Archive for the ‘the times we live in’ Category

The next 4 years

November 10, 2012

Just a quick reflection over the next 4 years. I see everyone in America having healthcare for the first time ever in our history. And no one being turned down due to a “pre-existing condition”. I think this is a remarkable thing. I also think most people against it have never been turned down by a physician who didn’t want to take you as a patient due to not having insurance, not wanting a hospital birth, or not agreeing with this physician on any number of other things that you have a right to question medical practice on. Most people complaining have never had the personal delight of living WITHOUT health insurance due to loss of a job for some reason no fault of your own. I had surgery this summer for something that came up suddenly and was unexpected. Total bill? $26,000. My cost? When we’re finished filling out forms, probably less than $2500. A person without insurance would probably not have even been offered the surgery.

I see marijuana becoming legal in more and more states, for possession of one ounce or less. This somewhat bothers me, but not as much as living in a society where the drinking of alcohol is practically mandated at every single social function and promoted relentlessly on television, in newspapers and magazines and every other advertising venue in existence for the best way to have love, a sexual partner and happiness in your life. IT AIN’T TRUE and the substance is more harmful than marijuana will ever be. So where does that leave us?

I think that same sex marriage will gradually become supported by the federal government. If there is something inherently unnatural or unwise about same sex sexual relationships or marriage among same sex partners, it certainly will be something that is not shown by not allowing this freedom of choice. All the fears about same sex marriage are usually based on that alone. They are not based in science, social or otherwise, where most studies show no difference among children raised by same sex partners and those raised by traditional male-female partners, other than their being more open-minded and more egalitarian in their abilities at various household tasks. Other realities are that same sex partners are just as loving and sometimes manage long-lasting relationships the same as cross-gender partners. We have to allow free-thinking adults to make their own choices and realize it does not define our own personal beliefs, it only allows tolerance, acceptance of difference and diversity, and makes us a more open, loving and free society.

In the next 4 years, I believe unrest in the European and global market will continue, and could, at some point result in a global market recession we will have trouble recovering from. People of the world are suffering. How long can this unjust division continue? How long before we decide how to all live on this planet, grow enough food for everyone and distribute it so that no child has to live in hunger every day. It simply cannot continue.

in the next 4 years, something could happen with Iran. They are just one of those places where their leaders do not care what the rest of the world says and will not ever listen to the voice of reason and educated minds. To have a President and government denying women education, denying the largest religious minority in their nation education, and saying the Holocaust never happened, then developing nuclear power is just unacceptable and they must be stopped. It is a volatile and dangerous situation.

Our President will attempt brave renovations in our transportation system, which is a joke compared to the advancements in Europe, Japan & elsewhere. He will also attempt to move forward with future-thinking environmentally sound energy developments and auto revisions. Oil drilling will not be developed as much as it would have with a different President.

Fat cats will have to pay their share of taxes just like the rest of us. Hallelujah. Do they think all of us more near the bottom would not start our own small businesses or do productive things for the economy if we had a bit more resources, and weren’t worried about our light bill vs. grocery bill next month? We can all pay our FAIR SHARE of the taxes to our government and THEN they can also do things to develop the economy and “create jobs”.

Creation of jobs is our #1 concern and it won’t be done to the extent that people in America need it. There is too much money being made by taking jobs elsewhere.

Neighborhood economies and local produce will continue to develop, mostly out of necessity.

what happens to a dream deferred?

September 14, 2012

When talking about the American Dream and how some people feel who work dead-end jobs for years on end, in Social Problems class, I often have them look up “What happens to a dream deferred?” by Langston Hughes. It’s a short little poem, easily googled and found, and we read it out loud in class. How does it feel to live in America and never reach success, to spend a lifetime struggling to get there but never quite make it?

This morning I realized why I can so easily relate to that poem. It’s not that I am stuck in a dead end job. I most certainly have a challenging and rewarding job that fulfills me in many ways. I have a good salary, twice what I earned at a university library before going back to school and achieving my PhD. I get to work with young adults, foster critical thinking, think and talk with them about how they would like to shape and affect society. I have a chance for advancement in the form of promotion.

The reason I can relate to the poem has more to do with the struggle over the years, just to pay our bills and get to where we are now. This morning I called our auto company, for the simple reason I wanted to make a payment online, and it did not recognize my account number and birthdate. It kept kicking me out and saying I had not entered the correct information. So I call the company.

