Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the #mylifeisnotforprofit edition

Hellllllooo. It's been a week already and it's only Tuesday. My inner rage could have something to do with the fact that I've been accused of being a racist several times since the weekend.

Possibly.

Fiction can be fun, ladies and gentlemen! Hey, instead of actually dealing with the fact that racism is totally still a thing, let's just call anyone that talks about it a racist! Sounds like a plan!

There's so much to talk about this week, so let's just get to it. You all don't want to hear about how I've been spending most of my time following a puppy around, trying to prevent her from eating her own shit. I promise. So gross.


#MYLIFEISNOTFORPROFIT
For whatever reason, one that honestly mystifies me a little bit because it's been an issue for a really long time already, the public in general has decided that the price of Epi-Pens is unacceptable. The CEOs are making tons of money, hand over fist, jacking up the price without regard for human life because they want more.

Greed is good, right?

Yeah, not so much when your life is the one depending on whether this amount of profit is enough for a greedy corporation.

It isn't just the Epi-Pens, although the price gouging is particularly painfully obvious with them. Lives depend on the availability of this medication, and I can honestly tell you guys that I have two expired Epi-pens sitting in my own medicine cabinet because I can't justify paying the cost to replace them. (Although we did just switch insurance, so I might be looking into that right away)

Epi-Pens, the life savers that they are, aren't something anyone is going to be using often or even frequently. They are truly for emergency purposes.

Insulin, on the other hand, is necessary on a daily basis for people living with diabetes to survive.

Buy it or die. 

Every.
Single.
Month.

All while someone gets rich at your expense.

Greed isn't good for the health care system, but the entire system is currently dominated by the illusion that the free market works.

The free market lets people die every day.

For profit.

Lives shouldn't be leveraged.

End this insanity. Demand better. Stop falling for this idea that regulation of the health care industry is the greatest threat to humanity the world has ever seen. It isn't. People dying because they can't afford basic medications is something we should all be ashamed of. People starting fundraisers online so they don't die is something we should be ashamed of. People filing bankruptcy because of medical bills is something we should be ashamed of.

Sign the petition for insulin affordability here. 
Sign the Epipen petition here.

Rape Culture is Completely a Thing
Brock Turner gets out of jail Friday.

Austin Wilkerson was convicted of rape, but wasn't sentenced to prison time. 

Nate Parker is struggling to deal with his history of rape before he was a famous actor. His victim struggled with the attack so much that she committed suicide. But it's hard for him to deal with. It was a painful moment for him. Uh huh. 

Safe Spaces
There's a trend in the world of academia to either encourage or condemn safe spaces. The argument against them goes a bit like this: if we restrict what students or teachers can say, the material that they are exposed to, if we limit discussion or discourse then we are necessarily limiting the education itself.

Those who linger in ivory towers can certainly be idealistic about all the wonders of academic rigor, for sure.

The problem with this idea that safe spaces are what is actually dangerous, though, is quite frankly a disturbing one, particularly since those most opposed to the creation of safe spaces seem to be those with the most power and privilege, the most likely from a statistical standpoint to be the beneficiaries of a world where the oppressed are kept silent and left unprotected.

One of the best discussions of the issue that I have read can be found here. 

The Right to Sit Down
Colin Kaepernick ignited a nationwide debate during an otherwise uneventful preseason football game this weekend when he remained seated during the national anthem.

When asked about it after the game, he gave his reason:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

To many people, particularly those who support a presidential candidate constantly complaining about how terrible things are in this country are, his actions were unforgivable. Jerseys burned online, some of them hanging from trees. God, I wish I was kidding.

If you can't see how that perfectly makes his point, I don't know how else to explain it to you.

This comment, lifted directly from my Facebook page is another great example of how much people are getting wrong about this debate:

Hes far from ever being oppressed his father dumped his pregnant mother she gave him up, upper middle class white family adopted him.. So hes jumping on the fool bandwagon, perhaps he move to another country where people are REALLY oppressed.. I will join the millions who want him benched for life.. Oh

Wait. So are you really going to try and say that he needs to be currently and actually oppressed to complain about racism? Who gets to decide that he is oppressed? You? If he is not currently oppressed does that mean that he can't express his concern and outrage in general? Are you assuming that because he was adopted by a white family, that he's never had to deal with racism? Are you assuming that because he has money, racism has never been an issue for him?

Because every single one of those assumptions is wrong.

Dead wrong.

I've seen people demand that he shut up and play the damn game he's paid to play...which isn't too far off from the way that black people historically have been made to perform for the entertainment of white people. Play the game, keep your mouth shut.

I've seen a friend of a person I consider a friend call him a half-breed. Shudder. I've seen more call him a nigger. (OMG I HATE THAT WORD AND I HATE TYPING IT SO MUCH)

CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT YOU ARE MAKING HIS POINT?

Everyone seems focused on his actions, not his reasons.

People who didn't get upset about athletes being tried for murder, rape, abuse...can't get over their anger right now. They can't see straight they are so pissed about it.

People who've never served a day in the military demanding that all veterans are supposed to detest everything he stands for because he's somehow made their sacrifices worthless, when in truth many veterans are supporting him.

A huge part of what they fight for is the freedom to question, the freedom to demand better, the freedom to silently protest, the freedom to sit down.

Being a patriot doesn't mean that a person must blindly follow, comply and listen. No. It demands that a person demands truth and fairness and transparency. It demands that a person demands better.

It's significant here that the national anthem was penned by Francis Scott Key, himself a slaveholder, and that the third stanza contains words about killing slaves.

It's also significant here that nonviolent protest is something that has been utilized not just by leaders of great social movements, but by black athletes specifically for generations, often making them deeply vilified at the time. Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Jackie Robinson.

If you stand against what Kaepernick did, you stand against what they've done as well.

Personally, I haven't said the pledge of allegiance in years. For years before that, I omitted "under God". I have refused to sing the national anthem for a while already.

Does that make me unpatriotic?

Want to tell me to get the fuck out and go back to wherever I came from?

Feel compelled to call me names?

I don't do jingoistic patriotism. I do real patriotism. The kind that asks questions and demands better, the kind that is revolutionary and challenges the status quo, the kind that understands that the way things have always been has never been good enough. The kind that will always defend the right to protest. Always.

You should too.

I'm with you, Colin.

Instead of arguing about what he did, let's talk about why. 

That's far more important.

1 comment:

  1. I love everything you said here---we're on the same page. Sometimes I get so bogged down by what I read in my social media feeds that's its hard to hear myself think. But you have perfectly expressed in words what I've been feeling all week about the things I'm seeing in the news. Thank you for alway keeping it real <3

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