Tag Archives: politics

Not Talking About Abortion

Ten years ago I tangentially touched on the abortion topic. I didn’t address it head on—and won’t be doing so today, either.Not Talking About Abortion

Although some people are ambivalent towards the subject, most have pronounced and decided opinions on the matter. Both sides of this volatile issue have been known to take determinedly dogmatic and militant stances. Just throw out the “A” word in casual conversation—and then duck, because someone will start slinging something, be it hurtful words, strong rhetoric, or pure invective.

The issue is currently too emotionally charged to conduct a cogent conversation, so with words seemingly inadequate to win over the opposition, the prudent course of action is often silence. Each side is convinced that the other is ignorantly wrong and hopelessly barbaric. Unfortunately there is apparent truth to that, even if only in media sound bites and the fanatical fringe—which is present in both groups.

What I am sure of is that it will take the efforts of future historians to pronounce a victor. Once the emotion of the present has been dispatched and the distanced logic of another generation takes over, then opinions can converge.The issue is currently too emotionally charged to conduct a cogent conversation, so with words seemingly inadequate to win over the opposition, the prudent course of action is often silence. Click To Tweet

These future historians will look back, concurring with one side and condemning the other. They may uphold the pro-choice group with the same applause as those who promoted civil rights or salute the pro-life group with the same reverence as those who opposed the Holocaust and genocide. And when they do, whatever they decide, public opinion will line up squarely and smartly behind their conclusion.

I know what I want their verdict to be, but I’m not sure if they will agree. Only time will tell.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Are You Pro-Life?

Ask someone who is “pro-life” what that means and he or she will most likely say they are against abortion. True, but what else? If pressed, they may also mention opposition to euthanasia.

That seems a lot like someone claiming to be a “music lover,” but who only listens to classical music—how limited and shortsighted. Can anyone truly be a music lover if they only experience a small segment of all things musical?Are You Pro-Life?

To truly be pro-life seemingly means to affirm all life and seek to improve the condition of all people.

As such, that means pro-life is not just about protecting the unborn and terminally ill, but also about addressing homelessness, unemployment, AIDS, poverty, prejudice, healthcare, social injustice, immigration, repression, war, slavery, genocide, and anything else that relates to life and living. To truly be pro-life seemingly means to affirm all life and seek to improve the condition of all people. Click To Tweet

Historically, the Republican Party has been preferred by the traditional pro-life crowd.  However, given the preceding holistic, expanded definition of pro-life, it is the Democrats who are more fully addressing the majority of these life issues. For people who like convenient labels, this really confuses the issue.

So, the question remains, are you pro-life? I am.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

The Other Side of Global Warming

The Other Side of Global WarmingWith temperatures in the unseasonably low seventies, it seems like an opportune time to talk about global warming, which frankly, I don’t buy. I know, it’s not PC (politically correct) to assert that global warming is a scam, but I dare to. Some people who have carefully studied the facts have concluded that global warming is not the threat that others, such as Al Gore, claim it to be, however, am not one of those people. Instead, I base my assessment on two simple anecdotal conclusions:Yes, the global temperature does change. Sometimes it trends down; sometimes it trends up. Click To Tweet

1) When I was in elementary school, the big threat was the “coming ice age.” It was predicted that Michigan, were I live, would be covered with several hundred feet of frozen snow and ice as the glaciers pushed south. They warned that we would need to take action to avoid freezing to death. Now forty years later, that is a ludicrous alarm.

Yet seemingly it was the same logic of analyzing temperature fluctuations that projected an ice age then as is pointing to global warming now. I don’t think a forthcoming ice age is any more realistic than the ocean rising 100 feet and obliterating landmasses.

2) The scientific community relies on grant money—especially so when their research has no foreseeable economic upside. The people who receive the most grant attention are those who study alarming things (such as the effects of global warming) and not so much those whose work won’t be newsworthy (such as cooling the warming hype ).  Given the competition for grants, the more dire warnings will tend to be awarded more money. It’s basic human nature at work. And for all those who think scientists are purely logical and their work is strictly scientific, remember that they are just people trying to earn a living like that rest of us.

