The biggest lie mankind has told itself and continually bases decisions on is that humans, for the most part, are rational beings. I dare you to sit and think of one thing mankind has done that has not been perverted, abused, or taken for granted. If mankind were rational, would we still have wars, murder, or rape? Would we have arguments over silly things because we no longer see what is really bothering us? Would there be greed, corruption, or lust? Our very irrational nature, do to the multitude of variables in our physical make-up, will eventually be our undoing. Not because we have them, but because we failed to learn to account for them. If we do not account for greed, corruption, hate, lust, violence, etc. in our governing processes, they will grow unchecked. To put it bluntly, humans are ruled by their emotions, which are in turn greatly affected by nature. Changes in our environment will change our own reactions because, like it or not, we will always be a part of it. Even more important, we are all connected in this world. There is nothing that you do that will not have an effect on everyone else in the world. Welcome to chaos theory 101. Thus, the irrational/emotional actions of someone in China will affect you and vice versa.
Our illustrious leader has sent a budget to congress with the idea that we can no longer fund a program without concrete evidence of its effectiveness. Putting aside the reality that many of the programs he plans to cut impact large segments of our population, while requiring less money per person than if the resources were not pulled together by the government, there is the fact that the results of these programs can not easily be distilled down to profit/loss statements. Also, put aside that the so-called savings will be offset by increased military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy. Well one of the programs to be cut is the Endowment for the Arts.
I find it laughable that the President and the people he has surrounded himself with are so clueless as to the amount the arts affect the world around them and us. Do you have an Iphone, twitter account, or television? Well all of these are influenced by the arts. The screens on your Iphone and the layout of Twitter were all designed by graphic artists who may have gotten support or been influenced by someone whom got support from the Endowment for the Arts. Graphic Artists design how our cars, computers, and appliances look. They give your favorite websites the style that catches your eyes.
Musicians make the music for your TV shows and Movies, making them more entertaining and life more enjoyable. They play the songs writers create or create them themselves. The commercials our economy depends upon feature music from all walks of life to connect with customers on an emotional level, including ads for political candidates. Writers come up with the stories that become the movies we can’t wait to see. They also write the commercials that help businesses survive, as well as the manuals that help their customers use their products. Writers even come up with the lines in political ads.
Wow, there sure seems to be a strong case here for the benefits of the arts. Without all the things creative people do for business, our economy would be much weaker than it is. Hell, the Iphone’s ability to stream live music and television is a major selling point and they seem to constantly be trying to improve those abilities. What would be the point of that without the arts? The days of the public being wowed by watching a train arrive at a station, one of the first examples of motion pictures, are long gone. Providing content solely by what we observe is in the past; now the public demands more and you can’t get that without art. So, does funding the arts have an impact? Hell yeah, if you aren’t stupid or greedy.
I want to make a case for funding the arts for obvious reasons and I don’t mean because I am an artist. Of course, I am an artist so I do lean toward an artistic point of view. Also, the arts are more than just images, they are music, they are writing, and they are theater. How many of these affect your life? Well, by how much money actors, singers, and writers can and do make, I would say a lot.
Where to begin? First, let us deal with the fact that Republicans once again want to scrape funding for the endowments to the arts and public television, which make up a small percentage of the governmental budget. Why do they target these programs? One, they are rich and can afford to get any art, entertainment, and learning for said they want so they feel they shouldn’t have to be taxed to help people who cannot afford access to same. Classic “if it does not benefit me directly, I don’t want to pay for it”. Unfortunately, it does benefit them greatly but they are too myopic and greedy to see that. I will explain later. In addition, they are not the only ones being taxed for these programs and the voters should have more say in what is cut. You know, that whole “taxation without representation” jazz the Republicans spew when it is not in their favor. Two, cutting such programs make them look like they are fiscally responsible without having to dig into programs that benefit their largest donors. Note, I do not say base because their base does not count, only their largest donors. Finally, the artistic community is in general one of their biggest oppositions, so it is logical to do all they can to undermine that sector.
