Tag Archive: Social Justice


Hail Thy King?

In response to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, about whether it mattered if Trump engaged in a “quid pro quo,” Trump defense attorney Alan Dershowitz said that motive was what mattered and that if an act was in the public interest it was not impeachable. And he said it was reasonable for a public official to equate what is in their own political interest with the public good.

Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest,” he said. “And if a president does something, which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.

Here’s my thought … Therefore, as president, if I thought canceling the 2020 United States Presidential election prevents illegal voting by Democrats is in the best interest of the United States, then I cannot be impeached.

Yes? No?

Internet misinformation has been a robust debate for the last decade. The 2016 U.S. Election demonstrated how foreign governments, political parties, and pundits weaponized hatred, bigotry, and speculation. In all the ensuing discussions, we’ve neglected one component – us. 

Information and disinformation alike rely upon us. For instance, prominent conspiracy theories in contemporary American politics is dependent upon us to reflect unique pathologies of the party in control. Donald Trump is a well-known conspiracy theorist. His supporters often embraced ridiculous ideas lurking in the darkest recesses of the internet. And by embracing such ideology, they influence national policy.

Experts implore us to think more. Yet we reside in a 140-character world. The vestibule of truth is dependent upon the reader willing partaking in any proposed content as truth. 

Need examples? There are plenty. 

Justin Trudeau received harsh criticism for picking up donuts for his cabinet meetings. Social media users went brain-dead bananas from cost (approximately $45) to why not Tim Horton’s. 

Pizzagate splashed across our television screens before the 2016 U.S. presidential election. A Reddit user posted “evidence” (i use that term loosely) that alleged a pizza owner in Washington, D.C. generated both child sex and pizza. As Pizzagate spread, Comet Ping Pong received hundreds of threats, and on December 4, 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch arrived and fired several shots from a semi-automatic rifle. Welch later informed police he planned to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory.

I canceled my LinkedIn account last month after receiving an online diatribe of how wonderful Trump was versus the ‘do nothing Democrats.’ The viral post went to a hell of a lot of users. And the rant forced me to assess the value of service I was receiving. My assessment led me to believe that this service was neither valuable nor offered anything that enhanced my daily business life.

Again, my cancellation was not about the validity or integrity of Trump’s policies. Instead, it was about the personal value received from LinkedIn. LinkedIn positions itself to be a digital resume, a source of news, and inspiration. At that moment, LinkedIn lost its compass, and its value to be both newsworthy or inspirational diminished significantly. 

In canceling LinkedIn, I, in effect, terminated my last social media account. Outside of any social media accounts linked to this blog, I have no other social media vices. I deleted Facebook in 2010. I never used Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or any other social media venue. It’s liberating.

Social media’s problem lay in its inability to transform. From Black Lives Matter to the Arab Spring, protests spurred by social media have failed to materialize meaningful movement. The Arab Spring started via Facebook. Ten years later, it’s dead. The #Metoo movement has resulted in only six convictions and falters as a top priority for most Americans. When a massive fire broke out on June 14, 2017 at the 24-story Grenfell Tower public housing in West London, causing 71 deaths and over 70 injuries, public outrage was swift. Within days, #Justice4Grenfell trended on social media. Eight months later, little has changed for those who lost their lives, for those who survived, the bereaved families, or the wider community. 

Why? 

There’s a difference between ‘viral’ and ‘movement.’ A viral post is something shared, copied, and spread across multiple social platforms. Anyone can have a ‘viral’ post. Movements require action. And without work, they’re destined for death. Movements require ‘us’ to become involved. If you want change, you must vote. Want to change the educational system of your local city, you must get involved. Need to change the bias of a government, you must run for office, create ideas, and publish policies.

David Imel wrote an article titled, ‘I quit the internet for nine days.’ I paraphrase him in stating we need to stop scrolling Twitter endlessly. We have to restrain from searching CNN every time someone excuses themself for the restroom. Imel noted his habits.

Notifications have created a sense of urgency in my life. Everything feels important. Did someone like my twitter post? I have a new Instagram follower? Surely these things need to be addressed! And so, waking up to effectively nothing on my phone felt weird. I felt anxious.

From a Buddhist perspective, if you want to see how we’ve enslaved ourselves to the latest tweet, look no further than our government leadership or Presidental impeachment trial. The way people lie about each other is appalling. Saturate yourself in the ‘online world,’ you’ll likely acquire a warped perception of others, online or not. For Trump, Biden is Sleepy Joe, Low I.Q., Crazy; Bernie Sanders is Crazy; Elizabeth Warren is Pocahontas or Goofy; O’Rouke has ’hand movement’ (whatever that meant), Stone-Cold Phony, or a Flake; Klobuchar looked like a ‘Snowman,’ and Gillibrand ’… would do anything for donations (some interpreting sex or oral sex).’

Trump made it ok to demean and debase. That’s a reflection of us, all of us. We allowed it. In the process, we stopped considering others human (as in people) thinking instead they are mindless, easily seduced political enemies of whatever cause we’re either for or against. 

We must reverse the trend – even if it includes replacing our current leaders. We must regain our humanity.

I was asked how Republican GOP Senators could side with Trump and acquit him. It’s a thought-provoking question, given the fact that Trump’s defense team presented a radically different view of the events and the Constitution, seeking to turn the charges back on his accusers while simultaneously denouncing the whole process as illegitimate.

To answer the question, I went back to Nixon aide Egil Krogh.

“The premise of our action was the firmly held view within certain precincts of the White House that the president and those functioning on his behalf could carry out illegal acts with impunity if they were convinced that the nation’s security demanded it. When the president does it, that means it is not unlawful. To this day, the implications of this statement are staggering.

At no time did I or anyone else there question whether the operation was necessary, legal, or moral. Convinced that we were responding legitimately to a national security crisis, we focused instead on the operational details: who would do what, when, and where.”

Is this where we’re at? A January 26th, 2020, tweet, Trump emphasized his belief that Article 2 of the Constitution allows him to do anything.

“Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

And what’s the price, Mr. President?

Republicans willingly accept leadership from a morally bankrupt family who presides over a scandal-laced presidency. Many Trump advisers face significant prison time, and Donald Trump probably has to stay in office to avoid prosecution.

The pursuit and abuse of power—power is an end unto itself. GOP Senators weaponized religion. In doing so, religion is no longer personal and private; it’s a public freak show. In his appearance before the right-to-life movement on January 25th, Trump noted:

“Sadly, the far-left is actively working to erase our God-given rights, shut down faith-based charities, ban religious believers from the public square, and silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life. They are coming after me because I am fighting for you, and we are fighting for those who have no voice.”

It’s the same message, twisted differently for each occasion: Anyone who opines is evil.

I often ponder anger’s value. Should we valorize it or avenge it. In prayer, I’ve was informed to abandon anger’s thirst, eliminate even the smallest seeds of violence, because the full-blown emotion can only cause harm. In life, I want to prevent similar events from occurring.

One problem with anger is the tendency to cling to it, to bear a grudge against any reasonable form of reconciliation. On the other hand, I want to exact (often disproportional) revenge. Yet failing to react to grievous wrongdoing runs the risk of acquiescing in evil.

In the end, as a Buddhist, both sides of our current political system prefer to segregate the ‘moral side’ of anger. Each promotes its version of the ‘dark side.’

The agents for change are documented in history. To avoid despair, we clarity – a clarity that only (“the truth”) can provide. Trump claims he is the ‘revolution.’ However, Trump himself doesn’t have a revolutionary character of ‘truth.’ If we don’t get that, I fear a hell of a lot of people will continue to suffer and die.

By acquitting Trump, we’ll unleash a political leader that wants only was power. And what he most obviously enjoys is smashing anything in its pursuit.

