I Vote for Surgical Masks over Submarines – Part I

Time to Re-Evaluate our National Priorities?

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Interventional Radiology Staff, Yale-New Haven Hospital 
Credit: Deirdre Russo, RN (<a href="https://www.ctinsider.com/news/nhregister/article/Hospital-workers-on-front-line-We-re-here-for-15165111.php?src=nhrhpcp&_ga=2.192719855.478917271.1585504452-523761376.1582290725" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">via NH Register</a>)
Interventional Radiology Staff, Yale-New Haven Hospital Credit: Deirdre Russo, RN (via NH Register)

My neighborhood, my city, our country, our world is in what my mother would have called “a mell of a hess.” 

Panic, uncertainty, fear everywhere. What do with it? The enforced pause has put me into deep thinking – and into some small, one-person actions.

Last week I sent a letter to my Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Representative Rosa DeLauro, Governor Ned Lamont and my New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. 

It is really an open letter to our nation, and now to you, my readers. 

Here’s my letter:

Dear My Reps,

First of all, thanks to each of you for your leadership in this pandemic.

Second, a strong request to address the immediate and long-term health – physical, emotional, and economic – of our state/nation/world: 

At this time –

  • When people around the world are suffering, and are coming together with acts of generosity and bravery,
  • When the President of the US has asked for the support of the military to help hospitals and has invoked the Defense Production Act to coerce manufacturers to produce materials essential for the nation’s health,
  • When United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for an immediate worldwide cease-fire to tackle the coronavirus pandemic,

I ask you, as leaders for my city and state, to view this planetary crisis as an impetus to begin to transform Connecticut’s industries. 

I recognize that our state has great stakes in jobs that supply the defense industry. 

I also recognize that Connecticut has a long history of creativity and engineering genius.

We have the know-how to 

  • fix our crumbling highways,
  • give meaningful jobs to young and old,
  • make our neighborhoods safer and more beautiful,
  • build better clinics and hospitals,
  • develop medicines and materials to improve health.

Now is the time to begin the transformation. 
Swords into plowshares. An unrealistic dream? I hope not.
If not now, when?

The Chinese use two characters for the word crisis: the first means danger, the second opportunity.

I hope that, like Governor Gavin Newsom of California, you recognize the immense good will of our people, and our interdependence (that’s the word Newsom used when asked if he thought officers would be needed to enforce his recommendations –  No, he said, not needed. I count on our goodwill and our interdependence to make this happen). 

Thank you again for your leadership. In these days, wise leadership is vitally important.

Sincerely, Millie Grenough    

Today, as I look at the photo of the radiologists at Yale-New Haven Hospital, I ask:

  • For the cost of one submarine, how many surgical masks could be produced?
  • How many ventilators for one Blackhawk helicopter?
  • How many hospitals or health clinics built for the cost of one military base in the US or abroad?

A radical shift? Yes.

Outlandish to think of re-training people and industries? No. 

Extremely difficult to embrace a truer meaning of “national security”? Yes.

Astronomical initial effort and expense? Yes. 

You get the idea. 

We got to the moon. 

This crisis might bring us back to an earth that is healthier, safer, more caring.

Maybe our beloved state can transform itself. Maybe we can become the state known for real pro-life economy

Connecticut – the CherishLife State.  Why not?

A final thought: What do we want our grandchildren to remember us for?

I will send Part II tomorrow. Meantime, here’s an Oasis Sanity Tip for today.
Take some time to hang out with these questions:

  1. What is one specific thing –“good” or “bad”, doesn’t matter – I have become more aware of in my self-isolation?
  2. What is one thing I am more appreciative of now than I was three weeks ago?
  3. What is one specific action I will take to nourish my awareness?

Written by Millie Grenough — Feel free to comment / share

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