From whence we come – the stars over 13 billion years ago. A humble awareness of our small and vital place in the universe to nurture and care for all below – water, ocean, land – habituating all living things. Our charge as human beings now and forever going forward must be to care for all in our precious environment on Earth – sky, sea, land, and each other in our global community.
The topic of my dissertation at Columbia came from Watergate. At the time Art Buchwald had a column in the Washington Post “14 points of Watergate”. No. 13 was “What is it those involved in Watergate learned in law school that made them think what they were doing was ethical?” I thought there must be commonalities and qualities that apply to all professions. From there my dissertation on Professional Behavior in Education and Practice and validated to apply to all professions. A timeless study and so relevant today.
We can only hope we evolve out of the pandemic, our active part is to get vaccinated, wear mask, and advocate for global access and distribution.
Difference between pandemic of 100 years ago and today –
Lillian Wald, founder of modern-day public health nursing
Then – Prevalence of a strong public health system with a focus on primary care, prevention, health promotion, and maintenance. With the holistic view of the individual/ family/community as the Client.
Now- Decimation of the U.S. public health system to focus on fee-for-service/for-profit sick care medical/insurance/ pharmaceutical/nursing home, medical devices industries.
Then, holistic public health nursing focus on collaborative treatment of the Client.
Today – U.S. has the highest incidence of and deaths from Covid-19 in the world. U.S. ranks #37 in WHO statistics in basic health indices and last among developed countries by the Commonwealth Fund.
Angela Merkel for president of the World.
The world needs Dr. Merkel’s leadership, insight, understanding, compassion, intuition to peacefully bring decision-makers to reflect truth, honesty, humane values, not weapons/war/drones/destruction.
The First, 2021
Madame Vice-president Kamala Harris
Madame Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Amanda Gorman, poet, Inauguration 2021 “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
Prince Harry with courage to break out of the only life he knew to free his spirit for social justice advocacy from what John Oliver termed an “emotionally stunted” system.
Antidote to the Pandemic
My grandfather, W.C. Fields films, for Humor is the best medicine of all. W.C. Fields said, “If I can make them laugh and through that laughter make this old world seem just a little brighter, then I am satisfied.” What the world needs now. https://www.wcfields.com
Antidote to the Pandemic in two words – Cary Grant (any film on TCM).
Reflections on Thanksgiving 2021 and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Native American women brought meaning to the Day – thankfulness, sharing, love, peace. Reciting blessing of tribal elders – “Creator and Ancestors, we honor you for all things. We honor the Lenape people of Manahatta and all our relations. Now we are here; and will always be here. And so it is.” Acknowledging the original Native American territory of Manhattan.
There is Hope with respect, dignity, humane kindness to all in our small global community, then there is Peace within and without – individual, family/support system, community – local, national, global.
W.C. FIELDS New Year’s Gift 2021 – TCM (Turner Classic Movies) screens IT’S A GIFT January 1, 2021 primetime at 8pm. (W.C. Fields third film on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress). W.C. Fields Gift of hope for 2021 – follow your Dream!
I recently screened this film at the Kwetu Film Institute in Kigali, Rwanda. Kwetu is part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) International Outreach Program, and it is AMPAS who put me in contact with Kwetu and founder Eric Kabera when I first went to Rwanda in 2012. We have been screening my grandfather’s films there ever since.
When I screened It’s A Gift the students, all survivors of the genocide of 1994 laughed all the way through. After I asked them what made them laugh, they said It’s about family, it’s about real life, W.C. Fields never gets mad, he never gets angry, he never hits, he never gives up hope, he never gives up on his dreams.
I thought to myself this is profound, for the film students are really describing themselves, all survivors of the genocide, they could have chosen other paths, but they saw in W.C. Fields universal gift of understanding the human condition through humor, their own choices of following their dreams in film.
There is hope in 2021, and the Timelessness of W.C. Fields Art and healing power of Humor will guide us through. see http://www.wcfields.com for more.
Comment to Nicholas Kristof article and relevance today of my dissertation topic on Professional Behavior, Columbia University Teachers College.
Interview at Global Network of Public Health Nursing International Conference 2019 May 2019, Nairobi, Kenya. Empowerment of Women with Professional Nursing Leadership in Humane Health Care Reform. The only model that looks to unrecognized women in their villages as the source of knowledge, strength, and power. With Train the Trainer programs for community health workers and nurses to learn how to supervise.
