I Choose Hope, Anger, and Courage

Hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage. Anger at the way things are and the courage to see that they don’t stay that way ~ St. Augustine 

Anger to Love

Prelude: 

1pm. Mental Health Nursing Lecture: Conduct Disorders

Teacher: Why do you think people in the USA are so angry?

Student 1: It’s just our culture.

Student 2: People just need something to be angry about.

Me:…(Don’t say anything)…(Bite your tongue)…(Keep your mouth shut)

I felt my heart rate become tachycardic (above 100 beats per minute), my palms began to sweat, and my breathing became rapid and shallow. Anger began to stir from deep within me; and as I sat listening to the quick whooshing sound of blood circulating through my body, it sounded like the thudding of hooves against the plains where the First Nations were swept to the fringes of society; and we say universitas in a borrowed tongue, on a borrowed land.

I am named First Daughter in the Arapaho native language and Leader in the Dine native language. The only thing my people respect more than their elders is the dead; ancestors. It is in the name of my ancestors I will never know that I seek to address the source of anger in present day American society.

______________

         For most of my life, I have walked the halls of institutions called “universities”, a word derived from the Latin word universitas; a community of teachers and scholars. Unfortunately, there is a zombification of the masses that has lead to a false American superiority and the exhaustion of the facade of democratic institutions within the United States financially, politically, and socially. Many students, including myself, experience this everyday: the word universitas does not really include us.

Another incident exemplifies the corporatization of education in which Tyrone Hayes, a scientist who was silenced for his research on the teratogenicity of an herbicide, Atrazine, produced by the agro-giant Syngenta ( In a 2012 class action law suit, Syngenta paid $105 million to reimburse various water systems to cover the cost of filtering Atrazine from the water). While conducting his research at the University of California, Berkeley, he too began to feel that the concept of communal education no longer included him either. The company attempted silence him making threats against his family’s life and threatening him if he went public with his findings. https://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/faculty/tyrone-b-hayes 

Furthermore, the question “why are people angry?” deserves a thoughtful answer. An explanation of how society has, from a mental health standpoint, “lost its mind” and made itself sick. The main point is that a society that promotes the military industrial complex (a war machine of death and destruction) and corporate greed over the interests of the people is a sick society. A society in which the checkpoints to gut check unqualified, power-hungry, tyrants fail the working class populous is a society that subsists on a diet of renegade capitalism. War and corporate greed for the sake of “democracy” feed into the beast of empiric narcissism. The working class becomes the fetid corpse that the blood thirsty scavengers of corporate politics have been allowed to feed off for far too long. If we (the working class) allow ourselves to be the expendable factor here, then we will be! No body will turn the stick around and say, “Here, you worked 15 hour shifts while you were in school. Take the long end of the stick! You deserve it.” It is up to the working class to put the breaks on this car heading straight off a cliff and say, “This is not the direction we want to go in!”

People often ask someone who is angry what they are going to do about it. I am going to write. What will you do about it?

War:  “The military budget in 2018 was $700 billion” 

According to The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, it would cost a mere “$30 billion to end world hunger for a year” (UN, 2014). WORLD hunger! We could end WORLD hunger with the money used to simply increase the military budget this year alone! The statement that “there just isn’t enough money” is a lie.

Below is a video of Rep. Alan Grayson asking about the bonus money for Wall Street Bankers. Earlier in this hearing, it was discovered that these same banks lost taxpayer dollars by putting it in unknown foreign central banks without disclosing which ones. When asked where half a trillion tax payer dollars went, Ben Bernanke replied, “I don’t know.”

The Revolutionary War. The Civil War. Wounded Knee. War of 1812. Spanish American War. Tippecanoe. Sand Creek. Fallen Timbers. Afghanistan. Libya. Iraq. Syria. Yemen.

General Smedley Butler, a two-time medal of honor recipient, wrote a book in 1933 called War Is a Racket. In this book he seeks to outline the ways in which war is nothing more than a money making endeavor for those at the top and those in power. First, he shows how profits during war years for industries like steel, oil, leather, and nickel rose by as much as 1500% during war years. He shows how the taxpayers shoulder the cost for the war even when products made for the war go unused or end up not being needed. In the example he gave, uniforms were made, but were over produced by the thousands and those uniforms were still bought and paid for. He talks about how a small group of people in congress and the executive branches of government decide if and when we go to war, but they are not the ones who go into battle. In 1933 we had a man who took it upon himself and his 30+ year military career to question the military industrial complex. Have we listened to him?

https://archive.org/stream/WarIsARacket/WarIsARacket_djvu.txt

We have plugged our ears. According to CNBC, the western news monopoly itself, “The United States and Saudi Arabia have signed an arms deal worth $110 billion dollars immediately and $350 billion over the next 10 years” (CNBC, 2017) written by Javier David. Why is this important? The Saudi Led Coalition has been bombing Yemen, in response to calls by then acting interim president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and this has lead to an article that appeared in the New York Times reporting on the economic blockade of Yemen that is in the process of starving millions of Yemenis because humanitarian aid is not able to reach the country. According to the article, 17 million people are close to starvation, many of them children, and 1 million more are suffering from a wide spread cholera epidemic because of the contaminated water supply.

