Tag: diversity

Keeping It Simple Is Not Stupid

source Recently I have been giving much thought to why Progressives and Democrats can’t seem to accomplish more than the bare minimum regarding desperately needed reform measures, even when they have the luxury of substantial majorities in both public favor and legislative representation.  The answer may lie in the prevalence of pointless, unwieldy levels of stratification.  With these comes an isolating sense of separation—individual elements of the base often have a problem pulling together with one voice, and, for that matter, do all who would deign to fit underneath the big tent.  

propecia rogaine uk sales To many liberals, life must be overly complicated:  specialized committees, committees within committees, identity groups, splinter identity groups from larger ones, rules for the sake of rules, rules set in place when one unforeseen problem creates friction with anyone for whatever reason, exacting policies based on good intentions that soon become headaches for all, and many other examples.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Overlap is sometimes a good thing.  

http://www.slccolorado.org/storage/proscar/ As such, the true failing lies in the absolutely ridiculous complexity of how structure ourselves and how we have in many ways forgotten how to communicate with each other.  For too long, information and strategies that could be used for the benefit of all have been isolated within specific single-issue oriented groups, each with its own nomenclature and particular phraseology.  For too long, so-called experts carrying a briefcase, a PowerPoint slide, and a hefty speaking fee have been employed to enlighten other people of an unknown universe, when with major modification, we could easily understand the intersections and common ground which links us together, not the great unknown that keeps us at arm’s length from each other.  

comprare viagra online senza ricetta This sort of set up directly reflects the nature of academia, since the merits, weaknesses, and structure of pertinent concepts are hatched there and exhaustively vetted.  Just as I have recently discovered that the health care system available to low-income and disabled residents of Washington, DC, was written to be understood and effectively managed by policy wonks and the highly educated, not the poor and under-educated, so do I realize that so many of our grand goals are thwarted when they are neither designed, nor framed so that all might easily comprehend them.  

enter To cite a related example, when I am speaking within Feminist circles, I know that there are certain terms, overarching concepts, and abstract notions that one needs a thorough education, keen mind, and a willingness to research on one’s own time to grasp sufficiently.  Much emphasis is given to an everlasting critique of Patriarchy and cultural practices which place women in a subordinate role, and from these comes a thousand deep conversations and leitmotifs.  I can speak this language competently, with much practice, I might add, but I often can’t help but wonder if any of these worthwhile ideas and highly involved strategies ever get out to the working class battered housewife or to the sex worker standing on the corner of a bus terminal, prepared for another night of a dangerous way to make a living.

see In my own life, part of the reason I have been able to keep my health from being as debilitating as it could be is that I had access through education and relative affluence to know how and where I could do my own research about the condition.  Now, years later, I can hold my own with any psychiatrist because I know and understand terms like selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, titration, GABA, dopamine agonist, and efficacy.  However, these terms mean absolutely nothing to the average person, who must trust fully in a psychiatrist who then must translate their needs, their symptoms, and their expectations for treatment into a regimen of medications that is inexact even in the best of circumstances.  

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=buy-viagra-no-prescription The likely outcome with anyone diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder is a tremendous amount of constant modifications, some slight, some major, and frequently a need to try an altogether new combination of medications, all of this in the hopes that one will stumble across the proper drugs in the proper proportion, eventually.          

levitra 20 mg senza ricetta italia We humans are a peculiar breed.  In the animal kingdom, one could argue that the average mammal attends to its own more readily and with less reservations than we do.  Without romanticizing the primitive, it would seem that no other species on Earth usually has such profound reservations about reaching out to assist others.  Though certainly other animals fight within themselves for food, mates, and resources, I often wonder if we are perhaps the most self-absorbed creatures the world has ever known.  

We are given the gift, by God or by whichever belief or unbelief you espouse, to have the gift of a very complex, and very advanced organ at our disposal known as the brain.  Yet, it seems to me sometimes that this supposed great gift can dispense evil and great suffering as easily as it gives rise to good and with it great gain for all.  

As a person of faith, I sometimes wonder if this basic concept is a credible interpretation of the beginning of time as expressed in the Book of Genesis.  So long as man and woman weren’t aware of the greater complexity of all things, they lived nakedly, blissfully in paradise.  But once temptation arrived in serpent form, suddenly they recognized that reality was not nearly so simplistic and easy to swallow.  Christianity and other religions teach that humanity was created in God’s image, and if that is the case, perhaps we are caught in some still unresolved eternal polar tension between our ability to sense and structure things in advanced shades of grey versus our relatively straightforward mammalian biological imperatives and compulsions.  Some have even implied that the human condition is imperfect particularly because we have divine elements seeking to function within imperfect organs, namely our brain.  

While on the subject, I am reminded St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church.  It seems that the church had fallen prey to smooth talk, false teachings, and a distortion of the faith itself.  Much of the passage I am about to cite, as you will see, is written quite sarcastically, its target primarily those who deceive others, not those who had been unwittingly deceived.

