Tag Archives: politics

Conquering Modern American Social Apathy Borne of Privilege

did-not-vote-2016-update

Map created by the folks at Brilliant Maps. Click for their article and associated credits.

 

If you or a loved one suffer from apathy to social justice issues, politics, and the stark intersection of the two, and exhibit any of the following sentiments:

  • my voice doesn’t matter because I don’t believe in the power of aggregate opinion
  • I don’t care about the problems of others, even though my silence is precisely what enables their continued plight
  • lending my voice to amplify the concerns of others conflicts with my own pursuit of happiness
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I don’t care about it
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I don’t believe that it truly exists
  • I personally do not experience a problem, therefore I believe its victims must deserve to experience its trappings

….please use your voice and example to change their minds. In the same way that the silence of the apathetic allows subjugation of the minority to flourish, so too does our own apathy towards the apathetic allow apathy to bubble over into the sad map of national indifference pictured above. If your loved ones are shocked that a bumbling, blathering buffoon was elected by only a misguided but passionate minority, explain that they shouldn’t be; that inaction, more than any other factor, is what empowers and emboldens the worst in society.

Apathy is extinguished one person at a time through our efforts. Its sufferers can have an effect for change, just as they currently have an effect for regression. Inaction is also a type of action, as the map more than illustrates. Being at liberty to choose inaction is a privilege that many do not have, because for them inaction directly threatens their access or protections related to their workplace, income, home, healthcare, legal protections…. even their abilities to have families of their own.

So, let’s start with the bare minimum and work up from there: Please ask your apathetic loved ones to show up at least one day a year [at their polling place] to exercise the human condition known as empathy.


Let’s play “Bible or Quran?”

What do you think? Can you distinguish between the so-titled sharia laws of the Quran and those of the Christian Bible?

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days….if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks….The priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.

Now kill all the boys and kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

If [a woman] vowed in her husband’s house or bound herself by a pledge with an oath and her husband heard of it and said nothing to her and did not oppose her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she bound herself shall stand. But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void.

Women should remain silent in congregations. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

Do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. ….Women will be saved through childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

When you go out to war against your enemies…and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you desire to take her to be your wife and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death.

If a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, “I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,” then the young woman’s father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. ….Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the young woman’s father, because this man has given a virgin a bad name. If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.

If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

A holy man should only take a virgin of his own people to wife.

Surprise, they’re all from the Christian Bible! But please, America, cherry pick away and continue proposing bills using this misogynistic, racist, inane drivel as your source of infinite wisdom.

christianeyeroll


“WHY?! THINK OF THE CIVIL LIBERTIES!”

If it weren’t so awkward because I hear people say this in real life, I’d think it was a joke. Can a single person explain this view (for real) without using ideological non-verbiage and flag pins? In other words, does anyone have concrete examples of civil liberties at risk under Obama?

Privacy? Bush’s Patriot Act is responsible for warrantless surveillance, phone tapping, and arrests. Obama did renew it though–is that what is meant? Civil marriage for all? Only the republican platform wants to limit those. Guns? Obama’s done nothing except expand gun allowances on Amtrak trains. There are even more gun freedoms now than under Bush.

Are these people truly *only* referring to the civil liberty to choose not to pay into a medical insurance pool and then cash into medicaid allowances for the uninsured when he or she can’t pay for emergency surgery? Because the Heritage Foundation, a republican think tank, thought that was stupid and wasteful and recommended that republican principles of personal responsibility and limited government financial intervention prevail, and therefore claimed that all should be required to hold an insurance policy for their own health in the same way that all are required to wear a seat belt for their own health. What government expenditures that can be avoided should be avoided–that’s the essence of conservatism, isn’t it?

The only reasons against PPACA I’ve heard are nonsensicals like “but, CIVIL LIBERTIES!” “……KENYA!” or the “How’s he going to pay for it?!’ Yes, better not to try anything new. Better to cope with the current system of bankruptcy and 60 million uninsured than to improve our policies just because “they’re new”. There has already been a pilot experiment: Massachussetts (Thanks, Mitt!). Besides that successful test, analysts for the bill at the Department of Health and Human Services anticipate over $10k annual savings for average income families and an annual $350 per family savings by small businesses through both healthcare tax credits and reduced premiums.

–>”HOW?! More medical problems = higher premiums, silly liberal!”

Yes, I’m a silly liberal…. one who has a Life, Accident and Health Maryland insurance license. Even if I didn’t, though, the concept is elementary. The principle behind insurance is shared risk. The larger the shared risk pool, the smaller individual risk become, and the smaller the premiums need to be. This requirement broadens the shared risk pool by millions.

–>”But why would private insurance companies lower their premiums just because you want them to?! No one will make them!”

Ahh, not such a proponent for de-regulation and free market control anymore, Mr. and Mrs. Adam Smith? You can’t have it both ways. Either you believe that the free market will run itself, or you don’t. Lucky for you, President Obama is a closet republican. The cheaper insurance options that will be offered federally (the only way to ensure that the insurance requirement makes sense–after all, if the uninsured could afford private insurance, they’d have it already….) will serve as heavy competition for private insurers. So, private insurers either need to price honestly according to the risk pool or lose their customers to the federal option. Free market solution to the rescue!


