Health: For seven generations

Nelson Mandela, universally proclaimed as one of the great souls of all ages, leaves me in sheer awe of the magnitude of his contribution and pledge when he became president of South Africa that, “never, never, never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience oppression of one by another.

This season, we prepare for the coming light. Whatever our spiritual orientation, as December blows in, we light more candles and put up extra lights to weather the darkest month of the year. Choral concerts generate a sense of wonder about this season of light and joy of renewal in a fresh new year in the hope that oppression will cease and all beings may be happy.

 However, historically, small numbers of people have managed to oppress large numbers of people and if we want to change that equation, we would do well to look at what keeps us happy and well. Is happiness having more? Or is happiness assuring everyone’s right to have enough? Can we be happy when we know other neighbors are stressed with not enough of anything? We hear the comparative figures daily in the news.

 Will the decisions we make today benefit seven generations into the future? This question is said to have originated with the Iroquois Nation as they cautioned their people to “listen for the welfare of the whole people of the future nation.” The Mohawk Nation added, “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”Of note, today’s happiest countries all demonstrate the same attitude of generosity for all of their citizens.

 We cannot blissfully sing about peace on earth without taking responsibility for our part in bringing peace about and caring for all of our citizens. Two books that call us to action are The Lonely Soldier: The private war of women serving in Iraq, by Helen Benedict, and They Were Soldiers: How the wounded return from America’s wars, by Ann Jones.

The majority of our people in Congress have never been to war, and have obviously not developed a distaste for war. Continuing Health Care for veterans, which ethically, should be activated at the time of discharge, currently is contingent on a veteran’s ability to document that the problem originated during their tour of duty. Meantime, 20 veterans commit suicide each day while they wait.

How might congress respond to a landslide of letters registering our yearning that never, never, never again shall it be that this beautiful land will experience oppression of one by another. How might we activate an attitude of generosity for all citizens?

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