Tag Archive for Political Leanings

When Optimism Becomes Dishonesty

InsideOutI just saw the new Pixar movie, Inside Out. As to be expected of any Pixar venture, the lesson of the movie was poignant. Joy, who spends most of the movie being an unintentional (yet enthusiastic) bully to Sadness, ultimately learns a mix of emotions are important for leading a balanced life.

That’s all well and good for the fictional world of Pixar, but out here in reality there is a different set of expectations. Our culture expects Joy to be in the driver’s seat. The other emotions are only allowed to drive under extreme circumstances, and to let them take over, especially when you’re a female in public, often leads to dire social consequences.

The movie aptly demonstrates the unfortunate results of this expectation. When Joy and Sadness are attempting to return to “Headquarters,” we see Joy steamroll Sadness multiple times. Any time Sadness recommended a solution or gave Joy a warning, Joy would ignore it in favor of optimism. Her denial delayed their return to headquarters to the point where a solvable problem ballooned into a dire crisis.

Much like Joy was fixated on keeping her charge, an 11-year-old named Riley, happy all of the time, American culture is fixated on relentless optimism. From the way we run our businesses to the way we run our government, we have effectively removed constructive anger, worry, and fear to the point where the only voices we’ll listen to are the ones who have positive things to say.

Yet we don’t live in a world where only good things happen. By embracing positivity to this degree, we are effectively lying to ourselves and each other.

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Taking Down A Flag Won’t Be Enough

confederateflag

Photo by Jason Eppink

Symbols have power. I won’t deny that. But removing a nail doesn’t remove the hole. Filling holes, healing wounds, takes more time and effort.

Still, after yet another terrible mass shooting, we search for a quick fix– a bandaid we can slap on to make people feel better.

So we call for a flag to be removed from a government building. We suggest roads be renamed and that we relegate Confederate leaders to the trash heap of history. Our leaders hear us. They join the cause. Because they believe it’s the right thing to do and because it lets them off easy.

We’re not asking for dialogue. We’re not asking for reform. We’re not asking for frank conversations.

We’re asking for a piece of fabric to be moved.

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Life on the Honors Track

A picture of a pair of glasses resting on an open book.

I spent my entire academic career on the Honors track. Aside from math, which seems to be the one subject my brain processes at the speed of paint drying, I took the Honors and AP courses available in every subject. Yet I never really thought of the implications of separating out the smart kids until I read this editorial by Judy Jones.

The advantage of Honors courses was we could drive dragsters while everyone else puttered about in sedans. We could blow through material faster than the regular classes. When teachers knew everyone in the class could absorb material quickly, they could cover more ground and still fit in time for the students to explore their own interests.

At the same time, I recall being in those classes with a lot of the same people. The “gifted” students stuck together because, let’s admit it, it’s very fun to hang out with people who are at the same geek level you are. It’s great to be able to crack jokes about math or physics and have people laugh so hard that soda rockets out of their nose. Everyone else would just give you a look that asked “so what Star Trek dimension are you from?”

But that environment doesn’t reflect the working world.

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Satire is Forever

Je-suis-Charlie

Yesterday’s tragedy at Charlie Hebdo is weighing on my mind largely because I have experienced first-hand the vicious judgment of “religious” people. The folks who picked on me weren’t likely to escalate their taunts to violence, yet I never ruled out the possibility. Some folks just want to control everything–an odd perspective coming from people who claim they are dedicated to an all-powerful God.

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Odds and Class

SONY DSC

One thing group of people who I will never quite understand are folks who argue for economic policies that won’t benefit them until they strike it rich.

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Thinking About Kent State

filo_kent_state_pulitzer

When I see the photographs coming out of Ferguson, MI, this picture of Mary Vecchio mourning the death of her classmate in 1970 comes to mind. For those unfamiliar with the events leading to the shootings at Kent State, you can get the gist of it all here. Pretty much it was a case study in tragedy arising from an overzealous police force mixed with a mob of very unhappy people.

I feel as though the protests in Ferguson won’t end until another tragedy strikes. The police force in Ferguson may be using non-lethal crowd control techniques. Yet tear gas and flash bangs can still harm people. Rubber bullets are still bullets. They might not kill, but they can injure and maim. These non-lethal tactics aren’t non-violent.

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You Don’t Hear Any Clamoring for “Small Corporations”

360px-Two_Prudential_PlazaYesterday’s Supreme Court decision was worrying for many reasons. It’s a setback for women’s health and it may give penny-pinching corporations enough wiggle room to back out of paying for contraception that should be part of comprehensive health care. Most disturbingly, it grants an inordinate amount of power to corporations to impose religious beliefs on its employees–a power not even granted to our federal government.

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Experts and Elections

Election

As you can tell by the picture, I voted in our primary election this week. In a county as deep blue as it could be in North Carolina, I’m not sure that my vote made a difference in any particular race.

It did make me think though about the state of politics and how that applies to this article published by The Federalist. For those who don’t want to read the whole thing, it’s essentially a lament about anti-intellectualism and our apparently declining trust in expertise. Writer Tom Nichols makes a lot of fair points, especially about our politics. People rarely bother to research the facts. Even if they do research, they tend to choose facts that conveniently align with their point of view. Folks rarely question how valid their sources are either.

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Dear Sinuses: Stop Inviting Bacteria Over (Plus, a Moral March Update)

Moral MarchUgh. I’m sick. I felt it coming on before the Moral March on Saturday, but I wasn’t about to miss that. It was actually a fairly warm day and it didn’t rain like every weatherman in the area was predicting. (Bet the conspiracy theorists are already claiming that McCrory tried to buy off the news stations.) So I can’t blame the weather for my illness.

But I can be pissed at my sinuses.

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Equal Opportunity Is Why I March

This is a picture of the logo for the UU movement Standing on the Side of LoveReminder: This is my PERSONAL blog. The following words are my OWN opinions and I am not stating them as an official representative of my employer. The statements contained in this post (or any other post on this blog) do not reflect the views, opinions, or political positions of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing in any capacity.

If you live outside of the fine state of North Carolina, you may not have heard about the Moral March. The march is a social justice rally pulled together by the ForwardTogether movement, the North Carolina NAACP, and the HKonJ movement. The intention is to march through Raleigh on Saturday, February 8th to demand equal access to healthcare, sustainable economic policies, stronger labor rights, and fair elections.

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