Tag Archives: politics

Obamacare?

10 Nov

Everybody seems to be up in arms about it, either defending it or trying to destroy it.

Ideally, it would have provided something called universal health care. A basic level of health care for everyone, regardless of income. It doesn’t do that. But, that’s what conservatives were afraid it was going to deliver, since that smacks of “socialism” and they drag up old Cold War phobias to make us fear the concept.

So, what we really got was federally mandated health insurance.

Sort of.

From what I can find out, it isn’t universal. If you are low income, you are likely to still not have any health care coverage, so you are still regarded as one of the “leeches” on the system and the reason that health care costs keep rising.

From where I’m sitting, in Mississippi, it looks like business as usual, but great for insurance companies.

Okay, I went through the enrollment process.  The website everyone makes fun of worked just fine for me, and this was a couple of weeks ago when it was all new.  We were offered very limited choices to start off.  One company, that’s it, folks.  Reminds me of the electric company, we’ve got another monopoly going on.  Maybe we’d have had more options if we lived on the coast or in Jackson, but even so, we’re only 30 minutes from Hattiesburg now, and that’s one of the larger cities in Mississippi.  So it’s one company with two plans, and they don’t include the highest coverage, the platinum level.  (Not that it mattered, we couldn’t afford either one we were offered anyhow.)

The two lowest plans did not offer very good coverage, and it included a large deductible.  To add to the injury, the crappy plans cost roughly $850-950 per month for a couple.

The state of Mississippi, like a number of other states that have vocalized their dislike of the “Obamacare” Affordable Health Care Act, has refused to consider expanding their Medicaid program.  Likely it’s due to the impoverished state of the Mississippi economy to begin with.  After all, where would the money come from?

They are being generous.  They will not fine those below the income threshold, which I assume is the poverty line.  Whatever that line is, we’re below it.  So, it is status quo.  No fine, no health care, and nothing has changed at all for us.

But let’s do some math.  Let’s assume that a couple who is working 40 hours a week at minimum wage ($7.25 per hour).  That would mean that they got an annual gross income of $30,160.  They are paying an average of 26% of their income to taxes, Social Security, etc.  That’s $7841.60 leaving them with $22,318.40.   Let’s say that they select the lowest cost plan at $850 per month.  Their annual costs will be $10,200.  That leaves them with $12,118.40.

That sounds reasonable, right?  Surely they can live on that, right?

Well, let’s experiment.  The average rent is about $600 per month, totaling $7200.  Their annual income is now down to just $4918.40.

But, they have to get to work, and most of Mississippi doesn’t have mass transportation of any kind.  They don’t live close to work, but they are careful with managing their lone vehicle so they are both able to get to and from work.  Even so, they average 25 miles round trip each day, their vehicle is older so the annual cost of license and tags, combined with the inspection, totals to just $45 per year.  They carry the minimum insurance, but it still costs $90 per month.  Being an older  vehicle, it also does not get good gas mileage, coming in at only 20 mpg, at an average cost of $3.15 per gallon.  It also requires two annual oil changes, which cost $35 each, for another $70 per year.  On average, they have to buy tires every fourth year, which cost $400, adding another $100 to their annual expenses.  They pray it does not break down, as they are already spending a lot on their transportation, a grand total of $2732.19.  That leaves them with $2186.21.

But, remember, they are still left with bills to pay for utilities, clothing expenses, and their grocery bill.  The real problem is that after getting their affordable insurance, paying their rent, and getting to and from work, they are left to figure out how to survive on $182.18 per month.

That won’t even cover their utilities, let alone let them cover their deductible, pay a co-pay, or buy a prescription.  They won’t be able to eat either.

But, a couple earning minimum wage, in the eyes of many, is not below poverty level.

I’m not seeing anything affordable in this.  I’m not seeing anything resembling universal health care either.  I damn sure don’t see anything resembling socialism in it. The only ones who are actually going to have health insurance are the same ones that have it now, barring the ones who can afford it but are too cheap to pay their portion of the premium for their families through the plan offered by their employer.

I can remember those people well.  Back in the “good old days” when I had an employer that offered health insurance and treated their employees as though they were a company asset (like good companies do), we had a giant hike in our health insurance premiums.  They had a meeting with all of us, explained what was happening and why, as well as what their options were in terms of offering us health insurance plans.  They listened to us, then came back with an option.  The costs of extending insurance coverage to our families was going to have to be deducted from our paychecks, and we could elect to have coverage if we so desired.  I desired–I had a kid with a chronic health problem (she was a type 1 diabetic who was often in the hospital).  My co-workers, knowing that I paid about half of my paycheck to health insurance, asked me how I could afford it.  For me it was simple.  I could not afford to NOT have it.  There is a vast difference in the kind of health care one receives with health insurance versus without it, and I had witnessed it first hand.

I also had pretty good insurance.  I didn’t have a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.  Sure, I had a co-pay at the doctor’s office, as well as for prescriptions, but it was reasonable and affordable.  I didn’t have big bills for the hospital stays, and I had both dental and vision coverage as well.

Even if I could afford the insurance plans offered via the so-called Obamacare plan, neither of them included dental or vision insurance.  The co-pays were reasonable, but the deductible was a serious issue.  So was the percentage of coverage on procedures and hospitalization.  With only 60% coverage on these things, how is someone with $182.18 per month to pay utilities and groceries out of, going to pay even a $1000 procedure (far less than a single emergency room visit) which is going to cost $400 out-of-pocket.

The Affordable Health Care Act may have had some great intentions, but some how, along the way, it got left with loopholes and giant black holes that once again put insurance corporations into the drivers’ seat leaving the rest of us clinging to the bumper and terrified.  The worst part is, it hasn’t even gone into effect yet.  We have sticker shock, as well as discovering that we’re ordered to choose from models X, Y and maybe model Z for health insurance, but we’re standing here realizing that the other shoe hasn’t dropped yet.  What kind of problems are waiting to appear?

We, as a population, has little faith in the government in general and even less in the federal government.  It’s notorious for favoring those with mega-money and tromping on the little guy without regard for the welfare of the masses.  It’s all about special interest groups, with an ample seasoning of mismanagement and bureaucratic red tape.

It seems that there is only one escape from the tyranny of the Affordable Health Care Act.

Get elected to Congress.

Yep, they were smart.  They made sure none of them would ever have to deal with this monstrosity that is neither affordable nor healthy.

Social media & politics

12 Oct

I have been seeing a lot of political commentary posted to Facebook, as well as receiving a fair amount of political based commentary on things I post to my timeline. It’s made me realize something.

A lot of people are pretty clueless about how our political system works, not that I’m an expert on it.

