Epilepsy Advocacy Letter

Epilepsy Talk

Dear Friend / Neighbor,

This isn’t a note asking for money. (Although feel free to donate if you want to!)

It’s about epilepsy.  Because even though over 3 million Americans have it (more than Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, and Parkinson’s Disease combined), no one seems to want to talk about it.

[Insert your own story here]

Anyway, this isn’t a pity party. It’s to tell you about epilepsy and what you can do to help a person having a seizure…and maybe even save a life.  Here’s some simple first aid:

1. Turn the person on his side, so he/she doesn’t choke.

2. Put something soft under his/her head.

3. Clear the area of both people and objects.

4. Do not put anything in his/her mouth.

5. And if the seizure lasts for more than three minutes, call 911.

It’s nice for someone to stick around and reassure the…

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Posted in Just my opinion

Liberty U. And Bernie

Lately, as usually happens every few years, the discussion turns to political things. I, like many others who have chosen a favorite candidate, and been excited about that person, have posted on social media a good deal about it, along with the usual cats and cartoons, inspirational and funny things, and family members’ photos interspersed. As for me, I try to keep things light and cheerful, knowing that they are for me, first, and like-minded friends, second–but my candidate’s posts are often cute and sometimes feature cats–so, then, we do cats. But recently he did something that isn’t in most candidates’ playbooks. He spoke to a group that was almost guaranteed not to be cheering wildly and waving his signs. He did that by invitation–an invitation he accepted fully knowing what kind of reception he might receive. That, and afterwards, took part in a question and answer session with the gentleman leading the group. Yes, he could have begged off, said he had another place to be. He didn’t. He stayed.

Today, I received an email about the speech. It contained, of course, the speech, which I finally found on YouTube, as well as the Q and A, as well as the text. I copied the text, and what he wrote before the speech, explaining why he went, as well. I would like to share it all. It’s not that I feel it’s that important politically–this isn’t about politics at all, although that is the vehicle that carries it. While it is about why Bernie Sanders chose these actions I just described, it is also about us, too, and what we could choose, if we so wished, to find more peace right now, right here, with those we already know. And I hope you read the whole thing. But if you don’t, at least read the first part, before the speech. Thank you.

Earlier this week I spoke at Liberty University. For those of you who do not know, Liberty University is a deeply religious institution. It is a school which tries to understand the meaning of morality and the words of the Bible, within the context of a very complicated modern world. It was founded by the Reverend Jerry Falwell, and the vast majority of people at Liberty strongly disagree with me, and perhaps you, about abortion, marriage equality, and other issues.

You might be asking yourself, “Why on earth would Bernie Sanders go there?” It is a fair question within the context of our modern politics.

I spoke at Liberty University because I believe that it is important for those with different views in our country to engage in civil discourse – not just to shout at each other or make fun of each other.

It is very easy for those in politics to talk to those who agree with us – and I do that every day. It is harder, but not less important, to try and communicate with those who do not agree with us and see where, if possible, we can find common ground. In other words, to reach out of our zone of comfort.

So I went outside of my zone of comfort. Watch this video of my remarks there and read what I have to say about the ideas of morality and justice as they relate to income inequality and other critical issues facing our nation.

The message I gave at Liberty University is that the moral choice is to fight income inequality, and that the just thing to do is to work to make our society more fair. Below are some of my remarks to Liberty from the video above, but I think it is important to share them with you here as well so that you can share with others how I approach these issues.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am far, far from a perfect human being, but I am motivated by a vision which exists in all of the great religions – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and others – and which is so beautifully and clearly stated in Matthew 7:12. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the prophets.” The Golden Rule. Do to others what you would have them do to you. Not very complicated.

I told the crowd at Liberty University that I understand that issues such as abortion and gay marriage are very important to them, and that we disagree on those issues. I get that. But there are other issues out there that are of enormous consequence to our country and the world and that maybe, just maybe, we don’t disagree on them. And maybe, just maybe, we can work together in trying to resolve them.

Amos 5:24, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

Justice. Treating others the way we would like to be treated. Treating all people with dignity and respect.

It would, I think, be hard for anyone in that room where I spoke to make the case that the United States today is a “just” society or anything resembling a just society.

In America today there is massive injustice in terms of income and wealth inequality. Injustice is rampant. We live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world but most Americans don’t know that because almost all of that wealth and income is going to the top one percent. We are living at a time where a handful of people have wealth beyond comprehension – huge yachts, jet planes, tens of billions of dollars, more money than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes. But at the same time, millions of people are struggling to feed their families or put a roof over their heads or find the money to go to a doctor.

When we talk about morality and when we talk about justice, we have to understand that there is no justice when the top one-tenth of one percent own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. There is no justice when all over this country people are working long hours for abysmally low wages, $7.25 an hour or $8 an hour, while 58 percent of all new income being created today goes to the top one percent.

There is no justice when, in recent years, we have seen a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires while, at the same time, the United States has the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world. How can we talk about morality when we turn our backs on the children of this country? Twenty percent of the children in this country live in poverty and that includes 40 percent of African American children. There is no justice when, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, children in our country go to bed hungry.

There is no justice when the 15 wealthiest people in this country saw their wealth increase by $170 billion dollars in the last two years. That is more wealth, acquired in a two-year period, than is owned by the bottom 130 million Americans. And while the very rich become much richer, millions of families have no savings at all and struggle every week just to stay alive economically, and the elderly and disabled wonder how they stay warm in the winter. That is not justice. That is a rigged economy designed by the wealthiest people in this country to benefit the wealthiest people in this country at the expense of everyone else.

There is no justice when thousands of people in America die each year because they don’t have health insurance and don’t get to a doctor when they should, or when elderly people are forced to choose between food or medicine because our citizens pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. That is not justice. That is not morality. That is simply an indication that we are the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all as a right.

There is no justice when low-income and working-class mothers are forced to separate from their babies one or two weeks after birth and go back to work because we are the only major country on earth that does not have a paid family and medical leave policy. That is not justice. That is an attack on family values that everyone should be appalled at.

There is no justice in our country when youth unemployment exists at tragic levels – with 51 percent of African American high school kids unemployed or underemployed. No. We apparently do not have the funds to provide jobs or educational opportunities for our young people but we sure do have the money to throw them into jails. Today, the United States has more people in jail than any other country on earth, and many are serving time in inhumane conditions. That is not justice. That is the destruction of human life.

I am not a theologian or an expert on the Bible or a Catholic. I am just a U.S. senator from the small state of Vermont. But I agree with Pope Francis when he says: “The current financial crisis… originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.”

He also states: “There is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. Money has to serve, not to rule.”

In his view, and I agree with him, we are living in a nation and in a world which worships the acquisition of money and great wealth, but which turns its back on those in need. And that must end. We need to move toward an economy which works for all, and not just the few.

Throughout human history there has been endless discussion and debate about the meaning of justice and the meaning of morality. I hope that by getting out of my comfort zone and speaking with the students at Liberty University that I can be a part of a dialogue with people who might not agree with us. I hope that some of them conclude that if we strive toward morality and toward justice, that it is imperative that we have the courage to stand with the poor and working people of our country.

Whether you agree with his politics, or not, I hope you, as I did, find that perhaps getting out of your comfort zone–that mental and emotional “easy chair” we all find so nice to be in–would be a good thing to do sometimes, to help us find places where we can meet our brothers and sisters on this planet, and, as Bernie Sanders is trying to do, solve old problems and prevent new ones from appearing….and maybe, just maybe, make a few new friends along the way.

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Bernie Sanders’ popularity continues to soar — despite a conspicuous mainstream media bias against him

Source: Bernie Sanders’ popularity continues to soar — despite a conspicuous mainstream media bias against him

Posted in Just my opinion

Robert Reich: Americans obsess over the sex lives of strangers while CEOs rob the country blind

Source: Robert Reich: Americans obsess over the sex lives of strangers while CEOs rob the country blind

Posted in Just my opinion

Bernie Sanders Tops Trump As Billionaire Draws Fewer Iowans Than Democratic Candidate

The cable news networks went gaga for Donald Trump’s speech in Iowa last night, but Trump drew fewer people to his speech than Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders drew in the red state of South Carol…

Source: Bernie Sanders Tops Trump As Billionaire Draws Fewer Iowans Than Democratic Candidate

Posted in Just my opinion

Strong: LGBT Suicide Attempt In Utah

The Queer Ex-Mormon

UPDATE CLICK FOR THE MOST RECENT INFORMATION ON THIS STORY.

Android. That’s what he must look like right now. A being that appears more machine than man.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Dirt. That was to his bed, not this sterile frame. This wasn’t what he had intended.

Strong. That’s what he is. Jake is strong; too resilient even to die at his own hand.

My heart aches for this young man.

Jake is a friend of a friend of mine. I have no personal connection to him, but his story could have been mine, so it hits home.

He, like I myself had once done, was researching the Mormon faith in his pursuit of God. The missionaries taught him routinely about the history and doctrine of the LDS church. And he attended Sunday meetings regularly.

However, those whom he was desperately trying to understand didn’t accept him…

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Posted in Just my opinion

A Moment Of Courage

There aren’t a lot of things that Senator John McCain and I agree on. Part of that, no doubt, has to do with us having differing political views. That’s okay with me, I have different view from a lot of people, some of whom know me, even like me, I hope. John McCain and I do agree on one thing, as far as I can see, however. It is this. Just because two people have differing political views is no reason to demonize another individual.

In 2008, Senator McCain first showed his ability to behave in a statesman-like manner when confronted by a woman at a town hall meeting who repeated the the comments being circulated regarding then-Senator Obama’s religious affiliation. Senator McCain corrected her assumption, and stated that he was an patriotic American citizen and good Christian family man who simply had differing opinions on policy, and that was what the election was about. He had, as we all learned later, turned down suggestions to use several less than honorable tactics in his election fight.

This year Senator McCain again has proved himself able to be more than a partisan. He came forth with no reason to do so but to say the right thing when no one else from the right would. He stood up for a woman who works assisting Secretary of State Clinton and has worked with her for years. He defended the reputation of a hard-working citizen who has served this country and whose honor was put in question. He was not running for anything, he simply could not sit there in his chair and say nothing, so he stood up and said something.

Yes, you may say, that is fine for Senator John McCain. But I have too much to lose. No you don’t. You still have to look at yourself in the mirror, you still have to sleep at night. Can you do these things and not speak up when you know something needs to be said? Statesmanship such as John McCain showed in these instances is not a political thing, not a left or a right thing. It is a human thing, and we all can do it, in little ways and big ones. We need more of this, especially now. It is time to stand up, not for the party, or the candidate, but for the essence of the soul, for the goodness of the spirit. It doesn’t cost money, doesn’t require a law. All it requires is a moment of courage.

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