Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

What Does the President’s Oath of Office Have to do with Public Health?

President Obama will take his oath of office today on two bibles, one being that of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Professor Cornell West of Union Theological Seminary in this clip is bothered that the President does not truly honor King’s commitments to justice. These crimes against humanity include Jim Crow, carpet bombing in Vietnam which killed civilians (including children), and poverty.

Dr. King’s reference crimes against humanity are still with us today

–Jim Crow lives on in many areas, including the high percentage of blacks in prisons in numbers disproportionate to the population.

Note the high percentage of incarcerated black males who are from 20 to 49 years old.
While in prison, they are unable to provide for their families and be good role models for their children. Their communities are poorer for not having them in many ways.
“The dismal fact of mass incarceration inflicts widespread and enduring damage by undermining the fair allocation of public resources and political representation, by depriving the children of inmates of their parents’ economic and emotional participation, and, ultimately, by concealing African American disadvantage from public view. (From the book review for Invisible Men)

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The carpet bombing mentality lives on in drone warfare. Some believe that the number of drone civilian deaths have decreased during President Obama’s administration. The use of drone warfare still inflicts psychological terror among civilians who hear them constantly on their surveillance missions.
“The moral damage to the victims must be considered because violence begets more violence and leaves psychic wounds nearly impossible to heal”. And “the costs of drone warfare as an economic choice over alleviating suffering caused by domestic economic challenges have to be weighed. The financial cost of protecting American combatants while killing enemy combatants (and civilians), though steep, are measureable. Measuring the effect of losing those funds for the welfare of the American people suffering most from our economic woes is harder. [From Texas Faith: The morality of drone warfare]
Poverty rates have not declined appreciably since 1960. There is wide disagreement on the causes and even the definition of poverty. However the gap between the rich and poor is ever widening.
The intentional and unintentional treatment of folks based on their skin color, income, socioeconomic power all exacerbate public health issues. If people are incarcerated unjustly their community suffers. The unjustly incarcerated are not able to contribute to their community in economic and social terms. They are not there to support their families. Drone warfare scars people not only physically but psychologically. And money spent on warfare is not spent on programs and infrastructure for the betterment of all. Poverty disables people in so many ways.  People in poverty are less able to share their God given talents with us all.

January 21, 2013 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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