my country is killing people

my country is killing people
separating parents from children
building walls to keep “them” out
and to keep “us” in
my country is killing people
in the streets because of the color
of their skin, their sexual orientation,
and their religion
my country is killing people
in their newspaper offices, churches,
at concerts, schools, and malls
because guns are more important
my country is killing people
in an economy that gives tax
cuts to the rich, and denies access
to health care for the poor
my country is killing people
as it kills the environment with coal
trains, fracking, oil pipelines, pesticides
and greed

and i am ashamed

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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Insights from a Wheelchair-Bound Friend

Insights from a dear friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) about the proposed Republican health insurance “reform”:

Ok, here goes. I can’t stay silent. 

Do you have a family member with significant disabilities or are you disabled yourself?

The reason the ADAPT activists were removed is because Mitch McConnel ordered the police to remove them. The activists had been calmly and peacefully protesting the Medicaid destroyer (aka health bill). Why? Because the bill is written to cut 800 BILLION dollars from Medicaid. It also is written to drastically reduce Medicaid funding for home care.

For the disabled community this means three things: 
1. Under the current bill, those who need significant home health care will no longer be able to get it, because there will not be funding for it. This will force us into long term care hospitals and nursing homes to live out our days. These hospitals and nursing homes will be overcrowded and underfunded and basically totally miserable. It will reduce our quality of life drastically…and when you are this sick or this disabled, quality of life is hugely important. 
2. The cuts will leave the hospitals and nursing homes we will be forced to live in – basically in prison – so underfunded they won’t be able to afford proper care. 
3. Those well enough to live at home will not be able to afford medicine – the money won’t be there – or wheelchairs or medical supplies. The quality of supplies will go down – substandard wheelchairs that leave pressure sores, substandard walkers that tip and let you fall, etc.

If you think all of that is fine..
if you think we deserve that kind of treatment and lack of care …
if you think we deserve to be locked up to save you a damn few dollars… 
if you think we somehow earned this horrible treatment so that the rich can be richer…
then you might want to step back and re evaluate your life.

This is what the activists were protesting. You all were worried about death panels under Obama (that never happened) but this is ok with you? Bullshit. Don’t tell me you care about people. 
The activists had a right to protest. They were only there 30 minutes. They were arrested because McConnell didn’t want to hear their words. He didn’t want to listen. He didn’t want to look at the faces he is dooming to death or forced into prison. 
Here is a shocking fact: The activists didn’t resist arrest. The woman in the video was struggling with leg jerks, made worse by stress. Most severely disabled people completely understand this. It happens to a lot of us. She couldn’t control them. She warned them not to stand in front of her. They did. They grabbed her legs which caused her to slide down. Rather than be reasonable they forced her from her chair. It was inexcusable.

She started screaming when her legs were being grabbed because it pissed her off…as it should have.

A lot of the activists were held at the local station, in a federal building. A building, by the way, that was lacking a wheelchair accessible women’s restroom. The women were there for hours, many cathed who needed to empty bags, others needed the facilities. They had to be embarrassed and humiliated and forced to use the men’s room instead. If a black man was forced to use a different bathroom because of the color of his skin, the county would (hopefully) erupt. But 25 years after the ADA was passed, people with disabilities were denied equal rights and equal access. And it happens all. The. Time.

That is why we fight. We fight for our rights to live and love and be free and cared for. We fight for the right to live at home. And use a public bathroom. And be treated with decency by our lawmakers and our officers.

You see..I know the back story. These are my people, my community and MY LIFE on the line.

I will not shut up. I will not settle down. Because people like a lot of you on this thread have NO PROBLEM with me being forced from my home to live in a hospital an hour away.

We do have rights. We will fight for them. And while the cops had to follow McConnell’s orders and remove the protesters, they did it all wrong. There were bad lifts that left bruises and injuries. People on ventilators separated from caregivers and without a nurse to help them. And people removed from their mobility because the cops couldn’t see the difference between a health issue and “resisting”.

In case you were wondering, what I described about what will happen to us is accurate. That is what an 800 BILLION DOLLAR CUT TO MEDICAID looks like. Its not just people scamming the system being kicked off. We don’t spend 800 billion on scammers. Its poor people who get kicked off, who can’t afford their medication or their chemo or a wheelchair.

It’s sick people, who live on life support, who are forced to go live in a hospital.

