A Cancer Patient's Perspective on Today's Politics
Wednesday, 05 July 2017
There is a lot I want to write here about this frightful disease, treatment and recovery, the hospital, doctors, nurses, other care professionals, friends, helpers and more.
But today, I want to give you a short take on how my worldview has changed as a result of this major health and medical interruption.
Most TGB readers know that my second big interest after ageing is politics and government combined with the media that reports on those institutions.
You wouldn't be wrong to call my attention to them rabid – at least in the past and perhaps again in the future but for now, since the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, mostly suspended.
Potential imminent death does focus the attention in new directions and, I think, clears the fog of constant screeching reports of a baby president's latest tweet storm.
How much more foolish they all seem to me now - the self-serving politicians, the (with a few admirable exceptions) sycophantic reporters and pundits and all the rest who, day in and day out, pretend (they couldn't believe, could they?) that this is a normal presidency, a normal world.
What mean little men (they are mostly men) we have in Washington, D.C. who openly trade health care for the poor to enrich just 1,000 gazillionaires, and the few who say they oppose them have only empty words, no deeds.
The world has become demonstrably more dangerous in the months since the baby president took office as he ignores the nuclear threat from southeast Asia, buddies up to America's pre-eminent and crafty political enemy, and doesn't even acknowledge the lastest terrifying climate change warning from Stephen Hawking.
(Look it up; I can't bear to repeat it.)
According to American news media, there is no news now except about President Trump's idiotic tweets and they have lost the craft of editing. If it comes out of the mouth of the incompetent, ignorant, vulgar and stupid president, it leads the newscast and they, the media, drone on without insight, without thought, without citing consequences. It is all so much the same each day that I've stopped reading and watching but for headlines.
I am equally angry with the leaders of the United States, with the fourth estate - both for abdicating their responsibilities - and terrified for future of the world. Not that I wasn't before my surgery – it is just so much more obvious to me now that no one has a plan or the will to do anything to stop the world's headlong rush into oblivion.
Alas, how correct you are. The Fourth Estate has been abdicating responsibility for a very long time now and it's a habit it can't seem to break. I think that is one of the consequences of having media owned by corporations. (If it doesn't hurt too much to laugh/cry, catch John Oliver's latest.). Another is the fact that journalists are primarily male and I've seen nothing to persuade me from the notion that the reason DT is president is misogyny and racism.
Good thoughts and best wishes on your continued improvement.
Posted by: Lucy | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 06:21 AM
Thank you. You express what so many of us would like to but don't have your extraordinary "wordsmith" skills. You are 100% correct. Hope you are feeling better every day and sending heartfelt wishes for improved health.
Posted by: Annette | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 07:51 AM
Yeah. Big change. No righteous "rabid" in there at all.
Howsomever, a bit of a detox every now and then is NOT a bad idea. Your "detox" has been forced on you but go with the flow and just remind yourself "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose". (Take a look at certain episodes of "All in the Family", "Boston Legal" or - best show ever alert - "Harry's Law" - in case you doubt!)
May your "new view" help to focus on what is important for YOU (and for us!) right now ... taking care of your very precious self.
Love, good juju, best vibes available ... all flowing your way, from me and from everyone here at Team Ronni
Posted by: laura | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 07:53 AM
Well said, Ronnie. You are a formidable fighter in all aspects. I hope many Americans take heed.
From north of the 49th...
Posted by: Janet | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 07:56 AM
Amen, Sister Ronni.
Here's the lead paragraph of my latest post. You remind me of her.
"There’s a photograph of my mother that I treasure. She’s in the middle of a crowd of friends, clearly on a protest march. A poster tells in large gold letters against a black background, that she is marching with the Gray Panthers. She’s smiling and waving, clearly relishing the moment. I would guess that she was about 75 when the picture was taken. And it captures the pleasure she took throughout her long life in joining with others to stand for justice and against the cruelty of unhearing power."
Posted by: Barry Dym | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 07:57 AM
PS For the sake of clarity ... 1) "righteous" in the sense of "YOU'RE SO RIGHT" and not in the sense of "sanctimonious"! 2) I DO agree, I DO understand, I AM scared ...less, too
Posted by: laura | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:01 AM
Sadly true. And well said as always.
Posted by: Jan Heigh | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:03 AM
Well, I am afraid I have to agree and since I have grandchildren, I have pain. The main stream media seems to be moderating their news, but they still focus on tweets of a compromised man instead of issues and talking to experts. Congress, with a few exceptions, is our burden because we put them in office.
