DescriptionOne Small Step partners Linda Lewis (62) and Janes Vines (32) discuss their political beliefs, experiences with military PTSD, and media literacy.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Jane Vines
- Linda Lewis
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00:05 Okay. Today's date is Friday, October 1st 2021. My name is Jane Vines and I am 32 my conversation partner. Today is Linda. Lewis G is a storycorps partner.
00:24 My conversation partner at Linda Lewis. She is a 61 year old African American. Women grew up in a small segregated account in south, Georgia. My guide motto in life, is I am blessed to be a blessing to others. I live to help others, reach their potential and life, and to be the very best person. They can be with the knowledge. They have Each one, teach one being deployed to Desert Storm in 1991. Open my eyes to the lies of our government lies, that our government failed to justify attacking other countries. I serve honorably for 20 years.
01:01 Okay. Today's date is Friday. October 1st 2021. My name is Linda Lewis on Vine and one small step partner.
01:23 Jane Vines, I am born and raised in Alabama to live in Birmingham for the last 6 years, but have lived on, either side of the country, in the past. I am in the medical field, master's degree my parents both.
01:44 My damn self issues during my childhood or what inspired me to go into the medicine medicine. I continue to be continued.
01:54 We have different views on life.
02:00 So, why did you want to do this?
02:06 I'm so kind of my reason for lying to this interview, you know, over the last couple years. I've been deeply interested in how to have meaningful conversations with people who are different than yourself. I think it can be really difficult as we have very strong ideas and beliefs and values to be able to find common ground with persons, who may have different ideas or even just have different, you know, ways of looking at things, if I've seen anything in the last couple years, specially in the political climate is that it becomes a very negative and just very angry. Just course, most of the time and I'm not, you know, trying to find ways to disagree but still not become adversarial. I think is becoming a lost art in many ways. And one of my primary focus is I am very impassioned for refugees and migrants and asylum-seekers.
03:06 And I really would like to find better ways to have conversations about that with people who are very anti-immigration. I Refugee and Asylum Seeker, which unfortunately is a lot of people and just finding ways to have good conversations that maybe Nestle, don't change their mind, but at least create a positive discourse and open the door to have more conversations later.
03:34 Okay. Well, I wouldn't have the interview today because I just love meeting people in general, in the military, people from all over the world and the song I agree with you about the climate today is just I'm glad you want to talk to people.
04:02 The opposite. Do I I just I can't do it because I owe a lot of them. Just so negative and just become very hostile and you're very rigid in their views. So on.
04:15 I try. I don't think I've been very successful in doing that. As I said about 7 years and
04:30 Alabama is definitely different if the different breed of people that live here in presidency.
04:47 Open-minded to other people.
04:51 We all in this world together.
04:54 And I think it's very true where somebody is hurting in Africa, then we are also hurting.
05:07 I just wanted to have a conversation and I like it that you are.
05:15 Younger that I enjoy interacting with our young people. I taught high school for 15 years. My point of view as a 62 year old black woman is probably going to be a little bit different than you.
05:35 To your wife.
05:37 Wake me up at.
05:39 I completely agree with a bit different, but I think they're always probably some similarities that we would be probably a little bit surprised about reading in your bio. I know you've noted At Your Service in the military and that's very similar. Both, my parents. My parents are both retired Marine, my mom and my dad and my mom serves in the late 70s, early 80s time. Where was a lot of women in Marina in the Marines, the negativity she first encountered when joining because she was a woman in retrospect. My dad was in for search for 27 years of several tours in Vietnam. Ho Chi. Actually, I feel you back with it. A perspective that I would say is pretty similar to your own, as far as his feelings of us of us being over there.
06:39 And you know, the decisions that were made in the lives that were impacted due to that.
06:46 So I would be interested to hear. I know a little bit more about your experience, especially you no coming back. I know that that was a very difficult time and coming back. I feel more recent Wars. It's not the same as the people came back and they were kind of hell and it's not the same anymore. So it's been very difficult for those veterans who served just as well, but they are not getting it back with some Epsom, you know, mean kind of discourse and kind of negativity when you know, that wasn't the case 56 years ago. So I've experienced a lot of work at the VA. Before you have had some free pretty difficult times, especially coming back and trying to readjust in just a lot of those feelings that continue to reoccur.
07:36 Oh, okay. So you said you worked at the game?
