“ObamaCare” and the End of the World As We Know It

Chicken Little (2005 film)

Chicken Little (2005 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hadn’t even seen the news about the Supreme Court ruling before I had one of the funniest things I’ve seen pop up on my Facebook feed:

Ha ha…..whoever wrote this is a genius. Very, very true.

There are many things I don’t understand in this world, but the number one thing may very well be that people are so willing to panic before even knowing if there is a problem.

Here is the thing: I have ultra liberal friends who think the passage of the healthcare bill is the best thing to come out of Washington since Abe Lincoln. I have ultra conservative friends who think that if you look at the nearest hillside you’ll spot Nero fiddling….but what we should recognize is that both sides are most likely wrong.

I think we can all agree that the healthcare system in this country needs fixing, and the expense involved is only one of the issues. Unfortunately, the complexity and size of the problem makes reform extraordinarily difficult, and let’s face it, any plan for change is going to be met with a lot of resistance. There is no way healthcare reform is going to make things better for everyone, the point is to make the system sustainable and accessible for as many people as possible, and leaving the system “as-is” is not going to be an option for much longer. So the question on the table right now is this: Is “ObamaCare” the best fix?……….Well, who knows????? How about we give it a chance to work first and then decide?

I have my reservations to be sure, and there are things I’ll be watching as this bill gets put into effect. I’m especially concerned about what the insurance companies are going to do with this sudden windfall of clients. I wonder how healthcare services are going to be charged once there is no need to bump up prices to recover income that was lost due to clients with no insurance. In an ideal world prices for services and insurance premiums would go down, but I recognize that we live in a more Enron type of world so I’m not holding my breath that companies are going to do the right thing.

Neither am I panicking. I don’t think this is the beginning of the end of Western society. I don’t think this is going to ruin my life or put me in the poorhouse. I do think a great deal of good can come out of this for many families in the US who will now have free or low cost insurance available to them. I know people who have children with chronic illnesses who no longer have to worry about what will happen when their kids reach adulthood and need insurance to cover their treatment costs. Those are good things.

So, I ask everyone reading this blog to take a deep breath and even if you think this is a terrible piece of legislation sit back for just a little while and see what happens. Maybe it will be better than you think. If not, then it’s time to lobby and advocate for another overhaul……. And if you are an ObamaCare supporter please look at what happens over the coming months and years and acknowledge the flaws in the plan (because there will be some) and be willing to change them. Time will tell.

I’m not willing to be a Pollyanna or a Chicken Little. If you feel the same, please like, follow, comment on, and/or share my blog. Thanks everyone for your support, great comments and blogging ideas.

Heartbroken, and Disbelieving

I watched….or should I say, started to watch a video online today. You may have seen it. It was the 10 minute video of a bunch of kids on a bus harassing and making fun of their bus monitor.

She sat there crying.

They laughed and continued, growing bolder in their language and the types of things they were saying to her, while someone on the bus recorded it. Here it is, but I warn you the language is terrible and it will break your heart.

I was able to watch a couple of minutes until I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I had two thoughts.

1. How beaten down by life do you have to be to have a bunch of (what looked like) middle-school kids call you a fat ass (and worse) and you just sit there and take their abuse without even trying to discipline them?

2. How do you watch that level of pain and distress in someone and not have any empathy for them or shame in what you’re doing?

To the first thought, I have some answers. The woman in the video is a widow who also has buried a child….making some of the kids’ comments even more horrific…..so she has known a lot of sorrow. She apparently struggles to make ends meet, another thing the kids made fun of, which we all know can be an incredible stressor. Maybe she kept quiet because she knew if she started yelling she wouldn’t stop, or maybe she was afraid that if she said anything she would end up in trouble, which in this day and age is entirely possible. Either way, her quiet acceptance of their abuse was a terrible thing to witness.

To the second thought, I have no answers. I just don’t understand. When I asked my daughter about whether or not she’d seen this video, she said that she had and that it didn’t surprise her because “kids are awful”.