Posted by: tabor | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:05 AM
Shakespeare has a wonderful passage somewhere, an old father speaking to a young daughter, about how he will now not pay any attention to the whims of the times and the ins and outs of politicians. The ever changing foolishness of power. He will now ponder and delight in the buttercup and the universe. That's a very vague idea of it.
While the election of the unspeakable has me signing petitions, etc. I still feel that the real news each day for me is far more local. The buttercup and the universe. Focus on becoming more compassionate and loving with myself and therefore others. (and, of course, maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.)
In Buddhism, one not only blesses the good, the loved. One blesses the not good, the not loved. Makes sense. If T and his like were blessed and filled with"loving kindness", were "peaceful and at ease," were truly "well" and "happy," wouldn't we all be better off?
Posted by: Salinda Dahl | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:07 AM
I was so happy to see TGB turn up in my email! It's obvious that you are feeling a bit better. Sets my day up beautifully!
Posted by: Still the Lucky Few | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:20 AM
Today's TGB post gave voice to my own impatience, my anger. I too have tossed my habit of reading/watching/listening to "the news," because I am so absolutely PUT OUT by the ignorance/ineptness/laziness/... of people I once would have called my colleagues.
Do not go gentle, Ronni. I pray for you in your illness, but I also depend on you for your eloquent, witty, and informed posts.
Posted by: Mary McCarthy | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:27 AM
Well expressed. I call and send e-mails and sign petitions and mail post cards and feel all my efforts have limited impact. I appreciate your continued writing and I am sending healing thoughts and energy your direction.
Posted by: Becky Steward | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:28 AM
Right on. Only one quibble. Our president is not a "baby." Babies are educable! And I am enchanted with Salinda's buttercup. Such wisdom flows from and to you, dear Ronni. Ann
Posted by: Ann Burack-Weissmuller c | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:34 AM
Grand to see you hitting your stride again, Ronni.
To mix metaphors, you knocked one out of the park today.
Posted by: sflichen | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:46 AM
D.T. is the boil that has been festering in this country for some time. He is the result of that. We did not see because we did not want to. We were too busy with the mundane things we think are so important. We are deep in ----. I too worry about the world we are passing on to our children and grandchildren.
Thank you for giving us the gift of truth. My spirits were raised when I saw your message today. Thank you.
Posted by: MARGARET HANNIGAN | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:48 AM
My heart aches for all generations as long as this .... person ... remains in office.
Posted by: Itty Bitty Boomer | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:48 AM
I am impatiently waiting for someone to initiate impeachment proceedings. Only we need to impeach Trump, Pence, and Paul Ryan. A simple slogan I came up with that is appropriate:
Dump Trump. It even rhymes.
Posted by: Vicki E. Jones | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 08:50 AM
I think when we face or own mortality we want to believe that the world will be in a better place after we're gone than it was before we came along, that individually and collectively we've made a difference in propelling civilization to a higher plane. The state that our world and nation are in right now makes it's harder to take pride and comfort in the individual and collective contributions we've made. That's the kind of dark acceptance and anger I'm seeing in your post today, Ronni, and that's okay. Focus on getting well for now. The good fight will still be there when you can see the positive as well as the negative forces at work.
Posted by: JeanR | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 09:08 AM
Drinking your water? Someone said our culture is like a runaway train without a conductor. That oughta cheer you up-not. Hugs and prayers Ronni.
Posted by: Susan rogers | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 09:11 AM
Thanks for adding perspective to my angst at what is happening in our country Ronni... we need your wisdom, and Salinda's and Margaret's. (And everyone here!)
Yesterday I couldn't post to my IG account because I couldn't figure out how to say I love my country but hate the US government, am embarrassed by it. And today someone else posted just that...
Continued peace, love, and light to you. Am so honored to be part of Team Ronni! ✨💃🏻✨
Posted by: Susan | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 09:16 AM
With regard to your comments on the media, Ronni, I have to respectfully disagree (apparently with many readers as well).
Sure Trump's tweets are stupid and insignificant compared to other more weighty issues, but they're a direct window into his character and evidence of his manifest unfitness for the presidency. I don't watch TV at all, but I do read the NY Times and Washington Post. Both papers I find are full of solid news accounts and thoughtful opinion pieces that don't flinch from the danger he represents to our democracy, or from crises and other systemic problems that impact everyone.
