There are eight million artist stories in the city. This is mine. This is “Please Give the Keys To Florence.”
Not long ago I upgraded my long-standing T-Mobile service plan for a family plan, including my wife and step-daughter, and in the process Susan and I upgraded out 1947-like cell phones to smart phones. I have long said, in no attempt to get laughs, that I am not smart enough for a smart phone. Now that I own one I prove that statement every day. But I have figured out how to look at my time line on Facebook, even add stuff to my page. And two nights ago I scrolled down to the latest posting from my Facebook friend Hazhar – a most beautiful watercolor painting of a multicolored landscape scene. I called Susan over and showed it to her. Then I told her that I had commented on it, with one word: “Beautiful”. My comment was the only comment of many that was in English. The rest were in some other language, I guess Iraqi. It made me laugh. Then I noticed that further down in the comments was another in English: “thank you so much Buddy Cushman”. It was from the artist.
We have been “friends” on Facebook for a couple of years now. I thought about that and said to Susan that artists from Iraq and America could just be artists, liking and commenting on and being inspired by the others art, that the wars and ongoing struggles, the political backs and forths, all of it didn’t matter. I said, off the top of my head, that the planet would be better off if artists were running every country.
But that didn’t feel right. You know, artists, can be a little flaky, a tad obsessed. What came out of my mouth a few moments later – “No, nurses, it’s nurses who should be leading every country in the world” – that felt right.
I have long felt, all the way back to the 70s at least, that nursing is one of the most honorable professions to be found on the planet. It just is. The caring of people, the nurturing, the skills, the training. Registered nurses, R.N.s. Male nurses here and there, but mostly women. And women who are often subject to the whims and the authority of Doctor’s. Often men. So I had the instant thought that if I had all the power in the universe I would place a nurse in the leadership position in every single country on the planet. Or a committee of nurses. And all legislative bodies would be abolished, a group of nurses put in their place.
Can you imagine the changes? Decisions would be made based on common sense, the next right thing to do, care, and compassion. No agenda other than healing, and care-taking. Making the rounds of people being served, people in need, and providing them with the things they needed. Just that. Keep it simple. I’m telling you, it would work in ways almost unimaginable. Wars would cease – less work for the nurses. Health care everywhere would be free, a right along with life and liberty, provided sensibly, proactively. Intolerance of difference would fade away. The playing field of wealth and abundance would become more even, more fair. Trust me here. This is how it would go.
My good friend Dr. Doug Martin, and I have written about him in my previous blog posts “67Blondies” and “Hunter”, had a saying. He would haul it out every so often, particularly if something wasn’t working, something was going wrong, somewhere in California, or in The United States, or in the world. This was his saying – “White men in suits.” I have said it often to myself since the time I first met Doug in 1977, and since he passed in 2002. White men in suits. I get it. It actually covers a whole grouping of people, of bosses, of various persuasions and enthnicities. Leaders. But not nurses.
I looked up Florence Nightingale on Wikipedia this morning. I did not know that she is considered the founder of professional nursing. I did not know that she established the first school of nursing in a London hospital in 1860, or took a group of nurses she trained to care for the wounded and sick in the Crimean War. Or that she earned the nickname “The Lady With the Lamp”. Check this out:
She is a ‘ministering angel’ without any exaggeration in these hospitals, and as her slender form glides quietly along each corridor, every poor fellow’s face softens with gratitude at the sight of her. When all the medical officers have retired for the night and silence and darkness have settled down upon those miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making her solitary rounds.
As reported in The Times of London.
“Every poor fellow’s face softens with gratitude at the sight of her.” You think that is how people, people anywhere, react to the sight of their country’s leader, or legislative body, today, their images appearing on the television set, the computer monitor, the newspaper, the smart phone? I think not. But a nurse? A group of nurses? Come on. You know in your heart it’s a good idea.
The whole planet needs a designated driver. Please give the keys to Florence.