Matriot (ma´ - tri - at) noun 1: One who
loves his or her country. 2: One who loves
and protects the people of his or her country.
3: One who perceives national defense as
health, education, and shelter of all people
in his or her country. (Orig. FPA, 1991)

Text © 1992Frances Payne Adler

Photography © 1992 Kira Carrillo Corser


Helen Vandevere, born 1904

There's not much that's important at my age
except making the world a better place.
What would I do?

I say we damn well better
get out on the streets again.
Everyone has to put their hand to the wheel
and get out and get off their butt
like in the sixties. We had compassion then,
and we've lost it. It breaks my heart.

I've lived through two depressions,
two of them. Everyone at that time
was just sick about the way things were,
just like now, only it's worse now.
I see everything falling apart --
People, starving on the streets.
Children, beaten in their homes.
Sick people without health care.
Imagine this, in a country
that spends so much on the war machine.

I'd spend the money on health instead.
I'd see that children are born healthy
and make sure they stayed that way.
All children no matter what age.
I'd clean the air, the water. I'd take away
all that polluting shit they put on vegetables.
I'd promote the use of sun, sea, and wind
for natural energy. I'd save the forests,
especially the redwoods. I'd ban firearms.
I'd take away every nuclear device man to man.
No more wars, ever. Now we're talking health.

How are we going to pay for all this?
No one ever says we don't have enough
money to go to war. No one ever says
we don't have money for national defense.

This is national defense.       

© 1992 Frances Payne Adler