Saturday, May 14, 2011

Some thoughts on politics, religion...

In the interest of full disclosure, I just made a small edit to this post even though it has been out in the blogosphere a few days.

What's the third item on the list of topics never to discuss in polite company? Oh yeah, sex. Well, since this is a family site, you're out of luck on that one. (But see comments on politics, where sex is referred to indirectly, anyhow. Nothing gets a bunch of politicians more worked up than sex!)

So here I go, wading into subject matter where angels fear to tread. I will try to tread lightly, if that's possible.

Today's San Antonio Express-News had a brief recap of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's "emergency" priorities for this legislative session. Let's just review, if you are a fellow Texan. If not, read it and gape:

* Mandatory sonograms for women considering an abortion
* Voter ID (to check people's IDs prior to allowing them to vote)
* Eminent domain reform (so the government can't confiscate your land)
* A resolution calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution (that's U.S.)
* Ending sanctuary cities (requiring law enforcement to check immigration status of those detained for any reason)
* "Loser pay" tort reform to discourage lawsuits where the plaintiff feels less than certain of victory

This, in a state that has a looming $27-billion (more or less) budget deficit over the next two years, and where every state service, including public education, is being drastically cut.

Who keeps re-electing this man?

With regard to mandatory sonograms ... doesn't that fly in the face of the conservatives' "big-government" lament, that big government is mandating more and more and squeezing out every citizen's right to privacy?

Abortions don't just happen randomly. You can predict which populations are most in need of pregnancy prevention and beef up services to offer multiple, inexpensive, and accessible birth control options. I agree that abortions are a tragedy and should be considered only as a last resort. But they pale in comparison to the loss of full-grown human life from wars and violence, and the loss of quality of life due to poverty, drug abuse, etc.

Every time an abortion is considered, two lives hang in the balance, not just one. I think conservatives have forgotten about preserving the life that is already here (the mother) in favor of keeping the new life that is completely dependent on her for its very existence. Having a baby can be devastating to a young, poor, unwed or drug-addicted mother, and it permanently changes her life's trajectory. As for the baby -- these infants would have a rough childhood. Does it mean they don't deserve to be born? No, but it means they really never should have been conceived.

So how does the state of Texas do in offering birth control to at-risk populations, like teenagers? Below is a website (not vetted by me as far as complete factual accuracy) that discusses it in more detail, and here is an excerpt:
"Texas has one of the most restrictive policies in the United States regarding minors' ability to obtain birth control, while having one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the nation ..."

So drive on, guvnah!

On to religion, another great conversation-starter to keep in mind at the next cocktail party! Now that I have read a second religious (actually more spiritual) book by Roland Merullo, and reflected on the two I've read -- "Golfing with God" and "Breakfast with Buddha" -- I must comment, in a deeply compassionate way of course, that his vision of the pearly gates smacks of white privilege. I should have had a hint that this would be the case from the title of book #1 and the fact that he was trying to wed the great white sport of golf with heaven! (Might I interject here a little side note-- thank God for Tiger Woods, and I miss him so. Talk about a tragic fall from grace.)

The author, in his self-deprecating way, did poke fun at himself throughout his golfing book, by the way, where the main character was accused of being racist not once, but many times, and had to defend himself! There were a number of dark Middle-Eastern types who were doing the accusing -- Jesus, Mary the mother of God, Moses, Mohammed, etc. (His response: I'm not a racist -- at least, I don't consider myself to be -- what are you talking about?)

According to his vision (which I love, by the way, being a white privileged American myself), if you are given a cozy life and great wealth, it is so that you can sit back and enjoy the bountiful gifts that God has showered on you. Don't be concerned about all those other people out there, mired in poverty, wars, sickness and famine. They may get a break in some future life, too! Even Jesus says this: they will get their eternal reward for their suffering. This is your time to enjoy this wonderful life. It's a gift, no strings attached. No major sacrifices of any kind required. A free pass.

Yeah, just a bit too easy and convenient for me to swallow. I must cling to being obsessively guilt-ridden! Feeling guilty, but not knowing which way to turn or how to act on it. (Enter, stage right, the mysterious, and preferably all-knowing, spiritual guide.)

Did I mention that I miss seeing Tiger Woods? He and I used to have a date (via TV) every Saturday. I'd be doing laundry, housework, all that drudgery, but I could always pause to watch that gorgeous swing and marvel at the sheer brilliance of the man, and I would be transported to a whole different place. Alas, those days are gone. What will I do without him? How I long to see that red shirt again. (Below is the only picture I was able to copy here.)
Tiger Woods' official website

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