With his latest photo opp /Twittering, Pres. Trump thinks he has scored points and kept his promises to coal miners by trashing the U.S. Clean Power Plan.
The other day he said, “Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry,” He continued, “We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country.”
“Trump’s order also directs the Department of the Interior to lift a temporary ban, put in place last year, on coal leasing on federal lands. In addition, it eliminates federal guidance instructing agencies to factor climate change into policy making and disbands a team tasked with calculating the ‘social cost of carbon.’” *
Could we please just consider one itty-bitty thing?
The world’s top global corporations have been and are supporting and working toward sustainable solutions in energy, food and multiple other areas. They are doing so because it makes good business sense.
Contrary to the Trumpists, for instance, they see renewable energy as the future and investment in fossil fuels, coal, etc. as dead ends, i.e. not profitable.
In fact, members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (http://www.wbcsd.org/ ) some of the best known corporations in the world, see “$12 trillion of market opportunities in the four economic systems”… food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being.
The WBCSD has determined that doing the life-affirming things to support humans, other animals, the environment and the world in general makes the best “business” sense.
As I am not a supporter of the existing American-style Predatory Capitalistic “System”, I must admit that these guys have arrived at life-affirming solutions that, if applied, might invigorate all of us with real economic progress. They might even “save capitalism” from the trash pile. (Please see this WBCSD Executive Summary.)
Pres. Trump and the congressional R people are missing the boat. They are so blinded by their delusional ideology that they can’t even see the dock, the port or the ocean, let alone world’s lifeboat loaded with golden opportunities.
Not that I am a fan of Rep. Paul Ryan, but Pres. Trump seems
to be suggesting that Ryan take the total rap for the Trump administration's failure
to deliver the "final solution" to the Affordable Care Act.
Well it should. After all, it’s just another page out of the
Nazi playbook Mr. Trump seems to be following.
Here are two breakthroughs you might like to know about.
Surprising New Role
for Lungs: Making Blood, University of CaliforniaSan Francisco, Nicholas Weiler, 22 Mar 2017.
“Using video microscopy in the living mouse lung, UC San
Francisco scientists have revealed that the lungs play a previously
unrecognized role in blood production. As reported online March 22, 2017, in
Nature, the researchers found that the lungs produced more than half of the
platelets – blood components required for the clotting that stanches bleeding –
in the mouse circulation.”
“In another surprise finding, the scientists also identified
a previously unknown pool of blood stem cells capable of restoring blood
production when the stem cells of the bone marrow, previously thought to be the
principal site of blood production, are depleted.”
“’This finding definitely suggests a more sophisticated view
of the lungs – that they’re not just for respiration but also a key partner in
formation of crucial aspects of the blood,’” said pulmonologist Mark R. Looney,
MD, a professor of medicine and of laboratory medicine at UCSF and the new
paper’s senior author. “’What we’ve observed here in mice strongly suggests the
lung may play a key role in blood formation in humans as well.’” Please go here for the whole story.
discovery may make blood test feasible for detecting cancer, PurdueUniversity,
7 Mar 2017.
“Doctors may soon be able to detect and monitor a patient’s
cancer with a simple blood test, reducing or eliminating the need for more
invasive procedures, according to PurdueUniversity research.”
“W. Andy Tao, a professor of biochemistry and member of the
Purdue University Center for Cancer Research and colleagues identified a series
of proteins in blood plasma that, when elevated, signify that the patient has
cancer. Their findings were published in the early edition of the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences.”
“Tao’s work was done with samples from breast cancer
patients, but it is possible the method could work for any type of cancer and
other types of diseases. The work relies on analysis of microvesicles and
exosomes in blood plasma.” Please go here for the whole story.
Most of my Trump-supporter friends no longer speak with me.
But, just for a second, suppose we would share a few moments
again. What would we say to each other? And, more importantly, how would we
talk with each other and not “at” one another?
History shows that people who hold differing views seldom
talk about them while together. In my mind, our current national predicament
clearly shows that supporters of Pres. Trump and Sec. Clinton are reluctant to
be seen with each other let alone talk about the issues we must solve in order
to move our nation forward… or backward, depending upon your perspective.
A few articles and books have been offered that actually
deal with the question: How do I change my brother, sister friend’s mind? I am
right and she/he must be able to see my rightness and accept it themselves.