I think I may be as astounded by her answer as I was about the initial video. I assume it means she has either witnessed or been the recipient of similar bullying, or maybe both. That makes me sad, but I also remember how cruel kids can be from my own childhood. Bullying is nothing new, as many of us probably know all too well, and the cure for bullying is empathy.

So my question, dear reader is this:

Can you teach empathy or is it a quality you are born with? How can we help our kids understand their words have power and that we have the ability to wound others with them?

I would really like to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment and share. The more people who join in the discussion the better.

Oh, Michigan….here we go again.

I go away for a week and the politicians start going stone cold crazy on me.

It’s called a vagina people.

50% of the population has one and most of the other 50% enjoy them.

Apparently, though, it is too foul a word to be used in mixed company and it’s use deserves a gag order, at least in the Michigan House of Representatives…. I honestly don’t even know what to write about this; I feel like my head is spinning with all of the indignation and outrage I feel over the continued attempts of the legislature to practice medicine, yet words fail me.

Frontier Nursing University’s campus in on the side of a mountain in a remote part of Kentucky. I loved it!

Last week I was in Hyden, Kentucky in some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen. Beautiful mountains, covered in forests, small rivers and creeks everywhere. For this Dallas girl who is used to a flat landscape and little water it was wonderful. I was there to attend my orientation at Frontier Nursing University and I had the opportunity to listen to the stories of some pioneers of midwifery. Two of the speakers were midwives who had once ridden horseback through those same mountains to provide healthcare to the rural families who lived there. (One of the midwives stated her age as 86, the other was perhaps in her 70’s)

The interesting thing was that they both independently mentioned how life changing the introduction of the  Pill was to these women. Their mortality rate in childbirth went way down. They and their children were healthier. Both women strongly advocated for reproductive choice and encouraged all of the budding midwives and nurse practitioners in front of them to stand up and fight for women’s rights in the healthcare system.

I honestly cannot believe that in the year 2012, there are white men in suits and ties sitting in a room making decisions which will have life altering consequences for all women, but most especially minority women (according to statistics).

All I can say, once again, is that now is not the time to be silent. Maybe you live in a progressive state where women’s reproductive choices are not currently threatened, but be aware of what is going on around you. If we remain passive, our choices are going to be made for us. Morality is being legislated right before our eyes, and I can’t help but think it is a slippery slope.

I have dedicated my life to caring for moms and their babies. Every birth I witness is wondrous to me, no matter that I’ve seen hundreds of them. I am continually humbled to be present as a new life comes into the world……and I believe with all my heart that women have to be able to choose whether or not to bring a new life into the world.

I hope that we can provide easy access to contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and to support all pregnant moms so that abortion isn’t the only option to them. But it seems that the powers that be want to limit access to abortion, and contraception and sex education. What kind of sense does that make?

So let me end by saying this…….



Take that Michigan Legislature!

The Real Defense of Marriage

Today is my 18th anniversary, and I’m pretty damn proud of the years my husband and I have had together. Certainly not the “happily ever after” promised in all of my favorite Disney fairy tales, “just” two people trying to navigate through the twists and turn life has to offer, together.

I am a big believer in marriage, although it seems to be ever so slowly falling out of favor which is understandable given the statistics on divorce, and the growing social acceptance of living together and/or having children without being married. It’s like, why bother with the fuss of a wedding and changing names, paperwork and all that crap when there’s only a 50/50 chance we’re going to stay together anyway?

Well, in what may be my most conservatively held view, I would like to say that I believe marriage is important, and I think it’s different from other long term relationships. When you stand up before your family and friends or even just a religious leader or judge and declare yourselves bound to each other there is a shift in your relationship that goes beyond giggling every time you can use the word husband or wife to describe your partner, and extends into every aspect of your life.

I love a good romantic comedy. I also love wedding shows and “Say Yes To the Dress“. I will admit that I love the fantasy world of gowns, champagne, unrelenting passion and yes, “happily ever after”. I do, however understand, that this is fantasy. The reality, which took years of frustrated expectations to understand, is that marriage is a discipline, like a religious life, a regular exercise schedule or an alternative diet. You can live differently, but you choose and commit to putting constraints on your actions in the belief that those constraints will make your life better in the long term.

