Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Linked By a Snarky Lefty

My Opinions

Cruising the referrals, I caught site of this gentleman's blog, Alicublog, who had the graciousness to link to my commentary on Al Sadr = Jesse Jackson.

From his snarky (though humorous) commentary, I take it he didn't appreciate the comaprison nor does he appreciate any one claiming to be a previous "liberal" and converting to conservatism, nor claims of being ostrasized by once close friends. Such as Cinnamon Stillwell and Keith Thomson.

Well, if any bothered to read my history, they'd know that I probably never was a "liberal" in the class of anything goes (libertine), but more like a conservative Democrat that had no quarrels with most folks.

However, it is a fact that my friend Roy would like to claim doesn't exist, but it is my life after all, that in January of 2003, prior to the Iraq war, I did have a friend, a close friend, who declared their inability to speak to me on the grounds that I was brainwashed or some such thing. And, it is a fact that a second friend, also a close friend, who, upon discovering that I did not support Sen. Kerry for President, also declared their inability to speak to me and did not for eight months.

As a matter of fact, she finally sent me an email in March for my birthday asking me how I was after I had left several messages over the convening months asking her how she was, why didn't she give me a call on such and such day and here's my home and cell phone # just in case she had misplaced it.

It isn't a lie nor a whine. It just happened.

It's the truth that the last elections were full of vitriol and angst. And, it did bleed over into relationships.

The one thing I can say is that it never had any impact at my work, mainly because the only politics that came up were discussions on the newest policies enacted that would effect our business from healthcare legislation, patient rights to taxes. Other than than, none. Not because I was afraid of talking to people about in case of being shunned, but because, in the course of business and even friendly discussions about personal life, no one brought it up. I felt no need to either since it had no place in my work.

However, I'd say that, if I was a writer for a newspaper or a professor at a school where politics were regularly discussed and disected, I imagine that there would be some issues in the work place.

My snarky lefty friend does make the common mistake that all who call themselves "liberal" do and that is to imagine that we are all waiting over here on the right to strip away civil liberties and stomp on the poor person while at the same time decrying what he perceives as the right's stereotyping folks from the left as commies, all homosexuals as potential pedophiles, etc, etc

Tsk. Tsk.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

But, he does do it with a sense of humor.

Almost sounded like Scott for a minute. *wink*

For the record, as I once told some conservative friends, I'm not conservative by any means. Rather, I like when somebody shakes up the norm once in awhile, challenges dogma and ideas supposedly set in stone. I like radical change and hate status quo.

Frankly, it seemed pretty apparent after 9/11 that, in the realm of geo-politics, the status quo couldn't stand. Something had to give and it seemed like the US was one of the few countries that could or would do it. Certianly, the whole situation seems to be like walking through an alligator infested swamp filled with quick sand and a whole chicken tied to our leg. The area of world politics had barely ever crossed my mind until the last few years and now I pay attention.

Stem Cell Research.

I think we should do it, but I think it should be strictly controlled. It can hold the key to developing cures for diseases that I am all to familiar with from a professional and personal stand point. However, I do think that there is a risk that developing embryos for profit can occur and this is a danger. It is the same risk that forced the creation of the national organ donors data base to insure that, as much as humanly possible, the concept of illegal harvesting of organs to sell does not come to pass since this then creates the motives for criminal endeavors including theft and murder.

Therefore, I am not opposed to it, but do believe that it should be strictly monitored and regulated. If there are other areas of stem cell research that can be advanced and has better results, I believe this should be pursued.

Abortion.

I don't like it. I do believe that it is a net negative approach to shirking responsibility for practicing safe and protected sex in many, if not most, cases. I don't think the federal courts should have set in precedent that guaranteed it and I do believe it is the state's right and responsibility to allow or disallow it as an elective procedure to end pregnancy. Medically necessary abortions are without question appropriate. The question of partial birth abortions as an elective procedure, even to end a pregancy where the child may have physical defects, seems very barbaric and unnecessary. Further, it seems abortion has become about the money. Mainly, those who do not want to have a child so that their economic status is not hindered, whether from a healthy or disabled child, also seems cold and calculating.

