Tuesday, October 7, 2014
The Big Picture
I don't mean to sound negative here, because I spend my days now doing work that I feel is important and valuable to real people, and I live in a beautiful place and environment, and things are generally good in my life. I am fortunate to be where I am at the moment, and I enjoy it.
The things I see and read on a daily basis are so disturbing that I have to put it out of my mind in some way, and I think that's true for most people who pay attention to things, care about things, and live with this onslaught of information about insanity in the world. This whole Ebola thing really gets to me for some reason, and I think it's just the images of government and health officials flapping their arms and wringing their hands and looking so indecisive and lost as to how to handle it.
There is so much distrust of government and authority that the efforts to educate the public with health information are often wasted. People don't listen to sources they don't trust. The anti-vaccination movement is one example, but over the past week, look at Ebola and the information coming out of the CDC, all of the things we try to teach people about taking care of themselves and preventing cancer and chronic disease, so much of it is not being listened to.
I was writing a piece for the local paper yesterday on breast cancer and I mentioned prevention, like exercise, eating right, managing stress. These are things basic to decent health, for prevention of any disease. And so many people don't even have a grip on those basic things. We are a society hurtling toward self-destruction by our own self-neglect.
Do people have an underlying death wish? Do they really think it's a comfortable way to go, by self-inflicted obesity, septic and bloated to 500 pounds from a diabetic foot wound and hooked up to a ventilator with families surrounding them praying for a miracle? I've seen this more times than you could imagine. I can still remember the smells. Should we provide guns to these people instead? It certainly would be cheaper.
I think there is such an atmosphere of distrust here in the US because of our divided government and everyone's self-interest at the top, the focus on profit. Think about it, we are trying to prevent a disease epidemic, whether it's flu or measles or Ebola, and some for-profit hospitals are so cheap they don't even provide adequate protective materials for their staff like gloves and gowns.
The spokespeople at the tops of government or worldwide agencies are often viewed as shills for an already distrusted government, and those suspicions turn out to be right. So that just strengthens the case for distrust of agency information, and promotes more reliance on untested, unscientific sources such as the so-called health gurus who claim there is a natural cure for everything if you take the right supplements (a multi-billion dollar industry), you can cure cancer with a daily kale and wheatgrass smoothie, people who still believe childhood measles vaccines cause autism, and it goes on.
What if they came up with a vaccine for Ebola? Or a vaccine for breast cancer?
All over the world there is so much unrest, I think it has always been this way but there was less ability to follow it and draw attention to it due to the Internet and technology. Having those mouthpieces available like social media, makes it more attractive to rebels to get attention and be seen by the world, bringing attention to their cause. People are always going to have their attention grabbed by the extreme, so these groups resort to the extreme and show it on video over Instagram or Facebook.
There are the very rich countries and the very poor countries, and the US can definitely take the blame for it's role in creating a good bit of it. But a country that is seen as a world leader, or was once seen as one, has serious problems at home within it's own people. Poverty, wealth disparities, greed, corruption in all levels of government, capitalism taken to the extreme that it robs the people of resources that would make their lives so much better, all of the things that the US always claimed to be above, those are all spreading like an epidemic and there is no leadership to correct these things.
I have always been politically left-leaning and socially liberal, but these days I find myself understanding more about why the people on the right feel the way they do, and the anti-government sentiments they express are often valid, even if they don't follow the same logic to get to those that I would. I hear the right wing complain bitterly about Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and when you listen to them talk, the criticisms are warranted. I recently heard an interview with Nancy Pelosi that was absolutely nauseating, I wanted to kick her out on her ass. There are so few Democrats I view as being above the fray that I can't say I support the party at all.
Not to say that John Boehner and others are any better. The Republicans have their own full lineup of bozos just waiting to embarrass themselves and the rest of us in the upcoming 2016 primary election. Between now and then none of the politicians on either side will do a thing because it's an election year, or we're coming up on an election, so they do even less than they do regularly. The government does not at all represent the people, and here we are, the taxpayers, paying their salaries, benefits, healthcare, and all they do is act in the interest of the corporations and wealthy individuals who don't pay their fair share of taxes.
There must be a playbook somewhere that instructs the people who are groomed for so-called leadership positions: in government, finance, industry, professional sports, that teaches them how to be liars and slimebags, how to steal the public blind, and the language of corporatespeak or leaderspeak. Maybe it comes from Harvard business school or there's some kind of a secret club.
Not only are these things happening at top levels of government, but it goes all the way down to communities and local agencies. Corporate speak and lies, everywhere.
There are days when I think we would all be better off if a giant meteor hit the earth like a reset button. That would cure all of our problems! I am so glad I don't have kids because I would hate for them to be left in this world. I don't know how parents these days are preparing their kids for the kind of world they have inherited.
I look at my niece who is 17 and a senior in high school, and she's so smart and talented and I think the future of the world rests with her and kids like her. I hope they have the tools to confront it. I hope it doesn't hurt them too much to care.