Real Life

Things are swirling around us as per usual, Gentle Reader.  An example, you say?  How about a friend taking her special needs, tube-fed, sister in law to an emergency room (the one that didn’t say the only good time to come was at 3 a.m.  I found this interesting- where we lived before, 3 a.m. was prime time in the ER and if you went then you added at least three hours to your wait- those hours between 3 and the 6 a.m. shift change- where the ambulances came in non-stop) The feeding tube became dislodged from the abdomen, which happens, but does require certain tools to reinsert.  And the doctor at this particular ER spent two hours poking this poor creature in the navel trying to re-insert the feeding tube piece.  Which was, as you might guess, not in the navel to begin with.  Fortunately there was another physician there who knew what to do and obviated the surgery which was being scheduled.

There’s a lot of that going around, let’s just say.  At times it seems as though we’ve woken up in some completely other, not even parallel, universe.  I’ve stopped listening to the news for the nonce, because seriously.  It has become too stupid to believe.  Now the President can’t have an umbrella held for him?  The U.S. spends well over half the government’s budget on the military.  Which is to say, on killing.    There are lots of people right here in this country who don’t have enough to eat, can’t make a living,  the environment IS in fact toppling on the edge of irreversibility, and we devote time to A FRIGGING UMBRELLA? Because we certainly can’t do our jobs, can we?  That would be way too easy.

Having sworn off, or so I thought, thinking about politics and all that, I had one of those giddy and short lived moments where I thought, OK! I can do this! Get through a day and live life and all the rest of it!  But as I watch the reality of daily, real life erode around me of course it is clear that not only can one not think about politics, one has to also think about how to engage in the situation in a way that will accomplish something positive.  I heard a TED talk on how people don’t do “good” things because they’re hoping to accomplish  something great, so something small doesn’t register as mattering.  It was followed by a man discussing how philanthropy doesn’t really work because of how it’s managed:  Those great six figure incomes Stanford MBA’s have come to feel are their god given right are only in the high five figures if you work in the sector of public good- say, fighting hunger or looking for cures for diseases.  So those same MBAs get their great jobs because of course what matters??? MONEY!, donate some and come out ahead because of tax breaks and keeping more of their income, have positions of influence in the philanthropy world…and, what?  This is just applying that great old capitalist paradigm to yet another place where it does not work.    So how exactly can one engage with a system that is, in my opinion, hanging on to itself with a death grip with one hand and extending all the fingers of the other one fully in a giant rude gesture?

At times I despair, especially lately when all of my best laid plans have not only gone sideways but disappeared into the wild blue yonder.   Still of course one cannot do that and constructive engagement must happen, somehow.    This place we live now is, like everything else, a macrocosm in a microcosm.  There are a lot of poor people here, and although the job market is apparently better than it is a couple of hundred miles west on the north coast, it isn’t easy to survive.   The division between people with their eyes open and those with their eyes closed seems to be ever more stark, and we were wondering this morning, the Partner and I, how that can be.  How can we all close our eyes to what goes on all around us every day?  And every night? And pretend that everything is just fine?  When it really would be so simple- not easy, but simple- to change things so that everyone would be in a better condition.  Compassion for others would indicate that we do not poison their neighborhoods with pollution or left over weaponry or bad food.  Or that we wouldn’t lie about inadequate levies and nuclear power plants.  We wouldn’t lie about how many people don’t have work.  Simple compassion.  However that seems always to be massively overridden by what appears to be at bottom stupidity and greed.  So we have to keep on warring, keep on putting people in prison, keep on fouling the food supply up to the point where one hardly knows what one is eating, keep on denying the people of the world access to the most basic things they must have (water? how about adding and subtracting? how about THINKING? not to mention health care.).

It’s mortifying, in a way, to be an American at this point.  The actions of this country are so often reprehensible and I still don’t really believe the average American would really support them if the truth were known.  Things get complicated and stuff happens.  But the final decision about what’s right cannot be made from the point of view of what benefits the smallest number and is spelled P-R-O-F-I-T. ( Shall we take a moment and ponder the swimming success story of Iraq? For whose benefit was that?)  The whole issue of health care in the U.S., alone, could be a poster child for what is happening.  There have been, indeed, marvelous advances in health care.  But those are, and believe me we’ve seen this up close and personal, only available to those with the very large amounts of money necessary to pay for them.  Always supposing the insurance company decides it’s OK for them to get the treatment in question.  Since when does an insurance company get to tell you what to do when you’re sick?  But this dollar dollar dollar thing infects everything and half the doctors one sees are only parroting what the insurance providers allow them to.  And heaven help you if you don’t have insurance.  I finally realized why it’s such a problem when people want to pay cash- there’s no clear, delineated and explained format for what things cost when you go to the hospital or clinic.  In short, what the hospital charges you for say, a hip replacement or cancer therapy or even basic appointment, verges on being a figure they pull out of you know where.  I heard it on NPR!

Anyway.  This feeling of an approaching tsunami is not one I’m adjusting to very well.  However, our garden seeds did all come up, the onions look really good and we can hardly wait for the salmon-interiored watermelons.  And dragon tongue beans……it’s all about focus, perhaps.  Love is, for sure, the way.  But it for sure ain’t easy.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Wanda Brenni on May 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    And so dearheart in and out of the black hole on a daily basis. There is so much so wrong and so few seem to act and yet if we did, perhaps we still could affect change, and that is the greatest grief. I did however read today how livestock could save the planet if onlywe turned in that direction, to heal the dirt, the grasslands–mother earth, Oh well.


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