Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Right to Life vs. The Right to Live

Thank whatever divine being you worship, that this health care debate is almost over. I have had it up to my recently-drained veins with insane "townspeople" and nasty comments made from reform opposition. I feel like our country has devolved into a 6th grade classroom and somehow the bad kids were getting all the attention. Obama's most recent session before a joint congress seemed more like a teacher giving a lecture to a misbehaving classroom than anything else (Joe Wilson's heckling only fit this dynamic perfectly.)

The fact is, we need health reform badly. Whatever reform we get would not be enough to please me. I am a fan of a single-payer platform. As far as modern democracies and industrialized economic power-houses go, the United States comes in dead last for life expectancy. Yet we hear from reform opponents that "when someone in Canada has a medical problem, they come to the U.S." and cite a few examples to prove their point. Sure, the United States does have amongst the best hospitals in the world, but only the wealthy and insured have the luxury to visit them.

What this comes down to is the opposition saying, essentially, that only the wealthy and economically feasible citizens have a right to live. Everyone else, those who have lost insurance due to recession-based downsizing, their children, the poor and working class; they do not have a right to live, according to the reactionary anti-reform dogma. Unless of course, they were willing to go Bankrupt, which only dilates the rich-poor gap.

The worst part of this though, is that these people who refuse to help the struggling, the republican representatives and their incredibly loud and obnoxious "tea-party" allies claim to be "Christian." Or is this form of Christianity only willing to abide by the teachings of their lord and savior until their taxes are put on the line?

I never understood American "Christianity" in the political realm. You have Joe Wilson trying his damn hardest to make sure the children of undocumented immigrants cannot get penicillin for their strep, and yet this very same Joe Wilson is "pro-life."

I suppose he only supports the life of a child when it is inside a woman. Once it pops out, it is no longer a child in need, it is a vile lazy welfare-brat looking for another government handout. Very Christian of you Joe, indeed.

Speaking statistically, of course, if Joe Wilson and his "christian" counterparts really wanted to lower the abortion rate, it probably would help if those who are stranded in tough economic waters could get the health care they need. The "right to life" is an irrelevant stance to have if you do not believe in the right to live.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Body language in text: How the new millenia will send and percieve a social yawn

"You need more exclamations!" My friend said "more. That will prove you are decidedly friendly." She was right, I needed more exclamations. Otherwise, my purely business-related "thanks, you're the best!!!!" would be seen as dismissal, if not outright passive-aggressive. And, if its as simple as an assistant receiving a package, we have obviously begun to (whether we like it or not) pay attention to specific social cyber-cues.

It is true, I believe, that emotional intelligence is a genuine genre of interactive intellect. Some people are amazing at making machines work, but have no ability to comprehend their neighbor's obvious boredom. Some people are the exact opposite. And while my friend advises me to add an extra "!!!" to my email, I begin to come to terms with the fact that our generation has become super-sensitive to vague social cues.

The internet, once again, the culprit. Take the emoticon for example. If someone ends their email with an ":)" they are either: being friendly, being flirtatious, making up for something their fault or, trying to send a more subversive sentiment.

Indeed, the subversive sentiment, the one we choose rarely to recognize. The smile that exists predominantly as the "eye roll" or the under-your-breath response.

It is If I wrote "its ok, I have a few other people who are willing to donate a kidney :)"

It is the emoticon of the martyr syndrome.

But whether we like it or not, these obviously expressive sentiments have become standard.
:) "i like you" [rarely used in heterosexual male friendships, used all the time in platonic male-female friendships]
:-O "you have a new cat?!";
:D "I like drinking"....;
;p "I wink and stick my tongue out at the same time because i don't take myself seriously, and people like that about me"

and let us not forget the:

[sentence]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! aka "Most assuredly"

Passive social cues have become a bit more extreme over the internet, due mostly to the restrictions of text-related interactions. It used to be that social cues were set by the upper class, that is, after all, how etiquette came to be. The etiquette of old is changing. People are becoming *very nice* face-to-face but more specific on the internet.

When a republican family member wants to take advantage of my left-leaning facebook status, he does so. But at thanksgiving dinner, he might not bring it up or even challenge my philosophy. On the internet though, he feels much freer to express himself. No wonder I have to include a million exclamations to thank a coworker....

So we have become indoctrinated in specificity. Anyone who does not send a specific emotion is either being elusive or socially ignorant. Point is, next time your friend replies to your apology email with a series of abbreviations "it k, talk tmrro?" You should probably come to terms with the social eggshells about to crack under your toes...