Posts Tagged ‘politics’
We all have issues. Some have more than others.
When we talk about our “issues” we usually mean the residue of past experiences, that cause us to feel as we do, or be who we are. In a relationship, a woman with too many issues can be a problem, but in politics, a woman with too few is a danger.
I have been disappointed during the current election cycle by the definition of women’s issues. With the exception of a couple of meaningless nods to equal pay, most of the focus makes it seem as if women are little more than the sum total of their reproductive parts.
Eva Longoria is co-chair for President Obama’s reelection campaign. Longoria, who previously starred on Desperate Housewives, should be familiar with the issues affecting women, because the story line of the popular show often centered on issues affecting women, like marriage, family, divorce, unemployment, dealing with an aging parent..et cetera. So when Ms. Longoria recently got tripped up after trying (lamely) to back off from her misguided re-tweet, I began wondering which issues made her want to take on such an important role in this Read the rest of this entry »
Katy Perry says we need to get the money out of politics, in a recent Rolling Stone interview, she was quoted as saying, “it feels like the thing running our country is a bank, money…and the fact that America does n‘t have free healthcare drives me f**king absolutely crazy, and is so wrong“.
Poor Katy, like many Americans she does n‘t understand how money fuels politics, or that there is NO such thing as FREE healthcare.
It is the politics of money, not health, that impelled our government to pass The Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA). The ACA has been represented as a measure to provide affordable, accessible healthcare to every American, but it isn’t free. It isn’t free for the government, which means it won’t be free to the taxpayers. Sadly, it isn’t even without costs to the poor.
The one part of ACA most Americans are most aware of is the “individual mandate”, which requires every American to purchase healthcare, or pay a fine. Simply stated, the ACA will guarantee everyone in America access to healthcare, by requiring us to buy it. If you are required to buy it, it isn’t free. Summing up the individual mandate–Americans are cordially invited to a “Free Lunch”, for which they will pick up the tab.
Of course, there are waivers for the poor, which will grant them access to the same kind of healthcare they had under Medicaid–underfunded, limited access, and minimal care. There are also waivers for many rich, like labor union leaders. Since those with lower incomes will largely be exempted from the individual mandate, many see this plan as a necessary way to get the rich to pay their fair share, but unfortunately, it is middle-class working folk who will be most adversely affected.
In grand irony, employers, who have offered health benefits, willingly and without government coercion, will now have an incentive not to. Employers with 25 or more employees, will be required to pay for employee health plans, or pay a fine. Unfortunately, because the fines are much less, than the cost to pay for employee plans, there is a built-in incentive to give the money previously used to fund benefits for employees, to the government. As the cost to insure employees rises, jobs will be lost, because of increasing costs to employers.
Under our current system, a single individual can be insured for under $5000, but a family’s costs can easily exceed $10,000, but don’t pencil that into your budget just yet. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), independent economists, and private research firms have already projected how this plan will increase those costs. The consensus among number-crunchers, is the ACA will cost families more–especially, as the cost to insure their families rises. This will be a startling eye-opener to those who have don’t have any idea what their employee-provided plans cost.
The individual mandate is unique, because it is the first time in the history of this country,our government has required us to buy something. The closest thing in our country to the individual mandate, is the state requirement for drivers to have auto insurance. Taking responsibility for driving is something most would agree is necessary, likewise, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask citizens to take some responsibility for their health or healthcare–but there are a couple of differences. First, with auto insurance, the free market allows insurers to compete for our business–more importantly, we are given choices as to what kind of coverage we can afford. Secondly, though driving is optional, wellness shouldn’t be.
Maybe that freedom isn’t important to you, but if the government controls what you will buy, you can be reasonably sure “affordability” will be short-lived. In fact, government regulations are a primary reason our existing health insurance has become so expensive. Not only, does the government regulate what must be covered, but also which kinds of plans employers must offer.
Nevertheless, let us assume the number-crunchers are wrong, and the the majority of Americans merge seamlessly into our new healthcare system. This plan puts 1/6th of our economy under federal control, and though the bill makes no provisions to add more doctors, it does provide for new governing agencies and 16,500 IRS jobs to police the not-a-tax mandate. Though President Obama insisted the individual mandate wasn’t a tax, The Supreme Court has ruled it is, and the government will enforce it as such. If you love the IRS, this plan is for you!
The United States government has yet to operate anything without waste and inefficiency, but this could be a first. Certainly their effort to operate “mean and lean” is evidenced by the provision which will cap doctor’s salaries. This provision to insure doctors can’t get rich, will also provide a disincentive to those who would become doctors. Economists are already predicting a “brain-drain” as the incentive to study medicine is diminished.
The idea of capping doctors salaries, appeals to those who misguidedly believe doctors make too much, but what is greatly misunderstood, is how fees charged by doctors are more the result of government meddling, than doctor greed. Not only that, but when free-market forces determine salaries, money is a great motivator to be the best there is. Money is the reason this country has enjoyed better medical technology and pharmaceuticals, than any other country in the world. Government-set salaries will do little to motivate care-givers to do more than is required.
