Ponderings from a Procrastinating Prognosticator

Archive for the ‘Political commentary’ Category

Followup to My Last Post

Posted by samatwitch on October 25, 2014

I have now watched the video referenced in my last post because several of my friends thought it worth posting so I thought I should see if they had a point.  I understand why they thought it was worth cheering but I don’t agree for a couple of reasons.  One is because I agree with The Belle Jar that it’s exploitive.  I wrote a rant for FB but I have a wide variety of ‘friends’ on there who don’t know me very well and I prefer it to remain that way, so I’m posting it here.

I agree with this author’s take on the video making the rounds. I hadn’t intended to watch it, given the title, but after I read The Belle Jar’s post yesterday, I thought I should before I commented. There are several things that disturb me about this video. The first one is the liberal use of the F word by young girls age 6 – 13. I admit I’m a prude when it comes to swearing. I was brought up not to even say damn or hell but I do and, although many of my friends wouldn’t know this, I have on occasion used the F word. However, that’s usually in times of great pain and/or distress.  After all, if you use it all the time, as an adjective, adverb, noun, verb, what are you going to use when you really need something to express your feelings or outrage!

In this instance, it loses its power very quickly because it’s used so much; on the other hand I guess it still has the shock value the ad is obviously looking for because it’s coming out of the mouths of young girls.

I could probably overlook that – after all I have seen/heard/posted some pretty powerful poems and posts that have used the word in a way that creates an impact.  What I really object to is the expoitation of these young girls, especially the last bit:  One in five women will be raped…which one of us will it be?  Really??? If you had a daughter that age, is that what you would like them to be saying or even thinking about?  I have great nieces that age and I can’t even imagine them being allowed to take part in a video like this.  Knowing their mothers/grandmothers/aunts/great aunts, I am quite sure they will grow up to be feminists and will learn the statistics but I don’t think this is the way.  As someone in the comments of one article said, if a bunch of young girls had gotten together and decided to make this video, then it would have been an entirely different take and I would have applauded their knowledge and initiative.

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Election Ponderings

Posted by samatwitch on November 10, 2008

I’m a Canadian and have voted in every election – civic, provincial or federal – since I turned 19.  I try to stay informed as to what the candidates’ policies and platforms are.  We just had a federal election in October to choose our Prime Minister and parliament.  The election was called, campaigning began, a debate was held among the five parties, voting began (I voted early this time) and it was all over in just over 30 days.  Voter turnout was the lowest ever  – 59.1%.  That’s been attributed to many things: Liberal dissatisfaction with their leader, general apathy on the part of the population, no burning issues to get behind on any one party, general voter fatigue.  I think it may have had a lot to do with that ‘other’ election – that of choosing a leader in the country south of us, an election process that was in turn long, drawn-out, up and down, bitter and hopeful, and never ever boring!

In good part because of the Internet, I became a US political junkie!  A great many of my on-line friends, some of whom I have even met in person, are American, and they are intelligent, well-read and politically aware.  In 2008, many of them were actively involved, some for the first time.  There are a couple of Republicans in the mix ;), but most of my friends are Democrats or became so over the course of the process.

On Flickr, the Whedonesque group called “The Library”, has a thread about voting for Obama.  It was started by Willowy, who is from Arizona – originally from Alaska – on January 31, 2008 and it grew ‘like Topsy’.  It’s now over 17 pages long, with over 1650 comments.  Many of the comments were links to articles, YouTube, blogs, etc.

The same thing happened on Twitter.  A lot of my friends on there also posted links, so that if I fell behind while I was at work, it could take me hours to catch up at night, because I wanted to read or watch everything that my friends felt was worthwhile.

Although I was impressed with Barack Obama, during the Primaries, I wavered between him and Hillary Clinton.  I had always liked and respected her and thought she’d make a good President, but either one was okay with me.  The primary process dragged on and on, and some of the things coming out of the Clinton campaign made me change my mind.  There was something about Barack Obama that inspired hope and confidence that this man might actually be able to change the direction in which America had been heading and reverse some of the damage already done.

Our Canadian election over and done with and civic elections not until mid-November, I settled down to watch what was happening to our nearest neighbour and it was exciting, nail-biting, rollercoaster-riding awesome, in the original sense of the word.

After eight years of a Bush-Cheney White House, the American people voted for change – not just for a change in political party – but for change in the greatest sense of the word: they voted for hope.  I sat in front in my living room on November 4th, swivelling on my chair between the TV and my computer screen.  I was watching CNN on TV and was switching from CNN to MSNBC to Flickr to Twitter on my computer, to get the latest numbers the fastest.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like for people on the East Coast.  I found it hard enough to wait until 8 pm Pacific time when, as soon as the California polls closed, CNN & MSNBC and everyone else from what I understand, called the election for Obama.  I couldn’t stop crying – and still can’t whenever I think of what actually happened that night.

