Thursday, September 11, 2008

911..... the past 7yrs from a Muslim American's perspective

This is an incredible article by a Muslim American Pacifist, Arsalan Iftikhar. He makes some great points and really epitomizes the view that I wish our society would embrace:
"Within the current ungodly global mix of perpetual war, everlasting human poverty, extremist terrorism and global racism; our human race has completely and utterly lost its collective mind....Alas, everyone on all sides should now lay down their bombs and/or water-boards for one moment and contemplate whether we collectively wish to take a path towards perpetual war or coexistent peace and align ourselves with devilish racist warmongers or choose to be on the side of loving warrior angels."

Some other good quotes he references:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that, “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”

In explaining the utter human simplicity of my global pacifism, we should be reminded of the sage words of Albert Einstein: “My pacifism is an instinctive feeling; a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting…My attitude is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred…”

I second his sentiments and feel for the fate of our fellow man, Muslim or not. We spend so much time hating and killing that we lose sight of the commonalities we all share. Killing does not garner peace. War does not create peace. It creates more war, more conflict, and ultimately, cultural and social oppression. After such a long war, what have we accomplished? Democratizing Iraq? Imposing our will over their political and economic system? Destroying religious and cultural norms for the sake of "peace"? I only hope that the next 7 years post 9/11 will be more productive in terms of building towards peace.

Glasses of a wanna be feminist?

Is Sarah Palin really a fashion eyewear icon now? According to the JS today women across the county are scrambling to get some Kawasaki 704 ($375.00) titanuim glasses/ frames. I could really care less about the style of the glasses etc. The funny part of the story is this quote for a Palin supporter:

“It’s always been, ‘Men don’t make passes at girls that wear glasses,’ ” says Quinn, who wore glasses from age 3 through high school, then ditched them for contact lenses. “In seeing her, I think that’s all changed now... It just makes you feel like, gosh, if our maybe-vice president is feeling confident about wearing glasses, maybe so can I.”

That's amazing. It took a woman VP candidate wearing some "sophisticated with an edge" glasses to give women confidence to wear glasses again? Palin isn't trying to pick up guys, at least I don't think she is :) So what is her intention? Women in politics have to be very careful of the image they portray (ie: the Clinton pants suit). So what is her image? Here are some suggestions:
Suburban house wife with a sassy side?
Little girl in a big boy's world?
Mommy of 5 but independent?
Male mouthpiece with a cute face?
Rugged yet glam?

Feel free to add your suggestions! I am a little concerned that she will make other "statements," fashion or otherwise, that will easily sway weak insecure women. I can see it now... feathered hair, leg warmers and male domination!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Can a relationship bridge the aisle?

So..... can two individuals with very different political, ethical, moral, and social views and values have a healthy functional relationship full of respect, understanding, and support for one another? I argue that the answer is no. Each of us have a complex network of social constructs that have formed who we are and condition our responses to situations and others. No matter how unbiased one may claim to be, your conditioned response will reflect your personal and political views in a way that may hinder your interpersonal relationships, especially with those whose construct in very different. Two individuals may have a strong physical attraction, perhaps common interests such as movies, or music, or the outdoors. However these elements will not sustain the relationship for three reasons: the couple's ability to converse, differing life goals and motivation, and contradictory social contracts.

First, what will they talk about? Every discussion is bound to have a tinge of political or ethical overtones. Even the most sensitive and respectful individual will have difficulty just listening to an opposing view for long periods. Eventually it will devolve into debates and attempts to change the other's view. Generally, arguing or debating with your significant other does not create unity or strengthen a relationship. And eventually one person will say something that truly offends the other. This will result in additional ongoing re-examination of the value of the relationship compared to one's personal moral and social values.

Secondly, while individuals may have similar life goals, at some point the goal or the motivation for the goal will be in contradiction within the relationship. This can cause huge rifts in relationships where couples feel as if they are pulling in two different directions (ie: a socially conscious collectivist lifestyle compared to a personal gain libertarian approach). Child rearing can be a direct indicator of this conflict as each parent communicates different values/ life philosophies to the child.

Finally, two individuals with very different political, ethical, moral views will have inherently different social contracts. Their understanding of their obligations to their fellow man and role in society will be in stark contrast. This can lead to a lot of resentment and ongoing turmoil as activities and plans support each individuals values. One individual serving the poor while another attempts to eliminate funding of programs for the poor. This may be overlooked for a while but at some point the differences will escalate until both parties experience alienation and ongoing strife. How can one feel respected, supported, and valued in a relationship if the elements that are intrinsic to who they are mean nothing to their significant other?