Unfortunately, people, of any persuasion, do not believe based upon “facts”. Our affliction has been labeled “cognitive
tribalism”*. The term reflects our world-wide problem: what we hold as our most
cherished beliefs, that is, how we see ourselves as a person - politically,
religiously, etc. - is our identity as a human. By trying to change someone’s
mind away from supporting Pres Trump – and even worse away from our national drift
toward fascism, which began a long time before Trump became president – is the
real challenge of our lifetime.
For the sake of our children and grandchildren**, we must
learn how to connect with one another, recognizing that we all suffer from our
natural tendency to define ourselves in the ancient cognitive tribalism way. Perhaps,
like alcoholics, we need to invent a Ten Step System in order to shed our
addiction to our cognitive tribalism disease so that we can advance toward becoming
life-affirming people and hopefully a life-affirming nation. Or, perhaps we can create a new cognitive tribalism disease so that we all can become addicted to a life-affirming world.
Over the past months I’ve wondered if the psychopaths have taken over the nation and normal humans, the ones who at times exhibit empathy for other living things, have become extinct.
Now, I know my fears should be put aside because right here in metro Detroit some humans have made themselves known to the world.
YES!!! People who care about others are here, alive, and now openly working to ensure the Golden Rule, in the form of the Sanctuary Movement, also lives in the big D.
Here is the whole story: 50 metro Detroit faith leaders are inspired by the sanctuary movement, Nirai Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, 13 Mar 2017.
“At Central United Methodist, a historic Protestant church in downtown Detroit, the pastor is considering using its large gym to house undocumented immigrants fearing deportation.”
“At First United Methodist Church in Ferndale, members are looking at ways to install showers for immigrants who might live there.”
“And at the Birmingham Temple, a Jewish synagogue in Farmington Hills, the board voted unanimously last month to be a sanctuary congregation, calling the move "a flag of resistance to bigotry."
“Inspired by faith, diverse congregations across metro Detroit are looking for ways to become sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants who fear deportation as the U.S. ramps up immigration enforcement under President Donald Trump.” More "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40
About the Homeless Christ statue now located in front of St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church ... "The bronze sculpture, designed by Ontario-based artist Timothy Schmalz and cast in China, (is located) outside the city's oldest church building; it fronts East Jefferson Avenue across from the Renaissance Center." More
When I’m down about our mad rush toward a Fascist America, I find peace and hope in our outstanding science and research advancements. Here are six… plus a tiny video that comes with a smile.
Polymer Additive Could Revolutionize Plastics Recycling,
Tom Fleischman, Cornell Chronicle, Cornell University
13 Mar 2017
“Geoffrey Coates, the Tisch University Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, discusses an exciting new multiblock polymer that, when added to polyethylene and polypropylene in small measure, creates a new, stronger material out of two otherwise incompatible plastics.”
“When Geoffrey Coates, the Tisch University Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, gives a talk about plastics and recycling, he usually opens with this question: What percentage of the 78 million tons of plastic used annually for packaging – for example, a 2-liter bottle or a take-out food container – actually gets recycled and reused in a similar way?”
“The answer, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is just 2 percent. Sadly, nearly a third is leaked into the environment, around 14 percent is used in incineration and/or energy recovery, and a whopping 40 percent winds up in landfills.”
“One of the problems: Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which account for two-thirds of the world’s plastics, have different chemical structures and thus cannot be repurposed together. Or, at least, an efficient technology to meld these two materials into one hasn’t been available in the 60 years they’ve both been on the market.”
“That could change with a discovery out of Coates’ lab. He and his group have collaborated with a group from the University of Minnesota to develop a multiblock polymer that, when added in small measure to a mix of the two otherwise incompatible materials, create a new and mechanically tough polymer.” More
Bone-Derived Hormone Suppresses Appetite in Mice Scientists discover new mechanism that regulates food intake and blood sugarColumbia University Medical Centre
8 Mar 2017
NEW YORK, NY “A hormone secreted by bone cells can suppress appetite, according to mouse studies conducted by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers. The hormone—called lipocalin 2—turns on neurons in the brain that have been previously linked to appetite suppression. The findings reveal a previously unknown mechanism for regulating the body’s energy balance and could lead to new targeted therapies for the treatment of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.” More
IBM Researchers Store Data on World’s Smallest Magnet -- a Single Atom
8 Mar 2017
ARMONK, N.Y. “IBM today announced it has created the world’s smallest magnet using a single atom – and stored one bit of data on it. Currently, hard disk drives use about 100,000 atoms to store a single bit. The ability to read and write one bit on one atom creates new possibilities for developing significantly smaller and denser storage devices, that could someday, for example, enable storing the entire iTunes library of 35 million songs on a device the size of a credit card.” More
Light Beam Replaces Blood Test During Heart Surgery
Mark Schlueb University of Central Florida
20 Feb 2017
“A University of Central Florida professor has invented a way to use light to continuously monitor a surgical patient’s blood, for the first time providing a real-time status during life-and-death operations.”
