Monthly Archives: February 2017

Perspectives 1

Recently my husband and I had to travel out of town for me to see medical specialists that are not available at home. While there we lunched at one of our favorite restaurants. It’s a real treat for us because I do not travel well any longer and because it’s an extra expense. But it was close to his birthday, so we called it a birthday treat. Honestly, for the cost, it is much better and higher quality food and not much more expensive than eating at a fast food place. Tastes a lot better too.

The day started with a Swallow Study. I cannot swallow properly now partially due to my genetic defect, EDS, and partially due to the titanium plate holding my spine together from C5-C6-C7. It was less than enjoyable, but over quickly. My swallowing problems lead me to eat certain foods because just swallowing something like a well-chewed piece of steak is a nightmare. I was really looking forward to this lunch!

We ran an errand then wandered over to enjoy a leisurely lunch before having to be back over at the hospital to see a doctor that specializes in TMJ. If you don’t know what TMJ is, you are lucky. Mine is not the typical TMJ case because mine is caused by tendons being far too loose. My jaw is, as the doctor later described it, “extremely hypermobile”. Unfortunately, he also informed us that because of EDS, there was nothing to be done to help prevent or repair the issue. It’s highly likely that in a few years I will be unable to chew on the right side of my mouth, the left side shortly thereafter. In effect, my ability to chew solid or even semi-solid food is disappearing quickly. And there is nothing I can do about it. Just another thing taken away by EDS. So this lunch is not just ‘another lunch’ to me, it’s a treat and a treat that I’m quickly running out of the opportunity to enjoy.

We sat down and ordered our lunch in the small dining area. It’s a great place and usually we love the atmosphere. This time, just beside the door at a table for two, were two men. Once of which was a very loud and very vocal Trump supporter. At some point, every single person in the room gave him the ‘shut up and let us enjoy our lunch’ look, which he failed completely to give a damn about. Even a guy wearing a Trump hat was giving him the stink eye. This is lunch, not stand up comedy. But since he insisted, and I have hearing that just won’t quit, I had to sit and listen to his entire walk through the dislogic of being a Trump supporter. Oh, and let’s not fail to mention he was coughing hard, loudly, without ever once covering his mouth the entire time. My compromised immune system thanks you! Not.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to list a few of his statements and why most made me shake my head with sadness.

STATEMENT:

“Blacks and girls get college handed to them on a silver plate, just because I’m a white guy, or my kid is a white guy, we can’t get any help with college. It’s NOT fair. What have they done to deserve special treatment? Being born poor or with a vagina does not make you better than a white guy.”

ANSWER:

Actually, being born a white guy’ makes YOU the special one. You are more likely to get a job, even while still in high school, just because you are a white guy. You are more likely to be paid more for the same job and you are more likely to be accepted to a better college because you are a ‘white guy’. Even if your grades do not justify it. I’m sorry, but that is the truth of it. You START life on a higher rung of the ladder just because you were born a ‘white guy’. This is called ‘privilege’. You didn’t ask for it but that doesn’t change the fact that you have it.

College is not ‘handed to them on a silver plate’. That’s an uninformed argument. We have three kids that have done higher education. One ‘white guy’ and two ‘girls’. None were handed anything on a silver plate. In fact, our youngest entered the military just to qualify for the GI bill and get her college paid for so she wouldn’t be starting at a deficit. She ended up being injured in service after doing a tour and serving in the Haiti earthquake disaster. She can never again do the job she loved because of that injury. We have two that are finishing their PhD’s and the youngest is working on her masters in a new field. They’ve done it with some scholarships, but mostly just by working their rear-ends off and accumulating student loans. I know a number of ‘blacks’ that have done college as well, to my knowledge not a single one of them had it handed to them ‘on a silver plate’.  They have student loans just like my kids.  In a point of fact, the ONLY person I’ve ever known to get into a special ‘paid for’ program in college was a…. ‘White guy’. Unless you want to talk athletics and that’s a whole other department. 

No, being born ‘poor’ doesn’t make someone better. I don’t think I have ever heard someone poor say that it did. The effort to help the poorest of the poor to obtain education applies to ALL the poor, black or white, male or female. In fact, if you are a really poor white guy, your are STILL more likely to win scholarships and internships. So, there you go, that white guy thing is special again, even when poor. The object of helping these people obtain a higher education is really pretty simple. People who obtain higher educations normally get a higher paying job and lift themselves, and sometimes extended family, out of poverty. Ironic, because then they no longer qualify for those helpful programs. WHICH IS THE POINT. Helping a little, in the beginning, means less help is likely to be needed later in life.  This has been proven, via scientific research, to be true even as early as the age of ONE.  Children who have preschools or even just services that help teach parents how to teach their children in the preschool years are half as likely to end up needing services as adults.

