Thursday, August 05, 2010

Polio Rising: There was a rather lengthy article in The Boston Globe today (Link below). It has been reported that polio is rising again this time in Tajikistan. As a polio survivor who contracted paralytic polio in the 1950s and suffered its debilitating effects as a child as well as significant post polio issues as an aging adult, I shake my head in disbelief. Once thought to go the way of small pox the scourge of polio with its accouterments of braces, crutches, casts, surgeries, respirators and more is still with us despite valiant efforts to eradicate it worldwide by Rotary, WHO and other organizations. This hard-to-believe-but-true fact reports polio is still raising its ugly head in Tajikistan and from there it even traveled to Russia. In our trans global age the World Health Organization is concerned it will travel easily to other nation states as well. This among many other reasons makes me say God bless America. Truly, even on our worst days, it is better to live here than almost anywhere else. Vaccination against polio is mandatory and should remain so. Efforts to help countries which are plagued by war, religious and other obstacles of superstition and myth, helping to prevent vaccination of their people against this dreaded disease, must be overcome.

I criticize US foreign and domestic policy sure but one cannot deny the fact that people overcome Herculean obstacles to get here. They must be doing that for a reason. Perhaps, despite our shortcomings, it is better -- a LOT better -- here than many other places on earth. Articles about the hideous disease of polio again rising in the underdeveloped world and even in the not so underdeveloped world never ceases to bring that point home to me! /05/tajikistan_outbreak_sets_back_effort_to_end_polio/
THANK YOU!: The federal court in Northern California handed down yesterday a decision which declared Proposition 8, banning marriage between homosexuals in California, unconstitutional. I composed an email which I sent to Chief Justice Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California who wrote the most beautiful and errorless opinion I have ever read on this issue. I posted the letter I sent to him on my blog:

Justice Walker: I do not know how to say this well enough so that you understand how important your decision is to those of us who either are gay, have children, relatives or friends who are. You have given hope to MILLIONS and I might even aver you have saved lives. Thank you, sir, for what you have done. Your decision was historic, complete, brilliant and absolutely on point.

I am old enough to remember a time when people, friends and relatives I know almost took their life and for what? They almost did so because they could not crawl out of their skin and there was seemingly no other way out of a life of unhappiness. People faced the rejection of even of their own families. One could proudly be Jewish, Irish, Italian, African American or any other ethnicity but any one person within those groups could be rejected and thrown out on the street by the families who are supposed to provide unconditional love and support. This is, in the final analysis, about love and the ability to share one's life with whom one wants enjoying the benefits that everyone else takes for granted.

I cannot thank you enough for the hope you have brought to so many. Now, I suppose, ultimately, this will go to the US Supreme Court. It only takes one justice there now -- only ONE -- to restore hope to millions who for centuries had known none. If upheld it will be, in my opinion, as important as the Brown decision and surely as IMPORTANT as it was to clear the path for interracial marriage so that ANYONE could marry whom they wanted. Truly, it is not the business of the state to deny a CIVIL right to a huge group of people when others in that society take that same right for granted.

Thank you again, sir. Yesterday you have done a GREAT, GOOD and MORAL thing and I know YOU have saved lives in the process. Religions have stated to save ONE life is to save the world entire and, I believe, you have done just that.