commander in tweet

Trump - Emperor of the United States by Dank Maymays

I admit to retreating often from the evening news, but the acts reported find me through their effects on my friends.

The physician of a friend is also my physician: he has done grafts for lymphedema on both of us. For us he is a miracle worker. Last week he told my friend that new government regulations just put in place will limit anyone to three grafts to be covered; thereafter, amputation will be covered for those who can’t pay for additional grafts on their own.

I was cured with three grafts. My friend is scheduled for his fifth. The doctor predicted that most specialists in this procedure will soon have to find another specialty.

A brilliant young member of a book club with me at our library now reads with texts 2 inches away from his brow. He pointed out that Trump rules no longer cover the good treatment he was getting. Fortunately for him a person visiting from my co-op connected him to private care donated by some local ophthalmologists.

She did not mention that her husband is one of the doctors organizing that effort.

The three of us were readers together of Writing to Save a Life, a book about how Emmet Till’s father, Louis, was executed in the army with details that suggest he may have been set up to take a white man’s rap, and how news of that execution leaked to the press just in time for the jury deliberation regarding the guilt of those who murdered 14-year-old Emmet. Some on the jury used the perverse reasoning that regardless of the guilt of the accused, they were right not to convict Emmet’s murderers because they saved Mississippi from another no count animal.

Christians in the first century lived as part of the empire which caused them to pay a huge price. Much of Roman art still enduring memorializes the destruction of Jerusalem and even shows panels of rape as part of their grand control of aliens. Our Commander in Tweet would probably call those carved panels “locker room talk.”

The early church knew much about empire, much that our international victims and our undocumented folks tell those of us who will listen.


Author’s Correction:

Since writing “Learning to Live in the Empire,” I am pleased to learn that I was wrong in stating that ‘3’ is the maximum number of skins grafts that Medicare will now cover when a physician treats lesions from lymphedema. The new limit is actually ‘8’; then Medicare suggests amputation. Previously the physician was allowed to use trained medical judgment patient by patient to determine whether to perform another graft.

I have appealed to the Medicare Ombudsman:

“I was treated for such lesions by Dr. XXXX at XXXX XXXX Wound Center, and fortunately was healed after three grafts. Although I consider Dr. XXXX a miracle worker, I know full well that I was lucky and that others require more grafts than Medicare will now allow.

“It is immoral to limit care to those who fall into a ‘normal’ group. We have ‘insurance’ not to care for those problems we might face normally, but to care for the extra-ordinary problems that some individuals, through no fault of their own, would otherwise not be able to afford. No one knows when she or he might fall into that situation.”

Image: Trump - Emperor of the United States by Dank Maymays via (promotional/fair use).

Louie Crew Clay

Louie Crew Clay,  81, is an Anniston, Alabama native and Professor Emeritus at Rutgers. He lives in East Orange, NJ, with Ernest Clay, his husband for 44 years. He holds an M.A. from Auburn University, a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa), and honorary doctorates from three seminaries of the Episcopal Church. He is the founder of Integrity, an international organization of lgbt Episcopalians/Anglicans. Editors have published 2,750+ of Louie Crew Clay's poems and essays — including Letters from Samaria: The Prose & Poetry of Louie Crew Clay, NYC: Church Publishing, Inc., November 2015 and  Our Station Forgot to Give the Evening News,  Poetry Superhighway. An eBook in the press' annual 'The Great Poetry E-Book Free-For-All,' online from December 1, 2016. You can follow his work at See also The University of Michigan collects Clay’s papers.

One Comment
  1. Dear Mr. Clay,
    Enjoyed your article and have shared it. While reading your brief bio, I noticed your husband is Ernest Clay. My grandfather was also Ernest Clay. I have done extensive research on the Clay family and shared it on Would love to see if perhaps our families are connected.

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