As far as TV reporting goes, I happened to catch on the web a June 6th video from CNN about Mosul and the effort to retake the city from ISIS. It brought home the horror and human cost of that ongoing battle like nothing else I've seen, and was just one of several dispatches from the front lines in which the news team could have been killed at any moment.
Yes, there will always be something to criticize the media for, but let's avoid using too broad a brush and give credit where due.
Posted by: ag | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 09:35 AM
Keep on keeping on, Ronni! What you say somehow reminds me of a purported parable by the Buddha that appeared recently on my Zen desk calendar:
"A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled and the tiger pursued him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.
"Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!"
Posted by: Kate | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 09:38 AM
For those who don't want to look it up, this is what Stephen Hawking said:
“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” explained the world’s most famous scientist. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250º” C (482°F).
While “climate change is one of the great dangers we face,” the good news, Hawking noted, is that “it’s one we can prevent if we act now.” The tragedy, though, is that “by denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.”
Deny Stephen Hawking and 96% of the world's scientists? Not me.
Take care of yourself, Ronnie. We need your voice.
Posted by: Susan R (PiedType) | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 09:46 AM
Thank you! I can't stand watching the news or trump. I haven't watched since 2011 when we got rid of TV. I do listen to NPR and occasionally read headlines on a few papers. We're in a world of hurt, that's for certain.
Sending good thoughts and wishes your way!
Posted by: Debbie | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 09:57 AM
on Monday you wrote your thoughts were a jumble. Sorry, I disagree. You are one of the clearest thinking people I know. I'm in awe of your ability to "be present" and address the chilling reality of today's world
(I did read the Hawking piece), as well as confronting your own feelings about your future.
You are one strong and resilient lady. You are always caring for others. Please take the time to care for yourself.
Posted by: Lynn Lawrence | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 09:59 AM
Ever since this thing hit you, I have wondered how you could handle it all AND continue to pay attention to what is happening elsewhere in the world. In our world. I know what you think of dt et al.; I think the same. And I hoped that as you grew stronger again, you would be back to address what affects ALL of us, whether as Americans or from elsewhere.
Yes, I heed Buddha's thinking - yes, I have friends whose method of avoiding dt et al. at all costs involves their thinking about the buttercup and the universe, a wonderful image. But I have been around long enough on your blog to know full well that you are a child of this world, also of this country which is in such a terrible mess.
So, no matter how depressing any reminder is of the insane politics around us, I for one am thrilled to have you back into political analysis. Engaging in the turmoil around us, analyzing where possible, sharing such valuable and helpful thoughts and arguments. Enlivening and involving us -- and at the same time, I hope, strengthening yourself.
More power to you, Ronni. We all have to find our peace with the world, whether the dt world which is so terrifying, or our own inner world. But between you and your trenchant words and the magnificent comments that keep pouring in, I just feel enriched. And want to hold on to that feeling.
Keep getting stronger. Keep engaging! Ruth-Ellen
Posted by: Ruth-Ellen B. Joeres | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 10:25 AM
Thank you for your post today. For what you say with such honesty.
Posted by: page day | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 11:21 AM
Like many others I'm a senior activist. But after 6 months of weekly walking with my walker-it's too crowded to just use a cane, one been pushed over more than once. I'm in the "I give up" track.
The media loved every vile word baby T spewed when he was running for the office. It sold advertisement. It amazes me that the constant bickering baby T and the 4th estate engage in doesn't accomplish anything.
I think we have seen the end of a liberal caring America. The planet is sick and little effort to make it well occurs lately. War is " good for the economy" and thousands of innocent civilians are displaced and homeless.
I try to appreciate what I have daily and think my grand kids are going to be mature adults in a very different world.
I don't have a lot of years left I suppose but there's nothing any of us can do about that.
Ronni you hit my mood right in the nailhead.
Hoping your recovery moves along well.
Can I come visit you?
Posted by: Elle in Oregon | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 11:25 AM
I think a situation like yours brings a certain clarity, but even I must tune out the noise, meanness, and fearfulness. It isn't healthy. Keeping you in my prayers.
Posted by: Joann Wallace | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 12:25 PM
Catching the cancer when they did, the doctors have given you a reprieve and you will have a longer time to continue living. I would suggest you do that living by filling your days with whatever you want to do.
I have decided that no one is going to stop our current president. Even his wife and children are not planning to change the way he behaves. I remember being told by the children of a narcissist, "that's just the way she is, you cannot change her." This is a semi-family member. I decided to walk away from this part of the family and have no more to do with them. That's how I'm dealing with the current occupant of the White House. I'm refusing to pay him any attention.