We don’t think of hospitals as businesses, or doctors as entrepreneurs, but they operate under the same rules of profit and loss as any other business–except for one small thing. Most of our medical charges are not paid by us, they are paid by a third-party, the insurer. They are expected to provide the same services to those who cannot pay, as to those who can. One can imagine what would happen if Prada or Louis Vuitton were made to sell everything they make according to what customers could pay–there would be no incentive for them to make the kinds of things, for which, customers willingly pay more. It is the free market which allows Nordstrom and Target to both sell jeans, but give you the freedom to decide which you will purchase. Absent from our current third-payer system and the ACA are free market forces.
The third-party payer takes away consumer power, by artificially removing market forces, and causes healthcare to operate under regulations unlike those governing anything else we buy. Consumers have little power in the healthcare market, because we are customers of our insurers, not our doctors. With employers picking up the tab for our insurance, we have little control over what we get for the money, and little freedom to shop for what plans best match to our needs. The current third-party-payer system has made it necessary, for doctors and hospitals to inflate their charges to cover losses caused by the uninsured and those patients whose government-subsidized healthcare doesn’t cover their costs.
The third-party system isn’t the best, but the single payer system compounds the problems. Not only we will we now share the cost of insuring everyone else, but we will be forced to absorb the cost of providing everyone the SAME benefits. Our costs will no longer be based on our own lifestyle choices, or the pool (community rating) of those we work with, but will now be expanded to include those whose lifestyle choices put the greatest burden on our healthcare system.
The net effect, is that insurers will not be able to afford to do business as they have in the past. Individuals and families will find the cost of insurance skyrocketing, in response to the changes. Ordinary families, who are no longer insured through their employer, may not even be able to afford to comply with the individual mandate, but will still incur fines.
The individual mandate isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. The lack of accessibility and the diminished affordability of this plan, will not be fully realized until we are well-into the next presidency. By then, people will begin to see whether the ACA is a pancea, or a bitter pill to swallow.
Deb’s Note: This is the third post devoted to explaining the Affordable Care Act–aka ObamaCare. I have chosen to write about this subject because I believe women need to know how it will affect their families and/or loved ones. The subject is extensive, but I hope to wrap it up in a few(?) more posts.
There are women who are afraid of strangers.
There are women who are afraid to be home alone at night.
There are women who are afraid of big cities.
There are women who are afraid of walking to their cars in parking garages.
There are women who are afraid of guns.
I am not one of those women.
I have lived in some neighborhoods that won’t ever be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, but I have never felt I needed a gun. Beloved Soul Mate has wanted me to have a gun to protect myself, but I’ve never wanted one. I suppose I’d secretly hoped that if I were ever in that much danger, there would be a man nearby to protect me.
Despite this, I bought a gun.
The were two main factors in my decision. The first was owning a cuter-than-cute holster, made of oiled leather. Lord knows, I’ve always been a sucker for good leather and it just seemed a shame to let this potential fashion accessory languish in the closet, when I could be wearing it, but having a holster and no gun, is like having a fabulous C-cup push-up and nothing to put in it.
The second factor was good-ole girl spirit. Most people don’t respond favorably to the word “no”, but that word affects me in the same way a spur affects a horse. It makes me highly motivated. Whenever people tell me I can’t do something, my smile says, “Watch me.” So recently, with so much political energy being spent on stripping away the rights of gun owners, I knew the time had come for me to own a gun.
For the last couple years, I have been splitting my time between my two “hometowns”. One is the city in Southern California I now call home, the other is a town in rural Arizona, I used to call home. They are 400 miles and worlds apart from each other. In one, if you show up at the 7-11 with a gun at your side, the clerk will trip the alarm. In the other, guns are welcome, except in places like saloons and City Hall, where arguments sometimes get heated. In one town, guns are respected, in the other they are feared, but like the saying goes, “An armed society is a polite society.“ Perhaps, this is why there is less gun crime in my Arizona hometown, than in my California hometown.
It takes more courage to own a gun, than to use one. For me, being a gun owner is scarier than being unarmed, because at the moment of the purchase, my name was added to a list of persons who can be legally detained without charges, as per the terms of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This bill makes owning a gun a good enough reason for the government to take me away and hold me indefinitely, without charges, like Jews in the time of Hitler. With the adoption of the NDAA, owning a gun in America, has never been more dangerous.
I am hoping never to need this gun, but I needed this gun. Buying it was a symbolic vote for American freedom and liberty. When I made the purchase, I knew the gun was more likely to cause me harm, than guarantee my safety, because I am exactly the kind of person our government seeks to disarm. Like any other American with a sound bill of mental health, I hate fighting and killing, but like our founding fathers, I believe in the right of Americans to defend themselves and their property.
Unfortunately, the rhetoric of peace (which is also the rhetoric of disarmament) is misleading. The problem is those who would arm themselves to preserve lives, are always disarmed before those who would arm themselves to take lives. What the anti-gun crowd touts as the way to end violent crimes and killing, inevitably results in the opposite.