Our Kangaroo Court

Wikipedia defines Kangaroo Court as a court that ignores recognized standards of law or justice and often carries little or no official standing in the territory within which it resides. The term may also apply to a court held by a legitimate judicial authority that intentionally disregards the court’s legal or ethical obligations.

Wikipedia defines Kangaroo Court as a court that ignores recognized standards of law or justice and often carries little or no official standing in the territory within which it resides. The term may also apply to a court held by a legitimate judicial authority that intentionally disregards the court’s legal or ethical obligations.

I recently watched the movie Inside Man Most Wanted. Approximately three quarters into the movie, two key characters had the following conversation:

You know what was clever about the Nazi Diamond Heist?” Ariella Barash questioned.

Tell me,” Agent Dr. Brynn Stewart replied.

They robbed a whole bank the way a pickpocket lifts a wallet, or a magician hides a card. They toyed with perception. You distract the brain, the prefrontal cortex, with a complex problem, like, say, a bank robbery. Focus attention on the big picture and then, bam, create an unexpected event that steals attention. And you can’t resist. The brain’s primitive sensory cortices light up with the distraction. You change the framing of someone’s perception; you change their reality.”

Bingo,” Dr. Stewart replied.

It’s what makes sleight-of-hand so effective.

The GOP doesn’t care about the plight of the children crossing the border, our relationship with North Korea, rising sea levels, or human rights. The GOP cares about only one thing and one thing only: Catering to Donald Trump and ensuring he remains in power. Therefore, the Senate Impeachment is likely to become one great sleight of hand.

Republicans already admitted it: The Senate impeachment trial of Trump will be a total sham. Back in December, the Republicans wanted to hold “a short impeachment trial that would include no witnesses and quickly vote to acquit.” Senator Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham indicated they would not be impartial.

The tactic is a broader issue of inequality. If you’re rich, you’re above accountability. America picks who goes to jail when it picks whom to investigate—which is one of the reasons so few people involved in the 2008 Wall Street debacle went to jail. In recent history, look no further than Epstein, Trump, Weinstein, Paul Manafort, Papadopoulos, Gates, and Flynn.

What does it all mean? Jack Goldstein summarizes America’s dilemma:

Donald Trump is testing the institution of the presidency, unlike any of his 43 predecessors. We have never had a president so ill-informed about the nature of his office, so openly mendacious, so self-destructive, or so brazen in his abusive attacks on the courts, the press, Congress (including members of his party), and even senior officials within his administration. Trump is a Frankenstein’s monster of past presidents’ worst attributes: Andrew Jackson’s rage; Millard Fillmore’s bigotry; James Buchanan’s incompetence and spite; Theodore Roosevelt’s self-aggrandizement; Richard Nixon’s paranoia, insecurity, and indifference to law; and Bill Clinton’s lack of self-control and reflexive dishonesty.

In 1796, George Washington warned us to “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” That’s what the current administration does: pretend patriotism.

The President claims that Article 2 of the Constitution allows him to do whatever he wants. In 2017 Stephen Miller, Trump’s top White House aide, claimed the ‘Powers of the president … will not be questioned.’ In that mind, I think of Matthew 22:21, where Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” We might have to change that to, ‘Give all things unto Trump.’ I fear a Senatorial Kangaroo Court will create a shift to autocracy.

Therefore America, I say unto you, your Kangaroo Court is in session.

The world’s richest 2,153 people controlled more money than the poorest 4.6 billion combined in 2019, while unpaid or underpaid work by women and girls adds three times more to the global economy each year than the technology industry, Oxfam said on Monday.

And here in the U.S., a Congressional Research Service report, indicated the wealthy benefited from Trump’s tax cuts more than others. “Most of the tax cut went to businesses and higher income individuals who are less likely to spend the increases,” reads the report. The richest 5 percent of taxpayers will receive $145 billion in tax cuts in 2020, which is half of the law’s benefits that go to U.S. taxpayers. The richest 20 percent of taxpayers will receive $205 billion in 2020, which is 72 percent of the law’s benefits that go to U.S. taxpayers.