Many people truly do not understand that the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) was not passed by the President. Presidents cannot legislate, so unless it was an executive order, he cannot be the one responsible. The ones responsible are the senators and representatives in Congress who passed it. The only direct action on that health care bill that was an option for the president was to veto it when it landed on his desk afterwards.

The government shut down was not orchestrated by the president either. That was the direct result of Congress’ inability to compromise on a budget. They knew it would happen when a budget was not agreed upon. They knew the deadline too.  In private industry, we call that “incompetent” and “irresponsible”.

I understand that there is a lot of conflicting ideology around the budget.  There is the rising debt and the continual stream of tax credits and government hand outs to a wide assortment of corporations and industries, let alone foreign countries’ aid packages.  There is the Affordable Health Care Act, with its confusing assortment of rules and regulations, as well as rampant rumors that affordable is the last thing it will be in practice.  If half of it is true, I will be destitute and homeless within two years of it going into effect.  Average citizens, such as myself, are left without answers about what is actually true and what is just one more piece of fear-mongering propaganda being tossed about by the anti-healthcare faction.

Most of all, I’m seeing an increase in dissatisfaction with the federal government.  I’m also seeing an increase in fear of the government and a perception of it as a totalitarian force.  I hear more  about secession than I would have ever dreamed of hearing too.  I look back to history, to the antebellum era, and I’m seeing a frightening parallel.

If you don’t like it, whatever the it is, do something about it. Write your congressmen & women. Call them. Don’t vote for their re-election. Work to get them recalled if necessary. Ignore the continual and useless online petitions.

Whether you like or hate Obama, he can’t be re-elected. That is courtesy of an actual amendment to the constitution, the same thing that a lot of people have been ranting about lately.  It’s the 22nd amendment.    That means that Obama is on his way out with the end of this term. In the meantime, we’ve still got a corrupt & incompetent Congress…being re-elected over and over.

Maybe we need to limit terms as a senator or representative too, and put an end to the career politicians.  Of course, that could be a problem.

We’d have to have the same ones we want to put an end to vote to pass it.

Right now, it’s a great job.  You get to vote on your own benefits and pay.  You can take off time as you please.  You can take bribes and distribute favors.  If people don’t like what you do or don’t do,  you simply point your finger at the POTUS and pass the buck.

So, give up on the useless online petitions–they are not going to do a darned thing.  Give up the chain emails and shares and likes–they don’t do anything either.  Neither do blog posts like this one, other than to urge others to take some sort of useful action.

DO write and call Congress. Be loud.  Be persistent.

DO vote!  It does make a difference.  Voter apathy bought this Congress, folks!

If you don’t like what Congress is doing, we have a system in place to do something about it.  Use it.

Shutdown Solutions?

3 Oct

Face it, no matter how hard we try to NOT think about it, we’re all faced with the shut down of the federal government.    Probably the ones feeling it the least are the same people responsible for not agreeing on a compromise for the budget.  While those who are not members of Congress lack the fine detail of why there has been no agreement in our lame duck Congress for a budget, one single fact has become quite obvious to everyone.

Congress failed to do its duty to America and its citizens.

In my eyes, its the equivalent of treason because it goes way past inefficiency and lack of sincere concern.  The shut down isn’t merely a mild inconvenience, it is putting America at genuine risk.

All because they can’t get their own way?

Everybody wants to point their finger at Obama as being the one responsible for everything from the Affordable Health Care Act to the economy.  The reality is that the executive branch does not legislate.  Unless the action was the result of an executive order, it was the result of legislation passed by Congress and then, only then, signed into law by the president.  That means that the so-called Obamacare plan was enacted in a lawful manner by Congress, whether you or I either one actually like it or wanted it.  Our representatives and senators are the responsible parties, not Obama.  If you hate it, hate them.  If you like it, like them.  All Obama did or could do was advise during the legislative stage and sign it into law after Congress had brewed and stewed over it.

So with that understood…understand this.  The government shut down came about because Congress could not reach an agreement on a budget.  It wasn’t the supreme court’s judges or the governor of California or the prime minister of the United Kingdom’s fault, and it’s not Obama’s either.  The responsible parties are the ones that you elected, right in  your home state, and they likely have offices near your home so that they can theoretically keep in touch with their constituents.

You can believe me that I know the name of our two senators and my representative, and I know their email addresses too.  I also know exactly how long it takes for me to receive their form responses to any comments I email them–1-4 months.  Do I think they are particularly responsive to their constituency in this day and age?

Hell no.

Will I vote for any of them ever again.

Double that hell  no.

But you know what?  Incompetent job performance, which is what has resulted in the government shut down, should result in termination.  That creates a bit of a dilemma.  Some of those in Washington probably put sincere effort into trying to do their job, but were hopelessly outgunned by the majority who were refusing to do so.  With so much incompetency though, we are stuck with a blanket solution in order to have a plausible solution at all.

I think a government shut down should have serious repercussions for the ones responsible for causing it.  Things like:

  • No member of Congress should receive pay or any other benefits during a government shutdown, including retirement pay, medical care, per diem, etc.
  • No congressional support staff should receive pay or any other benefits during  a government shut down, and cannot be coerced into performing their duties during the shut down.
  • No member of Congress or congressional support staff shall receive retroactive pay or benefits for the duration of the government shut down.
  • 30 days after the initial day of a government shut down, all senators and representatives will be facing elections in their home states to maintain their seat or be replaced for the duration of their term.  That would at least give us a new Congress that might get something done, as well as reducing the likelihood of any shut down occurring to begin with.  We all know how these career politicians like to protect their cushy jobs.

When the discomfort of shut downs are affecting Congress as much as they are everyone else, perhaps they will work a little harder to try and do their job.  Besides, if they aren’t getting paid or enjoying the many perks of their position, we might save a bit on the budget and make a shut down worthwhile.  And the best part of a shut down? We would have a national opportunity to clean house and get a new crew in that just might do the job the way they are supposed to.

Can we say “congressional job fair” folks?

Writing to the White House, Representatives, or Senators

27 Aug

Do you need some highly delayed aggravation in your life?

I’ve discovered one in the  past year.  On two separate occasions, I wrote to the White House.  Months later, I believe about six of the them, I would receive a response.  Once I wrote to the President, and once to the First Lady.

Now I’m not naive enough to think that either one of them read either letter.  I know that they were read by a junior staff member who probably despises the chore.  It certainly takes long enough to get around to the task of responding.

The length of time makes you feel as though what you had to say fell on deaf ears and was essentially a wasted effort.  I can vent in a blog with more satisfaction and probably with equal ability of creating awareness with those who represent us in our government.  I’ll certainly feel as though I’ve done something.

