Friday, March 26, 2010

In Other News

So, anybody read the paper or watched the news lately?  Because if you haven't, you've been missing out on "Armageddon" and "Waterloo" NOT occurring.  What did happen was the President saw the center piece of his political agenda get passed, and people scared to death by the Republican Party started acting crazy. 

A few 'for instances':
1) Rep. Barney Frank being called a faggot,
2) multiple African American Representatives, including one who sturggled through the Civil Rights movement, being called niggers,
3) bricks thrown through offices of Representatives, &
4) Representatives and their families threatened with violence and death, including the posting of actual addresses (though not all of them accurate) and a protest planned at one Representative's house (his actual home state residence, where his wife and kids live).

Yes, America, this is the country we live in.  The President signed a piece of legislation that covers 30 million more Americans, providing health insurance to people like me who would have difficulty getting it otherwise, and people are acting crazy.  "Death Panels" and "pulling the plug on Grandma" are coming home to roost.

I actually didn't want to spend this post on the passing of the bill, momentous as it is, because so many people are talking about it already.  But, when such violent acts occurr and it seems no one on the Right is actually, sincerely, trying to stop it, I get angry. 

People were called unAmerican when they opposed the Iraq War, but you didn't see us throw bricks through windows or threaten death to House members.  And yet the Right has the nerve to compare Tea Party protesters swarming the Captiol steps, spitting on a Representative and yelling out hateful epithets, to the war protests on the Left.  How naive can you be?

Here is the biggest difference between the Left's protests then and the Right's protests now: Americans died in Iraq because of Bush Administration lies & people were tortured and died due to their deceits, while people would die every day due to Obama Administration inaction on healthcare.  And yet, the Right implicitly condones the actions of its outlayers.  It all just makes me sick. 

After what I've seen of the Republican party this past 15 months, I don't understand how anyone can morally live with themselves and be on the Right.  The Left has worked to stimulate the economy, tried to allow gays to openly serve in the military, signed S-CHIP into law, passed a Fair Pay Act, and genuinely worked to make this country better.  The Right has opposed them at every turn.  The party of No thinks the efforts the Left put forth are too over-reaching, believes the actions go too far, sees the problems of this country as too big to fix with just legislation.  Republicans, if you didn't think you could do the job, why did you bother getting elected?  Government is for the big boys, not the babies.  Go ahead and keep crying in the corner.  Let the adults do the real work of running the country.

I was proud of my President Sunday; I was proud of the Congress and especially Nancy Pelosi for getting the bill passed.  No, I was not happy about the Executive Order, nor was I pleased there wasn't a Public Option or a Medicare Buy-In (my preferred choice, considering I'm currently paying through COBRA about the same amount it would cost me).  But, and this is a huge but, our lives are so much better today than they were last week.  When I have a child(ren?), I will be able to tell them about how, in the past, Mommy was without insurance and she had to pay $1700 to fix one tooth.  Or how Daddy owed a hospital $10,000 because he had an appendicitis.  And I will be able to say how happy I am my child(ren?) will never have to face those difficulities. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Politics & Prom Part II

The ACLU is suing the Mississippi school board to reinstate the prom, saying now that the dance was taken away from the entire school, they must fight for the rights of all the students to have their senior prom.

LINK: ACLU files suit against Mississippi school for canceling prom

This case has stuck with me since I first read it. I couldn't help but think back on my experiences in high school, the injustice I witnessed first hand, and the continuing grief I have for not doing anything about it.

I went to an all girls Catholic School. During my senior year, a set of twins were our class President & VP. They were awesome people, liked by most in the class. But they had a problem: their parents didn't finishing paying for their tuition for the year.

I remember getting fitted for my graduation dress, all of us in a line waiting our turn, and overhearing the conversation of one of the twins about the situation. The faculty had threatened to not allow her & her sister into prom unless their tuition was paid in full by the day of the event. I couldn't understand this logic. The twins paid for their prom experience themselves: tickets, dresses, hair, limo. They wanted to have fun with their friends. Why were they being punished for the faults of their parents?

My senior prom was pretty fun. I looked smoking hot (I'd been participating in a local exercise campaign our new gym teacher had sponsored). I laughed and spent time with my friends. I danced and took pictures of everyone (including the teacher I had a crush on). It was a great night.

But, when I went to use the restroom, I happened to have a clear view of the front sign in table, a mere fifty feet away. The twins had arrived: beautiful, dates on their arms, wanting to go join their friends in the fun. Our principle, not the nicest of people (as most principles tend to be), physically stood in their way, keeping them from entering the ballroom.