A recent news bit reported that China disapproves of American gun rights, calling them a violation of human rights. The same China that disarmed its citizens, then massacred 73 million of them, is telling us guns in the hands of citizens are bad???? It’s ironic, but across the globe, every maniacal dictator and horrific massacre of citizens was preceded by an attempt to seize guns from the innocents, who would later become victims.
Guns in the wrong hands ARE bad, but guns have also done the world a world of good. Lots of guns were needed to end slavery in America. After that war, lawmakers enacted provisions to give the newly emancipated slaves the same right to own guns as every other American citizen, so that they’d have a way to protect themselves against sore losers and such, but you can be sure, many would have preferred to keep the “Freedmen” defenseless.
Fast forward to the era of Fast & Furious…it isn’t clear why the same government that gives guns to bad people, wants to take them from good people, but in an another affront to our constitution and civil liberties, our leaders plan to sign The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Listen to the rhetoric and you’ll be convinced this international treaty is for the good of all mankind, but before you surrender your arms, you should know what’s at stake.
The first problem with the treaty is that it was created by one of the most anti-American groups on American soil. Largely funded by The United States, The United Nations was created to promote peace and human rights. Their mission was to assist in humanitarian efforts and to promote economic development across the nations. Sadly, the agency has a dismal record in every one of those areas, and has done little, if anything, to make the world a better place. They have turned a blind eyes to countless genocides, cooperated with oppressive governments, misappropriated humanitarian aid, and propagated corruption of all sorts, including the sex trafficking of women & children. There are some things the U.N. does well, chiefly, they promote contempt for America, make money disappear and seem to be pretty good at covering the shameful tracks of their misdeeds.
Spokespersons for the treaty tell us the intent of this treaty is to prevent small arms from ending up in the hands of rebels, criminals, drug traffickers and other bad guys. That’s good, right? Less guns means less killing, but gun control isn‘t about controlling guns, it‘s about controlling people. The Arms Trade Treaty is a back-door way of rendering America’s Second Amendment null and void. It is a way of lessening American sovereignty and chipping away at our constitutional freedom.
This bait and switch tactic has been used by the U.N. in the past, to get nations to sign on to treaties which were promoted as necessary for human rights, but later reinterpreted with other intents. Previously, the U.N. convinced nations to adopt The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and The Convention on The Rights of the Child. Though both sound noble, they have been used to degrade the freedoms already held by those who we were told they would protect. Both have been used to create a transfer of parental authority to the governments, so that women could work while the government took control of their children.
It is widely believed there is no threat of us being held to this treaty unless the Senate approves it, but under the terms of The Vienna Convention, the treaty is enforceable as soon as it’s signed. We are bound to its terms as set forth (and/or reinterpreted) by The United Nations, until such a time as the Senate chooses to overturn it, but we won’t likely ever see that happen, because those who want to sign it want to nullify the second amendment.
Guns and peace are mutually exclusive in the double-speak of the U.N., because the U.N. is not committed to peace. U.N. peacekeepers don’t keep peace or protect anyone. In fact, under the watch of U.N. peacekeepers women and children have been routinely victimized. Where I come from, we don’t need peacekeepers, because we have something call a peacemaker. It’s a Colt .45, and I can tell you it’s a hell of a lot more effective at keeping women & children safe than than U.N. peacekeepers.
There are women who believe the government will protect them.
There are women who believe all guns are bad.
There are women who believe we would all be safer without guns.
I am not one of those women.
Heard the one about the guy who died during a threesome?
The punch line isn’t funny, unless you enjoy a sucker punch to the great American gut. The wife of the late William Martinez, was not involved in the frolic that lead to her husband’s demise, but while he was out (presumably) enjoying novelty sex, she was on the verge of becoming a multi-millionaire. Sour grapes, or survival of the fittest, Mrs. Martinez, sued the husband’s cardiologist for failing to warn Mr. Martinez to avoid strenuous activity.
The cardiologist who had seen Martinez, ordered a stress-test, but poor Willie died before test day. Even though he was smart enough to seek medical attention for his recurrent chest pains, we are to believe the bum with the bum heart wasn’t smart enough to know he was at risk. The jury awarded a judgment worth three million dollars. Time will tell whether Mrs. Martinez, will ever collect more than ninety-eight cents, after lawyers fees, appeals and all, but even so, while this guy was out having sex with people he wasn’t married too, she won a jackpot prize from the the stupidity lottery.
America, what a country!
Built with rugged individualism, Yankee ingenuity, hard work, vision and resilience, yet, it would seem the land of the free and the brave, is becoming the home of the weak and whiny. Thank God for government programs, because The American Spirit is on disability, and the American Dream is on life support. ( Though I would venture, single payer healthcare will eventually pull the plug on The American Dream, when its costs outweigh its usefulness.)
Younger Americans may believe that “rugged individualism” is Johnny Depp’s quirkiness, or Steven Tyler’s distinctive flair, but there was a time when “rugged individualism” was understood as the ability of individuals to succeed with minimal assistance from the government. Now, Americans believe it is government‘s job to eliminate hardship and risk from our lives. Even the idea of individualism has become peculiarly murky in our society.