Unlike the letter to the White House, or the ones I’ve written to our representative or Senators.  The senators never responded.  The representative responded slightly quicker than the White House, but committed the same grave error.

None of them apparently actually read & comprehended the letters.  A computer algorithm could have come up with a better response than the semi-human operated bot did.  It was as though the response looked for a few key words and then spat out a form letter that was supposed to address what you had said.

Wrong.

This morning, I received a letter from the First Lady (or rather her automated staff/email response team).  It went on about the Let’s Move campaign and childhood obesity.  Was that what I wrote about?

No.

I had written to her asking her to support gardening as a way to fight obesity, and specifically urban gardening’s need for her support.

I merely got a form letter thanking me for supporting Let’s Move and the usual propaganda about how wonderful it is.

I’m disgusted.  I wasted my time, and then…I wasted more time with reading the response. The White House also wasted time sending it.  I got the same sort of nonsense from my representative and senator, the same nonsense from the President.

I guess my complaint is that it is worse than a waste of time, it’s insulting.

The justification for rape

24 Mar

It’s funny, we often hear how women provoke rape because of their attire and behavior.  I find this ludicrous.  That’s no different than a bank robber defending their actions by saying the presence of the money in the bank  caused them to have the uncontrollable urge to get a gun and rob it.  It literally is NO DIFFERENT!

I hear it more and more, how women are provoking these attacks.  Maybe it is time to reconsider.

If men are so unable to control their behavior, perhaps it’s not the women’s attire, but rather that men themselves are incapable of self control.  Of course, by making this sweeping decision, we’d have to make a lot of other changes too.

Someone who can’t restrain themselves from forcing sex with someone obviously shouldn’t be able to vote.  They might see a woman at the polls, because at least in most of the polling places I have been, half or more of the workers are female.  Some of the candidates on the list  might also be female, and their uncontrollable thought patterns might be inspired by the sight of a feminine name.  So, no more men voting.

Then, we have men in political office.  Any one of them might have uncontrollable urges at some point.  They obviously are not competent to hold public office, since sex is their strongest instinct.   We may even have proof to further this point of view with so many male politicians caught up in various sex scandals, with women, other men, and with children too.  Joined with the whole issue of men not being able to restrain themselves if an attractive woman in attractive clothing should come into view.  Then again,  not all victims of rape are attractive women.  Sometimes, they are elderly women, disabled women, disfigured women, handicapped women, or just plain average women.  It might not be the clothing either.  Even nuns wearing habits have been raped.  I’d not call that garb exactly “provacative” in any sense of the word!

Of course, soldiers have historically had a reputation for raping and pillaging, dating way back to biblical times.  We would have to immediately dismiss all males from the various branches of the military too.  Obviously, we cannot expect them to work with women, see women, defend women, or fight women.  Even other men might not be too safe, if all of the old lewd jokes about sailors is true.

Men would not be allowed to roam the streets freely either.   After all, it is a proven fact that most rapes are committed by men who were not restrained.  So, all men would have to be confined behind fences and walls, or shackled for excursions into public areas where women and children might frequent.  That situation will also cause a great deal of problems, because now we’ll have a large number of dependent men who must be guarded and confined, no longer allowed to contribute to society in general except within the confines of their secured homes and the prisons that we’ll undoubtedly need to house the immense number of men who are unclaimed by a responsible female.

Of course, the issue of at what age a boy would no longer be allowed in the company of respectable women due to his increasing risk of uncontrolled urges to rape.  Most boys would probably be deemed “safe” until they neared puberty and started exhibiting signs of their uncontrolled natures.

Just think of all the freedom women would enjoy if they were released from the tyranny of these men with their uncontrollable urges!  What contributions to society women would be able to make if they were free to work, study, and socialize without the fear of this behavior!

Come to think of it, we’d probably do away with wars too, other than as a way for these violent and uncontrolled males to vent some of their aggression in non-raping activities.  With the men confined, the wars would cause far less damage to our planet and our society too, as they would have to war within their own compound area, rather than over entire countries.

While this may seem utterly ridiculous as a response to rape, so are the rapes themselves.  Rapes are a violent assault on a person, and they are also a theft of the vilest sort, as everything the victim has believed in has been shattered permanently.  No rape victim ever goes back to being “normal” again.  They will always have that scar across their psyche, permanently and viciously implanted by the callous act of another.  To let the perpetrators of this crime pour more salt onto the wound by blaming the victim is ridiculous, even if the woman was walking stark  naked down the street, any man should be able to respect her rights as a person to determine her own actions without coercion, regardless of whether there was a law or not.  Rape of men is also the same, they too bear the scars of the crime, and it will affect the rest of their lives just as it does a woman’s life.

I don’t care how many ridiculously and deliberately obtuse politicians stand up at the podium and claim that women don’t get pregnant during rape.  Ask a doctor, it CAN happen.  STDs can also be transmitted, and we all know that some of them are dreadful diseases to try and live with.  That’s just the physical results of the rape, if there is no damage done physically beyond the rape itself.  Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes, the victim is also damaged physically, leaving them in pain, needing reconstructive surgery, and/or permanently disfigured from the assault.  Rape isn’t a joke.  It is a violent act.  It cannot be condoned.  It cannot be ignored or swept under the rug.  The victims should not be put on trial, and I don’t care if they just finished making a porn flick and were wearing the most provocative club clothing ever seen on the streets of the town.  It cannot be justified.

So guys, you can’t have it both ways.  You are either fully capable of being rational and exercising control, or you aren’t, and if you aren’t, you should NOT be put in a position to control anything.  If I can’t trust you with my daughter, how could I possibly trust you with my government, my money, my anything?

Stupidity of Daylight Savings time and election mania?

4 Nov

I’ve ranted about it before, and I will rant about it again today…and twice a year for as long as the idiocy continues.  Daylight savings time is an idiotic concept, dreamed up and perpetuated by ridiculous propaganda that far too many people buy into.  If it saves so much energy…why don’t we just STAY on that time?  What do people really think they are saving?

But speaking about ridiculous propaganda, have  you paid much attention to the stuff circulating on the social media sites as people wave the figurative flag of their favored candidate?

It’s made me realize, with a two party system, we really are given a choice.

Between a rock and a hard place.

That’s about all the difference I really see between the parties.  The parties and their candidates are so far out of touch with what life is like for Average Joe and Average Jane that we may as well elect Brad Pitt for president.

Heck, he might even do a better job.  If not, well, at least he’d make interesting photo ops, right?

Neither party represents what we’ll call the “working man” of American society.  They don’t have a clue what our lives are like.

