Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

“The Deaf Speaking To the Deaf:” A Critique on Politics

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Republican Sound Bite. Democratic Sound Bite.

Imagine the usual cliché. Two people meet, most likely possible mates, and their initial attraction to one another invites them into harmless discourse. After an hour, or maybe even two, it has become evident to both people that this is a good match. After a tenuous start filled with awkward moments they were both surprised and delighted with how smooth and easy it went. It seemed too good to be true. Their mutual love for dogs, the outdoors, and their shared guilty pleasure for TLC reality TV shows has established respect for both mates. Further discussion ensues and now they are not only amazed by their commonalities but each other’s intelligence. Now that recognized respect begins to enter dangerous waters as they begin to talk about socially heavier matters. And now it’s as if all the attraction and respect the two have begun to develop for one another is about to be thrown overboard now that person 1 knows that person 2 is a Republican. The opposed thinkers began to ask themselves “could I really live with someone who is so wrong?”

How different are we from these two people who will disregard all the respect that they have taken the time to construct for one another just because of their contrasting political views? The question of whether people can like and respect someone, even with someone they disagree with is at the heart of a phenomenon that has turned into a social disease threatening our political system.

It seems that as a society we are fragmenting because we emphasize our differences rather than our commonalities and these differences define us and prevent us from seeking accommodation and understanding. They distort our judgments of each other inducing us to think of those who disagree with us as stupid or evil.

“People confuse the intensity of their beliefs with the likelihood that they are right.”

–Michael Josephson 

As I have been budding out of my youth, I have been invited to participate in adult discussions—and due to our current election, the diverse and often contemptuously articulated opinions of our running candidates fans the flames of partisanship.

No one really listens or considers what the other side is saying except to formulate a new put down—I’ve gotten pretty good at that myself.

I have personally observed extremely intelligent people descend to insults rather than insights during political discussions.

I have grown to understand we are unfortunately accustomed to allowing our political views to dictate our opinion of a person’s morality and intelligence.

You're Not Stepping On It Right

My father is an ethicist—don’t feel bad if you don’t know what that means, most don’t—and he had a radio show where he was given every morning to voice his opinion on any matter he chose. So hearing my father publically announce his beliefs became a routine and taught me to fearlessly share opinions of my own. But as I have become more educated and passionate about my beliefs, I have found it hard to not immediately disregard opposing views.

In one of my dad’s radio commentaries he discussed this problem with a name: blind partisanship. He said, “Blind partisanship is a toxic disease that threatens to destroy our democracy. It turns politics into and endless competition and generates a win/lose mentality that does not allow for compromise. This is fatal since the most pressing issues of our day are bound to generate disagreements that are is so wide and certain that compromise is essential.”

It’s one thing to share our political opinions but it’s not helpful if all we do shut down the conflicting views. These turns would be a discourse into a battle and produces the fallacy that political positions are about right and wrong rather than just opinions on what is right and wrong. What’s worse, we use these opinions as a measure of one’s character and intellect.

We have allowed ourselves to disregard the fact that political opinions not only deal with ethics, but accessibility as well.

Ms. Burney, do we have anything on right and wrong?

Seeing everything in the binary light of good and bad, or even right and wrong, prevents us from seeing the multi-dimensions of politics. The goal of politics is to find a solution, but because we are unable to address the complexities of the issues, including the possibility that differing views may be right and the necessity of democracy that we find compromise solutions, we ultimately never find a solution at all.

It seems to me that before we can even tackle controversial issues in politics, we must stop associating our beliefs with truth. If not, we see everything only through the lens of our pre-existing opinions – that’s a form of prejudice.

“There was a universal language in the world that everyone understood … It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.”

– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

We must realize that there are other lenses that cause us to see different things. Ours is just one of the many ways you can look at that problem. Blind partisanship has hindered the progression of our society and has altered the meaning of compromise to become equivalent to a lack of integrity. We must realize that honor does not require stubbornness or close-mindedness or arrogance.

