DrMyers’s Blog

May 11, 2009

Where do we go from here: A Night of Laughs!

corrOnce again, Washington DC received many west coast visitors.  On Saturday Night, President Obama was given the opportunity to do give remarks in front of most of Hollywood’s A-list talent and correspondents from every network.  Followed by Wanda Sykes, both have been given very high marks in the media for their performances.  While the world took a breather from the whirlwind of H1N1 and torture talk, we sat back and heard a few good one-liners, and for a second, the sheer amusement of our government was remedy enough to calm the minds of few, and strike the funny bone of many.

In America, we have used the arts to mask, cope, and address problems that plague and threaten our way of life.  The surge of the movie industry occurred as people needed an escape from the everyday reality of the depression.  Rock & Roll articulated the “new & improved” outlook of the 1950’s youth in comparison to the conservative upbringing of their parents.  During the late 60’s R & B began to articulate the displeased views of America’s youth regarding Vietnam, and that administration’s handling of the conflict.   Studio 54 flourished in the 1970’s, as the old guard once again was cast aside, and many minorities were finding their place and voice in that disco filled society.  The Rock Music of the 1980’s described Generation X, and how society misread and/or misunderstood their wants, desires, and motivations.  With rap music making a significant imprint on the 90’s, teens and young adults alike began to describe their emotions through poetry spoken in sync to different rhythms of music.  As we have entered the new millennium, youtube and itunes being blasted from iphones and ipods.  The current trend of headphones coming from pocket sized devices are seen regularly,  as today’s modern man/woman can pick and choose what trend in music, movies, and comedy they would personally like to identify themselves with.

Although, the President and many others were able to, for just a night, look at the lighter sides of the current situation, one harsh reality will be facing Americans as Monday Morning rises in the distance.  The unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent from 8.5 percent in March, the highest in more than a quarter-century.  President Obama has recognized that this financial problem was indeed years in the making, and he is predicting that it could take months (even years) to come out of the current recession. 

Stress tests given to the 19 largest banking institutions, which the reports were less severe than some experts had been preparing for, revealed: (see link below)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124182311010302297.html#project%3DSTRESSTESTDOCS0905%26articleTabs%3Dinteractive

 The test results showed that the 19 banks faced a total of $599 billion in losses over the next two years under the government’s worst-case, Depression-like scenario. 

These tests has also brought about deadlines for banks, in which consequences for deadlines not met have not been laid out by congress as of yet.  Congress has directed the banks as follows:  Any tested bank needing to boost its capital buffer will have until June 8 to develop a detailed capital-raising plan and until November 9 to implement that plan.  Some banks have already begun this task, with Wells Fargo raising 7.5 billion dollars in stock through a public offering. Other banks have made plans to fill their capital holes by tapping public markets. 

One must keep in mind, that the banks have not been the only dire, important factor negatively impacted by the current turn of economic affairs.  The Baby Boomer Generation is chomping at the bit for ways to keep their homes, cars, and ways of life somewhat intact during the dreadful time.  Since December 2007, the number of Americans over 55’s in work has risen more than 800,000.  Many baby-boomers have been forced to re-enter the workforce after losing their retirement and/or pension funds.  One may ask, how has age discrimination played out in the competition for work since the start of this recession, and if Affirmative action will survive the backlash of this recession.

Nonetheless, in this American Culture, we have coined the phrase, “Laughter is the Best Medicine”; but will Laughter be enough to treat the American Economy and the effects it is having on its citizens…only time will tell.

I have always learned that it’s best to learn from people who have lived through situations such as this before, and a little wisdom just may share a little light to us from our Allies across the Atlantic.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.    

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

 


 

 

April 24, 2009

Torture, Pirates & Beauty: Just Another Week!

Picture it:  A rather cool April in Massachusetts and the town is filled with gossip.  Your neighbor and Pastor have just been convicted of things you would have never imagined, and now you are going to see for yourself if these accusations are true!  Things and people around you have changed drastically in the last month, and a watchful eye is given to the detail of your every action.  For you might be the next accused of the horrible crime that has plagued everything you knew to be right!  

You might ask, what on earth could be happening around me that could cause such suspicion.  Well, if you were living in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, you might wake up to what appeared to be a normal day, and go to bed in shackles, because you are suspected for being a Witch.

