A Note To The Dems on 2020

This is our present situation:

The US debt is beyond preposterous.

There are children in cages. Some of the children that used to be in cages are… we don’t know. Families are torn up by this. Children are dying. Asylum seekers are dying.

White nationalism is on the rise. People are dying.

Women’s rights to control their bodies are being taken away. Women will be dying.

Our Vice President doesn’t believe in gay rights.

Farmers in the Midwest are losing their farms due to storms, and the administration’s trade war.

The cost of medicines means people are dying.

Our military are being used as police in our country.

We have 12 years to save the planet.

The Republicans want people to not have health insurance.

… and that’s just off the top of my head!

=> If we don’t want these things to be true in January of 2021, you need to win. There is no other option for America. < =

So how can we make sure that happens?

I beg you for civility toward other Democratic candidates. You don’t have to attack them if they make an error — even if the media wants you to. If somebody messes up, say “That’s up to them to explain, not me to judge”.

I beg supporters from “rival” camps to simply get off Twitter if they want to attack. My grandmother used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Our only rival is the man in the White House. “Eating our young” does no one any good.

Encourage voting … not voting for your candidate, just voting.

Then let the voters decide. If Mary wins Ohio, let her have Ohio. If Bill wins Utah, let Bill have Utah.

When all of the votes are counted, as we head to the convention, let that be our answer about who is the candidate. Let the candidate pick their Vice President. Frankly, I’d rather we not choose our own version of Sarah Palin or Dan Quayle. Let us have the best Vice President who can fill in any policy areas the President might be weaker in, but let us trust our candidate.

Then, when we have the candidate that the most people voted for, get behind them.

Then, in the ensuing melee between the Democrats and the Republicans, the candidate should take no BS from them. If they verbally abuse, don’t pretend they didn’t. If they lie, call them on their lies. If they use a “dog whistle”, ask them to clarify. If they say “I’m going to do X”, make them prove that they can. If you doubt them, doubt them publicly. If you think they’re cheating, say they’re cheating. If they use FOX news for a bona fide treat it like it’s Wikipedia.

Don’t be afraid to be intelligent.

Don’t be afraid to be kind to the American people.

Don’t be afraid to be brave for the American people.

Don’t be afraid to be you. If you got this far based on that, we already like you.

Always tell the truth. It’ll stun them at first, then they’ll be impressed.

Acknowledge your mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. Explain how you’ll do better in the future. If you need help here, ask an appropriate other candidate. How do women feel? Ask one. How do Black people feel about a mistake? Ask one.

The problem here is not that we don’t have a qualified candidate. We have 20 of them. Bernie and Warren understand economic corruption and economic decency. Kamala is brilliant, ethical, and knowledgeable about the law. Joe knows about international issues. Beto is the hardest working man in the business. Pete is kind, and intelligent. Others are veterans, and war heroes. I don’t even like Gildebrand, but she surpasses Trump simply by getting up in the morning. And she sticks up for women, and veterans. If that statement seems hypocritical after all I’ve said, note I don’t have to like everything someone says or does to vote for them. Also, any of the candidates is better on a bad day than Trump is on a good day. The point here is that If our candidate doesn’t know every answer, we have plenty of people who do. We are all in this together. We have to be. The fate of our country depends on it.

Ultimately, the fate of the world depends on it, but let’s win the country first. Seriously. Ok?

Resisting with Peace,

John

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Halena and Her Kidney

Intersectional” is a word the cool kids use nowadays. It’s used to describe movements that overlap in their movement toward justice. For instance, Black Lives Matter might support the Parkland Kids and the Parkland Kids might support Sandy Hook Promise – because everybody wants to feel safe, no matter the color of their skin or their ability to vote or how much trauma they’ve suffered.

Halena Sajko’s life is intersectional. I know her from church, others know her from her job of 30 years at University of Hartford, others know her as someone who stands against hate in their community and active in any number of Christian activities, including Family Promise, which works with the homeless.. Still others know her as a kind and fun person to be around. In short, Halena’s time is pretty much available to anyone, so she knows a lot of people in a lot of places. 

Two years ago, life was as it should be, all of the above things were true, but she was retiring, so she’d have time to enjoy whatever she wanted, and could choose to rest… or not, as it pleased her. She could hang out with her friend Ellen. She could play with Yogi the dog.  Life was a joy.

