Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the nation,
Not a creature had true healthcare, except the richest in station.
The wealthy were planning, all smug and all flush,
For the days of their future, and their settings most plush.
Other children of poor folks were weary of hearing the fights.
No sugar plum fairies in poor neighborhoods tonight,
Dad in his sweatshirt, and I in my cap,
Had just checked the bank balance and prepared for a nap.
When out in the yard there arose such a clatter,
We wondered aloud if our efforts would matter.
I jumped from the bed to see what the noise was,
And I silently prayed Christmas hopes would not shatter.
But nothing I asked would change the dim truth,
Not even the fresh snow, on the weather-worn roof.
No healthcare, no income, no hope to save the house,
No lay-away Santa, no holiday open house.
But what would to my wondering eyes now appear,
To change the reality or to lessen my fears,
Was it a gathering of other folks fighting for peace,
And a score of neighbors adding wishes for relief?
More powerful than billionaires they came,
And they knew, we all were the rich’s fodder, just a rich Christmas brew.
"Now, Obama. Now, Congress! Now, Wall Street and now bankers!
“it’s always the profits for which you all hanker.”
But a dream it was, nothing but a progressive’s bone,
I rode to the top of the housetop alone,
And wondered if I ought fall instead of seeking a loan.
With the sleigh full of toys, is St. Nick just a joke?
Meant for rich kids and parents with credit card notes.
And then, in a twinkling, I hoped to hear something,
I drew my head around and heard nothing new,
My prayers went unanswered and my hopelessness grew.
I begged at the food bank, I groveled at the thrift shop,
I even was selected for a free turkey and some Stove Top.
How I wanted to turn back the clock to September,
And find money and presents for the kids to remember.
What about the heroes, the 9/11 workers,
Surely the Senate won’t leave them out cold,
But the truth is that many have forgotten them, I’m told.
No peace-groupies gather to help their plight,
It’s easier to argue for those far away,
Than to stand up and fight for your neighbors today.
But I am SiCKO, I said, to Santa and friends,
I am SiCKO and most think I’d be better off dead.
No one laughed, instead they thought me crazy and stupid,
I wondered in silence if I could just slip away –
But the demands and the options were holding me tight,
It’s Christmas and no time for weakness tonight.
I shook, when I laughed just to add to the moment.
But I was frightened and feverish and out of new comments.
There is no dreaming of a Santa-led sleigh,
Not in many a damaged American’s Christmas day.
No one has money or no one will give,
Many are selfish and judging if others might live.
So ride away Santa, go on down the street,
Find the CEOs and their children where the entitled people meet.
For now I’ll keep working and praying and demanding the right,
To see a doctor when sick and to rest at night.
If a few of the self-righteous would come down to earth,
And stop pretending to believe in a distant Savior’s birth,
Perhaps we might exclaim as we huddled together,
We can never claim Christmas on the backs of the poor,
Nor can we hope for some Santa to knock on our door.
Fight onward, brave souls, fight onward today.
Christmas won’t matter much if we give our power away.
"Happy Christmas to all rich folk, and to all a good-night."
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