Torture is not foreign to the foundation of America.  Even in its Colonial days, if coupled with eye-witnessed accounts, persons would be tortured to death, if the right answer was not forthcoming or if the “truth” was not derived from proper questioning.  In the 18th and 19th century, slaves were tortured to release information regarding other runaways or to reveal the names of those who might have taught them the vile act of reading.  Wives of many men in the 19th, 20th and even 21st centuries have suffered physical and mental torture, as their quests for equal rights and equal pay are still being fought in the workplace.

Even within our schools, torture has been translated in the form of bullying on students and teachers alike.  In the 1970’s, Gay teachers were targeted in many schools across the nation as the cause of pedophilia, leading to the end of many careers and many lives.  The bullying of more effeminate boys and masculine girls have mentally tortured and effected the lives of many students, driving a young man to suicide even as late as this week.  Shepeherd Smith declared that “THIS IS AMERICA AND WE DO NOT TORTURE”, which is what many American’s would like to believe and according to our agreement with the United Nations we have vowed to uphold.

In 1987 the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) was adopted.  In Article 2, it explicitly outlines torture and/or one’s motivations behind such treatment: 

Article 2
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

The United States of America have no excuse for torture of any kind, whether intended or implied; not when on behalf of the American Citizens, an agreement with other nations has been signed stating that we will take measures to Prevent acts of torture.  Franklin Pierce stated, “We have nothing in our history or position to invite aggression; we have everything to beckon us to the cultivation of relations of peace and amity with all nations.”  One can see how although time continues pass, the quest for peace an amity with all nations is still present by some in this country.

Now there are those who have been glorified in years past for not honoring agreements, treaties, or promises of humane treatment to prisoners.  Jack Sparrow, a fictional character, has been heroined and even idolized by some.  He had sparked a new interest in Pirates, that took the country and world by storm just has Captain Hook in Peter Pan stole the hearts of children and parents alike.  Unfortunately, the world got a look at a true pirate.  Smiling as he is paraded in front of the cameras, this teenager was a real gun and hostage holding pirate, who lived…unlike many of his colleagues.  

One might wonder, what drives a person to the brink of being a “pirate”?  It could be assumed that a Pirate is a product of one’s environment.  In the 14th and 15th centuries, as most of Europe were expanding their empires by killing natives in foreign lands, tearing down huts, and raising royal flags; many destitute individuals learned from their magistrates, and commanded vessels taking land and gold stolen from empires that stole it from natives, who lived peacefully before their arrivals.  The pirates that made headlines this past week, were not as grand as “Blackbeard” but were simply a reflection of a country that has a large Diaspora community, ravaged by the effects of civil war.  The flash bulbs that captured the image of the “smiling boy pirate”, mirrored the flashes of gunfire that undoubtedly influenced he and his comrades to commandeer vessels and commit the acts of old, which bear no reflection of Peter Pan!

If one were to ask Miss California, she may attest to being tortured on every television show this week for her comments.  When asked her Opinion by Perez Hilton, she stated clearly that in “Her” America marriage was between a Man and a Woman.  This view, although now risqué, at one time was the not so far from normal.  With a Moral Majority still present here in America, one can only conclude, she too is a product of her community.  And with her statements, apparitions appeared before men, and upon the torture block she stood, with the magistrates waiting for the proper answer to be given:  Do you believe in Same Sex Marriage.  

This debate, in my mind, will not be ended within the next 20 years.  Pastors of many faiths have banned the act of same sex relationships and relations within the lives of their parishioners.  Although, many of these same pastors have been demonized by their contemporaries for succumbing to their own “vile” temptations, and being literally “caught” in the act, the view homosexuality for some in America is still “curable”, and it is this view that must be debated!

 Fredrick Douglass stated “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”   A statement that has been lived by both Perez Hilton and Miss California within the last week has played out right in front of the American people.  Both seem to be proud of their beliefs, and both have courageously stood before the masses and taken the bitter tongue lashing of ridicule by media pundits and internet rumors alike.  What has not happened is a conversation or a work session between these two people, who could use this opportunity to really find a common ground, or an answer to this growing popular question!

What I do know, is that only in America could torture tactics, smiling pirates, and dueling queens be normality in…just another week!

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