By Craig Campbell
The other day, Tom and I were sitting on the patio in front of the gallery, talking about the future of Uptown Marion, when he shouted, “Oh no!” and took off down the street.
Following him, I saw an unmoving, older, female body lying face down in front of the barbershop. There was blood on the sidewalk around her head, and she was just beginning to come to. Her name is Ruth.
Like many of us living around here, Ruth has spent a great deal of her hard-earned income paying for roads, community colleges, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, policeman and other community assets. When you think about it, there seems to be no end to the things that we own together. Access to the things we own together is another matter.
Water is an interesting example. At some point we decided that, rather than each of us digging a well in our own backyard, we would combine our resources to dig one big well. It seems to work.
As art-types, Priscilla and I have been through all sorts of economic downs and further-downs, but we’ve never had to go without water.
Health care is a different matter. When it comes time to build hospitals and send people to college to become doctors, it’s as though we are all building one big health care well. Then, at some mysterious point after graduation, the people whose careers were buoyed by our “one big well” become self-made, high-priced, private-sector professionals.
People at the Marion Water Department went to college and work hard, too … but can you imagine needing a co-pay and third-party approval for a drink of water? Imagine thirst insurance!
Health care reform is not a partisan concept. This community asset of ours — if that is what it is, if that is what it will continue to be — needs some attention. What do we want? What do you want? What do you want for your mother?
What is the best way for us, as a community, to create the best product, and deliver that product in the most efficient way to its owners? Us.
As Tom and I got to Ruth, and just after I said that I was going to call an ambulance, the first words out of Ruth’s bloody mouth were, “Don’t, I can’t afford it!”
How ’bout we sit down together with a cold, clean, glass of our water and fix this for Ruth?
Craig Campbell and his wife, Priscilla Steele, are co-owners of Campbell Steele Gallery in Marion. Comments: craig@