There are still those who seek to be unique in a sea of clones, but not even those with tattoos, piercings, and lollipop hair colors stand out, when what was once edgy becomes passé. In a brand-conscious consumerist society, instead of going against the flow, we mimic others. We follow trends, as if being on the front of a trend makes us a courageous leader, instead of a follower. To set ourselves apart, we buy the latest and best homes, autos, electronics and clothes. Sadly, this has made us a people who are defined more by what we display, than what we believe. The number of foreclosures and bankruptcies, indicate it is more than our bank accounts which are empty.
We blame corporations for the high cost of living, and government for high unemployment. Hardly a day passes, we don‘t hear of the crisis in American education. We continue to spend more, but get less. Experts tell us that without the latest computer technologies, our children won’t be able to compete in the modern world. By this logic, our kids should already be smarter than Stephen Hawking, because almost every kid has a cell phone with computing power greater than those of the computers used to guide the Apollo missions. A world of information, countless apps, and lighting fast computer power at their fingertips, yet the only thing we have to show for it, is the development of a more efficient truncated English, mastery of angry bird warfare and countless instagram photos.
It would seem that the artificial intelligence that powers computers has replaced common sense, and “smart” phones have replaced Yankee Ingenuity (the once necessary resourcefulness of early Americans, who had to improvise to solve problems with limited resources). As primitive as their lives were, they now seem light-years ahead of us. Our modern “educated” America, has become so dumb and/or greedy, as to require even the most common items to be labeled as if they were new and dangerous inventions. The wrapper on my fast-food “Hot Apple Pie” and the accompanying coffee cup both warn “contents may be hot”, which is sort of what I’d expected. Used to be we didn’t need instructions on bars of soap, NOR warnings not to eat them. We were smart enough we didn’t need boldface type to tell us not to use a toaster in the bathtub, and even bad parents were smart enough not to be confused as to whether or not a plastic bag was a toy.
Of course, should you knowingly or unknowingly be stupid, there is a remedy. You won’t even need to be smart enough to read a phone book to get in touch with a lawyer who is willing to come to your aid. Just lay on your couch watching TV, and eventually, some helpful personal injury attorney’s number will be imprinted in your brain. Dial the number and he or she will assure you, stupidity can be treated with a big green Band-Aid–AKA MONEY.
So much for hard work, because lucrative lawsuits are now viewed by many as an alternative to working. Our courtrooms are clogged with greedy, groundless lawsuits and opportunistic lawyers with questionable ethics. The courts, once established to uphold justice, are used by many (often the least deserving) to make money. The first Americans, who came here because they didn’t want to be victims, have been replaced by Americans who do.
The hands-down award-winning poster child for the emerging victim class is Stanley Thornton Jr., who collects Social Security disability benefits for a condition known as paraphilic infantilism. For those who have yet to figure out how to make a million in a courtroom, this term translates to “grown-up who lives his life as a baby”– complete with diapers and a nanny. His condition has a name, but it is also fairly representative a large segment of society which simply refuses to grow-up.
We are all victims. As Peter McWilliams said, the definition of a victim is “a person to whom life happens.”
At some point we’re supposed to get up and get on with our lives. We may be victims at times, but if we choose not to move forward, then we become volunteers.
So much for American resilience, because we have been groomed to expect the government to lick our wounds, apologize when we’re offended, meet our needs and solve our problems.
There was a time when those who were forced to rely on government assistance were embarrassed, at not being able to provide for themselves. Now, many are angry that the government doesn’t have more to give. Gone are the poor houses, soup kitchens and relief societies–because the government has made poverty a business, in which nobody profits. The shame once associated with poverty, has been replaced by a sense of entitlement.
The incentive to work hard has been diminished for those at the bottom and the top. The poor no longer need to work, because the government will send checks to them for staying home. The middle and upper classes, are punished for working, because the government takes more and more from them. Those who could take care of themselves, wonder why they would. Those who do take care of themselves, wonder why they should.
Our country was a Super-Power, leading the world in economics, business and innovation. Even those who didn’t go to college were smart enough to make something of their lives, Sadly, now children of middle & upper middle class families, are occupying Wall Street, campaigning against everything that feels unfair. Once, we the people aspired to success, now our people have contempt for it. So much for progress, the only thing we’ve produced is a nation of whiners, takers and ninnies.
Only half a century ago, a Democratic president with a vision, admonished us “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” That country and its vision changed. Perhaps it is time to shorten the inscription on The Statue of Liberty from “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free” to simply “Give me.”
You have probably heard dogs see in black and white. The world is full-color, but curiously, dogs don’t see it that way. Canines don‘t actually see in black and white, but the colors they see are limited–mostly shades of greys tinged with blues and yellows. I don’t know how or why scientists figured this out, but now, perhaps they should turn their attention to why people, who see in color, tend to think in black and white. The brain is a scientific wonder, in its complexity, and the eye is no less magnificent. In fact, oftentimes our vision is more nimble than our thinking.
