Saturday, July 22, 2017

Diagnosing Shock

The sudden news of Senator John McCain’s brain cancer seemed to turn Washington D.C. on its head. Senators being interviewed seemed stunned, overwhelmed, overcome with emotion. It was quite the melodrama for that news cycle.

Why is it that a cancer diagnosis is always so shocking? If we hear of someone having a heart attack or being diagnosed with some other disease, such as Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, there are the customary concerned reactions and sad statements. People accept other such unfortunate news in subdued tones. But a cancer diagnosis always seems to shake people to their core.

I have some experience with cancer through my late husband, who died of it four days before he turned 55, and I think I know what causes the shocked reactions. It is, in a word--fear.

Because we are all human and vulnerable to this wanton killer, we fear cancer. We’re afraid of cancer because it is so capricious; it strikes at any age, even in infancy. Cancer is relentless; once it gets hold of you, even if you survive you live forever in its grip, wondering if it will return. Cancer treatments are grueling and debilitating, and you’re never sure they were sufficiently effective. And cancer is ubiquitous; it appears to be everywhere in the world, in every part of the human body, to be discovered at any given moment.

Besides my husband, I’ve lost several friends and two bosses to cancer. I worked with a man whose nine-month old son died of cancer. At the present time I am close to three people battling this scourge of humanity, in various forms and at different stages. One victim is 70 years old; the second is 56, and the third is 43. One is a man, two are women. They all have very different cancers that vary in severity, progression, and prognosis. Yet all will undergo the same mental and physical suffering, and all of their loved ones will endure the same emotional agony.

There is a time to be born and a time to die. We all know that no one gets out of life alive. But with cancer, we never know how long or torturous the road to our final destination might be. I believe that the shock of cancer is simply the fear of the unknown.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Source of Our Rights

"...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life..." 

- The Declaration of Independence

The Charlie Gard case in Great Britain is a stark warning of the dangers inherent in government-controlled healthcare. This ill and helpless 11-month old baby boy has been handed a death sentence from the highest British court by the decision to discontinue treatment. It's in Charlie's "best interests," the court has declared.

Charlie’s parents are, understandably, quite invested in their son’s survival and continued treatment. As his parents, they should have the right to pursue that course of action. But as the British courts have affirmed, the nationalized healthcare system of Great Britain has the power to usurp parental rights and order their son’s state-mandated death. This is a chilling scenario darker than the foreboding premise of Aldous Huxley’s prescient novel, Brave New World.

This is exactly the type of situation constitutional conservatives are fearful of in an ever-expanding “Big State.” Our U.S. Declaration of Independence clearly states that human rights—the first among them, life--are bestowed upon us by God. Great Britain is not the United States, but all people, everywhere, are endowed by God with the same rights. Put biblically, what the Lord gives, the Lord takes. The Founders recognized that life is the Creator's jurisdiction and incorporated the concept into the text of our first national document. All of humanity exists under one authority.

But if humanity decides to make the rules, exactly whose authority are we under, and how do the rules shift with the changing tides of history and culture? Rights granted by human beings can also be revoked by human beings of a different mindset, in a different time. That’s terrifying.

In Great Britain's national healthcare system, the almighty state has assumed supreme authority over life and death. The parents’ rights come not from God, but from human bureaucrats. So what the government gives, the government takes away.

I don’t know if anything can be done to help poor little Charlie, but that is far from the point. The point is that he has two loving parents who are willing to try anything to save him. The point is that Charlie's parents have that right--in fact, they have that moral obligation. The point is that there are doctors outside Great Britain who are willing to help them in that effort. They, too, have that right.

The point is that God, not the government, endows us with our rights--beginning with life itself.

Monday, July 03, 2017

America the Beautiful

Still the best place on the planet. Happy birthday, USA.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Questioning American Spirit

Artist's rendition of the Battle of Gettysburg

And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

~ Mark 3:25

One hundred and fifty-four years ago today* marked the beginning of the three-day long Battle of Gettysburg, which marked a pivotal point in  the U.S. Civil War. This long and bloody conflict, the effects of which reverberate in our modern times, is also referred to as the War Between the States or, often popular in our southern states, "the War of Northern Aggression." A staggering 52,000 soldiers died fighting at Gettysburg--just one battle.

Consider the fact that the entire Vietnam War claimed 58,000 American lives, and you begin to understand the enormous carnage of The Civil War. Total war deaths over the four terrible years, 1861-1865, was far in excess of 600,000 soldiers.

It was during junior high school (now called "middle school") that I first studied The Civil War. I remember asking my father why it lasted so long. His answer was simple, clear, and direct: "The soldiers on both sides were Americans, and Americans never give up. "

I like to think that the American spirit survives today, that we have the tenacity and dedication--the "grit"--to stand together, strong and unwavering against attack. Perhaps the national reaction to September 11, 2001, represents a remnant of what used to be called "The Spirit of '76." But 9/11 was more than a decade and a half ago, and the world and our country have changed dramatically in that time period. In view of our bitter divisions and inflamed discourse today, what is the American spirit made of now? And how well would our collective and individual spirits serve us in a national crisis?

*Correction: 1863 was 154 years ago, not 104--but of course, you know that. Sorry, math was never my strong spot.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Worth Ten Thousand Words

The sad faces of CNN following the Republican victory in Georgia's special election:

("Biased? Who's biased? We're completely objective journalists!")

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Plenty to Say Worth Hearing

I've been quoting and referencing Mark Steyn almost since this blog began. He's smart, insightful, eloquent, and nobody can turn a phrase quite like he does.

Mark Steyn is funny, he's fearless, and his commentary last night on Fox News with Tucker Carlson was "spot on," as he himself might say.  He has plenty to say worth hearing about our country's current sorry state. Treat yourself and watch all of the clips. Then add Steyn Online to your reading list. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter, too.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Summing Up the Day

"Once again it becomes obvious that if the good are not armed, the innocent will die."

~ Dennis Prager

Thursday, June 01, 2017

It Was 50 Years Ago Today...

I've got to admit it's getting better
A little better all the time
 ~ The Beatles

Today marks fifty years since The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released. In honor of this auspicious musical occasion, I've linked "50 Things You Probably Didn't Know" about it.

Diehard Beatle fans will probably know many of these factoids, but most were news to me. The Beatles were a pop cultural force of nature that I merely tolerated as a teenager, although over time I've been properly impressed by their impact on modern music. I wrote about them ten years ago, I'm writing about them today, and if I'm still here in another decade, I'll be marking the 60th anniversary of this landmark musical achievement colloquially referred to as simply "Sgt. Pepper."

In fact, The Beatles essentially invented what we today call "classic rock." What passed for "rock 'n' roll" in the early 1960s was the repetitive sound of a tired old genre circling the drain. The Beatles, with their creative innovations and their boundless talent--many would say genius-- changed all that. In their reverberating wake, rock music rebounded in so many directions and dimensions that it's still changing today.

Rock music more than "got by with a little help" from its friends, The Beatles. Happy 50th birthday, Sgt. Pepper. You indeed taught the band to play.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dangerous Denial

 "Theresa May's statement in Downing Street is be "defiant, but what she is defying is not terrorism but reality." ~ Mark Steyn

As he has been doing for more than a decade, in "'Dangerous Woman' Meets Dangerous Man" Mark Steyn offers brutal wisdom paired with sharp wit regarding the war that radical Islamists are waging upon Western civilization. Anyone who cares about the threat we as a society face from Islamic terrorism should read Steyn's article.

World leaders' unwavering denial of what the radical Islamists are intent on achieving is nearly as frightening as the terrorist attacks themselves.