Sunday, November 18, 2012

Da-daa Shuffle

Good Morning, World! Where I live, in north central Texas, we are having some of the most glorious, perfectly beautiful weather lately. The sun is shining, but it's not hot. There are light breezes, and the nights are not too cold. We started this year off getting a good amount of rain, but we are now 2.76 below normal. We seriously need some rain or we will shortly be in one of those droughts that we were in just last year, when we went for months without rain, and with record breaking heat. So when I take my walks, I feel almost guilty to enjoy the beautiful days, knowing exactly what this means to the long term narrative. We are in a period of climate change that will have drastic effects on the planet. Dangerous storms, record heat, some areas of increasing drought, and exponential increases in extinctions. I've talked about this before, and I still take a pretty controversial position (at least for a life-long, unabashed tree hugger) in that I don't believe we have the will to make the changes that would be necessary to prevent the change from becoming entrenched. Therefore, earth and humanity as we know it will be ending. Just as mammals were tiny, rat-like creatures during the rule of dinosaurs, and when the dinosaur became extinct, mammals began to evolve in size and intelligence and took over every corner of the globe. (Yes, that mixed metaphor was intentional.) As our intelligence increased, so did our arrogance, and our belief that the earth belonged to us to do with as we wish, no matter how obviously destructive our actions might be. Changes in climate do speed up evolutionary survival strategies, and what kind of humans survive to pass on their genes will be different. Life in the deserts will become impossible, and in a geologic blip, the humans of the future will be unidentifiable to the humans of the future without DNA testing. So, on that happy note, I will walk on such beautiful days. I do not expect to be here for those future humans, as we are talking thousands of years. That does not mean that I do not believe in doing the responsible thing. In the short term, I am just about to have my fourth grandchild. I do not want her to grow up with asthma, which is increasing in incidence and severity due to our unwillingness to curb certain pollutants. I do not want her to spend her life in a concrete jungle, though concrete seems to reproduce faster than any rabbit or krill, creating urban heat jungles everywhere. My stepson, the new baby's dad, and his family live in the farm belt, far away from me, and even that part of the country is growing concrete as more and more families leave farming behind, and their farms are mowed over to build new subdivisions. I don't want my two grandsons, both (about) one year old, having to go to war over water or energy rights. But wars will soon be waged clearly over life-saving resources such as water and arable land. So, whether or not it is too late to keep us from evolving into a more heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant species, with fewer prey animals to eat because animals don't survive as well as plants on a planet with carbon rather than oxygen in it's breathing gas mix, TODAY I don't want to live on a dirty, smoke filled, hot planet without wildlife. And I don't want that for them either. I've enjoyed parks and hikes and walks in places where green was set aside for human pleasure. I hope we don't let that completely die out before those grand babies, and their children get to play there too.

It was not my intention to start on such a heavy note. So, here is one of my light-hearted questions, just so any of my friends, readers or members will know I'm still here: I love my iPod. I love the music I've chosen to have on it. ALOT! I know the songs-when I walk I see drivers laughing at me because I am singing along with nearly every song. Sooooo, so I don't know every second what is coming next, I often pick a playlist and hit the shuffle button. In my mind, that should mean that the computer "cloud" picks songs at random and plays them, then shuffles and picks another song at random. How can "shuffle" mean that the player will repeat songs? That frustrates me all to pieces. Random and shuffle should not mean repeating songs!!!

Yesterday I wanted a nap. But I made the mistake of turning on the 2003 movie, "Love, Actually." This sweet, cheesy romance with an edge has become necessary fare for me to get into the Christmas spirit. Well, this one and "A Christmas Story," but that's another story. I've seen both movies many times, but yesterday, I was so very distracted by the character of Sarah, played by one of my all-time favorite actors, Laura Linney, being in the bed, half naked, with a breathtakingly gorgeous man, Karl, played by Rodrigo Santoro, and the phone started ringing, I don't care who it was. The ringer would be turned off. The schizophrenic brother for whom I could do nothing would be moved aside so that I could have one night of fantastic (in the most literal sense of the word,) passionate love with the man who was at that moment, a bird in hand. Every other love story in the movie makes sense on some level, but that one-no. No way. (Big, lecherous smile on my face!)

So, the lightheartedness is over. We should be over politics by now, and as Don Michael Corleone said in Godfather III, "I try to quit, but they keep DRAGGING me back in!" For those on the right, as I said on election day, I feel your pain. I've been there. But once George W. Bush won in 2004, though I almost always disagreed with his policies, he was my president. At least  until he wasn't. I criticized the policies I disagreed with, and I did give him kudos when I could find something to agree with. I did the kudo thing loudly when in the presence of my majority republican family so that they would know that on my side of the question, there could be agreement. I guarantee you that I am never shown the same respect, whether or not there is a republican president. And the disrespect opposing view points get from the right has been worse than ever since President Obama was reelected. But when I ask for specific disagreements, none are provided. Which, please note if you dislike Obama, only feeds the narrative that it is not his policies, but something else the right has decided to disfavor.

While on the subject of right versus left, much of the discussion during this election season has had to do with income inequality, and the attendant questions of class and race. But I found a term rather disturbing on the news this week; the "donor" class. So now the political power in this country is not divided by party, race or gender-it is whether or not one is a member of the "donor" class? What does that mean for all the people who gave President Obama an average of $200? Shouldn't they be included in the "donor" class?

