired as we went.  But there is nothing like the truth to make us one.

All through Alameda, the crowd was so receptive – cheering the nurses and sharing best wishes for a 4th of July that was a collective celebration of all that is American.  Of course Medicare for all fit into that.  Of course the Robin Hood Tax fit into that.  Heal America, Tax Wall Street, our nurses shared.  The crowd embraced them and clapped and waved.  We handed out coloring pages for the kids so they could make their own Robin Hood masks.  Even having the NRA with its float behind us seemed A-Okay.  After all, if guns are going to continue to be such an issue in America, we certainly better have a great healthcare system – led by the nurses – don’t you think?

So, what does all of this have to do with the title of this essay?  Or with California helping lead the way?

Well, this morning at 6 a.m., my phone rang in my hotel room as we make our way down the road.  My 84-year-old mom was on the line.  She rode the bus in the parade with us yesterday.  It was hard for her to make it up the bus stairs, but we all helped.  But what she said really hit me as what I was already thinking.  “All those people, Donna.   I’ve lived in Alameda for 30 years, but I never saw Alameda this way.  I never knew how many neat people were here and caring about each other.”

Yes, Mom, I know, I said.  I felt the same way only as a non-Alameda resident.  There was so very much affirmation of the nurses, the message and of our shared humanity that I saw a glimpse of the finish line and the day when we will win Medicare for all.  Detractors?  Yes, of course, but only a few. Those who were non-committal?  Yes, but only a few.  The vast majority were clearly with us.  And powerfully so.  Those wearing chinos and high-end clothing and those in wheel chairs along the route and those who are, like me, the least of these – those society has thrown away as bankrupt or broke or unworthy of a voice unless spoken to.  The nurses on parade lifted us all.

California -- with your vast and wide array of humanity, and with a strong, committed group of registered nurses and patients like me who the RNs have lifted – you can help lead the way.  Push on in every city and town and demand it of each other.  Healthcare for all, under an improved Medicare for all model.  In California.  In Vermont.  In Illinois.  In Pennsylvania.  In Colorado.  In New Mexico.  In Hawaii.  In Maine.  In Washington state.  In Minnesota.   In Oregon.  In New Jersey.  In New York.  In Maryland.  In every state across this nation, until in waves of insistent justice, we win.  Join the parade.  From the most to the least and back at you – Peace.

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law Donna Smith Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? Donna Smith We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa Nick Turse Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch Donna Smith The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Enron billionaire John Arnold thinks everyone should believe him when he says we've got to cut pensions because he's so incredibly rich: John...

Mar 5th
4:20 PM
Read More

More in David Sirota's continuing series on the billionaire takeover of PBS: More PBS conflict woes as activists move to eject David Koch from board of...

Mar 3rd
12:35 PM
Read More

Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many? Ray McGovern Is “regime change” in Ukraine the bridge too far for the neoconservative...

Mar 2nd
9:25 PM
Read More

Latest from David Sirota on Enron billionaire John Arnold smuggling anti-pension propaganda into "neutral" institutions like PBS and now, the...

Mar 1st
12:58 PM
Read More

Second Guessing a Life: US Health Care System Robs Security and Human Dignity Donna Smith The dysfunction of the US health care system...

Feb 27th
1:40 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles