Friday, July 14, 2017

Direct Action by L.A. Kaufman: Forthcoming Review

After I finish reading Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism by L.A. Kaufman, I’ll post a review of it in a week or so. Despite some differences of opinion with the author, I consider it a valuable book. If you read it between now and then, we could compare notes. One option would be for you to write your comments before reading mine. Then we could share independent reactions.

The release of her book by Verso prompted Rolling Stone to publish an interview with her titled, “How to Take Action – and Stay Sane – in the Trump Era.” The sub-title was “'Direct Action' author L.A. Kauffman discusses how to get motivated and fight burnout, and why "protest works."

Five of the six customer reviews on Amazon give it five stars. NPR also reviewed the book.

Verso’s description of the book reads as follows:

A longtime movement insider's powerful account of the origins of today's protest movements and what they can achieve now
As Americans take to the streets in record numbers to resist the presidency of Donald Trump, L.A. Kauffman’s timely, trenchant history of protest offers unique insights into how past movements have won victories in times of crisis and backlash and how they can be most effective today.
This deeply researched account, twenty-five years in the making, traces the evolution of disruptive protest since the Sixties to tell a larger story about the reshaping of the American left. Kauffman, a longtime grassroots organizer, examines how movements from ACT UP to Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter have used disruptive tactics to catalyze change despite long odds.
Kauffman's lively and elegant history is propelled by hundreds of candid interviews conducted over a span of decades. Direct Action showcases the voices of key players in an array of movements – environmentalist, anti-nuclear, anti-apartheid, feminist, LGBTQ, anti-globalization, racial-justice, anti-war, and more – across an era when American politics shifted to the right, and a constellation of decentralized issue- and identity-based movements supplanted the older ideal of a single, unified left.
Now, as protest movements again take on a central and urgent political role, Kauffman’s history offers both striking lessons for the current moment and an unparalleled overview of the landscape of recent activism. Written with nuance and humor, Direct Action is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the protest movements of our time.

Verso’s biography of the author is:

L.A. Kauffman has spent more than thirty years immersed in radical movements as a participant, strategist, journalist, and observer. She has been called a “virtuoso organizer” by journalist Scott Sherman for her role in saving community gardens and public libraries in New York City from development. Kauffman coordinated the grassroots mobilizing efforts for the huge protests against the Iraq war in 2003–04. Her writings on American radicalism and social movement history have been published in The Nation, n+1, The Baffler, and many other outlets.

Consider checking it out. I look forward to evaluating it, hopefully with some of you.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Words, Harm, Blame, and Splintering

by Wade Hudson Tikkun Daily
July 10, 2017

[Jesus] recognized with authentic realism that anyone who permits another to determine the quality of his inner life gives into the hands of the other the key to his destiny. If a man knows precisely what he can do to you or what epithet he can hurl against you in order to make you lose your temper, your equilibrium, then he can always keep you under subjection.
--Jesus and the Disinherited, Howard Thurman

Cruel words can trigger hurt feelings and anger. Individuals who speak those words need to be held accountable and we need to reduce their frequency. But a compassionate response avoids blaming only the speaker. Listeners share responsibility for their reactions, and social conditioning and other factors contribute as well.

The Dalai Lama said:

You have to think: Why did this happen? This person is not your enemy from birth…. You see that this person’s actions are due to their own destructive emotions. You can develop a sense of concern, compassion, even feel sorry for their pain and suffering.

Words do not directly cause harm like a hammer causes pain when it hits my thumb. Cause and effect is a linear dynamic; emotions are immersed in a holistic system. Words contribute to hurt feelings, but how I process what others say is another factor. I am partly responsible for how I respond. I can learn how to react differently.

So I no longer tell people, “You hurt me.” That phrase shifts all responsibility onto the speaker.

It can be more constructive to say, “When you said X, I felt Y.” In that case, the focus is on a single action. That makes it easier to acknowledge a mistake and resolve not to repeat it, which can help heal the relationship.

On the other hand, “You hurt me” focuses on the other. As such, it can be seen as a personal attack, a challenge to who you are at your core. That can make the exchange more heated and lead to a reciprocal, escalating blame game with each party accusing the other, which often degenerates into ad hominem name-calling.

One result is personal fragility. People become less likely to speak honestly, because they’re afraid they will cause harm or be accused of causing harm. That fear gives power to people who are prone to charge, “You hurt me.” Those accusers can then try to manipulate the speaker with guilt trips.

