Rights and Democracy
You might have some idea if you’ve ever found yourself facing foreclosure on your home; or worked at a company that was downsizing and laying people off; or enrolled in a college where the tuition keeps doubling; or faced salary freezes year after year, even while the cost of living rises. Most of us know how those things feel. It’s the feeling of losing control over your destiny. Get used to that feeling. It has just become what it feels like to be a citizen of the United States of America.
The Democratic Party, starting with the political wizards in the White House on down, simply blew it in Massachusetts. It wasn’t just Coakley who took a vacation in the middle of the campaign, the entire party did.
On the campaign trail, On the campaign trail, Barack Obama electrified Americans with his bold call to transform despair into hope, and voters elected him in a landslide. Democratic candidates for Congress rode his broad coattails to large majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate that his party hadn’t held in a generation. The stage was set to transform hope into change, for jobs, health care, climate change, and many other fundamental challenges.
Race is a subject about which nothing honest or candid can be spoken (particularly by a white person) without risking being branded a racist.
Over 40 years after Dr. Over 40 years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, his words still speak to the social conditions that so many Americans face. Our unemployment rate is hovering at 10 percent, and the wealthiest 10 percent of us control over 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. Economic inequality remains a barrier to greater racial equality. The national commemoration of King’s birthday, therefore, is more for reflection than celebration.
It looks like locking people up is a hard habit to break. The American prison population quadrupled in just the last 25 years. We’ve even surpassed China and Russia in the percentage of citizens in the clink. Meanwhile the rest of the world just scratches its head. “What are those crazy Americans up to now? Their country isn’t crime-ridden.”
Exposing the human brain to these new devices creates both physical risks and political ones. Mind-reading by authorities or the private sector could easily mean a potential loss of freedom. There are then many questions to be resolved before the government or the marketplace adopts this technology. What kind of an informed consent should be granted? What kind of information would be divulged?
The holidays can be stressful for overscheduled families. The kids are home from school and daycare. The in-laws visit. There are year-end deadlines to meet, awkward office holiday parties to attend, and self-inflicted New Year’s resolutions to conquer.