gun violence

We are better than this, aren’t we?



Nutty gun violence before elections feels un-American to me, but then sometimes I wonder. Am I just old-fashioned?? I’m stunned and disgusted by the overall tone of Presidential responses to old-white-guy fans with pipe bombs and AR-15s, but I can’t say I’m happy with our media’s obsession with his tweets either.

Yes, the press is NOT the enemy of the people, and some of “the people” is all journalists are, as easily murdered as politicians or you and me. Still I have noticed that CNN’s voice for their ads on upcoming coverage of mid-term elections does sound like the same scary guy who dared us to watch Hulk Hogan wrestle, or Evil Knievel jump trucks in Las Vegas. Really?

About now I’d like to hear more from the Sisters of Mercy, the Universalist Church choir, and from sensible lesbians and mothers and witches tired to death of all this schmuckery. They’re pro-active; they’d say: Finish your dinner. Take a nap. Play some ball with the kids. Grow up. It’s your turn to take out the trash.

Be a mensch, in other words, which only means: try to be a good human being. Help your brother. Help your sister. Love your neighbor. Yeah, the same one that irritates you. The one who votes the wrong way, and watches the wrong media. The one who mocks snowflakes. Suck helium, and then tell me, tough guy—and joke all you want. Laughter keeps you breathing.

 But if he endangers you, if he’s talking smack and threatening anyone, then that’s time to call in the cops. If they don’t believe you, or endanger you instead, which clearly does happen, then call on your neighbors, the ones you have loved. The ones who love you. They’re out there, the only ones who can possibly make a difference. I hope you have helped them all get registered to vote! 

—Rickey Gard Diamond, 10.29.18

Mortality is Universal but Health Care is Not—So Who Dies? When?

photo by John Dominis

photo by John Dominis

Health Care is the issue that Americans keep naming as their top worry for pollsters. The latest survey found 48 percent saying so to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. We ranked it above taxes, the environment, and immigration, the other biggest priorities named. A US News & World Report article said the reason some people gave: costs are not getting any more manageable.

You think?

Despite Trump’s campaign promises of making health care “much less expensive and much better,” Trump’s cabinet and staff never proposed anything but repealing ObamaCare. Their “replace” part, half-baked in secret meetings of Republicans, ultimately resulted in a failed vote. But that didn’t stop Trump and his allies. The new tax bill scraps a mandate that makes the insurance pool more affordable and less sick—which he and syncophant Republican leaders count a victory thanks to his “exquisite leadership.”

Meanwhile, the Childrens Health Insurance Program has not been renewed and the White House canceled ACA insurer subsidies, creating market mayhem and premium jumps. Our progress in reducing the numbers of uninsured is over; their numbers and expensive emergency room medicine will only increase with a mandate repealed.

Apparently Congress failed to notice what its own government reported in early December. How long can we generally expect to live?  For the first time since 1993, when AIDs was a new plague, overall US life expectancy fell, particularly among people younger than 65! The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) tracks these numbers, the latest data from 2015. In the context of other developed nations that continue to see longevity increase, US health declines are very troubling.

Investment in prevention could reduce our costs. In early November NCHS reported on the second year of increase in gun deaths, our gun-toting ethos now even tolerating Trump’s “fire and fury” and threats of nuclear war. Did I mention our mental health?? The American Public Health Association lists as our top five health threats, climate change, environmental health, health equity, gun violence, and health reform. More than 40 people a day die of opioid overdoses, and it is not as if any of this despair and pain has a place to go without our uniting to care for all of us, come hell or high water.