Katrina has come and gone. Unfortunately, the effects will be more lasting than ever. We are short on National Guard and Reserve troops to help the people in the devastated areas. Months ago the Governor of Louisiana begged the President to bring some or most of them home to help, knowing the catastrophe a bad hurricane can bring. Because there is no one to clean up and secure the cities in the aftermath, looting and other crimes are being committed at an alarming rate. Electricity will not be restored in some parts for two months or more. New Orleans is under water because here were no troops to help secure the levies before the storm and it may never recover. I hope all of you got to see New Orleans before it sank back into the sea. If I were Chavez, I would have called President Bush immediately and offered to send Venezuelan troops to help clean up and secure Louisiana and Mississippi. What a point that would make!
Archive for August, 2005
After three episodes of the new Showtime series, Weeds, I finally decided to post about it. Bringing an issue like Marijuana use to the forefront is just the beginning. The show suggests that it is difficult for a middle-class person living in the suburbs of America to cope if tragedy strikes. The death of a husband, or a wife, has put hundreds of families in similar situations since the war began, and one wonders what their spouses have to do to make ends meet. Selling marijuana to the lawyers, accountants, and business owners of a community is certainly one way to go, especially if you want to maintain the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed. And another question arises: If no one believes that marijuana should be legalized and fewer people are doing it that we think, how are suburban moms and dads making a living off of growing and selling it? What benefits, if any, do you see from the legalization of marijuana, mushrooms, or peyote? What would be he societal changes involved? Given the looming meth crisis, and the fact that marijuana has been used to treat meth addicts, does marijuana really seem so bad?
I have come to think of relationships as being “under the influence” of someone. When we are in a relationship with someone, we often see things differently, sometimes from their perspective, and are able to learn and grow in our environment. Sometimes we outgrow our environment and relationships end. The influence that person had on our lives, though, never really goes away. We see things differently than we did before. We have added perspectives and experiences to our own. We have learned to discuss and debate with another type of person, making the whole world more accessible to us. We are never the same, and we can never go back.
To the man who thinks he has taught me nothing: I know you disagree with my opinions and apparently, the way I’ve been living my life, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn anything from you. My knowledge of Ancient Greece and Rome alone proves you taught me something. The Metallica blasting from my classroom during class changes (when I have a class) can also be attributed to you. My pride in my country and its defenders was always present, but you made it personal. It was you who made me take stock of my life, decide it was going in the wrong direction, and do something about it. The world has become a much different place in the past five years, and I have become a different person as a result. I have not always made the right choices or decisions, but I am at peace with who I am. I keep your lessons with me and use them when they’re appropriate. Your leadership style alone has saved my butt with my students on a number of occasions. If you think I still have a lot to learn, you’re welcome to stick around and teach me.
Harvard thinks they may have come up with something that could possibly, at some point in the future, solve the stem-cell question. They are combining stem cells with skin cells. I think it’s great that we’re finding ways around the government’s problem with using these cells, but anything involving genetic mutation bothers me. Don’t get me wrong, I love scientific advancement, and I’m especially for anything that could make my sister a healthier person, but I’m not sure it’s smart to start fusing things together. I don’t eat genetically modified foods, and I’m not sure where I stand on genetically modified body parts. I know it will be years before this is even a possibility, but I wonder where it will ultimately lead, and if it will be a place we really want to go.
As an extension of my immigration post, the questions arose as to whether it is sometimes better for people to stay in countries with emerging economies, especially if they are educated. If they can wait out the current situation, they stand to make a decent amount of money when it’s over and have the honor of helping to build their country’s economy. My husband’s family is from Colombia. Every Colombian I know who is in the U.S. is only waiting for the war to end and the government to stabilize so that they can go home and help rebuild their country. Even my husband and I plan on having a hand in rebuilding, and my husband was born (legally) in the United States. I wonder what makes people from some countries come here and never want to leave while those from others are only trying to take advantage of the economic opportunities America provides for a short period of time. Why do people who flee their country for safety reasons or economic reasons not go back home when the problems have been resolved? I know America is a wonderful place, but what happened to, “There’s no place like home? ©
Immigration policy has been in the background of the news lately with the driver’s license laws in California and the out-of-control Citizen’s Boarder Patrol. The rights of illegal immigrants have come into question several times . I don’t believe illegal immigrants should be able to collect the benefits of citizenship or legal immigrant status, including a free and public education. I also don’t believe that the children of illegal immigrants should be able to participate in government programs even if they were born in the United States. The only real consequence for being illegally in the U.S. is to be deported, unless, of course, the person is of middle eastern origin (that is a different matter entirely). Only emergency medical care should be provided to those in the country illegally. For everything else, they’re on their own. There is no reason why some people should be able to chose to bypass the legal immigration system and reap any kind of benefits. How do you feel about illegal immigrants receiving government services?
It is time for the people to finally demand what’s been alluding us for years. While this can be seen in a political light, I think it needs to be applied to anyone with any kind of authority. From School Board members to CEO’s to the President, we must demand accountability and transparency.
Our schools are suffering, our health care system is atrocious, and social security is dying. The public is not demanding that anyone be held accountable for these things. Senators and Congressmen are re-elected even though it’s quite obvious we have some serious domestic issues. Reporters ask questions but don’t require actual answers. CEO’s embezzle millions and no one goes to jail. The Vice-President virtually disappears and no one asks where he’s been. Parents don’t get involved in their local schools. People pay thousands a year for prescription drugs and don’t ask why they’re so expensive. Americans are not demanding accountability from each other or their government. If things are going to improve, this is the first thing that must be changed.
People lie. People in power lie a lot. Especially when they’ve made a mistake. Demanding transparency doesn’t mean needing to know everything about someone’s personal life. It means demanding proof of what people say to us. We should see budgets and agendas for people in public office. We should know how every cent is being spent as well as what our Congressmen, Senators, and other federal, state, and local government personnel are doing during working hours. When we ask questions, we need to insist on getting the answers. We cannot allow ourselves to be appeased anymore. We know what we want. Why aren’t we fighting for it?