By giving financial assistance to Saudi Arabia in the form of weapons deals the United States is exacerbating the largest humanitarian crisis, not helping it. The article sites a humanitarian rights group who urgently made the following statement:

“Given the current acute food-security crisis and cholera epidemic, any delays to the restoration and expansion of humanitarian access will cost the lives of women, men, girls and boys across the whole of Yemen,” the statement by the rights group said (NYT, Nick Gladstone, 2017).

Gun Control: War is the Meat, Gun Control (Lack off) is the Potatoes 

In the wake of the synagogue crisis, U.S. president Donald Trump issued a statement that “the issue is not related to gun control but to hate in the United States”. There are several flaws in this logic. First of all, it isn’t logic. Second, the attack was carried out using “legally purchased weapons” (New York Times, 2018) and the weapons included a Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and three Glock .375 semi-automatic pistols. According to a platform for modern sporting rifles, each pull of the trigger allows the shooter to unload one round of ammunition and aside from the fact that these weapons are made to look like the military style M-16, the Gun Owners of America website asserts that the first AR-15 was sold in 1959 in Malaysia.

Shouldn’t certain rights over ride other ones? Shouldn’t people expect to survive a baby-naming ceremony without question? Why should innocent civilians have to consider pad locking the doors of a holy space meant to represent a space of safety and inclusion. The Synagogue was called The Tree of Life, so we should unite behind the idea of life and implement strict gun legislation. It is the only real way to protect life, public spaces, and public safety.

This is a war unfolding right here on American soil. It is waged everyday. It is occurring because there are people who are angry, sick, unheard and unable to get the help they need before these tragedies take place.

To top it all off, NPR ran a special about how the United States ranks 31st in highest rate of gun violence in the world. The United States makes the list next to El Salvador, Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago to name a few. That program can be listened to below:

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/11/06/562323131/gun-violence-comparing-the-u-s-with-other-countries

Education

In a paper entitled, Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962 to 2016: Has The Middle Class Wealth Recovered?, “America’s richest 1% own 40% of the country’s wealth”(Wolff, 2017). This statistic was then cited by the Washington Post, the New York Times and The Boston Globe. However, a less well known, but equally daunting statistic is that this same small group now own more additional wealth assets than the bottom 90% of American’s combined. The Guardian just printed a story entitled, “The Richest 1% of American’s on Track to Own 2/3 of All Wealth By 2030”.

How does this affect education? It effects education because the Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has an estimated net worth of $5.4 billion according to Forbes in 2018. https://www.forbes.com/profile/richard-devos/#b33a3f1ff44e   The interest here is money not better education! If she was for better education, then it would be getting better. Instead, she is supporting a bill that would give education fund money to arming teachers not paying teachers more, updating school supplies and buildings, making sure that all schools have access to, at the minimum, desks, chairs, sanitary supplies for female students, heating and internet access.

Health Care: National Health Could Be A National Identity 

Health care for all is not a new idea and isn’t even a radical idea. It is an idea rooted in the fundamental belief that we all have a human right to health. Health is a human right not a privilege.

Opioid Crisis: A Product of Big Pharma

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse,”Each day 115 people every day die from opioid overdose in the United States”. These nameless, faceless companies have names like Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and Novartis. Novartis is a company worth $33 billion, according to Forbes. To continue with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these pharmaceutical companies told the medical community that these drugs were safe and not addictive. There are videos on you tube of whistle blowers recounting their experiences as drug reps for pharmaceutical companies where they were required to memorize corporate bylines and push opioid sales. Now we have an opioid crisis where in 2016 42,000 people died from opiates.

Pesticides

In a recent study, oats contain dangerous levels of a chemical called glyphosate, an ingredient in the weed killer RoundUp. CNN reported on the story back in August of 2018 saying that “almost 3/4 of the food samples tested had higher than safe levels of glyphosate” and “the World Health Organization Research Institute on Cancer classifies glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans”. The issue here is the conflict of interest. Monsanto, an Agro-giant and producer of RoundUp, has been involved in lobbying the government so that RoundUp will continue to be made, sold, and used in the United States agriculture industry. So, while the effects of glyphosate are still currently under investigation, people are exposed to unsafe levels of this chemical in there food. If the effects are unknown, how is it rational to expose people to a chemical that has unknown health effects and risks both short and long term.

Money

The United States spends more on health care, but we have lower outcomes. In the United States there are 29 million uninsured people, 30 million under insured people and 42% of people with insurance forgo care because they cannot afford it, according to The Commonwealth Fund. In 2009 a Harvard Medical School Study, published by The American Journal of Public Health, concluded that “45,000 Americans die each year as a result of lack of health care coverage” and found that there was a “40% higher risk of death than insured counterparts” (Cecere, 2009). This implies that health care is a worthy and useful investment and that it is effective at making Americans healthier, but not if only a few people have it and the majority of people don’t! A report of the article from the Harvard Gazette can be found below:

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/

Keep reading. Keep talking to people. Keep fighting peacefully for what you believe in. Never give up!