“The technology developed by UCF scientist Aristide Dogariu uses an optical fiber to beam light through a patient’s blood and interpret the signals that bounce back. Researchers believe that in some situations it could replace the need for doctors to wait while blood is drawn from a patient and tested.” More
Harvard Creates a Renewable Battery that can Last for 10 Years
Erika Rawes, Digital Trends,
10 Feb 2017
“Imagine if your house ran on a giant, low-maintenance rechargeable battery. Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) developed a new flow battery capable of lasting more than 10 years. Along with its 10-year lifespan, the researchers also successfully designed the battery to remain inexpensive, non-corrosive, and non-toxic. Led by professors Michael Aziz and Roy Gordon, the groundbreaking research boasts the potential of changing the way people utilize power all over the globe. Aziz and Gordon devised a way to take advantage of the benefits of a flow battery without the energy degradation that occurs while maintaining a traditional flow battery.”
“A flow battery uses liquid electrolytes to store charges. Two chemical components dissolved in liquids are typically separated from each other in external tanks, with bigger tanks storing more energy than a smaller tank. Generally with flow batteries, all that’s required to recharge them is replacing the liquid electrolytes — the chemical compound that allows for an electrical charge when dissolved. Each time someone replaces the electrolyte liquid, however, the battery grows weaker, making it one of the major drawbacks of flow batteries. They also tend to be expensive to develop and maintain, due in part to the fact the tanks and membranes have to withstand toxic or corrosive liquids.” More Scientists Identify Aggressive Pancreatic Cancer Cells and Their Vulnerability, MedicalXpress. University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
9 Feb 2017
“Researchers have identified a gatekeeper protein that prevents pancreatic cancer cells from transitioning into a particularly aggressive cell type and also found therapies capable of thwarting those cells when the gatekeeper is depleted.”
“A team from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center describes this week in the journal Nature a series of preclinical experiments using patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDXs) and mouse models that point to potential treatments for patients with a rapidly-progressing and resistant subgroup of tumor cells.”
"'Pancreatic cancer cells are characterized by remarkable plasticity, cellular changes that make this malignancy so difficult to treat,' said first author Giannicola Genovese, M.D., instructor in Genomic Medicine." More
Whimsy - As Promised It's Only an Old Salty Swedish Sea Dog
The other day I posted a discussion centering on article by
Anis Shivani, This Is a Fight Against
Fascism—Our Resistance Tactics Have to Change*, in which he advocated
“disengagement” as a solution to protesting the full-blown American Fascist
Movement currently fronted by the Trump/Republican Party. Citing the Italian
and German Fascist parties (1920-1945), the author argued that if protesters do
not confront the Trump American Fascists they deny them a continuous array of
boogeyman-enemies to trot out in order to distract and enrage their naïve
supporters, so that they can continue to institute their fascist regime and
Today, I offer for your consideration a glimpse of what is actually
happening throughout the United
States in opposition to the Trump/Republican
Party and elements of the Democratic Party, which together comprise the modern American
Shivani believes that our plunge into fascism began with House
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich’s shutdown of the
federal government in 1995** during the Clinton presidency, and in earnest,
under Bush II, following 9/11*** (and continued under Obama). While
I agree, I see that era as a continuation of our Fascist past. The American Fascist
Movement can be traced to the Robber Barons era (late 1800s – early 1900s), followed
by the industrialists and banker elite attempted c coup d'état of Franklin D.
Roosevelt (1933#) and later the brothers, Allen and John Foster Dulles,
domination of the OSS, the U.S. State Department and CIA pre and post WWII as
the founders of American Fascism (1930s-1960s##).
With this background in mind it’s worth considering that (thanks
to Pres. Trump and the current R-people controlled federal government) millions
of Americans are now realizing that something bad has happened to our “representative
/ constitutional democracy”. It is just not working as one might hope, i.e. our
federal government is not representing the will of the majority of voters. It
is instead at the beck and call of the moneyed elite, no matter the political
People are finally allowing themselves to see that it simply
does not matter who is setting in the White House or the halls of Congress. The
results are the same: loss of our cherished, constitutionally guaranteed rights.
