I have a couple of thoughts, by no means exclusive or comprehensive.
1. We definitely need a dialogue on how best to handle mental illness. There is such a societal stigma attached to it, and then we seem to only want to touch it with kid gloves, by making light of it, or joking (have you ever called a psychiatrist a “shrink”?). We are far more educated about the workings of the human brain than we were even 50 years ago, but we are light years away from understanding it completely. We have no problem running off to a doctor for the slightest physical ailment, yet despite the fact that the brain is far more complicated than all the other organs in the body combined, we hesitate to do something when things “aren’t right”. Often mental illness is left to the parents, or families, and society simply ignores it. We need to change our attitudes about it. In the process, we’ll not only have a better understanding of what makes the Adam Lanza’s of the world tick, but we’ll make great strides in dealing with other societal ills, such as homelessness, suicide, drug addiction, etc.
Real mail. Snail mail. It was delivered by the Postal Service.
Recently I wrote a column and submitted it to my local paper. The paper actually printed it. I received a lot of responses, and some were actually written and delivered the old fashioned way. I though I’d reproduce one of them here, along with my response to my fan ( a term I use loosely). I know, this is a cheap and easy way to get another post up on the blog, but I did write it, so why not?
Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Both of you. Who will SI endorse for President of the United States? I’m sure that if you’re a regular reader, you really have no idea, because I’m so obviously impartial in my politics, and I clearly lean in both directions depending on the issue, that you are all scratching your heads, trying to tease some sense of who I will ultimately pick. Let me ease the suspense, and give it to you straight.
In an effort to get another post in this month, I thought I’d ruminate on the recent Republican National Convention. I know. Snooze time, but really, it’s August 31, and this is my last chance to get something written this month.
Everyone knows who the Duggars are, don’t you? You should. They are the clan (and I do mean clan) of 19 children, and a few grandchildren, that have made a career out of being big (i.e a large family from one womb) and Christian. They have their very own reality TV show that showcases their big family and their Christian values.
We all have heard the recent news about Rep. Todd Akin over the past two days. In an interview, he opined about pregnancies caused by rape:
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
By now most people are aware of the various laws passed by, almost exclusively, Republican controlled state legislatures that ostensibly are supposed to prevent voter fraud at the polls (33 states so far. 180 restrictive voting bills have been introduced in 41 states just since the beginning of 2011.) They attempt to accomplish this by requiring photo IDs that are mandated to be produced before someone votes. On its face, it seems logically innocuous. We all have photo IDs (driver’s licenses, etc) that show who we are, don’t we? What’s the big deal? We need to produce an ID when we cash a check, or obtain credit, or get on an airplane, the argument goes, so why not when we show up to vote? Besides there are all those unscrupulous people out there committing voter fraud, impersonating someone else in order to vote more than once, right?
If you’re like me, you have a hard time ingesting current news, especially on the political front. The polarization of America is, front and center, the most perplexing aspect of current political discourse. Take for instance this fixation on defeating Obama, making him a “one term President” as Mitch McConnell promised early in his administration, during a time of economic crisis when millions of people were losing their homes, their jobs, and their way of life, and Congress should have been working WITH the President, not against him.
I guess everyone is well aware of the Arab Spring that has swept across the Middle East and North Africa, with the toppling of regimes in countries like Libya and Egypt. It seems to bear out the idea that people everywhere are more or less the same, regardless of their ethnic, cultural or religious differences, in the areas of political and personal freedom. They will put up with a crap-load of oppression and lack of freedom up to a point, but when that point is reached, they’ll snap, rise up and get rid of their oppressors. Usually, this happens in conjunction with an economic downturn. So it’s no surprise to see this with a world economy on the fritz, and it also explains American movements like the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. When people are able to exist with enough of the necessities of life, they are…well, maybe not happy, but content enough with their lives to let sleeping dogs lie. But when every day is a dog-eat-dog form of existence, the rulers better watch out. But enough with the canine cliches.