Let’s Fight for What’s Right

As many of you have figured out by now I am deeply troubled by this year’s election choices and coverage and as a result have tried to tune a lot of it out. It’s just too depressing to focus on.

yellow-leaves

We live in a beautiful country, but the beauty hides serious problems. This afternoon I took a walk, during a break in the rain, through town to get a close up view of the beauty that autumn brings. While enjoying the sights and smells a sadness fell over me.

I wondered how long we would still be able to enjoy the beauty of nature. Will my grandchildren have the same experiences I’ve enjoyed throughout my life? What about their children?  Native Americans believe that before taking any action one should think seven generations into the future. Should our actions today harm the seventh generation then we should not follow through on those actions.

That said, when the dust settles down after our national election next week let’s work to make the government choose We the People and make right the wrongs in our communities.

autumn-colors

Dakota Access Pipeline.  Force the next President to do what’s right. Regardless of whether or not a pipeline goes through there needs to be studies to protect the people, sacred sites and the water that feeds millions.

Clean Water.  The problems in Flint, Michigan have been told not only in the US but around the world. In a nation that prides itself on having the best not having safe water should not have happened. What few know is that Flint’s water isn’t the only public water system poisoned by lead.  In Pittsburgh, one community’s water supply is considered more dangerous than Flint’s and I’m positive that if we have toxic water in two communities hundreds of miles apart there are more communities with unsafe drinking water.

autumn-yellow

Fracking Wastes.  Hillary Clinton, much to my surprise, stated in the last debate that the US is now energy independent. Her reasoning would have to be that because of fracking we now export as much fuel as we import?  What is left out of the political discussion is that with fracking comes polluted soil and water. Fracking injections sites have been known since the 1960s to cause earthquakes.  After hundreds of earthquakes, 800 in 2015 alone in Oklahoma the state voted to ban the dumping of fracking waste water,to reduce quakes. The waste water has to go somewhere, so now the plans are to dump that polluted water into the Gulf of Mexico.

Roads and Bridges.  In communities across this country roads and bridges are decaying.  Small towns are letting roads return to gravel rather than repave and some bridges, such as the famous Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh have huge nets under them where the  Beachwood Bridge also in Pittsburgh a bridge under the bridge has been erected for the sole purpose to prevent falling debris from causing damages to passing vehicles underneath.  CBS reports that 70,000 bridges in the US are “structurally deficient”.

autumn-leaves

Healthcare: Millions of Americans are without healthcare, or at least an affordable plan. Just this week my son and daughter-in-law called me separately to vent. They received notification that their premiums were going to increase by $600 dollars a month and their deductible will be $3,500 per year. For those of you not familiar with our insurance plans this means my son will be paying over $1,000 per month to have health insurance (way more than his mortgage and utilities combined) and even with insurance the first $3,500 of medical expenses will have to be paid out of pocket before his insurance will cover any of it. In addition the plan does not cover vision or dental.   My daughter-in-law, half in jest, commented “we don’t need to eat every month”.

The Antidote to Despair is Action

Anonymous

I could go on and on about the problems I see that need addressed. My hope is that the activism that is fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline will spread to force the hand of our officials to make our infrastructure, including drinking water and safe transportation a priority before plans such as building walls on our borders.

In case you were wondering, I didn’t make it back home before the skies opened up and began to pour down on me.  That’s okay too. As I dried off at home I realized the rain brought a bit of the wonderful scent that is autumn inside with me on my wet clothes and found myself not so sad for a few minutes.

 

What do you see as the worst problems that need addressed first?

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29 comments

  1. it is all rather overwhelming…

    I too, often sort of block many things out…Often there is nothing immediate which can be done, and to waste precious energy/resources/time (all mine) thinking on some of these things/thinking on some of the problems in life/thinking on some of the problems with relatives, would just suck any energy/goodness/innovation out of me.

    Often I try to think in terms of “little bites”. I think of one little thing I can do/can achieve, and focus on getting that accomplished. It is a bit like an old saying, “take care of the pennies and nickels, and the dollars will take care of themselves”.

    You mention the costs of Healthcare, and the shocking deductibles/rate raises. I have read about them, and have to agree it is shocking.