From The Hechinger Report on Oklahoma’s innovative approach: “Many researchers have used Georgetown’s Tulsa data to run analyses and reports on the effectiveness of the program. Gormley and his colleagues found that third grade reading scores for children who attended the program after 2006 have risen. Phillips and her colleagues found that preschool grads’ attentiveness in class had increased and timidity had decreased by a significant amount. And economists, led by Timothy J. Bartik of the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, a think tank, have even predicted Tulsa preschool grads will earn higher salaries based on their elementary school test scores, which have previously been linked to earnings.”

And Finland is kicking America’s butt in the childhood education department. As reported in this article in The Smithsonian Magazine “Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful?”  “It’s almost unheard of for a child to show up hungry or homeless. Finland provides three years of maternity leave and subsidized day care to parents, and preschool for all 5-year-olds, where the emphasis is on play and socializing. In addition, the state subsidizes parents, paying them around 150 euros per month for every child until he or she turns 17. Ninety-seven percent of 6-year-olds attend public preschool, where children begin some academics. Schools provide food, medical care, counseling and taxi service if needed. Stu­dent health care is free.

“Ninety-three percent of Finns graduate from academic or vocational high schools, 17.5 percentage points higher than the United States, and 66 percent go on to higher education, the highest rate in the European Union. Yet Finland spends about 30 percent less per student than the United States.”

Did you catch that? FINLAND SPENDS ABOUT 33% LESS PER STUDENT.

The concept isn’t difficult. It’s not really much different than the advertising you see for retirement accounts. You start an investment with a small amount of money when you are young and if the economy holds and with some luck, by the time you retire you have a nest egg. In this case, the nest egg is an actual human being. You invest a little when they are young, to help them get a good start in life and with a little luck that investment means that down the line they won’t need further services. It’s a proven fact, supported by data.  You respect data about your investments, from college educated financial advisors. Why will you not accept the data from a college educated professor that has dedicated his life to finding out if the facts bear out?

 

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The Terrified Democrat

In the past, I used this blog to write about my experiences being a disabled person saddled with a rare genetic defect. I wrote about my experiences in being a patient, parent, legislative advocate, and generally my opinion on life in the disabled lane. It was mostly me adjusting to no longer being an able-bodied, employed individual. Today, that all changes.

Today this becomes the official blog page of “The Terrified Democrat”. A new Facebook page I’ve created to get a grip on the disaster currently known as American Politics. Firstly, I want the political posts off my regular personal Facebook feed. I have my privacy settings fairly strict, so it’s pointless. Secondly, I don’t like sharing things unless I have checked them out myself and find them to be true and as accurate as I can. Too many people are just clicking share on any post with a catchy headline and clickbait is my enemy. Lastly, I’m tired of the fake news and the Republican-controlled talking heads that take facts and twist them so horribly that they no longer resemble the truth. I’ve said for years that Republican talk radio is nothing but a cult, it’s only missing the physical togetherness. The ideology is the same when compared to the legal definition of a cult it fits with the exception of ‘physical punishment’, but since it is a ‘virtual’ cult, physical punishment is rather out of the context.

The Terrified Democrat is dedicated to bringing you the news straight from the sources. Links to actual bills introduced in the House and Senate, links to research done via the Library of Congress, links to legitimate news sources like The Washington Post, The New York Times, Huffington Post, PBS, and other inside the US sources.

I don’t believe you can get an accurate picture of the political landscape by staying with sources ONLY inside the US so there will be links to GLOBAL news such as BBC Worldwide, in order to give perspective on what the rest of the world thinks about the US. Unfortunately, this perspective is highly skewed when presented on our own national networks. The opinions of other countries do matter, as much as their actions. Right now the US is facing global opposition to Trump, with protests and demonstrations going on in multiple countries. We are currently the laughing stock of the world. So much for ‘Make America Great Again’. Trump and the US are the butt of political cartoons, comedy shorts, viral videos, and politicians who think we’ve collectively lost our minds by electing him.

Another reason for this change on my page is the fact that Trump and his minions are blatantly lying about just about everything. Even things that really do not matter in the slightest. Their use of “Alternative Facts” is outrageous and unprecedented in our history. The policy of ‘report what we want or else’ is in direct opposition to the JOB of the press. Honestly, I think it is partially the national media’s fault. They’ve gotten so concerned with the big headline and focused so much on tragedies that the term ‘investigative journalism’ is all but dead. Views are skewed one way or another, depending on which one you read/watch.

That is all, for this post anyway. I will be trying to write and post at least once a week. If you would like to write an opinion piece for publication on this blog, please contact me.

Thanks, and welcome to The Terrified Democrat.