Archive for 'politics'
Sunday, October 11th, 2015
I have just learned about the Hastert rule. No, that isn’t true. I just learned it had a name and how it came to be. I think this method of governance is both irresponsible and unethical and should be criminal. I don’t care which party is in power. If the government is going to work in a way that serves the people best, then all the bills need to come up for votes. They need discussion, and they need a chance to be shot down or put through, regardless of party affiliation. This particular practice has long made me want to vomit. I find it utterly revolting. I believe in a system with a lot of voices. I believe in a system where those voices get to be heard. Too often the voices that are squelched are the most reasonable, the most likely to serve the people. It also makes it hard for parties to work together and compromise. To actually talk to each other. This stupidity discourages that.
That brings up another thing I hate. I hate the term political correctness and I hate how people label something they don’t like PC and dismiss it. Political correctness can be also translated into an effort at respect. For instance, I despise the term mankind. Hate it. Why? Because there are no women in it and because our society frequently erases and dismisses female experience as unimportant. Many say the word mankind includes everyone–women are implied. But those same people would not agree if all of humanity was called Womankind and men were implied. Or if the general pronoun was she instead of he. Because male experience is generally privileged and considered more important and more valuable. It’s considered normal and anything that isn’t male is abnormal and not included in the definition. Women are not normal. Think about it. Most drugs are based on male anatomy. Most cars are designed around male anatomy and needs. Most everything in our culture is designed around the male norm. Except maybe airline seats which are designed around anorexic Capuchin monkeys.
My point is simply this. we create our world out of language. Michele Foucault said that if we can’t name it, we don’t really know it. That’s because it doesn’t fully exist until we can put it into language–convey, communicate, and internalize the essence of something in language. So when people ask to have their experiences of the world validated by the language, calling it PC without considering its value is a dick move. It’s saying “what exists is perfect and you’re not important enough to bother changing the way I speak.” Of course, what that really does is protect ingrained thinking, and therefore what is accepted as knowledge, even if it’s bigoted. And with control of knowledge comes the cultural establishment of how people understand the world–the way it works, what’s normal, what’s not.
Now consider what might have in the past been considered PC changes. Colored for blacks. Or nigger. Why shouldn’t black people want to be called that? How ridiculous, how PC that they should want the dignity and respect of not being called a pejorative word, even though that word is routine in the language of the culture. What about faggot? Or Kikes? Gooks? Wetbacks? Many would agree now that those are not acceptable. They are racist and hate-filled. But then they turn around and see no sense in changing something familiar because others find it derogatory.
I tend to think that there is too much sensitivity in the culture. That sometimes you just have to let things go. At the same time, I make choices not say things like mankind, runs like a girl, screams like a girl, slut, and so on. Yes, a lot of my particular peeves surround women. I’m a woman, I experience the world in a way that frequently tells me that my experiences are less-than, silly, unimportant, stupid, ridiculous, overwrought and so on. Women are blamed for the things that the culture teaches us to be, that expects us to be, that somehow wants us to be, and also negatively judges us for being. Doing anything like a girl is bad. I wish to hell that would fall out of the language. PC? No. Sign of respect for women? Hell yes.
So I want people to not knee-jerk call something PC and label it therefore as stupid and unimportant. I would ask people to consider whether there might be real merit in changing their use of language, in considering the other point of view.
Sunday, June 7th, 2015
I posted this on Facebook, and then decided to repost here. I’m deeply upset over the video of what happened in Mckinney, Texas. So I’m talking it out.
I can’t tell you what the context of what happened in McKinney, Texas is. I can show the video and let you see what I can see. But I do have a lot of very mixed reactions to it. I don’t know why the police were called, and I don’t know at what point the filming started. I know that the officer at the center has been put on leave. I know there’s going to be an investigation. I have very little faith that the investigation will turn up the truth. I hate to say this, but I don’t trust that the police can police themselves. That bothers me a great deal. I have a lot of respect for the people who go out into the world and put themselves between me and danger. The day to day front lines of that are the police. I admire them. And yet I’m learning to fear them.
