Taxes are a pain in the …neck…or, who’s in charge?

Just like many of you I have procrastinated until now to do that laborious task we all dread…taxes! I had several choices to make; buy a program for around $40 to $100 that, despite answering several thousand tedious and useless questions, makes doing my taxes relatively easy, or I could find a program on-line and pay money to allow me to do my taxes on their site (after which you always end up paying more than you expected) or, pay someone a sizeable chunk of money to take all these papers and forms and magically figure it out for me.

I want to ask a very fundamental question. Why am I paying money to someone or for something, so that I can give money (pay taxes) to the government? Am I the only one who sees the craziness in this? I heard on the news the other day that our country is one of a very few countries with such a convoluted tax system. Most citizens of developed countries are able to do their taxes in a short period of time. The IRS has all this information in its computers already! They could push a proverbial button and tell you what you owe or what is owed to you in a millisecond!

Now, here comes the real insanity of this issue! Recently some silly congressperson proposed a law that required the IRS to provide free on-line access to a program to do your taxes. Now any sane person would think this would be a great idea, right? So why can’t the proponents of this bill get it passed? I will tell you why: money! Yes, money! Our government is up for grabs by the highest bidder. There is a multi-million dollar business surrounding tax preparation and these folks, in a self preservation mode, send millions of dollars to our elected officials so they will vote the way they want them to. In other words, our elected officials think they work for corporations and lobbyists! I have some very important information for our elected officials, THEY WORK FOR ME! THEY WORK FOR YOU! WE ELECTED THEM AND WE PAY THEIR SALARY! WE ARE THEIR BOSSES! Whether it be health insurance, tax reform or any government decision, we are the executives in their organization! We the people are the ones who enjoy their decisions or suffer from them. When we vote every couple of years we need to get these damn leaches out of government! This is not a democratic or republican issue, it is an “us and them” issue. Us being the 99% who make up this country and them, the extremely wealthy 1%. If my information is correct, this free tax preparation program is being opposed by BOTH PARTIES! Can you believe that? Believe it! All of them are in the pockets of big business!

Here is the answer to our problem. Do not vote for any politician who is not funded by private contributions. No corporate contributions allowed. I would write more but I need to finish my taxes…

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Seriously

This is the flag at Hampshire park on river road. We’re taking it down out of respect. We will bring it to the county commission office.

The true meaning of The Matrix by Sophia Stewart


The statement was made by Lord Acton, a British historian of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

I, like many of you, have seen the movie, The Matrix. Although the movie was entertaining in a sci-fi kind of way, I always thought there may be more to it. Recent developments in the news have awakened this idea. Just to jog your memory of the movie, it was set in the future when intelligent machines have basically taken over the earth and are using man as a wet-cell battery to power the complex. As an act of twisted humanitarianism, the machines created an imaginary world that kept the comatose, well fed by tubes, humans, somewhat happy. Of course there was a small band of rebels who managed to escape their battery compartment and create resistance to the machines. So in a nutshell, most humans lived in an imaginary world totally unaware of where they were and who was controlling it.

Get ready for this next turn in thinking. Lets step back into current events in our world today. Throughout my life I have often felt as if there was some kind of controlling entity in our world. I am not talking about god, he is much too busy keeping the universe from falling apart, and probably not interested in our quirky day-to-day idiocies. I am talking about something ominous, lurking in the woods, always out of sight, somewhere between abusive control and keeping humanity from destroying itself. Wow, that sounds creepy, and I wrote it!

Recent events may have given us a view of this small exposed piece of a very large iceberg. I am referring to the college scandal. If you think that this was one single incident taking place in this country, I believe that you are naïve. Initially I viewed this as a small group of extremely rich people intentionally manipulating their children’s college admission. After some thought, I came to the realization that this may be the real world that we more financially challenged do not have access to. Lurking just out of our vision is a world of money, power and control, careful to keep out of sight, careful to only make occasional small waves. This machine keeps everything running smoothly and tailors to the very, very rich. Generally we do not have access to these events, so as not to anger the masses or give them any ideas that this kind of stuff is going on. This incident was a flagrant mistake, and although none of the people involved probably ever saw THE MATRIX or think there might be some element of control over our world, it did give us, the people, a glimpse of another realm of our society. It is important to realize, we, the public, believed our schools were mostly exempt from this kind of behavior, especially some of the schools mentioned in the report, like Yale and Stanford.

