succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Haven't had a chance to check these out for myself, but this article does some interesting number crunching.

Also, read an editorial in the times the other day by Bruce Springsteen in which he mentioned our social contract. It's been a long time since I heard that phrase (despite being fortunate enough to attend classes and conferences all about health as social justice and whatnot). And I wonder, is that still taught, ever, in school? Do people still know about the concept of a social contract? Do they live their lives with that in mind?

Which reminds me of a Teresa Heinz quote, from some of the convention coverage (still haven't gotten around to watching Kerry's speech, but have gotten through his children's introduction and the little video put together by the DNC). She spoke about becoming an American citizen, and working everyday to "earn that citizenship." Imagine how much greater our country might be if more people thought in those terms, rather than simply taking it for granted that we're American.

An excellent op-ed from the Times last week, about Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate in literature and political activist. Here's the conclusion:

In the face of this, Mr. Soyinka concludes, a choice must be made. "It's my duty to fight those who have chosen to belong to the party of death, those who say they receive their orders from God somewhere and believe they have a duty to set the world on fire to achieve their own salvation, whether they are in the warrens of Iraq, or in the White House," he said to me. "I
prefer to be a card-carrying member of the party of life."

Also, this just makes me mad. How come an article about the women's soccer team has to be about them as 'women' and Hamm as a wife? There's as much crap in here about her marriage and her husband as there is about the team! A perfect example of the sort of subtle sexism that Matt and I were discussing a few weeks ago.

Yet another post on This Modern World that makes me want to pull the covers up over my head. Has this administration no shame? National preparedness month my ass.

An excellent call to action. Of course, Kerry will (and already has) make (made) decisions with which I disagree. But this essay from Common Dreams captures my sentiments exactly:

Kerry and the Democrats will resist fundamental change but they will do so within the bounds of representative democracy and civil liberties.

Common sense allows one to distinguish between a rain storm and a hurricane.

Sometimes it IS about a matter of degree. That’s why I’ve stopped protesting and started registering voters.

And for those of you who need a personal reason to vote, here are two. Education and the price of tuition may not be the 'hot-button' issues in this election, but they are something that most (all?) of us can take personally. All of us have or know someone who has incredible debt as a result of going to college. So here are some differences between Bush and Kerry regarding college tuition and scholarships and grants. Not the best resource ever, but maybe it will get you or someone you know motivated, and you can always look up more information.
And for those of us (myself included) who have taken voting for granted in the past. Here's a little reminder of what it cost to have this right.

The women were innocent and defenseless. And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of "obstructing sidewalk traffic."
They beat Lucy Burn, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming,pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the "Night of Terror" on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she
vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because--why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse.
Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: "Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity."
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