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RIGHTS – HOW DO THEY WORK?

At a meeting today, I was listening to a millennial give a speech about important things. Really important things. And he had figured out they were important, which is sort of what he talked about at the beginning of his very important talk. He stated that his generation doesn’t know where rights come from. They just think they were part of the natural process, and that they will always be there. I sat up and took notice. Why? Because that is a phenomenon I have noticed myself. Not just about ordinary rights, either, like speech or religion or not having soldiers quartered in my home (I use that one every day, I tell you. Just yesterday, I had to turn away an army who wanted to camp out in my spare bedroom.) They don’t understand about the specific rights that pertain to them, the amount of work that went into gaining those rights, and the danger to those rights if we are not eternally vigilant. They have no idea that rights were not always there, or that rights could go away.

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I’M NOT POLITICAL

There is a strange phenomenon that I encounter on a regular basis – people want to talk politics! Oh, wait, no, reverse that. I find it strange when people living in a democracy, or more accurately a democratic republic, say “I’m not political”. They clap their hands over their ears if you so much as mention the local school board election; if you get to the level of Senators or Presidents, they will rudely hum, sing, or burp until you stop. They treat you as a pariah, someone weird and out of touch, if you know who is running for the City Council, and if you can name both of your senators, you are regarded as ready for the insane asylum, complete with straight jacket. Don’t even get me started on what they want to do to you if you can name senators from other states.

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Politics, Society6 for 2
THE MYTH OF THE 40-HOUR WEEK

Who the hell thinks it is okay to ask anyone to work 80 hours a week? What happened to the weekend? The evening? Sleeping? Eating? Why is no one questioning the bald statement that faculty are going to be working 80 hours a week without so much as a “say what”? Why is no one stopping to calculate what the hourly rate would be for an 80 hour week at the average professor’s salary and wonder why the highly trained, highly skilled professionals are being expected to work for so little compared to others with a comparable level of education and a similar skill set?

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THE ROCK-Y HORROR SHOW

If you live in my town, which I realize you may not, the next time you go grocery shopping, you should look across the street at the Presbyterian Church and check out what’s up next with their Sermons on Song series.  Apparently the minister has decided the church needs to attract some young blood and is holding forth on rock songs.  So far he’s done “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Show Me the Way”, which means that he’s probably doing a good job of bringing in the younger set—the younger set that is trying to figure out how their Medicare works, that is.  If he’s going decade by decade, as it appears, I’m here to suggest as his topic song for the eighties “Da da da”, and for the nineties, let’s go with “Sex and Candy”, huh?

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THE ANECDOTE

There are a lot of people out there who need a lot of reality training. Take, for instance, this woman my mother met in the grocery store one day who said “What do we need farmers for? I get my food from the grocery store”. Or the women who constantly told my mother she was inferior because she was “just a housewife”. Or the….

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Does religious freedom mean the freedom to decide what kind of Christian you will be? Some people believe this – that religious freedom applies only to Christians. Others are somewhat magnanimous, extending that freedom to all the religious. Then there are actually those who think, gasp, that religious freedom extends to everyone, including the non-religious, and includes the freedom not to believe. (By the way, this is what the authors of the First Amendment believed, but you won’t find that in Scalia’s “original intent”).

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IS IT LIVE? OR IS IT CELLULOID?

It is common knowledge among theatre professionals that there are fewer good parts for women than for men. This is true not only in Shakespeare, but across the spectrum. Some may not be aware that, like in the movies, this increases with age. Middle aged women scarcely show up at all in stage plays; women seem to disappear between the ages of 35 and 65, when they are once again allowed as the voice of wisdom, someone to be mocked, or the kind and gentle old grandmotherly sort who picks up the slack when the younger woman’s mother (the you-know-what) runs out on her with the first trucker who accidentally slams the cab of his truck into the living room. And she takes the family dog, so everything is bad. That’s the woman we don’t usually see, or hear her side of the story, unless she comes back when she’s older, so that her now 20-something daughter can lambaste her with her awfulness and show the world how strong she is…oh, and reclaim the family dog.