I realize that this is a very uncomfortable train of thought to engage in, but, I do believe that with the information age consuming us at an ever expanding rate, these activities will become more and more visible to the common person. You may have noticed that ever expanding large companies are focused on controlling the internet. In order of worth, companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are all jockeying for control of the services offered on line. Whoever controls the internet will control our world and the information available to us. One last thought to ruin your day; Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The true cost of Healthcare in America.

HEALTHCARE! If you are like most Americans, you struggle with healthcare. The cost of becoming sick or needing to see a doctor for any reason, god forbid it is something serious, is almost unimaginable! For many families and individuals in this country the burden of medical services has reached the level of a crisis. Many people opt out of insurance and are at the mercy of the medical community to fend for themselves if medical services are needed. It is important to make note of an additional fact at this point; there are very few industrialized countries in the world that do not offer some kind of government sponsored healthcare. In fact, Viet Nam, that little country that is among the poor countries of the world, recently began offering a medical plan for their citizens! Yet, here we are in the United States of America, the richest, most lucrative country in the world, and we do not have a state sponsored healthcare plan for our citizens! We are left to fend for ourselves against a gigantic and powerful medical complex that spends billions of dollars each year to control the governing bodies of this country. We have Democratic and Republican parties that have grown rich and fat on a steady diet of contributions from this incredibly controlling machine that gives a ‘rats ass’ about your health!

The main topic of the upcoming 2020 election should be

So what are the benefits of a federal health program for Americans? First, and most important, is the right to receive proper healthcare throughout one’s life. To many of us this seems obvious but to a large portion of the public, healthcare is a luxury they cannot afford. This group of people suffer from a variety of treatable illnesses that many of us would never tolerate. The hospitals which are, by law, required to treat them must patch them up as cheaply as they can and send them on their way to fend for themselves. Many private hospitals will refuse people without the means to pay for service.

Another reason to provide healthcare to all is to benefit, believe it or not, small businesses. Everyone is constantly talking about the need for small businesses in our economy. In order to hire good people in a business, some basic needs must be provided to employees, including healthcare, retirement, vacation and many less tangible reasons. Of all these services, healthcare is by far the most expensive and places an enormous burden on the employer, who many times is competing with larger corporations. If we took the responsibility of providing healthcare insurance away from the employer, this would allow them to compete more successfully against large corporations.

A third reason, and probably the most important in a capitalistic system, is MONEY! I sat down and figured out that we spend the equivalent of almost $15,000/year/person to provide healthcare to the 330,000,000 Americans even though many of it’s citizens receive little to no care! There is an industry in this country that is milking us Americans like the proverbial cow. We are locked in a small enclosure, fed what we need to produce milk, hardly ever allowed to wander around the barnyard, constantly told how good we have it and never allowed to question the way things are…but you better keep giving milk!

What to do about this mess? Never elect a person who receives contributions from any form of medical business regardless of his or her political party. Be an informed voter. You might say, THAT’S IT? That’s all I can do? When you sit at home on your fat ass and do not vote, you enable these wealthy senators and representative to do what they want depending on who gives them the largest check. I am going to make an effort to find out which one of our elected officials receives money from the medical industry and post it on this site for you to see. Stay tuned!

This will be difficult since our Supreme Court decided that corporations are people (Citizens United) and can create PACs (Political Action Committee) to silently send money to candidates. Stay healthy, you may not be able to afford the alternative.

Local ministers ask, “what would Jesus do?”

