Rolling Stone gives in an inside look into our country’s history with off-shore drilling and details the events that possibly lead up to the Gulf spill. To say the least, it’s an interesting read. I highly suggest reading it and drawing your own conclusions about our government’s role in this disaster. Please check the “Associated Links” tab under this date/post to find the link to the full article.
I am absolutely SICK and TIRED of asking my friends or people my age what they think about a particular current issue in politics and them having no freakin' idea what I’m talkin’ about. How do you figure young people, that you can afford to NOT pay attention? Vast amounts of people OUR age and of OUR generation are in Iraq and Afghanistan, losing their lives in a war-you CANNOT afford to NOT pay attention! We are in the middle of an economic recession. Companies everywhere are dissolving, Mass layoffs are happening everyday, people are losing their homes, experienced MIT graduates can’t even find work (don’t believe me? Click the “links” tab on the left and check out the photos), and all of this as OUR generation is graduating from college- you CANNOT afford to be politically ignorant! Obama’s stimulus package may make this recession deathly worse-Do you even know why I said that?
The government isn’t sure if we will have social security income when we retire. Do you even know what social security income is? You CANNOT afford to be politically ignorant! Will you be able to afford healthcare when your mom’s and pop’s healthcare plan drops you? Do you even know how to attain healthcare? You CANNOT afford to be politically ignorant! ESPECIALLY IF YOU FREAKIN’ VOTED! You should be paying attention!
If you are a racial minority, a woman, homosexual, or poor- YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO BE POLITICALLY IGNORANT! Legislation has long oppressed and discriminated against you!
Specifically to young (18-30yrs old) people who voted for Obama:
WE CANNOT AFFORD TO NOT PAY ATTENTION. We got him in office; we are responsible for him. It is our responsibility to pay attention to every decision he makes. I am SICK AND TIRED of coming across young people, especially fellow African-Americans, who stopped paying attention after November 4, 2008 or January 20, 2009. We must analyze, weigh and critique all of the administration’s choices and decide if we agree or disagree; either confirming or disproving that we chose the right person for president. If you don’t pay attention, how will you know for yourself if you supported and voted for the right man? When we are puzzled, confused or angry we must ask questions and demand answers. If we don’t pay attention, how will we know what questions to ask? Or if there is even anything to question? We must learn from his triumphs and failures as president, so that when the time comes to vote again we will make a better or even better choice. Some accused Bush supporters of blindly following and supporting his administration. If you don’t pay attention, won’t you be guilty of the same thing?
I’m pissed, frustrated and a little bit jaded today.
I’m in this mood for a number of reasons that are interrelated. I’m going to try to make this blog post flow and make sense.
When it comes to healthcare, I have a biased opinion. Why? Because I’m one of the millions of Americans who do NOT have healthcare. When I tried to apply for my state healthcare plan, my application counselor told me “I’m going to be honest with you. More than likely, you won’t be approved. Unless you’re pregnant, over a certain age, or have a life-ending illness you will not be approved.” Like she predicted, I was not approved. I was dropped of my father’s healthcare plan when I was 21. I am now 24. Yes, it’s only been 3 years, but it’s been an expensive, hard 3 years. My perfect financial credit is in jeopardy as a result of my high medical bills that I cannot afford to pay on. This in particular hurts and irritates me because I’ve always considered myself financially responsible (I didn’t make the poor financial choices that contributed to the crumbling economy of today), and yet, with all the frugal planning, I am STILL in financial distress. Nothing like not bearing fruit from your labor. I’ve paid hundreds of dollars in co-pays, pre-pays, and prescription fees. I feel like I am being penalized for being sick.
I’ve gotten to the point where I will allow myself to get HORRIBLY sick trying to cure myself before I even CONTEMPLATE going to the doctor. Others in my immediate family do not have healthcare and have overwhelming, consistent issues. On the “Dr. Oz” show, an enormous free clinic was setup and the response was a telling portrait of the state of healthcare in America. Needless to say it’s a desperate situation. Millions of Americans are like myself and are without insurance; unable to have crucial care they need to survive and beat illness. Many are forced to sell sentimental and/or needed assets to pay medical bills and fees.