Now, let us focus on why the arts need funded. The basic reason, and one that is directly in their favor, is that the arts take peoples minds off their woes. After dealing with all the pressure of work, what is one of the first things people reach for to relax, TV – entertainment. What makes entertainment possible? Art, music, and theater. The arts help soothe the frustrations we all feel. Music calms the savage beast. Next, the arts directly influence scientific discovery. How many times have you heard that Star Trek has influenced a scientist or astronaut to become who they are? How many ideas have been generated from artistic endeavors? Also, the arts help to relax the minds of people so that they can better focus on the work tasks that are given to them. Finally, by limiting art access to only those you are willing to pay for directly, you risk becoming frozen in a set of artistic values that will eventually erode their worth. You in effect create a stagnant pond that begins to have a negative affect on scientific and technological creation. How many great artistic and technological innovations have come from random citizens in our country? The bigger the pool of talent, the better the results.
So, are the arts important? Hell yes! Where do the Republicans think the ideas for their ad campaigns come from? Where do they think the ideas for wrist watches and cell phones came from? Star Trek and Dick Tracy! How do scientists and movie makers visualize for the public their ideas? Artwork! Where do scientists and engineers get a lot of their ideas about the future from? Science Fiction Writers! Life without the arts would be dull, meaningless, and dangerous. Hey, I can understand that cuts need to be made, but you don’t have to totally wipe out these important programs. Try dipping into all the items in the governmental budget evenly and quit lining your pockets with our tax dollars/future. Quit shifting the burden solely onto the middle class you claim to care for so much. Try trimming some of that corporate welfare fueling the 350 to 1 income differential between the top 1% and middle class incomes. Take your stinking paws off the arts you damn dirty apes!
John Oliver says it all here. I have actually talked to someone about the wall and their reply was that they basically didn’t care. I told them it would do no good and they agreed. They still didn’t care, even though it is abundantly clear that Americans like him and I will be paying for it and getting no concrete safety out of it. These same people hate paying taxes to feed the poor but will give up billions on a futile gesture that shows just how unchristian they really are. How do you change that dialogue without losing your mind? I am firmly convinced that half of America should be put in straight jackets for their and our safety.
Building a Great Wall
One of the most politically divisive policies proposed by the Republican Party is the anti-abortion bill, not because reducing abortions is wrong but because of the methods they plan to use. I have decided to place my experiences, thoughts, and reasoning here in hopes of improving the rhetoric of this very charged subject.
To begin with here are my experiences with the subject. I know of a family touched by abortion. One of the daughters was promiscuous and got herself pregnant wherein the father made her get an abortion to avoid embarrassing the family. I did not learn about the situation until much later in my life so I do not know if the daughter and her sex partner would have been of the same mind; however, the point is moot since she had the abortion. The mother was opposed to the abortion and was very hurt by the father’s decision. I have personally seen the problems this family has had.
I also know of a family touched by incest and rape. The mother had been raped by her father in her teens and was never quite the same. Effects from that trauma shaped many problems within that family and really caused them to cease being a family. The only good part was that there was no resulting child to further damage the mother.
Finally, I know of a single mother raising a daughter. Luckily she was married or else some of your zealous religious leaders would have called her a slut or a whore for having a child out of wedlock. The interesting fact in the story is that the child is not hers. It is; however, her husbands by way of an affair. When the mother chose not to keep the baby and the father couldn’t take care of it due to legal problems, she stepped in.
Why do I mention all of these stories, because they all have one theme in common, men behaving badly in sexual and pregnancy situations? Why is this important, because all of your ideas for stopping abortions are focused solely on the women who cannot hide the results of their poor choice? As I have heard many times, it takes two to tango. So why is your sense of outrage aimed only at the women? I bet any number of people who read this post can mention more stories like what I have listed.
I ask you to think about how we treat women and men differently in America. When a woman becomes pregnant, a man was involved period, even if by artificial means but leave that aside for now. When a woman is found to be pregnant out of wedlock she is called a slut or whore. When a man gets a woman pregnant out of wedlock he is called a victim or naïve. Daughters are kicked out of the house or shunned while sons are protected and sheltered. Women will still carry the stigma if they choose to keep the child when the father doesn’t take up his responsibility. Men will be considered heroes if they become single fathers, while the woman will carry the additional charge of abandonment. If women abort the baby they are killers but if they keep the baby they are sinners for not being married. With these kinds of choices available, is it really any wonder they make bad decisions. Instead of forgiveness and support in time of need, they receive condemnation and punishment. Most men get tolerance and protection. They hide behind the fact that pregnancy leaves no mark on them.