But, what I've said bothers me the most about it is that birth control is readily available in all forms, cheap or for free. Basic forms of birth control are available on store shelves, from condoms, to foam, to little spermicidal suppositories. It's on television. Not that I object to that, it was just embarrassing the night we were watching a scary movie with my nephews and the Trojan Man came on during commercial break. My 10 year old nephew told me he wanted to see at cartoon. I told him he probably would next year at school. Sex education is in every school starting as young as grade school.

So, yes, I have a problem with abortion. Particularly, as a birth control method when less harmful (both physically and psychologically) and invasive methods are available, cheaper and certainly provides safety from the spread of disease, which I've discussed before as being on the upswing in teenagers, young adults and women.

Gay Marriage.

Do I care if someone is gay? No. Do I care if they live with someone who is gay? No. Do I care if they make a legal bond with each other? No. Do I have concerns about making same sex marriage legal? Yes. Not on moral grounds, but because it has certain legal and financial connotations for the future. Not in defining family, because family, though relatively similar through out the ages, has changed, regardless of whether we like to acknowledge it or not. Families are no longer simply a man and a woman and children. They are a man and his current wife and their children from previous marriages and the ex-spouses of those two and the children of the ex-spouses new mates.

The legal and financial connotations of the future, as I have previously written, would be legalized same sex marriages that allowed people to basically create a symbolic marriage, between to men or two women, without romantic or physical relations, in order to take advantage of legal protections offered to spouses, insurance benefits, financial credit or assistance, custody of children or property, a whole gamut of issues that our legal and financial systems are not ready to handle these situations.

I prefer, before we jump into this with both feet, that these issues be recognized and addressed by our body politic and not subborned under rhetoric from either side about morality or simple "civil rights". If it was that simple, the libertarian in me would support it. The "liberal" in me remembers things like "separate but equal" and the Mann Act used to persecute inter-racial marriages.

Still, the conservative in me does hint around once in awhile about whether this was the intent of nature. I'd be able to suppress that and swallow the civil rights issues if I wasn't concerned about the other ramifications.

Gay Tolerance Education In Schools.

While I abhor mindless intolerance, I do question whether this is necessary. I don't mean simple things like Gay Straight Alliance clubs in schools. I do mean having specific reading for children as young as kindergarten. By far, schools have left their original intent and purpose of education and taken on aspects of social engineering. Some might claim that schools have long been studies in "social engineering" since the first desegragation act or even long before, when public schools brought children of all social backgrounds together.

Still, I wonder how prevalent any real activities of intolerance kindergarteners could possibly be involved in. Secondly, if regular social behavior is taught and children are exposed to people of different race, creed or sexual orientation, there is the overall effect of "socialization" that takes place. I am at a loss why, above all other issues of tolerance, there is a special push and outcry for such "tolerance" education in schools. I know there are some that want to remind me of all the redneck racist bigots who allegedly populate this world and teach their children to be mean and intolerant, but I disagree that there are so many in this country raising little redneck children to bash gays.

One thing that I am sure of is that sex education and any such "tolerance" education should be announced to parents and allow them to decide if their children can attend. I believe this because, as my civil liberties friends should believe, not doing so infringes on parental rights and smacks of "abuse of state power". But, I don't want to forget that my civil liberty friends only believe in certain civil liberties and believe that the power of the state should be used to infringe or smash others.

Beyond insuring a safe place to learn and punishing those that do persecute or harm those of different sects of society, I don't believe that grade school is an appropriate venue to discuss homosexuality.

I am also sure that there is no possible way to legislate, educate or otherwise create some utopia where everyone believes as the other and loves everyone. It just does not happen. However, what has happened over the years is that there has been an acceptance that persecution of people due to their gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation is not acceptable to society and certainly not acts of violence against any such people.

That is the basis of good society, not tolerance education forced on kindergartners.

Gay Adoption.

In my mind, neither side has presented enough statistical data to support the concept that children are or are not influenced by their parents' sexuality. Both sides have certainly provided their own studies, but, to date, I have not found one that I would consider "unbiased".

