Coming soon….. just what the nurse ordered

Dear President Biden,

I just read the very sweet piece in the WP about how your caravan stopped at Call Your Mother for bagels after church this past Sunday . If you want, I bet Kate Raworth wouldn’t mind if you renamed “doughnut economics” “bagel economics” if bagels are more your thing. Anyway, the article talked a lot about the boost to local restaurants that Obama visits used to elicit and how thrilling it is that you’re carrying on the tradition, especially now with so many places struggling because of Covid-19.

What the article didn’t address is that you visited a Jewish deli after attending Catholic Mass (the author did make clear that Call Your Mother advertises itself as a Jewish deli). You may not have intended to send a message with that particular choice of after-church brunch/lunch stops – you might have simply had a bagel hankering. However, it seems pretty likely to me that you did want to make clear from the get go that your Catholicism is an expansive one and you’re for real about wanting everyone in under the umbrella out of the rain. Basically, I’m going to choose to see this as a sign that you’re making it your business to spread the love. I hope you’ll signal this overtly to the Muslim community as well, whether it’s through a take out dinner (sadly, this is your only safe option for the time being) or some other down home overture.

I also want to commend you on the plan to open up enrollment in the ACA for the next few months – that’s such a practical, compassionate, and smart decision. I’m absolutely in the further left camp that wants to see us go to a single payer system, but I get that we need to be practical and not let perfection be the enemy of the good, or even the ok. My brother recently got signed up for health insurance under Oregon’s plan and already it’s making a world of difference for him; he’s able to get prescriptions filled and can get his thyroid levels checked and a whole bunch of other stuff addressed that he simply couldn’t before. I’m not sure this reinstated access to healthcare is actually a factor, but he’s also starting a new job on Thursday after a long, long stretch of under- and unemployment. Whether causal or not as far as employment, having health insurance is a huge anxiety reliever for him as the off-cycle access to the ACA no doubt will be for millions of US. So again, thank you.

The last of the good works of yours that I’ll highlight today is your decision to name Susan Orsega to the post of Acting US Surgeon General. What an awesome move to put a woman and an infectious disease nurse in such a key position. I must admit that I do feel a little silly giving you such props when I actually know next to nothing about Orsega except the short blurb about her from the US Public Health Service website, but I’m trusting that your administration has done its homework and that you’ll be putting us in good hands.

I can’t tell you what a wondrous, if strange, thing it is to have so very many positive things from each of your days in office thus far to lift up after the previous four years of having to figure out which one or two devastating things that DJT did to call him on each day. I know there will eventually be things that I’ll feel the need to push you on or fuss at you about, but so far so good.

May we enjoy, but not take for granted, this hard won increased sense of safety.
May we be happy about all these positive changes even as we stay observant and engaged.
May we be strong in our commitment to take care of everyone’s health.
May we accept that strength fueled by compassion and integrity is powerful, indeed.

Tracy Simpson

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