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The Colonel #52 Three Degrees of Dead

I was surprised in an EKG interpretation class to hear the instructor introduce a portion of the class as the Three Degrees of Dead. I’m going to take a minute to describe these and hopefully follow it with a point about our country.

The first degree of dead is called ventricular fibrillation or VFib which is a fancy way of saying that your heart is just sitting there quivering. Signals telling it how and when to beat are flying all over the place in disorder and the muscle is confused so it just quivers and no longer pumps blood. You're dead.

A second degree of dead is call Pulseless Electrical Activity or PEA. The electrical signals are working, telling the heart to beat, but the muscle is refusing to cooperate. Sort of like sitting perfectly still and humming to yourself. This is more dead than VFib because the heart muscle itself is not pumping despite getting the proper signals. You are dead.

Then, there the flatline we are familiar with as the Big Dead. There are no signals being sent and no muscle activity. Yeah, you're really dead. Without outside intervention (a shock), VFib, the least degree of dead, will become the final degree of dead—flatline.

What does that have to do with our country? Imagine substituting the heart’s electric signal sending function with the function of our elected officials. Then, imagine We the People as the muscle that does the real work of pumping blood. Are we in sync and can we live that way for much longer?

The signals sent by our elected officials are confused and do not reach We the People in an organized manner. Congress no longer legislates, it farms out its responsibility to boards and agencies. The signals are coming from the wrong places, so the muscle is never sure what the message is.

The pacemaker wants to throw out trillions of messages that do not address any real function nor are they designed to convince the muscle to work as it should. So, the muscle is losing the incentive to work, it doesn’t trust the signals being sent.

Now give me a diagnosis for America.


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