Until men are held as accountable in the issue of unwanted pregnancies, there will be no end to abortions in this country. Until the men that force women to get abortions are placed in jail as well as the women, there will be no end. Until we change the dialogue that men are given to reflect the same standards we hold women to, abortions will continue. Women are held to the standard that they must hold themselves pure until their wedding day, while men are encouraged to sow their wild oats. Men are taught to have pride in sexual conquest, while women are heaped with shame.
Recently I have seen a self-righteous post from a man angry about the women’s march on Saturday 1/21/17. In his post he said that if women want equality they should have to sign up for selective service, laws about violence toward women should be removed, and other things. I pointed out that there are reasons for these laws and that men being selected for selective service was a male decision. In addition, I pointed out that if he wants to see equality then men should suffer rape, pay discrimination, and the stigma of pregnancy. I also mentioned that women are volunteering for military service. His answer was that nobody said the world was perfect, in other words, the usual male response that as long as they are ok, nothing else matters. The facts that women are preyed upon much more than men was meaningless to him. He still felt his rights were being impinged upon. Interesting how men have no trouble with controlling women but don’t dare let it be the other way around.
Until we change this male centered dialogue to a human centered one, abortion continues. Until we hold men as equally accountable for pregnancies, sexual misconduct, and child support; abortion continues. Until Hollywood stops placing unnecessary teenage sex scenes in movies to draw young men, abortions continue. Until we stop selling everything through sexual marketing, mostly male oriented, abortions continue. Change the environment and you will change the illness, only treating half the disease does not cure the patient.
When we stop placing men in power who cheat on their spouses repeatedly such as Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump we will begin to address the problem of abortion. Any man out of his teenage years that still gropes women is a thief and should be tried as such. He steals a woman’s dignity that way. Until then we are saying that faithfulness, women’s safety, and child welfare aren’t what we are really after. Until we stop telling women to keep their babies while taking away any financial help the child would need to prosper, abortions continue. All you are doing is placing women and children at more risk to satisfy your feelings of superiority. You are showing that you are a zealot without compassion for realities other than the one you have. Until you can project yourself into other people’s shoes to give better answers for their problems, abortions continue. They will go underground like alcohol did during prohibition. Men will use the extra power you give them over women to abuse them through forced pregnancies and the threat of exposure if they seek abortion. Men don’t need any help with abuse if you look at the news and statistics.
Yes, I know there are good men and women out there, but this is what they should be demanding not unilateral punishment of the side that cannot hide or run away from the results of pregnancy. Good men need to denounce bad men as vigorously as bad women. They should quit giving them passes or praise for sexual misconduct. Deadbeat fathers should be shunned from the church as unwed mothers are or better yet embrace them both to help change their actions through positive reinforcement. It is long past time to change the dialogue from punishment to understanding and forgiveness, you know, Christian values.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate that it is not your goal I oppose but your methods of achieving that goal. As I have said in a previous post, using bad methods to try to create good results in the short run almost always give rise to worse results in the long term. The Means will eventually justify the Outcome more so than the other way around. Until women are treated more humanely in this issue or men are treated more inhumanely for same, don’t talk to me about your Christian goal of stopping abortions.
P.S. Oh, in case you think I am some saintly man talking down to you from on high, I have failed in this arena as well. In high school I groped a girl. I did it because of peer pressure, male upbringing, and damned hormones. I regret it now but at that age it is hard to focus on right and wrong given all the influences out there. Luckily, she did not hold it against me and we remained friends. In addition, I had an affair with a married woman. I deeply regret letting myself go against my values for the sake of physical need and loneliness. I was the person to end the relationship but I still bare the guilt of the scars her children will carry in later years. So no, I am definitely not a saint. I am human and God knows we fail.
Confusion in the government and divisiveness by the republicans will open the door as it did in 2000.