07:41 I worked in the ER, as a, why did a lot of rotations there as a nursing student? And then I worked as a tech in nursing school as well for the VA at 2 years, and I wanted to be in
08:08 It's kind of a
08:11 You know what? I went there. I wanted to help better than I did. Help a lot of best friends whenever.
08:17 But it's just that culture does not facilitate that, you know, this is, you know, federal employees and AHS tonight is just a job to do.
08:34 For me, it wasn't a job.
08:36 Going back to your question about.
08:41 Coming back from the Gulf War. Well,
08:46 I didn't want to go there in the first place. So I went, there pissed off. I was not happy at that time. I had just recently got married and got married in June.
09:00 Will we have been married quite a year when I had to go over there? I went with a reserve unit was 1,000 people. 900 of the
09:15 Unit that went they were reservists and so they drill together. So they knew each other, you know, and so is like a hundred active duty people that came and they pulled us from California and Pennsylvania. And so, we met a couple of people but we didn't have that bond, that that the reserve has had most of them were unhappy being over there either because especially the younger people to get their college paid for and so they was pissed off about, you know, why do we have to come over here?
10:00 The price, you pay, you know, you are reservists and you you know what, you signed the paper you can get called up and so with that.
10:10 I would I would over there. I took it very seriously, even though I was I was stationed inside. We were in Saudi Arabia. However, there was an Air Force Base Town Hall. I'm so I took it very very seriously.
10:38 And I kept my dad's mess with me at all times cuz they would tell the book, you know, you go to the bathroom shower and take the gas man.
10:52 I remember I was in the shower one topless.
10:55 The skirt skirt alert. When I had just got out of the shower and I was drying off the young lady that was in the shower and she has soap in her eyes, and she didn't bring her gas mess with her.
11:07 So, she was, like, turn around trying to figure out how I'm getting, so fat and run back to the tent, and get my gas mask. And so, I was like this. I was like, what? I was kind of funny, but we can actually die over here prior to that, when we
11:36 Invaded Panama.
11:39 That's what I really had my eyes open to.
11:44 How our government?
11:46 Not another and it has nothing to do with protecting you.
11:52 You always have to follow the money.
11:55 If so, I would noreaga. I was like and then I was like, you must always be small countries, Panama.
12:15 Vietnam, you know, places like that when we went to Beirut and we go in as the aggressor, and then we we occupied. And so I just started reading alternative newspapers and listen to Alternative news, other than the mainstream. And it's like, I just opened my eyes to insult when they call me up to go to
12:45 Sorry, I was pissed off because I knew that President Bush was lying. I knew that television he was saying that all they're killing the babies in Kuwait cuz that are rat head.
13:07 With being aggressive against Kuwait with the oil and then you go back in history.
13:14 Kuwait was actually part of Iraq back in the day and then we divided that up, you know, the European, whatever, you know, we divide it up. And so I was like, well, that is his country. And he wanted to order self with a twisted. In all of this came out later on. I read some books about it, you know, his thing to get the American people to go along with it was the same thing that they were killing the babies, which was a lot. And so I that's why I was pissed off. And we over here about this is bogus. It's almost over there for about 4 months.
13:58 And when I came back and I was sharing this with my
14:02 With my significant other we were talking and I was telling him that when I came back from there and things that people
14:13 Just worried about, you know, like a Christmas list. I was like, you know, that really doesn't matter here in a minute. So we just gave me the perspective. That life is really, really very short. And that you could be doing like, that when I was over there, is y'all got 18 and he was killed over there.
14:42 In an accident on the beach. He wasn't even. You know, like in the worst has like 18 at and I was thinking about was like somebody's going to go to his parents house and they're going to do that.
14:57 Brick Kiln form, you know that your son. Thank you for your service and all of that and I was just like what a waste, then he doesn't come back. So it really opened my eyes to a lot of stuff. When I came back. I had a really really bad for you.
15:29 Yeah, when I was real happy about that.
15:34 Why I think that's an incredible perspective. I know when I think about my my father him coming back. A Serbian war time. He had a lot. He had some significant issues. I know he came back a couple marriages and not know how to handle things. And just, you know, that point, you know, Pete, I don't even know if that would have been the. The seventies. I don't even know if PTSD was recognized as a thing back, then it was just kind of bad behavior. Really his what they thought it was and I know that, you know, he felt a lot of issues there. He actually my dad went to military high school. So and he graduated early and lied about his age. So he joined when he was 16 and was sent off and they found out later but it was passed when he was 18, so it didn't really matter at that point, but he he he
16:34 Is your books from when he was at. He was a teenager in military school and he's, and he is probably the only, the only Survivor of his graduating class at this point and most of them, unfortunately, were either killed during wartime in word or as the effects of War. So he was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and suffered throat cancer as a result of that and had to get his voice box and everything. Cut out when I was as a child. So he lives about twenty twenty-two years without he a Hebrew. So hoarse throat as a result. He is very well though He adjusted very well in life, but he's kind of had to deal with the Fallout from that and then several other health issues. Probably likely due to his service.