Yes, the global temperature does change. Sometimes it trends down; sometimes it trends up. But catastrophe is not around the corner. It wasn’t 40 years ago and its not now.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it—at least until I’m covered with water—or ice.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

Are You Ready for Daylight Savings Time?

Winter, as measured by the amount of snow and extreme cold, has dragged on for too long. I’m ready for spring. A milestone that signals the approaching of a new season is the annual switch to daylight savings time. In case this isn’t on your calendar, get ready. It occurs in a few days, this year on March 9 (if you’re in the US), when we spring forward one hour.

However, aside from a reminder of spring’s approach, I have no other affection for daylight savings time. Consider:

  • It’s a Misnomer: We don’t really save daylight; we just alter our perception of when it occurs. Incredibly, some people actually believe this gives them an extra hour of daylight each day.
  • It Wastes Time: We spend too much time changing our clocks.
  • It Costs Money: Businesses must pay someone to reset clocks, adjust equipment, correct payroll issues for people working during the time change, and so forth. This is an added business expense.
  • It’s Frustrating: I always seem to miss a clock or two. Sometimes it’s a week or more before I discover my error, but never until after I’ve had an initial panic that I’m late or messed up my schedule.
  • It Confuses People: After each biannual time change, invariably someone arrives at church at the wrong time. I’m sure it happens at work, too, especially on Sunday shifts.
  • It Takes Time to Adjust our Internal Clocks: Switching time, messes up our sleep; it takes up to a week for me to return to normal.
  • It’s Dreaded: I’ve never met a person who looked forward to changing time, but I know many people who complain about it.

While many, myself included, have advocated we skip this twice a year nonsense and pick one time, I have an even better idea: let’s pick one time for the entire world. After all, we live in a global world and should be in sync with each other.

Let’s all switch to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), also known as Zulu time. Then it will be the same time everywhere, with no confusion about time zones. No longer will we need to ask, “Is that 3:00 your time or mine?” There will be no errors in adjusting for meetings, conference calls, or deadlines with those in other time zones.

This will, of course require a significant mental adjustment, but we’d only need to do it once. If my calculations are correct, that means I’d get up at 10:00 a.m. (not 5); eat lunch at 5:00 p.m. (not noon), my work day would end at 10:00 p.m. (not 5), and bedtime would beckon at 3:00 a.m. (not 10).

Of course, while we’re at it, we could also switch to a 24-hour clock and forgo the a.m. and p.m. notations.

Want do you think? Could we make this time change once and just be done with it?

Peter DeHaan is magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect via social media.

Three Responses to the US Election

The Presidential election in the United States is over. I, for one, am glad. The political phone calls, mailers, and ads now reside in our rear view mirrors.

Given the closeness of the outcome, I suspect about half of the people are rejoicing over the results and the other half, mourning.

For those with me in this second group, I offer three responses:

Respect the office of the President: Be glad for an elected president to lead us, not a dictator who controls or a king to serve.

Respect the person of the President: This doesn’t require affirming or even accepting his political views. Though often hard for me to comprehend, I see no evil or selfishness in our President, but a principled man doing what he feels is best.

Determine to be part of the solution, not part of the problem: With many issues needing attention, divisiveness must be set aside. Those who came up on the losing side can opt to be angry and obstruct progress or make the best of the situation, helping our country move forward.

I, for one, will view the glass as half-full — and hope not to be proven wrong.

Does Freedom of Speech Have a Responsibility?

One of the core tenets of living in the United States is a right we revere: “Freedom of Speech.”

Within very broad limits (such as not screaming “Fire” in a crowded room) we, in the USA, enjoy the freedom to say what we want, when we want, and in the way we want. At least in theory.

But if everyone is talking, then no one is listening. The flip side of “freedom of speech” then is the “responsibility to listen.”

That doesn’t mean we need to actually hear and consider every voice, but it does mean we need to show respect. Our freedom of speech doesn’t permit us to yell louder than someone else, shouting them down and thereby denying them their right to speak.