And I just stood there, speechless. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I couldn't believe it was happening. We went to a Catholic School, which supposedly preached the love of God and the compassion of Jesus. Yet, over a petty money dispute, what could have been one of the best nights of their lives was taken away from two wonderful girls.

To this day, I regret not doing something, not standing up for them in their time of need. If only trying to distract the principle, or trying to convince her to let them in. Why didn't we band together as a class and try to pay their balance? Why didn't we demand they be let in? Why didn't we do something?

The simplest and easiest answer I have is we were stupid teenagers who didn't know better. But part of me doesn't believe that. Part of me knows it's because, when you're that age, you're selfish. Only your life matters. No one wants to hear about the sorrows of others. (I didn't tell my friends about all my family members who died when I was in school. I figured no one wanted to hear it.)

The twins didn't come to either of the graduation ceremonies (we had two). I haven't seen them or spoken to them about the incident.

I just don't understand how schools can be like this: concerned with their own selfish interests and not looking out for their students, all of their students.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Politics & Prom

I just finished reading an article on USAToday about an 18 year old Mississippi lesbian who, after being denied the right to bring her girlfriend to prom, contacted her ACLU chapter for help, only for the school board to find the pussy/asshole way around the situation: they canceled the prom for the school and suggested people set up a "private prom".

LINK: Mississippi prom canceled after lesbian's date request

There are so many things about this ordeal that infuriates me. So, I'm making a list.

1) Why is it so bad if this girl brings her date to prom? Why do people even care? I get that it's the south & hatred and bigotry live on, but really? We have to take a stand over the prom? Do they really think their society will be up ended and catastrophically changed just because a lesbian wants to share a night of fun with her girlfriend? She's a senior and is probably leaving to go off to college, or somewhere else a little more inviting, in less than two months. Can't they just let this slide?

2) What if she just wanted to bring her friend from another school? Would the policy still count? I know when I was a teenager, the only two dates I ever brought to dances were friends. There was no romantic involvement whatsoever. So what if? Would their bigoted policy still take effect? If not, I smell lawsuit. If yes, I'm angered even more.

3) I HATE that the school had the balls to basically tell the parents and students, "Have your own party, cause then you can admit or deny whoever you want. Keep discrimination alive!" It infuriates me to no end when people promote hatred/discrimination/phobia of 'the other' and pass it off as 'a choice.' Sure, it's a choice for you to be assholes, but that doesn't mean you should be. I hope someone organizes a prom and then invites the lesbian and her girlfriend to come, just to stick it to the school.

& 4) The dumbest part of the story, just for its shear misogyny: A dress? Really? The girl was being denied access to the dance not just because she wanted to bring her girlfriend, but also because she wanted to wear a tuxedo. Can someone explain to me why this is important, AT ALL?!? The way I see it, if she buys the ticket, that girl should able to roll up in a tank top, shorts, and flip flops. How can attire matter in any way, shape or form, as long as no one is naked?

It's story like this that get me fired up about our country. How are we suppose to be 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' or 'have equal protection under the law' when homophobia and misogyny are somehow ingrained in society?

This is not what I believe in. This is not the America I want to live in.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Metro Moment

Today I witnessed my first crime in progress. Actually witnessed might be too strong a term. I saw the direct aftermath of someone's really bad day.

I sat on the Red Line around 1pm, reading a submission for Writers' Group, when I heard a young woman a few rows behind me yell, "Hey!" The warning chime had just sounded and a guy ran out the door. The woman tried to follow, but the thief had timed it perfectly. The doors closed behind him, blocking her from chasing. "He stole my iPhone!" she yelled, unable to do much else.

I never saw his face. I only know it was a him from her statement. I don't even know what race he was. I felt bad for her. I couldn't go back to reading the submission.

The woman ended up at the end of our car, trying to watch him as he ran off. A rather attractive gentleman, who was sitting by the pass through door, stood up and pushed the emergency button. He made a phone call and subsequently exited with the girl at the next stop. It wasn't until they left that I saw he had a radio clipped to his belt. He was replaced by a Metro Cop in uniform.

After they were gone, a pair of friends across the aisle starting talking. One mentioned how she saw it coming, how she'd seen him spying her things. She started chuckling, which made me mad. I went back to ignoring my surroundings, but kept my arm through my backpack's strap.
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