Yes, I cried out
A June 25 letter to the editor contained sweeping generalizations not based on fact. It mirrored many far-right websites.
Democrats “did nothing” to work on a solution at the southern border? President Barack Obama tried to work on immigration, and Republicans blocked him.
President Donald Trump “was left with this mess”? Trump created his own mess by separating families, sowing confusion over “immigrant” and “refugee” status and adding further debt from unbudgeted expenses for more detention centers, staff and so on.
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Democrats “are making the country unsafe”? Where is the evidence for this charge?
“Where was your outcry when Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were president?” I cried out to all three presidents. Why are so many fleeing their own countries in the first place?
I ask: Why is my outcry not heard by Trump? My answer: Because those dreaming of a wall paid for by Mexico don’t care what I think.
Lend an ear
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently noted on its official Facebook page: “Suicide is more than a mental health condition.”
According to Missouri Department of Mental Health data from December 2016, Missouri had higher suicide rates than the national rate.
As an registered nurse, I see individuals struggling to manage mental illness every day, and most don’t have the means to get counseling or medications. They turn to drugs or alcohol to interrupt their horrible, sometimes self-deprecating thoughts.
One theme I have found among most people struggling is that they just want someone to listen. They don’t always want answers or help. Sometimes they just want to be heard.
It does not always take a medical degree to treat mental illness. It sometimes takes someone willing to listen to another human being. It takes kindness and understanding.
Mental illness and suicide are not always understood, but taking time just to listen may make all the difference in the world.
I recently made a trip downtown after receiving a summons for jury duty. It’s a long day but important. I say to our legislators that $6 per day is not a fair reimbursement for an individual’s time, trouble and, in my case, the loss of a paid day of work.
The trial was about a robbery involving guns. During voir dire, the questioning of prospective jurors, the topic of purchasing guns came up. The responses were as varied as the opinions of people throughout our country. Some people recited their Second Amendment rights, and others related heartbreaking tales of loss from gun violence.
Private purchases of guns came up, and people told stories about buying guys from family members or acquaintances. I shared my own experience of going to gun shows with my dad when I was a child and how he collected antique guns. Others said they would never buy a gun from a private seller.
As I listened to their stories, I had additional questions of my own: Selling a gun to your cousin might be uneventful, but what if he then sold it to a neighbor you don’t know? And if you were to find out down the road that it was used in a drive-by shooting or it killed a kid, how would you feel?
James A. Michener in his 1990 book “The Eagle and the Raven” contrasted Antonio López de Santa Anna and Sam Houston, both of whom greatly influenced the futures of Mexico and the United States.
Santa Anna lost Texas to the United States, ruled as a dictator who accumulated great wealth and made decisions to satisfy his enormous ego. After decades of this, he left his country in worse shape than when he took power and died in poverty.
Houston held many elected offices, including president of the new nation of Texas. His concern was for the welfare of the people he served. He died a hero with little wealth and is still celebrated for his service.
Michener’s final evaluation of the two should serve as a guide to every politician: “A national leader may accumulate a spectacular chain of temporary results, but unless his character has been forged in the fires of integrity and his actions in the crucible of hard-edged reason, history will refuse to stamp him with a seal of greatness.”