Despite the ability of the brain to process information, most of us overlook the shades of grey, in how we see things. Life’s big issues are often reduced to black or white. Oh, if only life were as simple….
As long as I can remember, people have been fighting over the issue of abortion–innocent lives snuffed out before they begin. Killing babies has to be wrong. Right? How can there be another side? I felt that way, until I met Sonia. At the age of 14, she was pregnant–with her second child. Sonia lived for the weekends, when she would see Suge, a 27-year old man, AKA the baby daddy. Watching a very unsettled young girl raising(?) a baby on her own, made me wonder if abortion might not have been a kinder option for the baby boy whose future was wagered against, long-shot odds. That is not to say I am pro-abortion, but it helped me see grim shades of grey.
Every controversial question, has more than one answer. Religious people have absolute truths which define their views, but even among the world’s great religions, “absolute truth” varies. For everyone who believes faith in God is foolish, there are others who are amazed that anyone is foolish enough not to believe in God. As a person with religious beliefs, it would be easy, to assume the world would be perfect, if only everyone shared my beliefs, but my truth is meaningless to those who don’t believe it.
Whether it be social issues, religion, morality, or politics, when we see the world in black and white, our vision is limited. As anyone who has had cataracts will attest, the loss of vision happens so gradually, most don’t even realize how little they see. We often suffer from the same kind of blindness, because we don’t acknowledge what we can’t see, and can’t always remember exactly how, or why we see the world as we do.
American politics provide a great example. Most issues are defined in black and white–either left or right. Instead of seeing those on “the left” and “the right” as individuals who don’t all think alike, we are manipulated into seeing the other side as wrong. This limited vision, causes us to believe our side is populated by good kind souls, people like Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela, great philosophers, intellects and all the other beautiful people.
The other side is populated by the thinking-impaired, lesser-evolved, malevolent people–including a few of our closest friends, some disagreeable family members, and all the mullet-wearers of the world. There doesn’t seem to be anyone in the middle–except for a handful of your friends who are decent enough people, despite being tragically misguided. From this vantage point, it appears the world is full of evil, knuckle-dragging Cro-Magnons.
We are quick to label anyone with different opinions. I recently explained my view of probable outcomes for the next presidential election, and was angrily called a “Lib-tard”. What I said was based on observations of media usage by both candidates, not any political views, yet I was immediately given a negative label, by someone who didn’t agree with what I was saying.
If you say you’re a Democrat there is an assumption that you’re a Prius-driving, Whole-Foods shopping, NPR Socialist. Tell your friends you’re a Libertarian, and they will assume you grow your own pot, which you water in the nude. If you should affiliate with the G.O.P., friends will assume all you’ve surrendered your brain to Fox News, attend Klan meetings or worship at The Altar of Limbaugh.
Beloved Soul Mate and I are both registered voters. We have identical views on many issues, yet are registered with different political parties. We don’t see eye to eye on every issue–neither with each other nor with our chosen parties. Those who know us well, might be surprised to learn which is registered with which party, because society pigeon-holes political leanings–as if there is no room for variation.
The most biased labeler of all, is the media. Both sides use their own vernacular–vocabulary purposefully intended reduce our perceptions to black & white. Just as the terms “chink” “slope” or “gook” were once used in wartime to dehumanize opponents, labels create an impersonal impression 0f real people. We see those who don’t think like us, as being nothing like us. Both sides say they want to reach a consensus, but how can we every come together, if we see those (with whom we probably have much in common) as too ignorant to have a valid opinion.
The world is not black and white. Even Rover sees shades of grey.
Men and women are not the same. One needn’t look further than the way we speak for evidence. When a woman communicates, she is conveying feelings she wants understood. Women rarely communicate as succinctly or as plainly as men, but to a women every unnecessary word is necessary. Because of this, you can be reasonably sure if a women hurls an insult your way, she means it–at least in that moment. Of course, women are apt to change their moods & minds, at which point, most will regret having said unkind things. It’s a girl thing…we don’t like to be perceived as mean, so we do our best not to insult people–unless they really deserve it.
Men don’t measure their words as carefully as women, and are therefore more apt to say things they don’t mean. (This is especially true of men dealing with difficult women.) Men think nothing of exchanging insults. Male jesting is a sport–a kind of jousting to determine who is most manly. Men can swear at each other, call each other vile names, impugn each others’ masculinity, then laugh it off over beers.
This is not true of women. A woman who has been insulted, will likely spend the next week stewing. She may feel compelled to share her tale of woe with anyone who will listen. Not every woman is as sensitive, but if a woman is hurt by a careless remark, it has the potential to ruin the relationship.
I didn’t fully understand this, until after I became a parent. Watching the way girls and boys play with each other, I’ve learned how differently males & females use words. In a game, if a girl misses her friends are there to encourage her, but a boy misses and his friends will have a hearty laugh at his expense. They will call him any number of names–a disproportionate number of which, will suggest he is a lesser male or even a homosexual. Contrast that with women, by trying to remember the last time you heard women call each other “butch” or “dyke”.
