Monday, June 30, 2008

Good Samaritans Wanted

Often it seems that folks like me are paid by Washington citizens to do what they not only cannot do but refuse to do themselves ... get involved with the needy.

I suppose you could call me a professional getter-involved, do-gooder

... or perhaps a surrogate who acts for all those who could but won't

... or perhaps welfare workers are like those surrogate warriors hired by early affluent "patriots" to fight in the revolution so they didn't have to.

Regarding the homeless ...

the poor ...

and right now particularly, the veterans.

If we can't see them they don't exist in our moral conscience.

They are subject to priorities governed by agency number crunchers

... governed by legislatures driven by political considerations and misguided perceptions of how the public feels about it's military society and its poorest segment of society.

Welfare reform as legislated nationally by the self-righteous political thugs a la Gingrich-America-contractors in the mid 1990's was in some ways cynical - primarily driven by negative images designed and created by the framing forefathers of today's swift-bloat crowd that can turn Johnny Appleseed into Oil Can Henry.

Images...

a single mother standing in the grocery checkout line with a child sitting in the grocery cart and with food stamps in her hand

... surrounded by presumptuous non-food-stamp patrons smug in awareness of being "better-than" and resentful of that young mother

who probably cheated on her application in order to qualify for food assistance.

Furthermore, I've met smug Daddies who - not knowing what I do for a living - have bragged about their sons' studhood; their procreative ability to seduce girls but then dodge responsibility and accountability when that studdiness results in conception;

... jerk baby-boomer-aged blowhards who actually insist that the slut who lured their wunderkind son into bed deserves what happens. Despite birthing his grandchild she deserves nothing from their son but contempt.

Except when after the child is born they sometimes push their sons into courtrooms for custody of what might be their only grandchild.

What happens in a society when a father teaches his son irresponsibility and that it's okay to whisper anything necessary in the dark in order to get the clothes off?

And then find the junior-high-level maturity of that lover-boy stud in a tavern bragging pridefully about how they did it while whining indignantly when the Division of Child Support comes knocking after I open up a cash assistance case for their child and the child's mother?

Single pregnant females of course are accountable and responsible for their pregnancy as well as the males. But we as a society tend very much to blame the mothers almost entirely, look the other way regarding a criticism of the father because he's out of sight and therefore out of mind.

That's the same sort of thing that drives public apathy toward the homeless.

If I arrive home from work upset, more often than not I'm angry at the mindlessness of agency bureaucrats or the cowardly indifference of absent relatives of the needy.

And don't get me started about churches who get all straining and diahhretic about what gays are doing but don't pour out of their churches and into the street in moral outrage about how a nation stays bereft of real morale values while worshipping consumption.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dobson leading the blinded with his own distorted "traditional understanding of the Bible."

When the wrong politician starts talking God talk, the Republican God-Talkers get nervous and feel justifiably threatened.

How dare Obama use God-talk in a reasonable and persuasive style?

That's a style than runs counter to the last 30 years of pulpit pounding "I'll tell you believers what to believe!" deception and manipulation.

Any kind of speech or sermon that encourages the strongest spiritual attributes of faith and reason are bound to scare the Beelzebub right out of tradition hardliners like Dobson and LaHaye.

Sorry Dr. D, but I don't recall any consensus establishment of any "official traditional understanding of the Bible" - especially as reflected by American Southern Evangelical Literalist churches and their own "Froody Bible" institute's modern End-Times interpretation of the Bible.

Dobson is quoted as asking,

"Am I required in a democracy to conform my efforts in the political arena to his [Obama's] bloody notion of what is right with regard to the lives of tiny babies?"

That's a slick question Dr. D.

I want to ask why you conformed your efforts in the political arena to Bush's bloody notion of what is right with regard to the lives of American military fathers and mothers of tiny babies?

Or are you wanting it both ways ... self righteous and sanctimonious?

... and against sincere independent critical thinking that leads to the absolute model of the compassionate ministry of Christ?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Give an Hour - Free mental health counseling to US Military personnel and families

Give an Hour is a non-profit organization asking mental health professionals nationwide to literally give an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families.


View video, 'Helping Warriors Find Peace of Mind' which gives a bit of explanation about the concept of the organization, Give an Hour. Video features U.S. Army Col. James Bradley, Chief of Pyschiatry, at Walter Reed Medical Center making the statement that 'really what we are dealing with is normal reactions to abnormal circumstances'.


At local level in WA state, see The Soldiers Project Northwest, which is a group of mental health care providers in Washington is offering free help to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families who either can't or don't want to go through traditional channels for care. (read more at Tacoma News Tribune article, 'A New Source of Mental Health Care'

  (more below the fold)

This is 'news' to me, something I hadn't heard about yet, and I wanted to do my small part in helping to promote it as a resource. I'd like to give a shout out to visit their website to learn more about Give an Hour. The material and informtion at their website is well organized and self-explanatory.


I learned of Give an Hour in reading at diary at Daily Kos - jimstaro, a member of Veterans for Peace, that also has a brief video Helping Warriors Find Peace of Mind, which gives a bit of explanation about the concept of the organization, Give an Hour. The video features U.S. Army Col. James Bradley, Chief of Pyschiatry, at Walter Reed Medical Center making the statement that 'really what we are dealing with is normal reactions to abnormal circumstances'. The video also features Dr. Barbara Romberg, Founder Give an Hour. It is useful to both take a look at the short video, and then take a longer look at the Give an Hour website for additional and concrete information.


At a more local level, here in Washington state, I recently encountered a non-profit organization, The Soldiers Project Northwest, which is a group of mental health care providers in Washington is offering free help to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families who either can't or don't want to go through traditional channels for care.


The Soldiers Project Northwest is a chapter of and modeled after a similar effort in Los Angeles, The Soldiers Project, where volunteer therapists since 2004 have seen clients without charge for help with their war-related problems.

(Read more at article, A New Source of Mental Health Care, for veterans in Tacoma News Tribune)


At a personal experience level, my son-in-law is deployed in Iraq again, in his second 15 month 'stop-loss' extended deployment. He will have 30 months in Iraq, but it is a higher number of months that he is away from his family as there is a 3 month lead in before he deploys, where he is away from his family training 'down-field' before he deploys. And then even when he is home, there is the ongoing training with a 'down-field' month of training about every quarter.


So overall he will have been absent from his family (wife and three children - my daughter and grandchildren) for about 40 months or more of 72 months since the war in Iraq was initiated. In this second deployment he is struggling with the fullness of the reality of it all - combat, extended absence from his family. My daughter is also having a more difficult time with him gone in this deployment. These long absences take their toll on both of them.


Their marriage continues to stand strong, but the absence is getting to both of them. The little ones, who are now 6 and 7 were only 1 and 2 when he left for the first deployment, so for most of their formative years, he has been gone in deployments in Iraq. He has stated how aware he has become of how much of their growing up years he has missed. These are years he and they can never get back. (As an aside, I have to question how the supposed 'family values' party can call their values 'family values' when they support this war and the impact it has on families on all sides.)


I also well remembered the Vietnam era, retuning troops with PTSD phenomenon, which actually gave us the name PTSD - previously named Battle Fatique or Soldier's Heart (see Frontline 'The Soldier's Heart').  I thought our country also remembered, and that what is well known in the professional mental health industry would have mental health therapists stepping up to the plate, knowing what we could expect with returning troops.  I rather thought, perhaps erroneously, it was kind of a 'civilian duty' during time of war.


I'm so pleased to see the formations of these kinds of organizations reaching out to offer professional therapy help to military and their families.  

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