Monday is America's Independence Day, our birthday and anniversary as a nation. We should be celebrating it joyously. Yet in the face of all that is happening around us, it may be difficult to celebrate anything, while we are under attack from within as well as without.
Perhaps it is time to revisit the declaration of our independence. What exactly was it that we declared independence from? Is our world free today? For what it declares, is for everyone, not just the USA.
If you have never fully read this document, or even if you have, please read it here and now. It only takes five to ten minutes, and you may come away with a totally new perspective of it.
In Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
A colleague, returning from three years of work in Chile, talks of the magic of practicing medicine in the villages of the Andes. "My clinic", says he, "could not be reached by any means but foot, burros or llamas."
The morning always starts with a chill, no matter the time of the year. The thin air seems to suck the breath from the deepest crevasses of the lung, leaving not a void, but a euphoria of a kind, felt by the pounding of the heart. The rays of the morning sun, too, seem breathless as they climb over the snow-covered peaks. On most days, mist, fog or clouds fill the valley below in a surrealistic panorama, while eagles and condors soar through the waves of air.
Elated, we start the day as a fountain of emotion overwhelms our senses. As beautiful people of mountain villages arrive, bearing gifts of bread, maize, and poultry. Though, they may be sick, or injured, their gratitude of having us there is so contagious that compels one to want to care for them as one would a loved one. Such is the nature of the practice, day after day, month after month. Though at times we were exhausted, we were never tired.
Today in our country, social issues, economy, and the war in Europe occupy the media, the Supreme Court, legislators and our thoughts. While healthcare and providing for people is pushed to the back. An irrational thing to do as pandemics of new and old pathogens are ravaging the world. Society is fighting to free itself from many handicapping regulations. Perhaps it is also time to free our healthcare providers from being a cashier for corporations and let them care for the sick and injured. The euphoria of such freedom would make us all feel that we are practicing above the clouds.
The following article is adopted from a page by the same name in the book: Practicing from the Heart in the Age of Technology.
Tuesday was Flag Day. On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress of the United States adopted the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States.
And next Sunday is Father's Day, to celebrate and honor our fathers. Just as a flag raises the sense of patriotism in people, Father's Day raises the sense of responsibility, affection and devotion in all of us. These two days help us celebrate our civility and sense of belonging, to our families, country, beliefs, and our fellow man.
Unfortunately, many believe that to be patriotic is to harm those who do not agree with us. But as Mahatma Gandhi said: "An eye for an eye will soon leave the whole world blind."
Sometimes, one has to go out of their way to execute the needed task. A good example of this can be seen in the work of peace activist and novelist Baroness Bertha von Suttner. Born on June 9th, 1843, in Prague. As a popular peace activist, her work was widely read. Her book "Lay Down Your Arms (1889)" was well received. In her mid 30s, she became the secretary to the industrialist Alfred Nobel.
Nobel had made a fortune as the inventor of dynamite and later through the development of weapons. Bertha became an influencing factor on Nobel and convinced him to create what is now known as "The Nobel Peace Prize." In 1905, Bertha von Suttner became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize that she had helped create.
Today, the need for peace and harmony in our turbulent world is clear. We as healthcare providers can be a catalyst in starting a spark to light the torch of hope, and we have the tools to make our torch be seen far away. Telehealth, Telemedicine, and Tele-education can carry the light of our torch around the world. Let's make our flag be one of hope and peace!
Copyright © 2021. Used with permission of TH PULSE, LLC.
The total disconnect between many politicians and leaders of the world and their constituents leave many of us bewildered. So much so that the disconnect itself has become news and limitless stock for comedians.
It brings to mind an old proverb:
A man was training his donkey by lecturing it.
A passing sage admonished him: your ass is deaf to your sermon.
As it cannot learn from your speech
Perhaps you should learn from its silence.
Two kinds add to the world tribulations, a conceited leader and an ignorant teacher! Sadly, our world is full of both.