Now there are some who say they are not political and do not really care much about what's occurring on the national level. However, they still have personal values and beliefs that direct their life and conscience. These elements, similar to where one falls on the political spectrum, can also serve as indicators of the success of a relationship due to their ability to cause a divide. There are always exceptions to these rules but I think drastically different political and personal views will ultimately degrade a relationship.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

17 Reasons why I hate Sarah Palin

Well McCain's new running mate, Sarah Palin, will definitely serve a purpose. She will confuse and distract female voters while pushing a male agenda.
So here are a few reasons I don't like her:
  • lifetime member of the NRA (and supposedly hunts regularly)
  • anti-abortion, yet still calls herself a feminist?
  • pro-death penalty
  • former beauty pageant queen...... because there has to be something pretty to look at while discussing the issues?
  • nominated miss congeniality... do you think she includes this on her resume?
  • anti-environment, for drilling in Alaska and removing tho polar bears protected status
  • little political experience (4yrs on city council, 6 yrs as mayor of a small town, and almost 2 yrs as Governor of Alaska)
  • prior work experience includes sports reporter and commercial fishing
  • uncertain religious affiliation: Pentecostal, non-denominational and Lutheran?
  • She is seen as ideal because her son is being deployed to Iraq.....how does that speak to her credibility as a candidate?
  • children with crazy names: Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow, and Piper.... i feel sorry for them!
  • married to high school boyfriend.... come on how about some exploration!
  • husband works for BP oil.... hmm she is neutral right?
  • Palin stated: "It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America," she told the crowd. "But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all." How is electing a woman who is against most women's issues shattering the glass ceiling? We might as well elect a mannequin.
  • She was only selected to take away votes from the democrats, not based on her credentials or skills
  • Sarah was chosen over many other more qualified and experienced women such as Senator Hutchison or Snowe
  • John McCain, who has previously called his wife a cunt, probably has one intention in choosing Sarah: she will be a pretty face to campaign with and deceive the consciences of women but if elected, will be asked to keep her mouth shut and submit to his paternalistic, male dominated world view (which she seemingly already has)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Michelle Obama: hero or doormat?

Well we didn't get a female candidate for president. And I am perhaps happy about that due to who the potential candidate was :) Beyond Hilary it seemed that Nancy Pelosi was the only other progressive woman recieving attention. Now Michelle Obama has become the democratic woman in the limelight. In this day of so many strong women, I wonder if she will prove to be an inspiration for women. Will she stand up for the issues women are concerned about? Will she be an example of continued humanitarian and social efficacy? And, perhaps most importantly, will she disagree with her husband if necessary! I am still undecided about this point. A few articles today have focused on Ms. Obama and highlighted some of the important qualities she brings as a potential first lady.

TIME praises her for sacrificing her career as a potentially prominent attorney to marry and focus on public service. Supposedly when Barack quit his job at Sidley Austin Law, the same firm Michelle worked in, he also quit for her in order to marry and begin his political career: "Most women might not appreciate their boyfriend's effectively giving notice on their behalf. Michelle, though, didn't seem to mind." Leaving the law firm, she became an assistant to the mayor in order to get a foot in the door of the political circles of Chicago. This supposedly played a large role in supporting her husband's political climb. Michelle went on to lead a non-profit and multiple other roles including leadership within a university and other non-profits.

I laughed when the article states that she didn't seem to mind. While she did many good things as her career advanced, it seems that many decisions she made were in deference to her husband and his political ambition. She mentions in the interview being upset with the need to raise her children alone while Barack was traveling and working. I generally like the Obama family and will likely vote for him. Yet I can't help but wonder what sort of a first lady, and example to women, Michelle will be. I fear another Laura Bush.... a woman who had many great qualities but did not stand up for women, did not speak out for issues pertinent to her and her daughters, and furthered the image of the mousy, submissive wife who served no purpose beyond serving George. I have no problem with women who choose that role. However women in roles of influence should take advantage of it and make change! I can only imagine the level of influence Michelle can have on issues like abortion, family planning, sexuality, pay equity, gender relations etc.

The article ends with the statement: " The country wouldn't get a two-for-one Bill and Hillary presidency if she were to become First Lady..." I hope that is incorrect and that Michelle will be just as influential as a spouse as Bill would have been!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Social Work Boundaries and limitations?

Recently I was challenged with the question: are there areas of client need that I can deal with emotionally and/or can not provide support in an effective manner?
This week I found myself watching a news production related to domestic violence. In the piece a women retells her story including graphic details of the emotional, verbal and physical abuse sustained at the hand of her husband. A home video, recorded by the women's young child, depicted the abuse which spanned more than 90 minutes. Incidents similar to this supposedly occured on a regular basis over the course of her almost 17 year marriage. During the video I had an incredibly strong psychosomatic response where I was sweating, shaking, heart racing, and felt the need to leave the room. Even as I recount this I am reliving this response. I was incredibly surprised by this. After all the years I have worked with distraught, chaotic, and extremely dysfunctional families, I have rarely had this sort of a reaction.

Does this mean that I could not effectively work within a population of domestic violence victims? I have worked with some in the past however my role comes into play days or months after the abuse and many minimize the true intensity. Perhaps elements of my own relationships and those I witnessed within my family were represented within this woman's story. Does personal experience with trauma make on a better helping proffessional? Or does it interfere with one's ability to be neutral and professionally distant? Some therapy advocates for a certain level of personal disclosure in order to make a client comfortable, facilitate oppenness, and join with a client related to an issue. How do I determine what my limitations are and/or should be? So this is my dilemma for the week.

I don't expect to find an answer to this question today... but I would appreciate any feedback!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Women in Politics

For all my fellow feminist activists this is a great article. Do you believe that researchers have actually deduced that less women enter politics because of an "internal glass ceiling" !! Rediculous :) We will have to prove them wrong!

h/t to folkbum