 

I tend to stay away from the emotionally charged issue of religion but this is one opportunity I can not resist.  I am so happy and excited about the three articles that were published in the Hampshire Review on January 23rd 2019, I could just bust!  The first article was written by Don Kesner who confronts a popular TV evangelist who claims Jesus is on his stage in person (I thought it was an altar)!   Conveniently, only the TV evangelist could see him.  For a minister to pull this kind of stunt shows that our religions have ventured far from the teaching of Christ.  Don goes on to point out that the Bible says that “judgement begins at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17).  In other words, it means that Christ’s first action would be to denounce the exploits of many religions! The next time I see Don, I am going to give him a big hug and thank him for writing this great article.

If Don has not gotten your interest, Alanna McGuinn, the Minister at the United Methodist Church in Capon Bridge, went on to say this: in Corinthians 12: 12-31a,  Paul urges us to work together for the glory of God by recognizing and celebrating the diversity found in the body of Christ, i.e. the church.  In other words, love and respect every human being regardless of race, ethnicity or religion!  In a time when many folks focus on our differences as something to be afraid of, Paul would say that diversity is necessary for the advancement of the kingdom.  Just saying Alanna…Jesus should go to your church!  It is so exciting for me to hear religious leaders in our little community acknowledging the errant ways of some in the religious community!  Said simply, if you are going to espouse that you are a Christian then your behavior should be Christ-like in all ways!

Finally, and certainly not least, we have the Rev. Roy Knight who says that ” the Bible is inspired by the word of God, but that inspiration is ultimately telling us that salvation comes from Jesus, not the Bible!”  He goes on to say, “At some point, Christians need to decide whether they value their interpretation of specific verses over the actions of Christ himself”.  So well said!  Explained another way, “Christians can overemphasize the importance of the Bible and under emphasize the life of Jesus”. I really love this next part,  ” Quoting Jesus saying things like “love your enemies” and “love your neighbors as yourself” is now seen as “liberal” among many political conservative Christians”.  Wow Roy, I do not think anyone could have said that better but, I wonder how far some of the evangelists have wavered from the teaching of Christ.

Folks, since the beginning of civilized man, religions have played a major part in helping us survive in what often seems like a chaotic world.  The gods of the American Indians explained the stars were holes punched in the sky by ancient trees.  At one time people had a god for everything they did not understand.  Even today there are a multitude of religions around the world with varying interpretations of what God is and how he wants us to behave.  Religion plays a major part in modern society creating a place to congregate and share or discuss thoughts and ideas.  It also creates a community of people who support all people in need, not just the ones who believe the same way!  In today’s world I fear many of our churches are not using the actions of Christ as a guidepost in their everyday decisions.  I am not a religious person but I try to live my life in a way I think Christ would have approved.  If I were asked if I am a Christian, I would have to say yes, I follow the teaching of Jesus. So, if you see any of these local ministers walking around, make sure you tell them how much you enjoyed their column in the Hampshire Review on January 26th…even if you do not go to their church.

Climate change, meet global dimming. Explaining the acceleration in climate change.

global climate change and global dimming

Let’s make this simple. For our purposes, earth is a very large spaceship with many rooms. Correspondingly the sun is like a large gas furnace that can put out many gazillions of BTUs. If one part of the spaceship is too cold, then another part of the spaceship is going to be too hot. If one part of the globe is getting too much rain, then another may be experiencing a drought. Our metaphorical rooms we are in here on the east coast are currently colder than most artic regions, and accordingly, there is another place on the globe that is much hotter than normal.
All this said, the real lunacy here is that some individuals still choose to ignore the indisputable scientific research so as to take this current weather aberration as proof that global warming (which should be called global climate change) does not exist. Let’s look at the chart of earth’s temperature over the last 100 years.

