Forum, Aug. 7: We do dumb things all the time

Published: 8/6/2019 10:00:17 PM
We do dumb things all the time

The recent welcome celebrations over the moon landings caught me off guard, not least because I got call from a high school buddy I had not heard from in 45 years telling me where we were, who we were with and what we said.

My reaction was one of shame and dismay that my country gave up on itself and its ideals, shelved the Apollo program as “too expensive,” and decided to examine our belly button in near-Earth orbit with the shuttle. Native Americans not withstanding, what if Columbus had reported back to Isabella, “Sorry about your jewels, but it’s hot there anyway with mosquitoes. Save your money. Stay home.” 

The reason I bring up this colossal blunder is that it was made by well-meaning, well-intentioned engineers, scientists, administrators and elected officials. How could all these good people arrive at such a stupid course of action? 

The answer is: We do it all the time.

The treatment of immigrants, a group to which we all belong, is an example. The treatment of opioid and heroin users is another.

I have a friend who was in the Suboxone treatment program at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital for almost a year and then fell off the cart and allegedly bought some heroin.

The nurse told my friend to return for tests the next day. The police were there waiting with a warrant for possession.

Is this how we want to treat our citizens who are trying to better themselves? Heroin addicts are just like us: They can, and quite often do, lie. But they don’t seem to be able to lie to themselves. They are acutely aware of their shame, their failings and their faults. And it’s killing them just as surely as the needle in their arm.

Legalize all drugs. Deal with the consequences. And pass the Child Security Act establishing a Roth-like IRA for every child born in America. For less than $8 billion a year, we can pick a day in 65 years when poverty ends in America.



End the cruelty of pig scrambles 

Some county fair organizers get it, like those who run the Sonoma, Calif., county fair, which canceled pig scrambles. They don’t want to encourage children to be bullies. 

Pig scrambles are cruel. Piglets don’t want to be greased, chased and bagged any more than you do. Pig scrambles, like rodeos and other animal contests, aren’t barnyard fun but part of the continuum of human abuse of animals, including baby animals like piglets and calves at fairs.

Some pig farmers assert that the piglets’ squeals, while being chased in an enclosure with no way to escape to their mothers’ protection, are “normal” communications. Only when they’re frightened — like when they’re grabbed, picked up, fear falling and are dragged and shoved down killing chutes — do pigs squeal. But then maybe that’s “normal” because terror is “normal” for animals in the food and entertainment industries, among others that use animals.

Susie Coston, national shelter director at Farm Sanctuary in Ithaca, N.Y. — the country’s largest farm animal sanctuary — says only traumatized pigs squeal. Coston has decades of experience with pigs. At scrambles, she says, piglets cry out for their mothers, who would fight to the death to protect piglets from these terrifying activities. So don’t let farmers who kill pigs — and other animals — for profit convince you otherwise. Maybe they’ve convinced themselves to think the sentient beings they kill do not have feelings and are incapable of suffering. It’s easier to kill animals and have pig scrambles when you don’t consider animals’ emotions.

Bottom line: Good people don’t harm animals. Especially when — according to research not funded by meat, dairy, egg or fishing industries — there is no nutritional need to eat animals and no moral reason to abuse and harm them for entertainment, among other uses.

A sick idea of fun, pig scrambles can exist only in the context of the barbaric normality in which we live, where systems of unnecessary and endless brutality feed, clothe, entertain, medicate and decorate us.



Most not behind the president

President Donald Trump recently stated that four members of Congress should “go back” where they came from. Eric Trump said on Fox & Friends that “95% of this country” is behind him in this.

Not true. Most “whites” do care about our “non-white” citizens and neighbors.

When the 14th Amendment was passed in 1866, there was not a single African American member in Congress. After the amendment was ratified, in 1868, two African Americans served in the House and one African American served in the Senate, according to the Congressional Research Service.

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, there were five African American representatives and no African American senators in Congress. Of 535 members of Congress in 1964, 99% were “white.”

President Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party, and the Evangelical abolitionists of the time, believed it was worth the cost of the Civil War — some 600,000 to 800,000 lives — to secure the human rights and dignity of all persons in the United States, not just citizens.

Obviously there was something else at work besides pure racial self-interest.




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