Do No Harm

//Do No Harm

Do No Harm

Perhaps it’s time we ALL took the Hippocratic Oath? The language, it turns out, actually comes from another of Hippocrates’ works, Of the Epidemics:

“The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future – must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm.”

Sure, this is a physicians’ oath, and we’re not all physicians. (I faint at the sight of blood.) But we’ve been feeling, and dealing with, and talking about dis-ease upon the land, in its various forms, for months – raging pandemic, racial reckoning, economic strife, climate crisis. And now? South of the Canadian border? A violent attempted overthrow of government?!?!

Perhaps a wee reminder to “do good” as opposed to “harm” might be timely?

“(T)o tell the antecedents (previous events), know the present, and foretell the future . . .”

Well, based on antecedents, the recent insurrection at the US Capitol, while shocking, was not all that surprising was it? To use a word the inciter of the violence often employed on his now defunct Twitter account: “sad”. Immensely sad.

It’s not my country, I know. But it is my husband B’s country. And it’s right there, only two hours’ driving distance away. Not that I’ve been there lately. To me, the US has always felt like Canada’s bodacious big brother. So, I cried when Biden spoke last Wednesday afternoon.

At first, it all just seemed kind of wacky, as Jamie Davis Smith described in Huffpost, “the Capitol looked more like the scene of a frat party than the seat of the United States Congress”. “Fired up by the Great Orator,” wrote Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic, “they charged their way into the Capitol building, which turned out to be as heavily fortified as a slice of angel food cake”. Wow. Tweeting a pic of “Viking guy” and others, @YousefMunayyer explained it thus: “We spend $750 billion annually on ‘defense’ and the center of American government fell in two hours to the duck dynasty and the guy in the chewbacca bikini”

In the aftermath, extremely violent videos (that I can’t watch) have surfaced, we know five people died (there’s not much mention of it but another police officer who attended the uprising died of suicide on the weekend, making it six) and we’ve had time to consider what it must have been like for all those hiding under desks and chairs for several hours not knowing how it would end.

It was well-planned, broadcast over various social media platforms for any individual to see, let alone intelligence. Hell, now looking at the website the Trump administration had created after the November election called, what did law enforcement honestly expect? A “wild protest” should have been as blatant as the nose on 45’s orange face and the cheap hair dye we saw run down his shady lawyer’s cheeks.

They had bombs, guns, zip-ties and even a noose for godsakes! (On one of my rabbithole doomscrolling romps after the storming of the Capitol I came across a woman’s post that called for, in all seriousness, the return to some good old-fashioned hangings in the public square, insisting this is what’s needed, this will fix things.) It’s truly a wonder there was not more damage to life and property.

And is there more violence to come? I’ll be honest. I’m with Speaker Pelosi on this one. The nuke codes?! I asked B: “Would he, you know, because he’s feeling more isolated, want to end it all, take us with him?”

B was like, “No. Narcissists don’t kill themselves.”

I was like, “Yeah, I know. They think they’re God and all, above dying,” as I googled it and found this: “NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is associated with greater risk of suicide death . . .” Cripes!

I was calmed by initial reports of Pelosi’s chat with Jt Chief Milley, that although the president has ultimate authority, many others are involved in the process, others that would not perform an illegal command, but on further investigation? There seems to be some snark that Pelosi stuck her nose in and “they cannot remove the president from the chain of command”. Geez.

Of note: you can cram a Supreme Court justice through in eight days, but you cannot remove a deranged president in 14.

Okay. I know. Some, many even – according to the latest polls 45% of Republicans – believe the assault on the Capitol was justified. They believe the election was stolen. They believe they will lose their country to socialism. I don’t know how you convince people who believe this otherwise.

Maybe check your news sources? Maybe investigate 45’s lies, pilled up like the bodies of Americans dead from coronavirus? (eg, In response to his inflammatory speech last Wednesday, he of course did not take any responsibility, pathologically calling it “totally appropriate”.) Idk, maybe ask why there was only fraud in the states he lost? Maybe ask, does he even want the job? He’s done nothing but golf and lose election fraud court cases (61) since the election.

I listened to a great podcast on Ten Percent Happier with Dan Brown the other day. The guest was author and mindfulness master Jon Kabat-Zinn. Referring to the “body politic”, he pointed out this profound thing. What if, say, your heart did not care for your liver, maybe the way it was doing things, the colour of its cells perhaps? Would you want your heart and liver duking it out for control of your body?

Somehow, some way, some day, humans MUST find a nonviolent way to get along.

Website photo: The serpent-entwined rod wielded by the Greek god Asclepius, a deity associated with healing and medicine. Who couldn’t use a little healing right now?




  1. Trudy Bustard January 12, 2021 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Very insightful Rita. Your question about 8 days for Supreme Court Judge to be rushed through and impeachment cannot be considered as important should be answered by McConnell. I am so disappointed at some who are not taking this as serious as it is, when their own lives could have been lost? AND, why isn’t it illegal to purposely and continuously lie and use conspiracy theories to throw a government? We are watching in horror.

    • Rita Hartley January 12, 2021 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      A horror show for sure! I cannot comprehend these Republicans who were under threat at the Capitol – Pence?? – just backing away from all this, saying let’s just move along. Lying and using conspiracy theories should be illegal. Sooo scary 😱

  2. Leslie Blumas January 13, 2021 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Great insight Rita. Thank you

  3. Glenda James January 13, 2021 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    I thought we were like Americans but the wedge seems to be growing. Are they the greatest country in the world because they have more money? This morning on Facebook I had to unfriend a successful Canadian colleague who placed a picture of Kamala Harris at the Capital with fire in the background with the caption “Unified”. Facebook stamped it as false and misleading but this is a Canadian who has benefited from living in a compassionate and caring country. What happens to some people with success? I have another very successful client who moved to the United States because he said they have lower taxes, lower wages, health care on demand, cheap house prices and the ability to carry a gun. He hated government interference here in London. He made all his money in Canada and now lives comfortably in Florida. When you reach this level of success cant you appreciate that its not about more, more, more, its about a living wage, health care for all, housing for all, food for all, safety in our streets, maternity leave more than 3 weeks and taking care of our seniors.

    • Rita Hartley January 13, 2021 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      You bring up so many valid things! I feel so disheartened today listening to Republicans toss aside the insurrection as no big deal, not their leader’s fault AT ALL and paint Democrats as radical bloodthirsty politicians who will destroy the country. The points of view are so far apart Idk how it gets mended. It’s not God Bless America. It’s God help America 😭🙏

  4. HILARY D SLATER January 19, 2021 at 12:23 am - Reply

    Tough times indeed. If we were reading about this past year and this year in History Class, -say 100 years from now- what would it all be boiled down to?
    I sometimes like looking back at 1918 and feeling how it’s just a story, a few dates, a few numbers… not too real any more.
    Until its all happening to us, now.
    And yet the whole US mess just feels like a bad Disney movie. Farcical. Unbelievable… So alien from our calm common sense world of Canada.
    Thank goodness!

    • Rita Hartley January 19, 2021 at 6:52 am - Reply

      My daughter and have often referred to it as “the dumbest time to be alive”! Except for the scary parts. Calm common sense Canada. I like that! Feel so grateful to be Canadian 🙏

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