Archive for the ‘freedom’ Tag

PRO-LIFE?   9 comments

Every stage of my career has called for making complex things simple, but no matter how much sleep I lose, or how much thinking I do in between, or how much I focus on the issue when I do my daily half-hour walk, or how long I sit in front of the computer and try, there’s just no way I can make it simple. The killing of the right to abortion reaches into every aspect of life like athletesfoot creeping into the tissues. So I’ve decided to focus on just one piece of it, ignoring the women and their families who are impacted, the chipping away at freedom, the children who are threatened with the loss of a parent, the pain suffered by women denied palliative medication …. Nope, I’ll pretend the only thing that matters is that every zygote should be allowed to develop into an embryo, every embryo should be allowed to become a fetus, and every fetus should be allowed ultimately to be expelled from the uterus on its path to the outside world.

It seems to me that the first thing that matters is that the environment in which the development happens should approach an ideal if we want to reach our survival-to- birth goal. But there seems to be a problem when we look at the evidence.

“According to this year’s America’s Health Ranking Annual Report, the U.S. infant mortality rate is 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live infant births, while the average rate of infant mortality among the OECD countries is 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. Compared with other OECD countries, the U.S. ranks No. 33 out of 36 countries (Figure 62). Iceland is ranked No. 1 and has the lowest rate with 0.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. Mexico is ranked last with 12.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. New Hampshire and Vermont are tied for the top state in the U.S. with 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. These two neighboring states have achieved an infant mortality rate equal to the OECD average. As the bottom-ranked state, however, Mississippi has an infant mortality rate more than twice that of the OECD average at 8.9 deaths per 1,000 live births and internationally ranks below all but two of the OECD countries. Over the past 50 years, the decline in the U.S. infant mortality rate has not kept pace with that in other OECD countries. When examining sex- and age-adjusted infant mortality rates from 2001 to 2010, the U.S. rate was 75 percent higher than the average rate in 20 OECD comparable countries.” (Copied from the web.)

If you’re curious, OECD refers to “the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) [which] is an international organization that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people worldwide” (Also copied from the web).

Since this kind of information is easily available for anyone dedicated to the “pro life” position, it’s obvious that the next step, after requiring every pregnant woman to give birth, is to press for the provision of ideal health care for pregnant (and potentially pregnant) women. That, it seems to me, would require lobbying on a federal level, or at the many state levels, for funding for universal maternal care.

Also, given that human infants are born helpless, requiring many years of care just to stay alive, one would assume that those who are pro the life of all fetuses would lobby to follow through with the project by funding parental leave for a sufficiently long period of time as well as providing perpetual support of the health of the parent(s)/caretakers with adequate insurance. And, of course, there would be the need for food and shelter throughout the years. That would require lobbying for sufficient affordable housing for all families as well as sufficient incomes to provide food and clothing.

I said I’d keep it simple. None of this says anything about the overall quality of life of the individuals as their lives develop. Just the basic demand that life be required.

“THE COLOR OF LAW.”   Leave a comment

I JUST POSTED A REVIEW OF THE COLOR OF LAW: A FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF HOW OUR GOVERNMENT SEGREGATED AMERICA. Richard Rothstein.

Definitely needs reading. Definitely not at bedtime.

With a Doctorate in Social Psychology and years of professor-ing, plus a year of shared readings and discussions via a Zoom group during the COVID quarantine, I thought I had constructed a pretty strong cognitive structure of knowledge and understanding about racial matters. But Rothstein’s book has revealed and repaired the cracks in my structure one nail of reinforcing fact at a time. As a person with a pretty hefty load of compassion ability I found it painful reading – not to be read at bedtime.

At about an eighth of the way through the book I looked at the remaining width of the softcover book in my hands and thought, “What more torture/horror can there be?” And there was more – and then more. Now that I’ve finished, the thoughts keep coming. How can humans be so cruel to each other? How can one deal with the fact that inborn appearance condemns one to limited options no matter what one can do or accomplish that would evoke honors in the white world? How frustrating to suffer the physical restraint of red-lining and then be blamed for the results of living in a crowded space.  How would it be to raise a productive and healthy child in a world where he or she is defined from the beginning as inferior? How would it be to have one’s productive and successful neighborhood destroyed to make way for a highway to convenience the people who can live where you are not permitted to live? How could it be that I didn’t notice in graduate school that none of my classmates supported by the GI bill were black?

I’m ranting. But then there were my other thoughts. What have been the strengths of a people so deliberately restrained who could still be loving, joyful, dedicated patriotic contributors to our country? What might I learn from that?

 Finally, I find myself wondering how this knot in the freedom of our special country can be loosened? I find myself thinking how beautiful it would be if all our people could enjoy the kind of responsible opportunities described in “My Father’s House.” If this were fully the land of the free? Remember that simple point from your Intro Psych class? Punishment prevents behavior. Reward encourages it … ?

But this is a book review. What did I think of the book – as if I hadn’t already told you? It’s an important book but I wouldn’t choose it for the first assigned text in an advanced course in racial equity. I’m afraid it would drive some people to resign from the rest of the program. It’s painful.

Now I’ll go look at the other reviews of this book.

DEMOCRACY AT WORK … ?   2 comments

Is this really what we want? Click on link below.

Freedom of information

“…THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE   Leave a comment

How beautifully and inspirationally our National Hymn ends.  Like the best of hymnody, it invites solemnity, submission, and supplication.

Too often, as with many memorized recitations, we forget the depth of meaning: a call to submission to the lofty ideals the words express and the invocation of prayer that we might make our country ever more worthy of what we proclaim.

There is such beauty in the sight of physically powerful men – and those who join them – in the attentive position of kneeling – the very meaning of which is submission and prayer.

I am grateful for the inspiration.

 

UNEASY BLESSINGS FOR THOSE WHO CARE   8 comments

I picked this up in church on Saturday evening, but I don’t think one has to be religious to recognize the challenge.

This blessing is known as the Franciscan Four Fold Blessing, a devotional discipline derived from the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) and St. Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)

May God bless us with discomfort.  Discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger.  Anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears. Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

May God bless us with foolishness. Enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done..

 

 

Good Friday; Good Holidays   2 comments

Good Friday; Good Holidays. Spent time in meditation at a midday service today, longing for the peace that comes of freeing oneself from fear – not from the reality of evil, but from the fear of one’s own dark side, like internalizing the Jewish emphasis on release from oppression and the victory of freedom. To remove the blockage of fear, accepting my own dark side instead of projecting it on others, freeing energy to flow as an estuary to the rich ocean of positive human energy. A goal much to be desired, a distant dream. And, yes, quite Jungian.

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