If we truly listen to and seriously try to understand the values and beliefs of those we disagree with, we may find that we actually have more common ground than we think and we may be able to find solutions we can all live with. If not, at least we can realize that even smart and good people can disagree with us.

Incidentally, those two potential mates have learned to tolerate their differences and celebrate their commonalities and they’ve been happily married for 23 years—they go by the names of Mary Matalin and James Carville and their living proof that blind partisanship can be overcome.

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Globalization:Friend or Foe?

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2012 at 8:38 pm

As we all know globalization is a very controversial topic.  Most people only recognize the positive affects.  The positive affects include continuous amounts of food, new technologies and constant supply of goods.  The negative effects are usually unseen.  No one sees the poor working conditions in developing countries and the people who produce these products.  Although we don’t always see the the toll it takes on the environment, they affects will eventually catch up.  Both sides of globalization are beginning to show.

The positive effects can be seen everywhere. From all of the new clothes in the mall to your new Iphone are all affected by globalization where you know it or not.  Now there are so many different options when’s it comes to food, you can have any type of food for virtually every country you desire.  Ever wonder how millions of computers are made and distributed daily? Globalization.  Before most items were limited, now you can buy 50 ounces of shampoo at Costco.  Along with the enormous variety comes the knowledge and introduction to different cultures.  Globalization allows culture to be shared around the world through trade.

As for the negatives effects so are known and can be seen but other harsh impacts often aren’t known by the public.  One negative effect that is currently coming to the attention of the world is the poor working environments and conditions that workers in factories suffer in.  These factories that are the factories that are creating our clothes that we often lose, our phones that we often break and all of the other products that we use everyday.  The poor working conditions consist of 24 hour shifts and low wages.  These low wages and long hours are influenced by the lack of human rights which lead to poor living conditions. I think that because there is such a vast amount of products today that we have become wasteful because we know that if we lose something or break it that we can just order a new one.  This consistency of products has spoiled us.

There is a balance of the positive and negative impacts of globalization.  It seems like the negative impacts are increasing and the positive impacts are decreasing.  One of the positive affects is that we now have a huge variety of products that are available to us at very low prices.  Another positive effect is the new opportunities of new products and new foods.  The negative effects are the very poor working conditions.  The poor working conditions come along with poor human rights which lead to poor living conditions.   It seems to me that developing countries are hurting for the benefit of us, the United States and other countries in the west.  I believe that the balance between the good and the bad is long gone and something should be done to fix it.

With all of these ideas and facts its hard to decided if globalization has an overall positive affect.  Many people protest it but many people forget how many things are made possible by globalization.  It is now up to us to decided if globalization is helping or hurting us and how we can fix it to benefit everyone.





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Workers Rights for All

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Every week we see on the news “Big Corporation Union Workers Strike!”  This is not new news to us.

Workers’ Rights has been a hot topic around the world in history and in today’s society. It is required by law that legal rights dealing with labor relations between workers and their employers are giving to all employees.  In a simpler definition, it is illegal to take away Workers’ Rights, discriminate workers, and workers are allowed to form unions.  We have heard of many situations where there has been discrimination in the workplace, including:

  • Religion
  • Origin
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Sexual origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Disability

In the video clip from Desperate Housewives, a workplace dilemma is presented to the characters when a female employee is not giving a work related opportunity because she is pregnant.

Workers’ Rights issues have not just been an ongoing debate in the U.S., but are a world issue.  The UN and The Convention on Domestic Workers have been working to help people in all living conditions “around the world who care for families and households have the same basic labour rights as other employees”(un.org).  The Convention on Domestic Workers wants to give workers “reasonable working hours, weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours, and the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.”  The organizations haven put much thought and effort into ensuring these people have a just working situation with flexibility.  The groups have set a goal to put their plans into action by next year.