Like Mitt Romney’s wife, featured in an article about how she went shopping at Sam’s Club.  She was immensely proud of her ability to feed a large gathering of family for only $4.50 per person for the meal.  I don’t think she’d be too happy with my food budget, capped at $5 per person per day.  Some months, if there are extra bills to pay, well…the food budget gives up a portion of it’s funding to cover the deficit.  She’d even be more horrified to discover that if I’m serving guests, it comes out of the monthly budget, not an extra slush fund.  So does holiday cooking, as a matter of fact.  While the Romneys might not be concerned at the reports of higher prices for serving up the traditional turkey dinner later this month, for the rest of us, that IS a concern.  We can’t spend what we’re not earning, and there are still not enough jobs to get everyone back to work that has been looking for work since this recession started.  It’s unfortunate that with each passing year, we’ve seen more jobs going overseas too.

For those of us struggling to make ends meet, to pay our bills, and to just get by, while family members are unemployed or underemployed…having to deal with an English-is-a-second-language customer service rep in some foreign country is really a slap in the face.  It’s another reminder of how many jobs we’ve lost to countries with lower standards of living and more relaxed workplace laws.

In the stores, it’s hard to buy American made goods.  It’s harder yet to buy from companies that have American based customer service.  I don’t think it’s an unrealistic expectation that if I buy an item or service with American money while I am in the United States, that customer service will be provided in the United States as well.

Then, there is health care.  I’ll admit, I am not thrilled with the Obamacare package, but…I wasn’t thrilled with nothing either.  Do I think that it’s the best that our government could come up with?  No…and it shouldn’t be so long that nobody can possibly read it and understand what it says either.  That’s the problem with these bills–they are excessively complicated and too often contain unrelated stuff.  Each bill should be one thing, written in a manner that any average person can understand it, but they aren’t.  Washington has become a place of bureaucrats worried about perpetuating their own existence, whether elected or appointed or hired.

The part that I think stinks is the idea that people are to be forced to buy health insurance.  Seriously, I don’t know anyone who can afford health insurance and opts to just not buy it for some reason.  I’ve priced it, long before Obama was ever heard of, and there was no way I could afford it, even just major medical was about 30% of my monthly take home pay, and there wasn’t any way I could give up that much of my monthly income and survive.  Utilities, rent, and automobile insurance already took care of about 80% of my net pay!  That left very little for luxuries such as food, gasoline, clothing, medical expenses, and assorted sundries.  Taking a second job wasn’t an option, really–my job required extensive overtime already, and while I was paid for it…that extra overtime is what was used for those “luxuries” I bought.

So I read the things that the candidates say, I read the things that their opponents say about them.  I read the things their supporters say about them.  I read the “fact checker” articles.

I’ve concluded that I was right.  We do have a choice between a rock and a hard place.  It then comes down to specific issues that are…or are not…supported by the two parties.

What concerns me?

  1. Women’s rights, including reproductive rights.  I’m pro-choice, and before anyone gets their underwear in a wad over that…let me clarify that statement.  I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion.  There is a very clear difference.  While I don’t think that abortion is the right choice for me, in any circumstances that I have actually faced, I also don’t think that it is the government’s job to make that decision for me…or any other woman.   I don’t think my boss should be able to decide if my insurance is going to cover birth control either.  There are many reasons and many circumstances for a woman’s choice, and few women are going to choose to use abortion as birth control if they have any conscience or concept of right and wrong.  If they don’t have those things, well, do we really want her reproducing anyhow?  Morality cannot be legislated, and there should not be an attempt to do so.  Laws are to protect society as a whole, and allow individuals to not have their personal rights infringed upon by others.  While that includes freedom of religion, it does not give anyone the right to impose their religious standards and expectations on others.  Period.
  2. Right to bear arms.  Okay, these mass murders we’ve had at schools and theaters have been horrific and shouldn’t have happened.  Yes, I know many other civilized countries have banned weapons of all kinds.  That doesn’t mean I support weapons being banned in this country.  Regulated and restricted perhaps, but not banned.  Assault rifles aren’t needed for hunting or self-protection.  Automatic rifles and handguns aren’t either.  Armor penetrating ammunition and weapons are also not particularly appealing to think of my neighbor having and using for target practice.  I think we need to address the underlying causes of these incredible acts of violence more than act on restricting gun ownership excessively.  Do we ban bathtubs for the accidents they cause?  Have pools been banned due to the high numbers of children that have drowned in them?  Do we still allow downhill skiing after people die in skiing accidents?  How about cars and car accidents and their fatalities?
  3. Same sex marriage.  I’m not gay, and I never was.  I’m not even bi-sexual.  I am in a traditional marriage, even if our wedding was far from traditional.  My parents weren’t gay, neither is my daughter.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t support the concept of equality among all Americans.  While I don’t deny that states can allow or forbid same sex marriage according to their citizens’ wishes, I don’t think that the federal government should be able to override those states’ rights to choose either.  Currently, federal law does not allow federal employees in a legal same sex marriage to enjoy the same benefits for their spouses that someone in a so-called traditional marriage enjoys.  I think this is wrong.  I have little hope of Mississippi, my current home state, is going to legalize same sex marriages anytime soon.  It’s got far too high of a percentage of ultra conservative citizens for that to happen.  But, if it was allowed…I don’t think the federal government should deny benefits to those people’s spouses because they don’t agree with it.
  4. Education.  It wasn’t working, so they tried “No Child Left Behind.”  That’s working about as well as new math did.  It’s absolutely not working, instead of educating kids and preparing them for the real world, whether that includes college or a job, kids are spending the year prepping for their standardized test.  Something else needs to be done, and this ineffective method of measuring both school and teacher performance needs replaced with something a bit more effective.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you went to a fast food restaurant, local store, or other location with staff that needs nothing beyond high school to get a job…and they actually could SPEAK American Standard English?  How many high school students can actually write down a coherent telephone message that anyone could read and understand, let alone write an essay for a college class?
  5. Jobs/Industry.  Face it.  We lack an industrial base and we’re importing too many goods.  We need jobs, we have willing workers.  We need to figure out how to get people back to work, back to creating the things that made America into what it was.  We need factories running, producing goods that are high quality and reliable.  We’ve all had enough of cheap, shoddy, imported garbage.
  6. National Transit System.  We rebuilt Europe’s trains after World War II, or so I’m told, but we can’t get trains to cover the USA in anything resembling efficient and cost effective.  It costs more to ride a train than it does to take a plane or even drive, and Amtrak is subsidized by the federal government.  Few cities have train stations where passengers and small freight can be economically transported to the next city, county, state, or anywhere.  In addition, the transit times when trains are used are utterly ridiculous.  We need efficient mass transportation beyond the urban bus and subway systems.  We need it both within states and to other cities and states, providing efficient and low cost transportation coast to coast.  Putting such a rail system into place would employ thousands of people, from creating the infrastructure to service jobs when it is up and running.  It would appeal to foreign tourists as well, especially since most industrialized countries have train systems already.
  7. Legalization of hemp & medical marijuana.  Hemp is a good crop, and it’s good for a lot of applications.  It can be used for making rope, paper, and clothing, as well as a host of other things.  It’s a good fiber, and more durable than cotton.  Medical marijuana is a good product too, when properly used.  Even recreational marijuana is less of a problem with the users than those people using alcohol.  Taxed and regulated, it would remove marijuana from the hands of drug cartels, reducing their income and clout not only in the United States, but in the countries where their supplies of marijuana are grown and prepared for smuggling into the United States.  The tax revenue would enhance the American budget, maybe even bringing the annual deficit down a notch, especially if recreational use was legalized.
  8. Energy.  We’re going to have to bite the bullet and come up with alternative energy plans.  We’ve seen the disasters nuclear reactors can deliver.  We’re seeing the disaster of the oil industry, each and every day.  We need inexpensive and efficient energy to recreate a strong economy.  We don’t have it, therefore, we need to figure out how to get it.  If we got a man to the moon, not once, but several times, and did it with computers that had less power than the old Nintendo 64…surely we can figure this problem out.  Quit subsidizing the oil industry and let them struggle on their own, they’ve been milking America too long.  Devote attention to alternative energy that is less costly, both to the consumer and the environment, and put America at the forefront again.
  9. Taxes.  Corporations.  Okay, taxes are something nobody wants to pay.  We’re all a bit tired of corporate entities making huge profits while paying little in terms of taxes, and then adding to the insult by outsourcing portions of their business to foreign countries.  We’re sick of them lobbying Congress for favoritism.  We’re tired of paying the bill, you might say.  It’s time to start taking a good hard look at how corporations are affecting the way we elect politicians, and how they affect the bills that go through Congress to become laws.  It’s a form of corruption, folks.  Plain and simple.  These corporations are doing nothing more than paying politicians for favors, no matter how it is sugar coated.
  10. Foreign aid.  I really do not understand why we are borrowing money only to give it away to other countries.  That makes no sense to me.  If I am unable to pay my bills without borrowing money, it would be foolish to give my money to other people after I borrowed it.  Why is the federal government continuing to do something that any of us would look askance at a private individual doing?  I think it’s time that foreign aid is cut back, if not eliminated, and there should be more accountability as to why we’re giving it to anyone.

