I couldn’t sleep: notes on cynicism
28 April 2011
3:30 a.m. last night: I am wide awake. It’s not stress about work, my students, or my relationships. It’s this perfect storm of news, topped off with the news about the tornadoes across the South — 281 dead as of the latest count. I’m utterly beaten down by the scale of human suffering and the constant news indicating that Republican leaders are seeking fresh new human ways to hurt the poor, women, minorities, and the aging.
- Bruce Caswell (R) of Michigan briefly proposes a law that state funds can only be used to buy foster children second-hand clothes. Virtually no response from national Democrats until Caswell backs off from this proposal.
- The news that Title IX rules about college women’s athletics — already slashed by the Bush Administration — are being undermined by universities.
- Barack Obama releases his full birth certificate only to find (surprise!) that the no-fact zone people don’t believe it’s genuine. Including Donald Trump, potential presidential candidate.
- The state of Indiana de-funds Planned Parenthood.
- Republicans seek ways to eliminate Medicare and privatize Social Security.
- In the wake of the case of South African runner Caster Semenya, female athletes will have their hormone levels measured and those with naturally-occuring high testosterone levels will only be permitted to compete if they take drugs to bring those levels down, because the International Olympics Committee and the International Association of Athletics Federations have decided that they know who counts as a female and who doesn’t. There is no similar test for male athletes.
- Rep. Sally Kern (R) of Oklahoma announces that minorities earn less because they don’t work as hard as whites.
- The Supreme Court hands corporations yet another gift: limitations on class action suits.
There’s more, of course — I haven’t even begun on the subject of what states are doing to decimate education. My real question is, why can’t I be moved to say something as eloquent and moving as this video comment by Baratunde Thurston, rather than want to curl up in a ball?
I feel hopeless. And helpless to do anything about it. It’s not good that the imminent end of the semester seems like the happiest news on my horizon.