The United States citizenry is in steerage in the Titanic. The Affordable Care Act “replacement” bill (the amorphous one whose name and details keep changing) is an iceberg, and the only people getting a lifeboat from it are the .001%. The crew is actively blocking attempts to turn the ship away from the danger. Here we are, sitting in the hull, while the engineers and the company that built the ship are taking apart the ship as it’s sailing headlong into the ice. This the situation today. This is the situation in every single authoritarian country in the world. Wait. Did I just say the United States is an authoritarian country? Well, yes and no. On paper, we still have a republic. But all of its checks and balances just failed in a massive way, simultaneously, after two generations (forty years) of deliberate dismantlement. I remember the air traffic controller strikes in the 1980s. I remember the birth of HMOs and the idea that health care should be for profit. I remember Iran Contra. I remember the grass roots organization of Republican dominionists who plotted together in restaurants and convention centers to permanently keep “those people” out of power. They
ReBoot It’s time to reboot. Am I the Only One Dancing has lain dormant now for quite a while. To be frank, I’ve been in mourning since Clinton lost in November, and I’ve been in shock and dismay since Trump took office in January. While all that was happening, multiple rapid changes were also happening in my personal life. To take stock: My husband lost his old job due to physical disability and got a new, lower paying one My youngest son left for the Navy and is now doing well in Navy Nuclear A school. I have hired two new clinicians for my practice and am getting them up to speed during the slowest time of the year. I have been dealing with some significant trauma reaction of my own due to the nightly news (on every station) and social media (doesn’t matter which one) reminding me of the years when I endured physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Through all that, I was maintaining just enough energy to keep providing good therapy, maintain my marriage and friendships and (barely) keep my household afloat. The week of Independence Day was especially and unusually loud and smoky in my neighborhood this
“Questioning” (“Participating”, “Noodling”) is a regular feature of this website asking a question, inviting people to participate in an experience, positing an idea, or in some other way encouraging people to “join the dance”. I’ve done this in the past as well. I highly encourage you to pass this around to your friends and family and get the conversation started. How “the personal is political” applies to me: Unlike most of my extended family, both biological and through marriage, I am an unabashed liberal, feminist, anti-racist, pro marriage equality advocate for poverty elimination and the rule of law. My mother was probably privately pretty liberal. At the very least, she really enjoyed the company of people from diverse backgrounds and was largely accepting of other peoples’ differences. My dad appears to have never given much thought to the matter, and makes casually racist remarks about people close to him that are nothing so much as clueless.
After the Ferguson grand jury decision came the Eric Garner grand jury decision. While disappointing, it was not surprising that the police officer that put him in a choke hold on camera that ended Eric’s life will not face charges. While it is widely said that a proscuter can “indite a ham sandwich, apparently it is impossible (or nearly so) to indict a police officer. Which means that not all pork products can be indicted. Statistics all over the United States back this up. While over 99% of people arrested for crimes are indicted, at least at the Federal level, this is not borne out when the accused is a police officer. Statistics show that police officers are largely immune to prosecution for excessive force, even when it leads to the death of an innocent person. This is not a matter of one bad cop, or one bad police station. This is a systemic issue that has repercussions throughout the United States. These repercussions fall mostly, but not entirely, on the bodies of black and brown people. Thus the hashtag #blacklivesmatter.
You know, sometimes I try to live my day to day life and forget that there are people out there who dismiss, despise, or even hate me because of my gender. I try to forget that there are people who dismiss, despise, or even hate others because of their religion, nationality or the color of their skins. Some weeks the news lets me do this, and sometimes I let it. Some weeks my personal life lets me do this and sometimes I let it. This week, neither has been cooperating. Elliot Rodgers is still constantly in the news. People are struggling to get a handle on his actions, why his cold blooded, pre-meditated murder of six random people (four of them male, two female, and all four males either Hispanic or Asian) is all about misogyny and racism, and not (solely) about his mental health. Every day I work with people in therapy to help them cope with the effects of misogyny and racism in their lives: domestic violence, sexual abuse, life long poverty, eating disorders, shame, and guilt, among other things. I had a personal family event earlier in the week when I was forced to be in the
Here are a few basics about “Obamacare” that often get missed in the conversation: While a few middle class people in very good health are paying more for their health care than they did before January, most of those are paying more for significantly better benefits. The original plan was to supplement those with an income up to 133% of poverty through expansion of Medicaid in all states. When the Supreme Court said that was a Federal overreach, several states decided that they would not expand Medicare. There are private organizations in each of those states ticking away exactly how much money those states are leaving on the table by not expanding Medicaid. If you are poor and you still have no access to health insurance, please refer to point 2. You may live in one of those states. If so, write your representatives and/or governor and ask that they reconsider. It is no longer legal for a new health care plan to deny coverage for a pre-existing condition. Claims that this is happening are either a) lies or b) misunderstandings about grandfathered plans that were in effect before January 1. “Mental health parity” is a part of the law,