17:31 But I do find it interesting and he always has so many stories of his times and over there and it's just amazing. I just I don't know if I would have ever had that in me. Like I've never felt like I was getting worried that I just I don't know if I have the utmost respect and I'm very interested kind of you kind of brought up some of the factors that are always given as rationale for when we go into some other country. And basically we occupy it and we do what we want to do there. I think your Highline what happened in 1991 with Bush. Senior makes me think a lot about the current crisis that we are encountering was Junior.
18:31 Like I've I've seen a lot of arguments on both sides of the road of what we could have done better for sir, you know, and I think a lot about it. I think it was a movement of fear. I think, you know when 9/11 happened it was it was terrifying that we had never since Pearl Harbor. We never had anybody attack.
18:51 And even Pearl Harbor was Hawaii, so it didn't wasn't mainly United States. And so, I think everyone was terrified and I have a feeling people tend to act very mature, Ashley out of fear. And then, I think what happened is that fear was used as a justification to, then occupy another country without ever having an end game or what was going to happen. So, then we end up in Afghanistan for 20 years and we invest in infrastructure building. But what occurs to me that bread is never, I don't think we ever spoke to the right people. I think we spoke to political people over there. I think we spoke to wealthy Afghan over there. We did speak to the middle class. We didn't talk to those who were probably living in poverty men. Speak to the refugees to really understand what it is a date again, cuz we already got over there.
19:51 Messed up, messed up, what's going on real life. So then if we're going to build an army, or maybe it wasn't, we shouldn't have done the way that we thought it should have been done. We should have maybe taken more cultural perspective. You know, when you have a government that has never had a democratic election.
20:13 You asked them to dental XM 1, it. It's kind of difficult. It's kind of like asking a 3-year old to drive a car cuz I don't have any to understand. If they've been told what to do their whole life. Like this is how you supposed to be like there's all these people on the ballot you choose like it doesn't compute whatever the reasons I guess the overwhelming sadness. I feel is just mostly for I mean, I think everyone over there suffering the child and I don't think cares about human rights in one way or the other. But I do think they're very evil. They, they will purposely sit places that have women and children because they know that that's a safe place to eat. But just I guess the Guess the going back of women's, right? And you know, when years women have been able to go to school and have businesses and be able to be part of society and now that has been taken away from them within a matter of weeks.
21:11 And it's it is a difficult debate. Cuz I I don't know what we could have done differently. I don't think our justification for going over there with the right one. But once we got over there, you know, you're invested in that decision, but I certainly don't think we'll also our way of leaving was probably a good idea either but I just it just as difficult as I see, both sides of the road on it, but at the end of the day, it's still cause it's causing significant suffering will continue to do so, but I've always felt Afghanistan doesn't really have anything we want. So there's not an incentive to help if they don't have something valuable which unfortunately I've looked as you said you look at a lot of the course of America. We don't tend to go places that don't have things that we want.
21:57 Why would you spend money and resources to do that, which is important like, important? We don't do anything. That's not going to benefit us. I mean, I think about humanitarian and you have to do a lot. But you also has a lot of self-interest in the decisions that they make. So I think your point was I was very, very welcome.
22:21 Well, with the with Afghanistan, but the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, like okay, if you want to attack, where they came from.
22:39 Then do the Saudi Arabians, make your government do that. Because when I look at you understand what that I was still in the military and I was just like,
22:57 Real bad because the British were over there over there.
23:05 They didn't win, they had to leave with their tail. Tucked in the same way. We had to leave and I'm just like, why do we think we're going to go over there and fare any better? And I read the article.
23:19 This lady Afghanistan lady. She has lived through all of the occupation of British occupation. The Russian and I are, and
23:30 You know, you're cured.
23:32 In Afghanistan, you read the rich. Are you poor? They are really have a little class, got money live up in the mountains and, you know, her
23:42 And she was just saying, you know.