There are a lot more issues too, more than I could possibly put in here, but those are the top ten ones.  Neither party is very concerned about all of them.  None of the candidates are either.  So who do I vote for?

I’ll cast a vote in less than forty eight hours now.

I have no idea who I’m going to vote for right now.  Just when I think one candidate or another has trumped finally, they show signs of obviously reneging.  I was never a fan of Obama, so I have to admit that he has done better than I thought he would.  At the same time, the Romney/Ryan ticket isn’t exactly thrilling either.  I’m not a Romney fan, and the idea of something happening that would catapult Ryan into the Oval Office makes me gag.  Biden’s not a rocket scientist either though, and I actually had someone crack a joke about Biden being Obama’s “insurance policy” so that no one would assassinate him–they were afraid that Biden would then become president.

Once again, it seems that I’m faced with a choice of who I am going to vote against rather than who I am going to go vote for.  Which candidate has the most potential to cause harm?  Are we better off with the devil we know…or a new devil?

Oh will I be glad when Tuesday is over.  I’ll have my mind back, as well as cease to see the endless parade of pro-this candidate or anti-that candidate on my Facebook wall!

Terrorism and me

14 Dec

I’m concerned about a lot of things, especially anything that either smacks of anarchy or of the impingement of our rights as American citizens.  I’ve always felt very fortunate to have been born in America.  I like my country, but I don’t like some things I see happening.

For the very first time in my life, I have heard the words “civil war” in terms of what is potentially ahead in this country.

What does that mean?

That means there are a lot of people who think that civil war is potentially a very real event in the coming years.

Why would I care about that?

Because I live here, and in a civil war situation, each and every one of us would be affected, either by actual armed combat occurring in our own communities, but by the complete disruption of the national economy, shipping of supplies, etc.  In other words, it’s going to seriously impinge on our ability to live a “normal” life in any sense of the word.  In addition to that, every man and woman would be involved in the combat, leaving only the disabled, elderly, and very young to “hold down the home fort.”

Can we say starving, children?

How about freezing to death in winter?

Fuel for the car? Not likely.

Even more concerning immediately is issues that can potentially shift the scales even faster towards the anarchy of civil war, such as the idea that any American citizen, without due process of law, could be detained indefinitely by the military without recourse.  This is a civilian nightmare, and looking at it, it is almost as though the current Congress is preparing this nation to crush the idea of freedom and push everyone towards falling into line with whatever orders the government issues.

I’m an independent soul, and that’s just not right.  It’s seriously not right, and to take a line from a Willie Nelson song, “that shit ain’t right.”

We need all three branches of our government to remain separated and intact.  The military is not a branch of our government–it is merely an enforcing arm, and its actual intention is not to be used against law abiding citizens, but rather against foreign insurgents.

America is losing faith in our federal government.  Most people are now somewhat fearful of it–especially as the news of these long lists of organizations that have been designated as “terrorists” are growing ever longer.  Some of the groups on the list?  Local militias, Oath Keepers, Tea Party…and the Occupy Movement.  Basically, anybody who has voiced an opinion that does not agree with the federal government is now a “terrorist” organization.

Add in those who advocate for gun rights, those who advocate for emergency preparedness, those who keep food stored on hand, survivalists, homesteaders, home schoolers, environmentalists, alternative energy advocates…the list just goes on and on.  Basically, 99% of our nation is not only in the same economic groups as the Occupy Movement’s, but we’re all also on the “terrorist” list.

I don’t know if those who claim that massive concentration camps have been erected and staffed with a skeleton staff are right or not.  The idea that they might be right even 10% of the time with the number of locations that have been identified as such is bone chilling.  Why would our government think of sending large numbers of people, including families with children, to these “camps” that are really nothing more than large prisons?  They have never shown any signs of making anything resembling a sincere effort at rounding up illegal foreign nationals, and if they did…they should be deported, not housed long term in massive camps, so the only other possibility is that it is intended for American citizens.

Who would they round up first?  Which group would they target?  Would they really try to round up every member of every group identified as a “terrorist” group?