“You hurt me” is like charging a felony rather than an infraction. When “defendants” plead “not guilty” to that felony, “prosecutors” often punish, shun, or excommunicate them. As a result, former allies often splinter over disagreements about tactics.

Faced with that harshly judgmental dynamic, many potential allies withdraw from social engagement and operate in a safer environment with a small circle of friends, which reinforces the splintering.

America’s highly individualistic culture exaggerates the responsibility of individuals. But the primary problem is the System, which includes our institutions, our culture, and ourselves as individuals. A kind response to mean words takes into account that reality.

I wish I were not so easily offended. I wish others were not so easily offended. I wish that like-minded people did not divide so easily into factions. After all, we need community, not fragmentation.

Blaming individuals diverts energy away from organizing to change institutions and policies. More compassion and less blaming could help nurture a broad-based movement to transform the United States into a supportive community that would enable you, me, and everyone to be all we can be.


Recent posts to

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Backfire Effect

Dear Subscriber: I very much appreciate the connection we’ve had via Wade’s Weekly. The interest, feedback, and support you’ve shown have been very helpful. I hope we stay in touch. To continue receiving my posts, please subscribe to Wade’s Wire on the homepage.

This is my latest post there: "The Backfire Effect."

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wade’s Journal - May 18, 2017

Now that I’m retired from cab driving, I’m more relaxed and look forward to a fruitful future.

My 50-year-old commitment to help organize “communities of faith, love, and action” remains intact. The language we’ve used to articulate the “faith” part has changed over time, but the spirit has not. For the first 20 years or so following that commitment, the spiritual values behind my work were implicit -- until I decided to make those beliefs explicit. Since then I’ve stumbled along: researching, going to workshops, convening workshops, writing, talking, planting seeds, and looking for an open-hearted, compassionate, holistic community to join.

Now I think I’ve found one: Thrive East Bay, a community that’s led primarily -- in a very non-hierarchical, “flat” fashion -- by young people. As is the case with so many young people these days, the members of that community amaze me. They seem far more advanced than my peers and I were at that age. It definitely gives me hope for the future. The Thrive East Bay people I’ve gotten to know a bit personally have been impressive and highly committed to social transformation.

More than a year ago, I met the Thrive East Bay organizer, Joshua Gorman, at a workshop that he and I attended which was convened by the Center for Spiritual and Social Transformation (now the Ignite Institute). He invited the participants to an event sponsored by Generation Waking Up, a project that provides training, mentoring, and support to young people to help “bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world.” That event, which was open to people of all ages and whose participants were a diverse mix, was remarkably inspiring. It included poetry, music, and personal sharing from the stage as well as among the audience, who at times milled about and paired up to interact.

When Thrive East Bay began not long afterwards, I went to their first public event, which was held in a Lake Merritt apartment with about 20 people squeezed in. A similar format was employed and I again found it to be invigorating. But my working full-time interfered with sustained involvement.

After returning to one of their events last week, I’m heartened by their growth. And now that I’m free, I plan to participate fully once I return from visiting folks in Seattle and on the East Coast during the next several weeks.

The Thrive East Bay website homepage identifies the group as “a new kind of community” dedicated to “connect, grow, transform.” The About page states:

Thrive East Bay is a purpose-driven community of people committed to creating a flourishing world for all.

We are a new kind of community offering a relevant space for diverse people seeking meaning and connection in our rapidly changing world. Informed by modern science and ancient wisdom, our culture is both secular and spiritual, infused with a deep sense of purpose and interconnectedness, inspired by the arts, and focused on social change.

We welcome people of all ages and backgrounds as we engage in personal growth, shared learning, and collective action.

We host regular Sunday events, small group circles, workshops, and training courses in the Oakland, Berkeley, and wider San Francisco Bay Area.

We are inspired by the following core principles that guide our community:
  1. Thriving Lives - We support each other in overcoming personal challenges and injustice, and creating healthy lives filled with purpose, joy, and expression.
  2. Love In Action - We let love guide us toward compassion, gratitude, empathy, and community amongst diverse groups of people.
  3. Shared Learning & Practice - We seek to deepen our understanding of the world through conversation and critical inquiry, and to grow together through transformative practices and action.
  4. Systemic Change - We unite to build equitable systems where we can flourish as individuals, as communities, and as a planet.