    I read somewhere that Donald Trump responded (when asked why he did not tout Canada’s system), that Canada had a great many problems with Healthcare, and it may not really be working. (the health care system).

    I will tell you from LONG experience, personally/relatives/friends, Donald Trump is correct.

    It is a fallacy that Canada has Healthcare for all…There are many sad situations I could relate. Had I not seen many of them, I would not believe it possible, and be quite certain it was made up.

    As well, re Canada’s healthcare, theoretically anyone can get to see a Doctor, get tests, get diagnosis, prescription/etc….Prescription costs are HUGE, and not covered by “healthcare”.. Dental costs are huge and not covered…

    not so great..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with Canadian health care. I believe at one time it was better as many along the border between our countries used to cross over to Canada for dental care as it was cheaper than paying for insurance to cover their expenses. It’s a shame that our countries have found other “necessities” to spend the national monies on than taking care of the health of its citizens.

      My son is a huge Trump supporter, much to my chagrin, but I understand why. When he receives increases in his health care premiums that far exceeds what he used to pay just a few years ago (prior to the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare) and he hears Clinton wants to continue the program it scares him. He’s willing to take a chance on change.

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      • Just watched a news/docu bit, on an American Channel ..
        was surprised, hadn’t heard of this program, and far as I know, there is nothing like it in Canada..
        it is run by a group called
        “Remote Area Medical”.
        Originally, many yrs back it was started to help remote international areas lacking in medical/dental/vision care. For many yrs (don’t know how long) they have also focussed on underserved or remote areas of the United States.
        They come back to an area every year, and anyone can get medical check/medical tests , dental work and extractions, and vision tests and glasses. They said they have been seeing many of the clients for many yrs. The bit I watched was (I think) in Virginia, and it looked like hundreds in this particular line up.

        They made the comment that this was fairly basic, and only once per yr. However, I have to say, that is more than many here get. Much more.

        Don’t know who funds these folks. I think many of the medical/dental/eye professionals might have been volunteers, but not all. Donations, maybe. There would be costs associated with supplies and so forth.

        Have you heard of this group? They sort of spoke like they do work all over the United States.

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        • I had not heard of Remote Area Medical so did a search and found they have a website. What I found is that there are only two clinics operating in the US currently and both are in Florida. https://ramusa.org/events/ – hopefully as medical expenses go up for more people they will expand to more areas.

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          • Lois,
            I too found their site, and it didn’t really seem to match with the t.v. docu.

            I watched carefully, too bad I didn’t record it, as I was thinking of sending the info on to you, in case anyone you know/readers could make use of this.

            They definitely said, on the show, they were currently (at show time, not likely at this moment) in Virginia, and had been back many times.

            Pretty sure they also said there were many other areas in the states they went to.
            Of course due to many constraints, they may now (assume the show was made some time back) be limited..

            One could always email them, and ask about the show/upcoming locations. I do see, as per your link, only Fl listed, but who knows? Maybe it is sometimes a case of someone local “making a case” for need of their services?

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          • I suspect it may have been West Virginia that they had held clinics in as that is one of the most impoverished areas so that would make sense. West Virginia is about ten miles from me so if they were to set up a clinic near the border that would be an option for us here. I’ll look into this further, just too a quick look when I read your comment before replying.

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          • Lois
            did a bit of googling,
            West Virginnia free medical clinic
            found this
            http://www.herald-dispatch.com/ap/ap_region/free-medical-clinic-planned-this-weekend-in-west-virginia/article_d94aeb95-7490-5e0c-b565-274438741b38.html

            Free medical clinic planned this weekend in West Virginia

            Oct 18, 2016
            being hosted by Charleston-based West Virginia Health Right, which provides free medical, dental and vision health services. Remote Area Medical, a nonprofit group based in Rockford, Tennessee, will run the clinic.

