Silver lining, a glimpse of hope in finding refuge in our community.

It has been a little over a week since an antiquated electoral college system made a madman President-elect of the most powerful nation in the world. We have gone through all but one stage of grief. There has been tears, grief, anger, protest but no acceptance. How can we accept as our leader someone who has enticed so much hatred? We have gone too far as a nation, as a people, to simply resign ourselves to four years of bigotry, racism, misogyny and intolerance or to put it bluntly, fascism.

In the last 8 days, we have heard of countless accounts of hate crime, violence towards women, people being targeted in places where they are supposed to feel safe, a French restaurant in Brooklyn, a bus, a college campus. For anyone to think that this is just a coincidence is purely delusional. These attacks are a direct consequence of months of Mr Trump directly encouraging his supporters to target certain groups of people, either by his rhetoric or by openly ordering them to do so. There hasn’t been one place where the election results was not a topic.  Medical offices had to put up signs in their waiting rooms reading “Please refrain from talking about politics as this is a place of healing”, people have randomly approached strangers and started conversations. I witnessed a man at a gas station passionately talking to drivers about a potential civil war breaking out on our beautiful land. Facebook and Instagram friends have deleted one another after decades of friendship when suddenly bigotry showed up on feeds the day after the election. To say the least, the mood of our country has been very low.

Ironically enough though, after the initial tears and shock, this outcome has brought a lot of hope and as much as it seems to have us pulled apart, it seems to have brought some of us closer together. Many have turned to social media to voice their opinion and to find comfort in the commonality. For some, it has been the only thing keeping us from depression and despair. Our desire to fight for what is just keeps us from falling apart. In a way, war has the same effect. In times of conflict, our survival mode is instinctive. We tend to work together against one common enemy. Unfortunately for us, our common enemy is our future leader and his bigoted followers. It is indeed worrisome, but we must find refuge in the fact that more people actually voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. She did win the popular vote. What we need to fight is the system, not so much each other. I personally think it is completely acceptable tjusticeo distance ourselves from those who support Trump. I tend to think that this time is too crucial to engage in arguments. People have spoken and if they have decided to support him, there is simply nothing I can say at this point that will change their mind. His supporters just had a huge victory and it is as if they were high, nothing will get through to them. They are simply too elated. We, however, cannot rest. We must prepare, organize, and create enough momentum so that our country fight the possibility of becoming an autocracy.

Thankfully, I have witnessed a lot of peaceful actions from liberals. There has been very little violence compared to what Trump supporters have done. Instead of punching, shoving, insulting people or threatening to burn someone alive because of their beliefs, faith, race or sexual orientation, we have stood up tall and marched together hand in hand to demand change. To me, the most inspiring event happening right now is the protest against the Dakota Pipeline (DAPL). Native Americans have shown us that is possible to protest peacefully and gracefully. They have proved to us, over and over that violence is not the answer and that there is strength in numbers, love, and prayers. I happen to believe that as the NO DAPL movement becomes more mainstream, it is becoming the poster child of peaceful protest. It has inspired so many and, in fact, is now even more important than ever. Our environment is at risk. People, including myself, are terrified of the consequences a Trump presidency will have on our planet.

It is clear to me that the majority of Americans believe in climate change and want a positive, healthy future for their children and generations to come.  It is in our DNA to want to succeed and be happy. Right now, we are feeling threatened by this one man and his posse who have stirred the pot of bigotry and ignorance but it has finally awakened us from our deep sleep of avoidance. We have been forced out of our comfort zone and in a way it is good. We have been energized. Every day that goes by, I feel stronger and come to appreciate things that really matter more. There is so much superficiality in our materialistic world and times like these help us center and focus on the most raw aspects of life. Happiness, peacefulness, respect,humility and integrity are all that seem to essentially matter right now. We are fighting for our rights to live without unjust rules imposed by a few.

My teenager and I often discuss reasons why we are here. Passing on knowledge and wisdom through whatever skills we have is the main one. Helping one another is obviously crucial to our survival and common happiness. There is absolutely nothing more rewarding in this world than carrying each other like Bono would sing in his 1997 U2 song entitled “One”.  Those who do not believe this are simply too distracted by all the shiny things around them! They’ve lost touch with the most basic concept there is. Our world is based on competition too much. Everywhere we turn, someone is trying to beat someone at something, or make more money, or have more than someone else. No one ever competes for less, when in reality, we should strive to have less so we can give more of what really matters, our heart.

