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Number of posts: 9
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By Cathleen Hulbert:
As a healthcare social worker I have strong opinions about the importance of equal access to medical care. My focus has been on “equal access” because I am an advocate for those with expensive health conditions – the people traditionally shunned by for-profit insurance companies. I admit that I have been less attentive to that aspect of health reform that aims to make all Americans carry some form of health insurance. It has never seemed particularly wrong to me. After all, we are now required to have auto insurance and those who do not comply come across as irresponsible or even criminal. But then again, I do not run a small business and I don’t have to worry about payrolls and the bottom line …
Clarity came as I was having lunch with a friend. We were talking about how our innate wisdom as children has a way of getting knocked out of us as we grow up. My friend is younger, and male, but we were on the same page with this one. He told his story and I nodded, thinking about the well-meaning but false messages that organized religion had put into my innocent mind when I was small. Many people grow up in churches that nurture their spirits and lead them to the wonderful truth about themselves. Mine did not and that was the hand I was dealt.
But it didn’t stop there. Our culture’s “shoulds” have a way of falling like toxic rain. It fell on me and those around me as we walked, stumbled and sometimes ran wildly through adolescence. It came from every direction. It came in buckets from magazines. At some point I looked at a boy and decided that I wouldn’t be complete without one. It happens to girls every day.
“Let’s talk about socialism over a cup of coffee!”
I’m not a huge history buff but I ought to be. It’s good for the soul to look back and realize that today’s headlines will be tomorrow’s footnotes. If that much.
I decided to follow a tip someone gave me about Operation Coffee Cup, a group sponsored by the American Medical Association to fight the creation of the Medicare system during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. Sure enough, there was such a thing. Some of the folks who now hate socialized medicine but are clinging to their Medicare coverage for dear life ought to consider that the two used to be considered one and the same by those who fought Truman on this.
Bullying makes the news and grabs our collective attention when suicide happens. That’s better than nothing. But just barely.
If we could freeze-frame the tragic headlines and rewind, we would see good people looking the other way. Bullying occurs in plain view of those who know better. It thrives on silent collusion. Why? There is a sick vein of shame running through 0ur collective systems: our school systems, our work systems, our cultural infrastructures.
Does that mean I have oil on my hands?
Initially my social advocate side decided to boycott when I watched the ocean being polluted as a result of a BP fiasco. I felt satisfaction when I drove by BP stations and few cars were at the pumps. I even found myself sizing up those few who were pumping gas and wondering, “What have YOU got against the ocean?” (I later learned that BP supplies gas to many of my other local gas stations, so going to Quick Trip wasn’t doing sea life a darned bit of good.)
The problem with my boycotting stand on this is that I have a built-in aversion to scapegoating. And my own spiritual journey makes me aware of how quickly we humans project guilt onto others because of our own unbearable fear about being unworthy.
She was close to death after a long life and she was on a mission. With one foot in heaven, the elderly Josephine’s mighty spirit stayed with her frail body and would not cross over until a deep wound in her family was healed. On the day of her death, she was taken off of life-support and not expected to live more than a few minutes. But hours passed. Doctors were baffled at how this tiny white-haired woman, battered by severe respiratory problems, managed to now breathe on her own.
As I said, she was on a mission. It was a mission of love.
This is not my car. The guy standing next to it doesn’t own it, either. He just wanted his picture taken with a Maserati. I’m related to someone who knows somebody who owns this car. If I did have a luxury sports car I think I might command more respect on the road. In fact I’m certain of it. I actually went for a ride in it one day. My brother dropped me off at my neighborhood car repair shop while he was borrowing this car for business. The mechanics stopped what they were doing to go gagga over it; then they were extra polite to me when I paid up and reclaimed my Honda. I think I had temporarily inherited the Maserati’s magnificent aura because they made more eye contact and smiled a lot. Such is the power of a cool car. Most of the time, my life on the road involves driving my 2005 silver Honda Civic around […]
There seem to be many Americans who view politics as a spectator sport. If you are sitting in the bleachers and your team wins, do you feel like a winner? You can drive home smiling and honking your horn. But if your team loses, then, oh wow. Are you a loser? I personally don’t think so, but then again I’m not really into spectator sports. And when I do watch them, the team I’m cheering for certainly doesn’t define me. A part of me wishes that I could get more into sports. I once said that my favorite spectator sport is watching my very passionate mother enjoy a football game. It’s a wonderful thing to behold, really, the way she puts herself into it and has so much fun. But when it comes to politics, the “them vs. us” dynamics of a football game doesn’t serve the greater “we” that is our country. That’s particularly true with a […]
Here’s my story. I started my journey as a first-time novelist full of hope and expectation that exactly the right agent, followed by exactly the right publisher would materialize at the proper time and represent me. After all, writing my time-travel tale was a joyful experience. No suffering writer here — just one woman happy to be the conduit for characters that were so human they were fun to be with. Their conversations seemed to happen in the next room with my eavesdropping ear pressed against the door. The ancient poetry that my beloved “fictional” kahuna shared glided effortlessly from her lips to my soul and my computer. Even Gabe, the heroine’s boyfriend, steadfastly linear and reluctant to embrace the mysticism in this story, decided to bare his soul to me. He made his fears so completely understood that I was ready to give him free passage to the story’s […]