I’m not a terrorist.  I don’t like violence, and don’t regard it as a real viable solution.  I would never either advocate or support any bombing or anything else that damaged property or caused death or injury to others.  I’m a mother and grandmother, and I always remember that everyone is someone’s child and grandchild.  I believe in using the system to cause change, and our forefathers put a system into place to do just that.  Through apathy and at the hands of misinformation, we have allowed ourselves to lose many rights and have the federal government monitoring and dictating more facets of our lives than ever before.  It’s time for citizens to stand up and demand action from the politicians that are supposed to represent us.

I don’t advocate anarchy–it’s my worst nightmare.  I like having a “normal” life.  I like the security of going to buy gas, food, or anything else any day of the week, without worries about supplies being available.  I like electricity, sewer systems, water, cable, internet, telephone…and all of the other conveniences that are a result of a stable infrastructure that would be disrupted by anarchy.  Anarchy is the inevitable result of a civil war.  I strongly support solving problems before somebody gets trigger happy and angry, and we have bitten off something that will tear this country, families, and our entire world apart.

But never forget, I do believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  I am especially passionate about free speech, the right to peacefully assemble, and the right to bear arms.  I have tried to do the right thing my entire life, even when it wasn’t so easy to do it.  I’ve paid the price over and over again, because doing the right thing is not financially lucrative.  It would be so much easier to fudge on my own code of conduct, but I haven’t.

Am I perfect? Obviously not.  Am I a law abiding citizen?  I try very hard to stay within the letter of the law, and more importantly, within the spirit of the law.

Do I agree with all of them? No.  Some of them I think are actually wrong, but until we can get them changed, we’re stuck living within that rule.  These laws, and the citizens abiding by them, is what makes us manage to be “civilized”.  The laws are a code of conduct, a guideline to ensure that everyone is allowed to live their lives without having excessive interference from others, be they a neighbor or the federal government.

I think those days are done.  If we don’t stand up and demand the right to choose our own food, our own property rights, our own rights to live our lives in “the pursuit of happiness”, we’re not going to have them.

Very few of us are terrorists.  Very few of us would deliberately cause harm to anyone else.  Yes, there are some who would, and those people should be identified and monitored, but at the same time, how can any of us justify some federal agency deciding who is or isn’t dangerous?  The feds have failed us over  and over in this, we’ve seen it in Oklahoma City, New York, and countless other places.  We know they lie to us…for “national security” reasons, right?

I’ve paid attention to the Occupy Movement.  I haven’t shown up to an Occupy Movement demonstration, nor have I donated money.  I’m not in the position in which I can do either one.  But, I have “shared” information in public forums, I’ve made comments about them, and I’m undoubtedly perceived as at least a sympathizer.  They are right.  I do sympathize with their goals, I do see how they are being managed in terms of how they are being reported in the news.  I’ve seen the passage of misinformation and disinformation.  Am I certain that this is what this country needs? No.  I am concerned about a movement that has no leaders, no spokesmen or women, and lacks well defined goals that are publicly stated.  At the same time, I can understand the reasons for a leaderless movement.

I advocate for the right to bear arms, to be prepared, and to be pro-active in terms of working to get laws changed to meet the will of the people.  I believe in standing up for what we believe in.  I believe in fighting within the system.

I’m also appalled at the lack of concern from the federal government in terms of the Mexican drug gangs and their invasion of the United States.  I’m disgusted at the lack of enforcement in regards to illegal foreign nationals from the federal government.  I deplore a government that can’t stay within its budget while we’re still passing out aid to foreign countries.  I hate the lingering unemployment and lack of industry within the USA.

I’m a little uncertain about the idea that anyone would regard me, a liberal-conservative on even numbered days, and a conservative-liberal on odd numbered days, as a potential terrorist.  It’s laughable on one hand, but on the other, it’s horrifying.  What a waste of effort and attention…and how many others are like me, no more a threat to the federal government than falling leaves from a tree in fall.

But maybe that’s the key too.

ONE falling leaf isn’t a big deal.

Neither is a hundred.

But…if there are enough falling leaves, then they can actually block a road and choke a river.

Our basic civil rights

1 Dec

America, land of the free and the home of the brave, right?

These days we have to wonder.  More and more of our former freedoms have become nothing more than dust in the wind with the passage of time.  More and more of the details of our daily lives are managed, dictated, regulated, forbidden, demanded, or taxed by the federal government.

Each year, like some kind of paranoid mental patient, the federal government has been more and more concerned about protecting itself from the likes of us, the average citizen.  You know the sort…ones who just want to have a peaceful happy life, not the ones planning on taking over the world, causing murder and mayhem or even just a minor case of anarchy and government coup.  Only a small percentage of the population is any kind of a potential threat to national security, yet in order to maintain order and security, we all have to be punished?

That’s like putting kids in detention and adding homework to an entire school district’s students because one student put a stinkbomb in the boys’ restroom.  It makes no sense.

That’s exactly what S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act would do.  It goes overboard, and like almost every other bill that wanders through Congress, it has been amended and re-amended so many times that it gives a person a headache to try and figure out what negated what and what is still in.

I still don’t know why the American public doesn’t force Congress to consider bills as solitary issues rather than lump sum packages of unrelated items.  Do we really need to stick in a package about the oil industry, a section on educational spending, some department budget allocations, and foreign aid to some country we can’t even find on the globe with a bill focused on the Department of Defense?

We need to all start using our basic voting rights and start contacting our senators and representatives and demanding accountability from them in regards to following their constituents’ needs and desires when they vote, present bills, sponsor bills, or work in a committee.  That’s why they are in Washington–they aren’t there to line their own pockets, folks!

Start off by finding out WHO your representatives are.  Here’s a website that makes it easy too.  Find your state, and click on it.  It will show  you all of the representatives and senators for your state, along with their websites.  Most of them will have a home page and a web contact form.  Use it to contact them.  (Example: Mississippi has 2 Senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker.  Mississippi also has 4 representatives, Alan Nunnelee, Bennie Thompson, Gregg Harper, and Steven Palazzo.    By using my address, I can clearly see who represents ME in Washington D.C.–The two senators and Steven Palazzo.)

Be courteous.  Ranting and sounding like a crazed (or foul mouthed) lunatic will not do anything for your cause.  Remember, a fanatic never changes anyone’s mind.  If you get answers that indicate that the question/request was not clearly understood, or that the issue is not completely understood by your representative, you have a bigger job.  You’ll need to make them understand that their objections to seeing things your way are not applicable or are invalid.  Good luck with that, by the way!