As a result of this mass awakening thousands of grassroots
organizations are spring up across the nation. According to a recent article in
The Nation, there are more than 5,000 to date. Please go here for an
accounting, story and interview:
“We live at a time in which totalitarian forms are with us
again. Hopefully, rage and anger will move beyond condemnation and
demonstrations and develop into a movement whose power will be on the side of
justice not injustice, bridges not walls, dignity not disrespect and compassion
not hate. Let’s hope it develops into a worldwide movement capable of
dispelling Orwell’s nightmarish vision of the future in our own time. The dark
shadow of authoritarianism may be spreading, but it can be stopped. And that
prospect raises serious questions about what educators, artists, youth,
intellectuals and others are going to do today to make sure that they do not
succumb to the authoritarian forces circling American society and other parts
of the globe, waiting for the resistance to stop and for the lights to go out.
My friend, the late Howard Zinn rightly insisted that hope is the willingness
“to hold out, even in times of pessimism, the possibility of surprise.” To add
to this eloquent plea, I would say, collective opposition is no longer an
option, it is a necessity.” - Dr. Henry Giroux, PhD, Professor of English and Cultural
Studies and Global TV Network Chair in Communications, McMasterUniversity,
Canada. Quote discovered here: Trump’s Authoritarianism: Rethinking Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Strategizing the Resistance, Henry Giroux, retrieved 8 Mar 2017, Bill Moyers & Co.
** The United
States federal government shutdowns of 1995
and 1995–96 were the result of conflicts between Democratic President Bill
Clinton and the Republican Congress over funding for Medicare, education, the
environment, and public health in the 1996 federal budget. The government shut
down after Clinton
vetoed the spending bill the Republican Party-controlled Congress sent him. The
federal government of the United
States put government workers on furlough
and suspended non-essential services from November 14 through November 19,
1995, and from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996, for a total of 27 days.
The major players were President Clinton and Speaker of the U.S. House of
Representatives Newt Gingrich.”
United States federal government shutdowns of 1995–1996,
retrieved from Wikipedia, 9 Mar 2017.
Further, the rationale goes, resistance of any kind actually
helps the American Fascists by creating a boogeyman-enemy for them to toss to
their zealots. Like throwing the immigrants and the media before... now it will be anyone opposed to the American Fascists... and the true believers will once again eat it up in one gulp... like a piece of meat tossed to a starving dog.
While my mind says that there really is no place in the
world safe from a U.S.
drone, cruise missile or smart bomb, at least one author believe that “disengagement”
is our only salvation against American Fascism. Here's his article:
This Is a Fight Against Fascism—Our Resistance Tactics Have
By Anis Shivani, AlterNet, 5 Mar 2017*
“There are a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s
so innocent?” — Donald J. Trump, Feb. 6, 2017
There continues to be a gross underestimation, even amongst
politically aware liberals, of what we are really up against, and how to
counter it. Increasingly, our fellow citizens are resorting to the concepts of
fascism to describe the current situation, but this is not necessarily followed
by any cogent reflection on what the political subject under fascism needs to
do. Ordinary liberal prescriptions have no chance of success under a regime
that has moved into an overt fascist mode; moreover, the unacknowledged
continuities from the recent neoliberal past, which led to the fascist overture
in the first place, mar any consistency of thought amongst intellectuals,
activists, and ordinary citizens.
The time has come to explore modes of existence that only
make sense under a fascist regime, or rather, they are the only modes that make
sense under fascist conditions. Above all, the question of moral disengagement
from any existing political practice must be taken seriously, and this includes
so-called “resistance.” Are there things that pass under the activist rubric
today that are actually strengthening rather than weakening fascism? If that is
the case, then those activities must undergo severe scrutiny, because it may
well be that what seems like activism is actually passivism, and vice versa.
I started writing about a “soft” American totalitarianism
for the first time in 1998, in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
American civic institutions seemed to me to have stopped functioning for the
first time in 1994, after the Gingrich takeover, which made me take a step
back, only to reemerge, awakened, when the Lewinsky scandal happened. I was not
interested in the content of the scandal, which was a mere pretext to engineer
reaction in a form we had never seen before without the instrument of twenty-four-hour
cable news, but the way in which perceptions were being manipulated seemed to
me to be mortally dangerous for democracy.