And then there’s race. It’s a visceral reaction, but when the cop is kneeling on the girl (who turns out to be 14) all of a sudden I’m put in mind of the days of slavery, when black women were nothing more than livestock. There was something about seeing her mostly naked body, face down, helpless, under the weight of a white man in uniform telling her not to fight, not to struggle or it would go worse for her. I wanted to throw up. At 14, I would have wanted to fight the touch of this strange man. I would have felt attacked. I wouldn’t have been able to think. Instincts would have said fight and scream and escape, no matter what. Find help. Yet there is no help. The other men mill about watching, and her friends can do nothing. This girl has great courage and presence of mind to lay still. Or perhaps she’s got enough wherewithal and sense of self preservation to recognize that this man is dangerous. This man could hurt her. This man could kill her. Not only that, he just might. This man who is paid to protect her.
The story of this event may be quite different from the story that I see. But the story that I see is terrifying. It speaks to a world where authority is dangerous, not protective. Where uniforms are symbolic of menace. Where even the men most semiotically demarcated as guardians, are in actuality demons. Cops are supposed to be dangerous, but they are supposed to be the warriors guarding the people. The warriors seem to be turning against us.
I wonder what cops see when they look at this video. Do they see people who’ve turned against them? I don’t know. This is not an easy situation and I fear that the bad is escalating as both sides see each other as enemies, as they fear one another. Rightly so on too many occasions, as we’ve seen. So here it is. The video.
Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
Today I had an absolutely lovely day. Took girlie shopping and we had a lovely outing until . . .
I had to go into Costco to get another prescription for boy (his nausea medicine) and a few other things. We decided to get a slice of pizza and so sat down to eat before we left. This smiling older gentleman sat down opposite us and his wife beside me. He started chatting, and pretty quick he dove into politics. He firmly believes in Glenn Beck. I firmly believe Glenn Beck is mostly delusional. He insinuated that if I in any way supported Obama, I therefore did not support the constitution. Voting for Obama even though much of the Republican party lately is (from my perspective and based on legislation passed by Republicans and blocked by Republicans at a Federal and State level) anti-science, anti-education, anti-gay marriage, anti-women’s rights, anti-middle-class worker, and into privileging companies over people, is a vote for the end of the world apparently (Biblically, for these people). They quoted information at me that I found to be problematical and/or downright wrong. Also, the Bible is not a convincing support for me. Sorry. Unless you’re going with the Do Unto Others rule, which I support.
I consider myself an independent voter. I’m not enthusiastic about any of the party offerings for the most part, but right now, there’s very little that would convince me to vote for a Republican. I’d rather vote for Randy of the Redwoods (an old MTV reference, for those who don’t know). I am also not convinced that the Republicans can and will save the economy. Their track record is not that good. So while those people who tell me I should be voting Republican will acknowledge (some if not all) the problems I mentioned above, they will say it doesn’t matter because the economy matters more than everything else and only the Republicans can save it.
I don’t buy it. I’m not saying I’m a particular fan of Democrats. I see tons of problems there and frankly I think if a politician’s lips are moving, s/he is lying. (Although I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Warren). I think that too many politicians have no idea how ordinary middle-class people live and I think that all too often they’re in it for the prestige and power and money. I am not enthusiastic about the NSA spying. I’m really disgusted by the recent attempts to make it possible to refuse services to people because your religion might not accept the way they live and who they are. Suck it up sunshine. This America. We believe in equal rights.
I like guns. I like equal rights and human rights. I like the environment. I like for women to have equality under the law. I like universal healthcare. I like lower taxes. I like education. I like decent wages. I like the separation of church and state. I like unions and protections for workers. I like a woman’s right to choose. I like freedom of religion. I like gay marriage. I like the constitution. I don’t believe corporations deserve the rights that people do. I think quality education is vital. I believe in evolution and science. I believe people have a right to defend themselves in their homes and kill if necessary (I’m thinking home invaders here and abusive spouses, and imminent danger).
