The United States of America is a wonderful country. It gives its citizens certain unalienable rights. We have the right to free speech. It is one of the things that helps keep a government honest. We are free to voice our support for 1Direction and Bieber Fever. We have the right to trash a TV show we don’t like, to let everyone know how much we love-hate our venerable President. We also have the right to bear arms – to own guns and use them to protect ourselves and our families. However, what many people seem to ignore is that every right comes with its own set of responsibilities and consequences. If you fire a gun, prepare to face the consequences of that action. Ask any police officer what happens when they fire their weapon, the weapon they were trained to use on the job, and they will tell you the hoops they must jump through to show it was appropriate. If a homeowner shoots an intruder, they must prove that they felt their life in danger. If a soldier fires an assault weapon, it must be during an approved situation (during combat and not in a crowded shopping mall). All of these individuals understand that there are acceptable times and places for use of guns. The right to bear arms comes with an inherent responsibility to use them responsibility. If people fail to do so, they must face the consequences. The same can be said for the right to free speech. Just because you are legally allowed to spew hatred and vitriolic diatribes does not mean you are immune to their consequences. When a person tells the world that they hate a certain ethnic group, is it any surprise that certain companies (ones that don’t want to be seen as prejudiced) will refuse to hire him? If an actor rant and raves again the immorality of the television show he is in, can you blame the network for firing him? If a politician singles out women for causing their own rapes, is it any surprise that women in turn use their free speech to denounce him? Knowingly spreading falsehoods about a person or company can leave a person open to legal consequences. If a woman decides to write a blog about her mental and physical help, express her political opinions for all the world to see if they choose to read her words, can she then yell “Foul!” because someone doesn’t like what she has written.
I accept the consequences of my actions. Do you?
What makes something real? I really want to know (no pun intended). I recently got into an argument about what makes an illness a real illness. So many illnesses start off as being attributed to stress – e.g. lupus, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, ulcers, migraines. If an ailment is not properly understood, it seems to be brushed aside as yet another consequence of stress. Patients are told to buck up and get over it; think positively and carry on. Just because medical technology has not gotten to the point where it can detect an illness does not make it psychosomatic, a figment of their hypochondriac imagination, or (my favorite) depression. Nowadays it is accepted that MS is a real disease. We would never dream of telling a MS patient that they would feel better if they just got out more, or exercised more, or thought more positively. We wouldn’t call someone in the midst of a migraine lazy for needing to lie down in a quiet, dark room to rest. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome both have a large body of scientific, peer-reviewed research behind it. So why do people, including doctors, continue to still insist they are not real? Just because there is not single test to detect either disease, just because there isn’t a cure doesn’t mean these are not real diseases.
The person I was arguing with pointed out that you can find a study to prove anything, that often current research will negate research that is 10 or 20+ years old. That is true to a certain degree. There is a lot of flawed research out there. This is why research is not acceptable until it has been peer-reviewed and replicated. The scientific method states that in order for an observation to be valid, it must be replicable. Also, people will erroneously believe that an earlier study has been disproved (I am talking about medications and supplements here) when abuse of said substance results in different results. Of course the end result with be different if abuse occurs. Duh! Case in point: way back in the 1990s, creatine was considered a wonderful supplement for bodybuilders to take. Now the media treats it like a pariah. Why? Because a bunch of baseball players, among others, abused it to get astronomical results. That doesn’t mean it is a bad supplement to take. Taken in moderation or when a person has a deficiency in it can have wonderful results. Bottom line is when research is peer-reviewed and replicable, it can be trusted as fact. If we doubt ALL research, science will come to a standstill.
As an American citizen, I am disappointed in our federal government. There are no words descriptive enough to tell you just how disappointed I am. Congress was on the verge of greatness in December, but they wasted it. Instead of becoming legends in American politics, they took the cowards way out. They had the power, and still do, to make significant changes in this country for everyone – particularly those of us who depend on government “handouts” (and let’s face it, we all do in some form or other). Whether it be Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, vital research done by the National Institute for Health or National Institute for Mental Health, all of us with chronic illnesses rely on the government to lead the way for making our lives better. Our elected leaders have the power to improve our lives through the bills they pass in Congress. They have the power to stimulate the economy and lighten the burden on those less fortunate. They have the power to improve healthcare for the disabled, the elderly, and children. They could do so much for this country, but they don’t. They refuse to work together. They cater to the lobbyists and big businesses. They lose sight of what their true purpose is in Washington, DC. I read somewhere that certain members of Congress have said they will oppose any bill that could make the President look good. The number of bills that have been passed (or even voted on) in the past 2 years is about half the normal number of bills Congress votes on. This is a disgrace! Our political culture is a reflection of the declining care we provide one another. It is a reflection of our society’s focus on the bottom line instead of helping people. Shame on you, Congress, for choosing a short-term bandaid solution over REAL change in our country. Shame on you for forgetting the real reason you were elected. Shame on you for letting America down. This type of politics can only lead to America’s ruin…