Thursday, February 16, 2012

Birth control? We're talking about birth control?

Birth control?  We're talking about birth control?  Not the economy, not how to grow the economy, we're talking about birth control?! 

See what I just did there?  I took the now famous quote from former NBA star Allen Iverson about practice and made it topical.  Good stuff right there!  But seriously, that's what we are spending all of our time and energy on right now?  Every political talk show is going on and on about the evils of birth control, and legislators are scheming up ways to eliminate it from the menu of what insurance companies provide.  Really?  Something like 98% of women have used at least one form of birth control, however, it is suddenly a horrible thing that needs to be destroyed?!  What are we doing here?  This country faces real problems, and this is simply not one of them. 

To be honest, I think I know what is happening.  See, President Obama has seen his approval rating climb.  Unemployment figures are getting better all the time.  The economy may actually be getting better.  Instead of suggesting that maybe the president is doing something right, it is much easier to create a huge distraction, so people forget about the improving numbers for Obama.  I mean, that has to be it, right?  How in the hell are contraceptions all of a sudden the devil?!  They have been in use dating back to the Egyptians in 1850 BC.  It's not like it's some new, radical thing.  Also, have you noticed that the people leading the charge against contraception are religious leaders and men?  If memory serves, these are the same people that don't use birth control, so what are they getting all huffy about? 

I've got an idea.  Why don't we demonize women, in an election year!  Why don't we let women decide what is best for their bodies, and let couples properly plan their families.  If we are serious about protecting individual liberties, we need to start in the bedroom, and we need to start now.  I'm just saying...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I've asked this before, and apparently I now know the answer. No, we can't all just get along...

I long for a day where we can stop calling each other names, stop fighting with people that don't act like us or look like us.  I really wish that we could all just get along.  I mean, what harm could come out of a civilized nation?  How nice would it be to just relax and enjoy every day, instead of seeking out the next person to argue with?  Call me crazy, but I think we have it in us.  Sure, it wouldn't be easy, nothing worth doing ever is, but it sure does beat the alternative.  Below are just a few of the things we are fighting over right now. 

As many of you have surely heard, the Obama administration, as part of the Affordable Care Act, is requiring all employers, including Catholic universities and hospitals, to cover contraception in their employees health care plan.  This has Conservative leaders screaming that President Obama is stepping all over religious liberties.  Now, I'm not one to talk about religion, that can be a touchy subject for many people.  That being said, I'm sorry, I'm not buying into the whole President Obama is anti-religion nonsense.  This mandate doesn't force anyone, not a single person, to actually use the birth control, or other contraceptive methods, it simply requires the employer to offer it up to its employees.  For example, if you are a Catholic, and you feel that it is against your religion to use birth control (which many Catholics do use birth control, despite the cries coming from the Right), you are not required to use it.  Conversely, if you are not a Catholic, and you are working for a Catholic university, you will be given the opportunity to receive birth control through your health care plan.  Nobody is stepping on your religious beliefs.  If you don't believe in taking a birth control pill, you still don't have to.  That is left completely up to you.  This isn't even about religion.  This is about a women's right to choose what she would like to do. 

Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional in the state of California, opening the door to allowing same sex marriage in the Golden State.  This could be an interesting development, following in the footsteps of New York, where same sex marriage is now legal.  The question of same sex marriage will be on the ballot here in Maine this November, and many feel that it will pass this time around, even if only by a small margin.  This, also, has turned into a religious battle.  My argument is this.  Not everybody is religious, but everybody has the right to get married.  The first amendment of the Constitution prohibits the federal and state governments from establishing an official religion, or from favoring or disfavoring one view of religion over another.  That seems pretty clear to me that one view of religion doesn't reign supreme over any other, including that of someone who doesn't practice a religion.  We can't pick and choose when a religion should apply to all people, it doesn't work that way.  If two people love each other, and want to commit to each other, then who am I to tell them no.  Let's do the right there here, what should have been done a long time ago.

There is a budget battle brewing up in Augusta, and if Governor LePage is in charge, it will surely get ugly.  Republican and Democratic legislators came to an agreement early this morning on a budget that would get us through the end of fiscal year 2012, avoiding major cuts to DHHS, which could have affected many elderly, young and poor people across the state, as well as many related agencies that provide much needed programs for people of all walks of life.  However, I'm sure Governor LePage won't find this compromise acceptable, as he has already stated that he will veto anything that doesn't look exactly how he wants things.  The Appropriations Committee did what they were sent to Augusta to do, make difficult decisions, but come to a resolution.  Let's hope Governor LePage does what he was sent to Augusta to do as well, and not just throw another temper tantrum. 

These are just a few cases of people fighting against each other.  I know that we all want what is best at the end of the day, and I also realize that we have different visions as to what actually is best.  That being said, I think we all need to take a deep breath and relax.  Yelling, screaming, swearing and name calling are not productive.  I'm just saying...