Still believe Trump Administration is working for the average ‘Joe?’

January 16th, 2020 The impeachment trial of D. J. Trump began. Chef Justice John Roberts presides. It’s anticipated that most, if not all, Republicans will vote not to convict Trump. With 67 votes needed to convict and remove Trump from office, the trial’s outcome is mostly pre-baked. And more than likely, Trump’s acquittal will only embolden the president, and American’s become powerless to prevent him from any future violations of office. 

What Lindsey Graham and other GOP senators will do is applaud and reinforce Trump’s audacity. Trump’s actions of impeding Congressional oversight are “consistent with” his “previous efforts to undermine other investigations. These actions include requesting foreign interference in United States elections. As a result of GOP allies, Trump continues to hold himself beyond the reach of government scrutiny that applies to everyone else.

What Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunes, and Mitchell McConnell will reinforce is that the United States, in effect, operates two distinct criminal justice systems: one for wealthy people, and another for the poor and people of color. Trump’s acquittal will reinforce the mantra that if you’re white and rich, you’re likely to walk away from crime. If you’ve black, you die. The disparity is deeper and more systemic than explicit racial discrimination. Wealth gains access to a vigorous adversarial system replete with constitutional protections. For poor and minority defendants, you’re screwed.

Black citizens wrongly convicted or killed will receive no justice. A 2018 Sentencing project reboot confirms this racial disparity. African-American are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites. Hispanics are at 3.1 times as likely. One of every three black boys born in that year could expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as could one of every six Latinos—compared to one of every seventeen white boys. Racial and ethnic disparities among women are less substantial than among men but remain prevalent.

No black man would ever be able to successfully argue that aides have “absolute immunity” from congressional testimony to protect autonomy and independence in deliberations. No black man could openly stonewall subpoenas flatly refuse to cooperate with congressional requests for information. No black man could publicly exhibit noncooperation and obstruction. Trump can do all. Why? Because he’s white. And he’s rich.

Shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 16th, ninety-nine of the hundred members of the United States Senate raised their hands and swore en masse to do “impartial justice.” Spoiler alert, there is no such thing as impartial justice. Trump knows it; Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell realize it; blacks realize it, and so do the poor.

I was having lunch with two friends yesterday.

How does one go on after suffering horrific loss?” a colleague sighed as she referenced gun violence.

The other colleague recalled a story from her days in Chicago.

“”I remember two WGN radio hosts, Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey.  They were forced by management to end their radio show with no notice. O’Malley and Markey said they had known for weeks their show was ending, but administration forced them to tell their audience during that day’s show. It would be their last. The abruptness by which management forced them off the air caught listeners by surprise.

We’re all going to be OK, and we’re all going to put on our big-girl panties and deal with it,” O’Malley told listeners.””

In other words,” my colleague stoically noted, “. . . Put your panties and deal with it. Life demands we move forward. ‘This day’ will always become another tomorrow.

As a Buddhist, I might have stated the world is full of causation, meaning that the whole universe is a web of interrelated causes and effects. To those who suffered a significant loss, such a statement would be ideological. However, such sentiments offer little to those who’ve lost much.

The Washington Post performed an analysis of recent high-profile mass shootings. Their report suggests that interest in combating the problem tapers out after about three weeks. Thus, by pulling up our pants and getting back into the world, it is the survivors who must make meaning out of the misery. Our presidential and legislative leaders only look to ‘run out the clock.’

And how does one run out the clock? Just do what Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio did. After the Dayton, Ohio shooting, Sen. Portman diplomatically referenced the NRA playbook.

“These senseless acts of violence must stop. While we are still learning more about the details of this tragedy in Montgomery County, we are praying for the victims and their families and thank the officers who responded so quickly and bravely. I am talking to local leaders and law enforcement officials this morning. First and foremost, let’s get all the facts and help the community heal.”