I particularly relate to the fact that they identify “support each other” at the head of their first core principle. I also respond to the fact that in that principle they affirm “overcoming personal challenges,” which suggests a commitment to self-examination. I anticipate exploring with them whether and how they believe that effort includes “modifying harmful social conditioning,” a key concern of mine recently.

I’m also eager to participate in the “Holistic Movement Building” workshop with Kazu Haga and Sonya Shah June 26-29, which aims to

harness the power to change policies and institutions while cultivating the love it will take to transform relationships…. How do we dismantle systems of oppression without replicating those same patterns in our own relationships? How do we heal our wounds while transforming the systems that perpetuate them? How do we better cultivate the relationship between inner and outer transformation?

Kazu and I have had some rich interaction concerning those issues. I’m very encouraged to see that he, Joshua, and others are keeping the holistic-change fire alive!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

“Reactance” and How to Talk

Dear Subscriber: I very much appreciate the connection we’ve had via Wade’s Weekly. The interest, feedback, and support you’ve shown have been very helpful. I hope we can stay in touch. To continue receiving my posts, please subscribe to Wade’s Wire on the homepage.

This is my latest post there: “Reactance” and How to Talk

Monday, May 15, 2017

Moving to Wade's Wire (first notice)

Soon I will no longer be posting here but will only be posting to Wade's Wire, generally relatively short pieces (800 words or so) 3-5 times per week.

To receive those posts via email, visit the home page at, enter your email address in the Subscribe box at the top left, and click Subscribe.

I just posted there "Peter Coyote, Change, and Transformation."

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

“My Bottom Line” Revisited

Facebook just told me that five years ago today I posted “My Bottom Line.” On the one hand, I am disappointed that I'm still seeking the kind of holistic community described in that essay. On the other hand, I am encouraged by various recent efforts to nurture such growth, including invitations that I received today from two allies with whom I have engaged in rich dialog about these matters.

The first invitation was from Kazu Haga, founder of the East Bay Peace Academy. It reads:

Holistic Movement-Building
Tuesday, June 26 - Friday, June 29; 10am-5pm
Taught by Kazu Haga and Sonya Shah

"Power without love is reckless and abusive, while love without power is sentimental and anemic." Dr. King, Gandhi, Chavez and others envisioned a movement that harnesses the power to change policies and institutions while cultivating the love it will take to transform relationships. What does it mean to build holistic movements for justice and healing? How do we build a movement grounded in love without giving up the power and the urgency of now? How do we dismantle systems of oppression without replicating those same patterns in our own relationships? How do we heal our wounds while transforming the systems that perpetuate them? How do we better cultivate the relationship between inner and outer transformation? What do holistic movements for justice and healing look like in terms of real practice and on the ground? This workshop will engage these questions, explore past and current movements, and envision paradigms and practices to build more holistic movements grounded in both justice and healing. This four-day inquiry will interweave theory, discussion, experiential exercises, and a collaborative approach.

Cost $425. For more info, click here.

The second invitation was from Joshua Gorman. It reads:

Join Thrive East Bay for our first monthly 'Root Down' event this coming Sunday as we deepen in community, engage in embodied practice, and nourish ourselves with delicious food and meaningful connections.

Thrive East Bay is a community of people committed to personal and social transformation. We stand together for a world of love, justice, and belonging. Our monthly 'Root Down' events build upon our larger monthly gatherings by providing an opportunity to connect more deeply with inspiring people; to engage in transformative practices that we can carry into our everyday lives; and to share in the power of community in service to a world that works for all.

When: this Sunday, May 7th from 4 - 6pm (please arrive on time!)
Community potluck and connecting from 6 - 7pm

Where: PLACE for Sustainable Living
1121 64th Street
Oakland, CA 94608
(This venue is wheelchair accessible.)

Co-Hosts: Aryeh Shell & Kele Nitoto

Cost: No one will be turned away for lack of funds. There is a suggested sliding scale contribution of $10 - $20 to help us cover our costs. You are invited to contribute what you feel called and are able to.

Potluck: Sharing food together is an essential part of community. Please bring a tasty dish and/or beverage to share with others for the community potluck.

Volunteers: We are seeking volunteers to help with the set-up and break-down of this event. If you are available to arrive early or stay late, let us know at teamATthriveeastbayDOTorg.

Invite a Friend: Please feel free to invite a friend who may value attending.