I do global health work in Rwanda empowering women in health in rural villages. Rwanda’s model of Reconciliation post Genocide 1994, where nearly 1,000,000 people were slaughtered in less than four months, is an unsung model of healing for the world community – Israel/Palestine/Gaza, the Middle East, yes, even families. What is reparations, is it money doled out to whom, where is the accountability for funds getting to intended need? How is corruption and greed prevented?
Reconciliation involves all concerned – perpetrators and victims sitting down and confronting and facing each other. For all are now survivors committed to a stronger unified society. Rwanda’s progress is remarkable, leading Africa in WHO and UN Sustainable Development Goals. Neighboring countries in East Africa marvel at the progress and recovery post Genocide. Rwanda now has the highest percentage of women in government than any country in the world – 64 percent, the U.S. a paltry 19%. Yet, healing and recovery from the trauma and unimaginable mass suffering, murder, torture, violence, rape, and abuse, especially to women will take generations if ever. As with the Holocaust, it must never be forgotten, so it will never be repeated, lessons for today.
How is reconciliation different from reparations? Rwanda’s Reconciliation model went village to village with all participants judging their neighbor perpetrators and weighing ‘reparations’ – prison or not. As well, one Saturday a month is set aside for each citizen to perform community service to enhance the local village, community, and country. Reconciliation is a model including a narrower construct of reparations. I ask citizens, leaders, Embassy officials – how do you account for the remarkable turnaround, all say to a person – leadership and a desire to do and be better.
What would reconciliation look like in the U.S. for the crimes of slavery? It can be done by eliminating the blockage of the social determinants of health that prevent communities and individuals and families in these communities from thriving. Transportation, access to primary health care, productive jobs and opportunities, schools that are equipped with resources, both human and capital, to produce future productive citizens with a joy and purpose in life and society. Decent housing, reverse food deserts with ready access to fresh produce and healthy foods. What communities lack these requirements for health or as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) describes as the “Culture of Health”? Look around, we do not have to look far, inner cities, racially segregated reflecting the values – politics of government.
Here in Washington, DC, we have these communities within view of the U.S. Capitol Dome. The U.S. ranks #37 in basic health indices according to WHO data for all ‘developed’ countries. Within view of the U.S. Capitol, there are high schools with no toilet paper; every visit to Office Depot there are school teachers spending hundreds of dollars of their own money for school supplies. Of the G20 Nations, the U.S. ranks at the bottom in striving for UN Sustainable Development Goals, just below Russia. These goals address basic human rights like good health and well-being, no poverty or hunger, quality education, gender equality, clean water (Flint, MI) and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry-innovation-infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities. Responsible consumption and production, climate action, protection of waterways and ocean-life below water, life on land-ecosystem and environment, peace, justice and strong institutions, partnerships for the Goals.
Now let’s look to the tax bill of 2018, who benefits? Those who pushed it through Congress – Ivanka Trump as ‘special advisor to the president’ has said this is her greatest policy achievement. Look again, whom does it benefit, the swamp the president continues to flow in and out of the White House.
For hope, there is always the 2020 elections to take step by step to remove barriers to communities suffering from health disparities, injustices, and lack of access to social determinants of health, and the values manifested in politics devoid of moral courage and ethics. Starting with the for profit pharmaceutical, insurance and sick-care, fee for service medical industrial complex strangling all citizens.
It does seem that Jeremy Corbyn and party have failed, not speaking up with constructive alternatives. Rather, name calling the battered Teresa May. As well, it appears that Teresa May, brave and strong, has dug into a narrow position of the slim vote for Brexit, as the raison d’etre to urge her on.
MPs timid with no direction popping up from green leather banquettes (or is it plastic) in Parliament. The sycophants of cowardly males scurrying about – Boris Johnson off on his bike, Farage prancing the stage with no future vision. And, most of all, the conceit of David Cameron to propose the Brexit vote in the first place, thinking this would ensure his reign as PM with a no vote.
It does seem another vote is in order, a breath of fresh air to clear the noggins of those who voted Brexit, to now vote to Stay in the EU. Then my paternal ancestral heritage will be where it belongs with all the others across the pond, from whence many of our ancestors on this side came. For long ago, the sun ceased to set on the shrinking Empire. Speaking for my maternal ancestral heritage, perhaps Northern Ireland will join the Republic; and Russia will stay out of Britain and U.S. elections.