My tears were of joy, of course, and of relief, but I think I was and still am overwhelmed by the enormity of what the American people did in voting in  Barack Obama as President.  It isn’t just that he’s African-American, although that is certainly a big part of it.  Although part of me that ‘knows’ things knew he would win, the practical side of me kept thinking that at the last moment the American people were going to decide they weren’t ready for a black president.  I am so glad that that part of me was wrong.

In the days leading up to election night, there were stories of people standing in line for hours to vote. There was a story of an elderly black woman who was dying but was determined to vote for Obama before she did so.  Her advance vote came, a family member took it to the hospital and helped her fill it out and sign it.  She died a few hours later.  The one downside to all of this was the death of Barack Obama’s grandmother.  I was so glad that he took time out to go to visit her one last time.  In a way, that convinced me that he was going to win, because I don’t think she would have let go and died if she had had any doubt.

I am old enough to remember the race riots in the States in the 60s.  I remember Kent State, the Chicago Seven (or Eight), George Wallace and Martin Luther King.  My mother bought the record of “I Have a Dream” which she played for my sister and me and which I still have today.  His assassination still affects me today, but Martin Luther King’s words continue to inspire people – not just in the US – and that is what makes me so emotional about Barack Obama.

He inspires people.  He inspired some of my friends to become actively involved in his campaign, he inspired – and continues to inspire – people with hope; hope for the future, for change – not only for how America behaves within its boundaries, but how it behaves with the rest of the world.

As I watched his acceptance speech, delivered by a man who looked as if he had just realised what he has to live up to, tears rolled down my face, as they ran down the faces of many of the thousands of people in the crowd, including Oprah Winfrey and Jesse Jackson, of black and white, of young and old, and I thought for the first time in a long time that maybe the world has a chance at surviving the human race after all.  The leader of the most powerful nation in the world has said he is willing to talk to leaders of other countries, even ones diametrically opposed to American interests, before he considers bombing them to pieces.  He cares about the environment and understands we may have to make major changes in the way we live in order to still have a world to live in.

He made it plain that it wasn’t going to be an easy process or a quick one, and people aren’t always going to like the decisions his government has to make, but Barack Obama seems to have a good grasp of the big picture and where he wants to steer America, and that is something that I haven’t seen in a long time.

These pictures have been making the rounds and here is a link to an article about them.  They cause more tears to flow because they sum up the hope I and others dare to feel once more.

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Posted by samatwitch on July 11, 2008

I’ve been home with a cold the past two days – not a bad one, but sore, scratchy throat, slight temperature rise, fuzzy and dizzy feeling and generally blah – so I erred on the side of caution.

While I was home, I did some more planning for my trip, which involves measuring my backpack, my purse/bag, my suitcase, etc., to make sure they fall within the new baggage regulations for the airlines.  Air Canada still allows even economy passengers to check one bag free and that’s all I plan on having.  I may buy a smaller backpack because I think mine is too large for carry-on, if they decided to be sticky about it, and it certainly is too big for me to have on my back while walking around a convention hall with 40,000 other people.  I’m not even sure it’s the best plan for me, since putting a backpack on and taking it off actually make my back worse!

I have to make sure that any liquids I’m carrying are less than 100mg and can fit in a Ziploc bag of certain dimensions!  That apparently includes toothpaste.  What on earth do they think you can hide in a toothpaste tube?  I’m all for being safe and doing whatever we can to protect ourselves, but I think we’re becoming a totally paranoid society.

I read an article yesterday about an electronic bracelet that has been developed with the possibility that every airline passenger will have to wear one in place of a boarding pass.  In case of a hijacking, they can be activated to paralyse – yes! paralyse – the person or persons involved.  Of course, the manufacturers said that only the hijackers’ bracelets would be activated – by a laser pointer from the flight attendant at a distance of 10 feet!  I don’t thinks so!  There are so many things that can go wrong there, I don’t even want to speculate.

Is this really how we want to live our future?  Being so afraid of everything and everybody that we arm ourselves with tasers and pepper spray and electronic bracelets?  I admit that I am not the most courageous person in the world, but I am not going to believe that every person around me is a possible terrorist.  Defensive and reactive actions are not a solution.  We have to solve the underlying problems – or at least admit that they are there, which would be a start.

There is such a discrepancy between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in the world – between countries and between people in countries who can actually claim ‘haves’.    We have millions of people in the world who go to bed hungry, a good number of them children.  And yet, the world produces enough food for everyone in the world to have enough to eat.  I think that’s worth repeating.  THE WORLD PRODUCES ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE IN THE WORLD TO HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.  So how are we going to get food produced into the hands of people who really need it.

I don’t know.  I don’t have a solution, but maybe if we keep thinking about it, we can come up with one.

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