What I do know is that children can become aware of their sexuality at early ages, want to explore the difference, even in relatively innocent ways and, by nature, are relatively ambiguous about their sexuality until they are between 8 and 12 (by some studies; others have it younger, but I believe the picture is clear). They also have a tendency to form closer relationships with children of their own sex before becoming aware of the opposite sex. It seems to me that during this ambiguous stage, a childs preferences can be influenced by a number of things, not the least of which is what has been presented to them as the "norm".

Further, it is confusing to me in this day and age when there is much discussion about the importance of nurturing and its influence on children, how the idea that sexual orientation of the parents and its influence on children can simultaneously be denied by the supporters of such an endeavor.

So, until I read and decipher for myself a full, long term, unbiased study on its affects, I have to side with caution and say I disagree with this concept.

And, yes, to my liberal friends, I'm quite aware of the number of children in foster care or in need of adoption. In reality, the number has been pretty big long before the idea of adopting children to gay couples or singles came about. Further, I question whether this is really effective as a means of increasing adoptions and foster care since the gay population is estimated at 3 to 4% of our own and certainly, as in other demographics, the actual number of gay couples or singles who are willing to adopt or do foster care barely puts a dent in the number of available children.

I know it may seem painful to admit, but my conservative friends may be correct and this growing and painful phenomenom is a direct result of the breakdown of the family unit in the first place. I have yet to hear a liberal friend give me a better explanation, but I have heard ideas on treating the symptoms: parenting classes; welfare; therapy; etc.

None of these seems like a cure as opposed to some good, old fashion doses of responsibility thrown in with some peer pressure from society.

Oops. I said "old fashioned" and "responsbility".

I know when I've said this to some of my liberal friends before, it's been brushed aside as if I was talking about alien concepts or as if I was not compassionate or understanding to the problems of modern family and child rearing in this cold and heartless world. Or worse yet, I was trying to strip away individuality by suggesting that maybe conformity to some ideas had a purpose that has served humanity for eons and is still servicable.

Funny, though, those that I've had this conversation with are people who take their own responsibilities very seriously when it comes to family and children. It's always those "others" we are talking about that are incapable of doing the same.

I just wonder who those "others" are?

Welfare.

A good idea gone horribly wrong. What can I say? I've seen the best and the worst of this system, including those that are in a precarious state and could use some assistance to come about and would come about being turned away because they make $150 to much to qualify. I've seen sick people on fixed incomes turned away for the same reason or forced to use "spin down" or "share of cost" (ie, pay bills to a certain amount before it will kick in) and basically make themselves destitute to the point where they have to sell everything (including home, cars, etc) and empty their checking and savings to get assistance. I've known people who are on housing assistance, Medicaid and food stamps who are perfectly healthy and capable of working, doing only the minimum necessary to show they are doing something. At the same time, these people were partying three or four times a week, selling their food stamps for money to get booze, cigarettes and even drugs.

This is not anecdotal from somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody. This is straight up personal experience.

I have family members that actually needed it to keep from going under (I mean way under) and I have had a distant family member call and ask to borrow money to pay their electric bill because it was shut off after the same person had just shown me three days prior a two hundred dollar phone they had purchased with speaker, answering machine and a number of other nifty features that left me wondering why they needed it. Since they had two small children, I felt compelled to assist, but I also felt it necessary to hand the money over with a lecture about responsibility. Needless to say, they didn't call me again.

Part of me felt guilty about it at the same time righteously indignant that this person held so little understanding of responsibility and would put themselves and their children at risk for lack of it.

By the way, this person attended no less than three different parenting and budget courses, to no avail. Responsibility and work ethic. I'm thinking even my liberal friends would not feel comfortable with this kind of behavior.

Needless to say, I think our current welfare system is a beauracratic heap of crap that has an incredible amount of paperwork, regulations and ineffective hodgepodge of programs that are not streamlined nor organized in any manner to really have the type of impact it should in helping people stand on their feet or support those who are really in need.

I've definitely seen private organizations and programs that were more successful.

I'll be adding to "My Opinions" in the next few days.

11 comments:

cjufnf said...