We first have to give our address, phone number, account number, e-mail address, to check identity. That being done, I explain to the lady my predicament. Instead of understanding the screen I was on, she resets my login password. I had been able to log in but not to get past the NEXT screen, which asked for my account # & birthdate. I LIKE my old password and did not want it changed. However, by this time the deed is done. Then my phone accidently disconnects. This begins the process ALL OVER again, so I have to call their number, wait through the recording of all the things that do not address my problem, hit “6” for “other” and eventually get to a real human being. I go through all the identity checks once again. They have a new technique now of asking you some mundane question such as, “What are your plans for this weekend ma’am?” I have zero patience for these questions at this point and told him so, saying, “No offence, but I’m not going to talk w/ you about my plans for the weekend, I just want this issue resolved.” He resets my password once AGAIN. I now try to log in with his new password, sent to my e-mail account. It doesn’t work. From HIS end, it is letting him log in to the account. From MY computer, at home, it does not let me log in, even though I cut and paste the new password he sent me. Finally, we give up. I’ve spent the last 25 minutes on the phone with them and still cannot log in to my account. I have to go to work.

At the office later, they call me, because once you are late on a payment they have a system of total harassment that kicks in and they call you 5-6X/day. I explain to the lady my predicament. Suddenly she cannot HEAR a word I’m saying. She tells me I will have to call back but that I can ask for her, and will be transfered to her. She gives me her name. I hang up. I call back. The man I’m talking to with an accent from India says he does not have the capability to transfer me to anyone. I give up and make a payment by phone. I ask him to change my bills to send them to me in paper form instead of being available online. His response, “Ma’am, I cannot do that for you, you have to do that for yourself online.”  He tells me he will reset my password so that I can easily log in online. Have a good day, good bye. ———–???????????

The reality of paying bills and struggling to keep everything in line today is that you have to go through this tedious process, face this frustration and deal with people somewhere on the other side of the world trying to explain to you what you owe and how to log in to your account, over and over and over and over again, and eventually this whole struggle gets to you. You feel humiliated. You have people address you in condescending ways time after time, and not treat you as a full intelligent human being. “Ma’am, I need to tell you that your account is 14 days behind….”  “Yes I know, that’s why I’m trying to make a payment.”  “Ma’am your request for deferment was denied.” “Well your new password works for me, ma’am, I’m not sure why it won’t work for you.” “Well you can mail us the payment but then it will be late…………”

After many years of struggling through hardship, struggling through my husband’s unemployment that is not my husband’s fault, struggling through doing our best to pay our bills but running into hardships or medical issues and not receiving any understanding from people on the phone whose job is to placate you and (bottom line) just get the darn payment, it absolutely breaks you down. I feel the dream deferred feeling. I know it, it is a part of my being. I turn to God, take a deep breath, say a prayer, feel His ever-loving presence in my life telling me He loves me, and realize there is so much more to the meaning of life than this frustrating phone call. I appreciate the beauty of life around me. And I move on.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

Gadhafi is gone

October 20, 2011

and the world will not miss him. He appeared to be a cold-hearted, self-consumed, narcissistic dictator who had many people killed and tortured in his name. He lavished wealth upon his family while his people suffered (as so many others). People hid in fear in their homes from his murderers. So we can’t say the world will miss him.

The only thing I will say about his death and his people, is that we live in barbaric times. The men who killed him are happy for their current freedom, but people evidently descended upon him and killed him. I have not much higher hopes that these men will uplift their country and their women and daughters to higher levels of advancement, education, and future maturity and freedom of life. They have shown their true colors before. They still think of women as children, or cattle, certainly not their equals.

My hope is for the world to truly advance, to become a world of peace and security, where every child born will be able to realize his or her true potential and dreams, live in peace and freedom, never go hungry, and live their lives protected and secure from all harm, where each group will co-exist with respect for all humanity.

the times we live in

October 20, 2011

Isn’t it amazing we live in times where you cannot un-order something you once ordered, if you can no longer afford it? Otherwise I might just DIS-ORDER our cell phones, but no, we “ordered” them with a required 2-year contract. I disconnected mine temporarily & gave my husband my cell phone, & we got rid of his DROID, which automatically charges an extra $30./mo. for Internet usage. But my account (my phone #) will automatically come back on in 3 mos. In other words, you can temporarily suspend an account, but after 3 mos. they start charging you for it again, whether or not you’re using it. HOW DID WE ALLOW THIS AS THE AMERICAN PUBLIC?? How do these companies get away with this BS? Who sells something that you are required to use for 2 years and you cannot turn it off, if your financial circumstances change & you can no longer afford it?? You can’t be a responsible citizen, you have to pay it, or let it go to collection which ruins your already dwindling credit rating. The times we live in.