Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Politics...

There is so much going on in our political world right now.  Perhaps I should say there is so much going on in our political world that I am appalled and disappointed about. 

Women’s issues:  The Supreme Court which is supposed to be impartial and fair, just ruled that women were not allowed to have a class action suit against Walmart.  It is interesting to note that the three women on the court dissented (as well as one man) and those who agreed with the ruling were all men.  How is this judgment by our peers?  I think it shows that women still are considered second class citizens.  We still aren’t allowed to make as much as a man.  Women are still undervalued and demoralized.  We are still considered property essentially. 

All the nonsense about Planned Parenthood is another HUGE concern.  What will happen to the poor women who cannot afford health care?  If birth control becomes too expensive and cancer checks are out of reach for women (poor or not) then what will happen?  I’ll tell you what will happen.  Women will go back to having babies every year.  They will wear out their bodies to the point where they die.  Women who use birth control to regulate their cycle and help control heavy bleeding or sporadic periods will find themselves suffering every day. 

Conceal and Carry:  I’m all for the right to own guns.  Everyone touts that this is a right because of the 2nd amendment.  Well the 2nd amendment says:

Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I’m not a constitution scholar but to me this says for the protection of and to keep a free state, regular citizens are allowed to have guns.  The historical background for this amendment is because when the British were governing us they took away the citizens guns.  This meant that in a hostile country with Native Americans and wild animals the settlers didn’t have a way to defend themselves or hunt for food.

I don’t know about you but I don’t think that any of us need a gun to hunt for food in our society today.  Having said that, I do believe we have the right to own guns.  I don’t believe that everyone should be walking around with a pistol strapped to their leg or in their purse. 

The guns of today are vastly different than the guns of the 18th century.  You weren’t going to hide a flintlock pistol easily or a rifle for that matter.  Now we have weapons that can shoot faster and further than ever before.  They are smaller and more accurate than ever.  We want to have a law that acknowledges the advancements of this field and also of our societal standing.

Yes our constitution says we have the right to bear guns but does that mean we should allow our citizenry to walk around with guns in their purses and on their bodies?  I don’t think so especially if the person is not trained or hasn’t gone through some sort of process to determine they aren’t completely nuts. 

Collective Bargaining:  I know that people are tired of hearing about this.  Hell, I am sick of the stress and difficulties we’ve had this year.  I want to preface this with a statement.  I’m a union member for five years.  I believe unions do good things in our society.  I also believe that unions have flaws. 

Pre-unions (yup more history lessons) owners of businesses could arbitrarily change any work condition or pay without repercussions.  Some unscrupulous bosses took advantage of the work force and created unhealthy, unsafe, and even deadly work environments.  The industrial revolution was great for the country – got our economy booming and put people to work.  However, it also introduced what most people would agree were horrible working conditions with people working in conditions unfit for anyone and pay was so bad that even the children in the family had to go to work in order to support the family.

Unions came in and said if we all band together than the bosses will have no choice but to come to the table and negotiate fairly with all of us.  This essentially made the work place a more level playing field. 

Here we are a hundred years later, we have safe working conditions (mostly), good wages and benefits, and a regulated work week.  The unions have been successful.  Does this mean they are done?  No because we don’t learn from our past.  The unions have to be able to bargain collectively about every aspect of work otherwise we will revert to the conditions of the past.

In fact, we are already doing that with Walker’s proposal to change child labor laws.  He wants to allow teenagers (16 & 17) to work as many hours as they want.  In a time when parents are unemployed by the millions and people are struggling to make ends meet, should we allow our children to work 40, 50, 60 hours a week in addition to going to school?  Something will give. I guarantee if it is a choice between food on the table for the family and school, school will go by the wayside so that families can eat.

Walker claims that taking away collective bargaining rights will make it easier to balance the budget and accommodate the cuts he proposes.  If he were to talk to the unions and ask for reasonable accommodations, the unions in all likelihood would give those accommodations.  I as a state worker, union member, and tax paper am just as concerned about balancing the budget.  I’ve taken furlough days to help with the budget issues.  Every payday money comes out of my check in order to assist with the balancing of the budget.  Thousands of union workers have made this concession. 

Collective bargaining isn’t just for union workers though.  It is for all workers.  It is the unions that improve working conditions.  Once a union has negotiated for better working conditions or pay then it becomes a standard practice.  This then ripples out to the non-union workers.  Take away collective bargaining and you take away all the protections that workers have – union or not.

Health care costs:  I’ve heard so many complaints about the health care system.  It is broken.  Insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and for profit hospitals / doctor’s offices are running our system.  This is why the costs are through the roof.  When we look at profit rather than well-being of an individual we lose what the medical profession is supposed to be about.

We need to take a close look at this industry and figure out a way to regulate and change it so that the costs are not so high.  I don’t know the answers here but I do know that what we are doing isn’t working.  If we continue this way than we are going to end up with even more people who don’t go to the doctor when they should which in the long run ends up costing the system more.

Health is something that should not be dependent on financial status.  Health care should be available to all and at a cost that any can afford even if they only make minimum wage.

There are more issues like the environment, wars, medicare/Medicaid, social security, education but anymore and my head is going to explode… 

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