Fidelity, teamwork, support, physical affection and appreciation…..none of these are consistently easy over a lifetime. It’s not too difficult to let one or more of these disciplines lapse, and even more difficult is that marriage can’t be marriage without both partners committed to it’s discipline and like many other disciplines, there is a slippery slope of forgetting what’s important until you have fallen out of the lifestyle you once committed to.

I went to a Catholic High School, which is, in fact, where my husband and I met, and while I can’t say there are a lot of lessons learned there that I still remember after all these years, I distinctly remember a religion class in which the teacher talked about love and how it is not a feeling, but a verb. He admonished us to endeavor to do something every day to demonstrate that we loved our partners once we found them….a romantic gesture, a supportive hug on a bad day, a word of appreciation or admiration….anything that let him/her know that they were more than just a roommate. My husband and I  haven’t always been very good at this I’ll admit, but when we do remember his advice our marriage is a much more contented one.

We are very conscious of the fact that our marriage, besides being beneficial to us will have a lasting impact on our kids. We are trying to be good examples of what a marriage is and provide a stable and secure family for them to grow up in. We can either model healthy and loving interaction (even if arguing) or we can model anger, resentment and vindictiveness….because let’s face it, marriage is hard and we all have those negative emotions to cope with from time to time. The question is do we give in to our worst impulses or do we remember that the person who we may want to smack right now is actually our life’s partner and the one person we need to be gentle with, especially during those times it is hardest to be gentle. (A real struggle for me I admit.)

So, yes, I would like to defend the institution of marriage. I think it is a discipline which is beneficial to children and society in general. I do not, however, believe it should be limited to opposite sex relationships. The definition of marriage is in the discipline, not in the gender of the people committing to it. Any two people who are willing and eager  to enter this type of commitment, who love each other with the depth needed to spend a lifetime together, should have the right to do so. Period. End of story.

Today I’d like to say, “Happy Anniversary” to my husband, who has made me laugh on an almost daily basis, and who is supporting and encouraging me to pursue the dream of a lifetime.

I’d also like to say to all same-sex couples who are still fighting for the right to be married, that I support you completely and I hope that very soon the discriminatory laws which keep you from legally committing to your partner are lifted. Those of us who believe in marriage equality will continue to stand with you until that day comes.

Better Late Than Never: Jumping on the Vlogbrothers Bandwagon

English: Hank and John Green in 2008

English: Hank and John Green in 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you despair of what your kids are learning on the internet, I want to point you (and them) in the direction of the Vlogbrothers. They are the antidote for inane teen and tween fare like The Jersey Shore, Teen Moms and every other crappy piece of entertainment that glorifies acting stupidly and making bad decisions.

For the uninitiated, the Vlogbrothers are Hank and John Greene. Hank is a musician and environmentalist. John is an author. (His novel, The Fault In Our Stars, which my daughter insisted I read, was wonderfully moving. I recommend it…although perhaps with a box of tissues at hand.)

Their vlogs are funny and entertaining, and sometimes very silly. However they are also informative, relevant and apparently, inspiring. They talk about a wide range of subjects from history, math and science, to pop culture, to embracing your inner nerdiness regardless of what those around you may say.

They make it cool to be smart. They encourage uniqueness. They are models of an inquisitive spirit and the importance of paying attention to current events. Of course, they don’t put it that way….they tell their viewers DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome) and to fight “world-suck”….and they have a loyal and passionate following, my daughter being one of them. They don’t shy away from sensitive subjects and they communicate with teens and young adults at their level, with great humor and a touch of language (which is bleeped out).

I have just started exploring their vlogs, and I love everything I’ve seen so far. Check them out, or ask your kids if they’ve already checked them out. I’ll leave you with one of their  vlogs and the admonition DFTBA!

I can proudly report that I “got” almost all of the jokes. Had to look up Schrodinger’s cat though, and I’m still not sure I understand the concept. I’ll have to ask a physicist friend to help me out on that one.