Get your friends and relatives to do the same thing (writing to their representatives.)  Pay attention to responses you get…or don’t get. If your representative isn’t representing you, start looking for a candidate that will do that (or so he says, before he gets there anyhow.)  Vote the one who isn’t right out of office!

We once were a proud nation based on the concepts of liberty and freedom for all.  Let’s get involved, and keep the freedoms we have and make this country once again a great place to live, one we’re all proud of once again.  That requires every citizen to be pro-active, not complacent and apathetic.

  1. Start working to stay informed.
  2. Get in touch with those who represent your interests, at all levels of government from your local community to your county/parish, to your state and then to Washington D.C.  Tell them what you think, what you want, and what your concerns are.
  3. Teach your kids to value their responsibilities and rights as a citizen of the country.
  4. Vote…in each and every election, without excuses.  It’s important!
  5. Support the candidates of  your choice, not just with campaign donations but with some of  your time too.
  6. Be involved in the political process, whether its grass roots or bigger.  It might be petitions, it might be canvassing  your neighborhood.
  7. Encourage others to get involved too.
  8. Pay attention, it’s the cheapest bill you’ll ever pay!

Politics aren’t worth literally fighting about, but the political process is how we can fight for our rights and what is right.  It’s how we can go about changing unjust laws into just ones.  It’s about creating real change, not just flapping our lips about it.  Our forefathers put this process into place for us to use, and we need to learn to use it just like we learned to ride a bicycle.  We need to ensure that our children learn to use it too.  Our votes DO make a difference!

 

 

Women, girls, feminism, and happiness in America

18 Nov

Recently, a study was released indicating that women are less happy than before, and that there is a “happiness gap” between the genders.  People act surprised, and now wonder why.  (See the report here.)

Duh.

We really have some pretty dumb people both in the media and in universities, don’t we?  They really aren’t in touch with what it is to be an American woman.

While the lack of general happiness is universal among American women, the problems of being an American woman are also universal, although different facets play out in different ways throughout our lifetime.

It’s also about stereo types and trying to meet these impossible standards.

  • All American women are beautiful.
  • All American women are slender.
  • All American women are independent.
  • All American women are sexy.
  • All American women are promiscuous.
  • All American women are youthful/young.

These are obviously NOT true statements.  Seriously…where do we even get these ridiculous ideas?  Look at Betty White, Rosie O’Donnell, and the women in Walmart.  We aren’t those things, we are so much more, but we are forced to try and meet the standards or we’re just not right.  We diet, we do Botox, we head to the gym, we go to the doctor for answers, we hit the beauty shop, we buy clothes, we force smiles to our lips, we avoid the cameras, we are internally ashamed of our inability to be what everyone says we are…and we’re not happy.

Then we have children, and once again…we’re trying to be Super Mom.  We have to do all of the first set, plus we need to lose baby weight, dress well, have ourselves put together, be energetic, and have the perfect child too.  From the time our babies are born, they become an extension of our goals as Super Mom, an extension of our own egos.  We are also passing on our own insecurities and fears as we push them towards that goal of perfection on a scale of standards that few will ever measure up on.

  • No child left behind.
  • No fat kids.
  • No misfit kids.
  • Gotta be athletic/smart/academically gifted/musical/artistic/dramatic kids
  • Make them Super Kids
  • No ugly kids

Kids don’t come with owner’s manuals or make over kits.  They aren’t designed as miniature adults for beauty pageants and spelling bees.  They shouldn’t be on the stage wearing sexy costumes and singing suggestive songs either.  However, the days of mud pies, skinned knees, drinking from the hose, and climbing trees are long gone, and permitting that sort of activity is liable to result in a visit from the Child Protective Agency.

Now we’re trying to keep up with scouts, PTA, lessons, tutoring, scheduled play dates, and extracurricular studies.  We have to meet and greet other parents, and look the role of Super Mom with a smile.  We need the right address, the right car, the right schools, and the right kids, and we usually don’t have the ones we consider “right” which just leads to more dissatisfaction.

In the mass media, we’re continually bombarded with more reasons to run on the consumer treadmill to meet the standards that someone else is telling us is the ideal.  Buy, buy, buy…and if Johnny’s and Janie’s teacher doesn’t think they are wonderful, it’s a personal assault on our entire effort and self esteem.

It’s ridiculous, utterly lacks logic or common sense, and there is no way anyone can win.  We will never measure up.  Add in pressures to “measure up” in terms of career, academic achievement, sports, hobbies, religious goals…or anything else, and no wonder women aren’t happy.

We’ve allowed ourselves to be judged against a yardstick with the odds stacked not only against us, but against any real human ever measuring up.  Who do we really think we are?

It’s more than time to step back, take a really deep breath, and think about things in terms of reality.  I know I will never be twenty again, why on earth shouldn’t I revel in the fact that I’ve survived this world more than twice over twenty?  So what if I’ll never be a super model, I bet most super models can’t do a lot of other things that I can do.

I quit dyeing my hair about four years ago, after going through a phase of “reverse streaking” my hair to gradually blend the natural gray with the tinted hair.  It was necessary because of the fact that I also have long hair, which is also decidedly unfashionable.  I once had a beautician actually tell me that I had no style…

He can stick his style.  I have a style, it’s MY style.  I am not trying to look like Kim Kardashian or Lady Gaga or the girl that married that British prince.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the way they look either–I’m just me, and I look a whole lot better as me than if I stuff myself into ill fitting clothes and wear makeup I despise and waste hours of my time trying to make my hair mimic theirs.

There is nothing wrong with being me either.  Yeah, I’m not perfect, but I have never met a real person that really was perfect anyhow. Trying to be perfect is as impossible as trying to be a “normal” family–we’re all dysfunctional to one degree or another, depending on whose standards you are using at the time.

I’m quirky, I’m creative, I’m moody, and I’m a damned good friend.  I’m very happy and recently married my best friend.  I have three dogs and two cats, and I’m a mom and a grandma too.  I’m a lot of things even if I’m not perfect.  Most of all, guess what?

I’m happy.

Yeah, we have problems.  No, we don’t have a perfect life.  Heck, Greg isn’t even perfect, but he’s my perfect husband anyhow.  Perfection is boring, flaws are what makes us all so interesting.  They give us character and ensure we’re unique.

I don’t have to have perfection to be happy, and I don’t have to be perfect to be happy.  I don’t have to use somebody else’s yard stick to measure my life and determine my value either.  I do that with my own choices and actions, all by myself.  Not even my marriage determines whether or not I have value–I’m truly grateful that Greg is my husband, but I’d still be ME even if he wasn’t.

