I am grateful for the @WeGo community’s daily prompts to inspire us during our 30 blogs in 30 days health activist writer’s challenge. A good health activist, after all, is an active one.
At the same time, I’ve had some difficulty figuring out how to write about the prompts because my writing style is more relevant to what is happening in our community currently, or at least about relevant realizations I’ve had along my journey with #polypropylenemesh, if I think they might be of help to anyone in our community.
Today, @WeGoHealth asked me to write about my hero. I dread, and have always, dreaded this question. There are the likely and common answers: my mom, my dad, my sixth grade English teacher, the most horrible bosses I’ve ever had (I learned what not to do from them.), but somehow, even though all of these people have been very influential, they are daily heroes – all parents, teachers and bosses are or can be.
My definition of hero necessarily excludes those close to me – my family, teachers and bosses actually. They all had personal investments in themselves, their careers and me that encouraged them to ensure my success. And I don’t say these things without a deep gratitude for all these folks, especially my parents and especially my mom. I know that when she is taken from this earth, the one person who has been connected to me so closely physically, mentally, emotionally and as my lifelong best friend will be gone. She is irreplaceable. We each have just one woman we call mother, and I have the best one in the world. In a way she and I kind of grew up together. And due to her mesh injuries and subsequent illness, we trade roles, or at least our roles are less defined now. Sometimes I play mother, but I think as we age, and as our parents age, inevitably, nature will call upon us to love our parents and take care of them as they did us. It’s a difficult transition, but I believe it’s natural. So my mom is the person who knows me best, will love me the most completely, and has shaped me more than any other person on the planet. . . but she is not my hero, and not because of anything she did or did not do. I simply believe that a hero has absolutely no personal gain to be had by choosing their path – to love the unloveable, help the forgotten and discarded, invest in those who may never be able to or capable of reciprocation in any way.
My hero is ANY PERSON who does what’s right and tells the truth, regardless of the potential negative consequences and regardless of how it might benefit him or her. He or she may suffer because of the truth that must be shared; the light of truth that must be shined in their individual spheres of influence.
We are losing people in this category in our county at an alarming rate. It seems every person is out to get the most the he/she can from every one they can, as fast as they can, even if it’s necessary to be opportunistic, amoral, dishonest, hurtful or tell a series of white lies that seem harmless but are not. When you have a society full of people who are more and more focused on their wants than on what’s right and truthful, you start to have large groups of people who have the same lack of character – like roving gangs – perhaps entire companies, entire social movements, entire government entities, entire cities, entire families, even entire churches.
My hero is THE TRUTH, or anyone who places its pursuit above their own interests in an effort to improve the lives of those around them, for the gain of others primarily. There is an absolute truth, and we can know it, just as we know what comes up must come down because gravity is an undeniable truth.
Most of us have been insultingly disappointed in the “heroes” of years past. Keep in mind that America’s corporations can be individual heroes, because a corporation is considered an individual person legally, a person in a court of law, but you and I know that a corporation in NOT A PERSON. A person has a set of morals which guides an individual mindset and weighs the moral consequences of each decision he makes. A corporation is a collective – a group of people who are each making their own decisions for their own best interests (namely, keeping their jobs) with the express mission to PROFIT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Our current society enlists the help of many bullies who, shrouded in dark and secrecy, lurk as palpable threats to our ability to rightly pursue happiness: the FICO credit score for example. It whispers, “If you do not agree to this 60 page contract for a phone, we will ruin your ability to provide transportation for yourself, obtain a house, or rent a car.” The relationship is entirely controlled by the company – deeper pockets than you and me, legions of departments that can keep you on the phone all day, arguing about semantics, and nothing but time against your meager human body and your 30 minutes of daily spare time. Here’s a good education about what a Corporation actually is in our society, a documentary, free on YouTube here: The Corporation.
So speaking of corporations, Johnson & Johnson is “a family company,” right? Sounds like a hero for EVERYONE, huh? Infants, children, mothers, grandmas and the whole darn gaggle of ya. NOPE. You may not realize this, but JnJ is not in the business of keeping families together with their products. Their main business is taking your money in return for often lethal products and then investing that money. JnJ is an investment firm, not “a family company.” JnJ’s toxic drugs and medical devices maim and kill millions, AND THE COMPANY KNOWS IT. I invite you to sit in on any number of trials where you can hear the proof yourself, just like I did in March of 2014. I saw and heard their lies. Court proceedings are open to all citizens. Don’t take my word for it. Visit a JnJ #transvaginal mesh trial yourself, and you’ll see all the gory details of what they have know and when. Patients aren’t people; they are points on an actuarial table of legal costs measured against sales of subpar, under-tested products destined for legal fallout. When the two lines intersect, that’s when the company stops selling. NOT before. Not when they know YEARS in ADVANCE that they are destroying lives and families and killing innocent people with their products.
