Merigian Studios


Help You Out

Help You Out

There are times during each day when I sit and ponder much of what patients have revealed about their lives, hopes, fears, desires, children, churches, God, religion in general and politics. I enjoy talking about college football and now that we are in the thick of the college football season, it is amazing to hear insights about football from so many diverse perspectives.

One particular aspect of football that captivates me is the opinions that people have about their favorite team's coach. I remember a woman who graduated from Penn State. She was so passionate about the Nittany Lions and their coach Joe Paterno. By any measure, Coach Paterno exemplified everything that anyone would want in a college coach; he embodied the highest moral code. He had accumulated 409 wins over his career, which made him the most victorious coach in NCAA FBS history. He had the ear of everyone in the State of Pennsylvania, and his followers were politically powerful. I heard him speak at the Republican National Convention one time and thought he was one of the best orators of all time.

But in 2011, that all changed.  His career ended with his dismissal from the team in November, 2011 as a result of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. The child sex abuse scandal involved his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. There were a number of rumors about Coach Sandusky's pedophilic behavior with young boys, but Joe Paterno defended his former coach and claimed he knew nothing about his coach's sexual exploits of young boys. When the entire story broke in full in November 2011, Paterno announced that he would retire at the end of the season. However, on November 9, the Penn State Board of Trustees rejected this offer and fired him, effective immediately. An investigation conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh concluded in July 2012 that Paterno concealed facts relating to Sandusky's sexual abuse of young boys. The investigation also uncovered information that Paterno may have persuaded university officials not to report Sandusky to authorities in 2001. The Statue of Joe Paterno was permanently removed from the entrance of Penn State's football stadium. A disgraced and humiliated Joe Paterno died of complications from lung cancer on January 22, 2012, only two months after being fired. His family was also humiliated as well as the rest of his coaching staff. One of America's greatest heroes became one of America's greatest villains. For almost a year, everyone everywhere, regardless of their interest in college football, had something negative to say about the man who had lived a lie for so many years.

There have been many coach scandals in college athletics, not just football. And not just about men exhibiting or covering up inappropriate sexual behaviors. Let's not forget Pokey Chapman, LSU woman's basketball coach who resigned from her post at LSU on March 7, 2007 amid allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships with former LSU players that were alleged to have begun when Chapman was coaching the players. She resigned to avoid the intense scrutiny and defamation she would have suffered as a result of her indiscretions. I believe she is currently coaching in the WNBA for the Chicago Sky.

We currently are in an election year which appears to have most of our patients up in arms about almost everything. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have created more psychosocial stress for our country than any other two candidates than I can remember. Hillary has been in politics in some form or fashion for thirty or more years. I do not need to take up writing time to discuss her life as a politician since she has been branded by the news media so many times over. There are many people who absolutely detest her and anything she stands for, regardless of its merit or necessity.  I have heard patients state with absolute resolve that if she is elected president, they will leave our country and seek citizenship elsewhere. To those Hillary haters, it does not matter who or what Donald Trump is as a human being, they are voting against Hillary, period.

These same people would not have suggested that Joe Paterno should have continued to coach at Penn State after the news broke about his former coach Jerry Sandusky's pedophilia or Pokey Chapman's indiscretions with her female players on her team. These same people were elated that President Bill Clinton was impeached and disbarred for his embarrassing sexual exploits while he was in the Whitehouse. I have personally heard Bill Clinton publically apologize many times for his indiscretions. But what does his indiscretions have to do with Hillary, other than place her in a position to honor or dishonor their covenant of marriage. She chose to honor it much the same as many of my female patients who have had to weather the storms of adultery.

I have patients who claim to be devout Christians, some of whom attend large prestigious churches that have had minster sex scandals after which the minister was removed from the pulpit and denigrated by his past congregation. These same patients claim that Donald Trump is the answer to the political corruptness of our nation's governmental process even though there is an enormous mountain of evidence that he is a corrupt business person, is a sexual predator and misogynist in the first order; he has committed adultery in his first and second marriage, and seems to be looking to do it again in his third. He calls his daughter a "piece of ass." I have yet to hear any parent in my practice refer to their daughters as “a pieces of ass." The most disturbing event for me was when he stated in his disgusting language about how he pursues women and just wrote it off to locker room talk. And his son, Donald Junior, publicly defended his father by saying he too use that kind of language in the locker room with his buddies. Seriously? I played little league, high school and college football and have been in thousands of locker rooms over my lifetime, I have never said those words nor has any other man said those words to me. What's more disturbing is that several women reporters agreed or validated that men speak that way about women in the locker room. We have some serious gender gaps in our society, not all of them on the masculine side, and there are a great number of good, decent, hard working men in this country that respect and honor women. I know plenty of them. None of them work for Trump.

