When I was young, one of my favorite books was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. It wasn’t until I got it out of the library and read it to my children, that I realized that through some kind of osmosis I had made the entire novel a part of myself. If someone had asked me why I felt the way I did regarding animals, I could not have answered. But after I read this book to my children, I understood. I got all my compassion and empathy from this one book. It’s funny how a book can mold you into who you become. Black Beauty, and to a lesser extent, all the A.A. Milne books did that to me. Here are some quotes for you.
It was after I read this book to my children that I fulfilled my childhood dream and became a vegetarian. And, after that, I fulfilled my adult dream and became a vegan. Some books just stay with you always and forever.
I love to learn. If I’m curious about anything, from the origin of a word to where a country is on the map, I’ll look it up (my geographic skills are very limited, and I’m always looking at maps). I have an insatiable curiosity regarding almost anything to everything. I will ask strangers all kinds of questions in order to get to know them. I’m not pushy, and I try to do it in a friendly way. I feel that there is so much going on the world and so many stories out there that are so interesting. Most people are dealing with all kinds problems and I’ve been told that the very fact I ask them how they are makes them feel special.
My curiosity includes education – of course. I decided while I was at college, that I’d get two majors instead of the usual combination of a major and a minor. I had a few interesting conversations with the Dean of Students over this decision, but due to my high grades they let me persue it. When my children were in school I asked them to tell me one thing they learned that I didn’t already know. When I home schooled them, the thing that I liked best about it was how much new information I was learning. There is nothing like learning new things that gets me so excited. When I first learned who Rachel Carson was, I wanted to be just like her. Most of my heroes are people who not only are highly intelligent, but also people interested in helping others. The only way forward into a better and more equal future is through education. Done right, education creates compassion and understanding. No one who reads a wide variety of international literature can claim no compassion nor understanding. Once you feel what other cultures have experienced, your mind has been opened to new pathways.
Of course, the point of all this waxing on about education is that a new study by Pew Research Center has shown that the majority of Republican voters believe that higher education is “bad” for America. That being said, I wonder if they are prepared to forgo Doctors, Nurses, Engineers and computer experts. All these people do have degrees from universities. Indeed, many of them have advanced degrees. These are the people responsible for many of the “little” things that make life a lot better – such as advancements in communications, infrastructure, safety and health care. This finding simply flabbergasts me. Please feel free to leave your comments on this subject. I’d love to find out what other people think of it.
Compassion is important to me. It should be important to all of us. Compassion is what religion is supposed to be about. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Is one of the most quoted statements from the Bible. Somehow, we have lost whatever compassion we had as a country. The reason I’m saying this is specifically related to the new TrumpCare Bill that is in Congress. This bill will take insurance away from the very people who need it. Anyone who is older, or has pre-existing conditions will lose their health care. Well, if they don’t want to eat, or have a place to live, they might be able to pay their premiums. Otherwise, those premiums will be too big to pay.
Where is the compassion? I look around me and I don’t see any. Disabled people are blithely told to “just get a job”. When was the last time you saw a blind or deaf person in your office? How about the elderly? Have you seen many 95-year-old delivery people, or an 85-year-old working at Walmart? No, neither have I. Even though this bill has “died”, they are still looking to simply get rid of the ACA, leaving millions of people without healthcare.
It’s called compassion. Find some, use some. Be the person you were meant to be. Compassion. One day you will need it. When you do, will it be there?
There has been a lot of talk about pre-existing conditions, what they are and if people who have them can be denied health insurance, or be made to pay more for health insurance. A pre-existing condition is anything medical that happened before a person’s health care policy went into effect. In the bad old days, before the ACA, health insurance companies could refuse to sell policies to people who were sick, or who had been sick. There were companies who did sell policies to these people, however the cost was much too high for the average person to pay. With the ACA, these people were able to buy policies for about the same price that the average “healthy” person could. With the advent of TrumpCare, these pre-existing conditions don’t need to be covered by insurance companies. Here is a list of some of these conditions that no longer will be covered.
As you can see, a lot of people have these conditions. For example, I was born of with a heart murmur and I have had asthma in the past. Heart murmurs, as I understand it, can be a crap-shoot. It’s a 50/50 chance of needing a medical intervention. I never even knew I had one until I was pregnant, then I was told that I’d had it all my life – go figure.
Today is the day that we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m ancient enough to remember Dr. King from the news, and the one thing about him that I’ll never forget is his “I’ve got a dream” speech. At some point around the same time, I watched the movie Don Quixote de la Mancha”, with Peter O’Toole in the main role. The song “The Impossible Dream” also lives in my head, and I often think about it. The two are inextricably linked in my mind, and whenever I think of Dr. King, I also picture Don Quixote tilting at his windmills. Is not the search for equality, justice, compassion and understanding also tilting at windmills in our society?
So, it’s been forty-eight long years since this great man was assassinated. I remember when it happened, and I can recall thinking, as only a very young child can, what was wrong with the person who killed him, and what was wrong with the people who celebrated it. To me, he was a hero. A person who wanted only equality, justice, compassion and understanding. I still wonder how some people can be against that. What is wrong with equality, justice, compassion and understanding. Does equality take away? Of course not, it makes life better for all. What is done to one, can be done to all. I’ll take equality, justice, compassion and understanding over anything else that is out there. Wouldn’t you?
Is compassion a crime? Or, a better question, how can compassion be a crime? Should someone who has tried to alleviate the suffering of another be arrested for that act? How about if an animal is suffering and someone comes along and tries to alleviate that suffering? Or someone just films that suffering? Is that a crime?
I started thinking about this question, first when the Ag-Gag Laws were passed, then when individuals were arrested for breaking the windows of parked and locked cars that had pets who were in obvious distress in them; and then again when Anita Krajnc was arrested for giving water to pigs who were on their way to the slaughter house. Instead of writing about this issue, I’ll be providing links for you to see for yourselves. I have only included a few photos from investigations as the images can be very graphic, and the reality is difficult to see. If it’s too difficult to look at, maybe it should not be happening?
So, do you think that compassion should be a crime? Let me know in the comments below.