Monday, February 16, 2015

The Curious Case of Roger Ebert

     We've been learning about Roger Ebert in G+T 2, and there is a lot to be learned (and asked) about his life.  Prior to his surgery that removed his jaw and ability to speak, he was a world-renowned film critic.  Following the surgery, he spent the remainder of his time writing a blog with very insightful and thought-provoking topics ranging from loneliness, the universe, and death.  No doubt he suffered following the surgery, but in his blogs, he seems very content.  I don't get him.  He was in a position and had the mentality that would cause constant torment (not being able to speak and pondering death and the concept of eternity on a daily basis), yet he proliferated during this time.  In terms of the "sink or swim" moment (or as I prefer to say the breaking point), I don't think he ever reached it.  Then again, I don't have nearly enough information about his life to draw a finite conclusion.  Still, from what I've been exposed to, there was never anything that bad about his life to cause him to break.
     For instance, he mentions in his post "All the Lonely People" that the only time he ever felt alone was when he realized that if Chaz, his wife, or himself passes away during surgery, then he will be alone from his wife.  He discusses how scary that is for him, but this is the first time he ever feels like this.  I feel this on at least a weekly basis of being abandoned by friends, teachers, and family.  It has happened in the past, by people who promised they would always be there for me, but would abandon me after.  I have serious trust issues, and my despair and fear force me into situations to where I need to trust people.  That trust usually winds up getting broken.  I have been through times where I felt completely isolated, where the people I thought cared did not, where I couldn't go anywhere or to anyone for help, anyone for a companion.  I'm not asking anyone to try to "save" me, I just want a friend I can go to, to talk to, to hang out with, a companion.  But I'm not good enough for that.  No.  I'm different from everyone else.  I'm that freak in the distance watching everything.  This is only a mere fraction of what it feels like to be broken, and Ebert didn't even feel this.
     Ebert was lucky, and he knew he was lucky.  He never looked down on people, and he brought others together that did suffer more than him to air their grievances, connect, and find hope.  For this, I have immense respect for Roger Ebert.  Ebert was under a circumstance that could have broken him, but did not due to his own mind set, which is what makes him lucky.  He just used the situation to its fullest to proliferate in his blog, and he seemed to enjoy that.  Sure, the surgery was a falter in step, but he just kept going, and I don't fully understand that.  To me, to be broken is to realize how utterly pointless everything is and how everything you ever aspired for and did was a complete failure.  I don't think he hit that point, but I know others have, myself included.  It's when one is broken that the person either stays their or their entire existence adopts a purpose.  For me, it's to help others, make a difference.  I deserve every once of suffering that comes my way, but no one else does.  We live in a disgusting, cold, dark, and gritty world, and I want to change that.  I have nothing else to live for; so, I'll take on as much pain, despair, agony, and suffering there is in existence... because they can't break me again.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Caught in the Cross-Hares

             The United States institutes policy that is allegedly at best interest of the United States.  However, there are certain aspects of policy, I believe, are not at best interest of the United States, more specifically its citizens and those inhabiting the US.  When considering the atrocities against human lives brought on by US immigration policy and the militarization of the police, I personally find that the US needs to change its policy.
             Foremost, immigration is a hot topic in US culture.  As per the status quo, many would-be-immigrants are denied entrance into the country.  Statistics between conservative and liberal sources vary immensely about the number of undocumented immigrants and about who these people are.  Commonly in the media, (mostly conservative sources) attack the "illegal immigrants" for drug trafficking.  To reduce this trafficking and fight the "war on drugs", US policy calls for stronger border patrol and deportation of "illegal immigrants".  Truth be told, this is primarily assumption on behalf of the conservative sources.  In fact, the US Chamber of Commerce published statistics and facts about immigration from the US-Mexican border.  Most undocumented immigrants are not drug-traffickers but are in fact trying to escape the drug-trafficking present.  Most undocumented immigrants cannot find jobs in their country;so they come to the US to work to be underpaid for excessive hours under brutal conditions.  The increased border patrol and visa inefficiencies create problems in distinguishing between drug-traffickers and those looking to better their family's lives.  These immigrants actually help create jobs in higher positions, not take them.  Lastly, about 97% of these undocumented workers, who have faced squalid conditions and racial discrimination within our country, still want to be US citizens.
            Personally, I am disgusted by the treatment of this issue.  "Oh, but they don't pay taxes." They pay sales tax on everything they buy.  Besides, undocumented immigrants come to work (which is economically good) and make a living within our country (that means buying things, which is also economically good).  It never truly hit me what it meant to be undocumented.  After learning about this, it means you can't get a driver's license.  It's so ingrained in my head that every adult has a driver's license, and that everyone has the capacity to drive.  That isn't the case!!  Public transit and walking are the only legal options! To understand that undocumented immigrants have to go through so much just saddens me.  I can't do much, but I will do this.  Stop saying "illegal immigrants".  It sounds horribly negative and perpetuates racial stereotypes.  Instead, say undocumented immigrants, okay?
           Secondly, there is a massive issue of police militarization within our country.  The military is giving weapons to police to fight the, you guessed it, "war on drugs".  Now, I am not that educated about the issue at hand, but I can definitely say it is an issue.  Police forces across the nation are being upgraded military-wise with more lethal weapons.  I do know of a small town in Georgia that received a tank.  Why on earth would police need a tank??  That has to be destroying America's already broken roads, and instilling fear into all US citizens, including the innocent.  I do not know much about this issue, but I do know that you should never overpower a force.  After the Manhattan project, the US was in about 40 years of tension with nuclear war at risk.  Why are we letting the same build-up of militarism happen at a local level?
           As a skinny white boy, I'm terrified of the police with this stuff going on!! and who wouldn't be!  The scary part is: acting nervous gives suspicion for the police to investigate.  What I do know is that people will feel scared about being investigated and act like they did something wrong, even though they did not.  Psychology is a powerful thing, just like the assault rifles that make me not want to go out anymore (yeah, like I wanted to from the beginning) (what is the beginning? My mom's uterus? This is getting off topic!!)
           My point is: people are getting caught in the cross-hares of this war on drugs; weapons are escalating, but responsibility is not.  Military soldiers with military training receive military weapons, and now so are snipers at the border and possibly my school resource officer.  Please, show some respect to other people, and understand that bigger guns do not solve our problems.