Need an interpretation? First, pray for the victims. Second, thank first responders. Third, talk to leaders and law enforcement. Fourth, help the community heal. Fifth, get facts. What Portman won’t tell you is that he’s running out the clock. Portman knows all he needs is three weeks–three easy weeks.

Portman understood playbook, the five steps. And each sound great, and that’s what voters want to hear. However, Portman also knows it will take months, if not years. Thus, all he’s doing is putting lipstick on a pig.

The Washington Post outlines the strategy.

“This is often the unstated goal of gun rights advocates. Allow the passion that immediately follows the attacks to cool, often demanding that politics wait until an appropriate mourning period has passed. Weeks later, most people have moved on to other issues — including members of Congress.

Trump claimed Wednesday that some background checks were still possible. Maybe. But there’s an established pattern of elected officials whose politics align with Trump’s merely wait out the energy and passion that inevitably follows mass shooting incidents.

Usually, by about now (three weeks later), people have moved on.”

Here’s my colleague’s message.

Every year brings forth a new set of survivors. They come from nearly every race, religion, and socioeconomic background. These otherwise ordinary heroes come from Parkland, Florida; Aurora, Colorado; and scores of towns whose names were chiseled into our minds. These tragedies go against everything we’ve been taught: that we live in a just world, and if we make the right decisions, we’ll be safe. Still, any of us could experience such deep, profound tragedy. With the help of those around us, we can turn fear into purpose.

Parkland survivors worked together and called for changes to prevent similar tragedies from recurring. In essence, they put their panties on, confronted lawmakers, rallied others, took to the streets of Washington, DC, put on the March For Our Lives, and made impassioned pleas for reform. They were able to put anger into activism, interrupted the typical narrative, and refused to let the news cycle or the country move on. They did not allow others to forget.

These same stalwart young activists are providing witness that if you want nationwide healthcare, put your panties on.

You want infrastructure building programs? Put your panties on. Do you want a national healthcare program for Alzheimer’s? Put your panties on. Do you want real gun reform? Put your panties on. Do you want decent childcare and early childhood education system? Put your panties on.

The list is endless.

These are the real changes Dr. Martin Luther King, Christ, Buddha, and so many others would have fought for.

I am not a fan of Walmart management. However, I read this morning that the El Paso, Texas Walmart, where 22 people were killed earlier this month, will be remodeled and reopened. According to news reports, the renovated store will include an on-site memorial honoring victims and recognition of the El Paso and Ciudad Juarez “binational” relationship. And that’s what should be done.

So, you, the one reading this blog post, do you want change? If so, put your panties on.

Mueller spoke.

And like prophets of a bygone era, we passed. Alex Shephard wrote, “Mueller, it seems safe to assume, had hoped that his report would speak for itself; that it would transcend the partisan narratives that had engulfed the investigation from its inception. That hasn’t happened—not by a long shot.”

Maybe author Michael Wolff was correct.

Mueller had come to accept the dialectical premise of Donald Trump—that Trump is Trump. He threw up his hands, and surprisingly, found himself in agreement with that Trump was the president – for better or for worse, what you saw was what you get. Trump is who the country voted for. Trump is what they get.

For more than 20 years, American’s have been in a mostly unknown dance with Grendl. Coming forth from the midst of reality television, our Grendl spun a dialect that enchanted American water cooler conversation, “Who’s getting fired this week.

Our Grendl is not the Grendl of the famous Anglo-Saxon poem. I’m referring to the Grendl who emerged from a New York high-rise. It’s the Grendl our soul, the Grendl that willing accepts a new level of viciousness with a promise of a greater American glory—such viciousness will make America great … again.

Mueller spoke.

Similar to his report, we searched for our Beowulf, the knight who would slay our Grendl. Investigate. Report. Indict. Impeach. Reaching back to our days in high school, many sat on the sidelines and cheered in unison, “Mueller, Mueller. He’s our man. If he can’t do it, no one can.” He didn’t. Mueller refused to accept the gilded knight. Instead, he lay his version of the book of life upon our desk.