It’s children…CHILDREN..who die because their parents can’t afford the hospital bill for CF complications, or chemo, or a life saving operation, or a nurse to help keep them alive at night. 
It’s people who rack up an astounding $500,000 hospital bill because they had to be in ICU for quite some time. 
It’s people (ME) who rack up $1,000,000 a year in medical bills. It doesn’t matter how many jobs my parents get…we would be bankrupt after 4 months. And Medicaid will only be able to pay a fraction of it.

Choices will have to be made…who to treat and who gets nothing because they are terminal anyway.

That is what 800 BILLION dollar cuts to Medicaid look like. 
You are really ok with that?”

***

And now a poem…
Democrat, Republican, poor, rich, and middle,
God-believers, non-believers, the big and the little,
gray/white/red/brown/yellow/black-haired, and old,
young, introvert, extrovert, scared, brave and bold,
northern, southern, western, eastern, female
and male, tall, short, and yes, even those with a tail
straight, LGBT, white-skinned, and dark-skinned –
WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. And that’s the end.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

together

 

Protesting for Their Lives

The people in the wheelchairs were protesting the proposed cuts to their health care insurance. Some of those people will, quite literally, die without the health insurance the Republicans are proposing to cut. I think it’s important to understand why those protesters were there. They were fighting for their lives. This is not hyperbole.

I myself rarely use my health insurance – so rarely, in fact, that my doctors’ office was surprised when they found my 30 years of doctors’ visits could be printed out on one page. But I am concerned for my friends who are dealing with serious health issues, and I support the folks who were outside Sen. McConnell’s office protesting. They had every right to be there.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
– First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Medicaid Cuts

Did you all see the video of the people getting dragged from their wheelchairs and carried out by law enforcement officers for protesting proposed Medicaid cuts outside Sen. McConnell’s office? If you missed it, here’s a clip.

Here’s what Donald Trump promised during his campaign: “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”

And here’s what Trumpcare proposes today:  Medicaid Cuts.

In grade school I was taught that the United States stood for liberty, justice, and equality. We were the good guys. We were the country that people immigrated to for freedom and opportunity – people came here to escape religious persecution, political persecution, and poverty. My immigrant ancestors came here to find better lives for themselves and their families, and, unless you are descended wholly from indigenous peoples or slaves, so did yours.

And look at us now. What have we become?! We are the only industrialized nation with for-profit health care. Health insurance corporations don’t actually seem to care about making people healthy – the corporations’ main concern is making money. That’s what for-profit corporations do: They make money. And our politicians are, of course, in the back pockets of these guys because that seems to be what their chief concern is, too – making money. (For an insightful piece about this from the perspective of a patient – click here.)

Add to this the corruption found in pharmaceutical companies (click here for a link to a Harvard University study), and if you are suffering from health problems and don’t have insurance to pay for the cost of your care, you and your family could get financially wiped out in a matter of days. (According to the HealthCare.gov site, the average cost for a three-day hospital stay is $30,000.)

This is shameful.

Our Republican legislators – the (fill in the blank) who came up with the latest health care “reform”  plan should be ashamed of themselves. But somehow I doubt they are. Their proposals indicate they don’t have any kind of collective conscience. They appear not to give a hoot about the people they were elected to represent.

And this might be a good time to remind our politicians that they are not the bosses of us; we are the bosses of them. They are here to serve US – not the pharmaceutical companies, and not the health insurance corporations – but US. And if they won’t serve the people who put them in office, then it is time for us to fire their kiesters.

“The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good.” – Mary Baker Eddy

Health Insurance: One Christian Scientist’s Thoughts

As a Christian Scientist I feel the need to say this: I believe health care should be universal – a basic right of every man, woman, and child – and no one should ever be denied the care they need simply because they’re poor, or unemployed. Health care should not be dependent on employment or the whims of employers. And a bunch of politicians should not be the ones who decide what kind of treatment and care the residents of this nation can use. Okay. That’s all. Carry on then…

 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. – Matthew 22

The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love. Without this, the letter is but the dead body of Science, –  pulseless, cold, inanimate. – Mary Baker Eddy

Christian Science: Lobbying It or Living It?

The letter of Science plentifully reaches humanity to-day, but its spirit comes only in small degrees. The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love. Without this, the letter is but the dead body of Science, – pulseless, cold, inanimate. – Mary Baker Eddy.