This inherent tendency of men to want to remind other men, of their position in the pecking order, which has given us the currently running Ad Council campaign admonishing people too stop using the term “gay” as a derogatory term.
Thanks to this public service announcement, we now know trash-talking is fine, as long as we use the right words. Clearly, it is okay to take cheap shots, as long as we don’t use any term, which could be offensive to those not being addressed. The message is clear, political correctness is more important than civility or good sportsmanship. As an avid NBA fan, let me be the first to thank pro-athletes for schooling the rest of us in proper decorum.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the message, but the label” gay” is one chosen by gays for gays to replace other more derogatory terms. The n-word is far more offensive, because it has never had positive connotations. Which makes one wonder why it has been popularized by those, it was most intended to insult. Then there’s the word “retarded, the popular use of “retarded” as an insult, is certainly as offensive as carelessly using the g-word or the n-word. Can we expect the Ad Council to develop a campaign to stop people from using the word which is clearly insensitive to the developmentally delayed?
Whether it’s the a-word, the b-word, the c-word, the d-word,or any other, what offends us, is largely a result of who we are and where we’ve been. With the exception of the frequent and thoughtless use of the n-word, which I always find offensive, I pay more attention to what people are saying, than the words they use. English has an abundance of offensive words, but polite words can be just as insulting.
For instance, there’s this guy I always see on TV. There are plenty of people who suggest that he’s gay or bi- or something. I don’t buy into those rumors, but he strikes me as the quintessentially ineffectual male. He used to be against gay marriage, but recently, he changed his mind. Now he supports gay marriage. Whether you support or oppose gay marriage, it is likely you feel strongly about it, but I get the impression this guy doesn‘t care one way or the other. In other words, I think he’s being spineless. (If I say spineless, does that insult others who don’t hold the courage of their convictions? Is it insensitive to mollusks and other invertebrates?)
This guy has been in The White House for almost a full term and NOW he‘s coming out with this new stance? A while back he had support of both houses of congress, and NOW he‘s for gay marriage? It seems clear he has no intention of promoting gay marriage, in fact, he’s clearly stated this is for the states to decide–which is especially ironic coming from a man who has shown he doesn’t particularly respect the sovereignty of the states.
Whether or not he’s saying what you wanted to hear is inconsequential. He has waited until he won’t be can’t be held accountable. If he’s reelected, his rhetoric is likely to be as meaningless as any other politician’s campaign promises. It’s lame duck politics. (If I say lame, does that insult the crippled?)
Talk is cheap. His words are meaningless, because they don’t reflect his intent.
Nothing has changed. Those who oppose gay marriage can breathe a big sigh of relief and those who support gay marriage should breathe a big sigh of contempt.
No matter how you feel about the issue, you should be insulted, because this is little more than a poorly veiled attempt to win votes. It is insulting, because it makes no difference whether those votes come from gays, lesbians, blacks, Hispanics, women, the poor, or any other disenfranchised group. He doesn’t care about these groups, he only cares how they vote.
(If I call him a pansy, does that insult flowers?)
Contrary to popular belief, prostitution is not the world’s oldest profession. That distinction belongs to motherhood. Yet there are still those who do not consider it an occupation of any import. With the media’s predictable tendency to inflate any bit of brow-raising news or any careless sound bite into a soap opera-like saga, could there be anything more boring or tedious than having to revisit this subject again?
Without motherhood, there would be no scientists, no philosophers, no great thinkers and no courageous leaders, needless to say, neither would there be any prostitutes, criminals or politicians.
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between criminals, prostitutes and politicians, because the self-interest of politicians, is apt to turn them into prostitutes or criminals, willing to do any shameful thing for a price. Washington is full of these types, most of whom make their living as congressmen, lobbyists or political pundits–like Hilary Rosen.
Her thoughtless remark, suggesting Mitt Romney’s wife’s choice to be a full-time mother, disqualified her from being able to speak intelligently on anything outside the home, is typical of those who believe women who have committed themselves to raising some fragment of the next generation of Americans, are inferior thinkers. But as is often the case, her would-be insult, was more indicative of her character, than it was of the one about whom the remark was made.
She seems to think those who choose full-time motherhood, do so, because they aren’t qualified to do anything else–demonstrating her prejudice and contempt for women, different than she. Clearly this woman believes she is smarter than stay-at-home moms like Ann Romney–but she is, at the very least, ignorant of the reasons reasons women choose home, over career.
When parents make the decision for the mother to stay home, it often means choosing between the security of a second income and what they believe is best for their family. Whether an emotional or philosophical commitment, it is a reflection of the parents’ values and/or moral convictions. This is particularly true of members of the LDS church, because the basic tenets of the Mormon faith, emphasize the importance of the family. That‘s neither an endorsement of Mormonism, nor an indictment of other faiths, it‘s just a fact. (Any political pundit, worth her perks, would have boned up on Mormonism, enough to know this.)
Looking down her nose at the women whose most important lunch dates involve peanut butter sandwiches, or whose late-night strategy sessions require knowledge of Popsicle stick construction and solving for” X”, Rosen is evidence that no matter how high up the ladder a woman climbs, some are still unable to rise above cattiness or hypocrisy. According to a bit of gossip found on Open Salon, Rosen and her former domestic partner Elizabeth Birch, regretted adopting children, after realizing how much work kids are.