Dare we read?

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, Trump made it clear that Mueller’s exhortation to read had fallen on deaf ears.

“I’ve never read any of my books, and I certainly don’t intend to read his (Mueller’s).”

Funny, neither did Barr. An INSIDER survey indicated many Americans had yet read Mueller’s report, yet willing accepted it (Mueller’s report) exonerated Trump. To those in that category, Attorney General Barr and President Trump ‘luv’s ya’ baby.’

American’s willing drink from the cup of hate. It’s the irony of ironies! America is condemned, not only by ourselves, but by the very leaders who claim to be reputable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. That includes Graham, McConnell, Murkowski, Collins, Tillis, former Senator Flake, and former Speaker Ryan. All accepted the golden calf.

Even world leaders kiss the calf. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gushed about his “very close personal relationship with Donald” and called the United States-Japan alliance “the closest in the whole world.” In their book, “How Democracies Die,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt warn of other notable elected leaders who’ve perverted the democratic process, including Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Viktor Orban of Hungary. And let’s not foget Kim Jong-un’s love sonnets.

As the years move forward, America will silence critics. The government will display higher tolerance for extremist and bigoted views. We will liken Democratic and oppositional viewpoints to Nazis. Oversight will become treasonous. Public protests will be vilified “acts of terrorism.” Our new America will reject the principles of democracy, the legitimacy of opponents, curtail civil liberties and nurture the seeds authoritarianism. If you’re black, you die. If you’re Mexican, you’re a rapist.

Herein lay the hard lesson – Trump won’t last forever. In the wake of his presidency’s will cometh another—Grendel’s mother. Trump may be mean, ugly, and vicious. But the next guy will be worse. And just as Eddie S. Glaude Jr. previously noted, it will be appalling how so many Americans will bathe in the pool of ‘vicious.’

And Muller spoke.

In case you’ve lived under a tree or turned off social media this past weekend, I want to you to know Robert Mueller’s report landed. And after all the twists and turns of a Hollywood movie, here America stands – at the same spot where it all began. No conclusion on collusion.

To be fair, the Special Counsel’s report found evidence to support both sides of the question and left unresolved what the special counsel viewed as difficult issues of law. Attorney General Barr quoted Mueller as saying, “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Back in January, Irate over the cost of a $6 street dog, a man brutally beat two women who tried to stop him from berating a Los Angeles street vendor, according to police. Los Angeles police released cellphone video. A man later turned himself in just hours after cellphone video footage of the incident splashed across local media stations. He claims other bystanders started the fight.

Huh? I don’t understand the segue,” one might ask. “What’s the connection?

Direct link? Hmm. Not much,” Symbolically speaking, “Maybe more than we care to admit.

Maybe all the Special Counsel’s did was emphasize where America is at. Maybe at the end of the day, all we’ve (meaning Americans) have done is elected a group of angry, pre-dementia patients whose thought process heavily leans toward bigotry. Maybe that’s what America is. Maybe that’s all we’ll become for the next 15 to 20 years.

What’s important to note is that we haven’t figured how to live with others whose beliefs don’t reflect our own. As a result, we resort to discrimination, violence or hate. Just as our legislators outsourced morality to the special prosecutor, so the did hot dog guy and bystanders. When you lack the courage to stand for justice, morality is not your job, it’s someone else’s.

Washington Post writer Greg Sargent wrote the following:

President Trump’s extraordinary response to the New Zealand massacre provides an occasion to intensify our scrutiny of a critical question: Are Trump’s words emboldening white-nationalist and white-supremacist activity at home and abroad? Trump regularly engages in both veiled incitement of violence and anti-Muslim bigotry with a kind of casual regularity that almost seems designed to lull us into desensitization. That this is losing the power to shock is bad enough. But that’s producing another terrible result: This desensitization leads us to spend too little time focused on the actual consequences these verbal degradations could be having.