However, I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by its tricks, so your minds may somehow be lured away from sincere and pure devotion to the Messiah.  When someone comes to you telling about another Jesus whom we didn’t tell you about, you’re willing to put up with it.  When you receive a spirit that is different from the Spirit you received earlier, you’re also willing to put up with that. When someone tells you good news that is different from the Good News you already accepted, you’re willing to put up with that too.  

I do not think I’m inferior in any way to those “super-apostles.”  Even though I may be untrained as an orator, I am not so in the field of knowledge. We have made this clear to all of you in every possible way.  Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?  (Italics mine) I took money from other churches as payment for my work, so that I might be your servant [at no cost to you].  And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.  You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise!

Even those who do not believe in a higher power or in Christian terminology can understand the general message here.  To get down to the heart of the matter, our own selfish goals, ego, and pride are largely responsible for the complications that separate us from others.  When we throw up barriers for whatever reason, we cause others who might use our knowledge and insight as a helpful resource to stumble or to fail outright. The intent initially may not be to isolate information inside very specific spheres of influence or schools of thought, but very soon this is its inevitable end result.  

If we were speaking of a purely Christian point of view, we would concede that no believer should be discouraged from taking an active role in the faith, nor turned away from membership in the body as a whole based on any perceived deficiency or lacking of any kind.  Sometimes putting walls up is an unconscious decision made out of a desire for protection, sometimes it is a response to feeling unappreciated and discounted by society as a whole, and often it is a reactive measure that replicates itself a thousand times once established.  Like some untreated cancerous cell, walls and barriers become duplicated a thousand times over, leading to factionalism within factionalism, specificity within specificity, and minutia within minutia.  

The Left has adopted this formula time and time again under the pretense of being sensitive and accommodating to every possible group with a semi-unifying basic agenda.  But what this ends up doing is placing the individual concern first, and ignoring the basic humanity that draws us together.  The current generation in power embraced post-modernism with open arms, not recognizing that simply denoting a specific circle of influence means also that one ought to get to take the time to understand its core philosophy as part of the bargain.  

We can advance LGBT rights, for example, but if we don’t really make an attempt to listen, really listen to LGBT citizens and to their reflections and concerns, we are wasting our time.  Recently, a controversy has sprung up within Feminist spaces that criticizes men who make very ill-informed, very glib pronouncements of what the greater movement (and women themselves) needs to do.  These forceful pronouncements are almost always set out in condescending fashion, without, of course, truly understanding where women are coming from and without much specific understanding their particular grievances.  Some have denoted this as “mansplaining”.  

I do know the resolution of this issue ought be a two-way street, since any exchange of information needs both a talker and a hearer.  Though some may disagree with me, I also assert that Feminist circles would be wise to modify, but not water-down, nor soften their message to reach maximum exposure with the world outside of it.  This might be accomplished by consciously seeking to move away from the complications of heady terminology and abstract discussions.  This doesn’t mean voices should be silenced for any reason or that women ought not speak first and speak often in so doing.  Nor does this mean that the dialogue must be dumbed down.  What it does mean, however, is that that communication requires an equal sense of that which must be said and that which must be comprehended.  

I sincerely believe that women’s rights have a relevance and a pertinence which needs to be added to the daily discourse, but I do also know that doing so requires that it keep the extensive cerebration within itself and the cut-and-dry to those outside.  But lest one feel like I am picking on Feminists (which I am honestly not), this goes for every single-issue, shared identity, or niche group with liberal sensibilities.  Just because we seem to enjoy making things complicated for perverse reasons as yet unknown, doesn’t mean that we should.                  

The true failing in all of these cases lies in the absolutely ridiculous complexity of how we structure ourselves.  To reiterate once  more, for too long, information and strategies that could be to the benefit of all has been isolated within specific issue-oriented groups, each with its own nomenclature and particular phraseology.  This directly reflects the nature of academia, since these concepts are hatched there and exhaustively vetted.  In that profession, segregated subject areas and ultra-specific foci are considered necessities within a field of study to encourage subsequent analysis.  However, this particular structure is anathema to greater progress beyond the world of professors, scholars, and students.

I Just Watched Joyce Meyer on the religious channel AND

I liked her.  She is a downhome speaker, charming, smart.  Her homily today was “depression” and who isn’t depressed today.  Common sense and funny.  She preaches in one of those huge venues with hundreds of people.  The camera pans these people quite often, and they are shining with the quality of belief – they are happy and look healthy.  She made a lot of sense to me.  Matter of fact, she revved my engine – I’m going to work on library board stuff today which I’ve put off for days.  

