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Month: March, 2013

Leveling the playing field

We are slowly eliminating hypocrisy in today’s culture; though it may not seem to happen as fast as you may think. As the LGBT community still struggles for equal rights to marry and live their lives more publicly, ten years ago it was much worse. Ten years ago, you couldn’t be a proud Muslim in this country without getting that ignorant stare. Twenty years ago, job industries were struggling to meet the demands of non-English speaking individuals and the influx of illegal immigrants, and now we see road signs and fast food menus in sometimes up to four different languages. Thirty years ago, women struggled with corporate promotions – and even though there are still narrow-minded people in the workplace, there isn’t much resistance left. Thirty years ago, people saw body art as a form of deviancy. Forty-plus years ago, black people had the same issues as women did in the 80’s on top of the racism and unfounded hatred. It wasn’t good to be Japanese seventy years ago, Irish a hundred years ago, and American Indian …well basically ever. Though these issues still exist today, the progress that we have made since then has been truly phenomenal; it’s evolution at its best. We are slowly becoming more cultured, less discriminatory, and overall accepting of people’s differences. The tables are being reversed; being prejudiced or intolerant is now the new thing to shun.

What’s going to be the new hurdle for our culture? The next thing to tackle is reverse discrimination. The playing field needs to level itself off and we need to progress towards a healthier and less stressful existence if we hope to survive.

In Florida, a Mormon student by the name of Ryan Rotela was suspended from the Davie Campus of Florida Atlantic University because he refused to stomp on the name of Jesus. Though the news only reported this in Florida yesterday (3-21-13), the incident happened nearly a month ago. The student refused to do it during a demonstration by his professor at his Intercultural Communications class, because the act of stepping on something signifies that you devalue it, and the student wouldn’t have ever thought of defacing something as important to him as Jesus Christ.

Mormonism, a religion branching off from Christianity, is a religion from the Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints. While they hold many Christian beliefs to be true, their religion has many recent (recent as in the grand scheme of things) events starting in the mid-1800’s that aren’t a part of other Christian religions. Point being: Jesus Christ is still at the center of their religion, and stomping on any kind of representation of that would be a sin. Rotela refused to do it, and after complaining to the professor’s superior a couple of days after that class, Rotela was suspended for it. Whether or not Rotela’s actions surrounding the refusal and complaint would merit some kind of discipline – that is completely unknown.

But there is one thing that I do know… If you erase Jesus in this story and insert ANY other religion’s deity like Muhammad or Allah from Islam, Buddha from Buddhism, or even historical figures like Martin Luther King Junior or Princess Diana, there would have been no way that this story would have stayed quiet for so long. People would burn themselves in the street, they would have had to put that professor under an order of protection, Rotela would be labeled a hero, and the school would be under the strictest scrutiny from our government, several religious groups, crazy fanatics, and your run-of-the-mill nutballs that take things way too far. Instead, it took several instances of outrage from Rotela himself to get a headlining story for people to see that something is wrong here.

The fact that a story like this didn’t grab at the wizards of media is befuddling at best. If we are going to be outraged by one religion getting smashed, then why not be outraged at the largest religion getting defaced? Christianity, including all of its sects, is practiced by a third of the world’s population. Followed closely by Islam, Atheist/nonbeliever, and Hinduism[1], Christianity has an estimated 2.1 billion followers in the world. The three largest populations of Christianity are located in the Western Hemisphere – USA, Brazil, and Mexico. Just because a majority is large, seemingly everywhere, and vested in history doesn’t mean that they should be disregarded, that they don’t have feelings like anyone else, and should be any less respected.

If this were a non-Caucasian person, this would have been blown up in the media as a classic case of racism or prejudice. Hands down. This case is proof that reverse discrimination exists, and that it’s the next hurdle in the evolution of our culture. Now that we’re seeing the narrow-minded hardened in their way individuals slowly pass on, we have a very important job to show the people of our future that any kind of prejudice is a primitive way to think and that we have no place in our society for it. The playing field has to be leveled – majorities and minorities of race, religion, gender, and life decisions shouldn’t hold any weight in most decisions. It’s key in our survival. We can either continue to hate and kill each other, discriminate and show our children the ancient way of living, or we can focus on the future – sustaining life for millennia to come.

