I'm about to get a bit political, so if that's not your cup of tea, feel free to recuse yourself...
I find myself repeatedly appalled by the behavior of my fellow citizens this week, both locally and nationally. I was raised to be very patriotic (not uncommon for a first generation American) and was allowed to grow and develop a healthy sense of being able to question my government with respect (when it deserves it - I will admit that, at times, it's hard to respect the actions and decisions of some politicians).
What I don't do is trample all over my fellow citizens (or non-citizens, as the case may be - we all deserve nice treatment). The mood, rhetoric, and actions stemming from the health care reform protests is deeply troubling to me. I don't begrudge anyone the opportunity to say, "Hey, I don't like this new legislation." There are certainly laws that I do not like - including parts of the new reform act. But what I do take issue with is the disrespect of our fellow human beings that seems to be entirely rampant right now.
Per a NY Times op-ed: "A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson's disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: "If you're looking for a handout, you're in the wrong end of town." Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, "I'll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot."
Disgusting. Racial and homophobic slurs have been thrown at elected officials. Congress members have been spit on. Bricks have been thrown through windows. Spouses have received threatening phone calls. Snipers are mentioned. Children are endangered. A man was run off the road simply because he had an Obama bumper sticker on his car.
Me, to hubby: I just read that some conservative Republicans are saying the Democrats are making up the death threats in order to take up anti-gun legislation. Let's move to Canada. You love hockey; I love French. It'll work.
He laughed at me, but part of me dreams about this a bit. Je rêve, c'est certain.
I recently heard a group of educators discuss incoming students for the fall. One mentioned students with learning disabilities and the lead educator (the lead!) sniffed, "Well, we certainly hope those students don't come here."
I was disgusted - and at a total loss as to what to say or do. Why is it that when we (I?) find ourselves faced with this hateful behavior, it's so hard to know what to do. I won't even join any of the "I approve of the health care act" groups on Facebook because I don't want to risk having an anti-health care reform friend or relative comment about it.
How is this the way in which we respond to something we don't disagree with. What are children learning about how the world is managed if this is the example we set?
Which leads me to another concern of the week: women's health. C-sections are now the number one hospital surgical procedure in the country, yet the US is 41st on the World Health Organization's list of maternal death rates, behind South Korea and Bosnia. The health care reform act requires insurance companies to cover prenatal care and some childbirth costs.
Did you even realize that wasn't already a mandate? Even with the considerably minor concerns I've had this pregnancy - low thyroid and low fluid - I don't want to imagine what could have happened if those things went unchecked. I can't help but feel that if men gave birth, this would have stopped being an issue a long time ago. Doubt it? Compare maternity coverage rates to Viagra coverage rates and see which bill is easier to get paid.
Hubby: But boners are important!
Me: But boners can lead to children! How do they not see the connection?
(See, there's room for humor in politics.)
When you don't care about women, that means you don't care about children. You can't convince a woman she must starve herself to a size 2 to be acceptable and then tell her that the resulting infertility issues aren't covered. You can't subsidize corn and the resulting high fructose corn syrup that is produced to make use of all the corn that gets grown in order to get the subsidies and then tell people it's no unhealthier than sugar when, in fact, it's a significant contributor to obesity.
This isn't about party lines. As my husband told someone today, he's a liberal Democrat who thinks global warming is bullshit. I'm a liberal Democrat who thinks Social Security is an idea whose time has come and gone. We are all free to pick and choose what we do and do not like about what our government does. We have the power of our votes (which is why I'm so adamant about people needing to vote regularly) and we do have the freedom of speech. But with these freedoms, these privileges, comes responsibility. Do your research and vote for the person who best matches your vision for your town, state, country. Think about what you say and the implications of it.
Golden words make practice
Practice makes perfect
Perfect is a fault
And fault lines change...
~R.E.M. "I Believe"