Well written, Kat! The only thing I'd have to disagree upon, or maybe not so much disagree but an addition to it, is from this little section:

"The legal and financial connotations of the future, as I have previously written, would be legalized same sex marriages that allowed people to basically create a symbolic marriage, between two men or two women, without romantic or physical relations, in order to take advantage of legal protections offered to spouses, insurance benefits, financial credit or assistance, custody of children or property, a whole gamut of issues that our legal and financial systems are not ready to handle these situations."

Can't heterosexual "couples" do that now just for the benefits? Get married without being romantically involved? Now if you're saying that we shouldn't add to this problem by allowing same sex marriage until we can figure out a way to handle it, then I would agree. I just thought it deserved a mentioning.

roy said...

Kat:

Thanks very much for stopping by, kat, and for your civility and kind words.

I still think your comparison of Jesse Jackson to an actual terrorist is a bit much, but you know how we liberals are -- a bunch of pinch-faced killjoys out of Mallard Fillmore. Compare a prominent black leader to a murderer and we, we, um, we make links to it!

And I wouldn't deny your conversion experience. I know that when I stopped smoking weed and started drinking bourbon, I started hanging with a new class of people myself.

Gadfly said...

Interesting read. I was (and remain) more liberal (lefty communitst moonbat) than you. However, we both had a conversion to more moderate circles (extreme ideas from both camps). I hated Regan for eight years, I voted for Clinton. But when it came down to the nut cuttin' (post 9/11) I knew which camp would seek out and destroy my enemies and which would pay lip service to appease me and not actually kill my enemies.

It took Osama Bin Laden to make me a Republican.

It was a one-issue race. Everything else I believe in, a woman's right to make her own decisions, the right of people to live as they were born (i.e. gay), maintaining a balanced Supreme Court -- everything else got pushed backstage.

Interesting how things work out.

Kat said...

Gadfly...As you may know, I am "pro-choice" and don't think there should be laws banning abortion so much as it should not have been a federal issue and that I find something wrong in society when 1.4 million are done yearly. That is about .8% of the female population and roughly 2% of the adult (or able to be pregant age) population. Not bad if you're going by statistics except, when I looked at statistics of who and why, 58% were being had by middle class women who obviously had the means and the were withal to obtain birth control.

That spoke volumes to me and so from my perspective, the moral issue comes down to responsibility and partial birth abortions just seem disgusting period.

However, like you, I did vote democrat my entire adult life and it was 9/11 that changed my mind and made me very much lean towards republican.

CJ...that's a good point and I thought of that when I was writing it. It may not be clear in what I was writing, but it isn't necessarily abuse of this new system by homosexual couples that I was worried about so much as abuse by otherwise heterosexual couples. But, you are right that some people get married as heterosexual couples for the same reason, though I wonder how many really? It's all anecdotal, but I would like to see some ideas laid out on how this imapacts custody, benefits and property and how it would be handled. Maybe it is as simple as applying the same strict rules as heterosexual couples? How does it affect the situation when the children are from a previoius "heterosexual" relationship but the parent entering a same sex marriage has main custody and something happens to that parent? How is the custody figured out?

Roy...I really did find your site funny and interesting. I loved the discussion on things that you had read. Maybe we can maintain reciprocating commentary? Keep the lines of communication open and all that.

Stop by any time, I will most likely be adding you to my blog roll since I like reasonable discussion and humor.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

That guy objects to hearing about "ex-liberals"? Hehehehehe, well this world is starting to proliferate us. I'm still "libertine" as all get-out when it comes to only wanting government to get involved in people's lives if they do HARM to each other, and I'm moderate on economics, seeing a good balance between Socialist planning and Capitalist profit motive being the ideal there.

It's on foreign policy that I put my right-wing jackboots on, get up to the podium, and thwap it with a riding crop like George S. Patton. "We're gonna hold onto the enemy by the nose, and we're gonna kick them in the ass. We're going to kill them all the time, and use their guts to grease the treads of our TANKS!"

Yeah.

So actually, I'm a righty-lefty-centrist, defying one-dimensional definitions.

Jim said...