Whether the remark made by Dan Quayle regarding the unwed mother represented by “Murphy Brown” or Hillary Clinton’s demeaning tone, when she referred to “a little woman” standing by her man, the tendency to drag women into political campaigns is wearisome and transparent.
The title of “housewife” may not sound important, but in addition to the mundane duties as housekeeper, cook, teacher, and chauffeur, on any given day, a stay-at-home parent, may be required to also act as Assistant to the Chief Executive, Manager, Economist, Counselor, Specialist in Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Medic, Logistics Manager, Procurement Specialist or any other number of roles. In a perfect world, every little girl would grow up to live the life she‘d dreamed of having, whether or not it included a husband and children. Unfortunately, we don’t always have control of the way our lives play out. Sometimes we make choices, sometimes choices are made for us. Nevertheless, as daughters, women, wives, or mothers, women are often required to do a little bit of everything.
We may not do it all well, but most of us do it all. Those vain or foolish enough to believe they know best for the collective of women, would be well-served not to underestimate the intelligence or abilities of the women with baby throw-up on their shirts.
Deb’s note: Speaking of throw-up, I feel like I might..every time I hear someone pandering apologetically to mothers by saying “motherhood is the hardest job.” As a stay-at-home mother, I think being a member of the military or career woman forced to leave my children in the care of others, would be far more difficult. What I have chosen is a delightful challenge.
American women need to call for an armistice, or be ready to hoist their whitest panties on poles to surrender. Like so many other conflicts, The War on Women has become a no-win situation. Born out of the high ideals of suffragettes and the women’s liberation movement, our preoccupation with gender has become akin to a revolution in a banana republic, when civil unrest soon turns into a confusing battle, where it’s no longer clear who is fighting whom.
Not so long ago, women had fewer rights and were not valued for much more than man & child tending. Unmarried women were viewed with pity, for their failure to find husbands and women coveted the matrimonial link, because it validated them and provided a “proper” means by which to have a family. Then came the revolution. It started well, but eventually our preoccupation with “women’s issues” became self-defeating.
Though women can easily follow the conflicts of Gabrielle, Bree and Edie or track the complicated details of the love lives of Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones and any number of girlfriends; most of us find the details of war, far less engaging. Perhaps this is why we failed to notice when we started losing the war we’d started.
Since the beginning of the battle, women had been steadily advancing on every front. As individuals, we commandeered the power to decide for ourselves whether or not to marry, whether or not to have children, whether to choose career or family. Outside the home, women were proving they could survive and thrive in what had previously been a man’s world. As leaders, CEO’s and top wage-earners, women were gaining influence and credibility in business and industry. Voting blocs of women were now critical in determining the outcomes of elections.
We were winning the war. Then came the ambush,when they labeled us a special interest group.
Special can be good–but too often the term “special” calls to mind those who are disadvantaged in some way–as it is when used to describe Special Education or The Special Olympics. While we thought we were finally gaining much-deserved equality, folks in Washington were trying to figure out how to put us the political equivalent of the special bus, dictating where we could go and what we could do. They convinced us we needed Affirmative Action to win jobs or gain college admissions–suggesting that without a headstart in the race, we could never run as well as our competition. Unfortunately, many women believed this.
There were those who tried to convince us the trappings of femininity were the cruel inventions of a gender-biased society, causing men to objectify and disrespect us. Others began crusading to insure education curricula mentioned women often enough, that we’d be reminded often of just how very “special” we are.
The war which was started as an effort to win equality, was no longer about equality, because being a member of a special interest group entitles you to an unfair advantage–or what would be known at the Augusta Country Club–as a handicap. Though women are allowed to have women-only associations and girls-only schools, every formerly male-only institution from The Citadel, to Augusta would eventually come under attack. The fight to get federally funded breast cancer research, was allowed to eclipse the need to fund research for more deadly diseases. Women’s wages were often held up as evidence of prejudice toward women in the workplace, without factoring in career hiatuses many women take to start or care for family.
We started losing the battle, when we lost the hill–Capitol Hill. We were losing ground, because we were allowing politicians to turn every issue into a women’s issue. (Women have enough issues, without needing men to create more.) Now just a few generations of feminists later, America has produced some of the most helpless women since Gone With The Wind.
Somehow the feminists of the “Our Bodies, Our Selves” credo, have been replaced by generations of women of the “my body–your politics” ilk. What happened to women’s desire to be self-determining? When did choosing motherhood mean women, like Ann Romney, no longer had a valid opinion? Weren’t we fighting for the right to choose between family & career? When did women become so indoctrinated, as to allow the political fitness of candidates to be trumped or invalidated by their stance on abortion?
