Monday, July 14, 2014

When the obvious, easy, or simple solution isn't

I like to think of myself as a rational, logical being. Someone who values facts over fiction or emotion. Who goes looking for the truth -- and the most obvious or straightforward or simplest solution to a problem.

I'd like to think that I am not alone. But increasingly, I feel like I am alone. A Vulcan among... Earthlings. And I simply don't understand (well, I do, but I don't) the following.

Guns. They are a problem. A big problem. Personally, I think ownership should be highly restricted, as gun ownership is in the UK. That isn't going to happen here in the good ole U.S. of A. But why can't we at least mandate background checks, 24-hour waiting periods, strict (low) limits on ammunition, and severely restrict the ownership of weapons that inflict mass destruction? The only arguments against doing these highly logical things, which, long ago even the NRA supported, is purely political -- and irrational (or emotional).

Healthcare. Everyone should have it. And it should be simple to get and to keep and to administrate. This is not a fantasy. It is totally doable. Except for politics and an irrational fear of government or governance.

Taxes. You like having drivable roads, safe bridges and tunnels, good schools, your mail delivered to your door (or mailbox or post box)? You want to feel protected in case of attack, be it by man, things man-made, or nature's fury? You need to pay taxes. As my late father, a registered Republican, used to say, "If everyone paid their taxes, we'd pay less in taxes." So true.

But the tax code is so frickin' complicated, and changes every year, and there are so many loopholes, it's no wonder people don't like taxes -- and think they are unfair. Is it so hard to come up with a simplified system where everyone pays his or her fair share? (Apparently the answer is "yes." Not because it isn't possible to create such a system but because it is politically impossible to implement such a system.)

Decent-paying part-time work. It's been over 40 years now since Women's Liberation movement and women began entering the workforce in large numbers. And yet the government and business have done very little to accommodate, aid, promote or recognize the changing nature of families or the reality that many (most?) women now work, or want or need to work.

What happened to flexible hours? Telecommuting? Job sharing? Why haven't more (most) businesses created part-time tracks for women and men, or made it easy(ier) for employees to telecommute or work flexible hours?

Btw, I'm talking for men and women here. It's been 40 years, people. We are losing too many good, smart women -- mainly moms (and daughters of aging parents) -- who want to work but don't want to or can't work 50 hours a week at a job an hour or more away. And too often those jobs barely pay for childcare. It shouldn't, and needn't, be this way.

Childcare. Good help shouldn't be so hard, or expensive, to find. Governments, schools, and businesses need to do more to help working families by providing safe, affordable places for children to go after school and during school holidays when or if their parents are working. I know good, or decent, affordable childcare exists in some places, but it needs to be universal.

Climate Change (the condition previously known as Global Warming). The climate has been changing. And not for the better. Things have been heating up (though it often doesn't feel like that here in the Northeast). And we are losing land and lives.

And we humans are not helping. Indeed, we are the problem. Or a big part of it. But we could be the solution. Except most of us are too selfish or self-centered to give up our SUVs and gas-guzzling/emissions spewing vehicles, or to drive less, or to live in smaller houses closer to one another, or reduce our consumption of products that pollute the environment.

Sadly, if everyone just did a little bit -- drove more fuel-efficient cars, turned down the AC just a bit, used energy-saving light bulbs and remembered to turn off the lights and their TVs and other things when not in use, re-used and recycled -- we could slow down climate change.

I could go on, but I won't. I need to conserve my energy.


amanda said...

I'm with you on all of this- and I have to share two things:
When I was shopping for wedding dresses (and writing about it for my gender & advertising class) I was APPALLED that Klienfeld's had a 48-hr 'waiting-period' before they actually placed your order. In a country where our rights are 'violated' if we can't get a lethal weapon to go- no one bats an eye or is insulted by the idea that a bride might be too flakey to choose a dress and stick with it???
Also, I get so sad when I see how much parents work- my mother used to tell me that the women's movement was for the men too- so that women could share in the burden (and fun) of earning money and men wouldn't miss out on so much of the joy (and pain) of childcare. It is maddening that we are working more and getting less and our children are suffering.
Phew---glad that's off my chest.

lindaroo said...

Yes and yes. Sometimes it all becomes overwhelming, and I just want to put my head in the sand, and hope it all takes care of itself... foolishness. I appreciate you taking a stand, and setting a good example for me!

lindaroo said...

PS It took me a couple tries to figure out the verification; the box says Photo Sphere, and I used the circle-arrow refresh icon next to the "type the text" box to get the numerical code. Is it so obvious, that everyone will figure it out? I don't think so.