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  2. Lois, I have been following your elections with great interest, I have also been following the Dakota pipeline issues, plus the TPPA as that affects this country as well and this just has me horrified. I cannot imagine what it must be like for Americans right now. It’s absolutely shocking to read of your Healthcare Insurances there! this is Obama Care????!!!! We have free healthcare, well apart from a doctors visit and prescriptions. Surgery, hospital stays etc are free and though there is big waiting lists we honestly are very fortunate with our healthcare system. We have issues happening here with our government I would never have believed for NZ but I honestly have to say I sympathise with you immensely at your options. The world is changing and it feels grim but I do believe in the power of the people to make things right….their time will come! I can probably speak more freely than others would be willing to but all power to the people…. one race, all brothers and sisters and we are in everything together.

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    • I can’t even focus on what people from other countries are thinking about us right now, it’s that bad here. I think the only reason we haven’t signed on to the TPP yet is because the election was coming and our President wanted to ensure his party stayed in power. But once Tuesday’s election takes place I see it happening very soon. I don’t get how any country would want to sign away their sovereign rights to corporations for starters.

      Just this week I learned of the dangerous conditions in NZ over the Manuka honey. I’m sorry that is happening around you. I believe things will only get worse before it gets better but I have to trust and have faith in the people to fix these things. Thomas Jefferson said we should have a revolution every twenty five years so our government didn’t become corrupted. I think it’s long past time for that revolution in many countries.

      When I was growing up my mother set what I thought was a bad example. She refused good jobs to stay home and live on welfare. My siblings learned that lesson well and have repeated her behavior. I wanted to set a better example and took any job, supplementing with work I could do at home to make ends meet just so my boys wouldn’t grow up believing they could live off the taxpayers. Today, I wonder which of us, me or my siblings, had it more right. My son tells me that he is who he is because of how I raised him but that with the way the healthcare and tax structure is set up his friends who are on welfare have it far easier. My kid works up to 80 hours a week but feels he is being punished for working hard and I don’t blame him. I can’t even wrap my head around how hard one has to work to simply pay a insurance premium of $1,000 when his family is healthy. They are in the process of trying to find a new dentist for their children because the one they have is the best in the area and therefore more expensive. My son had to switch doctors leaving one who practiced preventive healthcare for a standard MD who simply wants to treat with prescriptions. He’s frustrated and angry and that spills over to my feeling I somehow failed him by setting an example that is too hard to follow in this environment.

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      • I can well understand his frustration and anger Lois but he isn’t alone there – many, no matter what life they have chosen are angry that they have been let down by today’s climate, workers and beneficiaries alike. $1,000 a month is an abomination in anyone’s language, I just can’t fathom that either. I agree with your Thomas Jefferson 😦 What a crazy, crazy state of things we have grown to accept but I don’t think that will happen much longer, sheer fury will drive people to rise up.

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        • Wendy, it’s hard to see ones children feeling let down and worrying over health care. If my son has a tight month and one of the children got sick and needed hospitalization or testing he would have to fork over that $3,500 in addition to his premiums. I know when my boys were little I felt the need to have an emergency fund in case the home needed a major repair but now to have to add medical care to the emergency fund seems wrong when you pay for coverage.

          I’m hoping that fury builds quickly and we take back our power. Fingers crossed for all of us.

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  3. Yes, these things are deeply troubling. I will be so glad when the suspense of the election (to say nothing of the endless “scandal reveals”) is over next week and we can know what/who we will be facing for the next four years and get on with it. We read a little world news every morning and then live our lives, doing the best we can and trying not to worry too much about the future. Like you, we find getting outside, in the garden or on the beach or hiking in the state park or national forest, or watching the birds at our feeders, is where our sanity and pleasure lies.
    Thank you for bringing up these issues on your blog and making readers aware, but if I think too much of problems so huge as these I’m overwhelmed and depressed. So I try to think of what I can do on as an individual and do the best I can at that. I know you do, too, Lois. Last week I eliminated two more plastic items from the rest of our lives when I researched and bought bar shampoo that comes in absolutely NO plastic wrapping and some organic vinegar in a glass bottle. In the vast scheme of things not a big deal I know, but it makes me happy to do something.
    Plus, we really like the shampoo bars!

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    • I do very much the same, Cynthia, but I don’t look at the headlines until evening and then immediately do something else that will clear it from my mind so I can sleep. I just want this circus over so we can move on. Unfortunately, I don’t think the scandals are going to end come Tuesday. The one news story that really bothers me and sticks with me even if I don’t see news is the attacks on the protectors at Standing Rock. So much of what is happening now reminds me of the 60s and if we are repeating that piece of history it has to end at some point.