I sincerely believe that this time, right now, is the beginning of us focusing more on the heart and less on stuff or status. I have seen so much unity in the midst of all the ugliness. What this election did is just bring everything to the surface. It has always been there. Trump is just the monster who woke it all up. But, remember, every fairy tale or myth has a hero who manages to destroy the monster. A hero usually has a pretty big posse too. I’ve seen or heard about a lot of heroes this week. Students are standing up for their immigrant, gay, black , and Muslim friends, or simply for their peers being attacked for speaking against bigotry. Strangers have taken a stand for those who were unfairly targeted. I think it’s time to shoot a new episode of that What Would You Do? show because I am pretty sure the results would be different. People are awake. They will stand for what is right. No more hiding. No more fear. And at night, or on our lunch break, we can turn to social media and see that we are not alone in this fight. We are ONE and we carry each other. Against HATE.

 

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Trump presidency: why we can’t get over it and what we can do.

Like half the country, I have been sad and worried about the outcome of Tuesday’s election. I have also been very busy and wished I could have put pen to paper earlier.

In this essay, I will address a few different things. First, I want to talk about why it is important to act and not get over it like many Trump voters are trying to encourage us to do. I will also discuss President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s reaction to Trump becoming president-elect. But mostly, I want to address the urgency Americans face to organize, reject hate and protect our neighbors from retaliation against their race, sexual orientation, religion or color.

No, we cannot move on, get over it. Trump voters’ claim is that conservatives did not take the streets when President Barack Obama was elected and therefore, we should do the same and accept the outcome. The flaw in this thinking is that these two men could not have more opposite views, and characters. When George W Bush won, many of us were sad and disappointed but we didn’t protest. We did indeed respect the voting process. Even today, most of us respect the voice of the American people even though Trump did not win the electoral vote (just like Bush), we must accept the outcome because it is how the system work. We must work hard to get rid of the electoral college system but today is not the time. We have to follow a process and change the law. What we do not accept is Trump’s hate. What we cannot get over is the anger, the hate, the bigotry, the misogyny, the racism is has enticed. That’s what we need to protest. Just 2 days after the election and there has already been countless reports of hate, from kids verbally assaulting other kids in schools, to white supremacist marching in parades. Muslims, gays, immigrants , people with disability, women, all have been attacked. Kids, Teenagers are terrified that they’re friends or family will be deported. This is just the beginning. Now that Trump has been elected, it is bound to get worse everyday. Friends, who were quiet this whole election, are now coming out and openly post racist posts on social media. Trump has given every bigot and intolerant person in this country a voice. He has given them a pass to act on their feelings, no matter how ethically wrong or illegal they may be. THIS is what we cannot ignore. THIS is why we cannot get over it.

Hillary Clinton and President Obama have a duty to work with Donald Trump. The president must ensure a smooth transition of power. This country’s future and health depends on it. We do not want to fall into another recession or worse. Think of all the hard work the President has achieved in last 8 years. He got us out of the recession Bush left us. He cannot risk things falling apart so he must work with Trump. He must guide him and the more he works with him, the more likely Trump will succeed and even change his views on some issues. Now, I know, we shouldn’t hold our breath but I am trying to address the frustration some people have had towards our President or Secretary Clinton, feeling they gave up too easily. They didn’t give up. They are looking out for us.

It is OUR job to organize and come up with a plan.

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The first thing we need to do is to report everything we witness. Through social media, we must continue to show every hate crime or bullying that happens around us. We must expose why Trump is bad for America. We are all reporters.

The second thing is to remain peaceful and not use violence. Much like NODAPL water protectors. Much like Martin Luther King, we must be willing to fight but peacefully. We must be willing to risk getting arrested but peacefully. We must show that they are abusing their power or spreading hate. Don’t make us look bad, expose THEM. Expose the anti LGBT people. Expose racists. Expose those who target Muslims. Expose those who bully immigrants children. EXPOSE. EXPOSE. EXPOSE. Use Hastags, send photos and videos to your local and national news. Send them to progressive newspapers. You see something, you report it. Because this is a form of national terrorism.

