I had a lot of doubts about writing publicly about my visit to rural America, so didn't publish this for the last two weeks. I traveled there to be at the side of my brother in a hospital ICU. Now that he's recovering so I feel less awkward about publishing. We never know when some unanticipated event will suddenly trump everything. All the stressful details of life that we find so obsessive yesterday are today just background noise. Simultaneous to the national debate about health care I've been experiencing the very personal results of this nation's sad health deficit. The state of my brother parallels the state of the nation. The sickness of a body and the sickness of the body politic. My brother is partner of a small business, but also waits tables at a corporate chain restaurant for extra income and the health insurance plan. He has contracted a sickness too expensive for their insurance policy so avoided going to the hospital for treatment. He was finally brought to the hospital in an ambulance on the edge of death. A flat screen TV decorates a wall in every room of this hospital. Since the real windows are sealed shut, this is a patient's only view to the world, their only sensory input, their fresh air. What is on TV this week? A national debate over health care reform. It shows a president defending his modest plan against an army of skeptics. Town hall meetings are held across America where angry mobs shout down the politicians for all the wrong reasons. The look like the same angry mobs who blocked desegregation. It's disgusting to see those with privilege battling to preserve it. My days are spent in a room that looks strangely like my studio, the same collection of computer screens, blinking electronic boxes, and cables all converging at one central object. The difference is that the hub of all this activity isn't my computer, but my brother on life-support. It doesn't help my depression that the little I've seen of this town is a carbon copy of every other Suburbia, USA. Burger King, Subway, and Starbucks have beachfront property right next to the 4-lane roads, set back behind more ample parking lots you have Petco, Home Depot, Safeway. Spelled out in identical plastic signs are an instantly forgettable cluster of check cashing spots, laundromats, and chinese take outs. Despite the good weather everything everywhere is blasting air condition as if electricity, and fossil fuels that generate it, were god's special gift to this generation of americans, to burn up without regard for it's global impacts. Nobody walks, nobody bikes, people move themselves only in super-sized autos. It may seems frivolous to get my panties in a twist about global resource consumption when someone's life is in danger, but the lifestyle here is putting life itself in danger.