We look forward to 'rooting down' in community!

In partnership,
the Thrive East Bay Team

As I retire from cab driving, I look forward to having much more time to explore those issues. In particular, I’m interested in finding, helping to create, and publicizing user-friendly methods that activists could use to support one another to modify their counter-productive social conditioning and become more compassionate and effective. My hope is that such methods can be widely replicated, with little or no training required by the participants.

More Dialog on "Patient as Doctor"

I wanted to let you know how I chose to use your essay, "Patient As Doctor," in my class. Some background: ...I teach a Professional Foundations of Nursing course to 96 junior nursing students (so they are early in their nursing education and have a varied range of patient care experience). In this course they learn about nursing history, ethics, laws relevant to nursing, the image of nursing, the US health care system and leadership.

In class yesterday, students divided up into 16 groups of 6 students and followed this format:

In your assigned group, designate the following roles:

    1 writer
    1 timekeeper
    1 presenter

Read the essay below and answer the following questions. Be prepared to share at least one of your group's responses with the class.

Patient As Doctor

1. How does this patient's account make you feel?

2. In your opinion, does the US health care system disempower patients?

3. If so, what examples have you seen?

4. What can nurses do to promote patient empowerment within the US health care system?

After their group work, each group had one presenter come up to the front of the room and answer the questions listed above. Students had some powerful responses.

Students felt saddened, uncomfortable, surprised, not surprised and ashamed by your account. They believed that the health care system does disempower patients and some of their examples included: doing to the patient before asking or obtaining consent, not explaining rationale/educating, not providing the patient with options or choices, not encouraging the patient to ask questions, rushing through patient care, and not using an interpreter. They felt that some subgroups are even more likely to be paternalized/disempowered, including the elderly, the disabled, those who do not speak English, and the mentally ill. They provided several inspiring examples of how nurses can promote patient empowerment, giving me hope for the future of nursing and the advocacy of nursing as a counterbalance to the predominant medical model of care.

Just wanted to share and extend my appreciation of your willingness to let me use your writing in my teaching. I think that is was a very powerful exercise for the students!



Interesting and valuable feedback.  I’d like to add one more comment in response to this one that someone submitted:
Your article makes a number of good points about our paternalistic system. Whether it is medicine, law enforcement or the media we are treated as if we can NOT make informed decisions on our own.
 Again, it’s also about personal responsibility.  We are treated the way we allow people to treat us.  We have to step up to the plate and choose:  accept what we’re told, question what we’re told and then decide, or reject what we’re told.  Even these choices are our decision, so to say we’re treated as if we can NOT make informed decisions is a cop-out.  The system won’t change just because we blame it.  We have to change the way we respond to it.


My response:

I agree that we need to affirm and nurture personal responsibility. But why should the patient always have to fight to be heard? Why don't the professionals initiate dialog? Patients are often already stressed out. Fighting or pushing adds to the stress.

I do not believe that I blamed the professionals. As I see it, individual patients are a component of the System. Blame is shared.

It's not either/or. We need not blame the individual either. But often others treat us the way they choose to treat us -- not because we allow them to do so.

In my case, I did resist quite a bit. But when you've got a 103-degree fever and are wiped out by multiple drugs, it's hard to speak up consistently.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Responses to “Patient As Doctor”

The many, varied responses to my report on my recent hospitalization, “Patient As Doctor,” including numerous shares and likes on Facebook, were very helpful. Those comments that resonated with my critique of the health care system as a reflection of the larger society reassured me I am not alone. And the empathy and sympathy that were expressed was healing.

At the same time, however, I appreciated those who offered a different perspective. Generalizations are dangerous. Reality is a mixed bag. It does seem, for example, that Kaiser Permanente, “an integrated managed care consortium,” generally offers better care than is provided by “fee-for-service” institutions that generate greater income by providing more, often unnecessary, services, as is the case at my hospital. And no doubt many people receive good care at that hospital as well.

All of which raises questions about strategic language. If one is not careful, overblown rhetoric can alienate one from one’s audience, making it more difficult to build pressure for positive change. Words matter. What should we seek? Evolution? Revolution? Fundamental reform? Transformation? Creative change? It gets complicated, but those are questions I’ll continue to explore.