I hold both conservative and liberal beliefs and a range in between. I’m not Christian, but neither do I know what I am. I’m not sure I’m atheist. I’m just not convinced in any particular direction. I honor and respect those who do have faith, no matter what it is, though I’ve no respect for people who are hypocritical about their religion. Of course, I don’t respect hypocrits in general. I believe in Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. I also believe in the Wiccan Rede, An it do no harm, do what ye will.
I got up and walked away from this couple. Mostly because I was done eating and I wasn’t going to change their minds and they weren’t going to change mine and I didn’t want to be preached at, and I didn’t appreciate their judgements of me.
On the positive side, after a horrible bout of barfing this morning (brought on I think by a coughing attack), boy has had a good day.
Saturday, July 20th, 2013
We started the morning with me going to the farmers market for many good things including red potatoes, cantaloupes, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, peaches, apricots, and cilantro. I think a couple other things snuck into the baskets too. Meanwhile, the man ran his errand and finished the project he was working on. We then set off for Portland. Oh, yesterday I bought a used desk. It’s very nice and I can pick it up next Saturday. It should fit well into my office. Yay! So okay. Went to Portland today to a shop that has unfinished furniture (we were also going to a consignment shop to look at desks, but I found one locally on craigslist, so that dropped off the list). The shop was in this really kitchy cool part of Portland near the Lloyd Center (Lloyds? uncertain).
We ordered shelves for the front room and started working on the shelves for the office, but we can’t fully plan those out until we get the desk situated. What’s nice is that the shelves are birch and alder, well made, and will be quite lovely. We will finish them ourselves. We can’t have them for 4-6 weeks because the order has to be made and a local guy makes them. I’m really excited though. It means I’ll actually get to visit the books I haven’t seen for years, some of them. (We had packed up a bunch when we were getting ready to sell the house and then the house took 2 years to sell).
After that, we had some lunch at Chipotle, and then drove back home on a meandering route that took us through a bunch of Portland. We found an estate sale and stopped in, where I bought some bundt pans, a plastic bundt pan carrier/cover, a couple of full aprons (one is pink and the girlie loves it), and put a couple of bids on some furniture. We’ll hear tomorrow if we got them. One is a really cool little coffee table with drawers at the ends. Could be awesome. The other is a rosewood plant stand. Our bids were on the low side, though, so we may not get them. Ah well.
After that we popped into a tool place and grabbed a furniture dolly for moving the desk, and then we chugged on. The kids were desperately looking for a Krispy Kreme shop (which we did not pass). Sadly, nothing. (Not so sad for me. I was and am still stuffed from lunch at this writing). We decided to meander back through some small towns and farmfields and I was on the hunt for some blackberries to pick. I finally found a good bush–off the main road and easy to get to, plus we were all wearing sandals and shorts, so fairly easy to reach. We picked for about a half hour. Filled the bundt pans and the bundt cake keeper. I estimate at least 16 cups, probably closer to 20. Pie and jelly are in our future.
Now I am about to try getting some words down. I wrote about 2K last night and I’d like to keep the groove up.
Oh, and then this. Hobby Lobby has been, at this point, allowed not to provide birth control to its employees as part of its insurance. I wrote a bit about this on FB this morning, but I was thinking more about it. I got to wondering about whether a judge would have approved this if they were Muslim. Really I wonder if many religions would be approved, but in particular I think Muslims would be excoriated by the courts, partly because of Sharia Law (which I admit I know precious little about, but which is demonized in this country, and I have no idea how ordinary Muslim faith actually follows Sharia Law or not), and partly because of 9/11 and the Taliban. Would Muslims get this same approval? I not only doubt it, I think pigs would fly and screw butterflies first. I think the same would apply to Mormons, frankly. And Amish. And Hutterites. I could go on.
And that leads me to this question: why is it right for one religion to have the ability to dictate the health/sex lives/fertility of its employees, but not others? Well, for me, the answer is it’s not right, not for Texas, not for Arizona, not for Wisconsin, not for anyone. What a woman or man chooses to do with their bodies is their choice, including whether or not to have children.
Feel free to agree or disagree, to correct me, explain to me, or otherwise discuss. I merely ask for civility in this discussion, and respecting that other people have opposing beliefs and ideas. The discussion is important to have, regardless of agreement.