Here are some REAL HEROES in the medical community:
- The Lown Institute and its founder Vikas Saini, M.D. and The Board of Directors – a new type of healthcare
- Dana, Trentini, Hypothyroid Mom and Health Activist Hero – turning her illness into illumination for others
- Dr. Larry Chu, creator of Stanford Medicine X – using his position of authority for the good of the patient
In the same way that Johnson & Johnson is one of America’s oldest companies, one many still offer praise and respect for their success, another well-known, iconic company, grabs the “Corporation of No Remorse” prize. McDonald’s – the one that sells you addictive, unhealthy food – ya, that one. Food isn’t even their core business. Their business is real estate. They own a lot of land, and it makes them a lot more money, a lot more than selling $0.99 cent hamburgers. Quit giving them your $1 for your favorite artery clogger, and find a local PERSON who owns a hamburger joint to support.
Here are some REAL HEROES in the food industry:
- START – real food. fast. And their creators, Erin & Mike McCool
- Terry Black’s BBQ in Austin, Texas – fighting the absurd idea that BBQ smoke is pollution in Texas
American Airlines, the iconic American airline that should conjure memories of Americans taking to the skies, of the Wright Brothers, and of our country’s crowning achievements in engineering and connecting families for holidays. But I bet you don’t think happy thoughts when you think of this American business, the one who is subsidized by US, via our taxes and bailouts that come from OUR PAYCHECKS. They do not run a sustainable business model. They need our help, help from the government and its source of income – OUR tax payments.
- Rise and its Founder Nick Kennedy – @IFlyRise is giving dignity back to their neighbors here in Dallas. One thing we still have in America is the ability to become educated and the choice about where we use our hard-earned cash. Rise is doing it rightly, fairly, friendly, and putting humans first, dignity second, and profits to follow those two rules.
AT&T, the company that was already slapped out of monopoly once when it was forced to create the “baby bells” by region, like Southwestern Bell and Bell Atlantic. Someone hasn’t been paying attention, because the multi-headed monster has re-formed into, yep, you guessed it, a monopoly. And is AT&T really in a consumer-sustained business? Judging by the satisfaction of their customers and their actions, I would say they are not. So what is this big company who controls our telecommunications, records and shares our conversations, provides our data to authorities, and does so quite arrogantly? I think they don’t really care about selling good services to good people. They, too, are an INVESTMENT COMPANY, not much to do with consumer satisfaction but more to do with INVESTOR SATISFACTION. And when you start digging into these and other “American Icons,” you see that they have not only NOT EARNED the status of American Iconic companies, but they have squandered it and the only way the average person can have a voice is to NOT GIVE THESE COMPANIES ANY MORE MONEY, NOT ONE MORE DOLLAR OF YOURS. If you have an ounce of compassion and decency, I promise you don’t support their mission. It really is that simple. Without millions of customers to skim, they have no investors; they have no company; they have no abuse of power available to them.
The REAL HEROS of communications and entertainment content:
- Glenn Beck’s Blaze TV – A sustainable model for buying content you want, and losing the content you don’t want. An early adopter of the Internet TV model which has been talked about since I was in telecom PR in 1999! Again, here in Dallas, AN INDIVIDUAL MAKING LIFE BETTER FOR HIS NEIGHBORS.
- NETFLIX – Despite their ups and downs, their investor management and content acquisition woes, they have continued to push the market to serve the customer and put what the customer wants first.
- Roku – giving you access to content you want to pay for, not forcing you to pay for content you don’t want in order to get the content you do. Actually people creating a better environment for other people.
Bottom line: a CORPORATION is not a person (even if the law says so), and it doesn’t have the interests and moral compass of an individual person who manages a business to improve life for themselves and their customers. The above corporations once were bastions, heroes of American capitalism and companies who made our lives better. But these companies have “jumped the shark” and now no longer provide a good product for their consumers. Instead, the almighty P&L is their god, what they worship. They have forgotten that businesses start as neighbors who go into business to improve the lives of their neighbors WHILE making money, not objectifying and lying to their neighbors in order to take advantage of them and win their work hours (counted in dollars) from them. These companies don’t realize that it’s time to shut down the proverbial “Happy Days” franchise while they’re on top, but truly, I think that time has passed and they are the only ones who don’t know it. . . or more likely know and don’t care.
What we have control of, as consumers, as citizens is the ability to hasten the fall of opportunistic business models and support the REAL HEROES of our society, REAL PEOPLE who take significant risks to make our lives better, and this borne out of a love for their neighbor, this borne out of their individual abilities to assess the morality of their decisions, a quality that a collective company simply CANNOT, WILL NOT ever have. And like I said earlier… what goes up always must come down.
I can’t wait.
#JoinYourNeighbors #SupportPeople not #Entities #HAWMC
P.S.- Just for good measure, some of my #PersonalHeroes are those who paved a way to tell the truth even when it wasn’t popular; when it could (and some cases, did) destroy them, even taking their very lives.
Madame Curie – Mother, wife, scientist, feminist, inventor, who sacrificed her life to help us understand radiation
Eleanor Roosevelt – First lady who turned a blind eye to her husband’s infidelities and instead focused on others, improving the lives of many despite ANY obstacle
Dietrich Bonehoeffer – philosopher, priest, enemy of the Nazi’s, friend of God’s, brave & sacrificial prisoner of war
Brennan Manning – prolific author, humble priest, recovering alcoholic, ragamuffin before God, loved by Christ
Johannes Gutenberg – Inventor of the modern-day printing press, for he is the reason that the PEN will always be mightier than the scalpel!