Monday, September 9, 2019

When Billie Holiday Addressed Our Health Care System and Opiates.

This country sure is Slooooow to change.  

I'm busy revising my YA historical fantasy, though the story only has one supernatural element. It's set in 1935 at the cusp of the Swing Era and the build-up to WW2.  Believe, me, there're too many similarities to the persecution of Jewish people, to what the current administration is doing to black and brown people in the U.S.A. TODAY! 

A dear friend and jazz singer gave me Lady Sings the Blues last week for my birthday. Hearing Billie Holiday's voice, her words and her mind has been profound, learning about her life and struggles and jazz music, and then reading this near the end of the book ...

" American used to make fun of the British health system, where sick people could go to doctors and hospitals for free and the government picked up the tab. We laughed about them handing out false teeth and wooden legs for free. We hollered about this being government interference with the practice of medicine."
"Well, let me tell you, in America if they haven't got government interference in medicine I don't know what it is. If you're on and you get a doctor for help, he can't help you because the government has passed out regulations saying, in effect, that if he does he will go to jail along with you. If you go to the doctor, he's liable to slam the door in your face and call the cops."

"Most countries in Europe are civilized about it and they have no "narcotics problem" at all. One day America is going to smarten up and do the same thing.  Not as long as the US has systematic racism! Imagine how far we'd be if bigots and cheaters didn't get their way. I'm sure we'd have advanced beyond our current realities. 

"It may not even happen in my lifetime. Whether it does or not is no skin off mine, because I can't possibly be hurt any more than I have been. But for the sake of other people who've got to suffer until the country wakes up, for the sake of young kids whose whle life will be ruined because they are sent to jail instead of a hospital, I pray to God we wake up soon over here. " 

"If you think you need to suffer to play music or sing, you're crazy.  It can fix you so you can't play nothing or sing nothing. The only thing that can happen to you sooner than later you'll get busted, and once that happens you'll never live it down. Just look at me."
"I don't want to preach to nobody. I never have and I don't want to begin now. But I do hope some kids will read this book an not miss the point of it. Maybe because I have no kids of my own--not yet--I still think you can help kids by talking straight to them."

"On a recent Sunday, Judge Jonah Goldstein talked about the narcotics problem on TV from New York. He told the people the same thing I've been trying to tell them; that narcotics has to be taken out of the hands of the police and turned over to the doctors! He said that in all his years on the bench he'd never seen anybody but poor people brought in for violation of the dope laws."

"He also said a man had come to him for advice recently because his twenty-year-old son had been hooked on dope. What did the judge advise him to do? Send the boy to England o school where doctors could treat him legally, cure him if they could, and if not, give him treatment legally just as if he had diabetes or something, so he could live a useful normal life."

"That's a hell of a recommendation for a judge to have to make in a civilized country; to admit that the only help a sick person hooked on drugs can get is outside the country,..." 

This is from the 1950s from Billie Holiday's autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues.  

My heart. <3 and="" brilliant="" day="" in="" lady="" many="" nbsp="" p="" profound="" so="" was="" ways.="">
Her voice lives on! 
In the YA I'm revising the MC is also dealing with barbiturate use. Commonly prescribed for sleeping pills during this time.  

We must make good change happen Faster!