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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Perplexing Times

It is one of those weeks, when I drive through town, walk through airports, read my newspaper on airplanes, listen to news talk radio --- and remain in a chronic state of perplexion. What can I say? I am perplexed about what I see and hear.

Has the world gone crazy? Or is it just me - not getting it? The stories I see and the things I hear are troubling to say the least. I usually end up with questions that seem to have no answers. You see, there is much about today's world that I don't understand.

Yesterday, for example, I was reading about abortion. It's been a problem in America for many years now (since Roe vs. Wade made it legal). I know about the different views of the pro-life and pro-choice lobbyists, etc. What I did not know (until yesterday) is that nearly 50% of all African-American pregnancies in America are terminated through abortion! I did not know that African-American woman are five times as likely to abort their babies as white women. Talk about racial inequality! What's up with this statistic? Could someone in the black community, with its proud heritage, help me understand this?

Then there is the gay issue. I opened my newspaper last week (October 11th) and was greeted to a full color insert celebrating something called "National Coming Out Day." It's apparently a national holiday to recognize gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered individuals. What is it that we're supposed to recognize them for. As a born-again, Bible thumping Christian, I don't agree with them. I believe they are deceived and misguided. But I respect their right to be wrong. Hate crimes against them are surely wrong, and their civil rights should be the same as anyone else. But celebrate them? I don't get that? I was saddened to see Citibank had a full-page advertisement on the back of this insert too. Apparently they see themselves as a gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered employer. (I wonder if they ask about that on their employment applications!)

Later in the week, I was reading where the U.S. military branches are now spending about $360 million per year to replace about 12,000 men and women who violate their "don't ask, don't tell" policy and "come out." So let me grasp this. We're at war, two wars. I guess I hadn't thought much about it when it's been talked about in the past. A don't ask, don't tell policy seemed to hack off the GLBT crowd, but I assumed they were a minority and it was a mostly political issue. It turns out it's a financial issue. Fiscal impact is being felt by all Americans. It might even be a national security issue.

For some reason, our military believes that fighter pilots, doctors, soldiers, mechanics and other military jobs cannot be performed effectively by people who are not straight heterosexual. So they spend $360 million a year getting rid of them. (Of course, this says nothing of the money they spent to recruit and train them in the first place.) The real irony is that once thrown out of the military, these same individuals will practice their professions quite adequately. Go figure.

So my final perplexity this week (so far) is the presidential election. I listen to talk radio on the AM dial. One of the shows I was listening to today was taking calls from listeners. This guy named Preston calls in and starts to explain why Barack Obama needs to be our next president. In a nutshell, Preston thought it was only right, since we've had 43 white presidents. The talk show host ask him repeatedly what it is that he wants Barack Obama to accomplish as president. The only answer Preston ever offered was to just be president. Apparently, at least for some African-Americans, it does not matter how good or effective our next president is --- as long as he's black.

Preston went on to explain that any whites that don't vote for Obama are racist and just participate in the hundreds of years of oppression the blacks have suffered in America. I wanted to call in right then and ask him if he's ever been to Africa. He might get a better sense of what oppression looks like. I think I've blogged before about the blacks in America versus the blacks in Africa. Simply put, I know of know country where Africans are native where the standard of living or the freedoms come anywhere close to that enjoyed by most African-Americans in the U.S. (So enough of this black oppression crap!)

Like I said, it's been a perplexing week. And I haven't even talked about the nationalization of the western world's banking systems!

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