I feel that Workers’ Rights are very important to society today especially for women because we have worked hard to be considered equal to men and that was a huge accomplishment for us.  If all workers receive fair rights and are not discriminated because of gender, race, or other factors, that would be an amazing improvement.  Ideally, by working to create better rights for workers would end tension between the employer-employee relationship and create a lesser need for union workers to go on strike.

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Decreasing Biodiversity and Why You Should Care

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Biodiversity is, according to Merriam-Webster’s online edition, “biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals” (1).

Biodiversity is also essential to create the intricate patterns of life that exist on Earth. Not only is biodiversity important in the variety of beautiful animals and plants available for appreciation, but in the precision with which it fills all niches of ecosystems is a glorious dance. A niche is the particular position an animal fills within an food chain or ecosystem. A keystone species fills an essential niche within an ecosystem that no other organism could fill.When all elements are working as they should, the food needs of all animals are met and population sizes are kept under control by predators.

Global climate change, however, is destroying this carefully crafted system. Changes in water temperature, precipitation, or the environmental temperature of an ecosystem may create conditions that a species is unable to live in. As new species go extinct, they leave holes in their ecosystem. If the lost animal is a keystone species then the entire ecosystem may collapse.

The economic and social effects of such a collapse would be devastating. If a particular type of fish were to go extinct, both fishermen and consumers would be negatively impacted. The fisherman would have lost his livelihood while the consumer would have lost a meal they enjoy.

If this devastation were to happen on a wider scale, all of the fish that could live in a certain area might be killed and the economy of an entire city may collapse. In order to save  the majesty of nature and the ensure the enjoyment of that majesty for years to come, we must adopt responsible environmental practices and work to save the species that have already been endangered.


1) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biodiversity

2) http://www.globalissues.org/issue/169/biodiversity

Hunger, It’s a Worldwide Thing

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Imagine this; you’re sitting at home watching your favorite TV show when a commercial pops up. Yep, that’s the one. You know what I’m talking about.  The one showing starving kids all over the world and telling you how by donating now YOU can save the life of a starving child. Looking past the emotionally manipulative concept of it all, world hunger is in all actuality an extremely important event happening everywhere. Statistically speaking almost 1 billion people in the world are undernourished. This means 1 in every 7 people. When you think about it this is a lot of people, and it doesn’t help that the numbers are increasing.

Hunger is a global issue, not just confined to one or two countries. One person alone cannot fix all the hunger in the world alone unless they have some sort of superpower which is highly unlikely. No, it takes the entire worldwide population to make a difference in preventing hunger especially in developing countries. However, anyone can take part in the global cause no matter how big or small their contribution is. Improving the world does not happen overnight, but as globalization progresses hopefully fighting world hunger will be a more known and celebrated cause.

I know you are probably thinking that you know about world hunger but don’t really have an idea about how you can take part in preventing it. Well, I will use myself as an example as to how I got involved in fighting world hunger. Ironically, one of the major influences was in fact my Global Issues Online class. Through my class and assignments, I began reading about the issues that are facing the modern world today and started forming an interest in the whole idea about globalization and the effects that it can have on the world population. I got to thinking about how I could take part in and make a difference in the problems occurring in the world today, consequently leading me to my current topic: fighting world hunger. In my school, I have created a club called The Food Project which focuses on the awareness of hunger and raising money to support the cause. The club will fundraise through bake sales, selling t-shirts, and food drives donating all the proceeds to non- profit organizations such as the World Food Programme and Unicef. The money would then in turn be used to benefit the hungry around the world, giving them nutrients as well as opening up opportunities. My club is just a simple way to take part in the global cause, but I hope that through my actions others will gain understanding about world hunger and get involved with it as well.

Lastly, I want you to think about this. Just $1 can fill the cups of four hungry people. So next time you are at the grocery store looking in the junk food aisle, just remember that instead of buying that $3 bag of chips, you could very well be feeding twelve people.

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