Physician Forum was present at the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st, 2017.
At the last moment, my wife, Leslie, invited me to accompany her to the Women’s March on Washington. It just happened to be our 33rd wedding anniversary. Prior plans of her group of women had changed destinations from Washington D.C. to NYC (my hometown), but my wife wanted to be at the center of the historic event at our nation’s capital. And, so instead of being apart, we spent our 33rd anniversary together. And, like most things, my wife was right.
Washington D.C. was an impressive backdrop, and, the march achieved its goals. A lot of people came, probably three times what march officials initially anticipated. Most were younger women, but clearly women of all ages, including children were present. We estimated approximately 20 % were men, which was corroborated by news report.
All the participants we met were charming, caring, intelligent and peaceful. Other than a reported confrontation with a group of “Trump supporters”, it was like one big happy family, peacefully protesting some of their most passionate issues.
Although, there were many issues that brought this huge group of people together in Washington, the nation, and across the globe, a unifying theme I heard loud and clear was that “Women’s rights are human rights “, and of course they are! Women are appropriately asking for respect and the right to make their own decisions regarding their bodies, how they live their lives and their sexuality. As a physician I totally support them. The Medical code of conduct directs us providers to perform our duties with the acceptance of all ways of life, and treats all human beings equally with compassion and respect.
One of the central issues of great importance at the event was health-care. Particularly it’s affordability, availability, and the continued provision of women’s health care services by agencies like Planned Parenthood to those without the financial resources for “traditional” healthcare coverage. As a physician, I can only support these agencies as allies in the effort to provide health care to all who need it. So long as they keep up the high standards of medical care, they have my support. And we, the medical community, need to join the fight to find ways to provide health care to all those who need it. This is but one of the issues of disparity of care that arises from the current allocation of medical resources that exists today.
It was Gloria Steinem, one of the feature speakers, now in her eighties, and still going strong, who forcefully rebuked, and expanded on the issues of the “Goldwater Rule”. This rule limits the ability of competent, psychiatric professionals to publically comment on the psychiatric competency of any public person. She discussed the issues in detail, and went on to read a passage from a letter written by health care professionals detailing their concerns regarding President Trump’s emotional capacity to be Commander-in- Chief.
I strongly recommend that everyone watch the speech she gave, especially the portion that relates to healthcare. Think about it, and, discuss it with your family and friends. Most importantly, we need to consider all the facts, all the information, and all the viewpoints. Everyone has a valid viewpoint to add to any discussion. Every person has a message that needs to be understood in its essence.
As the late Senator of New York, Patrick Moynihan expressed, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts”. A message noted by many of the signs carried during the march.
I believe that the president has “awaken a sleeping giant”. For his sake, and the sake of the nation, he needs to succeed. But, to do so, he needs to heed the message express by the people. They are messages of respect, decency, and inclusion of all people. Otherwise, he will act as a catalyst for his own downfall, and the continued of the deterioration of our beloved country.
We all need to have an open mind, and always act with love and compassion in our hearts.
This is how you heal a nation.