The Occasional Perspective - 4/11/22

Periodic Meanderings and Ideas Deemed Important by the Author…

The Evolving Solution, The Growing Inequity – The desire on the part of people everywhere to “return to normal” is apparently accelerating. There is the take-this-job-and-shove-it movement, the I’m-not-going-to-give-up-my-Zoom-meetings decisions, the getting-dressed-from-the-sweat-pants-upward approach to professional presence, among many other changes that have occurred throughout society over the last nearly 2 ½ years. Many of these changes are not going away and they are occurring while we have witnessed the incredible application of science and technology toward solving the pandemic. Just think, it if was 1950 or thereabouts and a similar pandemic had hit planet Earth, we would most likely still be in the throes of death throughout the world. But, we now have 62% of the world’s population in a state of vaccination with at least one dose as of early March 2022.

But, there’s a big BUT that needs to be put on the table. Yes, we have 62% of the world’s population vaccinated but the rate is disproportionate. In rich countries, the rate is – on average – closer to 80%! In poor countries, the rate is a dismal 11%. Why? Because in large measure the countries do not have the distribution networks for delivering the vaccine nor the cash to pay for the vaccine. Those countries are primarily countries of color in South America, Asia and Africa, which is part of entire issue that begs for consideration and resolution. At the same time, Pfizer has reporting that is 2021 profits were $81B or, double the profits of 2020. Moderna reported a smaller total revenue of $18.5B in 2021 but it was far, far larger than the $803M reported in 2020. In other words, the company grew 18X in one year! Now, I’m not saying that profits are bad. What I am saying is that disproportionate profits need scrutiny similar to the growing recognition that multi-billionaires need some scrutiny on the amount of taxes they pay as “participants” in society.

So, the question that evolves is how do we as the “people” across all of the borders of the world deal with this disproportionality? As the Editors of The Christian Century[1] recently stated in an editorial, “Respect for innovation shouldn’t mean fealty to the corporate profit motive.” A vaccine that solves a worldwide crisis that could literally destroy societies if it were not managed effectively should not simply be left in the hands of a single or even a few corporations. I don’t necessarily have an answer on how to deal with the problem – but, it is a problem that deserves – NO! – requires our attention, consideration and application of a solution.

The Slap Felt Round The World – On Monday, March 28th at around 9:00 PM in the evening, one of those communal events occurred – at least in the United States. The Oscars were being televised when the host, Chris Rock, offered up supposed humor to the Oscar guests where at least one such guest did not find the humor humorous. In other words, Will Smith. It was the momentary distraction that pulled us away from the potential precipice of World War III, the tyrannical Ethiopian war in Tigray, the lost homeless in cities across the many first world nations, the pain of dislocation derived from internal political upheaval – and, the oh-so-many-other-trials across societies far and wide. There has been much commentary and balm applied to the event seen live on television. But, the commentary and balm has not been sufficient for addressing the suffering from the calamities I just described. While it was wrong for Will Smith to hit Chris Rock – at least he apologized. That’s something that Mr. Putin, the Ethiopian government, or all of us have not yet done with the threats that loom like Nor’easter clouds on our own doorsteps. The important point is the immediacy of the pain, anguish and attention devoted to a momentary event seen round the world, while the ongoing tragedies lurked in the background without much thought. The new media are changing our very notion of how, when, where and who we seem to be exhibiting sympathy and thoughts for...? While I’m sure Chris Rock will survive, I’m not so sure about the Ukrainians, the Tigray victims, the homeless and all the others suffering in horrible situations. Think about it… What should we be discussing? How should we mobilize? Who should we engage? If we put as much emotional energy into solving the real problems of the day as we do the temporary outbursts, things might be a lot better.

A Troubling NPR Report – My morning custom is to listen to National Public Radio (NPR) while sipping my coffee and preparing my list of Things to Do for the day. It’s a ritual that has endured for just over half a century. It helps me to focus, to consider, to plan and, ultimately – to execute. On March 28th, I was listening to the latest about the Russian atrocities which are being thrust and perpetuated upon the Ukrainian people when I was overwhelmed with tears of sadness. The report dealt with the fact that since the start of the war, there has been a dramatic, three-fold increase in premature births among pregnant women in Ukraine so that upwards of 50% of all births are now premature. Why? Because of the stresses being laid upon these pregnant women by unpredictable bomb bursts, the need for seeking shelter, the consequences of hospital nurses having to decide whether or not to seek shelter or stay with their babies which they have decided to do… As a physician who had a “Moms and Babes” practice during my formative years, I was overwhelmed by anger at first at the soldiers but then at the leaders who have the audacity to deploy atrocious pain upon innocent Moms who are simply supporting growth for their unborn child until it is eventually brought to the threshold of birth.  And, feeling an overwhelming sense of powerlessness, I wrote this poem: Birthing In Ukraine, 2022-0328

Sounds abound all around

With random bursts

Thrust from someplace out there

To someplace over here

By known forces

Who unknowingly but knowingly

Decimate the quiet home

Of an unobtrusive, growing child

At home alone before the birthing

Which remains a stretch too far away

Beyond the reach of readiness

But with sounds abounding all around

The birthing can’t wait

So, it heaves and stretches

Reaching for the light

And the warmth

And the softness of support

By exploding into the world

But, too early, too young, too fragile

But, here nonetheless

In a world of war

In a shelter somewhere

Amidst the rubble

The young babe struggles to breath

And simply live

While sounds abound all around

With random bursts

Thrust from someplace out there

To someplace over here

As life is created amidst the rubble

For an inauspicious beginning

That hopefully will not end…


Let us not allow these children to grow up without our support. The longitudinal devastation will likely be more severe than the short-term environmental destruction they face. Let us not forget…  


[1] The Editors, The Christian Century, March 9, 2022, p. 7

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