13 July 2012

The way I see it

Election season has been in full swing now for too long and I've largely remained silent about politics aside from a dust up with my sister. Besides that, many of the people around me share similar views, which has made discussion a pretty moot point.

But this election cycle has been getting to me.

My family squabbles started with the Supreme Court upholding the individual mandate of "Obamacare," a name I repeat with reservation, though it is growing on me because that name will only cement the presidency of Barack Obama in the annals of American history even more so than was his election as the first Black president.

I cheered the passage of "Obamacare" originally because I believe that access to health care is a right and not a privilege. The change - from privilege to right - I considered equivalent to the Voting Right Acts of the 1960s as a great equalizer. Another leg in the stool of citizenship to give Americans "certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," according to the Declaration of Independence.

I don't think "Obamacare" is perfect. I don't think anyone who supports it thinks it's perfect, but it's a step forward.

The never-ending mantra of Republicans to repeal "Obamacare" misses the point that Obama won his election vowing to reform and give health care to all U.S. citizens. That was the clear message of his defeat of John McCain, but that didn't stop Republicans from standing in the way. Here's a fact: Everyone in Congress represents people who support health care reform and who are against it, and yet nearly every single politician only spouts off one view, which means every single congressman/woman is ignoring some of their constituents.

The level of condemnation against "Obamacare" baffles me because so much of it has yet to even have a chance at succeeding. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional, so give it a chance. Find what works and build on it. Identify what doesn't and change it. But to throw it out and, as GOP presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney says, "replace" health care misses a major point: This sort of health care reform has been attempted for decades and has always failed. What makes Romney and the rest of the GOP think they will replace it with the success Obama had in getting health care reform passed? No, that message is, in my opinion, a lie. Repeal might happen with Romney in the White House, but replacing it with any sort of meaningful reform won't happen.

But the Republican obstructionism goes far beyond "Obamacare." It was the rallying cry of Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader of the Senate in October of 2010: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." That means their only goal has been to be block everything that Obama has tried to do to move this country forward. So in blocking everything possible, what have they done? Nothing. And more importantly, they haven't given Obama's vision a chance to even work and they haven't given some of their constituents' own hopes of Obama's stated goals and policies a chance. So how can they say Obama's policies have failed, when it is their own policies that are failing?

In my opinion Republicans haven't shown that Obama's policies have failed. And their failed logic is just one more reason why I can't even consider voting for a Republican in November.

08 November 2010

A and E, IOU

Yes, therapy is all about touchy feely. It's obvious, I know, but I've noticed it in more ways than one recently with all of the endless reading I'm in the middle of.

I used to go crazy as an editor correcting reporters on "effect" and "affect" - effect being a noun and extremely common in news writing and affect being almost solely verb in news and extremely rare. But these days, "affect" is a big old noun, over and over and over.

Affect practically shows up in every paragraph of every study and/or article that's been handed to me.

Why am I rambling on about this? Perhaps I'm still connecting my old career to my new one. I read a lot about the effects of such and such, but these days I'm working to affect change.

And that is about to start very soon. I've set my voicemail at the office, put in my office hours and availability and now I'm waiting for my first client.

Another little link between the past and future is ensure and insure. I don't know why all these therapist/writers are using "insure," especially since managed care and therapy aren't so friendly, when they mean "ensure," which I hope they are doing for their clients' sake!

So I'll be checking my voicemail in the morning to see if there's a first client assignment yet. I can say just having that first client assignment will affect me with anxiety, I'm sure, and I'll do everything I can to ensure it's eased by appointment time.

14 October 2010

From the Outside, This Time

So I must say, I'm glad to be sitting out this election cycle, from the media standpoint. The 24-hour news cycle has helped to ruin politics, of that I'm sure, but so have the players.

It was plenty bad before the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could have free reign in the election cycle. Last I heard more than $200 million had been pumped into the election cycle, with much of it from entities that get to hide behind organization names. If we're going that far, then why not let EVERYONE make anonymous donations? I mean, if corporations and people are being considered essentially the same, how are corporations, unions, etc. actually getting a privilege not afforded to individuals?

Could you imagine a presidential candidate with $200 million and not having to disclose where any of it really came from? Of the conspiracy theories from the last presidential election, that Barack Obama was planted at birth as an extremist agent was the most laughable, but there really isn't anything preventing foreign entities from buying and distributing the propaganda this election cycle, or any after.

What really gets me is how the law the that was struck down regulating the disclosure of campaign contributions was a bipartisan bill, but now that the Democrats want another version of this to withstand or weaken the possible results of the Supreme Court ruling, the GOP is pointing fingers at the Democrats saying there are being unfair and sore losers.