This however is election year in many parts of the world, and there is desperation to replace many of the leaders. Unfortunately, in this fervor, we may be electing inexperienced people. Though this may seem to be the right thing to do, their lack of experience will most definitely put the world in more of a chaos. Let's be mindful of whom we elect.
Like thousands of others, I watched the movie 2001 - a space odyssey, in 1968. And was awe struck, spellbound, and hopeful for a promising tomorrow. We were fighting the Vietnam War, and the news of casualties on both sides, sickened me. Especially since, as an Air Force Medic, I was taking care of many of our boys and girls - at Wilford Hall Hospital, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas - who were seriously injured in the war.
The movie portrayed the hope for a better world just forty years ahead. I prayed and looked forward to seeing that future.
Now twenty years past that promising future, I find myself writing this article about a chaotic world of confusion and disarray, controlled by illogical and irrational politicians, religious and business leaders everywhere. Rather than reaping the beauty and bounty of the world and universe around us, we are raping and destroying the very foundation of that which our lives depend on. Once again, we are fighting wars in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Americas, while our people are senselessly killing each other in schools, malls, subways, and streets. It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity - Albert Einstein.
No place is this irrationality more evident than (to those of us) in healthcare, which have to deal with the casualties of this insanity. The picture of a nurse in a Texas Hospital, last week, said it all. She was crying while rushing an injured child to the OR, after the Uvalde massacre.
Yesterday, June 1st was the birthday of Marilyn Monroe (1926), the Hollywood actress of the forties and fifties. Who died of an overdose in 1962. She was an orphaned and abused child who had witnessed the inhumanity of man first hand. Still, she tried to add some humility and happiness to this world by her acting. Just before her death, she made this appeal: "What I really want to say: That what the world really needs is a real feeling of kinship. Everybody: stars, laborers, Negroes, Jews, Arabs. We are all brothers. Please don't make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe." The published article did not make known her plea.
Many of us have since, and are now making the same plea. Pray that it will not fall on deaf ears!
In the face of recent calamitous events, my heart and mind are numb to the violence and brutality of all that is occurring in our country and the world. The fact that the politicians, religious, and business leaders continue to send their condolences to families of the victims, while doing absolutely nothing to remedy the problem, is a testament to how indifferent they really are.
The following is an excerpt of the page on Memorial Day, from my book: Practicing From the Heart in the Age of Technology. Perhaps we should make this, a day to remember the victims of broken societies as well.
Memorial Day is when we remember those who gave their lives to defend our country. It is noteworthy that a year after the end of the Civil War, in April 1866, four women of Columbus, Mississippi gathered together to decorate the graves of the Confederate soldiers buried in their town. They also felt moved to honor the Union soldiers buried there and to note the grief of their families by decorating their graves as well. The story of their gesture of humanity and reconciliation is now told and retold in Mississippi as being the occasion of the original Memorial Day.
Another heart-warming Memorial Day story is that of the Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel in the mountains north of Angle Fire, New Mexico.
Following the death of their son, U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Victor David Westphall III, Jeanne and Dr. Victor Westphall decided to build a memorial in his honor and the fifteen men that died with him near Con Thien, South Vietnam on May 22, 1968, and the Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel in Angle Fire, New Mexico was erected. The Chapel was dedicated on May 22, 1971, the 3rd anniversary of the death of their son. It was the first major memorial created to honor the veterans of the Vietnam War and inspired the establishment of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which was completed ten years later in 1982.
In circa 1982, a group of veterans and motorcycle enthusiasts made a pilgrimage to the site to honor their fallen comrades and to visit the one of a kind memorial. Somehow the word got out in that era of no Internet and many more made the trip the next year and every year since, so that the 2018’s Memorial Day event (the last big event before the Covid pandemic) attracted some 20,000 to Angle Fire, New Mexico.
Copyright © 2021. Used with permission of TH PULSE, LLC.