23:47 You know, this the fear of trying to find somewhere to hide when when the Americans go by her house by the end of all of this because every, you know, every time bomb their house and killing the kids and that was just the real life thing. And I was when I was reading I was like,
24:19 You know, I'm sitting up here my nice safe apartment, and I just can't imagine the bomb.
24:25 You know what I'm saying? Just coming in in boom. Is. I I just, I just can't imagine that with 911. It was tragic in the back of my mind. I always was saying, you know, where we kind of got what was coming to it.
24:43 Long time coming and we got what we didn't think that.
24:51 Anybody with a the nerve to to attack the United States?
25:03 I believe with this something catastrophic is going to happen.
25:13 Because those people in the Middle East.
25:16 They are very pissed off with you.
25:25 That's one of my form at the death when he was in Iraq, but he was killed over there. I mean, I just found out that the helicopter.
25:44 One of my office.
25:48 He was like my little son. You know, he used to call me Chief mama. So he was he was just a very, very special young man and thousands of young Mia.
26:01 Women like that, they're gone or they come back. One of my other two. Did she had a traumatic brain injury?
26:09 She has been very, very well. I'll see you in the hospital for a long time. She is adapted to it. I was talking to her a couple of months ago and
26:23 I think she ended up getting married. I know she has a son and it's just
26:35 But the PTSD stuff, you can't see that.
26:39 You can see what happens if if it's not control and a lot of those.
26:46 Wrestling army, guys. Are me the marine guys, you know, they're your talk if you tough and so when they come back,
26:55 They have embedded Behavioral Health.
27:01 Social worker and therapist the scientific unit. So when they come back for these apartments, that they have someone that they can talk to.
27:14 I mean it the help is there cuz what you're trying to do is like, okay, you going to get them early so that they don't end up, you know?
27:23 Drinking and fighting being put out the military with a bad conduct discharge, you know, all the benefits gone and the root of all of that is
27:33 What happened to him, you know over there and stand in Iraq, they are addressed it now.
27:40 You going back?
27:42 And review. And anybody that has got a bad conduct discharge me, go back and they are upgrading.
27:55 But I don't know. I just saw.
27:59 I think if I had the knowledge that I have now, I don't think I would ever go.
28:05 But I mean, I didn't know.
28:08 1940 Georgia truck route.
28:18 Most of the stuff that we've got into,
28:24 Did not was not for the benefit of the. Safety of the average American citizens, people military. Thank you for your service. And I just kind of look at them out.
28:45 Okay, you know.
28:48 And no, thank you for keeping me. Thank you for keeping America safe. I don't even know how to respond to that.
28:57 Looks like she wrote in the chat box. And so this is great question. What sources gave you the kind of the knowledge that you have now, and how did you kind of learn to decipher propaganda in the media? I know from my standpoint.
29:17 I always kind of try to see what the source is coming from. You know, I feel just as come up a lot lately, especially with covid-19 and like, you know care is like you get from Bart it with so much information and some of his true, some of it's not true. So, how do you figure out what is real? And what's not real? So I just really try to look at the store. So if it's coming from anti-vax, it's probably has not.
29:50 And that has been something for me as a healthcare worker has really caused me a lot of difficulty. And I try not to get angry. I just cuz I have seen a profound amount of suffering. I seen a lot of really awful things happen to people that they should have happened to you, and it's not understanding why and trying to, you know, I understand, you know, trying to see people's viewpoints about it. They're different than mine. But just, you know, when you see people dying, it is really hard and socially people that are not fault. So, children teenagers older adults really have, I worked a lot with transplant patients in my career and unfortunately, it doesn't matter what you do transplants were just going to be very highly susceptible to everything no matter what we do. And I lost quite a few.
30:50 Under a nest of different reasons. It's just been really hard just to kind of see some of that anger from certain people in the rhetoric and then, you know, trying to have conversations and ask them where they're getting their information from and they're like little Google told me all over the Internet. What does, what is the internet? So I think that also very much goes, what you're talking about is how do you decipher? How do you figure out what's real and what's not real, especially a lot of times today, like even news is not really depending on what you're watching. It may not be
31:35 Unbiased in any way, shape, or form. So how do you, how do you figure out who to listen to?
31:46 I still do read. You ever heard of Mother Jones magazine.
31:52 Yeah, well, I
31:57 More liberal magazine. And so, I had to scription to magazine that were a long day.
32:08 Especially with Mother Jones.
32:11 They really talk to the people involved. You don't like your average Afghanistan person that lives up in there. So they can you get a perspective on? You can get away from all the chatter, you know, and it's like how is this thing affecting people, you know, everyday life.
