Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Human Experience

We are all not that different. Sometimes I forget that. And then I meet someone from half way around the world whose life is different in so many ways from the life I have lived so far and the experiences I have had but in the end we are all human and our experiences as humans are eerily similar.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to meet two Rwandan Reggae musicians at a friends house. They grew up at a time where their country was in the midst of genocide and I can only imagine the horrors they have seen countless times.

But then you realize that despite the differences in the paths our lives have taken we have the same feelings and struggle with similar things every day.

The conversation that lead me to start thinking about how even worlds away our humanity links us was about dating and the trials involving members of the opposite sex and it was amazing how our observations and insights about being young and single were almost exactly the same.

This human link is what we need to remember in this increasingly globalized world. The genocide in Darfur is can not be brushed off because it is a world away and we should not forget he millions of starving people because they are not in our immediate world. Half way around the world everyone experiences pain, and hunger and joy in the same way.

Remembering that we are all human will hopefully make us all more sensitive to all of our Fellow humans.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hate Only Begets Hate

Last week in one of my classes I heard the story of a man who lived under apartheid in South Africa. He shared his story about living as the son of an honorary white woman, who despite the color of her skin was given special privileges because of her United States citizenship. As he matured he realized what the realities of life in South Africa were and began to speak out against the injustices that he and half of his country experienced everyday.

Because of his political views and his attempts to end apartheid his wife and three young children were murdered. When he arrived home to find his family dead he says he immediately decided to start using terrorism against the government who had taken his family away from him. He moved to a nearby country and received explosives training from Cuban guerrillas. After his education he returned to South Africa and began his life as a terrorist.

Eventually he ended up in Southern California and began studying at USC, still hating all white people. IT took a while but he soon began to see that despite the evils that the white government had inflicted on him and his family it was unfair to see all whites as evil.

He credits his peers at USC for showing him that his experience was the exception to the rule and thanked our class for proving this point again.

Hate is a feeling that is difficult to explain, but this mans story affirmed my belief that hate will only lead to more hate. He closed his story with this quote,

“The only person who is affected by hate is yourself, because half the people you hate don’t know you hate them and the other half does not even care”

Monday, April 14, 2008

FYI: Reagan's Insight

"A moment I've been dreading. George brought his n'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida; the one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work."

From the REAGAN DIARIES------entry dated May 17, 1986.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Democracy is defined as a: government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

As an American I feel like sometimes I take it for granted that I live in a country governed by the principles of democracy, but the second I begin to consider what life is like where a portion of the population is left out of government or where predatory governments reign I realize that democracy should never be taken for granted.

This morning I read this article in the current of Foreign Affairs Magazine discussing the shaky states that many democracies around the world are in. It explains that the world should momentarily stop focusing on cultivating more democracies around the world and instead ensure that the troubled democracies in places such as Russia, Venezuela and Nigeria are given the support needed to survive and thrive.

Reading the article lead me to think about how easily my ability to be represented in my government could be taken away given the proper circumstances and how frightening it would be to live in a country that is governed by opportunistic leaders who favor themselves and their friends and neglect the people who they supposedly represent.

Typically when I see an injustice or want to understand a situation better I become a proactive researcher and activist to find out what I can do to change a situation. But I now feel helpless. How do I spread an idea around the world and help to extol the virtues of democracies to ensure that others around the world can enjoy the same ability to live under a government that works for its citizens?

Hopefully an idea comes to me soon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Save the Democrats

Political Math posted a comment on my blog asking who I feel should drop out first in the Democratic Party to let the nominee prepare adequately for the general election and after pondering the answer is still I do not know. I believe that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama need to sit down with the leaders of the Democratic Party and have an honest and open discussion about who will be more likely to beat John McCain. I know that Democrats have done intense polling on this subject and need to let the numbers do the talking if the Democrats want the White House back in their control.

After these numbers are scrutinized the candidate who is less likely to win needs to accept the Vice Presidency and the fight needs to end for the sake of their party.

the Problem with Healthcare

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting in on a speech by Dr. Hector Flores who is credited with strengthening the existing safety net and improving economic development in the East Los Angeles region. During the presentation I was shocked to see the statistics on the lack of healthcare in the less affluent areas of Los Angeles. I was upset thinking of parents with sick children and no health insurance and continued to ponder the presentation for the days to come.

Over spring break my grandfather fell and hit his head and was taken to the hospital. My grandfather immigrated to the United States in his early 20’s from Portugal with a sixth grade education. He worked extremely hard to buy and grow his own business and is now successful enough to be able to send twelve grandchildren to school.

My grandfather was at our local community hospital for a few hours after the fall and when I went in to see him he was being prepared to be put on a helicopter to go to Stanford. I could not help but wonder what would happen if my grandfather did not have health insurance or money to pay for the best medical care money can buy. I pulled one of the doctors wandering the halls of the ER aside and asked and was assured that ability to pay, whether through health insurance or not, was not taken into consideration. All people brought to the hospital will be given the best care and if need be will be sent to a hospital that is better equipped to deal with certain issues.

The conversation relieved my fears about sick poor children not being taken care of and also made me ponder whether health insurance was something all Americans are entitled to. Everyone will receive medical attention. The real problem is that in areas with poor socioeconomic status the health care resources will not be as adequate as they are in wealthy areas. This is not the failure of the healthcare system. To fix these issues the United States needs to focus on bringing economic stimulation to low income areas. They need to be safer and business friendly to increase economic activity and employ the people in the area. Safer more vibrant communities will increase the likelihood that healthcare services in the area are of high caliber.

It is also important to focus on lowering the costs of healthcare. Doing so will benefit all Americans and will allow those who do not have access to health insurance options to receive heath care.

All people have should be able to see a doctor and ensure that their children are growing up healthily, but a government run healthcare system is not the option. At work the past few days I have been scheduling meeting for my boss on his trip to Washington DC next month. Almost all of the offices can not even seem to handle a scheduling request for one person properly and with efficiency

If a small government office can not even handle the task of arranging a meeting I am unconvinced that the government should have any hand in arranging healthcare for the entire nation.

There are a lot of questions in my mind that need to be answered in regards to healthcare. In many ways I am still unsure about what needs to be done to fix the system. The one thing I do know is that it is a problem that the government largely needs to stay out of.

Monday, March 24, 2008

10 points for Maureen Dowd

I just wanted to take a second to praise Maureen Dowd as a reporter, female and honorary member of the Party of Logic. She is truly amazing and I look forward to Wednesdays and Sundays so I can read her newest column and send it to everyone I know.

Here are some of her recent bests:

Can Hillary cry her way back to the White House?

Mitt is no JFK

Seven days in December?

The Dream is Dead