by Errington C. Thompson, MD –
I hope that everyone had a happy and safe holiday.
Nikki and the Civil War
Nikki Haley is surging in the GOP polls. Well, that’s not quite right. She is doing better than anyone else who is not named Trump. She has been getting more extensive crowds and has performed relatively well in those scripted performances called debates.
More than a decade ago, when Haley was running for governor of South Carolina, she was asked about the Civil War. She said that the Civil War was about “traditions versus change.” Yes, she said that. Now if a 14-year-old taking US History wrote that for a school essay, they should get an “F.”
Haley was asked the same question again in New Hampshire. Nikki Haley, a woman of Indian heritage, said, “I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run. The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.” She went on to say, “I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are.”
What nonsense! I understand that she is a Republican. I also understand that politicians answer hundreds of questions daily as they campaign. Reporters, bloggers, and others want to catch the candidate off guard and post something juicy on social media, but this was a chip-shot. She had faced almost the exact same question before, which tripped her up. She is also the same person who fumbled the whole Confederate flag issue while she was governor of South Carolina.
The Civil War was about slavery. Period. Full stop. This is not a mystery. You don’t have to be a Civil War scholar to understand this simple fact. South Carolina, in its Declaration of Session, stated, “But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.”
Translation: You (the United States) are threatening to take our (South Carolina’s) slaves, so we are leaving.
Haley is an intelligent woman. She knows why the Civil War was started, but she would rather spin this state’s rights nonsense because that is the official GOP explanation of the Civil War. If we, as a nation, believe in truth and honesty, we need to bury this “state’s rights” lie under a tree in the backyard and let it die.
This dovetails into our discussion about education. The GOP has been incredibly disorganized. They can’t seem to get anything done except to try to erase race from our history books. Sixteen states have passed laws against critical race theory. This is a theory that is taught in law schools, but the GOP was so afraid of it that they decided to pass laws stating that it should never be taught in elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools.
The theory is complex, but it tries to explain how racism has suppressed minorities since the founding of our country. It explains why it is more difficult for Blacks to get car loans. It explains why it is more difficult for minorities to get loans for houses they can afford in specific neighborhoods. Americans look at this and say, “That stuff that happened 40 years ago.”
Baloney. Please remember that Navy Credit Federal Union is being sued for its racist money-lending practices. Yes, this is the same Navy Federal Credit Union with smiling men, women, former football players, and people of all races in their commercials.
The War in the Middle East rages on. Israel is mowing down Gaza. Street by street. Building by building. Every week or so, we hear about some new tunnel the Israelis have found. We also read about hospitals running out of supplies. Palestinian men, women, and children are being shot and killed. The sanitation system in Gaza has been destroyed. Palestinians will soon be dying of cholera and dysentery. The carnage, heartache, and pain are nearly impossible to fathom. This must stop. We need peace.
The war in Ukraine continues. There seems to be no end. It is just trudging on day after day. Month after month. We need to continue to support Ukraine. Ukraine is fighting a war against an aggressor, Russia. Ukraine is fighting this war for us. Because Russia will take country after country until … I’m not sure that there is a stopping point. I don’t think that Putin would ever say he has had enough. We must continue to fund Ukraine so that they can adequately defend themselves.
Oh, I wish the GOP would stop whining about depleting our supplies. We are sending old munitions to Ukraine and restocking our supply with shiny, brand-new weapons.
Was it a strange coincidence? I was scrolling through my social media feed and came across a post about Wounded Knee. Whenever I read about Wounded Knee, I am overcome with a sense of profound sadness. In 1890, the US military (7th Calvary regiment) was rounding up the Lakota indigenous people. The military was trying to make the area “safe” for white settlers. The military was disarming the Lakota when a gun went off. This was followed by more shooting. Hotchkiss mountain guns (similar to Gatling guns) opened fire on the Lakota. When the dust settled, somewhere between 250 and 300 Lakota were killed. Another 50 were wounded. Twenty-five US soldiers were killed, and 39 others were injured.
This was a massacre. This was and is American history. This is our history. We need to understand it. We need to learn from it. We need to make sure that we make this history a part of us.
This reminds us that, as Americans, we are not perfect. Even the Founders said they established the Constitution “in order to form a more perfect union.” Not perfect; more perfect.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We have made tons of mistakes in the past, and we’ll make more in the future. The Founders knew it, their successors knew it. Abraham Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and Martin Luther King, Jr. knew it. Why can’t today’s Republicans admit that we are not perfect—we’re fallible human beings?
The Wounded Knee massacre was about white supremacy. More than 140 years later, it is still difficult for me to read the description of what happened.
We must fix our healthcare system. Our current system seems to only work for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Our healthcare system must work for the doctors, nurses, and patients.
I was reading a story that was posted in one of the major medical journals. Basically, a 20-something-year-old gentleman was a victim of multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to a trauma center. The patient was in extremis. He was emergently taken to the operating room, where he was found to have several gunshot wounds to his legs.
The patient nearly exsanguinated from these wounds. The patient needed a vein taken from his good leg and placed into his injured leg. The vein is sutured to the artery above and below the injury. This restores blood flow to the foot. The patient required a large amount of blood. Postoperatively, the patient did poorly. The vein graft failed. The patient lost blood flow to his foot. The patient finally required a below-the-knee amputation. The surgeons placed a complex dressing over the patient’s open wound. The patient was ready to be discharged to a rehabilitation center on hospital day #20.
Unfortunately, no rehabilitation center would take this patient because he was a victim of violence. So maybe they could send him home with home health? No, this would not work either. No home health agency would accept him because he lived in a “dangerous” neighborhood. The patient ended up staying in the hospital for an extra 25 days so that his wound could heal.
We need universal healthcare. We need laws that govern rehabilitation centers. We need to have enough rehabilitation centers to care for our hospital patients. I have ten patients on my service ready to be discharged, but we have nowhere to send them. Rehab centers need to be available. We know that intensive rehabilitation can get most patients back to their previous state of functioning (or almost back to their previous state of functioning). We need home health agencies that will go where they are required.
Incredible Uncle Joe
Slowly but surely, Joe Biden has been doing his job. Our economy is better. I am keeping my fingers crossed that inflation has been beaten back to a reasonable level. Real wages have increased for the first time in 10 to 15 years. President Joe Biden and his administration have forgiven over $132 billion worth of student debt by 3.6 million Americans. This is a real help to lower and middle-class Americans. I love this.
If you have an opportunity, wander by the financial blog Calculated Risk. This guy pumps out five to 10 economic posts per day. He’s been doing it for more than a decade. According to Calculated Risk: Home prices have stabilized and may have decreased slightly over the last year. Mortgage rates are falling. This is probably because interest rates are not rising as fast as they were a year or two ago. This is all good financial news.
Go, Joe, Go!
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed here, as well as assertions of facts, are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Urban News.