In the meantime, here are the responses to my piece, which I posted on multiple platforms:

Holistic, consultative democratic practices
So sorry about your experience. What you describe is why I don't interact with the medical establishment. They are not a health care system but a medical industry. I object to all the debate around "health care" because that is a misnomer for the medical insurance business which is driven by the profit motive not any kind of caring much less for health. Our society is so deeply devoted to the principle of money over everything that those involved in it cannot see it. I hope you get well soon.
Thank you for posting this. Ridiculous what happens in a hospital
I'm sorry that happened and it's so true. Needs to change.
Being your own advocate is vital.
There are now patient experience departments at every hospital. Send this letter to the CEO and cc the Patient Experience Team at the organization. The organization is measured on these things now for reimbursement as well as accreditation. The CEO will act on this...if not...don't ever go back to that particular hospital unless you have too.
I'm sorry for your ordeal, Wade. What happened to informed consent? I have had a similar bout of illness lately. I agree that our so-called health care system is moreso a medical industrial complex that sometimes is needed and sometimes helps. At Kaiser, which is lacking in many other ways, I have always been informed and asked for consent re interventions. Where did your experiences take place? Worthy of an official grievance!
My sentiments precisely
I go into my doctor's office with a list of questions. I'm lucky to be pretty healthy but the last medical issue I had, I had a specialist thank me for being a proactive patient. She said too many patients don't ask questions.
Wade, I'm glad to hear you are feeling better, but what an ordeal. One person with bad communication I can understand, but an entire system? I agree that your description should go to the hospital admin. I had pneumonia about 4 years ago, and I found not being able to breathe well a very disconcerting sensation, to say the least. In diagnosing it, they kept asking me, "Do you feel exhausted?" And I kept saying "No, I just feel like there's not enough oxygen in the room and opening a window wouldn't help." It wasn't until later when the antibiotic started to work and I *could* breathe better that I felt exhausted. I realized that adrenaline from a very primal panic about not breathing was keeping me from feeling exhausted.
I couldn't agree more with your statement: "...we need to apply holistic principles to every institution, not just health care. If we did, we would “transform the System.” But the world descends into ever more tribalism, materialism, and militarism." Wade!
'Holistic' to me means ‘integrated’. But the reality is that we live in a world where segregation, isolation and antagonism are the rule. "Divide and conquer" rather than "Unite and evolve", that is why 'the System' is broken.
I'm really sorry to hear about this ordeal, Wade. I do agree with the other person who said that Kaiser is a lot better in this regard. I also had pneumonia about ten years ago, and although the active infection went away quickly, I was drained of energy for several months afterwards. I sure hope you don't have to deal with that.
Wade Hudson continue to be proactive about your health; Be well!
Thanks for sharing the story
With you on all accounts! Glad you made it through. Very glad you are using the learning experience to help us and the hospital. Yes, empowerment and education are needed throughout society. Liberating structures as the scaffolding for reconstruction.
i am glad you're doing better despite the poor treatment. Thankfully, my experience with heart surgery and recovery has been significantly more positive.
Regarding what you wrote about your experience in the hospital and the general comments about health care and practitioners.  It’s really easy to blame the system — broken or otherwise.  But what came to mind for me was where do we as patients/users of the system take responsibility?  Do we ask direct questions about why we need a particular treatment or medication, what is it supposed to do, what are the side effects, etc.  I do this all the time, and
as a result haven’t had any problems with the doctors I see — including my adventures in the E/R.    Our parents’ generation accepted doctors as gods….”they know what’s best, don’t rock the boat” etc.  At least that was my mother’s philosophy. If we pay attention to our bodies they tell us what they need if we only listen.  Medical professionals are there to help because they MAY have more specific medical knowledge about what’s going on, but we can’t assume their solutions are the only ones.  I’ve had medications reduced and even eliminated because I said that’s what I wanted, and so far I’ve survived quite well.  And we have to ask and question. I think that’s what the intern meant when he said we are our own best doctors.
Your article makes a number of good points about our paternalistic system. Whether it is medicine, law enforcement or the media we are treated as if we can NOT make informed decisions on our own.
I am glad you are feeling better. Thank you for your articulate analysis. One of my adult daughters has had significant health issues for most of her life and we have had this conversation often as a family. We have come to the conclusion that there is an eerie similarity between the health system and the criminal justice system regarding disempowerment, "professionalism," disorientation and vulnerability. I'm glad you included the hopeful comments by the medical student and your primary care doctor.
Hope you are feeling better. Pneumonia is serious and deadly.
I'm sorry you had to go through this -- sounds like you were on your own during your hospital stay? Your "treatment" / mistreatment by medical professionals is something I’ve also experienced; not as a consumer but as a caregiver / advocate for people in Cambodia's even more wretched and class-based medical system, and then for my dad dealing with shockingly similar attitudes in Virginia. I learned in Cambodia that in order to survive the medical system, every patient must have an advocate. So it seemed natural to take on the role for my father (even though the doctors and social workers thought I was a hostile pain-in-the ass). I'm glad I persevered; on at least one occasion, if I'd left my dad in the hands of the 'professionals' one night and gone home instead, my dad would have died much sooner than he needed or wanted to…. Your primary care doctor sounds like a goddess-send. I believe she's the one who wrote about the healing qualities of gardening / farming, especially through contact with soil? This is a topic I've been exploring recently through workshops in horticultural therapy.
Thank you, Wade. I wish that everyone who has such an experience would flood the media (social and otherwise), the hospital admins, the medical schools, the newspapers and beyond, so that patients would take it into their hands and REFUSE to be infantilized. In many ways we are a country of rebels, but when it comes to doctors and medicine we are amazingly compliant. And, I realize how hard it is for anyone to challenge a system when one is in the midst of illness or emergency.
Thank you for your part of testifying and waking people up. We are trying to do this about advanced directives for emergencies and end of life. What you are addressing affects many more people. Citizen driven research has been making strides. Seems like it could be even easier to move citizen-driven medical practices.  
I’m glad you have such a forward thinking primary care person. If that person is in SF, I’d love to know who it is for referral status

