This Winter I Am Discontent (But With Ragweed)
by And the White Lion Roars!
Ohhhhhhhh, so much to roar about, so little time! So today the White Lion will just dive right in. About three weeks ago I learned that a cousin I grew up with, almost a fourth sister, really, has multiple myeloma. Now, even though we have been very close all of our lives, we disagree vehemently on politics, and even more on religion. So, when she put it out on Facebook she asked for prayer. Dozens and dozens of her friends and other relatives posted that they were “raising her up in prayer.” At that point we only knew of a tumor in her leg, that was the week they went in to either fix it or decide what comes next. So it was two weeks ago when we learned the extent of the spread of the cancer, throughout the leg, pelvis, one shoulder and into the marrow. So another cousin posted on Facebook, “To all you prayer warriors out there…” This brought rushing back to me the same question I asked when my dad was told that his pain would be the rest of his life, he has dementia and COPD, and we can only manage his pain, not fix it. As his life spiraled downward hundreds of their friends and family promised to pray, but his quality of life has not improved at all. So, is the problem that not enough people have prayed? Or is it that the right person hasn’t “lifted them up.” (I, of course, had to tamp down the guilty question, “Is there a god, and is he waiting for me to pray?) Either way, for me it is one more validation that there is no loving magic man in the sky who cares about our individual daily lives, all the way down to who wins the ballgame, whether you can have a new bike, and whether or not yoga opens one up to demonic influence. But why do all those other true believers’ prayers not matter?
So, if I haven’t angered anyone yet (Biiiiiiiiiig Roar) I can’t not talk about the election. First I need to respond to a comment that Bill Maher. the comedian/host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, regularly makes, which I believe to only be partially true. The republican candidates for president also spout this nonsense every time they see a microphone as well; that political correctness is killing our country. (That the media NEVER asks the follow up question, “Can you tell us precisely how?” is another truth that makes me roar. Anyway, Bill Maher, whose show I watch every week, often says that Donald Trump is a ‘reaction to political correctness.” He is not. He is the end result of the “self esteem movement” gone too far. First of all, the self esteem movement got it wrong when it gave permission for children to grow up believing themselves to be better than other people rather than that they are as good as anyone else. All Trump’s bluster and bloviation about being that absolute greatest at everything, always a winner, greatest negotiator, blah, blah, blah, is self esteem movement blather all lathered up.
And all Trumps self aggrandizement leads me to one question, “…and republicans call President Obama arrogant?” Really? It was enough for this White Lion to hear how arrogant he was in comparison to George W. Bush, who called himself “The Decider,” and bragged about ‘going with his gut’ instead of bothering to wait for facts. Our president is confident, I’ll give you that, and in a white man that would be considered a good thing. He’s not braggadocios, when he has accomplished something he says so, usually in a soft, gracious way, thanking those others on the team who made whatever it is possible. And only once in awhile, usually when responding to someone calling him weak or diffident, he can be cocky, but always is a charming and humorous way. None of this wild talk about wiping a whole group of people off the face of the earth and taking our allies down because they dare to criticize. It is clear to me after seven years that when Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and Rush Limbaugh call the president “uppity” that they are speaking to this idea, he’s a black man who is in charge of things right now, and they don’t like it.
And I’m curious, speaking of political will, ‘back in the day,’ when the US was known for innovation and inventing things, what did the guys who eventually became oil barons do? The oil boom officially began in 1859, in a place called Titusville, PA, when a man named Col. Edwin L. Drake successfully drilled the first working oil well. But what did those guys do before? The men we see before us today, The Koch Brothers, T.Boone Pickens, Exxon Mobile, BP, etc, are not unintelligent men. But they are frozen in time to an industry that is killing us, and they refuse to use that intelligence to innovate and find a way that is not so damaging. The sad part of them hanging on so steadfastly to an industry that is outdated, just because is made them richer than most of us can wrap our heads around, is that they wouldn’t lose more than an initial investment do put some of that money to good use for the purpose of moving away from fossil fuels. After that they would make their money all over again. It’s already been shown that there is money to be made in ‘green industry.’ Even to the point that some nefarious folks are making money off people by claiming that they are offering green alternatives when they are not. (Ethanol from corn being a prime example!) Main point, smart people can find a way to unbreak things if they are not so entrenched and afraid of change that they just try to rationalize and defend “the way it’s always been.”
Has anyone heard? There is a sweet new book out called “A Birthday Cake for the President.” It is a book about a group of smiling, happy slaves getting ready to let the rich white people eat a nice cake they are making for President George Washington’s birthday. Needless to say, the book has stirred up quite a firestorm, and has now been pulled ‘off the shelves.’ But I think that the very notion this book was written at all is more proof of a deep, deep problem in the republican establishment. While this author, Ramin Ganeshram, is a journalist and chef, not a member of any political party that I could find, there are many on the right who have implied or said outright that black people were better off as slaves. These may be the ones who are fighting tooth and nail to keep the minimum wage unlivable. They are speaking for people without being asked to, but they are projecting the actual pleasure they feel when thinking of people who own businesses being allowed to do so with nearly no overhead, such as those pesky labor costs.
Also included in that group are all the legislators, state and federal, who keep trying to end the access of poor women to health care and reproductive services. Since federal dollars can’t be used for abortions, they are attacking women getting cancer screenings, medications, and many other health services that do not include abortions. They demonize and try to criminalize Planned Parenthood, and even after their lies with that aim are disproved, they keep repeating the same lies, almost as if their assertions will eventually become true (0r at least believed.) So let me boil this down, in my opinion, the people who are trying to take away a woman’s control over their own bodies, particularly if she is poor, really just want to kill poor women. They know that abortion won’t go away just because they may eventually succeed at making it illegal. Safe abortion will go away for people who don’t have the money to buy a private doctor’s discretion. So there will be abortion deaths. Screenings are known to catch some cancers early enough to be cured, so if fewer poor women get screenings, some of them will die of cancers that rich women never die from. Testing for diseases can also produce cures, but these, mostly men, but a few white, conservative women, would deny poor women these chances at a healthy, productive life. They still believe the often debunked and disproved idea that poor women are all on drugs and just keep “popping out babies so they can get a bigger welfare check.” Are there some people who abuse the system? Of course? Will that ever be stopped? No. There will always be people who can game any system. But does that mean that the truly needy should be denied services? I say no. But if they can kill a few poor women before women everywhere decide to be angry enough about it to act, that will mean a few less poor babies to feed.