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December 6, 2013

May the Light Never Go Out

Filed under: Uncategorized — by maggiec @ 8:26 am
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“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” ~ Nelson Mandela

 

The world lost Nelson Mandela yesterday, but my fervent wish is that the Light he brought to the world and shared with millions is never extinguished.

May we learn to follow his example. Not all will be called to prison for our beliefs, but may we always have the courage to live lives of service to others.

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, dear sir. 

December 5, 2013

Eating Crow and it’s NOT Delicious

Earlier today, I posted a blog, written in part with my cousin,  with incorrect information.  It is now taken down, but I’m still angry, at me, and at the reality.

I apologizing for disseminating misinformation. I should have fact checked more carefully.

Noting the post, a friend commented on my facebook,

actually you, or your cousin, should get your facts straight… MSNBC never suspended Bashir.. they did however suspend and then fire Alec Baldwin for a gay slur. Bashir did NOT say Palin was full of sh*t.. instead he suggested that she should have someone urinate and defecate IN HER MOUTH! this is why he was ultimately (i’m assuming forced) to resign. the fact that you twist the story, and that not one liberal female or female group defended palin from this disgusting attack speaks volumes I do believe.

I totally agree with him.

So, Martin Bashir is just as bad as Rush Limbaugh, and the fact that I didn’t even hear about the Sarah Palin comments, and no one jumped to her defense is despicable, as well.

I’ve read the transcript of his comments, and they are vile.

The fact that it took 19 days for his resignation is a travesty.

I may not agree with Palin, but that doesn’t mean she’s not a human. No one should be tortured. No one. Can we no longer respect people with whom we disagree? And if we don’t respect people’s intelligence, must we belittle and berate them?

Bashir’s comments were totally disproportionate to anything Palin said to spark his “anger” (much of which I suspect was manufactured for the same reason Limbaugh manufactures his “rage”–ratings and shock value).

Actually, this entire incident (the Palin-Bashir one, not my posting) underscores the terrible state of American “journalism”. I no longer watch television “news” as it’s neither true nor real news. It’s infotainment at best, pure fiction at worst.  I ferret out news sources on both sides of the political spectrum because both sides have an agenda. The truth is in there somewhere, but digging it out takes time.

There was an excellent article in The New Yorker a few years ago, “America is a Joke” which I highly recommend for its discussion of the creation of media narrative and who controls “news” in this country.

But frankly, and I think most readers realize this about me, I’m disgusted with both the Right and the Left.  Pubic discourse in this country has denigrated to the point where both sides hurl insults at the other side and people shrug it off.

I responded to the comments about Pope Francis because they were just so ignorant of the basic precepts of Christianity.

But people have become so entrenched in supporting their “side” that partisan politics have trumped reason. I’m constantly reminded of Emerson’s “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

I’ve been thinking about Emerson a lot lately. As he said in “Self-Reliance,” where that quote is from, if our culture is not true, if it promulgates lies, we should not follow it. He called for a social revolution.  So do I.

December 1, 2013

Fight the Ignorance: World AIDS Day 2013

Filed under: New Broads — by maggiec @ 10:17 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Nothing drives me crazier than willful ignorance, and one social issue I hear more willful ignorance about than just about any other area is AIDS and AIDS awareness.  I teach the very groups that are disproportionately impacted in the US–young Black and Hispanic men. To hear what they have to say about HIV status, AIDS and homosexuality boils my brain. Ignorance in this instance is not bliss. It can kill.

Perhaps it’s a defense mechanism. I’ve had too many students lose a parent or other close relative to AIDS (though one parent lost to AIDS is too many). It’s not like many don’t see the effects first hand in their neighborhoods. But while seeing my friends and loved ones ravished by the disease spurred me on to action, it seems to take them more into denial than anything else.

They aren’t the only ones I hear ignorance from, but they are the groups I spend the most time with day to day. They are the ones I’m invested in on so many levels.  But I say the same to all groups.

So we need to continue to educate, continue to have the uncomfortable conversations.  Maybe people will start to listen if only to shut us up.

And AIDS is not just a health problem here in the US. In fact, we get off relatively lightly due to our wealth and public health education. But worldwide, 700 babies are born HIV+ a day, mostly in developing nations where this status is too often a death sentence. For me, this is unacceptable.  Through efforts, this number is going down every year, but not quickly enough.

While I support the fight of organizations like (RED), I also continue to educate folks here.  It wasn’t easy the first time I talked about protection with a group of students.

The first time I did it, World AIDS Day 1989, I closed my classroom door, told the students what day it was, said, “Whatever you say stays in the room. Any questions?” I was overwhelmed by questions, fears, ignorance. But it was one of the best classes I ever had, and I still remember that class as clearly as if it were yesterday.  I would do the same thing in every class, eventually using Magic Johnson’s film Time Out, every year until 1998. By then, there was plenty of information available to students elsewhere, so I would just announce the day at the beginning of class and see if anything grew out of that.

And what do I still tell people?

  1. Know your status. It’s a simple test. Don’t be afraid or ashamed. Knowing is always better than not knowing. Early detection can change your outcome.
  2. Limit your number of sexual partners.  The more is not at all the merrier in some instances.
  3. Know your partner’s status and sexual history (discussion is key–if you can’t have an open discussion with someone, it’s probably best not to be having sex yet)
  4. Use latex condoms to help fight the spread of the HIV virus (and all the other nasty STDs that are rampant, as well) Use them for every contact, and learn how to use them correctly. Use only water based lubricant.
  5. Avoid having sex while drunk or high (you can see where this one is problematic)
  6. Don’t share needles or other drug equipment
  7. And don’t judge people for their HIV status, their lifestyle, their choices.  People make poor choices sometimes (like sharing needles or having sex with strangers), but that doesn’t make them bad people.

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