Then something happened. She became sick with vasculitis and she stayed sick. After a while the doctor, they determined that her kidneys were now deteriorating, because of it. If things kept up this way, she could die.  Before that, though, she would have dialysis and be kept alive by that.

For those not familiar with dialysis, it basically is a filtering of your blood while you’re hooked up to a machine that is attached to your vein. After a while, the vein gives out, and they put in a “fistula”, which is a short plastic piece put in your vein that lasts for a long time. But dialysis isn’t the cure. It’s not particularly fun, and it wears you out when it is done.  A few years ago, I had a client on a dialysis machine three days a week – basically every other day. He would go in feeling kind of “cloudy” as the toxins of normal digestion built up in his system. They would put him in a chair for a few hours, let him watch TV during that time, and he would be much less “cloudy” when he was done – but he was tired. I guess having blood removed from your body and put back in it is a strain on the body. Still, it seemed like he could go on like this forever, as he was waiting for a kidney donor and a transplant. I think he was in his 50’s or so when he suddenly died. I think it was too much strain on his heart or something. In any case, he was dead suddenly, due to his kidneys having problems for many years. 

My mom had kidney problems for years and years, so I know a little about kidney transplants, dialysis and such. In order of worsening, here’s what deteriorating kidneys are treated. 1) A person has a healthy kidney, and will live a full life. 2) A person has, or gets, a disease of the kidney. The kidney deteriorates and one of two things will happen. Either the person will not get treatment and die, or they will be put on dialysis and not die. People on dialysis are often happy to be alive and are grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the life they have. 3) While the kidneys continue to deteriorate, the doctors put the person on a waitlist and look for a donor kidney. This yields the same sort of results: If you get a donor kidney, you stay alive. My mom had a kidney that lasted 25 or 35 years. If you don’t get a transplant, you die like my client did. 

But wait, there’s more! Even if you get a donor kidney, because it’s a foreign object that your body didn’t expect to see there, it tries to get rid of it, and “rejects” the kidney. Doctors generally fight this with drugs that lower your immunity, so you get sick easier and now have to take the meds for the rest of your life. That is what my mother suffered through for years, but, like the chance to be on dialysis changes your perception, having a new kidney also changes your perception. Is it better to get sick or a cold more easily with the meds, or better to die without them? If you ask the person with the new kidney, they’ll tell you that the irritation is worth it. 

Years ago, my mom got her kidney from a cadaver donor. That is, someone died, and in their dying, she got life. It’s a powerful experience and – as a person of faith – my mom had whole new worlds to contemplate because of it. Halena already has a strong faith, but will surely make meaning of the experience, even if it ultimately rejects or she has to take meds for the rest of her life. 

But what if there was less hassle? What if you could make it less likely she’d have trouble? Well, that’s the good news! You can! It turns out Hartford Hospital has a program that matches live donors. God, in God’s infinite wisdom, gave us two kidneys, but we only need one. Why we don’t get two hearts or two brains is a question for another time. We, amazingly, get two kidneys. 

If you’re healthy and have an extra kidney to give, you can give one to Halena or someone like her. If you’re willing to donate a kidney, one of two things will happen – but this time, none of them involves death! If you want to give a kidney to Halena, but yours and hers don’t match (she has A+ blood, in case you’re considering this amazing offer), they will give your kidney to someone else and someone else will give one to Halena. In this case, two people get new life– a simpler, easier new life. Nothing bad likely happens to your health. In fact, it’s done laproscopically. That means they only cut a small spot in you to take out the kidney. You’re fine,and now three people have life because of your kidneys! You can look yourself in the mirror every single day, amazed at how cool you are, for the rest of your life! You can’t even buy that kind of coolness and self-respect!  Yay, you!

The world needs good people like Halena, who make the world a better place in general. I can promise you that if you give someone a kidney, you will automatically become one of those people that makes the world a better place.

If you’re interested, contact the Hartford Hospital Transplant Program’s living donor                 co-ordinators  Kari and Azzy at 860-972-9918 or 860-972-4632, respectively. 

 

DISCLAIMER: I know theology and psychology. I make no promises medically about all of this. I don’t even like the sight of my own blood. For that, you’ll have to talk to the living donor co-ordinators listed above. They know medicine and they can help you actually be a hero! 

 

Resisting with Peace, 

 

John