hope you are feeling better! many blessings,

Friday, April 21, 2017

Patient As Doctor

Two days as an inpatient recently reinforced my opinion that the medical system paternalistically infantilizes patients -- a symbolic reflection of how the System itself systematically disempowers people.

A 103 degree fever led me to ER. Soon I was hooked to an IV that pumped something into my blood. They didn’t tell me what it was, give me a drug information sheet about it, seek my consent, or ask me about allergies. Some time later someone dropped a pill into my mouth without telling me what it was. I think it was Tylenol. Then someone stuck a cue tip into my nose without telling me what they wanted to do or why. It was to test for flu, which proved positive. I was also wired up for an EKG. No one told me why or asked for my consent. Later I was taken for an x-ray, which I happened to know was to test for pneumonia, but if I had not known that, I would have been clueless. They also, without telling me why, pumped oxygen into my lungs with a device inserted in my nose and attached a monitor to my finger to read the oxygen level in my blood. It wasn’t until the next afternoon that I learned why or the meaning of various levels of oxygen by doing research with my smartphone. When I asked for a list of all the drugs they were giving me for my various ailments, which included constipation and a urinary tract infection, the list did not explain which drug was for what.

Then the physical and occupational therapists swarmed on me. After chatting some and walking around the ward, the physical therapist told me she wanted to refer me to two weeks at a rehab center. “Ok?” she said. I thought that was ridiculous and remained silent. She repeated, “OK?” I replied, “I understand what you’re saying but I disagree.” I felt like she saw a wounded fish and was trying to reel me in to boost the case for her agency’s budget.

Later I told one of my medical students about that encounter. He said the whole team would discuss it. As he was leaving, he said, “Sometimes the patient is their own best doctor.” After he left, I broke down crying. Hopefully that student bodes well for the future of medicine.

I could continue. There are more stories. But I think I’ve made my point: Society should serve to empower everyone, everywhere, but we fall far short.

Fortunately, however, the drugs cured my fever and I’m recuperating at home, not some rehab center.


Yesterday I met with my primary care doctor for the first time since discharge and learned that I had pneumonia (a fact no one at the hospital told me!). At the end of our session, I showed her this essay and asked her if she believed I was being fair with my criticism. Before posting it, I wanted her opinion.

Not only did she say the essay makes sense. She asked my permission to photograph it and post it to her Twitter feed!

I often feel like a lonely voice crying out in the wilderness. As I see it, we need to apply holistic principles to every institution, not just health care. If we did, we would “transform the System.” But the world descends into ever more tribalism, materialism, and militarism.

Lately, short of breath, I’ve been discouraged. But my doctor’s response heartens me.

We must nurture a deep commitment to the common good of the Earth Community and find others who share that goal so we can build the critical mass needed to change course. Humanity’s future depends on it.