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In a local college newspaper I came across a piece on allergies, and the young writer concluded the article lamenting the difficulty people have trying to find the medication they need. There wasn’t a word about how citizens have to be on their guard respecting what Big Pharma pushes on them. Tries to cleverly sell them on.

The student’s article did make a connection between allergies and asthma, which is all the more reason for readers to be told that Big Pharma plays a dangerous long term game with them, one which is not regulated, for all practical purposes. Not regulated in the same way that a sporting event would be a free-for-all if referees, umpires judges — the folks who are there to call foul when necessary — were absent.

The reason that I’m citing the student’s piece is that I conducted a poll on his campus shortly after his article was published. I asked students AND faculty AND staff whether or not they knew about “the crimes of Merck.” Most didn’t know about the pharmaceutical giant, and the handful among the hundred and two people I interviewed — literally, five only — who had heard about the “add-on” asthma drug Singulair, had no clue as to the extent of the harm done by that pharmaceutical.

Big Pharma has — clearly — made us fat and sick, has experimented unconscionably with the lives of citizens overseas (without their knowledge or consent), and is a primary reason the U.S. is plagued by an opioid epidemic. In fact, their war on humanity dwarfs the number of victims killed by all world wars and acts of terror combined.

And yet youngsters graduating from institutions of higher education these days AND their professors aren’t focusing on that fact of life whatsoever. Not any more than they’re discussing our dreaded nuclear dynamic.

Truth be told, none of our collective crises are securing the attention of educated citizens in the U.S. like they should be. Yes, we can count on youngsters and their teachers participating in a generic Earth Day, an obligatory nod toward responsibility which doesn’t cost much. But the real story’s not being told about recycling, the carbon foot print of, arguably, our single greatest polluter is not being thought about on an ongoing basis, let alone discussed anywhere on campuses in depth. Local, immediate environmental hazards are ignored too in academia; not a single university or college across the country that I’ve visited over the last decade plus had faculty members (who I could find, and I was looking proactively!) willing to engage in leisurely discussion respecting toxic sites that they, their students and other members of their community were subjected to regularly.

Ostrich Syndrome is not healthy for education, whether folks suffer from it with regard to arms sales abroad which impact on school and family violence at domestically, or if they’re oblivious because they are not taking in anything except the utilitarian personal agendas embraced.

Things can change for the better, though, overnight. Always, that’s true, if we have a true interest in improving matters, an authentic concern with loving this million-petaled flower which we’ve been blessed with, Life. If we understand that at this juncture we can’t play the same hand that others did, say, half a century ago. If we acknowledge what our momentum is taking us toward, and how important it is to be engaged with others in seriously new movement in solidarity,

not part-time, but most of the time focusing on the Collective Good, not narrow utilitarian-centered goals.

Thing is… I’m addressing what might be called enlightened self-interest here. What one needs to have as part of one’s spiritual spine not just to deal with morals and ethical issues, but for mundane matters such as allergies and asthma, the discomfort and fear they cause.

What? Yes, the physical ailments one is plagued by are related to one’s outlook. Many decent folks succumb to health issues because spiritual death has occurred previously, unnoticed. That makes it very difficult for pain to go away.

I think I’m going to send a copy of this article to that staff writer for the college newspaper I referenced above at the beginning. To see if any of this resonates. If it does, maybe we’ll be able to — through him (her?) — get down with others on what’s happening.

Bond with one person over the truth of something, and see what can bloom. And what might go away.

It is possible to look forward to Spring.

Richard Martin Oxman (Ricardo Bueyhombre) is Director of Flannery O’Connor Academy, and can be reached at aptosnews@gmail.com. He prays that one and all will embrace the notion that O bailan todos o no baile nadie. Either everyone dances or no one dances. There are many other ways to express the thrust of that mantra, and the author encourages readers to discuss its variations.

 

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