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A summer for Strummer
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NEXT WEDNESDAY evening, Aug. 6, the Sentient Bean hosts a screening of the acclaimed rock doc Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten. The film was brought in through a joint effort by Larry Dane-Kellogg and the Psychotronic Film Society.

Besides being one of my favorite cultural figures of all time, the late, great frontman for The Clash — Strummer died at the relatively young age of 50 of an undiagnosed heart defect — offers a particularly timely populist message for this new era of robber barons that we find ourselves living in. Adding to the poignance is the fact that this screening is a benefit to raise money for Jason Statts and Dave Williams, victims of a particularly senseless shooting in June.

While I certainly support any effort to raise funds for these two men — including another event, this Saturday’s slate of benefit concerts at The Jinx — I’ve written before how unseemly it is for law-abiding, taxpaying citizens to have to resort to fundraising appeals of this nature, and I stand by that opinion.

If we can afford $10 billion a month in Iraq, surely we can afford to at least partially insure every citizen of America — a country we’re constantly told is the greatest on earth, yet one which cannot or will not provide for its citizens either universal health care or an equitable private healthcare system.

My family and I are currently dealing with an enormous health issue with a close family member. The Medicare benefit explanations arrive in the mail in a steady, unbroken stream, bearing charges like “OR Minor Surgery 24,889.55” or “Resp Ther General 26,337.62” or “Pharmacy General 23,325.30.”

The dollar amounts are relentless, brutal, numbing. Some days, looking at them, all I can say is “Thank God for Medicare.”

Truth is, we could hold a benefit screening every night of the year for the next ten years and not make a dent in the total charges. I suspect the math is similarly harsh for Statts and Williams.

That said, every journey begins with a single step, and every dollar they get is a dollar they didn’t have before. Let’s do the right thing, and enjoy a great movie about a great, world-changing musician to boot.