Sadly, I see this happening today, especially when the voice is advocating something unpopular or a “politically incorrect” view.

We are beginning to lose sight of all that freedom of speech entails. And if that happens completely, we might lose even more, including the very right itself.

[Freedom of Speech is provided for in Article 1 of the Bill of Rights.]

Anticipating the Primary Election

Today is the primary election in Michigan. Though the presidential primary was so long ago as to be unmemorable, the rest of the offices are under consideration now.

The positions in the US Congress and state level are contested by both parties, but the local offices are the sole domain of one party. The other party has nary an entrant. That means whoever wins the primary will be a sure thing in this fall’s election.

In our contested US house race the incumbent must have been concerned. It seems we were getting one piece of mail a day from him — and on several days, two. He ran a highly negative campaign and his challenger did not. For that reason I voted for his challenger.

On a personal note, my bride decided to run to be a county delegate. There was some excitement when she expressed interest, as apparently our area often goes without. And the ballot reflected that reality. The instructions were to “vote for not more than eight” — and hers was the only name listed.

I’m quite sure she’ll make it.

Even so, on Monday she passed out fliers to 28 neighbors.

Should Everyone Really Have a College Education?

A few years ago, there was a concerted political push to increase home ownership rates. The idea was to help renters become buyers. This, it was argued, would have many benefits for those who made the jump, including: an increased standard of living, greater self-esteem, and financial security (by building up equity). As a result, many people who shouldn’t have bought houses, were pushed into doing so.

This was exacerbated by some lenders who got greedy, sub-prime loans, the assumption that balloon payments would not be a problem, and the belief that the housing bubble would not collapse. We now know that these forces conspired together to create a perfect storm for economic disaster.

The truth is now known that not everyone should own their home.

It seems that the political emphasis has now switched from owning your own home to getting a college degree. Indeed the current mantra is “a college education for everyone.” Never mind that not everyone is college material. Some need to pursue a trade, join the service, or directly enter the workforce. Sending the ill-equipped, the unmotivated, and or uncaring to college will do nothing to make them better, but will saddle them with student loans, as well as harm the overall learning opportunities offered at the institutions they attend.

Plus if everyone were to obtain a college degree, then those seeking to distinguish themselves will be needlessly pushed into grad school. Indeed some fields are already like that.

If this effort to send everyone to college succeeds, the result will not be them getting a better job, but merely an upward push on required qualifications, as well as more money spent on schooling and increased student debt.

It will only be a matter of time before the college bubble bursts — just like the housing bubble before it.

The Long Term Problems with China’s One-Child Policy

In my family there are a lot of two-children families. My bride and I both came from two-children homes. We have two children ourselves and both of our kids’ spouses hail from two-children families. Plus, my sister has two children. So my mom has two children and four grandchildren. If the trend continues, she will have eight great grandchildren.

Contrast this with China’s one-child policy, which has been in place since 1979 (33 years). A child born in China today will be the only child of two parents and the only grandchild of four grandparents. If the trend continues, he or she will eventually be the only great grandchild of eight great grandparents. This child will also have no uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, or nephews.

While this may be an effective means to curb population growth, it has two most negative outcomes:

First, a Chinese child will be the only child of two parents and of four grandparents. That means that six people are placing their sole generational focus — good or bad — on that lone child. There will be a tendency to spoil their only child and grandchild. And there will be tremendous pressure placed on that child to do well, succeed, get married — and have his or her one child. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one kid. Plus, all these overly indulged, “only-child” kids, being the center of their family’s attention, will most likely be narcissistic and selfish.

Second, a Chinese child will be the only grandchild to care for four aging grandparents and later the only child to care for two aging parents. There will be no siblings or cousins to share in these duties. That’s a lot of responsibility to place on one child.

In societies with no procreation limits, parents rightly make their own decisions on the number of offspring, be it ten, two, one, or even none. That is good and right, but when a whole society is forced to limit themselves to one, the ramifications are significant.