Yes, here in Washington, we have hope of the 2020 elections to dig us out of our mess. For the UK, not so much hope in sight, a great pity. Cannot we all do better than what we have wrought now.
ANGELA MERKEL for President of the World –
Staring down lies, falsehoods, bullies – G7 Summit, Quebec, Canada, 2018
Senator Kamala Harris – September 2018, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Kavanaugh –
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stands up to bullies and speaks with grace, truth, and strength.
No one in public service today speaks with the same clarity of what the Constitution empowers all citizens of a country whose founding is based on ideas, not nationalism, not ethnic enclaves, not tribalism, but strength in unity and our diversity. Speaker Pelosi educates the public to what the responsibility is of all citizens and empowers us to believe and act. Most of all – Vote.
Hillary Rodham Clinton – the most qualified individual ever to run for President. The process and results mingled with sexism and the media not questioning falsehoods with the destructive result in the White House today. Talk of a new generation – where are the ideas? Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton. Who is dismissed for ageism, who is not? Sexism is the most toxic ‘ism’ in the world today. Look only to the fall out of war and disorganization in fragile societies – it is the rape and abuse of women, to keep girls from education. The fear of cowardly males to communicate, negotiate, talk, use words for understanding not weapons, negotiate from compassion and dignity of the individual and respect, not brute force that kills and destroys the killers. Returning veterans still in their youth are haunted by the scenes ever-present on the ‘orders’ of their superiors – to kill with impunity, return still young and questioning their unique experience and how to incorporate into productive lives in the future. Look only to the ongoing wars this country has waged in recent times, starting with George W. Bush false invasion of Iraq leading to the dissembling of the Middle East. Yes, dictators organically would have been removed, perhaps generations from now, but not by the ignorance and arrogance of the male weapon. It is the women in fragile societies, such as the young women Nobel Peace Prize winners Malala Yousafzai and Nadia Murad, a Yazidi rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery by Islamic State, who have the vision and guiding light. Educators and Education will raise societies and awareness to bring truth, beauty, and justice to the surface and mainstream compassion, respect, and dignity in all interactions – personal, family, local, regional, national, global.
Michelle Obama –
“When they go low, we go high.” Said in support of Hillary Clinton, 2016, and for truth, honesty, integrity.
In 2018, Michelle Obama adds, “I absolutely still believe that we’ve got to go high ― always and without exception. “It’s the only way we can keep our dignity. Because if we lose our dignity, what do we have left?
“When someone’s trying to pull you down into the mud, it takes a lot less effort to give in and join them in the muck than to keep yourself upright, standing tall. If you allow yourself to play on their terms, they win. It’s what they want you to do. You can’t give them the satisfaction.” Continuing, “Now, going high doesn’t mean giving up or ignoring reality. It doesn’t mean you shy away from the fight or weaken your principles. It means you lead with your whole heart and your whole soul — your whole value system — and not just whatever happens to be your stance on a given issue. Going high isn’t just about the fight you want to win, but it’s also about the person you want to be — and the kind of country you want to have….But we never lose sight of our goal. We never stop working. And we never stop trying to set a good example for the next generation.”
Photo of Exhibit – “R.T./S.R./V.S.” – Matti Braun (Berlin) at Rubin Museum of Art, NYC http://rubinmuseum.org/images/content/A_Lost_Future__Matti_Braun_Final.pdf
Tree Bark in Water – natural elements in a strange place. Take the first step, shaky timid yet with anticipation, embrace the journey, endless possibilities, gain strength, joy, hope, freedom. Knowing one cannot look back but forward, let go to what is not attainable, the exhilaration of the discovery – the future, the present, the past are all fluid.
Much like playwright Will Eno’s last line in Title and Deed, “Wherever you go, don’t be lost too long.” Take the first step to the rest of your life.
Hold fast and deep to your Moral Courage and Depth of Integrity. Always question, ask Who, What, Where, Why, How, When? Do not accept statements as fact from any source, including family, do not be afraid, hold on to your core values, follow your inner light.
I return to Rwanda in May 2019
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
Liberty cannot be established without morality.
Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831