388673main_portalChart2

As you can see from the chart, the temperature of earth has risen almost 1 degree Celsius (1.8 F) over the last 100+ years. Some people believe that this is a result of natural forces. One can not totally dismiss this idea unless one studies long-term temperature changes on our planet. With the removal of natural disasters such as volcanos, earthquakes and asteroids from the data, earth’s temperature generally changes very little over long periods of time. ‘By long periods of time’, I mean thousands of years. Most scientist believe these changes are a consequence of fluctuation or pulsations in the sun’s energy output.
Our current situation is in no way similar to the standard temperature variations that the earth has endured. For the entire earth’s temperature to rise almost 2 degrees F in 100 years is unprecedented. Even if one could find any increase in the ancient temperature data, that does show an unexplainable hike in the earths temperature similar to what we are experiencing today, this does not take into account the CO2 that we are pouring into the atmosphere in-ever increasing amounts. Everyone knows that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which traps the sun energy in the atmosphere, not allowing the natural release of energy into space, much like a very large piece of insulation that only allows energy in but not out.
As a species some of us will survive global climate change. We may have to move New York City and many other large cities inland, New Orleans will be a great scuba diving venue and weather patterns will of course change in ways we can only imagine. The ocean has already risen 1/2 foot and ice caps are melting faster than anyone predicted. Deserts will become oases and jungles will become deserts, but we are very adaptable and many of us will survive.
One last point I need to address: the concept of global dimming, a concept which very few have heard of. For the last 50+ years scientists have been conducting a simple experiment around the world. They use a large shallow metal pan and place water in it to measure the rate of evaporation, which indirectly corresponds to the amount of solar energy that reaches the ground. Over that time, it was determined that there has been a decrease in the energy reaching the earth’s surface, until 1990, when aerosols were banned worldwide. At that point in time global dimming slowly changed to what is called, global brightening. Global brightening is when more of the energy from the sun is absorbed by the earth, rather than is reflected back into space. A proposed explanation for the early decreased in solar gain is the increase in particulate matter in the atmosphere from to cars and smokestacks. In more recent times there has been a reversal in this trend as a result of fewer car and smokestack emissions, thus allowing more energy to reach the ground. Now for those of you with a nimble mind, consider the consequences of the more recent increased solar gain and increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Oddly enough, we may have been slowing global climate change until 1990; this being due to the fact we were dumping so much particulate matter into the air! More recently, as we continue to clean up the air, we may actually see an accelerated rise in global temperatures. And this corresponds to what the world is seeing, the ever-increasing destruction of our polar caps and rise of the ocean.
So there you have it: global climate change in a few short paragraphs! It is happening and will continue to happen and we will have to learn to accept whatever an angry Mother Nature chooses to throw our way. Current calculations say that even if we were to stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere today, it would take many years for the earth’s weather system to return to something similar to what currently exists. Meanwhile, storm and rain patterns will be altered, ocean temperatures will increase and we will be like children on a scary ride at the amusement park, always wondering what is around the next corner.
There is one doom’s day scenario that people need to know about now. There is an extremely large mass of frozen methane (methane Hydrate) at the bottom of many of our oceans. If oceans temperatures continue to rises, these large deposits will begin to melt, and that folks, will be the end of the world as we know it! The oceans will turn red and the air will become poisonous and flammable. As I stated, this could be brought on by the warming of earth’s oceans, which is exactly what we are doing. Maybe we better get busy terraforming Mars just in case!

heat_content2000m

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/upsDownsGlobalWarming.html

Global climate change is very real!

Several years ago the World Bank has issued a report stating that the average temperature on our home planet, earth, is going to rise almost “ 7”  degrees in the next 40 years. Many of you probably say that this is of little concern. Of course, those people living along the coast are probably not in that group. I would imagine that many people living in New Jersey and New York have joined the ranks of believers in global climate change. After several years of increasingly weird weather patterns and warming trends around the planet, many die-hard anti-global-warming people are finally beginning to see the light. Many scientists for the last 30 years have been trying to warn us of the coming change in climate brought on by the industrial revolution. The science is simple and well researched; when you add significant amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere, more of the sun’s energy is trapped on the planet. This in turn causes temperatures to rise which then causes ice caps to melt, the oceans to rise and weather patterns to shift. The one point that many people do not realize is that if the ocean temperature rises enough, there will be a release of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. There are immense stores of methane at the bottom of our oceans which are kept in balance by very cold sea water. If ocean temperatures continue to rise, this methane will be released and life will threatened on our little blue marble, which may then become more red than blue if methane levels are high enough. Increased levels of methane have already been observed over both polar caps, especially in areas where the ice has begun to crack. If this happens, the temperature of the earth will begin to rise much faster than anyone can predict.

