The Elephant

There's an elephant in the room. Hard to miss, he's so big

People try to ignore him. They deny and dither and dawdle, and dance around the elephant
--all the while pretending he's not there.

But he is there; he's been there for a long time, and he's not leaving.  The elephant is known for his excellent memory. Also a very thick skin. It's a good thing.

Still, he's not immune to the harsh sun. He wades into rivers to cover his skin with protective mud.

Mud acts as a natural sunscreen.

Better than the toxic (and sometimes ineffective) chemicals we humans slather on our skins.

Because the elephant is so big, he has no natural predator-- except for the babies. To protect the baby elephants, the herd gathers around them as they travel. A ring of protective female elephants watches over the babies, protecting them from hungry lions. Humans should be more like female elephants.

Elephants are vegetarians. They browse for leaves and tree fruit and berries; sometimes they munch on grasses. Human cultivation of the land threatens them by destroying their natural habitat. In Africa, and other countries, human poachers threaten elephants. In Chad, poaching for the ivory trade has reduced the elephant  population  from 300,000 in 1970 to about 10,000 today. As a result, Mother Nature in her wisdom has increased the once recessive "missing tusk" gene in the remaining elephant population. Since elephants without tusks are more likely to live longer--and mate, this once rare abnormality is now widespread. (thanx to wikipedia) http://www.wikipedia.org/

Bet you thought this blog post is about animals. It isn't--it's about humans.
Getting back to the elephant in the room. He's a symbol for all that we ignore: the failure of our human society to protect our babies, and our most vulnerable members. We allow the predators of industry to poach our valuable resources--both human and non human-- in order to increase their personal wealth, while leaving their victims to bleed and die.

The elephant in the room is an analogy for big problems that we have danced around and ignored.

Specifically: We have high unemployment and stagnant wages. The economic meltdown was caused by a predatory banking system. We dance around this problem and dither and it will get worse if we allow passage of a  Republican proposal to weaken child labor laws in Maine. The bill, "LD 1346, eliminates the maximum number of hours a minor 16 years of age or older can work on a school day and allows a minor under the age of 16 to work up to four hours on a school day during hours when school is not in session. And, employers would be able to pay anyone under the age of twenty $5.25 for their first 180 days on the job."  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Children belong in school. They are supposed to be protected, while adults educate them and teach them how to survive and thrive in the world. (Mother Jones must be tossing in her grave)

In these high unemployment times, when parents and other adults struggle to find work, and keep food on the table for their families, our public servants scheme to turn the kids into a bigger pool of low wage workers.

Meanwhile, in Hollywood Florida a seven year old boy died from bacterial meningitis. It's curable--by antibiotics, if caught early. Why wasn't it caught? This kid is collateral damage in the war between those who believe health "care"is a for profit enterprise and those who believe health care is a human right. Disgusting! It always comes back to health care. Our high tech, pharmaceutical pushing, co-pay/deductible/premium charging HMOs are hazardous to the health and wealth of humans.

Kill privatized insurance before it kills us.

In the sixties, I got spinal meningitis. from where, I don't know. I was about eight. The doc came to our house because my father called him and because that's what docs did in those days, and not just for rich folks. In those days when you called a doctor, you got the doctor on the phone. You didn't get an office gatekeeper placing you on hold and returning to tell you the next appointment was in two weeks. You didn't get an office gatekeeper telling parents who use public transportation, to bundle up their sick child and bring him on a bus to the nearest emergency room.

The sixties doc didn't dose me with radiation to make a diagnosis. He asked me to bend my neck forward and when I couldn't, he told my father to take me to the hospital. It turned out one of my friends also got meningitis, and she went to the hospital too. We both survived because of a low key doctor with a little black bag and excellent diagnostic skills. No cat scans, no xrays, no preauthorization calls to HMOs.

Today's New York Times has a story about the overuse of CAT scans. "Hospitals Performed Needless Double CT Scans, Records Show," by Walt Bogdanich and Jo Craven McGinty

Why do so many doctors seem incapable of diagnosing the cause of a health problem without dosing their patients with harmful radiation? And even then... they throw prescriptions at patients, not solutions for better health. Yeah I know--scared of lawsuits. Blame the lawyers.

I used to see an excellent doctor in upstate New York who commented once that she spends most of her time filling out paperwork...

What if there was one health insurance for everybody. An improved Medicare for all. Wouldn't doctors have more time to be doctors?

Florida governor Rick Scott decreased the number of weeks unemployed workers can receive their benefits. He passed legislation requiring people who apply for poverty assistance to pay for a drug test.
(This is currently being challenged by the ACLU) Additionally, he proposes restrictions on Medicaid eligibility. Medicaid is a bare bones health insurance program funded jointly by the state and federal governments. It serves primarily the disabled and elderly poor, and poor children. What if all Medicaid clients (and everyone else) were moved to an improved Medicare for all, and Medicaid was eliminated?

 Scott owned an urgent care health chain called Solantis that does a lot of drug testing. After he took office, he "sold" that company--to his wife.

"Shortly before he was inaugurated, Scott's lawyers met with attorneys at the Florida Commission on Ethics. Subsequently, they moved his Solantic holdings into a revocable trust in his wife's name, making her the controlling investor in the privately held company. No public records were created from the ethics meeting."Stacy Singer, Palm Beach Post

About one-third of the adult homeless population have served their country in the Armed Services. Current population estimates suggest that about 131,000 Veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experience homelessness at some point during the course of a year.

Right here, standing in the middle of the room, is a huge, unemployed, uninsured, homeless wounded warrior elephant with health problems and dependent kids.  How long are we going to allow our so called leaders to ignore him?

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