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Mismanaged Resources and Misguided Agendas – the Achilles Heel of our Government

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg suffered a loss in his political campaign when a judge nullified his contentious ban on sugary beverages earlier this week, saying “It wasn’t a setback for me. It was a setback for the people who are dying. In case you hadn’t noticed, I watch my diet. This is not for me.”[1] Suggesting that anyone who partakes in a large sugary drink is slowly killing themselves, he downplayed this political loss and found a random diner in the city that would voluntarily follow the rules of the ban to aid in the health of its customers and to visit and beg other businesses to do the same.

Over the past 15 years, not including terrorist attacks or natural disasters, the death rate for New Yorkers is on a steady decline[2]. Even deaths surrounding bad health choices involving sugary drinks have progressively gone down; diabetes has seen a 6% reduction in deaths. The only factor in mortality rates among New Yorkers that has increased through all of this are victims of substance abuse. Substance abusers have increased mortality by 8%.

By this point, if you can’t predict where I’m going with this, you must be wondering why I’m nailing down these facts. While the media swirls around the ban that Mayor Bloomberg sought to place on soda and the judge overturning it, people’s rights to consume legal substances, and all the time and money spent on this issue – people are still dying from illegal substance abuse and other criminal activities. People are still being shot. People are still being kidnapped, raped, murdered, and robbed. People are still smoking in public places where innocent people are breathing in the toxins. Companies are still breaking the law and releasing toxic substances into our ecosystem. Politicians are wasting tax payer dollars on deciding whether or not our freedom to consume a legal substance is a right of ours or not.

And don’t get me started on the $250,000 he wants to drop in support of a study on hearing loss and personal music players…

Stories like this sound familiar? If you live in the Chicagoland area they should. For a couple of years, the city of Chicago banned the sale of Foie Gras, a plump and tender goose liver used as the main protein and garnish in several meals served in establishments all over the city[3]. The city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on making this law, enforcing it, and combating restaurants that refused to take it off of their menu. Since the sale was banned, restaurants were seen selling an unusually expensive meal and giving the Foie Gras away for free. Chicago is no peace commune either; with the death tolls rising in multiple categories, law makers and law enforcement officials could certainly make a better use of their time than chasing goose liver dealers.

Even though the sale of goose livers was banned because of the inhumane way some producers were able to obtain such succulent products, the city didn’t seem to care about the way that other meat products were obtained and sold. McDonalds, for example, buys their beef mainly from the United States, and any supplemental beef from countries that adopted our standards[4]. Cattle are often butchered alive; you can consult any government or PETA website for that information. The cattle are stunned with electricity. Some physically die without pain while being butchered and some wake up helpless while they are torn apart piece by piece. More cruel than being force-fed 3 times a day to plump up your liver? I’d say it’s about the same. Yet law makers in Chicago didn’t ban the sale of beef. Why not? Not on their agenda. Their agenda. Instead of fixing and chasing the real threats, our leaders focus on pointless avenues and waste our money. Eventually, like Bloomberg’s soda ban, the Foie Gras ban was overturned and people are allowed to consume their hearty goose livers once more.

Now if only we can just get rid of that silly bean that costs us a quarter of a million dollars to polish every year…

Until we remind politicians that this is OUR country and OUR money and OUR rights, they’ll continue to line their pockets, please their constituents, and take our liberties away. I truly believe that our government will be the demise of our society one way or another. Right now, life is more than tolerable, but when it comes down to it in the future when we run out of resources, suck the life out of this planet, and destroy everything we hold dear – this shit is gonna bite us in the ass. Right now, it’s just soda and delectable meats, ear buds and other luxuries. But where do we draw the line? Curfews? Why should we wait until then to do what is right? We want a revolution.


Disclaimer – everyone should read

I’m about to converge on greatness – exercising my first amendment rights by speaking my mind – my opinions – and you will exercise your rights by reading (and responding if you choose to do so). My opinions are not candy coated, always backed with facts and reasoning, and they are sure to offend someone out there. If you are one of these people offended, I do not apologize. I do, however, encourage you to share any intelligent opinions in a respectful manner. That is all.

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