32:34 I worked in medical when I was in the in the Navy. I was a preventive medicine technician. So I was watching the Kobe thing. I pray for it, but I got some family that are nurses and doctors and nurse practitioners and I just always pray for them cuz I'm just like
32:55 You know.
32:57 When you said about the children and stuff, but they still are putting you guys at risk.
33:02 You know I'm saying? This is not it's just not fair.
33:06 I talked to several people about the vaccine thing and they're like, well, you know people that got back to recognize a sick. Maybe you won't die from it. You just have a mild case. You did a photoshoot for me.
33:32 Is it rescheduled because her husband has, I know you do my husband and I with you.
33:56 Not like you doing a photoshoot. I'm going to be in the studio with you.
34:02 You doing a disservice to your clients? Not that that's mine.
34:12 I was like, what and I told her that I said, well, you know.
34:17 After I understand that I can put, you know, I said this is how you make your clients in the studio.
34:26 Enclosed environment. If you are going to be, you know, on the plane to Justin their clothes and didn't close up on so you can't maintain at 6.
34:36 Distance. And I said,
34:44 The kind of rub the wrong way, but I was still out to tell the truth. You don't want it to get out that you had told me. You gave it to, you know, one of your clients, that ain't going to look good on Facebook.
35:08 No, I think that's it. That's a great person. That's a great kind of way to have that conversation. I have tried to have it from a very similar way from a public health perspective because unfortunately, I think a lot of reasons cited or are you know, libertarianism where he no personal ride, but I am not against. However, unfortunately in this type of situation that what you do as you point out, also affects other people. So you go to the grocery store and you're not, you know, or you're here touching somebody, when it comes to health issue. What you do is not just your decision. It's affects everybody which is a conversation. We do try to have a lot with patient and it's kind of goes either way and I think a lot of people, you know, but I will take a look. I work at now.
36:03 95% of people hospitalized in the ICU are were unvaccinated. There's only about 5% who end up in the hospital were vaccinated and they're not in the ICU there. Maybe on the floor. They need a little extra help but they're they're not the ones. They're not all the ones you have ended up in the ICU being vaccinated with people who had serious underlying medical conditions. So I try to explain that like if you know, especially lately it's been the 30 and four-year-old. Actually that have been. I'm not and it's not been the older adult. Actually for the most young people that you wouldn't have necessarily expected anything from 2:42. I believe they are the least vaccinated group in, Alabama.
36:55 Who has people? Just I think they just think that it, but you're young. It's not going to hurt. You is not going to talk to you and I can test it. William Forsythe. I was vaccinated. Well, can a weird thing. I got it and was back there. Like, I got it and didn't know it and got the vaccine. Like, before I figured out I had it. The whole sequence of events and it was awful and I still have chronic headaches now because of it, but I never had headaches before and that's one of the things they have headaches and fatigue as long-lasting.
37:35 And said, that's why I was like, I'm lucky cuz like, I don't have any respiratory issues, but you know, it's just very difficult and that's another reason he spoke to her. I think everybody has their own motivation. And so, if it's your livelihood that that makes sense to sometimes, I think that's really intuitive to find a way. How do you speak to what's going to matter to someone? Or some people what you think is going to matter? Is not well at all. And so I was kind of in a booster if if it's time. I'm getting mine in a couple in a couple weeks. So fun time.
38:20 It's been a real pleasure talking to you and I will keep you in prayers. And if I do I'll help you find the beautified out there. I'll try to do my part to convince people that I encounter. That's part of my helping somebody live the best life that they can live fights. Do everything. You can to live the best life. We eat. Good, you know exercise gives and all that kind of stuff. So
38:54 I really appreciate what you guys at.
38:58 Well, thank you. And I really I really appreciate a lot of perspectives that you talk to me today and kind of I just think it's you just so much valuable to learn from Sunday. He's had a different life than you and we really appreciate you. Like I am so happy to see people who are not in healthcare field. You are, you know, that want that are also passionate and want people to be healthy and do well, and it's a kind of feels like you're not fighting the battle by yourself all the time. So, no wheat wheat? I mean, I appreciate me and you talk about your background as a teacher admire you, cuz I know how I was in high school and I can understand your pain. Must be the calling.
39:45 I could not, I could not keep still. I have difficulty with children just cuz I'm like, why aren't you don't understand rational things? You're too. You should understand. The concepts are just like
40:02 Diabetic perfectly popping back on.