So, all knock-knock jokes aside, what do we do to avoid this oncoming catastrophe? The truth may not be something you want to hear. There may be precious little we can do to slow this thing down. I will use the super oil tanker analogy to explain our problem. Oil tankers have tremendous amounts of mass and because of this, when they are moving they have tremendous momentum. That’s what keeps you from slowing down a car when its moving forward. When a tanker approaches a port it begins to slow down many miles from its destination. When the captain decides he wants to make a turn, he must make his decision many miles before hand. The global warming momentum that has been generated by our carefree use of the earth’s resources is larger than anyone can imagine and is not going to come to a stop because I walk or ride my bike to work. Now, if enough people decide to park their cars, conserve energy at home, try to recycle as much as possible, we may begin to slow the super tanker, but it is going to take many years for the tanker to come to a full stop.

This does not mean we should not try to save our home. It simply means that we are going to have to dramatically change our way of living, learn to recycle everything, begin to use energy more wisely, carpool whenever possible and become friends with the earth rather than viewing our earth like a taxi, a way to get us where we are going. Of course, science has some ideas that might eventually become feasible, like scattering aluminum glitter into orbit around the earth to reflect sunlight.  Throwing iron into the ocean to help plant life gobble up CO2 is another interesting ideas but these are all untested and could create other problems that we cannot anticipate at this time. In the end, it all comes back to us, the consumer. We can determine how this all unfolds by using products that are green  and earth friendly. The saddest thing of all is that we humans do not generally react responsibly until our house is on fire; then and only then, do we go out to buy that fire extinguisher.  As far as nature, Mother Earth or Gaia are concerned, it is simply the passing of another species who grew too big for their pants and became part of the fossil record.

Charter schools, a wolf in sheep’s clothing

Last year when our teachers were courageous enough to walk out and force the legislature to address their needs and the needs of the children, I was impressed with their resolve.  After all was said and done and they received a 5% pay raise, I warned several of the teachers to be ready for the backlash this year. Having made the powers-that-be back down would not come without repercussions.  Here we are in 2019 and the sneaky bunch of crooks (legislators) are attempting to ram through an education bill that would be totally raucous to our school system.  If the parents who have children do not let their voices be heard, we could take a giant step backwards in West Virginia Education.  Everyone needs to call their West Virginia legislative representatives immediately!  In addition to larger classes for teachers, the state would begin to promote Charter Schools which I will address in the following paragraph.  Although West Virginia has moved a small amount away from the bottom in school performance, we are still near the bottom in many important areas.

There is no doubt that our schools are in disarray and not producing the quality of student we would like but many schools across the nation are facing the same dilemma..  I have written about this issue repeatedly, but the answer is not CHARTER SCHOOLS!  In theory the idea of Charter Schools sounds great.  Create a school to compete with the public school to force them to get their act together.  The truth of the matter is more devious.  Charter schools are a way of allowing people of higher means to send their child to a supposedly better school.  Let me explain how it works.  When you send your child to a Charter School, you are allowed to deduct a large amount of your tuition from your state taxes (not federal) to compensate for the expense.  That means that the state will receive less revenue because of the deduction.  If you do not make that much money, this may not be a useful deduction.  In addition, the public schools will receive less revenue due to students leaving and experience an even greater money crunch.  These new Charter Schools will not be built in Hampshire county but in areas where the population is more dense.  Also realize that these schools are built to MAKE MONEY!  They are meant to be a profitable venture. That means less money to the kids and more money to someone who probably does not even live in the state.

