Betmo got my interest piqued with HER responses to the interview questions she was asked. So, idiot that I am, I responded and said SURE. Interview me! So, she did. Questions are Betmo's to me, answers are mine. Betmo, I hope I do you proud:
1) you have traveled all over the world and here in america- alaska to bhutan most recently. where has been your favorite visit so far?
The glib answer is "Where am I going next?", but it's really not so simple. I love travel. I love the act of waking up in a new place, talking with local people, experiencing different culture - so in reality, I've loved every place I've been with almost no exceptions. I did not love Bangkok - the air was so thick with pollution, when I sneezed it was black. I did not like the open peddling of sex, especially pedophilia. But is was so exotic, and layered, and rich, that I didn't hate it either.
But there are a few places that, when I leave them, I weep: my first post - at least my first comment on my first post was about a camping trip I took to the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory of Australia - my soul is in that land. I feel deeply connected there. I wept when I left Tanzania, and South Africa - such a deep, profound connection to the land.
2) in your travels, you have met many folks from different cultures and backgrounds- how do they see us as americans- especially these days?
I think the most profound experience I had was at the airport leaving Capetown Sun City, South Africa: it was before we invaded Iraq, and these people in the waiting area were pleading with my companion and me to make the President change course. My friends in New Zealand think our administration is insane, and dangerous, and feel sorry for me to have to live in a country so lacking in dignity. In Bhutan, my guide's brother started telling me how wonderful he thought Bush was, and so my guide had to ask him to get onto another topic. Apparently, the brother is a bit of an anomaly.
3) given your candor with your recent medical issues- what, if any, changes or overhauls would you like to see in the american healthcare system?
Universal, single-payer insurance; socialized medicine, accessible to all who need it. Right now, healthcare is determined by Insurance Companies, and Pharmaceutical Companies: big business. It is all about profit, rather than patient care. I have six prescriptions costing $50 per month EACH - $300 per month, for necessary medication. That's the Co-Pay. What about people with no coverage?
Hospitals are run as profit-making businesses rather than as a means to help people. Drugs should not be advertised - advertising is designed to create a market, and I am not the person who should be determining what drugs I need to treat what disease I might not have. Take the profit margin out of health care, socialize it, and make it accessible.
4) you spent time on a kibbutz in israel- in mixing with regular folks there- what are your thoughts on what has to happen for the folks (not politicians) to demand peace?
I lived on Kibbutz Kfar Blum in the Upper Galilee. Nestled 11 Kilometres from the Golan Heights, and 7 Kilometres from Kiryat Shmona, my first week there, on a Tuesday night (movie night) we were outside at our outdoor theater - watching a western, as I recall. During a scene when something was being exploded, bombs started being dropped on Kiryat Shmona, launched from Lebanon. That same week, the kids in my Ulpan (study program) went on a tour of the Golan - it was so beautiful up there. Three kids, two French, one Yank, wandered off the path to smoke a doobie, and stepped on landmines left by Syria. The year was 1969.
What must we here in the USA do to demand peace? I know that we attend rallies; so do Israelis and Palestinians living in Israel. I know that we sign petitions, and email our Representatives; so do Israelis and Palestinians living in Israel. Israeli and Palestinian films have been asking for peace for decades - it isn't the people, it's the leadership that is the problem. I include the Neoconservatives in the USA; the spineless Democrats in the USA; the Likud government in Israel; Hamas and Al Fatah; Hezbollah - anyone who is so invested in being completely right. I include everyone who says Israel must be dissolved. Absolutism is a terrible problem.
Someone has to go first. I don't care who it is - Israel, Palestinians, somebody has to put down their arms, and stop the violence. The Left in the USA says it has to be Israel -- they're the oppressor. The Left in the USA says that Palestinian use of terror is justified. Bolux. It doesn't matter anymore who started it, who is more wrong than whom, it doesn't matter. Someone has to go first.
I cannot describe how beautiful the Middle East can be - Jerusalem is made from local stone and glows golden at sunset. To live there, even for a short while (I was there for a year, as a young 20 year old) - it gets into your skin. I had my first job in tourism on Kibbutz - we had a guest house. I cleaned rooms; and I learned to cook for the guest house restaurant - it was amazing.
Going into the Old City of Jerusalem, and wandering the Arab Quarter - shopping in the Shook in the Arab Quarter - it gets into your skin. We Jews and Muslims are quite similar people - we look alike; our dietary laws are the same; we have the same roots. And yet in Israel, the Governments and Leadership have forgotten. The Israeli military is a testing ground for US Weapons. Fear fuels the process.
Someone has to go first. If I were there, I would tell the Israeli government that THEY should go first. Take a leap of faith; restore services to Gaza and the West Bank; tear down the Wall of shame. But in truth, it doesn't matter. I could also tell the Palestinians to stop wasting their most precious resources - their children - by teaching them despair and hate, and to strap bombs to their waists to blow up other school children. Palestinians, Israelis, the citizens don't want this devastation. Why does the leadership ignore the people?
5) ahhh.... california. you folks are one of the states continually mentioned in the 'war on immigration' going on. what plan, if any, do you favor to alleviate the issue of illegal immigration?
Currently, I feel that the "War on Immigration" is a red-herring, designed to make people afraid of Mexicans and to deflect away from the wrong-doings of the Bush Administration. Yes, we have problems with people crossing the border illegally - however, we encourage it with low-paying gardening jobs; busboy jobs; menial labor; house-keeping jobs; all sorts of work that no White American would stoop to do - after all, we're "special." But tell me: who else would the USA get to pick our crops? Because that pays bupkus, and offers no benefits at all. Cesar Chavez who?
We will never do away with "illegal" immigration as long as we have the imbalanced system we have. However: I believe we should recognize seasonal workers, and pay them fairly, with benefits (back to health-care!) I do not support the Fence. What a boondoggle that is. Tear it down now!
Please to sure to include the below in the post you make, answering these questions.
Do YOU want to be interviewed?
1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.