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SHAME OF A NATION

Journey with me for a minute. Imagine a place where men could come in the door with the necessary qualifications, score an interview, and land a job on their merits. Now imagine a woman with equal (or better) qualifications coming into that same job, and before she can possibly get the position, she must fellate the boss. She must expose her breasts to the grinning pervert sitting in the chair. She must allow him access to her vagina. She must…you get the picture. Need I go on? She is not allowed to succeed on her qualifications. She is only allowed to succeed if the boss gets adequate satisfaction from her sexual acts.

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HAVE YOU BEEN SERVED?

The shunning of those who do not agree has a long history, dating back to as far as we have records. Refusal of service for those you dislike or disagree with has been on the Republican wish list for some time, and in a recent Supreme Court case, they got at least part of what they want (more on that in a later column!) when the court allowed a baker to refuse to make a cake for a gay couple. In addition, a number of so-called religious freedom acts have been enshrining the right of people to refuse service to those they disapprove of on religious grounds…usually same sex couples, but also women who want birth control, mixed race couples, trans-people, and any others who meet the definition of religiously unacceptable. Many on the left are using this as justification for refusing service – we’re simply doing to them what they have demanded. Just make it on religious grounds, some say. Others say they have an ethical imperative not to serve evil people.

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BIGLY COVFEFE’S HOT!

Back around the early years of this century I had occasion to acquaint myself with the musings on global heating of a college instructor who opined that nobody was denying climate change any more; oh, they might call it cyclical, they might deny that it was anthropogenic, but as for denying that the earth was getting hotter, that wasn’t happening any more.  If she was ahead of her time, she was a long ways ahead of her time, for I’m still hearing that, and worse; I could introduce you to people who think it’s getting colder.

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IT’S SCIENCE!

I was listening to a conversation this morning at breakfast, and I must admit, it made me cringe…uh, think. The young men were talking about a scientific study they had seen posted on Facebook, and what it meant. They were very earnest, and taking this very seriously, and I thought, oh, how nice, they’re interested in science. Actually, no, I didn’t. My thought process was quite a bit more complex, so it my take me a little work to move through the stages of the things going through my head.

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THOSE DAMNED COASTAL ELITES

Hi, there, “coastal elites”. A message for you from flyover country. I’ve been living here for most of my life now (like, decades!) and I have been watching with fascination as the pundits have been fingering you for being out of touch, misguided, and contemptuous of those of us here in the heartland. I would just like to add my voice to the mix, as someone who has actually lived in flyover country (unlike most of the people writing the pieces about flyover country, who have mostly flown over, and decided to stop over for a night or two and talk to the first six people they met before they hopped back on the plane to write a piece about flyover country from the enormous experience they had just acquired).

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DEAD LETTER OFFICE

Myself, I hastily indicated that I had mailed a letter that week, and then was stricken with remorse when I realized that, although I had written a letter, it repined still on my desk, and that I had not yet mailed it.  I was going to Hell!  (Sorry for the outburst—I’ve been reading Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).  Though the responses to the poll were rather scattershot, they were marginally less discouraging to penfriend hobbyists such as myself than one might expect; the “I mailed a letter this week” crowd just about matched “I’ve never written a letter”, “I’ve written a letter this month” vote was close to “It’s been years”, and so forth, with the intermediate categories being the biggest, thus producing a quintessential bell curve.

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OF MOTHERS AND MOTHERHOOD ON MOTHER'S DAY

Let me state my position up front. I am against motherhood. I am not against mothers, unless of course it is lousy mothers, scary mothers, abusive mothers, hurtful mothers…but I realize that every one of us has at some point in our life had a mother, and that many of us love our mothers. We love them so much that we all get together once a year to erupt in a giant flood of love for our mothers, buying them cards and flowers, taking them out to dinner, and telling them how much we appreciate them. That’s good, because it will encourage Mother to keep doing all those things we appreciate but don’t mention for the rest of the year.

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CASSANDRA? DON QUIXOTE?

You may have heard the different descriptions given of environmental scientists by the left and the right. The right prefers to describe the environmental scientists as Cassandras, mockingly pointing out that they spread a message of gloom and doom. The left prefers to paint them as Don Quixotes, misunderstood knight errants wandering the land in search of evil giants and damsels in distress. The preferred frame of reference you use in referring to this branch of science can immediately give away your political leanings.

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