The third thing is to organize. Join every progressive, anti hate group you identify with on Twitter, Facebook, join mailing lists, etc. You need to make sure you stay up to date about what is being done by organizations that already exist. You can google the ACLU for example and join it. You can volunteer. Feeling useful is a great way to fight this awful feeling we are experiencing right now. There is strength in number.

If you are a student under 18 years old, start a club at your school, like Students against Hate and make it grow. Educate each other and discuss issues and go out do what you can but safely. You have social media on your side. In my days, we had student union organizations but we did everything by phone or word of mouth, we didn’t have the tools you guys have these days. It’s much easier to organize and gather these days. Plan on walking out and protest on Inauguration day. Don’t be afraid. Just do it peacefully.

You can also write letters to your local representatives. That’s what they do. They REPRESENT you. Even though we do not have control of either houses, we still have representatives there and they can and will be heard. But we need to hold them accountable.

Support organizations that fight for issues that Donald Trump will try to eradicate. Some of these issues are the environment ( Trump will not follow through with Paris agreement, he thinks global warming is a hoax), Planned Parenthood funding, Women’s right to choose, Immigration reforms (Donald Trump wants to make it illegal for Muslims to enter the country and wants to kick out mostly Latinos), and many more. We need to be activists. This will not be easy and it will get tiring but we need to spend the next 4 years signing petitions, making donations to the right organization, show up at rallies, etc.

I’m planning on creating a list of organizations and people to follow on social media but already you should all go make sure you follow Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore and Dan Rather.

Finally I’d like to address Donald Trump and his lies. Already he is planning on giving a seat at the table to lobbyists in his administration. Remember Trump got where he is by lying, scamming and cheating them and the system. He is NOT looking out for the average American. So we need to be very cautious. Sadly, too often, these kinds of people win before they are brought to justice. It takes courage and persistence to expose who they really are so take heart and do not give up. Find a good support system. We are stronger together. Remember, MLK walk to the bridge. It only worked because they were together, peaceful and because white people woke up and joined them. They became stronger and things changed. This is a pivotal moment in history. We do not want to repeat the bad history. We cannot go back to fascism. We must stop this now before it is too late. Go ask anyone who lived during WWII.

More later.

 

Doctors and their puppeteers

This post is more than an opinion. It is personal.

Yesterday, I asked my husband to give me some ideas about what I should write next in my blog. I told him, “Think of things that I always talk about”. He started by saying things like, “The way people drive”, etc and I thought, nah, only people in L.A. will care about reading that. (I am now however thinking about writing something about it later, just for my LA peeps). I needed something bigger. Then he said the magic word: doctors.  Just this week, I had just had a long conversation with a lady who explained to me her and her family’s experience with doctors. It was such a sad story and I felt so much sympathy for her. We both agreed that doctors just don’t listen. Below, you will see what else I think doctors do and do not do.

Let me start by saying that I believe that anyone who has the privilege to be a doctor, should do whatever in his power to use his position and skills to better people, not make them worse. As a general rule, if you decide to get a degree or train for a particular job, it should be because you want to contribute to our society in a positive way, not because you want to make a lot of money. I get very frustrated when I hear young people say they want to be lawyers or doctors because it makes a lot of money. I believe that their good income is deserved, yes, as a reward for their long course of study and their special skills, but it should also be because they are bringing the PEOPLE relief or help. Do not get me wrong, I know that many people want to become doctors because they want to help people. I do not doubt that their initial intentions are good. The problem we have here is the way our medical and pharmaceutical industries function.

In the old days, things were much simpler and revolved more about being healthy than money. I still remember how our family doctor took care of everything. We rarely went to see specialist. General practitioners were so much better than they are now. They also made house calls which of course now does not exist anymore for obvious reasons (more money is made from calling 911 or going to the ER: hospitals, doctors, EMT, so many fees). Let’s be honest here and come out and say it, the problem is money. Think about it. In the old days, yes we waited a long time at the doctor’s office, but that was because doctors took their time. It wasn’t really abnormal to spend more than 30mn, going through a thorough check and then discussing options with our trusted doctor. He always remembered who we were, didn’t need to look at his chart and never rushed us out because he was running behind.  People waiting were understanding because they knew they were going to get their problem resolved and get the best care they could get.

Pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are probably the main reason why things are so much more complicated, less efficient, less personal, more costly, and honestly not as good as what they once were. It’s not just about convenience, it’s about quality. While, there are some doctors who only care about money, most doctors want to try to do what is best for their patients but often cannot because of the 2 evil giants that control them (make that 3 if you include restriction and guidelines from medical boards). I have a doctor like that. She apologizes every time I see her because she cannot spend a lot of time talking to me. She times her visits and I therefore often leave with questions unanswered, making my visit unsatisfying. She, however, pockets my money everytime, regardless of how satisfied I am. Very often, there will be a pharmaceutical representative sitting in the waiting room, patiently sitting there, their suitcase at his feet, ready to give his sales pitch about some new drugs they want my doctor to prescribe me. This is all a very elaborate plan. They give samples to the doctors. Doctors give samples to the patients. Patients agree because, well, samples are free (and we all know how expensive prescription drugs are). If they like the sample, then they will most likely ask their doctor for more. Who will profit from this? Everyone? No, wait, if you think that patients are actually benefiting too because they end up having a good drug that will take care of their problem, think again. First of all, medicine exist to treat symptoms. It is not a cure. Let me repeat that. IT IS NOT A CURE. It covers symptoms, make them disappear for a while maybe but the minute you stop taking it, whatever your problem was often comes back, sometimes right away, sometimes months or years later. Yes, that includes antibiotics too. Doctors prescribe antibiotics as if it was Halloween candy. Antibiotics do not kill viruses and yet most doctors will prescribe them anyways. Sometimes it is just to please the patient. People need to realize how useless it is to go to the doctor when they have a cold or the flu (flu shots are another way for pharmaceutical companies to make money). We need to realize and re-learn that our body are well capable of healing itself for most problems. One of the many benefits of letting the body do its magic is that symptoms will not return.

Watch this movie, it’s funny and is a pretty accurate portrayal of pharmaceutical rep:

I was lucky. I had an amazing doctor when I was a kid. He saved my life once, came to my bedside when I could not breathe, giving me a lifesaving shot and rushing me to the hospital. He was caring, loving and to this day, I am so thankful for everything he did for me and my family. My husband also had an amazing doctor. I know some of you probably remember your childhood doctor too. I have yet to meet anyone with the same compassion and listening skills. See, doctors do not listen anymore. They might hear us, but they do not listen. I have way too many stories about doctors missing or ignoring important symptoms, thinking they already have the answer. “Here, take this pill and be on your way”, they say, only for you to return a few weeks later with the same problem or a new problem which might have been caused by the first pill you were prescribed. Again, the fact that doctors are on a deadline because of the pressure they feel from the Two Giants is a reason but what they learned in medical school is actually probably more to blame. As I started to discuss before, medical students learn to treat symptoms, not the root of the problem. Western medicine is not our friend. I sincerely believe it is one of our worst enemies. Rarely a doctor will tell you to eat healthier, etc (they might even recommend bad food, ie scolding kids who do not drink milk or vegetarian because of protein). It is much easier for them to prescribe a pill for your cholesterol than to sit and explain and try to convince you that if you would just stop eating junk, your body might have a chance to regulate itself. Doctors of course have huge liability. I can understand why doctors take the easy route. Doctors are not all to blame. Our media, our modern society driven by capitalism, having more and more things, eating more (do we really need the portions that provide us our daily recommended amount of calories in one meal??), sleeping less (overworked society), stressing more ( failing economy, etc) are only a few examples of things that just drive us to take the easy way out, take the pill the doctor prescribed or worst yet, self-medicate, drink a glass of wine, smoke a cigarette, etc.  Medical school today I am sure is not what it is used to be 50 or 100 years ago. Progress and technology bring us better ways to diagnose and treat but it does not bring us any more wisdom. 