Response to the Republican unrest this morning RE: 4 more years

Another “wake up” article is linked below, although folks who want to call him a socialist already (clearly) don’t care about politics enough to know what the word means….  The only long-running “socialist” programs we have–Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and welfare–POTUS offered cuts to during the debt-ceiling talks (real socialist of him, eh?). Boehner didn’t accept the cuts because they’d make Obama look responsible. Instead, he rallied the troops to stonewall jobs bills, obstruct equal pay bills, deny budget requirements and get our AAA bond rating reduced, and essentially deny any bill that would assist recovery (even if it was written by Republicans) in favor of pursuing 90 ways to restrict contraception and ignoring the jobs agenda that got them elected. Along the same vein of WTF: Ryan mirrored Obama’s $700 billion savings from PPACA in his own budget proposal, but then disavowed his stance once Obama adopted it for the PPACA and just recently campaigned against PPACA’s medicare cuts while simultaneously accusing Obama of too much spending. Come again?!

If you don’t follow the theater that is Congress, I kindly request you cease having strong opinions on it, because an uninformed opinion is a dangerous one. If you’d like to express dismay about the election results, you should definitely do so. But please, for the sake of your dignity, give an accurate reason. There’s plenty you can be disappointed about–you don’t have to make something up or regurgitate untrue campaign slogans. You can pick a bill and let us know why you opposed it, or pick a goal he didn’t meet and why it was important to you that he met it. Or you can let folks know where the PPACA fell short for your needs. But making up shit or attributing Bush spending to him? Please no. Be a responsible constituent–the kind of citizen you boasted of being by nature of voting Republican–and don’t purposely share false information.

“Yes, Obama imposed an individual mandate to buy health insurance…..You know where the idea came from? The Heritage Foundation. Personal responsibility—insisting that people carry private insurance so we don’t have to bail them out in emergency rooms and hospitals—was a Republican idea. Same with Wall Street reform: There’s nothing conservative about letting financial institutions gamble with other people’s money in ways that would force us to bail them out again. Even Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal echoed the market-based emissions-control policies of the 1990 Bush administration and the 2008 McCain campaign.” – Slate.com


Tithing vs. Charity

Something in particular is irritating me today: Romney apologists conflating his church tithing with “giving to charity”. Tithing to a large church organization to finance its infrastructure, salaries, decor, lobbying efforts, ministry costs (i.e. room/board for every member to recruit for a couple years), etc…. is not charity. He surely does additionally donate to charities, but please calculate that total separately to be respectful to truly charitable organizations. “He tithes such and such to the Church of LDS, and then additionally donates this quantity to these charities.” Churches of all faiths typically include charitable work in their budgets, but it’s secondary to their primary functions: holding services and recruiting members.

The folks conflating these two tend also to be Christian, and so I understand that they have a personal stake in calling it charity because they want to believe that their church donations buy food for the homeless instead of Sunday’s fresh azaleas. However, I’d like to draw additional criticism to that perspective as my counterargument: would those people still call it charity if Romney were Muslim, and that money went instead to a series of mosques? I guarantee the answer would be no, and further, he would be investigated to find out precisely what mosque expenditures that money went towards, and then he would be irrevocably tied to those items. In reality, a large chunk of Romney’s money went to lobbying for the anti-gay Proposition 8 legislation and subsequent court proceedings. Where’s that news coverage?

Investigative journalism is dead, and instead the closest thing to critical news I have on CNN is a body language expert providing an hour’s worth of feedback on debates that undecided voters weren’t even watching. In related news, I met my first undecided voter a few weeks ago–I was convinced they were a myth! But no, oh did I meet one. Yes. …..In fact, she seemed interested. She asked me who was running.

rncgangamstyle


Silencing the “Beast”

In my youth I never was political. I felt strongly about marriage equality, but otherwise remained non-fervent on national and global issues. This was easily done as a young person, when the inability to legally vote set me up for powerless (and thus, seemingly pointless) opinions. I had no income, and decisions on homework and career paths seemed more pressing than being politically informed. I respected others for caring more than myself, although one can never know if those other kids actually cared, actually felt, or if they were regurgitating their parents’ talking points to make big impressions (as young people are wont to do). Now, as an adult, my political and sociological leanings rush like a tsunami into consideration for everything I say and do, going so far as to infiltrate my dating standards.… even my groceries! I find I can’t go more than a day without some ferocious and potentially alienating notion coming to fruition and spilling from my mouth.

I conducted a bit of an experiment a few weeks ago, trying to see if I could refrain from saying anything politically charged for a week on any public forum—Facebook, Twitter, personal blog, Jezebel comment threads, etc…. I managed a few days “being on the down-low”, politically speaking, but found that while I frustrate myself voicing my ruthlessly incendiary positions, I was even more frustrated while silenced.

So what broke the gag order? Shelving my feelings for that window of time led me to come out even worse, and I curtly ‘let loose’ on someone (granted, he was being ignorant – isn’t that what they all say?). The lesson I took from this was that I have to find slow, steady outlets for my ferocity or else it boils over. My boyfriend can likely attest to that! Lucky for him, we tend to agree on everything.

Perhaps my test took place in a particularly inflammatory news week and/or politicians were being particularly rude and senseless—maybe it wasn’t the ideal week for such a test, and I became more hot blooded than usual. However, I discovered something vital: I simply don’t give a shit. My test was unwarranted. I like having these strong feelings because I remember what it was like to be apathetic. I would rather be incendiary than quiet. We live in a time of pervasive ignorance and willful negligence (although I have no evidence that it’s any better or worse than prior eras) on the part of our elected officials, and I’d rather try to keep them accountable with my public outrage than validate them with silence.


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