In Donald's world, anything and everything is fair game but only when it applies to Donald. I agree with those who emphatically state that Donald would change the direction of politics if he is elected president; to that end, there is no doubt in my mind. It would slide off a massive mountain of mud that has been piling up for hundreds of years and land smack dab in the center of a pool of raw sewage and human waste. That's where he seems to do his best work. Anyone who crawls into the sewer with Donald just comes out with shit on their face. I have yet to hear anyone who staunchly supports Donald or to give testimony that they want their daughter to work right alongside him as he restructures our country. For that matter, how could you send your daughter to participate in the Miss America Pageant? When I was asked who I thought the perfect Vice President candidate for Donald Trump would be, I replied "Bill Cosby. Everybody loves Bill Cosby."

Everyone reading this blog better wake up. This past month, I had my medical insurance canceled by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. I had been in their system since I moved to Memphis in 1991. Everyone I know who has an individual medical insurance policy has been canceled by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee as well as Aetna, which owns Coventry, and UnitedHealth. These insurance companies are citing financial hemorrhage as a reason to get out of the individual policy business because regulators are refusing to let them raise their premiums to ridiculous amounts and deductibles to an all time high. They have also pulled out of the Federal Exchange.

Now I, as well as millions of others, are experiencing the absolute corruptness of the healthcare system. No, it is not the Affordable Healthcare Act, it is greed that drives insurance companies to try to make all time high profits because our citizens are being forced to have medical insurance. Thank goodness they don't own toilet paper manufacturers. The idea of the exchange was to create competition. That was a great idea except that an economist would tell you that when an insurance company's incentive is to make massive amounts of money, instead of providing everyone with cost-effective medical insurance, they would project that an exchange would be disastrous. Hospitals charge fees for services on a "market will bear" basis, which translates to huge price gouging. Independent medical practice groups are either closing their doors or selling to either Baptist or Methodist hospital systems. The last independent cancer center, The Jones Clinic, has been bought out by Baptist. Now you will have only two choices for care when you need an oncologist. In the near future, Baptist and Methodist will establish standard cancer treatment protocols to maximize the profit of cancer care and any physician or physician extender practicing outside of the protocols will be reprimanded to some degree or another to get them back in line.

I grew up poor in an urban setting where community mattered. None of us felt ill dignified because we were poor. Everyone pitched in when times were difficult. Teachers cared about us students. Volunteers (without children on our teams) coached football and baseball. They didn't want their kid to play quarterback or run the ball like what I have witnessed in Germantown, they had no skin in the game. These coaches just wanted to give back and help give their best to me and my teammates. My coaches in little league never missed a practiced and preached about having pride in ourselves, our school work, to help one another and make sure we give back to those in need. My grandmother fed the homeless. As a child, I received medical care from both the private sector and public health clinics. After college, medical school (both self funded), residency and fellowship training, I worked for fifteen years in several inner-city emergency departments which provided care to the underserved and impoverished. They needed both emergency and basic routine medical care. I provided it to them.

I served as the medical director to the Memphis Fire Department for eight years. I witness the best and worst that local government had to offer. But in the end, there was always someone wanting to give back unconditionally to the community in some way. Not some pious church group who believed they had the answers to the root of the inner-city problems, so they "adopted" a community in hopes of converting them to their personal worldviews about a religious life and serve their own personal version of God.

As you sit around and worrying about your personal safety, your personal home, your personal wealth, your personal medical care, your own children and their well being, your personal job, your personal vacation home, your personal choice of vehicles you drive, your personal church, your personal wall to keep the rest of the world out, your personal worldview and how you can create a universe that revolves around you and only you, acknowledge to yourself that you have succumb to that deadly virus called greed which can infect anyone who lives and prospers in the corruption and tyranny of capitalism. Donald Trump should be your man. Vote for him along with the other 13 million Americans who agree with you and hate Hillary Clinton for one reason or another. There are 330 million Americans in this country or more, and as I read the current polls, people are siding with her and the establishment over change mediated by some billionaire pervert and a family of entitled commercial real-estate demagogues. Your political community is shrinking every day.

Don't worry about Donald's sexual predator behaviors, his failed businesses and bankruptcies, his lack of compassion for the impoverished, his inability to have dialogue with anyone who might disagree with him, his inability to take direction from his campaign managers, his lack of public service of any kind, and his overall misogynistic attitude towards women. I suspect the 13 million faithful Hillary haters, the Trump Nation, will show up and cast their ballet for the highest form of individualism this country has ever witnessed in my lifetime.

But I have to warn you: Don't get a flat tire while driving to the polls because your fellow Trump supporters will most likely leave you stranded on the side of the road. If one of them happens to stop and you see him put tic-tacks in his mouth, you better run as fast as you can. You can always get another car, but you may not be able psychologically recover from a Trump Supporter just trying to help you out.  


Posted by Amanda Sanders at 10:51 AM
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