doc w/ Pen

journalist + medical student + artist

Tag: donald trump

Disbelief and dismay

All lecturers at Weill Cornell are required to show us a slide stating whether they have any financial conflicts of interest related to their presentation topic. One of yesterday’s lecturers, after presenting this customary slide (revealing that he had no financial conflicts), added this commentary:

I will try not to talk about the presidential election, although it’s very difficult. But I suspect that the absence of financial conflicts will be outlawed, and only people with large financial conflicts will be allowed to now do anything.

Many other lecturers, renowned physicians and scientists in their fields, have made similar comments since the election. This is the atmosphere of disbelief and dismay shrouding Cornell.

What we do about this, I don’t know. But for starters, we keep talking about it.

Take your “stage.” Speak up.

The day after our recent presidential election, I wrote here that I don’t “normally” write about politics on my blog. I’ve reexamined that perspective in the last few days. The main intent of this blog does remain the same: to chronicle my journey to, through, and beyond medical school. But given the broad, international implications, these election results are now a part of my journey. Not just because Donald Trump has vowed to decimate the Affordable Care Act, which will affect my future patients. But because his proposed actions, and the cabinet appointments he has recently made, threaten the lives and rights of so many people in this country and the world beyond our borders.

I will continue to write about medical school here. As the cast of “Hamilton” recently reminded us though (see the YouTube video clip above), those of us who are concerned about the direction this country is headed have an obligation to stand up and voice those concerns from whatever platform we happen to have — whether it’s a literal stage, a blog, or a cocktail party.

My goal is not to incite fear or hopelessness. First, there is enough of that already. Second, alone they accomplish nothing. My goal is to provoke awareness and spur cohesion. Maybe that awareness and cohesion can actually foment hope — hope that by speaking our minds, by working together, we can eventually hobble this political malignancy.

With this introduction in mind, I want to share something I read a couple days ago from Humans of New York, which chronicles, through brief interviews and photos, the everyday lives of people in the city I now call home. This woman’s words resonated with me. They saddened me. They also helped me understand why this happened.

Foresight is 2020

I don’t normally write about politics here. It’s not the intent of this blog. But today, it’s personally imperative for me to say something about last night’s presidential election results.

Those of you who know me well will attest that I am a nonjudgmental, “live and let live” kind of person. But everyone has a breaking point, and Donald Trump is mine. I cannot watch him climb to the most influential political office in the world and stand by, silent. To simply say “I disagree” with this result, and that I simply “disagree” with half of the electorate in this nation, is also insufficient. No. I am terrified and sickened as I contemplate the next four years under the thumb of a man who seems more likely to rule with the principles of tyranny than with those of democracy.

More specifically, here are a few things I want to say publicly, and in print.

As a woman, I refute the misogyny Donald Trump has spewed during this campaign. As someone with friends of many racial, ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds, I refute the racism and intolerance Donald Trump clearly espouses. As a future physician, I refute Donald Trump’s positions on health care availability and funding. As a decent human being, I refute Donald Trump’s stance on the provision of social services. As an American citizen, I refute Donald Trump’s capacity to serve as our president.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

I voted. I’m glad I did. But I wish I had done more. Would it have made a difference? Just me, no. Though maybe if a lot of people had decided to do more, it would have.

In four years, in the 2020 presidential election, I’ll be deep in the harried, sleep-deprived life that is medical residency. I’ll have even less time than I do now. I’m not sure what I’ll be able to contribute. But we can’t let this happen again. All I can come up with in this dark moment is that we need to start thinking ahead now.

Who’s ready to start campaigning for Elizabeth Warren with me?


This is staying up on my refrigerator.

This is staying up on my refrigerator.

It’s 1:30 p.m. I have checked off only 3 things from my to-do list for today. It’s a long list. But I’ve already done the most important task of the day: vote.

I hope you have too. Or if not, that it’s on your list.