Chinese medicine and other alternative medicine, such as homeopathy, Ayurvedic, naturopathy focuses more on healing the body naturally, meaning that it supports our system in a healthy way while it is doing its work to bring us back to health. For thousands of years, people have used many methods to rid themselves of colds, aches and pains, viruses, and even worst illnesses. Animals heal themselves naturally by retrieving into a remote location, protecting themselves from predators, and stop eating. They follow their instinct and fast until they feel better. Our mothers and grandmothers usually have the best remedies and often cure problems a lot faster and for a lot less money than conventional medicine. Alternative medicine practitioners have a tremendous amount of patience and a great love and respect for the human body. While a conventional doctor rushes you to get to his next patient for example, a certified homeopath will sit down with you between 1 to 3 hours and ask you all sorts of questions, let you speak, and listen carefully to any clue that will help him or her find the best way to bring you back to health.

About ten years ago, I went through a very frustrated time where I was in excruciating pain for 8 months before someone realized I had a tumor growing inside of me. My doctor ignored me for months, giving me some absurd reasons for my pain and suffering. She also refused to administer tests on me, because she was convinced she knew there was nothing wrong with me. It pretty much took a scream of extreme pain for her to give in. A tumor the size of a grapefruit was discovered. I was rushed to the hospital, my doctors fearing it would cut my blood flow. That was only the beginning of years of struggles with doctors until I took things in my own health. I unfortunately hear too many stories like mine, or even worse, people dying because doctors just won’t listen. If you are a woman, you probably have a story of a doctor telling you it is all “in your head”, only to realize later than you were right all along. Women, men have to be advocate for their own health. Parents need not to listen to doctors about what is best for their child, they need to do their homework and do what is best. Children need to be advocates for their elderly parents. While at the hospital, I witnessed first hand what happened when no one is there to check on nurses and doctors. They tried to remove additional organs from me. Thankfully, I was awake enough to speak up and say no. I was however discharged from the hospital with an infection. I had been complaining of pain but they discharged me anyways, only to call me 2 days later to say they had made a mistake and to put me on antibiotics right away (I had already gone to the doctor by then). Sadly, it takes unfortunate events like this to wake people up and make them realize that the best doctor sometimes is yourself. It is YOUR VOICE. Elderly people, left all alone in a hospital in a geriatric wing will often die prematurely because of the lack of care, or resistant bacteria lurking in most hospitals.

Doctors are not your best friends. Doctors is just a profession. Some take their job seriously, some stress at work and make mistakes, some just don’t care, some do not know how to handle the pressure of the medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industries. You have to learn not to trust anyone but your own instinct. I am in no way saying that you should never go to the doctor. What I am saying is that your body and your mind have the ability to do a lot more than you can imagine. Use your intelligence. Take a stand for your health or your loved ones. Do your research. Then listen to your gut. If you have a life threatening condition, you will know to go to the E.R or to seek treatment so you do not die of course. Some conditions require drastic measures. Even if you must have surgery, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself, and recover quicker. You are the boss. Your body is yours and yours only. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, do not let anyone step on you and intimidate you because of the degrees hanging on their wall. Do not take a pill just because that same guy with the degree on the wall say you should take it. I have had doctors give me pills they should not have given me (because they were not even aware of all the side effects). Overdose of prescription drugs is on the rise and the number one cause for accidental death in young people in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies are evil. They do not want us to get healthier. They make their money from us being sick. This is not  a conspiracy, this is how it works. It is simply about money and profit. They do not want you to hear about some natural remedy (that could very well be the cure for your problem) Companies are not people. If they go our of business, no one will die. You, however, could die if you do not take the appropriate steps to be your own advocate. Learn to say NO. Learn to say, let me read about it and I will get back to you. Learn to say, I will get a second opinion, or three or four!! You know very well that when a commercial for a new drugs ends with the warning, this maybe cause…..fill in the blank (death sometimes), it means you should stay away, so just don’t do it. There is always an alternative out there. There is always a solution. I am lucky. 2 or 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with yet another tumor, with 30% chance it was cancerous and 70% non cancerous. I was obviously recommended to have my thyroid removed right away. I said no. I did my homework. I also (that’s the lucky part) have a great surgeon who was on my side and agreed to just “watch it”.  Sleep on it is a great advice.

I leave you with that. I will be back to discuss fantastic ways to heal our body, good doctors or alternative healing advocates.

Peace, Health and Love, always.