The Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition's
Single-Payer Health-Care Fundraiser and Celebration
Me: Doug-the-Dog? or the Unabomber?
Ever since I was a kid, I've had the capacity to be a bit like the dopey dog Doug in the new Pixar movie Up, who runs up to good people and says with complete and utter adoration, "I just met you and I love you!"
But Doug and I don't go up to just anyone. No. (Especially not after I got rapped on the nose a few times, I don't.) We have honed our sense of who is a Good Person.
Here's an example of my keen Doug-the-Dog radar at work:
Tonight I attended this event to support universal health care, at the invitation of my friend Lisa Nilles. I helped check people in at the door, and I got so busy chatting with people, by the time I got to the buffet, this is what was left:
I turned to Senator John Marty, whom I'd met briefly, and asked if I could have his last skewer of chicken satay. Without missing a beat, he handed it over to me, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to have people at fundraisers demand the food off your plate. I'd kind of been kidding, but I was actually very grateful, for his kindness as much as anything.
I'd been feeling a bit jangled from a conversation earlier in the evening with a fundraiser I used to know. I'll call him Mr. F. We'd chatted, and he expressed surprise when I said I didn't know anything about the health-care bill. I laughed and said I was just there for the free food, I'm not much into politics.
Mr. F. thereupon informed me that every time two people speak, it's politics. Every human exchange involves a balance of power. And as an illustration of the error of thinking you can escape politics, he told me that Ted Kaczynksi, the Unabomber, had lived alone in the woods so he could do just that.
Now, I'm pretty sure Mr. F. didn't really mean that I was heading down the Ted Kaczynski trail; but the unkind comparison did take me aback.
I suppose I see his point, but I think it's a little out of focus.
The senator is a politician, but I'm sure he wasn't trading votes for chicken-on-a-stick. He gave it to me without thinking, because I was hungry. You could call that "politics," I suppose, if you want to reduce every human exchange to that word, but that's not what I'd call it.
I didn't actually burst out and say, Doug-the-dog-like, "I just met you and I love you," but I'm saying it here-- to him and to Lisa and Mark H. and to all the lovely people who do the hard political work toward winning health care for all.