For 675 days, Americans hung on Mueller’s every word and action: each hire, each redaction, each revealing footnote. Yet Mueller cannot answer that which is particularly reprehensible and hiding in plain sight: There are no signs Americans are particularly troubled by representatives utilizing politics to demean and debase others.

Every one us is responsible for Trump.

Yet, when confronted by America’s new reality, we watch. We pull out our cell phones and record. We post. WSeyell at the television. But we fail to vote. And for those who gave Mueller messianic stature, it’s time to reconcile the unreconcilable.

Image Trump’s presidency without a villain? Congratulations. That day is here.

What Mueller proved is that our own level of morality (or lack thereof) cannot be outsourced. Mueller never intended his report to neither clean our dishes nor neatly tie loose ends. At the end of the day, we have to look at ourselves. We must vet our own consciousness. Is Trump’s America the vision we want our children to live?

Waiting Room

In Beetlejuice, the Neitherworld Waiting Room is a waiting room for ghosts. The waiting room is run by civil servants, and it is where one goes to meet or make an appointment with your afterlife case worker. There appears to be other types of offices leading from the waiting room but there is little to show what they are for.

I thought of the Neitherworld Waiting Room after attempting to reschedule a medical appointment.

“Greater State Medical and Pharmacy, how may I assist you?”

“Yes, my physician requested an MRI. I was originally scheduled for an MRI this past Thursday, but I was informed the MRI machine required repair. So, I would like to reschedule.”

“Okay. Are you a current patient?”

“No, I am being referred by Dr. Good Guy.”

“And your insurance?”

“Green Cross, Shield, and Holy Insurance Emporium.”

“Okay. The next availability we have is October 17th. I have both morning and afternoon available?”

“October?”

“I’m sorry. I know that’s quite some time away, but that’s our first availability. I can place you on a waiting list if you like?”

Boston Magazine’s noted a 2017 Merritt Hawkins study found, that in Boston, a new patient can expect to wait more than 52 days. Need a mental health professional? Three weeks. And to emphasize, I received a recommendation with an arthritis clinic to review my spine. My consult appointment is scheduled for the second week in November.

Therein lay the difficulty, wait times mean little for receptionists and billing specialists. They hold the power.

My guess is that the current system works quite well for most. However, specialists can be tough to get appointments with. In my case, I felt the receptionist was really saying, “This is the way we do things. If you want to be seen, you’ll follow the rules – our rules.” Should death take a holiday, I will have waited months. If death refuses to take a holiday, the above conversation is just another pretty pointless exchange in a probably quite common day – for her.

For a moment, I did think of Canadians. Then again, Canadians are reported to have it worse. In 2017, The Fraser Institute reported overall waiting times for medically necessary treatment increased. Specialist physicians who were surveyed, reported a median waiting time of 21.2 weeks between referral and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 20.0 weeks reported in 2016.

I note several weird stories from the news. A woman in Santa Anna, CA made news for billing her physician for the 45-minute wait time. The woman, who gets paid hourly, reportedly deducted $150 from her $223 bill return the bill, with a letter, explaining why she wouldn’t pay in full. The physician’s office reportedly agreed to the adjustment. Another physician reports he credits his patients $50 when late.

Both are interesting stories. Maybe I can buy some extra minutes from the Angel of Death.

Greetings oh great Reaper. I received this $50 bucks from my doctor, can I credit it to my account?

We take no credits.”

Damn. Mr. Reaper, you have a poor attitude.

As for me, Neitherworld Waiting Room. I wait.

Like racers competing for a prize, I wonder who’ll win: the Angel of Death, the doctor, or me? Should the Angel of Death appear and inform that my time is up and offer one final request before being accompanied from this world, I will, without hesitation, reply:

“I want a second opinion.”

“What you say, ‘six months for the first available consult?'”

“Hey. I have $50. Want a drink?”

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