After 9/11, I resorted to the vocabulary of fascism for that
whole decade, often comparing and contrasting Bush’s early years to the
Hitlerian model, since this was what I knew best then. However, once I started
studying Italian fascism seriously about seven years ago, it has seemed to me
that the original Mussolinian model is more apt, because of some important
missing elements in the way fascism has been developing in this country. During
the 2016 election campaign, I identified points of similarity between Trump and
Mussolini, and considered whether he was better seen as a fascist or a populist
authoritarian. Clearly, in the month since he took over he has entered an
overtly fascist stage, with elements of both Mussolini and Hitler in play.
But I think that instead of these admittedly helpful
historical comparisons it might be more clarifying now to conceptualize a new
form of fascism: the third important variant, if you will, following the
original Mussolini model and the later Hitlerian model, which was a development
of and departure from the original in many respects.
Matt Damon reading from Howard Zinn's speech: The Problem is Civil Obedience
To understand an itty-bitty bit why the R people would fear Dr. Howard Zinn*, please listen to Matt Damon read a portion of one of his speeches (above).
Here’s what one R person wants to see happen in Arkansas:
“Republican state Rep. Kim Hendren brought forth HB1834, a one-page bill that would halt the use of any book or other material authored by Zinn between the years of 1959 and 2010 in public schools and open-enrollment public charter schools. With these parameters, Zinn’s bestselling 1980 book, A People’s History of the United States, would be banned. The collection is a groundbreaking and controversial work that analyzed American history from the perspective of the poor and marginalized, or as Zinn put it, ‘the people who have been overlooked in the traditional history books.’”**
“’Democracy is in dissent,’ Zinn said in 2009. ‘Democracy is in resistance. Democracy doesn’t come from the top, it comes from the bottom.’”
“The bill targeting Zinn’s work is not unprecedented. In 2013, the Associated Press obtained a series of emails sent by former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), in which he attempted to remove the historian’s work from classrooms across the state. Daniels, who was in office from 2005 to 2013, is now the president of Purdue University.”
I fear the people who fear life-affirming words like those written by WWII Vet, Dr. Howard Zinn. Don’t you?
Howard Zinn on History: American Culture, Wealth, Democracy, Hate Crimes and Education (1999)
* Howard Zinn an American historian, playwright, and social activist, was a political science professor at Boston University. He wrote more than twenty books, including his best-selling: A People's History of the United States. Go here for more info.
You’ll remember that she is the doctor who discovered
elevated levels of lead in the blood of children in Flint (24 Sept 2015) and worked tirelessly to
surface the problem against unremitting opposition by the Governor Snyder and
other state officials.
Earlier (8 Sept 2015) Dr. Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech
revealed that 40% of Flint had high levels of
lead in their City-supplied tap water and recommended that the State of Michigan declare that the water in Flint was not safe for cooking or drinking.
All of this happened - exposing over 100,000 Flint
residents, about 16,000 are children, to lead poisoning - due to the botched
switch from Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water* to Flint River water (2013)
in order to save a few shekels. A decision rendered by Snyder-appointed City of Flint Emergency Manager, Ed Kurtz.**
If Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha had not publicized her findings it
is very likely the people of Flint
would still be drinking, foul smelling, particulate loaded, poisoned water.
In my estimation Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is clearly a proven,
credible professional as well as a world class hero for taking on the state
politicians and battling for the wellbeing of the people of Flint.
By the way, did I mention that she is an Iraqi American… a U.S. citizen…
and an Iraqi immigrant?
While, for me anyway, her place of birth is just not as
important as who she is as a person. But for some people in this “Age of Trump” an "immigrant's place of birth" has become a critical issue, despite the fact, as she points out in her article, that… “more than 10,000
doctors in the United States graduated from medical schools in the seven countries
listed in the (Pres. Trump’s) recent travel ban.”
So, I thought you’d like to read her recent article which recently appeared in the New York Times.
Will We Lose the Doctor Who Would Stop the Next Flint?**
FLINT, Mich. — Eighteen months ago, as a
pediatrician here, I discovered that the untreated tap water corroding the
city’s plumbing was poisoning our children with lead. State officials called my
science faulty and accused me of creating hysteria. But I was right and
persisted, and with brave parents, pastors, journalists and scientists demanded
answers until this continuing public health disaster was finally acknowledged.
An entire city, with about 10,000 young children, was unnecessarily exposed to
lead, a neurotoxin that causes irreversible brain damage. The corrosive water
also likely caused the deaths of a dozen people from Legionnaires’ disease. Flint remains traumatized.
