Archive for January, 2008


We Need a Hero

When I was in college (sometime in 1997)  I read an opinion piece about the lack of heroes in America and I wrote a counterargument for a class I was taking.  I remember focusing on the small, everyday heroes (firemen, teachers, the occasional cop), probably unable to find the large scale heroes the piece was longing for, thus inadvertently proving the author’s point.  I wish I had that counterargument.  I think I would be amused at how naive and self-absorbed I was.  Here was this prophetic piece of writing in front of me and I dismissed it completely.  I actually believed the things my parents, teachers, politicians, and news anchors told me.  I didn’t look elsewhere because I had the opinion of everyone that mattered.  Even through college I remained ignorant of what was really going on around me.  I probably would be to this day if I hadn’t met my husband. (Man, that revelation is going to piss some people off.)  It terrifies me to think of how many things I missed in my youth.  But it horrifies me more to look ahead.

I see what this drop in the economy is doing to my city.  I’m watching my students get more depressed and angry by the day as their parents lose jobs, their rent goes unpaid, and they try to study on empty stomachs and lost hopes.  They’re afraid to graduate, knowing there’s not really anyplace to go.  We send some to college, but trade school is becoming a waste.  Who wants to get into student loan debt when there’s no promise of a job when you graduate?  They refuse to join the army and I’m torn between being proud that they won’t fight this pointless war and upset knowing that their salary would have provided them three meals a day and kept their family afloat, especially when supplemented with combat pay.  There’s an up-rise in violence, especially toward law enforcement.  This means that people are angry at the establishment, and as our nation degrades financially, the violence will get worse. 

There are no heroes in this city. There are no heroes in this country.  No one is standing up and saying, “Look around you. We are killing each other.  We are letting each other die.  Our children have little education and no health care.  Our young men and women are hustling on the streets to survive.  Our families are broken.  Unemployment is high.  Teenage pregnancy is high.  Truancy is high.  This has to stop.”  Not loud enough to be heard.  Maybe the problems seem so overwhelming that no one has any ideas(except Al Gore, Ron Paul, and Dennis Kucinich).  They’re stunned.  They’re looking at the wreckage of our city and our country and shaking their heads.  We need a hero.  Or maybe we have the heores, adn we just won’t listen.


Fair and Balanced

Even the media is admitting now that they have a role in the outcome of elections.  Mentioning the effect that publicity has on elections does not absolve the media outlets from responsibility, but this seems to be the tactic they’re using.  After Hillary’s win in New Hampshire Brian Williams and other talking heads began to discuss the media’s role in the “upset” since they had been making predictions about what would happen.  They didn’t mention that any discussion of politics on national TV plays a role in the election debate, especially when certain candidates are ignored (Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich) and others are glorified (Barak Obama, Mike Huckabee).  And yet we continue to allow the media to get off the hook.  We pretend that they aren’t influencing millions of Americans on the Media Conglomerate News.  It almost makes you hope that the Writer’s Strike continues and puts these major outlets out of business.  I’ll trade my favorite TV shows for just a little bit of truth.  Won’t you?

3,904 US soldiers killed in Iraq; 28,870 US soldiers wounded in Iraq (not that I believe that these figures are in any way accurate anymore)


I Don’t Believe You

The United States has put out a video supposedly showing Iranian soldiers dropping what they claim to be explosive devices in the water near US Ships in the Persian Gulf.  I have several problems with this video.  First, when the “provocation” was announced, there was no mention of their being video footage of the “attempted attack”.  Second, Iran says that the video is doctored, and having seen the video, I tend to agree with them.  Though they admit that speedboats were in the area, they contend that this is a normal occurrence and the boats were doing nothing out of the ordinary.  The voices of the “Iranians” sound more like American soldiers.  The accent isn’t right for a speaker of Farsi, and the audio is easily understood over the roar of US and Iranian vessels.  I don’t think the propagandists are even trying anymore.  How can anyone take the US Government seriously anymore?  Has the enire Iraq war just been a premable to the US going into Iran? 


Don’t Drink the Water

At my school, it’s not just an expression.  We’re starting to believe it’s true.  Out of 100 female students, 45 of them are pregnant or have had a child.  Even more have had an abortion or miscarriage.  When I ask them if they used a condom, most of them look at me like I’ve lost my mind.  Birth control pills are expensive and condoms even more so, especially if you’re having sex more than three times a week.  Male egos run rampant in this community (which is how the girls explain the lack of condom use), and unfortunately male responsibility does not (which is how the girls explain having to drop out of school).   I can’t help but feel like we’re failing these girls, and I don’t know what we can do to alleviate the problem.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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