Pete Kaiser published The ERA is important to me because my family is important to me in ERA Stories 2021-03-14 08:25:46 -0400
Most of us want to think of ourselves as thoughtful, compassionate persons, even when it concerns more than just our immediate families. Our religions and our ethical learnings point us there. But our families are special to us. Mine is to me, including the women -- my wife, sisters, sisters in law, daughter, granddaughter, nieces... I'm determined that they be treated with equal respect by the law and by society at large, and that this CANNOT be taken away from them. That's why I support the ERA: because no one, NO ONE, should be able to treat women with anything less than the full human rights they deserve. Peter Kaiser - Lives in Switzerland, Votes in MA
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Pete Kaiser published I still have cancer, but no payment worries #DAresists #Medicare4all in Healthcare Stories 2017-10-01 12:02:22 -0400
My residence is in Switzerland, where I was diagnosed several years ago with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, for which I've gotten superb care at what is probably the best hospital and with some of the best doctors in a country with sky-high medical standards. I've had lots of tests; antibody treatment; surgery; many scans and X-rays; and radiation treatment. All this isn't cheap. It's the first time in my adult life I've needed sustained medical care. And my perfectly ordinary, basic Swiss health insurance has paid for almost all of it without a fuss. Wait -- there was one fuss: my wife and I spend considerable time in France, but my Swiss insurer at first didn't want to pay for my regular treatments there, which would have either trapped us in Switzerland or cost me a serious amount, more than just pennies. But with a little help we discovered that Swiss law requires them to pay for those treatments in France (where, incidentally, they're a lot cheaper!), so we weren't trapped in Switzerland. I know that my care is covered by my basic insurance, and I can switch insurers if I want, so although I still have the problem of cancer (along with some other things related to being a mature age, like cataracts -- now solved by the standard surgery), I don't have the problem of worrying whether I can afford to pay. My insurance, by the way, costs $435 per month, and luckily I can afford that. Just for your information: my antibody treatments cost about $3400 each in Switzerland; the identical treatments about $960 each in France; and in the USA a few years ago, $11,000-$18,000 depending on where. Same brand-name medicine, same method. What's the lesson here? I never cease being aware of the injustice when others can't afford care, or may not even be able to get to it. I'm damned lucky. I'm still alive. And my T-shirt says so.
First: we're here to battle the forces of evil by getting Democrats elected at *all* levels, bottom to top, because post-Nixon politics has taught us that we need to do that. The Presidency isn't enough. I'll work with any honest, ethical, committed persons to accomplish that.
And DA has those. Count me in.
Now personal background.
It was only as a young adult that I got to know my grandmother after moving close to her in New York City. (I was a conscientious objector in the Viet Nam war era, and did civilian duty in NYC.) One day when we were discussing city life I asked her whom she was voting for in the mayoral election. When she told me I said "Grandma, that's the Socialist candidate!" She answered "I've always been a Socialist. I thought you knew."
I learned other things from her about our family -- like how, born in Russia, she ended up in the USA: her parents fled Russia with their daughter late in the 19th century not because they were Jews, but because they were early Communists under political persecution.
Knowing that about her, I felt in good company. And proud of her.
I'd become aware on my own of political justice and injustice and racism at age 13, and became active at 16 out of pure indignation, which naturally ended me up agitating against the Viet Nam war at 19, in Mississippi working to register Black voters during Freedom Summer, and at 23 refusing to go into the Army after getting a draft notice. I was amazed to end up not in prison but approved for a civilian service job.
And so on. With a period of relaxed activism while I had demanding employment and a family at home to support and nurture. But the children grew up.
And I've come to believe that the Democratic Party is the only realistic game in town, so I began working with DA Switzerland in the 2000 election and have been working in DA in one way or another ever since. A few years ago I was invited to join DA's Global IT Team, which takes a lot of my attention now. I'm terrifically happy that I can put my abilities to concrete use toward liberty and justice for all.
I'll mention two other things. First, even though I'd been politically active since my teens, in my 40s when several friends died of AIDS I swore to myself that I would *never* stand idle when those around me were suffering or being persecuted for their being, for their color, for their sex or gender, for their age, for their origin, for their beliefs or for their politics. I couldn't forgive myself if I didn't do what I can.
And finally back to point 1: we're here to elect Democrats. And my eyes are on the prize -- justice, acceptance, and compassion for all.
You can email me at [email protected].