Monday, May 22, 2017

Don't Send Your Kid to Rehab

Once again, one mother's world was shattered.  Rather than celebrating Mother's Day with her son, she found that he had overdosed on the day that should have been special and now will never be a day to celebrate.  Connor had just been released from rehab, and we can imagine that he and his family were excited to see him and support him as he moved forward with his life.  They did not know that a monster was under the bed.  And that monster, heroin, reached out and snatched that young man, adding his name to the other thousands who have overdosed because their bodies could not now tolerate what he had become accustomed to before he went into rehab.  Even though addicts are told, over and over, that their release is a dangerous time, the monster overrides that message.  

These deaths are totally preventable.  There is a drug that removes the cravings and blocks the effect of opiates.  It can be administered as an injection that lasts for a month.  It can give an addict time to arrange for medication-assisted treatment once they are released.  It can allow the addict's brain to continue to heal so that the addict now possesses an ability to fight the monster.  This drug is naltrexone.  You may have heard of the "Vivitrol shot."  It can save lives if we use it.

All of us should campaign for rehab facilities, prisons, and jails to offer incentives for addicts who agree to the shot before they are released.  We are losing a generation to the ravages of drug addiction.  Let’s give them a chance to stay alive.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

You Can't Handle the Truth

You’ll hear it said that the Republican Party has an identity problem and that, after this election, the party leaders will have some real soul-searching to do.

There is a large swath of the electorate who feel they've been left behind and that nobody cares about them, their lives, or their children.  These are the people that Trump attracts.  Unfortunately for them, he’s going to lose, and, even if he won, his promises to them are lies.  He could never deliver on those promises.  There will be no wall.  There will be no deportation force.  He doesn't seem to understand how legislation gets passed in a democracy.  Congress will never approve any of his plans that cost too much.  

But the problem is that those people aren’t going away once the election is over.  They are convinced, now, that the jobs that have been lost in the Rust Belt can be magically brought back by a wizard with orange hair, and that if he loses the election it will be because our democracy has failed.  He should tell them the truth: that those jobs are gone forever and illegal immigrants didn’t take them.  A new economy and technology did.  

I live in Arizona and I have an Etsy shop selling hand dyed silk.  I received an order yesterday from a woman in a village in the United Kingdom.  I will ship her silk that I buy from China.  That's the kind of interconnected world we live in now.  There are between 6.7 and 9.7 million people who are making a living selling on eBay.  Another 1.6 million are active sellers on Etsy.  They may not even show up in the employment statistics, but they are independent entrepreneurs who are not depending on the government to make everything OK.   

It is a global economy and candidates who don't recognize that truth are dangerous.  

My heart goes out to those Trump supporters who haven't learned to think critically; who don't read a variety of opinions in order to decide what makes sense to them; who resemble the German populace in the Hitler days, following a pied piper who is as ill-informed as they are.  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Even though my heart starts palpitating and my stomach churns when I think about what the future would be if Donald Trump should be elected in November, I still find these fleeting thoughts streaking across my brain.

One such thought is that tourism to the U.S. will probably drop significantly.  Many states that enjoy the income derived from tourism will be hurt. Trump has promised to be the “law and order” President, that he can stop the killings in Chicago in a week, and that all undocumented aliens who are criminals will be deported immediately.  Oh, and he wants to stop all Muslims coming into the country.  So, if I were planning to come to the U.S. to see the Grand Canyon, I would cancel my plans.  These tourists would imagine storm-troopers patrolling the streets. Every person would be carrying a concealed weapon ready to shoot them and their children for the least imagined infraction.  And, heaven forbid, if these tourists happen to be blessed with black hair and brown eyes, they might be swept up in one of Trump’s “deportation force” roundups.

There would be no leaders of civilized countries abroad who would meet with Donald Trump.  They could never believe anything he said because he changes his mind within 24 hours.  He believes everything is negotiable, and they definitely do not.  Democracy, human rights, protecting the environment, responsible economic policies - those are never negotiable.  I am sure, however, that Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin, Joseph Kabila, Nursultan Nazarbaev, and every other dictator would be happy to welcome Trump to their country.  Heaven help us.

Make America Great Again is code for “let’s go back to those good old days when minorities knew their place (as servants), the television shows didn’t have any of those disgusting gay people in them, everyone drove one of those gas-guzzling monsters turned out in Detroit and nobody worried about letting the water run while you brushed your teeth.”  He implies that America is not now “great,” although he also says that we have to stop all those millions of people trying to get here.  So, I imagine discrimination will flourish again.  Laws protecting people will be reversed.  Hatred and bigotry will reign.  New York, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and pretty much all of the states in the northeast would attempt to secede from the union.

Those are just a few wild ideas.  Do you have any?  Share them with us.     

Sunday, September 11, 2016

His Own Words

Secretary Clinton has said she regrets saying that half of Trump's supporters should be put into the “basket of deplorables.”  What would have been clearer is that she could have said, "If Trump followers support his deplorable statements, they paint themselves with the same brush."  Here is just a sample of the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, statements made by Donald Trump. If you agree with these statements, get in the basket!

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” (Racist)

"You could see blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her whatever." (Sexist, misogynistic)

"I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures.  Why give her negotiable assets?" (Selfish,  misogynistic)

"26,000 unreported sexual assults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?" (Criticizing our military leaders, sexist, misogynistic). 

“You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.” — from an interview with Esquire, 1991 (sexist, misogynistic)

“You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs.” (Racist)

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down.  And I watched in Jersey City, NJ, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.  Thousands of people were cheering.” (Islamophobic)

“Now, the poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy. ‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. Uhh, I don’t remember,’ he’s going like, ‘I don’t remember.  Maybe that’s what I said.’”  Visually mocking reporter’s physical appearance. (Hatred, fear of those not like us, no empathy.)

“We will work with them.  They have to go. Chuck, we either have a country, or we don’t have a country.” (racist and uninformed.)

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can  figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release said. (Islamophobic)

“Certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” Trump said Wednesday during a candidate forum on NBC. “If Putin says great things about me, I’m gonna say great things about him. I’ve already said he is really very much of a leader.” (Praise for a dictator opposed to American interests.)

It still puzzles me that a man of morals and ethics who is a celebrated war hero and a dedicated public servant - John McCain - still refuses to denounce Donald J. Trump.  Trump is unapologetically comfortable with white supremacists, nativists, anti-immigration, and decidedly uncomfortable with professional, competent women, minorities, the disabled, and anyone who dares suggest that he might be wrong about anything.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is correct: He says, "Clinton was right."