These days, along with others in the community, I spend my
time trying to make sure that the American dream is still a possibility for
this city’s kids. We are hoping to reduce the harm stemming from their exposure
to lead with a model public health program of family support, home visits,
early education, school health services, nutrition, health care access and
But as a first-generation Iraqi immigrant, and as a doctor
whose job is to train other doctors, many of them immigrants themselves, I fear
that the American dream is corroding. I worry about the impact of President
Trump’s travel ban, for the moment blocked by court order, and how the
Republican Congress will handle immigration issues.
Of course, everyone in this country, except for Native
Americans, came from somewhere else. Many of us were fleeing something, or were
brought here by force in America’s
original sin. As an immigrant who holds a medical degree, I’m in good company.
The organization that accredits graduate medical training programs says that
there are more than 10,000 licensed physicians in the United States who graduated from
medical school in the seven countries the president listed in his travel ban.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges,
25 percent of practicing physicians in this country are foreign-trained, with
many of them working in the nation’s most vulnerable areas — places like my city
and in rural America. Rural counties overwhelmingly voted for President Trump;
with his election, they may now lose their health insurance, and their doctors.
What our country stands to lose by walls and bans, in
talent, drive, creativity and entrepreneurship, is staggering, but the personal
toll is greater. In 1980, my family arrived here full of hope, trading a future
of war, fascism and oppression for one of peace, freedom and opportunity. My
parents are secular progressives, dissidents who opposed Saddam Hussein’s
increasingly murderous and autocratic regime. A future in Iraq might have included
imprisonment or death at the hands of the government. It is through these
everyday-grateful immigrant eyes that I first saw our country as a 4-year-old
and still see it today.
As a young immigrant, I may have been scared, and my school
lunches looked and smelled different (no one knew what hummus or falafel was
back then), but I was embraced in the suburban Detroit community where I grew up as one of
the few brown kids.
The ban, and other equally ignominious limitations to
immigration that may be on their way, ignore the contributions of our
immigrants. Perhaps these limitations are an effort to return us to a
make-believe “Leave It to Beaver” past. Whatever the motivation, my family and
millions just like us are intertwined in the fabric of America. My mom taught English to
recent immigrants, while my dad worked for General Motors as an engineer for 31
years, designing custom alloys. Together, they instilled in me and my brother
an ethic of social justice and service-oriented work while providing us with a
better life. The American dream was our reality.
Today, people still want to come to America, as it remains the epitome
of freedom and prosperity, the richest country that ever was, and blessed by
tranquillity. Immigrants know that the laws here shelter diversity, protect
rights and property, and provide the opportunity for economic prosperity. America
is as great as ever. And as immigrants we understand it is our obligation to
continue making it great for all of us, no matter where we came from.
Now, though, there are little girls who look just like I did
at that age, who see their place in the American dream fading away, which makes
me wonder what we all stand to lose. Perhaps we are losing the kid who breaks
the code of cancer; or the one who figures out how to make our economy grow
better, to lessen inequality and provide more fulfilling jobs; or maybe the kid
who starts the next great tech start-up. Six of America’s seven 2016 Nobel Prize
winners were immigrants. In a previous generation, immigrant autoworkers became
the backbone of the United Auto Workers, which was empowered by the Flint sit-down strike in
the winter of 1936-37.
I grew up in an America that embraced, supported
and celebrated me and my striving for a better life. I grew up confident and
competent and keenly aware as an immigrant from a broken country that there is
injustice in the world and understanding the need to always fight for justice.
Indeed, this is what has guided and framed my work in Flint, where the children I treat woke to a
nightmare of usurped democracy, environmental injustice and criminal government
For my Flint
kids, the immediate daily struggle continues. Even now, more than a year after
the city’s water problems were discovered, people here must rely on filtered
and bottled water. We are still seeking the long-term government support to
make sure kids here succeed. And while I’m glad I was there to help bring the
Flint water crisis to light, I can’t help wondering if, with new limits on
immigration, we are losing the next pediatrician who will expose a future
public health disaster.
The sanctuary our nation provides benefits all of us, but
that is not why we do it. It is the right thing to do. It was right yesterday
and it is right in this moment, too. The “mother of exiles” has always embraced
Today, there is a little brown girl like me, stuck beyond
our border but hoping to come to this country. She is scared and tired. But her
fresh eyes are wide, she is strong and hopeful, and she dreams our American
*One of the
largest water and sewer systems in the United States, the Detroit
Water and Sewerage Department supplies
water services to 126 communities and seven S.E. Michigan counties.