Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Holiday Message for the Coming Year - 2021

 The year 2020 has been in many ways disturbing and unsettling.  What, of course, comes to mind almost immediately is the COVID 19 pandemic that has claimed so many lives and has been so economically devastating to many facets of the national economy, and especially for those who have lost their livelihoods and businesses.  Added to this national burden are the deep fractures that have been exposed in regard to a national sense of unity, shared-mission and purpose.

Along with this overwhelming sense of loss, however, is the untold bravery, courage and unwavering energy displayed by so many who have risked their own lives and safety to come to the aid of all of us for the unselfish commitment to the greater good.  These individuals have come from many diverse positions - as doctors, nurses, emergency response teams, members of the police and fire departments and first responders of all kinds.  To this list, we should include all those responsible for providing food; for delivering the mail; for the taxi and bus drivers, train operators and pilots; for the teachers; for all those who care for the elderly and for all those who provide the essential services that we all too often take for granted.

My wish for the New Year (2021) is that we grow wiser from the events that have befallen us and see the future as a time for healing and learning from our collective missteps.  My hope is that the new year will be a time of new beginnings.  My dream is that we will finally come to recognize that regardless of our national origin, religious affiliation, skin color or sexual orientation we are all members of the same species with the same physical bodies, the same architecture of the brain, the same genetic makeup, the same constellation of feelings, of hopes and of dreams.  Each of us is worthy of the same opportunities to grow and develop as sentient beings on this most remarkable planet that also needs our kindness, care, and attention.  Earth is, after all, our only home.

Best Wishes to All

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Critical Need for a New Paradigm

 


The human species is in a state of perpetual crises. This has been made evident by the turmoil present within so many human societies throughout the globe. It has been this way since the very beginnings of human civilization. The protracted history of humanity in the last 10,000 years has been filled with many wars of aggression, widespread bigotry, hatred, and enmity between peoples who view themselves as being different. This propensity for tribalism and xenophobia is more than likely a result of human evolution on planet earth – it was a time when these kinds of responses provided a significant advantage for small local groups competing for survival in an essentially hostile environment. 

During this early stage in human evolution, the species (Homo sapiens) was sparsely populated on the planet and the tribal disputes between local peoples of different origins did not have much of an impact on the longevity of the species or on the health and state of the natural environment primarily due to the primitive nature of weaponry. 

Currently, however, with close to 8 billion individuals populating this fragile ecosystem called earth and where advances in technological warfare has brought us horrendous weapons of mass destruction, this is no longer the case. We have reached a time in human development on planet earth where it has become imperative that humans learn to cooperate with each other regardless of their place of origin, the color of their skin, their particular belief systems, and their sexual orientation. 

The level of competition between peoples for natural resources such as land and water and sources of energy, for example, has become so acute that the usual practice of acting with violence and aggression towards real or perceived adversaries has become counterproductive and detrimental to the very future of the species. Empire building and the penchant for colonization has thankfully diminished over the recent past, but the urge to dominate others and accrue wealth and power at the expense of the weak remains as a dominant and corrosive force within the body politic. 

The modern quest for energy to propel the hunger and thirst for material progress has now created a situation where the very stability of the earthly climate is in jeopardy. In order to ensure a secure future for the coming generations, the only remedy is to reach all-encompassing solutions to the daunting issues of climate change, wars of aggression, hatred, and bigotry and to build cooperative and compassionate relationships between all peoples around the globe. 

To accomplish these elusive goals on a worldwide scale requires a new paradigm – one in which all humans inhabiting this planet are accepted as an intrinsic part of the human family and worthy of an equal chance and opportunity to pursue their goals, aspirations and the promise of a full and rewarding life. One in which all humans are viewed as being of equivalent worth and held within the context of a universal and caring global human community. 

It is within this light, that true peace and security is achievable. It is within this light, that humanity will finally be able to release itself from the seemingly endless cycle of violence and retribution. Whether humankind will ever be able to transcend the oppressive boundaries of its own limited conclusions is, of course, an open question. We must, however, dare to hope and dare to dream and dare to finally act in our own best interests.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

King County Homeless Deaths Break Record

Camp Second Chance, Seattle

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times deaths of homeless individuals in King County increased steadily from 2012 (78) to 2018 (191). This represents an increase of 245% or an average of 35% per year. The increase in the number of deaths has climbed steadily in the last 4 years. Furthermore, the causes of these deaths in 2018 that occurred out of doors included, “cardiovascular disease, gunshot wounds and blunt-force injuries, as well as complications from alcoholism, suicide, overdoses from fentanyl or meth.” Included in these statistics is the death of a 7-month old baby apparently from sudden infant death syndrome.

This issue, of course, is not particular to King County in WA state, but represents a crisis having national implications i.e. Los Angeles reported the deaths of 831 homeless individuals during the same year – 2018. There is no region of the country that is spared the societal burden of homelessness.

The economic, social and cultural impact of homelessness is readily apparent to anyone who has seen or felt its deleterious effects. Although it would be easy to simply blame the homeless for their plight, it is a complex issue that is a result of many and diverse factors including poverty, drug addiction, substance abuse, mental health issues, physical disability and illness and a paucity of low-income housing. All of these problems are amenable to solution provided that public policies are instituted and employed to deal with them.

Given this reality, why is it that vulnerable individuals and families continue to be added to the ever-growing number of homeless in our cities and towns? Why is it that governments at all levels of society – town, city, county, state and federal – are unable to formulate working solutions to these problems and effectively eliminate the prospect of homelessness for anyone in this country? In other words, why has homelessness evolved into such a vexing problem in an exceedingly wealthy nation as our own?

Homelessness is not for the faint-hearted. It is a state of existence that can essentially rob an individual of personal dignity or hope. It is a state of existence that exposes the individual to many dangers that ultimately impact mental and physical health and adversely diminishes personal longevity. Homelessness is an entirely preventable condition that causes enormous amounts of unnecessary suffering.

In spite of this horrific reality, it seems readily apparent, that homelessness as a state of existence does not seem to capture enough public attention and cause enough concern to be regarded as an unconscionable situation requiring immediate action. It apparently is not regarded as a high-priority issue demanding immediate remediation. Instead, the vulnerable in our country are left in a perpetual state of anxiety regarding their fate. In fact, under the right set of circumstances almost anyone can fall into the spiraling abyss of homelessness. Collectively, we are certainly capable of dealing with his issue head-on and resolving it once and for all.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Black Pregnancies at Risk in the U.S.

The fundamental racial disparity in the nation's health care system is demonstrated by the following report from the New York Times -

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Distribution of Wealth in the US Revisited

The passage of the Republican-engineered tax cut bill on 12/20/2017 exposes once again an underlying issue that haunts this country and may eventually be responsible for the unraveling of the socioeconomic order of this society.

The following link addresses this issue -