Sport of politics
Righteous politicians cannot even work within their own parties. If we compare the National Football League with Congress, lawmakers’ incompetence would be over quickly because teams, players and fans would push to get rid of people whose actions give the league a bad name.
Every team has members with ideas on what to do to win. This is true in politics. The difference is that football teams don’t hurt the teams, the leagues and the fans across the country by insisting how the game is played and the acceptance of their views only.
Here are the results of the latest poll in a way we can all understand. All Republicans and Democrats are included in this poll. The new approval rating of Congress compared with other unpleasant things finds Congress is now viewed worse than cockroaches, lice, Nickelback the band, root canals and Donald Trump.
If you disagree with this assessment, you’re a fan who does not know the score or are stuck on a game plan that has been sold to you.
Maybe your game-plan loyalty is based on the rest of the pollsters’ ratings, which say Congress has a better rating than meth labs and gonorrhea.
Plurality of faiths
One definition of plurality is “more than one.” In the context of religion, plurality means many religions.
In a world of about 7 billion people, an individual has a few hundred religions from which to choose, to find his way to God. Paramount here is the ability to choose.
In a country of religious plurality, various choices for finding and worshiping the god of one’s heart and mind are permitted. In many countries, this plurality of choice is legally protected.
To be free to choose, whether in religious choice or any other endeavor, is a gift of great measure and one to be protected above all else.
The Islamic religion appears to limit this freedom of choice. In Islamic countries, it is the religion of Islam and no other. The protection of human rights and the ability to address grievances is often severely abridged.
Eventually, this suppression of the freedom to choose cannot persevere. Tolerance for other faiths, including divisions in Islam itself, is sorely needed.
Islam must open itself to freedom of religious choice. The world is much too large and much too diverse to be squeezed into one small box.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius shouldn’t be fired. She is a figurehead and one of President Barack Obama’s puppets.
She is a shill, and her job is to spew the happy talk and excuses about Obamacare that her speechwriters write for her. She provides a smoke screen to prevent Obama from getting caught in the undertow of this fiasco, and she tries to protect his legacy.
We know from experience that most government officials aren’t fired. They’re moved to another position or allowed to resign and collect their retirement benefits for life provided by the taxpayers.
If Sebelius were to resign, someone else would be appointed to this position and eventually would resign with retirement benefits also taxpayer-paid.
I say keep her in the job until Obamacare sinks or swims and allow her to earn her compensation on the job instead of in retirement.
Foil U.S. snooping
The U.S. Postal Service has been struggling to make ends meet, and Congress lacks the will to adequately address the issue.
Thanks to Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on government spying, we now have a compelling reason to limit our electronic communications and write letters again.
There are five good reasons to do so:
• There is someone out there who would simply love to get a handwritten letter from you.
• Writing a letter gives you the opportunity to express yourself and be creative. What does your stationery say about you?
• The Postal Service offers stamps that help promote a cause or express an interest. When you order stamps online, they are mailed to you.
• Writing a letter will keep you from watching TV. Ask yourself, is television more important than someone out there who wants to hear from you but hasn’t?
• Best of all, by writing a letter you are supporting the U.S. Postal Service and helping maintain a valuable service that benefits everyone.
To protect your privacy and keep the government from snooping, don’t put your name on the envelope, only your return address. Security envelopes offer more protection from government scanners than traditional envelopes.
Unequal fate, time
This past Friday, my wife and I saw “12 Years a Slave,” the new movie based on the true story of a free African-American, Solomon Northup, who, in 1841, was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., taken south and sold into slavery. The film details the brutalized suffering of Solomon and his fellow slaves.
One of those fellow slaves is a lovely teenage girl, Patsey. In one private scene, her master, Edwin Epps, forces himself on Patsey with a sadistic self-absorption. In a later scene, Epps gives Patsey a vicious public whipping.
This past Sunday, my wife and I went out to lunch. Our waitress was a lovely teenage African-American girl and a perfect waitress.
Her resemblance to the movie’s Patsey was uncanny. Here, I realized, but for the fate of time, was how Patsey might have lived, and there, but for a reverse fate, was how our waitress might have lived.
Although our meal was delicious, I could only brood on the lives of two young women and how fate, whoever or whatever, treated them so unequally.
Congress is still stuck on doing nothing major to improve the economy.
Right-wing conservatives continue to insist that creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would unleash a torrent of new, low-skilled workers driving down U.S. wages.
Wrong. We have a lack of current citizens skilled for job opening and needs.
Legalizing immigration would shore up wages needed in an economy that is largely based on consumer spending.
It would increase the number of workers paying taxes, increase Social Security revenue and reduce the federal deficit. This would add millions of dollars to the economy.
Congress needs to address this now by creating policies that will turn this around.
History has shown that immigrants tend to launch their ventures in particularly important areas. They study and work tirelessly to vault themselves and their families toward middle-class status.
Failure to address this opportunity we face now is unacceptable.
Having “force-fed” English grammar to ninth-graders in an alternative education program for 30 years, I feel I am qualified to say that this language has some definite “holes.”
One of the most glaring is the absence of singular, gender-inclusive personal pronouns. He/she, him/her, and his/hers are all gender-specific you’ll note.
So what’s a poor grammarian to do when the pronoun’s antecedent is singular and gender-inclusive — words like everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, and somebody? We can’t fall back on our neutered they, them and their as these are plural pronouns and unfit to refer to singular antecedents.
We are left with the very clumsy he/she, him/her, and his/hers. Is this really the best we can do? Other languages have figured it out. The Chinese articulate “ta” (singular) or “tamen” (plural) for males and females alike.
I believe that we should adopt “se” (pronounced “si”) as the neutral version of he and she. It’s the obvious choice, isn’t it?
For the objective him and her I would nominate “em.” It’s easy to spell and it sounds a lot like an abbreviated them.
And, finally, for the possessive his and her, I recommend “shis” (pronounced “shiz”).