Well, Jesse Jackson is what you might call an economic terrorist. And a publicity whore. While I doubt that he'd kill you for your religious beliefs, I'm not sure I'd want to get between him and a camera.

Scott from Oregon said...

So crap, I get a *wink* and now I have to respond. Amazing how gadfly describes him/herself to be me but can't stomach me (perhaps you should chew more?).

At any rate, here goes--

Abortion-- A sad event that should be left up to the pregnant and the doctor. If you think women are using abortion as birth control and disagree with it, I would mostly agree with you, except I would disagree with your opinion to 'interfere'.... This is using the Gov. to dictate morality. Not sure if I can accept that.

Gay marriage-- I'm all for it. In American Indian traditions, gay men and women were revered for possessing both sexes within them, giving them more 'balance'. It was the Church who over-rode this idea in America. This is actually a Church against Indigenous cultures battle, and frankly, I don't give the Church much credit for anything credible..... Gays have a right to everything heterosexuals have, under the law. That includes marriage, and all of the protections and rights that entails.....

As far as people shifting from 'the left', I would argue that 'the left' has been an exploratory front, full of promising ideals and misappropriated empathy.... The liberal left will falter often, as it blindly seeks out new trails of ideation.... The conservative 'right' is grounded in the past, rooted in tradition, and strives to hold on to values and ideals which may or may not lead us into the new century....

*wink*

Kat said...

Couple thoughts Scott (and yeah, I figured that *wink* would get ya').

One, I think there should be limitations on abortion by law if necessary if not by ethics of the State Medical Board because I have a problem with partial birth abortions.

Looking at it from normal cases, we have charged and convicted people of murder or manslaughter for killing the pregnant mother and thus the child. There are obvious cases which set the rule as far as what "viable fetuses" are. I wonder how it is different to kill the mother and thus the child but kill the child only and not be the same?

So, if the state board of medicine does not regulate these issues then it may require a law that makes it murder.

One thing that I found interesting were the cases where clinics have claimed that the mother's health was in danger and thus the late term abortion, which would seem medically necessary, but I have seen what appears to be abuse of this notion by claiming the mother's "mental" health was in danger. We aren't talking about women who would go into depression or have schizophrenic violent tendencies either, but women that were fine except they were pregnant and didn't want to be and had waited longer than the norm.

If Medical ethics could not resolve this issue, I would support a law that set down strict guidelines of the interpretation of "endangered health" for this scenario.

Now, as far as the church beating up the indigenous cultures after 400 years as a viable argument why gay marriage is a problem for them, I gotta say that seems like an incredible stretch by anyone's imagination. Homosexuality has existed for eons. The bible even mentions it along with incest. The church was opposed to it long before puritans ever set foot on Plymouth or conquistadors met the Myans and Aztecs.

I believe that the church is a case of the nature of man, his original sin and the purpose of sex defined after that as "procreation" (ie, go forth and multiply). However, I'm thinking that long before the church, even in certain visigoth and viking cultures, homosexuality was frowned on, while the romans and greeks, particularly in their later more liberal era, didn't.

I believe that it is more deep rooted than that and is more likely related to the need for each of these societies to survive. And I mean that to be have many babies because at least half of them died in infancy and they were needed to help farm, herd and fight. Thus homosexuality in these scenarios would be frowned on as a weakness and a threat to the existence of the clan/tribe/etc.

Also, not all of the indian tribes of America held the same beliefs that you're talking about and, even those that did, did not always see these cross dressers as first class citizens of the tribe. I distinctly recall reading that the cheyene tolerated them, but the warriors nor the women went out of their way to make them part of the normal tribal atmosphere. Probably for the same reason as the vikings and such. Tribal existence rested on procreation.

Something that has obviously been handed down through to religious ideas (as we know, many teachings in the bible, Qu'ran, etc have direct relations to culture and society of the time).

As for other people, I've heard religious folks discuss it in both contexts: ie sin and "judge not lest ye be judged", so I don't see this as an all out assault by religion alone. I have heard people that haven't attended church in eons (if ever) make some negative comments on the gay community.