Using our preoccupation with our bodies as a booby trap set to trip on economic and religious freedom, birth control, which had once given women unprecedented freedom and autonomy, was now a carrot on a stick intended to distract us from the real issues. Positioning Sandra Fluke as a heroine, behind whom we should rally, political strategists were betting on the lesser thinkers in the of the special group of femalians, to react (as women often do) with emotions, instead of logic–as if a disingenuous Georgetown law student, not bright enough to procure her own birth control, would be someone we should admire. They were convinced we’d all be so angered at the thought of not having free birth control pills in our designer handbags, we would willingly ignore larger issues which could potentially harm our families. Reminding us once again, those in power believe we don’t think well enough to make decisions in our own best interest.
Yesteryear’s feminists were committed to freeing women from their dependence on men, but today’s feminists seem eager to embrace the government as a surrogate husband/provider. The Left accuses the Republicans of waging a war on women. The Right throws the accusations back on the Democrats. Make no mistake, this war now has everything to do with politics, and nothing to do with the welfare of women.
Like a woman who dates a seemingly perfect guy, believing he really cares about her, only to later learn he was just using her to get back at his ex-; we have been used. We were political pawns, sold out by both our allies and our enemies, for political gains. We’ve come along way baby, but we may have been going the wrong direction. After so many years of trying to rise above being disrespected by men, politicians have succeeded in causing us to willingly lie down and be used.
As I was considering what to write about today, the civic responsibility of voting, seemed a logical topic. However, with mailboxes stuffed full of campaign ads, televisions blaring endorsements for candidates, and voicemail boxes full of long pleas for support, most of us are already tired of being urged to vote.
Since your first lessons in civics, you were told your vote counts. The party to which Beloved Soul Mate is registered, wants to know if they can count his vote. They have already called a couple times, to ask whether he intends to vote. His vote must count more than mine, because nobody calls for me. (The man hasn’t missed an election in all the years I’ve known him, they can count on him to show up, but not to always vote their platform. If they realized this, they probably wouldn’t waste so much time on him).
Somewhere between Kennedy and Ford, my Democrat father stopped voting. He had become disgusted with the candidates, and decided his vote wasn’t helping anything. (Since, my mother, a Republican, realized he was no longer canceling her vote, she continued to vote faithfully.)
I understand how Dad felt. Many, many years of campaign ads, elections and election promises, followed by the ensuing results can cause one to become jaded. Once elected, most politicians don’t seem much different than the ones they replaced. We keep voting different people in, but keep getting the same results. This is why many were so enthusiastic when our current president campaigned with a promise of change. Though our president has succeeded in making some big changes–he hasn’t succeeded in changing our politics, which are still partisan and poll-driven.
With so many Americans dissatisfied with the current state of The Union, or convinced we are headed down the wrong road politically, does a single vote really matter? Not much.
Voting for the best options our ballots have offered, hasn’t caused any significant improvements, so I have some ideas. Since everyone wants real change and would like to undo some of the politics of the last few decades, why not vote for the candidates you feel are most likely to screw things up. Throw caution (and sound judgment) to the wind! Why not? You’ve voted for candidates you believed in, only to have them disappoint you.
Think about it. Politicians do things they promised they wouldn’t and rarely do the things they promised they would. Why not see if it works the opposite way? Elect a radical oddball and see if being in office will turn that candidate into someone who looks nothing like who they campaigned as. After all, aren’t all those incumbents with their network of good old boys, wallowing in their pork barrels, scratching each others’ backs our biggest problem? Let’s give the clowns with no experience and goofy ideas a chance. I’m guessing we’d barely notice a difference–but there is always the chance that an inexperienced candidate might hit a streak of beginner‘s luck.
Next idea–vote for all tax increases! Vote for every proposition, measure, bill and sales tax increase that will take more of your money. Surrender your paycheck for the good of the country! This is the only way to find out if America has enough money to buy our way out of the trouble we’re in. (You’d only spend that paycheck on your family anyway.) Why help so few, when you could help so many? Let those who have done such a stellar job so far, have the rest so that they can really have a shot at it.
Lastly, vote for anything and everything that promises more cops. We need more law enforcement–policemen in every neighborhood, like they have in North Korea. No city, state or country can ever have too many cops–ask Mexico. Those who write campaign materials know you are terrified of having less cops, firefighters or qualified teachers. If you don’t vote for the right things, you could wake up on Wednesday morning to looting, anarchy, chaos, arson, and stupidity–we can’t risk it!
In all seriousness, it may not seem like your vote matters, but voting is a right, a responsibility, and a great privilege. If you didn’t have a voice or a vote, you’d wish you did.
As you go to the polls here is my real advice.
Vote your conscience. Vote what makes sense to you.
With this in mind, remember you don’t have to vote for someone just because your voter’s guide(s) tell you to. You don’t have to vote for everyone who belongs to your party and voting for someone because you recognize their name doesn’t always guarantee the best candidate.
When you don’t understand an issue, it’s okay to leave it blank. There are many who understand the smaller municipal issues, you may have not had time to study. It is my belief that those who are best informed usually do a decent job deciding those issues for the rest of us.
Ask advice from those you trust, who understand the issues or know the candidates, then decide for yourself. Your vote is your right to think for yourself. Exercise your right.