      Congrats on eliminating more plastic. I have a story about plastic use that I’m ashamed to admit, although now that you’ve brought it up I’m going to share my story. I was so close to being zero waste and had even the amount I sent to recycling down to the barest of minimums and feel as if I’ve gone backwards.

      I’ve never used a shampoo bar but heard good things about them. I stumbled on the no poo method (baking soda and white vinegar) and liked that so much that when I heard about shampoo bats I was happy with what I was doing.

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  4. Hi Lois,
    Yes, it is too depressing to even really talk about the US elections, so I won’t.
    But I will make a small contribution re. healthcare for comparison’s sake. If you ever saw the Michael Moore movie “Sicko” which praises the British and French systems (and explores the US system), well, we just laughed in disbelief because we do not praise them at all compared to what we know.
    In Switzerland, it is obligatory to have at least a basic healthcare insurance, no state handouts. This covers most things though it does not usually cover dental or glasses, and you pay for 10% of any medication. Right now, the US$ and CHF (Swiss Franc) are similar in value so you can get an idea if I say each member of our family pays between 400-420/mth, and we have chosen to only pay 300/year basic charge (deductible? I’m not familiar with this terminology in English, sorry!). If we chose a higher basic charge our monthly premium would be less. There have been a lot of complaints about the rise in healthcare insurance premiums which have risen steadily over the years, but in return we do get wonderful service of an extremely high standard in practices and premises that are state-of-the-art, clean, calm, even luxurious. Absolutely no comparison to the dirty, disorganised, loud, noisy and unpleasant chaos that we experienced this year in Britain. You would have thought you were in a third world country. And nothing like the costs my dad had in Florida last year when he had to spend a night in a hospital there that cost 15’000 for one night and tests – fortunately, our health insurance covers our costs abroad, too! 😮 Our worlds are really “worlds apart”!
    The price of your son’s healthcare seems astronomical to me. I am in no way or form qualified to judge any health system, but knowing a fair amount about those of different countries mean I sure hope I’m in Switzerland when and if anything ever is wrong with me.
    I must also say to you, Lois, that I don’t know anyone with a chronic condition like yours so I can’t speak for how it is if you have that to contend with.
    I hope you don’t mind my long comment but I know you have expressed interest in the past as to how things work here!

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    • I always look forward to your input on the differences between our countries. 🙂

      Your father was very lucky to have insurance that covers him abroad. I have not gone abroad so I can’t attest to this but I’ve been told our insurance companies do not cover us when we travel.

      I can’t even imagine what a luxurious medical facilities would be like. I would say ours are clean but they are anything but comfortable or luxurious, as I’m sure your father could attest to.

      My son’s insurance premiums are more reasonable when I compare them to what you pay, for him the premium covers his family which is two adults and two children. As for the deductible, let me try to explain it better. When we have insurance here, medical or even our auto or homeowners policies, there is a provision that a specified amount is not covered by the insurance. For healthcare, we can pay the monthly premiums to have coverage but until we have incurred a certain amount of medical bills (for my son this is $3.500 the deductible) the insurance won’t pay a dime. Even once we reach this deductible ($3,500) the insurance will only cover a portion of the charges we incur. My insurance pays 80% leaving me to pay the remaining 20% but those figures vary by policy.

      That deductible can be written in different ways as well. For some, myself included, our insurance is broken down by hospital stays, visits to doctors, and even prescription coverage so the deductible is different for each one. A person might have $3,500 for doctor visits, $5,000 for hospital stays and $1,500 for prescriptions. When you have these various deductibles you have to be really sick to ever reach these thresholds and have the insurance start paying on your behalf. In my case, I’ve never needed enough prescription medication to reach the amount where the insurance would help me pay for it. I shrug and view it as my health is good. What else can you do?