Dressed in your best, you wait. Pressed gowns adorn anxious bodies, caps on, tassels hanging.
It's graduation and expectation day.
Happy that school is over, anxious for what now?
It seems that you have spent your entire life working toward this day, this place, this time.
To get this permission, this license, this authorization to claim your place in this world.
And the world is waiting for you, with its hand out.
To take that which you have worked so hard to achieve.
Do you really owe anyone anything?
After all, you did all the work. All the learning, the proving of your worth.
Isn't that what this day is all about?
The world awaits you, try all of it for size!
It is said that a person is born twice,
Once to the parents who bore him/her
And once to the community, he/she chooses to live in.
Find the part of the world that fits you best
For today is truly the first day of the rest of your life!
Accept your diploma, turn the tassel on your cap
Toss it up in the air with a shout.
Go forth and make your mark!
Make it a good mark, a mark,
Congratulations! As a healthcare provider, you are needed all around the world. Consider volunteering for a short time with many International Organizations such, as Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, Peace Corps, The Addis Clinic, and many others. You can find a link to many of them on our website.
You will find the experience life changing beyond anything you can imagine and lessons that will help you for the rest of your professional life - I promise!
she is a teaser!
With her tormenting winds, she plays with man and nature alike.
Showing a cleavage of summer and uplifted wind blown skirt, she
excites and arouses the world with fantasies of pleasure of the months
yet to come.
Winter hangs on to her flowing skirt as she flirts with the sun and sky.
Every peek of the sun brings a warmth to the coldness of plant and animal alike.
And with every rise in temperature, blades of grass peek through the
snow and buds open on the trees as they dance back and forth
to the tempo of the wind.
After every use, I clean the fire stove in anticipation of the coming
warm days only having to run back into the forest in search of scraps
of wood to make one more fire, and watch her giggle and tease by
blowing snowflakes into my face.
It is May and there is ice on the pond. The lilacs spread their aroma through
the snow, and apple blossoms shiver and smile with every blow of the wind.
I too, play hide and seek with my winter and summer clothes as I wait
for her to stop her teasing games, and in anticipation of the coming
summer, I open the windows a tad more.
The Gathering of Nations Powwow, an annual festivity of the Native Americans and indigenous from around the world, is held in April, in New Mexico. A celebration of cultures to honor the traditions of ancestors by reflecting, praying, dancing, and singing.
It is a time of unity of customs, minds, and spirits. The Powwow dance is an integral part of this festivity. An ongoing ballet of bodies to a hypnotic drum beat. The rhythmic rise and descent of bodies in unison creates an atmosphere of commonality and harmony. It binds all thoughts, beliefs and desires in a euphoric, vitalizing, and exhilarating environment. The young and the old feel it in their hearts and souls. Circle of life, expressed in the motion of the moment. Leaping, singing, and playing, a mystical communion of rituals, traditions, and conventions.
The principle is universal, spiritual and familiar, as I have witnessed it on the other side of our world in the twirling rhythm of the Sufi and dervishes' dance.
It is also a connecting with all that is natural. The leap, mankind's declaration of independence from the hold of the earth. A moment of freedom and then the solid ground, a reminder of where we belong. Hearts pumping, muscles bouncing, spirits soaring into a trance of unifying individual beings into a harmonious commonality.
Such cultures are common around the world. Much however is being lost to the greed, self-indulgence, and decadence of modern society and the social order of our times. Perhaps it is time to share an old dance with that new anyone with whom we have differences.
As I was walking down the hill,
A Cholla* spine stabbed my heel.
In protest, I screamed and in response, it said to me;
You are mobile, I am not. Go around for I am still.
Reza Ghadimi - November 1996
Rising seas, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, floods and fires. Epidemics, wars, refugees, homelessness and famine.
Nature and history are screaming alarms, is anyone listening?
* Cholla (or Choya) A type of cactus with needle sharp spines.