It is, frankly two parts leading back to one: fear of the unknown and fear what one could be if for one step in another direction. Other people call it homophobia (though, I've learned a new word recently: heterosexism; thought that was funny). Basically, for every form of prejudice, you can relate it directly back to primitive ideas of the animal homo sapien and others which taught us to fear the unknown as it is a danger to us.

the question of danger changes, but not the instinct.

Lastly, there are those like me who think "that seems unnatural", but hey, whatever floats your boat.

I do like your last comment about the left and the right. You know that I have always considered we need both to keep us rooted as we push forward. Dramatic changes have often resulted in catastrophes. I don't mind running forward and then standing still once in awhile to get the lay of the land so to speak and sometimes I think you have to retrace your steps to find the right (or left) path.

Scott from Oregon said...

The argument that procreation is why we should hold homosexuals at bay denies the inevitable choking dust that will cloud the planet when we procreate ourselves out of elbow room.... And yes, many American Indian tribes held the belief that the he/she was a venerated human.... No, not all tribes believed this. But many did. They believed these people contained both sexes within them, and therefore, were more complete human beings....The strength of the man. The sensitivity of the women... Or, the bad haircut of the bull dyke, the wondrous escapades with unimaginably beautiful women.... oh... sorry, I got a little carried away....

Just because an act doesn't procreate, doesn't make it evil.... Perhaps you know of a few 'acts' that don't produce children that also produce pleasure? How about eating Ben and Jerry's Chocolate chip cookie doe ice-cream while watching Bay Watch reruns...... Man, I gotta stop that....

As far as the abortion issue, I still say it is up to the mother. While I personally think late term termination is evil and icky, I think the conscience of the mother is the deciding factor. If she can live with it, I do not think Gov. has a right to dictate to her one way or the other. Until it leaves her uterus and takes its first breath, it belongs to her....

That said, I agree that contraception in this day and age is so accessable, that these 'birth control by abortion' women should be given the what for and the why not..... Get a clue, get a diaphram, and get it on....

Kat said...

Dude...not judging anyone's morality, just saying I wouldn't do it myself.

And yes, there are plenty of non-procreation acts, just noting what has driven folks for eons to shun it.

Hmmm...I'm not sure I'd go with the "it belongs to the mother" before it leaves the uterus, though that would give a viable reason why some would look at the murder of the child after the murder of the mother as a crime separate from abortion. But I do think that leaves the question open. Aside from that, before I was 18, I techinically belonged to my parents.

Glad they didn't decide to kill me before then and the law wouldn't allow it.

Then I wouldn't get to be here having this conversation with you. LOL

Yes..get the pill, get the condom, get a diaphragm and then do your business. Not really that difficult.

cjufnf said...

I'll be the first to admit that I wouldn't have a single clue as how to handle anything you mentioned (custoday, benefits, and property). That's why even though I support the idea of same sex marriage, I'm not all up in people's faces screaming "WE GOTTA LEGALIZE THIS NOW!" Honestly, I've met some people like that...Anyways, I think it will take a lot more time before we can work through the little problems here and there to get it to work.

Scott: Wow! I didn't know that about some of the Native American tribes! Of course, I don't really know much about Native Americans. Shame on me.

As to the abortion topic: I don't like it. I'm not religious at all. Certainly not some bible-thumper. I just feel that abortion is wrong. And I never agreed with the argument that "It's only the mother who gets a say on whether the child lives or dies." That's absolute crap. I don't care that she's carrying it for 9 months. If I helped make that child, I sure as hell want a say in whether it lives or dies. And as always, I completely agree with the responsibility argument here: protection, people! Come on! You should have known what you were getting yourself into when you began to have sex (even if you were protected, there are still ways for things to go wrong and you to get pregnant!)

On a side note that needs to be addressed so as my little talk comes full circle: I'm not sure about the cases where a woman was raped or there was incest. On the one hand, I'm all for putting the child up for adoption. On the other, what if the child from incest would be so mentally handicappped or deformed in some other way that it wouldn't really have a life at all? I hate gray areas. They make things so difficult. As of right now, I only agree with abortion if it is rape, incest, or if having the child will kill both the mother and the child.