Sometimes I embarrass my daughter when I wear salmon pants and a purple shirt with white socks that show between the cropped pants’ bottom and the tops of my shoes.  Maybe I forget to comb my hair now and again.  Once in a while, even Greg puts his foot down and refuses to go to the store with me until I change into something presentable.  That’s okay, I can live with that too.  After all, the real thing is that I don’t see the clothes I’m wearing because I am on the inside of them and I’m really focused on things that are far more important to me.  Telling me to change is what daughters and husbands are for, I suppose.  I’ve been known to occasionally request a wardrobe change for Greg too, although it’s been a long time since I’ve told my daughter that she was not going out in THAT outfit.

I don’t even realize that what most people see is an aging, gray haired overweight woman who dresses weird.  To me, I’m still young and slim and strong and agile…until I go to move too fast!  I forget I’m old and fat and stiff now.  I look at my granddaughter and I’m mystified how my baby had a baby…especially one that is the spitting image of her mother.

Time is a strange thing, I’ve realized.  Even so, it’s no stranger than the ridiculous standards that American women have begun to hold up for themselves.

Get real.  You can’t be it all, do it all, and be happy too.  You have to pick and choose what is important to you.  You need to realize that you have value as a person, and it’s not dependent on meeting somebody else’s standards either.

Politics, liberalism, socialism, conservatives, and the Occupy Movement

11 Oct

I live in Mississippi, one of THE most conservative states in the Union.  It isn’t known for progressive ideas or having a fondness for change.  I didn’t live here during the previous election, and have no idea if they voted for President Obama or not.  It doesn’t even matter to me.  Sometimes, I have to roll my eyes, because as a Liberal Conservative or Conservative Liberal…I find some things woefully outdated here.  Like requiring Greg and I to have a syphilis blood test to get our marriage license–of all the things to test for in 2011, syphilis is actually the least of them.  Only one other state apparently requires this blood test.  I am not sure what they do if you turn out to HAVE syphilis, no one informed us of that when we were inquiring about the requirements.

There are a lot of things that I do not anticipate happening in Mississippi in the coming century.  Things like medical marijuana are about as likely as a herd of state supported flying pigs.  Part of me is very surprised about the states that have casinos–I honestly wonder how they got the necessary laws passed, since gambling is regarded as a social evil by most of the counties within the state.  I suspect that it was tax dollars that appeared in legislatures eyes and helped push the bill–those dollar signs can often trump moral righteousness.

So this morning, I leafed through the paper, which because of our proximity to Mobile, Alabama, also contains substantial Mobile news.  Inside, there was a political cartoon, often a good sign of which way the wind is blowing in terms of local public opinion.

Mobile is unlikely to have a viable Occupy Movement group get a grasp on the hearts and souls of its citizens, it seems.  I’d not put my money on that horse anyhow.  The cartoon I saw illustrated public opinion (or so we suspect.)  It showed a “future protester” and then the adult protester, indicating that a protester was a grown-up spoiled child demanding something that his betters had decided wasn’t necessary or even good for him.

I’ve heard a lot about the socialism of the Occupy Movement, but I don’t perceive it as socialist movement.  I perceive it as an anti-corruption movement at its core, for it is the corruption that has caused so many problems.  Politicians apparently don’t like being regarded as a pestilence upon democracy either, but they’ve done it to themselves…with the voters consent.

Jefferson got re-elected in Louisiana, while under indictment for accepting bribes, and the videos were apparently shown on national television repeatedly.  The voters did the re-electing, and Jefferson was convicted with the evidence against him, resulting in his seat needed to be filled.  At least you can’t represent your district while currently incarcerated, even in Louisiana.  That isn’t pointing the finger at Louisiana, either.  They aren’t the only state with corruption, even if everyone likes to think they are.  They likely aren’t even the worst about it, they are judged guilty because its often not a secret, whereas the other states like to bury their heads in the sand and deny its existence.  That’s all the fault of an apathetic voter population.  If you don’t get out and demand better, you sure won’t get it!

Politics always caters to the lowest common denominator.

We have let our government become a government stuffed to the gills with corruption, bureaucrats,  red tape, pompous and arrogant politicians, and corporate shills.  This is the result.  Don’t like it? Do something about it.  Like it this way? Do something to keep it this way, like almost nothing.

I’m a bit uncertain about the Occupy Movement, I’ll admit that.  I’m not physically up to coping with the rigors of being a demonstrator myself either, and the idea of being roughed up by police is extremely intimidating to me because of my physical issues.  How would I cope with that kind of abuse?  Is it reasonable to even contemplate such a thing?

Maybe I’m excessively empathetic to their situation and idealism, but once upon a time, I too was young and idealistic, and I would have been right there with everyone else, fighting for what I believed in.  Now…I realize that when you get smacked with a baton, bones and tissue can be seriously damaged and take months to heal.  I struggle with daily routines such as getting dressed and brushing my hair, how could I defend myself when confronted with angry and aggressive police officers?

Do I think that these demonstrators are the adult versions of spoiled children?  Not in most cases, but there can be some–they grow up and go SOMEWHERE, don’t they?  Spoiled children just usually don’t grow up to become empathetic adults with social woes on their minds.  They usually grow up to become adults without empathy for others and greed on their minds–the same ones that have fed this cycle of corruption and greed.

I do think there is a lot of idealism in the Occupy Movement, and while that can be a good thing, it can go horribly wrong too.  We saw the rise of many communes in the 60s and 70s.  They had great ideas, but the idealism didn’t always follow through–too many didn’t realize that EVERYONE has to contribute equally, or some get tired and disgruntled, and move on.  Communes were an extreme example of idealism, and the bigger they were, the harder they fell.  They didn’t work.  Utopia isn’t found in a commune.  People are often lazy and greedy at the same time, and they can shatter idealism to the core in a season of hard work.

We’ve tried a lot of things in America that turned out to be big mistakes, and we’ve had to work hard to rectify them when we made them, as a nation, as states, as communities, and as individuals.  We’ve built a big government, and we’re discovering that it was a big mistake now.  It’s gotten too big for its britches, and it spends more time thwarting individual rights than it does in protecting society from corporate predators.

Corporate predators…those massive entities that apparently have “rights” as individuals, yet lack responsibilities.    Our current woes include things like GMOs, oil spills, high energy prices, low wages, out-sourcing to foreign countries, importing cheap (and contaminated) goods, high priced medications, lack of health care, and unevenly distributed tax loads.  The list could go on and on, with everything from environmental destruction to even genocide.

We’ve let them get by with it.  Over and over.  What’s that old cliche?

Something along the lines of: Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

It’s our fault, and it is long past time to do something about it.

Is the Occupy Movement the beginning of “something about it“?

We’ll see.

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