As I watch the healthcare debate in Washington ensue, my blood boils. While the politicians bicker amongst themselves like children on a playground with their disgusting partisanship (you’ll read more about that in a minute), people are suffering and/or dying because they cannot AFFORD to get treatment and live. As MSNBC’s Keith Olberman put it (love him or hate him), we are fighting against death. The healthcare debate is a fight against DEATH. Part of the DELAY in reforming healthcare is genuinely because some politicians want to get it right and make the best decision; hence the debate as everyone’s got different ideas on what the “best decision” is. The other part, however, is driven by PARTISANSHIP. Disagreeing with an idea or plan just because it’s coming from the opposition, as supposed to disagreeing because you honestly don’t like the idea. It’s separatism. The good ole’ “you vs. us.”
Focused on winning and losing, some politicians are more concerned about defeating the opposite party than making decisions that will improve American life. Meanwhile, I stand a citizen in the center of the room trying to get their attention, like “Hey, I’m here. Helloooooo?? I thought this was about me.” There are pundits and politicians who seem like their whole PURPOSE IN LIFE is to argue with and hate the opposition. It’s the mentality of “simply because you are republican or democrat, I will disagree with or question EVERYTHING you say and do. I will see no good in you. You are inherently evil and I will do everything in my power to make it CLEAR I oppose you, no matter what the COST.” The guilty pundits and politicians are self-defeating. Any valid criticisms of a rivaling party’s decisions or plans aren’t paid attention to because they’re surrounded by statements full of aggressive prejudice, hatred and bias. They get so wrapped up in the partisanship, that they forget why they cared to chose a party in the first place. They get so wrapped up, that their party loyalty appears almost religion or cult-like.
Partisanship is a destructive, DIVISIVE, unproductive and sabotaging force. Ultimately, it makes the country’s progress STAGNANT and nothing gets done.
Another reason why the road to healthcare reform is so rocky is because of extremities. When it comes to designing policies and making decisions, politicians always go the extremist route: democrats ALL the way to the left, republicans ALL the way to the right. Now, I’m a pretty “black and white” person myself, but there are certain things in which you have to go down the middle. Sometimes, and often in government, extremities produce negative results. Even with that being the case, it doesn’t seem to deter politicians from wanting to impose extremist policies. Do we ever learn?
Where I Get Pissed
We’ve learned so far that I’m pissed about the state of healthcare, partisanship and extremist policy. This all boils down to me being pissed that after my vote, NOTHING has changed. I did my civic duty: I educated myself on the issues, paid attention to campaigns, listened to the speeches and registered to vote. I got my guy in office-- the guy I THOUGHT would able to deliver bi-partisan ideas and policies, and yet it’s STILL politics as usual. Same script, different cast. I am sitting here wondering “will I ever matter?” Will voting ever mean that I will see the change I hope for as a citizen? Here’s where I get jaded. Here’s where I think to myself “now I see why some people don’t believe in or care to vote.” Politicians will NEVER eat from the same bowl I eat from; therefore, they don’t care what happens to me at the bottom. This is the part where I feel like a powerless subordinate to government again and don’t trust what Washington has to say. This where I think “These rich pricks get to dictate what happens to me and I have no choice but to take whatever bullets they shoot.” I’m pissed. Silly me for thinking that it was going to be different this time. Maybe it will be at some point, but the current visual isn’t lending much hope.
To get the link to watch Keith Olberman's commentary on healthcare, "The Fight Against Death", click the "Associated Links" tab and look under "Politicians Don't Care About You."
Well, President Obama has been in office for almost year. It’s amazing how fast a year can go by. Pretty soon there will be “year in review” assessments done by all the major political news analysts and networks, and unfortunately, the reviews may poor. NBC’S “Saturday Night Live” has already done their comedic assessment of Obama’s progress, and it was definitely poor. Funny, but sadly and disappointingly accurate (Click the “Associated Links” tab on the left for the link to the video). In the “SNL” skit, the Obama character goes down a checklist of his unachieved goals.
