Tag Archives: North Carolina

“weigh the evidence and do the math”

In a delightfully pointed and insightful op-ed piece in today’s RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER, Dr. Charles Van Der Horst calls our new state governor to task for his decidedly divisive and damaging decision to deny over a half million working state citizens access to health insurance. Dr. Van Der Horst, a previous AIDS researcher in Malawi and South Africa, and now a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, writes with a wealth of direct personal experience of the disaster of over-burdened health systems unable to provide basic care of society.

North Carolina is now in that situation. Governor McCrory, has his own ideological and partisan political goals. That much is already painful obvious. But, it is shameful that he is so quickly using his power to reject Medicaid for our state and relegate so many thousands of our fellow citizens to insufficient health care.

Like Dr. Van Der Horst, I have spent much of my life working in areas of the world where poverty and broken health systems have caused millions of needless deaths and untold suffering. It is inconceivable to me that an educated leader would allow such to happen if it could be prevented. That a governor of North Carolina would turn his back on the opportunity for providing better health care to the citizens of our state is just incomprehensible.

In Dr. Van Der Horst’s own words, “We are not a healthy state. North Carolina already has high infant mortality (46th in US), low birth weigh (44th), and diabetes (42nd). We need more health care, not less.

Good leadership is about more than ideology and rhetoric. Basic morality must come first. A liberal arts education taught me that. Maybe the governor needs to go back to school.

giving voice to the voiceless

I have now been in San Diego for a full week. The good news is that I get to head back to North Carolina in only two days. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed myself here in sunny California. It is just that I am looking forward to warmer weather and a chance to be quiet for a day or two.

Every waking moment has been filled with people. And the older I become, the more of a strain that is for me to handle, at least politely. Between the breakfasts, lunches & dinners and the constant meetings, receptions and presentations, I am with and in front of people constantly. And even though I truly love doing what I do, there are times when I can feel my system starting to labor under the constant pressure of too much of a good thing.

I am definitely at that point in the trip. My need for quiet, extended silence, and solitude has become a living, breathing companion at this point, almost physically begging me to flee the unrelenting pressure of people, all clamoring for just a little piece of me. And to be honest, it is growing more difficult by the minute not to give in, turn tail, and run like a thief.

What keeps me at my post is that I have an opportunity granted to few, and I know it. I am allowed to give voice to the cries of the hungry. I am able to be the voice of the voiceless, and make those normally invisible least of these among us, visible even if for a brief and fleeting moment.

And for such a privilege I continue to give thanks. If even one person I meet out of a hundred becomes a true friend of the poor and hungry; if only one in a thousand to whom I speak becomes a leader in the fight to end hunger, then my time has been well spent.

Today, I lost another 25,000 of my family. I cannot accept the fact that those of who can, refuse to do all in our power to save them. Join with me to end hunger in our lifetime. Let’s change the world forever.