Monthly Archives: January 2014

Headline Conjecture: Pregnant but brain-dead Texas woman taken off life support Sunday

     First off, I admit that I have only passively followed the situation in Texas.  Where a pregnant woman became brain dead and the hospital failed to comply with the husband (and her previous request) to not sustain her in her present condition. The emotional dichotomy has multiple implications depending on your world view and/or attachment to the issue.
Potential Life:
     Advocates for this view would see a chance,  though small, for a successful pregnancy.  The potential baby could have a chance at life and the value of that chance overrides the wishes of the parents. 
Potential Risks:
     Pregnancy has risks even when the mother is healthy.  The risk of a severely disabled (obviously and/or mentally) is great and the chances of a tragic life for child and father would be an unjust/unthinkable punishment for both.
Forced Abortion:
Removing the woman from life support would initiate an abortion, canceling the child’s current and future life.
Forced Incubation:
Not removing the brain dead woman from life support would suppress the rights of the married couple.  Who beforehand had a plan of action in case of this dire circumstance.  Their rights cannot be suppressed or altered due to the beliefs of others.
Conclusion :
    I found it very difficult to generate different responses on this issue. The nuances of law, religion, rights and freedoms that combine to form the bigger picture of the issue is staggering in scope and impossible (for me) to capture in a blog.   I believe that empathy is the most important base to build upon when examining these emotional complicated issues.


The US government is watching… Safety/Intrusion Dichotomy

      Many stories of government surveillance and/or what steps to be made to curb the feast of information initiated by the NSA has inundated the headlines since mid 2013.  Hero/Villain such as Snowden and his odessey has brought the specter of the Patriot Act into full view.  The strawman terrorist the act was intended for has fallen away to reveal the American people in its shadow, shone through the light of surveillance. To be clear,  neither is this an Orwellian state or a conspiracy theorists dream/nightmare come true. The dichotomy of Safety/Intrusion helps to inform us of extremes presented but not of its origins. .
Many legislators (until public scrutiny), law enforcement and government agencies prescribe to a Safety/Risky dichotomy.   Through unhindered access to information the US is safe and will continue to stay that way. True patriotism requires access to even the most mundane of personal information which will be kept inaccessible but to only the essential government agencies. Risking another 911 by honoring public privacy is unacceptable and by sacrificing privacy, America gains security.
US citizens, legislators (under public scrutiny), and civil liberties advocates draw a Intrusion/Privacy dichotomy.   NSA monitoring of non-suspicious citizens stifles rights, freedoms and privacy endowed to the people by the constitution.  The right to privacy has been circumvented for the apparent need of a ‘police state’ of communication. The intrusion into public communication is a herald of other rights to fall by the wayside in the name of public safety.
As this inevitable exposure of our suppressive public policy is debated and discussed from local diners to Capital Hill. Hopefully a reflection of the dubiously named Patriot Act will transport us back to the time of September 11, 2001where America was faced with the dichotomy of Patriotism or Personal Rights. The crowbar of fear under the banner of patriotism (intentionally or not) manipulated America. Under the pressure of terrorism, death and uncertainty we psychologically retreated into the perceived haven of restrictive legislation.   Hopefully, now that time and perspective has passed we can objectively evaluate the suppressive laws passed under duress and I shudder to think of what oppression we could have shackled ourselves to in the name of patriotism.


…Walks like a Duck Dynasty – Control/Privilege Dichotomy

     It seems not long ago that’s me and my wife (mostly me) started noticing Duck Dynasty swag everywhere.  Being from Missouri, I recognized the stereotypical, camo covered characters that I have dealt with (positively & negatively) for most of my life in the Midwest.  I, not watching the show, was guilty of lumping them in with other harmless reality shows. Being an avid ‘Cheaters’ fan at one time, who was I to judge?  After the ridiculous comments Phil made, still I was not too surprised at his fundamentalism.  The network reaction (a face saving maneuver) again typical and unsurprisingly proper to the (profit saving maneuver) thereafter.  Although the public’s response was definely a telling snapshot of our American culture.
Moderates in this discussion are intentionally (self evidently) excluded from this post. As most of us do, I would like to concentrate on the dichotomy between control and privilege.
Proponents of having Phil fired, socially shunned and possible litigious responsibilities see the larger issue as an intolerance/tolerance dichotomy.  In this view, this behavior is a threat to their cultural belief system that needs to be quelled swiftly and decisively. To project a social solidarity within our culture and a rejection of these dated ugly beliefs to the rest of the world.
Advocates for Phil’s right to express his beliefs, without consequence rely on the suppression/freedom dichotomy to express the promotion of their dogmatic base.  Value of a majority (though heavily varied) religious status excludes Phil of the responsibility or burden of socially unaccepted views.  Holding up the issue of free speech while suppressing the values and rights of the network as a business entity or of a minority entity within the same circumstances.
Phil can express his, in my opinion, hateful intolerance until the proverbial ducks come home. Yet there are consequences for that action, much as I would be disciplined for a similar action.  We also need to realize that life is not fair (see Baseball players vs Social workers salary) and all things are not equal.  This said, drawn from this, is an example of assumed  privilege and ignorance that should be discussed and examined in our culture.  Heavy handed action is not the way to social progress.  Many times in our past, segregation and suffrage were violently suppressed partly due to it being socially unacceptable at the time. I advocate for open arguments on a rational, logical basis.  That includes unhindered scrutiny on the issue and in the arena of ideas we can truly come closer to the ideal of fairness.   Unfortunately, for Phil, dogma loses in that arena every time.


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