Freedom and Warts
Though it's not said often enough, I'm grateful to live in this country. Warts and all, it's still one of the best countries on Earth (and Michigan is top on the list of States). Pride and patriotism are the themes of this week's holiday as we celebrate our
241st Year of Independence
. Because of this appreciation, we have the responsibility (all year long) to help spotlight and eliminate the warts which stain our pride. One of our main civic duties is to vote in all elections (local, statewide and national). Too many Americans are apathetic about voting and lackadaisical about protecting our rights and freedoms. Freedom is one of our greatest attribute but balancing it correctly is essential. For Example:
1. Should we maintain the freedom not to vote or should it be mandatory like it is in 22 other countries? If not, it should at least be more equally accessible.
2. Do private businesses have the "freedom" to deny services to the Gay community? No, that's called discrimination (in my opinion) but the Supreme Court will give their more powerful opinion (sometime next year) as they've agreed to take on the case of the baker who refused to provide a wedding cake for a gay couple.
3. Should political parties have the "freedom" to gerrymander congressional lines in their favor which creates lopsided districts? Again SCOTUS will give an opinion for the State of Wisconsin which could trickle to other States. We need statewide nonpartisan district-drawing commissions.
4. One of our biggest wart is Citizens United, the SCOTUS decision of 2010 which gave corporations the status of peoplehood and the Freedom to unlimited and hidden campaign donations. This won't change till we get more progressives on the bench and this won't happen till voter turnout improves.
Right or Privilege
To heal our warts, we obviously need an accessible Health Care system for all Americans. There will always be the wealthy who can afford the best medicine on earth and there will also always be the less fortunate (the poor), who can't afford medical care without assistance. To me, Health Care is a Human Right not an Elite Privilege. Nearly 60 other countries also believe in this obligation for their citizens. ObamaCare (aka: Affordable Care Act or ACA) is not perfect and needs to be fixed. But throwing the baby out with the bathwater is purely political and has nothing to do with helping those who must choose between paying their rent or buying blood pressure meds. 22 million people will lose insurance under this new Senate bill as medicaid and Planned Parenthood are under attack. These hypocritical "Pro-Life" proponents will end up "Anti-Life" with this plan. Senate support is waning and lets hope as time goes by, it becomes dead in the water.
Jew against Jew
As people aren't perfect, neither are most governments, especially this week's actions of
, who (in my opinion) has overstayed his welcome in the Knesset. Bibi has bowed to the ultra-orthodox on two main issues which insult the majority of Jews in Israel and the diaspora.
Who is a Jew?
My (unorthodox) tent is tall and wide including all who feel Jewish in their hearts (minus Jews for Jesus). But this week, Bibi is allowing the ultra-orthodox to control the conversion process so only those converted "their" way will be considered Jewish. Bravo to Knesset Member
for standing up to this rubbish.
Also, angering many is the promise Bibi broke this week to establish an egalitarian prayer section at the
. Negotiation for this prayer area had been long and arduous with an agreed upon compromise till it was sabotaged this week by the powerful minority. Their Way or No Way is no way to live as a Jewish Nation. With "2 Jews, 3 Opinions", we will always bicker amongst ourselves but this face-slap drives a fissure down our core. Haven't we learned anything from the external anti-semitism to bond together rather than fight amongst each other? Rigidity and lack of compromise is a deadly weapon for all nations.
Left and Right
From all indicators, anti-semitism is on the rise, so it is ironic that our US State Department (as of July 1) will shutter the office which oversees this religious hatred.
The extreme right (white supremist, KKK and the like) have always hated us, but the newer trend it the hatred from the left. The interconnection of global oppression... Racism, Sexism, Lifestyle Discrimination have added the Palestinian Oppression to their clique. Human Rights, Women's Rights, Gay Activist are now joining forces with Anti-Zionist/Anti-Semites. This was evident last week when Jewish lesbians were kicked out of the Chicago Gay Pride Parade for simply expressing their Jewish pride. Let's not forget that gays in Gaza are severely persecuted (Hamas routinely executes them) and Israel is the most gay friendly nation in their hemisphere. This NYT opinion expresses the hypocrisy in clear detail:
Asteroids and Earth
Did you know that today is Asteroid Day, which was founded in 2015 by a few people including astrophysicist/Queen guitarist, Dr. Brian May. No need to panic, but over 1 Million asteroids out there now have the potential to collide with Earth and we currently can only detect (with our limited telescopes) 1 percent of them. 100x is a new initiative that pledges to up our detection of 1,000 to 100,000 in the next ten years. This site explains Asteroid Day and the detection initiative in more detail: https://asteroidday.org/our-story/ So in honor of Asteroid Day and Brian May, this week's musical selection is a strings and piano rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody:
Queen guitarist and astrophysicist, Dr. Brian May
Ryan and Ryan
And tomorrow is
Canada Day and I like to personally wish our sweet neighbours to the North, a joyous 150th birthday with this informative, funny and poignant video tribute:
Also, thank you Canada for: William Shatner, Neil Young, Michael J. Fox, the 2 Ryans (Gosling and Reynolds), Drake, Mike Meyers, Alanis Morissette, Seth Rogen, Elon Musk plus many more and of course you handsome and stellar PM Justin Trudeau.