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      • Thanks for the explanation, Lois! It seems that our “franchise” (not to be confused with franchising in business!) is something like your deductible but lower and less complicated… We have heard a lot about the shocking situation in the US and find it very *headshaking* 😮
        Still, I feel I should say no place is perfect and if you were to ask some US ex-pats in Switzerland, you might find some negative points that I don’t notice! lol 😉

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        • I’m sure there are negative accounts in every place. I wouldn’t have said our system was perfect, but prior to the Affordable Care Act we at least had good doctors and relations with them. Today we are having to leave doctors we love to find ones we can afford. It’s sad to see it go downhill while costs have gone skyrocketing.

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  5. Oh my, Lois. I feel and understand what you’re saying . . . my sentiments, as well. It’s sad and overwhelming to me and I just don’t go there very often because I feel completely helpless. I know switching channels or a distraction to put me somewhere else are not the answers, as that doesn’t change anything either.

    The only thing I have control of is, like you, what I do in my home and in the world around me with what I’m given. I can vote, be conscious with the products and materials I use that they’re as environmentally safe as possible, recycle, get quiet/meditate, love my family and be kind and put love out in the world.

    On a different note, coming from a spiritual perspective, maybe there’s some good that can come from all of this. It comes from a post John Cali wrote called, “Garbage Eyeballs”, at https://www.greatwesternpublishing.org/garbage-eyeballs/, where his spirit guide is giving advice in saying:

    “You, individually and as the human race, are growing and expanding your individual and collective consciousness. So all the “bad stuff” happening on your planet today is rising to the surface to be released forever.”

    Maybe there’s hope for us, yet, and we’ll get through the other side a better place. Take care, my friend, and hang in there. You’re not alone. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Pat for sharing John’s post with me. I found a bit of peace over the election after reading it. I’ve consistently tried to tell myself that this is just another stage we need to go through as a country and see parallels to the 1968 election. The same parallels between the 60s activism and the abuse by police that I see at Standing Rock etc. but some days it really is hard to see past the current events to a future that could be better, so thank you.

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  6. This weekend, we watched the movie The Butler. It is unbelievable that one of your candidates appears to want to return to the sorts of scenes seen in the South in the 1950s-70s when intolerance was rife. So sad that intolerance has continued to grow and return in the present day. Well, we will see tomorrow. We are pretty scared, I must admit. The consequences could be incredibly dire for the rest of the world.
    Anyhow, I was keeping out of politics so will leave it at that!

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    • I haven’t seen that movie, but you are right, we do have one candidate who wants to return to that period in some ways. He’s such a contradiction that it’s hard to know what he really believes or plans should he be elected. What I do know is he’s brought to our attention just how divided this country is on social issues. Hopefully we learn from this and the world won’t have to suffer by him being president.

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  7. What is the most important issue? I think it’s the lack of honor in our people. To ride roughshod over any people because big money and corporations fund it and give others jobs hurts my heart. We have a confused leadership. We have drifted from our Constitution so long ago that there is no sign of it. This process of I’ll sell you mine and you sell me yours is just ridiculous. Maybe it’s all the sugar and GMO food we are consuming that has scrambled the brains of our so called leaders and the rest of us. They are not about leading, they are about self interest. Health care is so broken I don’t even know how we are going to fix it. I’m not even good at taking care of my own health. Don’t put me in a room with something sweet or salty. I crave those things. Carrots just do not satisfy the hole I’m trying to fill. I don’t expect anyone to pay extra because I can’t get my act together. I wish I had the answer. My son was a trump supporter too. My daughter voted Clinton though neither liked either candidate. We had nothing to choose from…again.

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    • The one thing I liked about Obama was his background of constitutional law and look what he’s done, he’s violated, or allowed to be violated, our constitution so many times. Just look at the bombings he’s carried out or his hands off attitude at Standing Rock over that pipeline.

      For the average person I would blame failing standards in education for the lack of knowledge. But our elected officials have some of the best education money can buy so for them I’d say it’s a greed of wanting more money. If they side with the corporations they get more money in their pockets.

      I don’t know about you, but I’m getting worried that I will lose my insurance but on that front both Clinton and Trump were talking about changes and/or reductions in social security and Medicare so either vote wasn’t going to make me feel any better.

      No we didn’t have anything to choose from this time….again. Seeing how Bernie raised money this year gave me some hope that in future elections candidates would look to his example and raise money without big donors but I doubt that will happen.

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