***

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy defines “Church” as the “structure of Truth and Love” and says the role of Church is to rouse “the dormant understanding… to the apprehension of spiritual ideas…”

Lately some individuals have been busy lobbying their politicians for exemptions for Christian Scientists from health insurance and laws regarding child neglect. And I’m sorry, but I have to ask – how is exempting Christian Scientists from health insurance laws and child neglect laws in any way going to help rouse anyone’s “dormant understanding” to the “apprehension of spiritual ideas”? How are these efforts for exemptions in any way going to help the cause and purpose of Christian Science, or make the world a better place?

I am a Christian Scientist. I love what the study of Christian Science has brought to my life – the healings, the expectancy of good, the perception of creation as the expression of Love, Truth, and Life. I want to share the beauty of this way of life with the world. And so it seems to me a real tragedy that  the lobbying and politicking by some Christian Scientists might be distracting people from seeing the beauty and healing power found in the metaphysics of Christian Science as a way of life, as a way of SEEING life. The efforts to reduce Christian Science to some kind of alternative health care system/religion is incredibly belittling to what I believe Christian Science to actually be – to the amazing potential, power, and purpose found in this way of life.

Although I myself have not often needed to turn to traditional medical care for help – Christian Science has been very effective in bringing me the healing I need physically and emotionally – I do not have a problem at all with throwing my money into the public pot to help my fellow citizens get the medical help they think they need.  Jesus, after all, said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”.  (Edit: I need to add this – I don’t think health care access should be denied any of our citizens just because they’re too poor to pay for it. Nor do I think access to health care should be denied to anyone just because a bunch of politicians don’t happen to approve of it – whether it’s reproductive health care for women, or Christian Science treatment for Christian Scientists.)

And, as Christian Scientists, we know that nothing can affect our real identity as Love’s perfect, whole, complete reflection. Nothing – neither earthquake, wind, fire, pestilence, plague, weapons that fly by day or night, famine, germs, or VACCINATIONS can separate us from the love of God, and our identity as her expression. So why do we allow ourselves to get all worked-up and worried about this stuff?  As it says in Romans: “…all things work together for good to them that love God (Love, Truth, Life)…” and “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God (Love, Truth, Life)…”

Regarding exemption from prosecution for child neglect: I don’t believe ANYone – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or non-religion should be exempt from prosecution for willful neglect of a child. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone should be prosecuted for neglect simply BECAUSE of his or her race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or non-religion. When my sons were youngsters I was always conscious of my responsibility to keep them safe and healthy – and I was also conscious of the fact that BECAUSE I was a Christian Scientist I might be treated differently by society should harm come to my sons. If someone else’s child died because the parents, in all innocence, didn’t know the child was seriously ill and didn’t take the child to a doctor – those parents might be seen as sympathetic characters by society. I knew that if my children died because I, in all innocence, didn’t recognize a serious problem, I might be seen in a different way. (Edit: After some research I realized that these laws were made in 1997, and are not the result of current lobbying, you can click on this URL to see my correction –   https://madcapchristianscientist.com/2014/03/19/well-dang-have-to-make-another-apology/  )

Our society has biases. One of the biases is that traditional medical science is always the best and only way to treat a disease – and the fact that medical science is, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, actually the third-leading cause of death in this country doesn’t seem to affect that bias at all. So I guess at some point I realized that what I needed to do was use my understanding of Christian Science to help ensure my sons never got sick to begin with, and to ensure that healings were quick if the sons did show signs of sickness. If a healing didn’t come quickly – and the healings usually did – then I brought the sons to the doctor. Common sense was my guide.

I don’t believe it’s in the best interests of Christian Scientists, or of Christian Science, to be lobbying for an exemption to prosecution for child neglect. It makes Christian Science a target. Christian Science – as a movement with the power to transform the world – is deserving of better.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, and the founder of the Christian Science religion, said that the “vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love.” I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I find myself asking, “Is this coming from Love? Is this leading to Love?”  And if it’s not, I don’t want to waste my time on it.  Is asking for exemptions for Christian Scientists from contributing to health insurance, and from being prosecuted for child neglect, coming from a place of love? Or fear? Is it leading to love? Or fear?  Don’t Christian Scientists have better ways to spend their time than lobbying politicians? Don’t Christian Scientists have a bigger mission, and a more important job?

CHURCH. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle. The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick. – Mary Baker Eddy