“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

- Crowfoot

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

change and the Average American

Americans wanted change. Right? Not so fast.

Maybe the proper phrasing would be: Americans wanted change?

As far as I am concerned, the Republicans are a party based on traditional, inchanging values. Most would probably be content with women still running the household, men marrying only women and women only men, children being raised in all white neighbourhoods and going to a traditional public school where students are fully within their rights to have a handgun in their backpacks - so long as it is registered with the State. Separate God from State? Never! Why would you not want 'In God We Trust' printed on everything from currency to the walls in judicial chambers? Who cares about torture and human rights, so long as American freedom to rule the world and all of its oil is maintained?

Obama promised change. That is what he campaign was based on. Change for an American people who said, at that time, that they were ready for change. That they wanted something different - something better.

But, like a spoiled child, this did not last long. They wanted change then, right then. If change didn't happen right then, they didn't want it to happen at all. So then when the Public Option was presented they had already presented something better. When Obama didn't deliver within the first 100 days in office they became restless and were bought by the health care industry.

Obama's Public Option shows the fickle nature of the American people. They say they want change, but they don't. Either that or they only want some kinds of change.

For instance, I have a friend - and I emphasize friend because we have debates such as this often - who is a gay man and is very impatient for change to come in the gay community. The more the better and the sooner it comes the happier he will be. More power to 'im as far as I am concerned. But then he turns around and says that healthcare cannot be changed too quickly because of the uproar Obama has caused with the Public Option. How does that make sense? This friend of mine was a hardline Obama supporter until, it seems, the man was actually elected and the honeymoon ended.

Yes, it would be wonderful to legalize gay marriage in the US, but is it life and death? No. Is health insurance? For tens of millions of Americans, the answer would be yes. So why this blatent double standard? Why does rapid change matter only in situation a but not in situation b, when situation b is so much more urgent than a?

Obama proposed reform will only affect people positively. For those who need affordable health insurance (such as those, say, making $5.00/hour at 3 different jobs), they will have access to it. Many of the 'working poor' are within one head cold of bankruptcy. I see bills coming into my job at the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP - Ontario publicly funded health insurance plan) for $500 to simply have a sinus infection treated! It will also have a positive effect on private health insurance premiums - with the cheaper competition, these companies with be force to lower their premiums to retain their competitive edge. Win-win, is it not?

Then why the resistance?

Vogue, Anna Wintour and Feminist Theory.

I like to think of myself as a feminist. Though I wouldn't give up boys in favor of the 'superior sex.' I think of myself - don't shoot me now - as a more Maggie Thatcher ideal of feminist. I don't seriously think women are better than men, no matter how much I joke about it. And I don't think that women should be given special laws and special these and special those because we have been just soooo hard done by in the past that it needs to be made up for now. Like it will make any difference! Women are good enough that we don't need to be coddled and handed things like children - we are equal with men and can do many things just as well and some a lot better than men (have you ever seen a man push a football from between his legs?).

This was Magaret Thatcher's belief too. When feminists across England were calling for labour laws to be put into place to help women in the job market, Maggie Thatcher told them to get equality for themselves. Don't go crying to her about it. She was born in the upper middle class and made herself who she became, without any help from laws and double standards. She fought for what she deserved and got it all by herself. So it is no wonder she had no sympathy for the feminists who came whining to her about how unfair England was for women!

If only society, business and industry would recognize women for the role they play by offering equal pay for equal work - which they still don't. If only popular culture wouldn't demonize the women who act more like men in their industry. For instance, the dragon lady, the ice queen - Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. Sure, she may not be sweet as honey to you if you make a mistake working for her - but how many male bosses (maybe Donald Trump) are all daisies and lollipops to those who work them? Which male executive doesn't rule his board room and everyone in it with an iron fist?

Do they have books and movies made about them? Are they the stuff of rumours, gossip, snide remarks or become the stuff of New York idioms? No. Because that is what everyone expects from a man. But when women do the same thing - suddenly because she isn't maternal and caring she is a bitch and an ice queen.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Small Gestures

Every once in a while, I get the urge to sort out something almost insignificant in my immensely cluttered life. Recently this has meant purging my Facebook friends' list, reorganizing my bookshelf, getting rid of clothing that I haven't worn in years, and just today cleaning out the bookmarks page on my internet and sorting them into groups.

This was quite an interesting activity. Among other things, I found this video that I discovered at the beginning of this past school year.