I’ve spoken with many Obama supporters, and it seems that half are disappointed and the other half is still optimistic that Obama will have a successful and fruitful 1st term. Some have expressed feeling let down; one supporter said: “At the time of the election, it seemed like there was so much promise for America in terms of changing the archaic and rigid political system and improving the state of our societal systems. Now, it just feels like same script, different cast. It’s disappointing because we came in on such a high and had so much hope.”
A still hopeful supporter said: “We have to be realistic with our expectations. Obama himself made it clear on inauguration day that America’s issues weren’t going to be solved overnight. I think it’s unrealistic to expect systems and that crashed (like the economy), and issues that developed (like the war and health care) over a span of years, will be solved and rectified in one year.”
As for me, I am currently somewhere in between those two supporters. Yes, it is disappointing that out of all the major issues needing to addressed, a billion-dollar deficit increasing stimulus plan is the most that’s happened. But, no, I haven’t lost hope, because LOGICALLY speaking, our issues took years to build up and it make take years to resolve them. I’m going to wait until the end of his term before I assess whether I’ve lost my “change” spirit completely.
It’s been hard for me to make a complete evaluation now, because I can’t tell if the lack of major progress is due to Obama sucking or the circumstances themselves being unbearable. Is Obama a poor president, or is he between a rock and hard place with no real options?
I still don’t regret my vote and probably won’t, because honestly, I don’t know if McCain would have done a better job considering the circumstances. Basically, all of the republicans and democrats than ran for 2008 office get my respect, because regardless of who got in office, they would’ve been handed a big plate of doo-doo to handle.
President Obama held a media conference today at the White House addressing multiple issues; mainly health care and the political unrest in Iran. For those of you who don't know, the citizens of Tehran (the capital of Iran) have been actively and adamantly protesting the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declaring that the election was fixed. Since the election, protesters have been violently attacked by police and little has been done within Tehran to protect the peaceful protesters. Protesters have been using social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, to document the upheaval, as there has been a government-enforced filter of journalistic documentation. The Tehran government has also attempted to clog internet network access. The Iranians have made it more than clear that their choice for president was Mir Hossein Mousavi. They have been calling on "western government" as some have called it online, to intervene and assist them; particularly regards to the unjust violence. A major casualty was Neda Soltan, a young protester who was shot and killed in the street, dying in a pool of her own blood. Videos of her being murdered have been circulating on the internet. Some have called the mass video circulation disrespectful, but some hope that the circulation will bring attention to the cause and will ultimately result in a U.S. or a United Nations intervention. There are videos on YouTube link capturing Neda’s death. View it at your own discretion; it is very graphic. Click the “links” tab on the left for the link.
Over the last few days, President Obama has taken the stance that the U.S. government will not intervene in the protest. Today, his position seemed to change some, stating that he was "appalled and outraged" by the violence and implied that the Tehran government may suffer consequences if they continue with "the threats, the beatings and imprisonments". When asked by reporters what those consequences may be, Obama declined to detail them. When asked why any actions haven’t been taken yet, Obama said that “We don't know yet how this thing is going to play out…It is not too late for the Iranian government to recognize that there is a peaceful path that will lead to stability and legitimacy and prosperity for the Iranian people. We hope they take it”.
Do I think that we should intervene? I am honestly on the fence. Perhaps I missed it, but Obama did not clearly explain today why we SHOULDN’T get involved. If he feels somehow that intervening will cause a foreign affairs issue or harm to the U.S., I would like to know. Another question to be raised is “if the U.S. DOES intervene, HOW will we do it? What will be the repercussions, if any?” Many have insisted that he intervene, but few have actually proposed how he (or we) can. I have also heard the argument that it’s an internal issue we have nothing to do with. “We wouldn’t want another country interfering with our election.” “Haven’t we interfered with the affairs of other countries enough?”
To address the “Haven’t we interfered with the affairs of other countries enough?” question, I find it interesting when we DO choose to “interfere”. If you look at our history, we have “interfered” often, even when we are not wanted by the local citizens. Yet the Iranians are crying for our help and we have denied them. Are we making the right choice? Is Obama doing the right thing? I sure hope so.
My personal commentary on politics, race, gender, religion, social class, news media and several other things related to our society and culture.