Do you really want to make school better?  If you do, read the following short list:

  1. Pay your teachers a competitive wage so they do not have to leave the state and you attract better teachers
  2. Give control of the classroom back to the teacher
  3. Get rid of the excessive testing  (this will save millions)

Do these three things and schools will improve quickly. I promise, I have been there.

The media. The good the bad and the ugly.

Like many of us, I probably watch a little too much TV.  I have to admit that there are some shows I really enjoy watching.  I have grown up with the media for the last almost 70 years.  I remember the little square 12 inch black and white TV, although I do not remember watching that much until I was older.  I recall shows like FATHER KNOWS BEST, STAR TREK, KUNG FU and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER to name a few.  During this time the media quickly learned that they could advertise products to a large market during these shows.  Back then, commercials and TV shows were somewhat simple compared to today’s high tech, thoroughly researched, mind invasive productions.  For example, in the early days, cartoons were very passive with occasional slap stick humor.  I think it is safe to say that Micky and Mini Mouse were pacifists.  Compare that to today’s toons.  Basically there are three types of toons on TV today.  First we have the adult toons which include violence, abusive language and lots of destruction and sexual connotations.  Next would be the toons for the teens and preteens, these shows are simply a gateway from Winnie the Pooh to the adult toons.  Often these toons include subtle sexual undertones, not quite offensive language and a good amount of violence.  Finally we have the children’s toons which very subtly are teaching society norms which is totally up to the producer.  Some of these toons do teach good decent human behavior and others get into the addictive buying nature of our society or even gentle nudging of social norms.  Many of these children’s productions are suitable to young children but soon fall by the wayside when the child happens to watch one of the toons for older children.  It’s sort of like sugar, once a child is allowed to eat sugar products, there is no going back to the less addictive bite of a delicious apple. Or another example, a fellow teacher once asked me the rhetorical question, “How can I compete against TV and video games?”

I would love to debate with anyone who believes that the media industry has not been a substantial part in shaping the values of our society.  Here is a great example.  When I was growing up the word queer was a mysterious word to me.  Apparently, unbeknownst to me, there was this group of people, predominately guys, who liked guys.  It was never spoken about in the media or around the dinner table. The only time you ever heard the word, queer, was when guys were referring to each other in a derogatory nature!  You could be labeled queer for a variety of reasons such as, you ran too slow or your hair was too curly.  It was totally up to the person deciding who was queer!  Anyway, later in life I worked at the Greyhound bus terminal in Washington, DC and there were many guys of the queer persuasion.  I must say I was a bit uncomfortable at first but I soon decided to live and let live.  I met several guys who were gay and they seemed like nice guys so my issue was settled.  Now, move ahead to the last five years.  The gay population was ‘coming out of the closet’ and society was having a difficult time accepting the alternate life style of these folks.  Enter the media.  In there own, sometimes crazy way, the media has helped us understand and accept people with alternate life styles with a barrage of movies and shows depicting the life of gay people.  Some of these shows caused quite an uproar in the beginning but slowly the noise died down and people began to realize that these were good people with just a different slant on their own sexual preferences.  So, I would have to give the media a thumbs up in this area.  Sometimes I think they overdo things, but the end result has been rather positive.

 

Now, one would think that with this type of power to change attitudes, the media would try and help society grow up, but I fear that is not always the case. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) the average child will witness 200,000 acts of violence before the age of 18!  That is almost 30 a day!! I don’t want to sound like an alarmist but has anyone noticed the increase in violence in our society lately?  We lead the developed world in violent acts created by our own citizens!  We don’t have to worry about Mexicans or other multinationals killing our citizens, we are well trained and capable of doing it ourselves.  Our country had almost 40,000 gun related deaths in 2018 alone!

I do not have any clear-cut answers to these issues but good old common sense tells me that the media could help our world become a more peaceful place to live.  But I fear it goes back to the same answer many of my writings do, money and greed.  The media, which has the power to make the world a better and more peaceful place will choose the dollar every time.  If they can make a movie that sells, there is no limit to what horrible acts they will depict in the movie. They will cut off heads, scare the living hell out of you with horrific scenes, shoot people’s faces off with large guns,  cut them in half, run over them with cars and trucks, but make no mistake their favorite way of killing people is with ever bigger guns!

