I have not posted anything in about a year because the new job is keeping me pretty busy. I have a year’s worth of observations because the political world has become even crazier since I last posted, but I’ll restrain myself. Here are five things on my mind these days:
ABORTION Nobody likes abortion. Nobody. Even those who are “pro choice” would prefer a world in which abortion was unnecessary. The truth is that I can understand both sides of the issue. Arguments that government should have no control over a woman’s body are certainly valid (at least they are valid for those holding that view), but the argument that life begins at conception and, therefore, abortion is taking life is valid as well (again, for those who hold that view). It is a matter of perspective and it is an issue not lending itself to compromise because one’s views depend on when one believes life begins. Does life begin at conception, when a heartbeat is present, when brain waves are detected, when the fetus is viable, at birth, etc? To be honest I cannot imagine any compromise. However, I will never understand why there isn’t equal opposition to:
- Child abuse. Each year an estimated 3 million child abuse and neglect cases involving 5.5 million children occur in the United States.
- Child malnutrition. There are currently 13 million American children who are either hungry or at risk of being hungry. That includes 11.2% of American households.
- What about the 2,737 children who were forcefully separated from their families at the border? The children had no control over their parents’ decision to enter the United States illegally.
- There are currently more than 400,000 American children in foster care because their biological parents are either incapable or incompetent, or both.
- The American infant mortality rate (the number of babies who die prior to reaching their first birthday) is higher in the United Stated than in any other wealthy nation.
- Between 1999 and 2017 about 2,400 American children were shot dead per year. Thousands more were shot but luckily survived.
- An average 2.5 million American children are homeless at any given time.
Again, I do understand why some Americans oppose abortion, especially if they believe life begins at conception. However, there is no philosophical argument regarding whether the children suffering in the above categories are alive and, thus, deserving of our protection. How about we start there?
WAR America has spent $5.9 trillion on wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq since 9/11. That is just the raw cost of war and does not include other costs that might have been affected had we spent that money elsewhere. In other words, dollars spent on wars are dollars that cannot be spent on highways, healthcare for veterans, schools, rapid rail, or other domestic programs, so additional dollars are spent on those. As former President Jimmy Carter recently told President Trump, the Chinese have spent nothing on wars in recent years and are instead investing in infrastructure. America’s economic advantage is in jeopardy.
OUR POOR PLANET A study released this week offers additional support for NASA’s measurement of global temperature and its conclusion that the Earth has warmed approximately 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1880’s. The area including the Arctic is warming at the fastest rate. Another NASA study released about three weeks ago concluded that greenhouse gases and atmospheric particles resulting from human activity started affecting planetary drought conditions more than 100 years ago. As I’ve stated in previous posts, this planet is currently our only viable home and taking care of it is not optional.
PRESIDENT TRUMP I wrote a couple of posts more than a year ago offering reasons I (let me choose my words carefully) dislike President Trump. His administration has been plagued by a record number of scandals, he is cozy with dictators and with America’s worst enemies while attacking America’s heroes, even some FOX news hosts call out President Trump on his inability to tell the truth (the Pulitzer prize winning website POLITIFACT finds that President Trump utters the truth about 30% of the time and untruth the other 70%), he vilifies and personally attacks anyone who speaks out against him rather than addressing the issues raised, he uses misdirection to get his followers to pay attention to inconsequential issues so they ignore all the other things he is doing, he paid off “adult film stars” so they would remain quiet prior to the election, he bragged about molesting women, he has not yet released any tax returns after promising to do so, his policies favor the wealthy at the expense of the poor, he takes credit for policies that were actually in place prior to his presidency, he acts like Russia did not interfere in our democratic processes although everyone else in Washington (including all our intelligence agencies) KNOWS they did, after promising to eliminate the national debt in eight years it has actually increased a couple of trillion on his watch, he has spent more than $100 million of our tax dollars playing golf after criticizing President Obama for doing the same (Trump said if elected he would be too busy to play golf), and…I could go on for quite some time. I just wanted you to remember that I have valid reasons for disliking him as president and as a person. During the last year I have come to dislike him even more. And lest you forget, I supported a Republican in the 2016 election; I am non-partisan and generally dislike both parties and their politicians.
GOOD NEWS In spite of all the things that concern me (and the above list does not even begin to scratch that surface), I still believe most people are good and kind. Many are heroes. If you don’t believe me just read this story about a man catching a two-year-old boy who fell from the fifth floor, or about these identical twins in Ohio graduating as valedictorian and salutatorian on the same day, or this story about a 97-year-old WW II vet who still works in a grocery store, or this school bus driver who spends thousands of his own dollars on gifts for his passengers, or this story about a neighborhood throwing a huge party for their mailman when he retired. Stories like this far outnumber the crappy stuff we hear in the news every day.
I hope your lives are rich and rewarding.