On guns and tending to a bad hip
“A gun gives you the body, not the bird.”
-- Henry David Thoreau
I am so weary of hearing about second amendment rights. Those words were written when this nation was not yet a nation but struggling to wrest its freedom from Great Britain. Those words were written with the intent to form a militia, an army to defend the nation, not to shoot willy-nilly whoever and whatever.
Our forebears would be astonished at how the words they thought were so clear have become so twisted. Life -- yes, who can misunderstand that, unless someone is misusing a firearm, especially a child? When is that ever addressed? Liberty -- O.K. but not individual liberty at the expense of someone else.
For a nation to be united there need to be rules, protection for the old, the weak, and the disabled. Giving everyone a gun is surely not the answer. Even the Wild West did not allow random gun play. Come on guys, a movie is just that, a movie. How can I pursue my right to happiness if people are lurking at every corner pursuing their so-called second amendment rights? And you name callers, the ones who yell those magic potions, “leftist, socialist, commies,” look at the so-called socialist nations they are awash in terrorism, revolution, etc. The real countries who practice a dignified partial socialism have better health care than we do, better education and less crime, and mostly no capital punishment.
On health care
We are 27th in the world for health care. 27th!! And you folks don’t want to make it better? Sometimes change is a good thing. It’s called progress. Have any of you checked out the prices on medical procedures? The difference in cost procedures is staggering, thousands in the U.S. is hundreds in most other nations. Why are all these buses of seniors traveling to Canada to buy prescription drugs? For many people it has become a choice between food or drugs. But then you don’t want checks and balances on our health care system. A multibillion-dollar business.
Let’s start with something simple. My Social Security, my old age pension. At 71, I am still working full time, bringing it up to $1,300 per month. My prescriptions right now are about $150 per month. And it’s compulsory to buy into the Medicare system. I am paying $160 per month into Medicare, that’s right, it is taken right out of my Social Security check before I even receive it. I could have the best, most complete health insurance in the world, but, I would still have to subscribe to Medicare. Sound familiar?
Are you all aware of the limits on your insurance? I have heard a real fool spouting off on the radio the other day saying that you could not pick a metal hip replacement any longer -- you had to take a ceramic or glass unit. Well gee whiz, now that all those lawyers are getting rich on failed metal hip devices that are not viable and have a high failure rate and replacement? These operations are not a walk in the park. You are allowed only two hip replacements in a lifetime. That’s why we all wait so long and live with so much pain before venturing forth for aide. And, I am speaking from experience here, hip replacements last from 10 to 20 years, so unless you are a famous athlete or fabulously wealthy you are not about to get one at age 40.
Let’s see now, I tried the steroid shot right into the hip socket -- relief lasted approximately 67 minutes. Acupuncture twice a week at $150 per week. Insurance only covers $300 per year; it’s called a wellness benefit. Wellness benefit indeed, I am sick with pain. Anyone who has seen me walk can tell you I am not in a good place right now. Physical therapy? That went the way of acupuncture -- little or no relief and hundreds of dollars spent. Don’t write to me about Chrondointon, shark oil, magic liniments and rubs -- don’t you think I have tried it all. The last steps are black bottle narcotics. Taking those make me vomit, literally, and does not allow me to drive or really do much of anything. I have a friend whose mother is 57, she needs a shoulder replacement, you are only allowed one of those in a lifetime, she was told to suck up her agony for about 20 more years before it would become viable.
This Tuesday -- July 10 -- I have a surgeon’s appointment. I am frightened; I have never had a major operation but I can live with this pain no more. Either it goes or I do. And so I bite this bullet and venture out into the surgeon's office.
Ministers' take on religion
Now down to all you God-fearing church people. I write here of two prominent black ministers from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City -- Dr. James Melvin Washington and Dr. Cornel West. Here is their take on religion.
“For both me and my Brother Wash, (Washington) following Jesus requires a radical, childlike sense of faith and wonder, and a mature effort to pick up our cross and bear the cost. This is not to be confused with a childish dogmatism that trumps mystery or a will to power that celebrates worldly success at the expense of spiritual integrity. For us, Constantinan Christianity produces people maladjusted to greed, indifference and fear. We vowed to love our crooked neighbors with our crooked hearts. We believe that if the kingdom of God is within us, then everywhere we go we should leave a little heaven behind.”
"The central question was graphed with an unjustified suffering -- the problem of evil. Why would a benevolent, all-knowing and all-powerful God permit such pain on any people? In the end we saw the answer as the conclusion of an Aristotelian syllogism. It was all about action. It was all about the practice of faith. Your life becomes your response. Your response doesn’t take the form of a written- down, reasoned-out argument. Your response becomes the quality of your day-to-day behavior. The question does not go away. It remains powerful and daunting.
"But the fact that there is no reasoned- out answer doesn’t turn you cynical. You live with the reality that the question remains, a challenge to your mind and your heart. You can’t bring back the bodies that died in the Atlantic Ocean during the slave trade, you can’t reconcile a tidal wave wiping out an entire city with the notion of a sovereign God. You can’t equate catastrophe with the human condition: but you can following the teachings of this particular Palestinian Jew, do what you can to help the least among us."
-- Cornel West
“A religion is the love of life in the consciousness of impotence.”
-- George Santayana
“Light houses are more helpful than churches.”
-- Benjamin Franklin
“We do not want churches because, they will teach us to quarrel about God.”