Of course, I know that bad things are going to happen because no one is stopping that man just as bad things happened because no one stopped that other woman. Unfortunately, the bad things this time will affect the world, not just a small part of a community.
I would suggest you do what you can to build your strength so you will be able to handle what is still to come.
Posted by: dkzody | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 12:45 PM
I am in despair and hopelessness too and with an ongoing sense of doom that darkens my spirit. The ongoing syphilitic rantings of the bloviating buffoon terrifies me.
But not terror of him but of those that put him power and keep him there. Along with the sycophantic 4th Estate.
He is The Untouchable.
Posted by: Wisewebwoman | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 12:58 PM
All we parents can do is teach our children love and respect for the earth and all living things thereon in a world that is now so troubled by divisive bigots and greedy old white men.
WE can only hope fervently that they will not leave the same mess of unemployed and under-educated people that we have in our generation right now that is a direct cause of someone like T##ump and his ilk. He and his cronies are the result of the lack of ability to see what a problem was being created by the rapid rise of technology and the blindness and/or lack of foresight of our governments, from local to national, that has created nearly a full generation of people unprepared for the swift and deadly lack of preparation or repair and re-training and the resulting chaos among most of our population that were left behind -- out of work, unable to do any other kind of job, 50+ years old, starving and uninsured. Those are the voters we created. Now there is no one around who can take charge and hope to make any corrections in this deadly slide our world is in!
If I sound bitter it's because I am. I'm originally from West Virginia and many of us from that area have seen this coming, but did not realize it would happen this quickly !!
Posted by: Miki Davis | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 01:11 PM
I think much of what passes for news on both sides of the political aisle is a lot of What if's, Maybes, Interpretations, & it Could Happen, and very little actual truthful facts e.g. news. Its exhausting both physically and emotionally to stay tuned into it all the time.
Ronni your political comments and views are always insightful and valued by a great many of your readers but in this difficult time of uncertainty and very serious health issues I think your entitled to give it all a rest for awhile and concentrate 100% on what makes you happy.
Posted by: Tera | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 02:01 PM
The Orange Apparition (TOA) continues to be a travesty and a mockery of the high office that an outmoded system bestowed upon him. Honestly, deplorables notwithstanding, I still find it difficult to accept that he actually got elected. I said I'd stop watching the news if that happened; it did and I mostly have. Even if the TV is on, I mute the sound and pay little attention to it. I truly detest TOA and despise the Repugs in general, so what's to watch?
I think some members of the press are valiantly trying to do their job, but we have to face the fact that we have a "Twitter President"--a narcissistic bully with a bird brain who thinks in 140 characters or less. O-M-G!
Best wishes for your amazing recovery, Ronni.
Posted by: Elizabeth Rogers | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 02:26 PM
All I can say is that my husband is also dealing with cancer, chemo and rad. He is even more interested than he ever was in the news so we watch our local news, the little national news on ABC, and the PBS Newshour that offers a quick summary of the national news as well as deeper discussion of issues by experts and pundits.
We also browse for news online in other news forums like Salon, Huffpost. We cannot afford to subscribe to the New York Times or the Washington Post, so we have to get the news from other sources.. Any suggestions for reliable, accurate news sources would be welcomed...
Posted by: Teresa Giddens | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 03:11 PM
All so true! I feel this foreboding deep in my bones and so very many are so oblivious to it all and maybe they just don't care. Everything has a season and maybe this is the winter of man. Ignorance and apathy...two of the most dangerous signs.
Most of your blog followers, being older,I bet have had a rich (not in dollars), full interesting life and have touched many people. That is what we can all be grateful for and appreciate how lucky WE are to have lived when we did and in our country no matter how long we each have left. The baton will pass on to future generations and we can only hope man's decency and selflessness will somehow prevail. My thoughts are with you and keep on keeping.
Posted by: Mary | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 04:26 PM
Dear one Ronnie,
Thanks for your post. Delighted that your surgery went so well. Please rest, sleep, eat well and listen to lovely music. We will hold down the fort. I am working for a better world every day and many many more are as well. Remember, Trump did not win the popular vote.
Buttercups and roses to you and good food. Hope your friend Autumn is still around-
so important and if there is a way those of us on this list can support her let us know-
prayers, food, money- ask for it please. Prayers for your radiant health and Autumn's well being. Best, Ellen Greenlaw
Posted by: Ellen Greenlaw | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 04:27 PM
The tweets ARE all the negative descriptors that come to mind. Their existence and content are, I believe, a harbinger of the decimation of democracy as we have known it. We must keep standing up - all by ourselves each day just a few minutes with a sign - about health care, clean air & water, equal justice - to name a few. We can do this.
