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climate change vs. health care July 31, 2009

Posted by januaryolympus in Uncategorized.
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Someone at work said something really frustrating today. I suspect we come from similar backgrounds (white, private schools), except he oozes money so I also suspect that he is wealthier than I. At office lunch, we were discussing the big bills they are working on in Congress.

“Bob”: Well, to me, personally, health care isn’t a big priority.
Boss: Well, that’s because you’re young and healthy.
Bob: Okay, true, but I still think that if I had to pick between passing health care reform and passing the climate change bill, the climate change bill is far more important.
Me: …. Fine, but it’s really easy to say that when you already have health insurance and you’re healthy. But what if you don’t have insurance or if you’re sick–
Bob: (interrupting) And I certainly empathize with that, but I still think it’s the right decision to make.
Me: I don’t think it’s fair to expect people who aren’t insured, or who are ill, or who have loved ones who are ill to place something a lot more vague and abstract like climate change above health care in their list of priorities.
Bob: Well it’ll just be a travesty if cap-and-trade doesn’t pass, and sometimes you can’t have both.

(Obviously name was changed, some of the dialogue was paraphrased, but you get the gist)
UGGGHHHH!!!! please step down for one hot minute from your ivory tower of unacknowledged privilege, “Bob”!!!!! No wonder people think some branches of the progressive movement are TOTALLY disconnected from everyday people. THEY ARE! “Empathizing with” people who have LEGITIMATE, IMMEDIATE things to be worried about cannot be expected to place climate change on their list of priorities above everything else! It’s just the sad truth!

Don’t get me wrong, climate change is a very serious threat to our security and our way of life. But so is denying millions of people access to adequate health care. Personally, I think we can have both. But if we can’t, in my opinion, prioritizing climate change above the quality of life – or just /life/, period – of millions of people is wrong.


This is a new blog July 29, 2009

Posted by januaryolympus in Uncategorized.
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But I am going to start writing in it immediately, because I have been reading so many blogs lately and I want one too. My first post actually started as a comment over at Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose.

Someone wrote that:

I was in a Panera Bread the other day, and this amazing-looking woman with long, blond, straight hair came in the door. Her fashion was impeccable, and her body was gorgeous. Hence I began to rip her apart in my mind, thinking that she was stupid, vain, uneducated, etc. So. Ashamed.

I realize that I do this because I struggle so much with the way I look–because I do not fit the societal norm of gorgeous. So I hide in my intellect and in my education. Sigh.

My thoughts on this:

Ever since I was a little girl, society, my parents, my teachers, my mentors, my friends, the media and I have all pit “beautiful girls” against “smart girls.” I was taught that I shouldn’t care about my looks because I am smart, and the pretty girls are vapid. Female heroines in the movies and books I read either seemed unattainably perfect – gorgeous AND smart – or just smart, in which case they would almost always have to outsmart/defeat the pretty, mean, stupid rival. Plain/average/ugly and smart is rarely pitted against ugly and smart, or even ugly and stupid, although occasionally it is up against pretty and equally smart. Ugly/smart and Pretty/stupid are portrayed as opposites, and plain women are never allowed to celebrate our imperfect bodies and looks. Instead, we are told that while some women get their worth from their looks, we get ours from our brains. As if we wouldn’t be worthwhile anyway. As if we can’t appreciate the bodies and faces we got. As if pretty women should be allowed to celebrate themselves for both reasons, but we aren’t allowed to because we violate some (false) law of nature by existing.

I don’t think that what we are doing is “hiding” inside our intellect. I think we are responding to what we’ve been taught – that if we don’t meet societal norms of beauty, we are to respond that “We are smarter, nicer, more interesting, etc” than the beautiful women who seem to be elevated above us. We are taught that we should have to “justify” our plainness/averageness/ugliness/whatever because we are smarter, and that we would somehow be totally worthless individuals if we were plain and not smart. But this is just another way that the patriarchy divides us…it’s not because we are cowardly hiders, it’s because we’ve been divided by a system that survives by keeping women divided and conquered.

Hello world! July 29, 2009

Posted by januaryolympus in Uncategorized.
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