A prayer for my mother, Maria Estela, and the Nation

Yesterday, Trini and I spent three and a half hours with my mother at a hospital in Orange County. Maria Estela Rodriguez is almost 85 years old and now has Alzheimer's. The other day she was checked into the hospital to have her gall bladder removed--apparently she has been in pain with this for quite some time, but never said nothing. But in the process of preparing her, the doctors found she had an irregular heartbeat. There was a 20 percent chance she would not survive the operation (they had to do it the old fashion way, with surgery, for reasons related to her age and the terrible condition of the gall bladder). My sister Ana (who has been taking care of my mother for many years until last year when we agreed to place her in a home for Alzheimer's patients) called to see if there was consensus from all the siblings on the operation. My brother Joe, my half-sister Seni, and my younger sisters, Ana and Gloria, as well as I, agreed--she cannot be in this pain any longer. We all did prayers for her to be well after the operation, and the doctors proceeded.

While my mother was in deep pain and mostly incoherent, it appears she will be fine. Trini and I held her hand most of the time we were there, visited also by one of Seni's daughters, Aide, who turns out has studied acupuncture, acupressure, other Eastern healing practices, and is apparently a massage therapist. She was very calming and helpful for my mother, who I could tell was not always remembering we were there.

Today should be a much better day for my mom. Again we send prayers every day for her recovery. She is much loved. Since my return to LA in 2000 after 15 years in Chicago, and around 20 years of estrangement, I've reconciled with my mother and most of my family. We don't agree on spiritual matters or politics, but we are family. We have realized that is extremely important in this time of so much fracturing and estrangement.

I've also been keeping up with the news. WAMU, the largest US savings & loan, has just been taken over. The federal bailout plan is a sham. Nobody really knows how to resolve the crisis they got us into in the first place. With deregulated financial institutions going hog wild with our money and our homes, they now are being given $700 Billion bailout. What about accountability? What about laws to protect the rest of us from fraud and manipulation of markets (rife in the past years with housing, among other industries)? The ones who need bailouts are those of us at the bottom or the middle of the economy--the ones who got shafted.

A couple of days ago, John McCain made a dramatic statement that he'd end his campaign so he can "help resolve the financial crisis." He can't resolve it and he knows it--he's a self-admitted idiot when it comes to the economy. This was a political ploy, spin as it's called, that's meant to be more bark than bite. Now he's backed off and is back on the campaign, although the crisis is far from resolved. In fact, even if Congress approves the Bush Administration's plan, it will only stave off the inevitable. The system is broke from the inside out.

I know this crisis can be solved--all crises have solutions in them. But the so-called experts in government and in the financial world won't look at the real solutions. They want to safeguard their profits and positions above all. They really don't care about the rest of us--they're concern that something must be done or we'll all go down is a scare tactic, used so often to get us to approve inane plans and even wars.

The Bush Administration is out of "trust capital." They have lied to much, fear-mongered once too often, for us to keep turning the economy, the military and our constitutional rights to them over and over and over again (although shame on us for letting them do so--perhaps we're all getting political Alzheimer's when it comes to these "solutions").

So while my mother recovers, which I pray she will, I also pray we'll look beyond the "sacred cows" of markets and capitalism to imaginative, cooperative, liberating and abundant means. If not, we'll just go through more and more crises, with more and more people losing the very foundations of their lives, ultimately to benefit a ridiculously few among us.


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