So this is what I want to say to the media, “wake up and smell the gunpowder”. Our society is in trouble.  We are at the end of being the technological and social leaders of the world.  Part of this is your fault.  Rather than promoting science and math and culture, you have promoted a society riddled with violence and corruption to pad your pockets with ever increasing amounts of money.  Make no mistake, as our country heads down this well traveled road that many societies in history have ventured, your profits will fall along with every thing around you and some day you will wonder what went wrong?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the woman who saw the future.

When you have lived for as long as I have, you witness many systemic inequities in the ways of man.  It is hard for me to imagine that the subjugation of a human being due to the color of their skin was legal, but it was for a long time in most of the civilized world.  It is difficult to fathom that women are still not guaranteed their rights under the US Constitution, TODAY!  The equal rights amendment has never been passed in the United States!  The new movie about Ruth Bader Ginsberg, ON THE BASIS OF SEX, is at the movies right now and is a wonderful movie to help understand the evolution of women’s rights.  At the forefront of this movement is a tiny lady with a tremendous amount of courage and determination.  I encourage you to see it!

Ruth Bader Ginsberg as a young women

The year is 1975 and Ruth Bader Ginsberg attempts to enter the job market.  Graduating at the top of her class from a very prestigious law college, she encounters a job market that was unwilling to hire her as a lawyer.  The reasons given for refusing to hire her ranged from the disruptive influence of a female in the office, jealousy of the wives, to what if you decide to have a baby. Frustrated with a society that was unwilling to acknowledge her as a lawyer capable of doing work that was considered man’s work, she set out to change the law.  Her husband was a very accomplished tax lawyer.  He presented her with the idea of pursuing her goal through a small tax case dealing with a man’s right to claim a tax deduction as his mother’s caretaker.  After winning this case she used it as a springboard to launch a myriad of cases attacking small legal battles that discriminated by gender.  Slowly and methodically she won 8 of 9 cases that ensured that gender not be considered when making a ruling.  The tide was changing and Ruth Ginsberg was at the front of the storm.  She would go on to be on the Federal court and then in 1993 was confirmed to serve on the highest court in the land, The United States Supreme Court.

Ruth and her daughter

Ruth has vision and imagination.  These two qualities are what allow her to move forward, solve problems and create a better world.  She had the ability to see a behavior that was accepted as correct at the time, realized it needed to be changed and represented people to seek justice through the courts.  This is the kind of vision that helps to make the world a better and fairer place.  The point I am trying to make is our society usually discourages this kind of behavior.  If one thinks outside the box, expect to be criticized, expect to be ostracized, and expect to be ignored during promotion time.  If one wants to move up through the ranks, follow the rules, do not question anything and enforce rules that seem unfair regardless if you think they are.  This is the way to the top in much of the workplace.  If you want to make this world a better place, speak out!

Below is a summation of the current status of the ERA.  Even though some states are ratifying it, the initial deadline has not been extended and is expired.

 

No longer pending

  • The Equal Rights Amendment (proposed 1972) would have prohibited deprivation of equality of rights (discrimination) by the federal or state governments on account of sex. A seven-year ratification time limit was initially placed on the amendment, but as the deadline approached, Congress granted a three-year extension. Thirty-five states ratified the proposed amendment prior to the original deadline, three short of the number required for it to be implemented (five of them later voted to rescind their ratification). No further states ratified the amendment within the extended deadline, thus it failed to be adopted. On March 22, 2017, the 45th anniversary of Congress’ submission of the ERA to the nation’s state lawmakers, the Nevada Legislature became the first to ratify the ERA after the expiration of both deadlines[103] with its adoption of Senate Joint Resolution No. 2 (designated as “POM-15” by the U.S. Senate and published verbatim in the Congressional Record of April 5, 2017, at pages S2361 and S2362).[104] The Illinois General Assembly ratified the ERA on May 30, 2018.