Another interesting link I stumbled upon was to and article by Real Simple with simple ideas to brighten someone else's day at little expense to your own. Often these are referred to as small gestures.

I have long been a fan of these small gestures. My tenth grade religion teacher, Mrs. Holmes, introduced me to the first official small gesture I used on a regular basis. In Canada, Tim Horton's is a staple and she said that she would surprise the person in the drive through line up behind her by paying for their order.

Holding doors for those coming through the door behind you, smiling at perfect strangers you pass in the mall, making a funny little quip to the others in the elevator (leaving work with a bunch of others once, someone commented, "Quitting time, I guess," so I turned and said, "Damn straight!" The entire elevator got a chuckle of this little exchange) or giving a homeless person a granola bar or something, putting the change from your coffee in the charity jar.

There is this beggar in my university town who is always at the same corner. So one day when my friend and I were going to get lunch at the Subway across the street, so I asked him what kind he wanted. He was really surprised by this offer - I don't think it happens too often. So my friend and I split the cost and it cost us maybe $3 each.

This is another website that I think is adorable. The song, Say What You Will is by an artist from Near-Toronto, Ontario and the whole premise is fantastic - just letting people know you are thinking of them. Not to mention it is to raise awareness of the Walmart Walk for Miracles in support of children's hospitals!

I am not writing this to make myself look good. I am writing this because I am hoping to give someone else ideas to integrate small gestures of kindness in their own day. The website above has more ideas if you want them!

Pay it forward!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Very happy now

And even happier tomorrow!

My parents went up to the trailer this evening and my middle sister was already up there. So I went with my littlest (11-year-old) sister to see The Ugly Truth. Overall it was a very cleverly thought out premise, with just enough convention remaining to be a thoroughly enjoyable film.

After parking the car and as we were walking into the theatre, I could not believe how exciting I was becoming. I was going to see this movie and then, within 12 hours will be going to see Julia and Julia with my friend Allen and then heading into Toronto for the 5th birthday of a friend's son.

This little boy is amazing - braver than anyone I know. He was born with his bowel outside his body and as a result had to have a liver/bowel transplant before he was 2; the 5th child to receive such a transplant in Canada and only the 3rd to survive it. He was so fragile as an infant that simply human contact would cause him to bleed internally, so his parents could only hold him using a pillow. Then his they were told that he needed a kidney transplant because of the first transplant and that he needed dialysis until a kidney became available. Then he was diagnosed with Post-Transplant Lymphoma. This is a leukemia type cancer that can develop after receiving a transplant because of the trauma to the body in combination with the cocktail of immunosuppressant anti-rejection drugs one must take afterwards. So then, on top of receiving dialysis, this little boy had to endure cancer treatment too. Now, even though he is turning 5, he is the size of an 18-month old.

So this is one special birthday party. My sisters and I bought him a few Dora the Explorer games as presents. He absolutely loves Dora. It is really cute - it is like she is his girlfriend.

Happy Birthday Sebastien and may you have many more!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ignition phase complete

Having realized that her posts had begun to digress from their stated purpose, Bonnita decided to return to the topic supposedly at hand: her plans. As she sat down to type, she she sorted her mental cue cards and planned what she would say.
As her fingers his each key, she wrote:
“Two days ago, after sending back my passport application because of the wrong kind of birth certificate, my British passport arrived by UPS. Ignition phase complete. Thank god, too. I had just purchased my one way plane ticket to London Heathrow when I realized that I still didn’t have my passport! If I was denied, then I would not only be out the $220us, plus postage x2 but I would also have to fork out MORE money for a work visa! That would completely negate the fantastic deal I got on my ticket.
Speaking of my ticket, now this is a doozie. I paid a total of $420 which, like I said is a pretty amazing deal. The only downside - and I don’t really see it as much of one - is that I have to take 3 flights. I am flying American Airlines from Toronto to Boston and then Icelandair from Boston to Rekjavik to London. So by the time I get their I can say that I have been to Iceland too. Yeah, the connections suck, but I have around an hour and a half/two hours between each one to collect my bags and re-check them.
Also, yesterday I found the website for the buses that run in the Berkshire area - most importantly between Maidenhead and Slough. One actually leaves straight from the Sainsbury’s right by my aunt’s house and goes directly into downtown Slough! woot woot
What else…. Oh, I am going to start organizing everything in a binder with page protectors and Post-its and such. Oh this is going to such fun!”
As Bonnita publishes this entry on her blog and closes her computer, feeling the wind pick up in her sails and steps into her bubble bath…