As far as I can tell I haven't died. I am writing this column. The service will take place at Lakewood Cemetery, the site of my internment. Details to follow. The theme of the service will be coming from my life experience – it's be still and know. I value stillness, especially when it comes to writing this column and making deadline. Ha!
I fantasize there will be an ALL SOULS GATHERING. I intend to invite Paul Wellstone, Hubert Humphrey, a former Walker United Methodist Church pastor, Amy's mom, all eternally resting at Lakewood and my deceased brother. I've never met either of them except my brother. I have reason to admire them. Hopefully their eternal rest won't be disturbed when they get this invite. But when you become a soul, for real, it doesn't matter. Does it?
Will you be there? I hope so! If you have read this far you have taken the plunge into the river of life experiences, human and otherwise, that is Stories and Journeys. It's your decision to read beyond this point. You may find yourself disturbed by what you are about to read. It has been disturbing for me to write it. Just be still and know!
Recently a Messenger reader asked me if I was done with my 2021 tax return. My answer is totally. My focus now is on Medicare Open Enrollment, the current election cycle, leaf raking and bagging.
I AM INVITING YOU TO NOT ENROLL IN AN ADVANTAGE PLAN IF YOU CARE ABOUT MEDICARE.
Come Dec. 26, I will have completed my sixth year of retirement. Here are some of what I have learned and am clear about with respect to Medicare and Social Security.
1. Medicare is Medicare, not original Medicare. Just Medicare.
2. Advantage Plans are Advantage Plans bearing the name Medicare. Currently there is a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would prohibit advantage plans from bearing the name Medicare. It's called the Save Medicare Act.
3. Many of the so-called advantages offered by Advantage Plans (like the cost of vision, hearing and dental services) were supposed to be offered by Medicare. I wonder why that hasn't happened?
4. I would like to think I am not so gullible as to base my open enrollment decisions on Advantage Plan ads. I often wonder why are there no ads for Medicare?
5. I have learned that originally Medicare was supposed to become Medicare for everyone. I wonder why that hasn't happened?
6. Some people would have me believe Social Security and Medicare are entitlements. Wrong! They are mine and your earned benefits.
7. I have also learned that there are powerful members of Congress and corporate special interests working to destroy the stability and future of Social Security and Medicare.
So, here is my plan for Open Enrollment. I'm going to keep wearing my Medicare for All t-shirt. I'm going to stick with my Medicare plus Supplement plan with Part D plan for drugs unless advised otherwise by my broker. And I'm tuning out all the noise from Advantage Plan ads. I'm just going to be still and know.
If any of this pertains to you, dear reader, what has your life experience taught you about Social Security and Medicare? What is your plan for Open Enrollment? Tell yourself, tell others or tell me at email@example.com.
I AM INVITING YOU TO VOTE IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT.
What captures for me the importance of any election cycle these days are the big picture words from the preface of a book by Thom Hartmann entitled "The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from The Ruling Class."
"America is at a turning point, and whether we continue our slide into oligarchy and tyranny or pull back to small d-democratic values will depend in no small part, on the planning and work we do now, and the candidates and policies we support and put forward two and four years from now."
There's that notion of ruling class. I wonder if that might be a clue to answering some of my "I wonder why" questions.
In the meantime, I hope I'm not so gullible as to base my voting decisions on campaign ads.
On Election Day, Nov. 8, weather permitting, I intend to go on a nature walk to the Mississippi River near my house in Messenger "territory" and Lakewood Cemetery in Connector "territory." I intend to end up at my poling place. Before I cast my vote I will say the words, be still and know!
So, on what do you base your voting decisions? What grounds you? Tell yourself, tell others or tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In gratitude! Just be still and you will know what you need to do. Cause of inflation? Consider corporate price gauging as the key cause.
Donald L. Hammen is a longtime south Minneapolis resident, and serves on the All Elders United for Justice steering committee.
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