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I Hope I Die Before The Next Re-Fill

Greg Palast

A July 4th note from Greg Palast’s journal

I was in the drug store today out here in Podunk. Some old guy in front of me was picking up his little paper bag of prescription medicine. The lady behind the counter handed him a credit card slip and said, “I’m sorry.”

She was sorry because the bill was over $1,200. The old man stared at the charge card receipt and stared at it some more. Hesitating, he signed, then said, “I hope I die before I have to pay for the next re-fill.”

He wasn’t joking. The lady behind the counter said, “Oh, don’t ever say that.” And she said it in such a way that it was clear she’d heard the same thought before, in different words, from too many of the old folk that come by.

And I was thinking, “I wonder if he voted for Bush?”

I mean, did he vote for the man who would stop boys from kissing boys, who would allow big stone icons of the Ten Commandments in the Podunk courthouse, who would get Saddam before he got us? In other words, was he a blind soldier in Karl Rove’s army of the angry who would rather vote against themselves, for deadly high drug prices dictated by Big Pharma, for no national health insurance, in return for a promise from George Bush that he will be the malicious defender of their prejudices?

The polls tell us that Americans are in an ugly mood: too many jobs leaving for China, too many body bags returning from Iraq, and a bad feeling about a President grabbing for grandma’s social security check.

America is hurting. But what really hurts is that the wounds are self-inflicted.

Happy Fourth of July, compadres. And stay healthy.