Posted by: Janet Seymour | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 04:39 PM
Glad to see you're fightin' spirit at the forefront. I trust you're using equally good judgment toward doing what you need to do to maximize your continued recovery from your surgery and adaptation to your new health requirements. Little point in admonishing you to do so, if you're not, as you will do as you damn well please.
The Fourth Estate's meaningful functioning has been being gradually watered down for many years as so many users reward in numbers those providers and reporters who inject more and more entertainment-type elements into the content of their productions. To some extent we must acknowledge old comic strip Pogo's observation in his words to the effect that "the enemy is us". Yes, there are other factors and corporate commercialism is no small part of that. But, to put it crudely, our culture is getting a whole lot of crap that a large part of our population -- maybe more than some of us realized -- wants.
The many sources of information including cable, Internet and social media have made it very difficult for people to determine those that are honest and reliable. Critical thinking isn't a strong point for many people -- some because they don't have or want to take the time to exercise that ability. Others are more responsive to simple emotional stimulation elicited by some issues or the exhortations of others.
The point is -- the Fourth Estate does need to press hard to do their job well, correct their shortcomings along the way. We users need to hold up our responsibilities, calling them into accountability when necessary as those do here. But.....we must strongly support those in the Fourth Estate who are fulfilling their ethical and moral news gathering and reporting obligations and not categorically condemn all, then ignore all.
We need a strong Fourth Estate now, perhaps more than we ever have in our nation's history. We must not succumb to confusion and accepting falsehoods that may well be deliberately being sown by our Administration's leader as part of the stated goal to alter our form of government.
Posted by: Joared | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 05:44 PM
Hello Ronnie -- You are a good person and have lived a good life. You are not responsible for the current situation. Other people will carry forward the ideas that you and I and your devoted followers share. You care and will always continue to hope for a different outcome. Right now, there is a major inquiry (Mueller) which will probably not lead to an impeachment but it will weaken him. Short of the vague allusions which people you spoke to this summer hinted at, and which would be disastrous, he is there for the duration. I don't think anyone is giving up or rolling over by realizing that this is the situation. We have the courts (EPA ruling yesterday), and the press (I agree they made his freak candidacy a viable national issue) is not actually rolling over, although they are trying not to inflame the situation. Among my unfortunate familial connections are multiple Trumpian and Ayn Randian in-laws (no one on my side, I swear). They are the hidden voices that Nixon spoke about, they are here and they are not going away. This is going to be a long, cold, civil war, but the health care issue will not go away and Obama laid the foundations that the Republicans cannot, in the long run, deal with. It will be a long struggle (and in retrospect, I have to say that Hillary was not the right person this year, although of course I supported her and thought it was "her turn") but in 15 years there will be something like universal health coverage. My major hopes for the future are that I can live long enough to support my AZ husband, my deranged sibling (whom I pay to keep off the street, and who will not claim any govt support -- because he is deranged) and that my adopted high school graduate son is able to hold onto a job that pays something a bit above minimum wage. It's not really about us anymore, it's about them.
Posted by: Cassandra | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 10:00 PM
Ronni, it's so good to know that your fighting spirit is in good shape, not that I doubted it for a minute ;-)
Macron has invited T to participate in the July 14th (Bastille Day) celebrations. Weird thing. So his trip to Paris will cost both you guys and us an arm ... or two. Will he be back on time for his weekly golf game? And add to the expenses?
Meanwhile, do get lots of rest and do as your told, concerning diet, walking with your feet up and other such details.
My thoughts are with you
Posted by: Claude Covo-Farchi | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 11:27 PM
Bravo......you are my hero!
Posted by: Judith Eton | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 11:33 PM
I agree, bravo !
Trump is coming in Paris next week, French people are not very happy to receive him
Posted by: artaud | Wednesday, 05 July 2017 at 11:59 PM
Who ever would have believed that a wrestling and beuaty pageant impresario, a reality-TV actor, a demented narcissist whose major media backing was the National Enquirer and their ilk could become President of the United States?
Posted by: Frank Paynter | Thursday, 06 July 2017 at 08:20 AM
Happy that your surgery went well and more thankful that you are back home. You haven't lost any of your clarity, perception or fight. Fatigue can slow you but you'll find your pace. Think about you each day.
Posted by: Celia | Thursday, 06 July 2017 at 09:00 AM