Yeah ... It was called the McCain-Feingold Act, McCain being the failed GOP presidential contender and decades-long GOP politician. Of course, he's changed his tune on immigration and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so this is par for the course.

Of course, missing out on the election cycle is easily more possible this time because of the amount of reading graduate school is throwing at me. Hundreds of pages a week, textbooks, online reading, printouts ... It's a good thing I'm getting my eyes checked out; glasses are certainly a possibility after 2 years of that. But isn't that part of the psychologist's look? I've got the beard going already ...

What I am finding in some of this reading is quite eye-opening, and not for the best. In a country with a GOP party that claims "family values," how is it that after 20 years in the executive office and at least 12 years in control of Congress that the "United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that leaves it to individuals to arrange and pay for child care services" (The Expanded Family Life Cycle, 2011)? While at the same time allowing real wages to actually decline over that same time period?

Is it really a surprise that divorce is so rampant in a country where policy is to essentially add to the stress of the expanding family? And that "Poor families spend almost 3 times as much of their income on child care as middle class families" (The Expanded Family Life Cycle, 2011)? So the people most in need are the most left behind? Where are the family values in that?

That recently enacted health-care reform - with the GOP standing in the way from the beginning and now calling for repeal - will benefit children with the availability for all pregnant mothers to receive pre-natal care and early child medical care, one has to wonder which party really has "family values." Of course, we were also the ONLY and largest industrialized country that failed to provide universal health care, which is a universal feature of industrialized nations around the world ...

Of course, to wrap this up, before I jump into the crossroads of my new profession and the reality I and many other will face, I must say, the problems the U.S. has faced recently are the result of more than 20 years of dismantling the systems put in place to prevent this. That people have lost faith in the Democrats after only 2 years of working to fix it is saddeningly and maddeningly laughable. Even 4 years of Democratic control wouldn't fix it with all the road blocks and watering down of policy they have to do just to get through what needs to be done.

If anything, Democrats need greater control. Are they a tax and spend party? Yeah, but look how much money needs to pumped into the broken systems to fix them. The political ads would have you think the Democrats are taxing to give themselves raises or hide away the money, but we have a trillions of dollars in debt - a majority of it from before Obama's rise to the presidency - to pay down; a crumbling education system, from kindergarten to college; a crumbling and unbalanced transportation infrastructure and millions without jobs, which is stressing family life even further, and we're falling further behind industrialized nations around the world in myriad key statistics.

We need money to pay for it, and who would be the beneficiaries? The citizens.

We've been giving free enterprise and capitalism greater responsibilities in all these areas, and yet we continue to fall behind.

I wonder why?

10 October 2010

Starting over

It's the last quarter of 2010 and after a hiatus of more than a year, this blog is happening again.

When I started blogging in 2002, "blogging" wasn't a verb, there wasn't even MySpace and I was expecting a long career in the media. There were plenty of mishaps along the way - personal and professional, some which were directly responsible for the many endings and restarts of this blog.

What's different now?

The beginning of a new career in psychology, Couples and Family Therapy, to be exact. Hopefully with a Sex Therapy track. Sex and couples and families, who'dve thunk it?

But as I prepare to to embark on this career, the education aspect is forcing me to delve into me, consciously and un, and so I'm expecting a lot more "feeling" and a lot more to say about it.

It's been years since I last did any serious personal writing, the result of intrusions into my journals, but now there's this new impetus for writing. That and I haven't written much of anything without a journalism job. This will change once the academic papers come due, but that's not started yet.

So where do I go from here? A little more political activism, now that being biased isn't a professional flaw. Lots of why I am where I am, who I am, what I am, where I am and how I am. I know I've heard that "w" questions somewhere before ...

I deleted all the posts prior to this. Partly because the focus is changing and it isn't possible - or intuitive or easy - to hide or delete certain posts out of the 524 that I had. I've kept them archived for own personal access.

The main reason is that looking at where I am - by location - I find myself back where I was about a year before the blog started: Deep West Philly. One of my classes has a community partnership project and by no choice of my own I am volunteering at a school only 5 blocks from where I lived with my girlfriend at the time. It was my first rent responsibility and I was working and going to school at the same time.

It was also the first time that someone else took control of my personal writings. Once things settled down after our break up, she gave me a notebook of her writing (and mine in return). Writing on paper ended shortly after that and I went digital.

Last but not least, my .Mac pages are going to the grave, and so I have to put together a new Web site for that, so why not get the blog up and running again?

So as this Saturday night draws to a close, so will his post, but the sun will rise on another soon.