I am in Washington D.C. (on November 4, 2018, two days before our election).
I am here to talk to veterinary pathologists about their grief, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Yeah, they know you are thinking why would they suffer? They study tissues and give us their diagnosis. Did you ever think for a moment how they feel when they give multiple diagnoses in a day which they know might destroy a family’s life? Other pathologists work in environments where they are researching, and they may euthanize animals because they don’t fit their research. They’re doing this research for future good, but how many of you can buddy up with them given what they do for our society? They do what they do with love. They got into vet med because they love animals just like other vets, and then they specialized. Others work in academia, a suction for the soul in some ways for any field, and they suffer because they’re not trained to help students or to navigate organizational relationships. I so appreciate their invitation to me to talk. I learned so much. I shared that if not for one of them, I would not have had quality time for almost two weeks with Roxie. Anyway, the talk was productive, and then I ventured into DC.
I did a city tour, and I have to tell you the Capitol with both wings of Senate and House is bigger and more ostentatious than I remembered from a previous trip long ago. I got off the bus at the Lincoln Memorial. Nearby, footsteps away, are the Korean War Memorial, the WWII Memorial, and the Vietnam War Vet Memorial. I visited them all.
I took many pictures of the Korean War Memorial for my father who is proud of his service during that time. The Vietnam War happened in my lifetime, so these lives were lost in my lifetime.
The Lincoln Memorial: I was there exactly 50 hours before we receive election results. Lincoln is memorialized as if the sculpture is very much alive. The sculpture’s eyes are riveting. His words are there all over the place. I felt the horrible quandary of his decisions at the time; his improbable yet forgivingness of others; his embrace of people as all equal; his grief, his sadness about human nature, and again his grief. Lincoln stuck to his moral principles. He gave us many lessons which he learned through the pain of grief, yet he didn’t force the nation to understand. He only offered his knowledge through speech. I was moved to big tears. I looked up to Lincoln’s sculpture, and I saw a man who risked everything political to do what he sought deep down as morally correct. I asked about us now. Who did I ask? Myself, my God, Lincoln, and all the souls I visited in the memorials. I asked for help for all of us. I made it down all those steps alone, risky because my vision was through tears.
Just a little more than a week ago, Jews were gunned down because of irrational blind hate. They were killed in America. They were killed in an America which promised they could worship freely in their faith. I observed in DC all nationalities with their little kids touring our monuments which represent this type of freedom. They were touring because we are their hope and their example. And I thought about the children taken from their parents at the border. I thought about the children in Yemen who are dying because our government is allowing them to die.
I feel that I’m supposed to at least tell you how I’m thinking. I don’t vote party, but I do vote kindness. I do vote integrity. I vote for kindness. I do vote the values of our nation as inclusive of all, especially disregarding color or religion or national background. I do vote in honor of those who have given their lives for us; for me, you, my kids and yours, and their kids.
My experience in DC coincided with this election in a synchronistic way.
I just hope that Tuesday’s election results prove to me that as I still live in the same kind and generous nation I have known it to be. If you have yet to vote, please do. I need to know your true heart. I hope that this nation is what Lincoln and Jefferson and so many others intended. The photo below is of the forgotten; those in the Korean war.