One of the things people tried to use to campaign against President Obama is that the financial recovery in this country is moving so slowly. Every economist, talking head and politician have called this "recession" the worst since the Great Depression. Well, historically, the Great Depression lasted from the stock market crash of 1929 until WWII, 1939. Ten years. Ten. But we expect the economy (and business) to come back in FOUR years? My, my, we are an impatient people. This has been a growing problem for years, "I want what I want when I want it" doesn't work in the realm of economic downturns, and we need to team up and work together, or it will last more than ten years this time. Ten years. Remember that.

When I said in the above paragraph that we all need to team up and work together and find solution to move recession to economic solvency in this country, I need to include all the employers who have freaked out and punished their employees for Obama's reelection win by cutting hours and staff in order to avoid paying for their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. So now, their employees qualify for food stamps, and government sponsored health care. Which means more people on the roles of taking money and health care from the government, against which those business owners rail, and it may mean that we need to increase taxes on the wealthy a tad more to cover those additional Medicaid recipients, which will hurt the business owners even more. Not only that, it means that the federal government, which the right keep insisting should be smaller, is subsidizing YOUR payroll. How dreadfully un-American! So it is clearly NOT Obama who is driving the country toward socialism, it is you. How dare you, Sir! How on earth is your behavior conservative in a small government, boot-straps way? Pay your workers a fair wage, let them have some benefits. They will have higher morale and productivity. They will have money to spend on your products, increasing your bottom line. They will be healthier, also increasing productivity. It's a win-win, for them, for you, for the economy...for the country. God Bless America!

Lastly, I have two comments to make on the abortion question, as this is one of the prime drivers, in my opinion, of President Obama's win, and his win may make this discussion less relevant. It has been nearly forty years since the Supreme Court of the United States decided for privacy in the "Roe vs Wade" 1973 decision. Why this is still controversial is beyond me. I do understand everyone who has a moral problem with having abortion. I also understand that in the United States we have freedom of religion, which means that you cannot push your religious beliefs on me. No one, but no one, is pro-abortion. But whether to have one is a question only for a woman and her doctor. But the two NEW points I want to make are these:
1. Some individuals I've known and had discussions with regarding abortion have asked, "What if my (or Beethoven's) mother had known we would have genetic health problems and decided to abort us? The world would have been denied Beethoven's music, for example. But this is a false comparison. The child of rape, or a child born to a mother or family that do not want or can't care for the child, will be very unlikely to grow up to accomplish stupendous things. They are more likely to be poor, possibly neglected due to being unwanted to begin with, and uneducated. Every child deserves to be loved and nurtured. This doesn't mean wealthy; many loving parents in this country are poor or working class, but unwanted children do not usually enjoy a healthy, positive upbringing. If the child is born of rape, how on earth can the mother look at that baby and not see the face of violence and misused power? What if the child was chosen over the health of the mother, and the mother died as a result of the pregnancy? I've read stories of widowed fathers who couldn't bear to look at the children whose existence cost him the life of his spouse, and left him to raise the child on his own. The life of the mother must be a factor when considering this question. Rape and incest must be considered if the majority of Americans (which they do not!) thought there should be limitations on access to abortion. But what was decided by the Supreme Court is that the choice not to carry a pregnancy to term is a matter of privacy.
2. I heard Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, and former presidential candidate, on "The Daily Show" this week talking about this issue. He claimed that "biologically, life begins at conception. Indisputably." And yes, he is sort of right, though I'm not sure it can be called "life." CELL DIVISION begins at conception. When sperm meets egg, cells begin to divide, and eventually, these ever-dividing cells begin to look more and more human. But that is not until a few months have passed. I have heard (though I can't document, since apparently there is no unbiased place to go for statistical information about the number of abortions performed in this country has dropped. I did some research to get exact numbers, but there is little un-slanted information available, and the best statistic I could find only covered 1996 to 2005. I don't like using such imprecise statistics here, because I continue to hope that I will have more readers and followers who will comment or call me on it when I am wrong. I have heard a theory that since the technology to discover the sex, hear the heartbeat, see the baby in utero has come so far, pregnant women feel that it is a human life growing there, and fewer choose abortion. I am okay with that. I am not pro-abortion, I am pro-choice. Especially since this is a country that claims to believe in freedom, and the constitution guarantees equal treatment under the law. No one would ever tell a man he can't have a vasectomy (except perhaps the Catholic church, which is another posting altogether.) But those little sperms do swim, and seem to be able to direct themselves to try and join an egg (do they think?) So essentially, all those white males who keep trying to deny a woman choice are trying to deny her the right to control her own destiny. Family planning has been proven over and over to allow women to pull themselves from poverty, increase their education levels, and have not proven to mean that women do not have children later, even after they have had an abortion. But to call the cell division that begins at conception "life" is not exactly a scientific position to take.

1. "Godfather part III," 1990, starring Al Pacino, quote from Al Pacino
2."Love, Actually," 2003, Made by Richard Curtis, ensemble cast
3. Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee (born August 24, 1955) is an American politician who served as the 44th Governor of Arkansas(1996–2007).[4][5] He was a candidate in the 2008 United States Republican presidential primaries, finishing second in delegate count and third in both popular vote and number of states won (behind both John McCain and Mitt Romney).[6] He won the Iowa Republican caucuses.

No comments: