December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving

Here is a bit of a delayed topic, thanksgiving.
Now, the history behind this holiday is kind of a sensitive subject.
I do have a friend who actively protests other 'holidays' like "Columbus day" with her Ojibwa club (I can't remember the name of the organization exactly).
It deals with an unfortunate part of our countries past. It is not the first and probably will not be the last of this instance.
Yes, there is a lot of anger about the horrible treatment and abuse of people.
Yes, this was near genocidal with the use of biological warfare to eliminate a people.

Now, here's where I point out something, the celebration of the holiday has lost all of it's meaning.
This is especially true among my peers. When thanksgiving comes, we all focus on a time of rest and relaxation, we do not question why, we do not care.
My friends and I, the only meaning of holidays is the fact that we do not work, and we do not have class.

Some people do have a problem with the fact that so many of my peers do not care about the meaning. They say this is a sign of a generation without values and morals.
This is also something I disagree with. It shows quite a bit of values and morals. It shows that we value what it means to have a day off, that we spend so much of our time working and studying that a day off is a celebration in itself.

November 28, 2008

More Religious Talk

There's a trend that I've started to notice among a lot of my friends, and it involves religion.
While I don't feel like I purposefully avoid religious people, I just don't have that many religious friends.
I suppose one reason for this is the fact that when people express beliefs of absolute truth, I find that concept amusing and I express this often through laughter.
Anyways, back to the point.
Ever since a party way back in middle school when some of my friends and I decided to hold a fake ritual involving dancing around an egg in the middle of a cul-de-sac to scare the neighbors (at midnight or so), we developed a fake religion of 'egg-ism' which in itself had no more ridiculous ideas than any other religions.
This joke continued through high school.
Recently, one of my friends decided to make up his own religion, based on himself being god.
Once again, a premise of the religion was that it too was no more ridiculous than any other school of thinking.
We were talking about whether or not, according to Christianity, unborn children would be sent to purgatory. (There is another story that started this conversation as well, but that might be another topic to discuss entirely.) One of us, the one who's religion would center around himself, pointed out that the catholic church had decided that there was no purgatory anymore.
"Wait, really? Aren't they the ones who created it?"
"Well, I don't know, it's really confusing you know, since it's all made up."
This is a trait I've noticed more and more among my peers, most major schools of thinking are going away.
Now, I'm a little curious as to why, because there are a lot of potential reasons.
First, there is the fact that science has come a long way. I think, like many others, that religion was created to explain the unexplainable. When people saw things they couldn't understand, of course there still had to be a reason. When people began to discover these reasons, science became the new religion. Pushing it out of the way, as large invisible supernatural beings became less acceptable answers for why the sun rises, why lightening strikes, or why sodium burns, it became that way for other things like the reasons for life, genesis, etc.
Next, there is the fact that the average quality of life is so much better now than when religions came into power. At the origins of society, life was hard. Food was scarce, the elements determined whether or not one would live to see until the next day, and things as simple as stubbing ones toe could make one ineligible for passing on ones genetic material. One needed a source of comfort, otherwise life would seem hopeless, pointless, and unbearable. As soon as one finds these things, they may hesitate at the wrong moment or make some other mistake that would make them dead. The promise of a reward for those that are good, and punishment for those that are dead, would provide incentive. Now, things are considerably easier. Medicine, industry, and stronger society has made life longer, simple mistakes or hesitation are easy to overcome, and there is a self-imposed justice system.
While life isn't perfect yet, we don't have a possible answer to everything, society still makes mistakes, but I think it is getting better. Will religion ever go away? I actually hope not. It is for that very reason, hope. Society and science tell us that to hope is pointless. There is no such thing as knowing, but as soon as hope goes away, so does our drive. Life may be better, but without hope, there is no desire to improve it even more. Hope is a necessity, faith is about hope. While I disagree with blind hope, I do not disagree with hope. And that is something that I am afraid of our society loosing.

November 20, 2008

International Image

I have a couple of different jobs to help me keep up with rent and loan payments. I find them both rewarding and interesting, but one that allows me to gain the most perspective is my role as an undergraduate T.A.
In my class, I help international graduate TA's work on their language and teaching skills, along with the cultural transition.
A very appealing aspect of this job is the fact that I get to interact with students who are viewing our society from an outsider point of view.
One problem with the class is that we, as in the representatives of our society, are often giving skewed views.
At least, that's what I hope...
The other day, we were working on the subject of conflict management. One example of why a student might cause conflict is because they feel that they are paying for an education and poor grades would reflect them not getting the value out of their money being paid for tuition.
There is a bit of truth to this fact, and we did tell them that there are some students who might feel this way. The issue I take isn't necessarily with their acceptance of the fact, but the students seemed to indicate that this is more of the rule rather than an exception.
Not only that, but the accepted it a lot easier than they've accepted many other things we've told them.

I don't know what an actual TA would say, but I haven't heard too much about this happening, but is our image (as American undergraduates) really so bad that this is so easily accepted?
I have heard my peers complain that TA's, along with professors, have poor teaching skills and this affects their performance, which is understandable. A TA, for most chemistry, physics, and other IT-focused courses, receives about a week of education. This mostly includes the specifics of the course material, rather than ways to actually teach the information.

Not only this, but TA's and professors (especially here) are generally teaching as a secondary position, whereas research or their own studies might be of more focus. Comparing this limited training to the kind of educators most of the undergraduates are exposed to (people whose primary focus is teaching itself, and go through years of training before actually educating students) and it's easy to see where this complaint comes from. They aren't used to this style of education and often struggle because of it.

Now what is there to say about the system that is wrong? Is there even anything wrong?
Do American students really have such monetary-driven expectations that they feel a poor grade reflects them not receiving a 'fair deal'?
Is the TA's teaching skills reflected by and responsible for a students performance in a class?


November 14, 2008

De-Synchronous Activity

I don't know if this is necessarily a reflection on public life, but I feel like it's more the effects of public life on people.
We all have had (or still have) those friends who are a little unsure, and we're a little unsure of their connection with the world around them.
I'm both fortunate and unfortunate enough to have a lot of them.
On one hand, yes they are the most kind and caring people I've ever met, but on the other sometimes their kindness and idealistic view is problematic.
I'm quite unsure of how much I'm in this group, because my idealistic view sometimes skews my view of the world a bit, but then again maybe not.
We all talk about optimism and pessimism, and some people talk about how this affects not only our view, but placement within public life.
Optimists supposedly, statistically speaking, live longer lives. Pessimists conversely, once again statistically speaking,have more realistic views of the world.
What this means about the way we might live our lives as one of the other is interesting to ponder. Would one rather live with rose colored lenses for longer, or would one rather live and see the world for what it is, despite how shorter that time may be.

Granted, there is a bit of a catch with that study. Who defines realistic views of the world? The way that I've heard those concepts voiced often indicates that pessimists are the ones who say this. This makes sense to me also. If you're going to have a darker view of the world, it would seem like a good (observer bias) trade-off to think that you live in the 'real world'.

Since reality is merely a perception of the world around us, pessimists see the world as a dark place, and to them it is. Optimists see the world as a beautiful and wonderful place, and thus it is.
To every event within public life, our views change our interpretations, which indicates that there is no such thing as public life. Sure, some people will share some common conceptions and interpretations, and we can change how others may view the world with convincing arguments. But the point where we change how a person observes the world, that old reality no longer exists. For every new fact we learn, every new aspect of public life, every exception to the rules we create, an entire world is destroyed. This isn't an excuse for us to not change our views of the world, this is more a question of what is real. Is what is real that which most people can interact with in some way? Or is real defined differently for each person?

I believe that things only exist because my definition of real allows for it. If there was no way for me to perceive, view, or experience something, how can it exist? Is the absence of evidence evidence of absence?
These same arguments have been going on for centuries, as long as there have been people who, as far as I know, are the only creatures that wonder why. I feel like that is the true mark of humanity, the question why, but that's another story.

Rather than feeling I need to know what is really real, I've decided that I'm going to have to settle for 'real enough' because that's all that really matters. I see beauty in this fact, that I don't have tow rry about reality as long as I know that reality is real, but the world I live in is real enough. Because of this, I get to choose how I interact with the world.
Some people use this definition and become dangerous social deviants, some become horribly depressed, but I find it comforting. I choose to be a pessimist, I fake optimism, but at the same time I view my pessimism as a reason for public decency. While I worry about my friends, who's view on the world is so out of sync with the popular view on the world, I don't deny that they might be right. However, I do view that since to me they are wrong, it is my duty to be there for them to try and steer them to the safer path.
I will loose sleep, I will loose hope, but I will be there to help them up as long as I can, which is more than I could hope for everyone in the world to do.

November 12, 2008

Question of Race

I'm going to say that I did not create the following image, although I did forsee this kind of reaction...

http://cdn-9.11piecesofflare.com/d1/stickers/5855/0089/obama-mccain-skin-switched_43187360_thumb.jpg

Now, I saw our culture reacting to the election in one of two ways.
If Mccain had won, people would have said 'because he's white'
If Obama had won, people would have said 'because he's black'
I feel that it is very unfortunate that we ask everyone to be color blind, in the sense that we do not choose our candidate on the basis of race, gender, creed, etc. but unfortunately there was a lot of this.
I voted for the candidate I did, because I felt that it would be the best choice for running our country, I personally cannot say that I did not consider voting for the other candidate. The deciding factor for me, was the way that the campaigns were run. However, it seems that no matter which side had won, there was going to be this issue of race.

I guess it's the loosers right to complain, to blame, and to be angry. I just feel that it's unfortunate that our society is still in such a mindset that they choose this method. Of all the major differences between the two candidates, this was the one that bothered people the most.
Chris Rock once said that he did not believe that there was equal representation of both white and black races in the MLB until the 90's or so (I can't remember the year exactly). He said that it wasn't equal until this time because this is the time when truly bad black players were in the league.
Is this what it's going to take for our nation to really have gender equity? Do we need to have a presidential candidate loose, despite the fact that he's black? Did we have a president become elected despite the fact that he's black?

Do we need to have a black candidate loose, or win, and have nobody comment on the fact that he's black?
What about women, will we have one of those as well?

November 6, 2008

Kenya Celebrates

Change we can believe in?
I like browsing Fark.com, it brings me entertainment and alerts me to things that are 'quirky' at best from around the world.
I don't know what to make of the newly elected president, sure I'm happy, but I'm not all that surprised.
This is going to be an interesting administration. We have, for the first time in my life, a president that almost the entire world wanted to lead our nation.
Granted, there was such a large reaction to Bush, so I'm not surprised, but still...
Kenya declared Thursday a national holiday, in celebration of Obama's election.
This is an interesting time, from what I can tell the temporary sigh of relief may be world-wide.
I have a sort of belief about other countries, we all hate our neighbors.
Of course the rest of the world shows America a lot of cheek, but they show a lot to one another too.

I'm not entirely sure what Obama's election means, but I'm hoping that it can live up to the hype that the entire world seems to have placed it in.

October 29, 2008

Disdain caused by Dissent

I was having a hard time thinking of a topic for this journal, so I chose one of my favorite weekly commentaries on public life, the pseudo-game-show "Wait Wait ... Don't tell me!" from NPR.
On the show, they have a game called "Not my job" where they quiz a guest who is notable for a specific field, on a subject completely unrelated to their field.
This week they had Christopher Taylor Buckley, a historically conservative political satirist.
He was recently convinced to resign from his editorial column in the conservative magazine that his father founded because of something he did in his personal blog.
The act he committed was so vile, so wrong, so derogatory that many of the people that read what he did threatened to cut off financial strings to the magazine. Because the magazine was started by his father, Christopher decided that he would offer his resignation to the editor of the magazine, if it would help smooth out some ruffled feathers.

Now, what might this vile act might have been? Was it such things as jokes about cannibalism (a career ruiner for Shel Sylverstein), coming out of the closet (a form of career suicide for a former politician), making racial slurs (Michael Richard's career killer), etc.?
Why no, it was him expressing his own political beliefs in his personal blog.
He did the unthinkable for the right wing, he endorsed Obama.
On the show, Mr. Buckley emphasized how he tried to keep his blog separate from his column, and made comments to that effect.
Unfortunately this had the opposite effect, the immediate response was the cancellation of a lot of subscriptions and loss of other forms of funding. Because the magazine was important to his family's legacy, he offered his resignation to the editor, who took him up on it.

While I think that there is a certain absence of wisdom on his part, I feel that realistically there shouldn't be.
A lot of people seem to not understand that a dissent in opinion is part of the ideals of this country, where everyone is allowed to think and say whatever they want (in terms of opinion, items of national security are a lot harder to nail down) and still be equal to everyone else.
There may be some commentary as to how the founding fathers didn't include women, non-poperty-owners, Africans, etc. I feel that their founding principal was this and it is up to our modern society to expand upon that idea, not close it up.

What has come of our country? I know that the dissent in opinion hasn't always been respected (McCarthyism, Freedom Fries, etc.) but I had hoped that choice in polical parties would be free for anyone.

While driving with my roommates a couple of weeks ago, one of them spotted someone on a pedestrian overpass hanging a "Palin-McCaine 08" poster and shouted, "Hey look, they have a McCaine poster!"
The driver responded, "Let's hit them!"
I know the belief system of said roommate, and (trying to make a point) I said, "Hey look, a Jesus fish! Let's ram their car, they have different beliefs!"
I think he took offense to this, but I have to point out the dual-nature issue that has become so central to our society. Everyone is allowed to have their own belief, and can't be attacked for it, as long as they agree with yours?
This is the message that seems to be sent out by so many people, and I find it troubling.
I do have a friend that see's the same pattern, and takes issue with it in the same way that I do, but he and I are on opposite sides of the line. He is a very conservative religious person, and I'm just about the opposite.
We're still good friends, we never talk about politics or religion because we respect each others opinion, which is something I wish I could say was popular with the rest of the country, state, friends, and world.

October 27, 2008

Addicting Nature of Wikipedia

I thought I would take this blog somewhere it hasn't been before, specifically trying to describe something rather than argue something.
I don't know how many other people can say this, but I find wikipedia addicting. I don't know what about it is so appealing to me, but if I had to guess, it is probably because of the addiction cycle.
The shorter the time before a high and the administration of a drug, the more addicting it is. Combining that with how the highs can be returning quickly, it's easy to understand how it's addictive, the question is why.

I'm hoping I can offer some insight into that.

I find that wikipedia is addicting, because of all the information that can be found so quickly. I want to know about something, and it's there. I feel that I don't understand something about it? Or it seems to reference something else that might be interesting? I just click another link. I loose entire hours, just looking up fact after fact. This is the high of information, the why, and I don't know exactly what it means for our generation.

Yes, loosing hours to looking information up is a bit of an exaggeration, I guess 'hour' would be the best approximation, but does this mean anything bad?
I guess it does increase our generations reliance on technology... if you don't have to retain information on so many subjects, why bother? The information is all there...
This is a sentiment expressed by a lot of my peers. Every time they are told they have to memorize information, they just insist that the idea of memorization specifics is ridiculous. All the information our generation needs is somewhere else, and the time it takes to find it is shrinking every day.

October 24, 2008

Future of Medicine

One of my favorite classes I have completed here at the U which wasn't specific to my major is Geog 3411W or the Geography of Health and Health Care.
It had us complete quite a few readings, including news articles of interest. Since most of the class were pre-med students, the teacher tried to keep the information relevant.

One thing that came up, was the issue of malpractice. While I agree that deliberate harm of a patient is something that no doctor should do, and this would warrant voiding their liscence, and people that cannot keep standards up should be encouraged to not practice medicine, and focus more on research, there is one repercussion that has arisen.

In an article I read a while ago, doctors were avoiding giving patients medicine that would save their life to treat a stroke.
The medication could be detrimental if given in the wrong case, and the only way to screen out the patients that would benefit from the medication was to give them an MRI.

The issue is that if patients were given the medication when it was not needed, doctors would be liable for malpractice and could loose their license along with a lot of money. Since a lot of clinics do not have MRI machines and a lot of patients are unable to afford the large expenses associated, doctors are unable to test if the medication is warranted. However, the doctors would not be liable for death if they treated the patients in a limited way.

The end result? The doctors do nothing. People die, but the doctors get the chance to continue treating other people. While I do not blame the doctors for their decision, they are able to help a lot more people if they keep their license rather than risking it all on one person. I do feel that perhaps this is yet another sign of a system that is breaking down. A system that punishes doctors for making a decision that may or may not save a persons life will inevitably lead to the doctors just letting the person die so they can help other people.
Who suffers more? The doctor that can't treat their patient or the people that die needlessly because some other families felt personally wronged and decided to punish the doctor for taking a shot that could have saved their loved ones life, or the person who dies because the doctor felt they were being forced to simply watch?

October 20, 2008

Motives

I'm very analytical in all aspects that I have the opportunity to be as such.
I like to try and read people as much as I can to understand their motives. Often I can get a pretty good reading on people and their motives. When I'm very unsure of a persons motives, I get very uncomfortable.

Today, during lecture, someone I did not know sat down in the chair next to me, on the side closest to the entrance to aisle. This broke the cardinal room of seating, never sit next to anyone without a very good reason.
Now this happens normally on the first couple of days of class, and it is normal. It also makes sense if you're trying to sit next to someone you know, have special needs, etc.
Now, she sat on the spot next to me closer to the exit, but not next to anyone. The person never engaged with anyone in conversation and so forth.

Eventually I did find out the persons motives, but not before I was distracted from the entire lecture trying to pin what the person wanted down.

The main question is this, why was I so uncomfortable with someone sitting next to me that I didn't know?
Why does our society have these unwritten rules?


October 17, 2008

Laws of Consumption

I'm going to continue my little tirade on alcohol consumption.
If there is anything that the early 1900's taught the government anything, it was that making things illegal doesn't necessarily get rid of a problem, it just turns control of the problem from out of their hands into those that can control it.

The great social experiment resulted in a large increase in the crime rate, and as a result prohibition was repealed and instead the government started to increase the cost of alcohol.
In the 1980's, the federal government decided to raise the drinking age to 21, but since the federal government didn't want to overstep it's bounds, instead of a federal law it just became a requirement for federal funds.
Some states, such as Texas, tried to resist as long as they could, but eventually they gave in.

My memory of this subject is subject to faults, but now I have something to point out.
I have repeatedly told people that I have no problem with consumption, regardless of age. I do have an issue with FAS, Vehicular Manslaughter, Domestic Abuse, and so fourth, all things that have a direct correlation with alcohol consumption.

In my freshman year, I remember a bit of a dispute on Facebook. There was a group claiming that my home town was 'lame'. I was invited by a friend that had stayed home while commuting to a school that he hated, which caused me to have a bit of curiosity. I went to read the forum and I ended up reading about how it was a group that complained about how the police officers in the town were just 'trying to ruin' everyone's 'good time'. And people needed to list the places they have found where they could drink uninterrupted.
My friend took issue with this and began to yell at them telling them they were unintelligent and essentially yelling at each of them. I tried to tell him to calm down, as effective as that is on the passive type of communication that is a forum.
Eventually I told them that they could drink all they want, I also pointed out that I didn't have a problem with them succumbing to alcohol poisoning or driving their car off into a ditch. I did have an issue with their consumption of alcohol leading to the demise and pain of other individuals. In hindsight this was a bit of an issue as this opened the floodgates as a large portion of students still in my high school began to turn their anger at me.

I've heard the argument that keeping our age of consumption so high, 21, only increases the amount of binge drinking. I can see some logic in this, as those students so often point out places like Germany and Switzerland have a considerably lower drinking age and a lot less incidents involving under-age consumption. This partially has merit, in the sense that hopefully introducing the responsibility earlier in life will allow people to become better at managing it if they're going to do it anyways.

However, there is something I feel is a bit lacking in our current laws on illicit consumption. In Switzerland, I think, if someone gets a single DUI, they loose their license. Permanently.
This is something that always bothers me, I feel our laws on the punishment for abuse of alcohol are too loose.
If someone is found to have impaired judgment, do we really want that person to have the ability to cause massive damage along with death?

Why is it that so many people don't like the ideas of these laws? Is it because they know they would suffer the consequences of the law?
This could save a lot of lies. Maybe people who were shown to have made a horrible decision once, perhaps they shouldn't be punished forever. I suggest our society consider the following.
1. Upon being caught with a DWI or DUI while in control of a motor vehicle or possessing a firearm, the right to use such an object should be taken away for a year.
2. Upon being caught with a DWI or DUI while in control of a motor vehicle or possessing a firearm for the second time, the right to use the object should be taken away for 10 years.
3. Upon being caught with a DWI or DUI while in control of a motor vehicle or possessing a firearm for the third time, the right to use said object is taken away permanently.
4. If alcohol is detected on a person committing an act of domestic abuse the first time, the right to consume alcohol is taken away for a year and the person is sentenced to mandatory counseling.
5. If alcohol is detected on a person committing an act of domestic abuse the second time, the right to consume alcohol is taken away for life and the person is sentenced to mandatory counseling.

I feel that the answer to decreasing the dangerous effects of alcohol consumption is to not only try to make certain that people are allowed to consume it in a responsible manner, but also to ensure that everyone realizes that the risks of using alcohol should be worth the 'benefits.'

October 14, 2008

The Decision to Drink

My roommate turned 21 on Monday, this was somewhat of a standard evening in a sense.
We went to out to a nice place for dinner, and he ordered a couple of drinks more because he could.
He then bought a bottle of scotch and proceeded to miss half of his classes the following day.

I have somewhat of a unique view on alcohol consumption. I'm not directly opposed to it in the sense that if someone wants to drink I view that as their choice and their decision to make, not mine.
I do not drink, not because of the fact that it is illegal but more because I do not really want to and can not. I am an insomniac and the consumption of alcohol while I'm on my medication could result in death. While it would be possible for me to allow my body to get rid of all of the medication in my body over the course of a week or two, it would be a week or two of going 72 hours without sleeping before crashing for 10 hours...

Now, the consumption of alcohol is highly prevalent in my peers, especially large quantities.
This is especially obvious from the types of conversation one gets when they meet someone new in a social situation.
Generally the topic that is talked about first is either, "What is your major?" or, "Do you drink?"
I feel it is somewhat obvious of which question indicates what about the students personal choices, but the second one usually goes in the following format:

"Do you drink?"
"No, I can't, it could kill me."
"That sucks, is that like a liver problem?"
"I'm an insomniac, and my medication combined with alcohol could be fatal."
"So why don't you just not take your medicine?"

or

"Do you drink?"
"No, I can't, it could kill me."
"That sucks, is that like a liver problem?"
"I'm an insomniac, and my medication combined with alcohol could be fatal."
"Well it probably won't be that bad, have you ever tried?"

I'm quite used to this conversation format, which is why I usually respond the same way. It is the driving idea behind these responses that concern me though. It occurs to me that so many of my peers value drinking a lot more than they should, as in more than the ability to sleep or live.
That sounds like addiction to me, but the reason this response came about is another topic.

What does it say about my generation, if they value alcohol consumption this much?
In my mind, nothing positive...

October 6, 2008

Science To Blame?

During the lectures for the 1501 I've heard students make an error multiple times.
They blame science for the horrors such as biological and nuclear weapons.
While I could understand someone thinking that since scientists make the weapons and discover these things, I heard something quite troubling today...

Someone in our class said that, "Government needs to clean up after scientists create horrors like biological weapons."
That is what I have a large problem with.
Science does not know religion, it knows not boundaries, it knows not conflict, etc.
Science is the quest for knowledge, sometimes these questions are how do we prevent the destruction of people from infectious diseases.
Unfortunately, it is humans that tend to pose other questions, such as how can we kill as many people as we can in a limited amount of time...

To think that politicians are the ones protecting the rest of the world from science is laughable.
Politicians fund scientific breakthroughs that lead to causing as much death and destruction as possible. The department of defense is the largest part of US government spending, and it is their fault that things such as the atom bomb or bacteria that contain smallpox in them exist.

Now, I have to wonder if this is what the American public thinks.
Do they blame scientists for the fact that horrors such as those exist?
Don't they realize that a scientists job is to know how and why?
When they need money and funding, they get jobs from politicians which fund them to make things that kill people.


October 2, 2008

Religion and Politics

I'm going to say this right now, I'm agnostic. I neither firmly believe in the presence or absence of an all powerful deity or a group of deities.
Now, I view this as quite liberating, even though most people seem to view it as one of the following:
1. A cheap-skate way to avoid damnation
2. A very lonely and sad way to live life
3. Unimportant.

I would hope that our society would view it as the third way, but unfortunately it is one of the first two.
While watching a clip of the Daily Show, Bill Mauer pointed out something very troubling.
He mentioned that it is probable that neither Obama nor McCaine are very religious (something I'm doubtful of given Obama's 'history' with certain religious figures and the background of the republican party) but they have to pretend to be in order to convince people of their morals.
While I view the morals of everyone in question, it deeply troubles me when religion alone is enough to convince the American public that someone has 'good morals'.

I'm going to admit that I have a bias, I tend to view most religious figures as having questionable morals (IE priests that molest little boys, Osama, the Dark Ages, etc. etc. etc.)
However, I would rather have someone who admits that they're going to base their decisions as a president on cold logic rather than religious text.

Unfortunately, sometimes people in power need to make decisions that nobody else wants to make, sometimes they need to be the 'bad guys' for the public's well being. Example: delivering bad news such as death, starvation, and taxes.

If someone is going to have to choose between the public's well being, and something that disagrees with their religious grounds, I would rather they chose with their head.
Any job comes with certain benefits and costs, and sometimes the job may ask you to cross your religious faith. If it isn't worth that to you, then that job isn't the right fit for you.
Public office is no different, and I feel a pre-requisite in a debate question should be whether or not someone in office would be willing (this should be administered under oath) to cross their own religious doctrine for the good of the people they've been elected to lead.
America seems to think differently, they place religion and faith so high on the pedestal that nothing is allowed to touch them.
It forces candidates of certain religions to just drop out, but I have to wonder where our country has gone.
Yes, there are certain moral implications of having religious faith, but that should not be the deciding factor on morals!

Look at voting history, service record, biographies, look at what made that person who they are, but do not place religion so high up!

September 30, 2008

Fist Gestures

I was watching the presidential debate at my friend's dads' house in Southeast Minneapolis.
While I was locked out of my apartment and enjoying the jokes being passed around, I noticed something.
Obama's hand gestures are practiced, not surprising as everything a candidate does in public is viewed with high criticism.

While it is obvious he was more comfortable with the parallel open handed nature in which he spreads them, his other practiced gesture had a lot of troubling issues behind it.

What bothers me about it? Sure, it's something of a fist, but not as threatening. It's also something of a point with his index finger, but not as accusing.
What bothers me, is the fact that candidates are not allowed to express themselves. Yes, it's true that a President should be accountable for their actions, but what kind of society have we become where simple hand gestures have to be rehearsed and practiced so it doesn't offend or anger people.

The idea behind this bothered me so greatly that I was unable to concentrate fully on the words being spoken.
Is this the kind of society that America should be? Where how someone chooses to illustrate their ideas is more important than what they say? What they believe?

I certainly hope not.