The Jar on the Counter: Begging Customers to help with medical bills | Street Jazz

The Jar on the Counter: Begging Customers to help with medical bills

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Whenever conservatives get together and talk about the Yesteryear That Never Was, the image of communities coming forth to help folks when they are in financial straits is often invoked, as if somehow the example of folks coming to the aid of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life occurred on a daily basis around this country.

No one was ever allowed to go bankrupt, or into the poor house (real or virtual) and that churches, scout troops and junior high school bake sales would help whenever the rare occurrence of cancer came around.

In fact, I think we all remember the battle cry of FDR: “We really don’t need to help anyone, but my bosses in the Kremlin expect this of us,” when he campaigned for those who had been brought low by life’s cruel circumstances.

I thought about those smug, well-fed, financially well off folks and their Walton’s Mountain (the cool Waltons - not the Wally World Waltons) vision of America when I stopped in at a fast food place to get a cup of coffee last week.

On the counter was a large plastic jar, with a note underneath it, explaining that it was there for donations to help a long-time employee who had suffered a medical catastrophe, and whose medical bills were overwhelming his family.

I put a dollar into the jar.

Fact is, every time I pass the place now, I stop in for a cup of coffee and to put a dollar in the jar.

I think the employees of this establishment are to be commended for putting the jar on the counter. There is no hard-sell - such as when you are at the grocery checkout, and the clerk asks if you’d like to contribute a dollar to a particular charity. The jar just sits there, with no one bringing attention to it, and yet it still manages to have dollars dropped into it.

On the other side of the coin, it is abominable that we must go begging for paltry sums to help offset huge medical bills. It is abominable that so many who claim to be “pro-life” in this country can’t see past birth.

It is abominable that well-fed folk will pontificate that we have “the best health care system in the world,” without even giving a nod to the reality that for many, that health care will always remain just out of sight.

Even without crippling accidents or cancer, many ordinary families must go to doctors who are one step ahead of a lawsuit, or ration their visits to the doctor.

Or treat any and all medical problems with extra doses of Alka Seltzer.

I think about all of this each and every time I drop a dollar in the jar.

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The Plaintive Battle Cry of the GOP: Democrats just want voters . . . yeah, so what? Don’t you?

One of the more plaintive snarls one might read in letters columns or on Facebook is that “Democrats just want voters,” as if there is a certain purity in belonging to a political party which seems to have less and less public approval, and seems to go out of its way to insult anyone who might think just a little differently.

I was never a Political Science major, but it occurs to me that it is pretty much the job of the Democratic Party to attract more voters, just as it is with the Green Party . . . and even the GOP.

Claiming that the other side just wants voters (the very same voters you would insult into oblivion) seems a little idiotic to me.

At this rate it won’t be long before conservatives of all stripes, upon losing an election, will claim that they were only running an “education campaign” anyway - the swan song of many losing political campaigns.

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How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! - Maya Angelou

rsdrake@cox.net

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