My own religious background is urban Catholic.  I see the Church as a cultural institution, and believe in ways which are different than when I was a child.  I won’t bore you with this but the Church is important to me.  I do not believe the Church is the true religion as I was taught in the second grade – People are free to believe (or not believe) as they choose if they are tolerant of others and have decent instincts – none of my business.  Nor does the Church teach this anymore.  My son was taught way differently than I was so I know it has changed.  And I don’t like when the Church is dissed for reasons of faith – this is the religion of my family, my nana, my parents and childhood.  Sure politically the Church is up for discussion – why not?  Though I don’t believe it’s the voting block it’s made out to be.  My own Catholic friends and family are all over the place. The power of the Church lies in primate ties of family, friends, memories. Emotional but again – I am comfortable with metaphysics, so not threatened by myriad ways to peace, enlightenment, cohesion in life.  Plus communion gives me peace, and I believe in grace.  

My question to the community is: Have we given up on these people in Ms. Meyer’s audience?  Do we consider them intellectually clipped, stunted, unworthy of our attention?  Politically, they probably are conservative (this is the meme, isn’t it?) but individually each is different – and no doubt have the same good qualities we here foster and respect in the progressive community.  Politically have we ceded?  Seriously asking – I think we have.  

My takeaway.  I felt better after I watched Ms. Meyer.  I couldn’t stand being in such a crowd – smacks of conformity. But that’s me.  That’s not them and there are a lot of them out there.  Have we given up on these souls?  We shouldn’t.

I purposely did not research Ms. Meyer – I wanted to post this while I was feeling the effects of her homily – she does have a certain gift.

Caveat:  I don’t agree with the Church’s official position (and neither do my family or friends) on gays, abortion.  The priest scandal pains me deeply.  The American Church is quite different from Rome – Conservative Catholics are quite at odds with liberal Catholics.  We are not a monolith.  Really, discussing such matters is not what I’m after – I’ll be happy to delete the diary if the comments are not politically motivated.

5 mg canadian cialis UPDATE:  I just researched Joyce Meyer.  Oi Vey!  But these people believe mightily and they must have access to google, and have probably read of her travails in the local papers.            

Reason #487 Why Blogs Are Thriving And Print Is Dying

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Guess what.  The traditional media have discovered the earth shaking news that their op-ed pages are too male and too white. Doh.  Like most readers didn’t realize that?

Nicholas Kristof today reports that the Washington Post’s ombudsperson has written that op-ed pages are too male and too white:

Deborah Howell, the ombudsman of The Washington Post, has an interesting column looking at the diversity – or, rather, lack of diversity – on the op-ed page of the Post. She begins:

The Post’s op-ed page is too male and too white. And there aren’t a lot of youthful opinions, either.

   I have nothing against older white men; I’m married to one. And the nation’s power structure, often represented in Post op-eds, is white, male and at least middle-aged. But a 21st-century op-ed page needs more diversity.

   The 2008 numbers as of Wednesday: 654 op-ed pieces – 575 by men, 79 by women and about 80 by minorities. The lack of diversity is partly a matter of tradition; The Post’s longtime stable of regular columnists consists overwhelmingly of older white men.

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations While We Aren’t Asking and Telling

Don’t ask don’t tell came to visit my house on Sunday.  It hasn’t been a huge issue for me.  I didn’t see where people were being hurt and we know people in the Army who are gay and we just don’t talk about it and they don’t share their lives with us but as Armando pointed out not long ago where racism and America intersects, the status quo of silence is not going to be able to stand the test of time.

On Sunday I was hurt by don’t ask don’t tell.  I was hurt in the motherhood part of my soul and that’s my most tender part.  We live close to a gay military relationship but I’m not going to give details because people could be hurt.  Funny thing is that the person I’m most exposed to in the gay relationship that lives close to us doesn’t like me and I don’t like her.  Our personalities just clash.  I respect her humanity though and her personhood and would never desire to harm her so I’m going to be mostly silent here as I am in my real life and only speak about my exposure to her life in ways that make my point and leave her and her family safe.

Friday Night at 8: MANIFESTO!

My Unified Theory of Everything

Well not really.  It’s not anything so fancy as a theory.

My manifesto, by the way, can be expressed in one phrase:

dove acquistare vardenafil originale in italia THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Let us assess where we are now in the grand old blogosphere:

We have performed approximately seven trillion “gotcha” attacks on the media, reversing memes at the speed of light!

We have helped to elect a Democratic majority in the Senate and Congress.

We have spouted bloviations on every imaginable topic that if laid end to end would easily wrap around the circumfrence of the universe 50,000 times.

We have called to the media’s attention stories they would not otherwise have covered.

What we have NOT done is change policy in our government.  Bush and Cheney have more power now than they did before the 2006 election.  The War in Iraq is still raging, and I see no end in sight, no vote that points to our representatives ending this war.  We have seen no real opposition — NONE.

So, athough the blogosphere has accomplishments to its credit, ultimately we are all frustrated … which is why we are clamoring for a manifesto in the first place!

Friday Night at 8

Eastern Standard Time, that is.  I'm live from New York.  (Well, woulda been 8 pm EST, but I screwed up the formatting on the time.  Sorry 'bout that!)

I had all sorts of ideas on what I wanted my weekly essay to be about.  Fuck it.  I couldn't be consistent if you put a gun to my head.

But today's essay will be about diversity.