Yes is a Corrosive No

Easter has come early this year.

The vault has popped open on health care reform.

What did it?

People (from all sides of the political spectrum) had pronounced health care reform dead, the President buried and disgraced as a leader.

His chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, was diagnosed with a massive case of the “dwindles”.

Truly, there were so many reasons this vote should have been “no” if you listened to the pundits that one truly cannot think of any reason it was passed.

Nancy Pelosi?  (Am I really gonna have to think a nice thought about her?)

We have a new” yes “in our culture.  It begins with a “no “that simply is so corrosive that it gives way to “yes” by default.

“This is what change looks like,” President Barack Obama said last night after the vote.

Is this “change” all the change that was needed?  Probably not.

But, I’m bowing from the waist at the wisdom of the remark as it acknowledges all the messiness, rage and disappointments (his own included) as well as the change for millions of Americans.

How can someone do that in six words?

It is a world apart from those who yelled fewer words in the past two days: the “n” word thrown at Representative John Lewis from Georgia, a legendary, elder Civil Rights leader on his way around the Capital over the weekend;  the member of Congress who shouted out “baby killer”  yesterday on the floor of the House at arguably the most pro-life representative in the Congress who just happens to be a democrat,  and “faggot” to Representative Barney Frank from Massachusetts.

This is what change sounds like, too, apparently.

A flat bed truck of Easter white lilies can’t bury these sounds in my head, but luckily a front end loader’s big black tires and orange cab were the starting point of this collage many months ago.

I’m a wordsmith in my own way.

©Pat Coakley 2010


**Select photographs from this blog and my wider archive can be purchased at


3 comments on “Yes is a Corrosive No”

  1. Maybe there’s hope for the US after all.

    From where I stand, America looked as if it was drowning in so much rabid stupidity, that I found it depressing. I was beginning to think that truth and decency was going to be buried by vested interests yet again, and the politics of selfishness and “screw you Jack I’m OK” were going to become your country’s national mission statement.

    Yes indeed, it is a brand new day.

  2. I love your image, Pat — and think it is very appropriate. I am also relieved that our national policy seems to have taken a tentative step in the right direction. It’s about time.
    But the battles are not over, and the corrosive “no’s” will continue to be heard on all sorts of issues. The cunning and determination of those on the other side must not be underestimated.

  3. you are a wordsmith definitely. it is not just the way you express things, it is the way your expressions reach into a place so familiar, and yet, described in a new way that makes one think about what they thought they knew in a new way. (does that sound like too many alliterations?)
    and the image, fantastic. absolutely topnotch and perfect with your text.

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