Author Archives: omawarisan

About omawarisan

Most who read my blog don't know me from the man in the moon. But they seem nice and I am, in fact, The Man In The Moon.

What we’re losing without noticing.

Civility. Compromise. Discussion.

Remember them? Me too. I feel as if I’ve been a witness to their destruction at the hands of Stridency, Volume, and Exclusion.

Consider the news this week. A man with Parkinson’s disease, engaged in the simple act of letting his opinion in the face a of anti-health care reform protest – shouted at, mocked, humiliated. Was he hit or injured? No. Can you say you didn’t believe it was about to happen the first time you saw that video? Me neither. I feared for him and admire his bravery.

Where was the voice of reason in that crowd? I’d like to think I live in a nation where people are not afraid to protect those who need it, regardless of their political stripe. Yet none of the bystanders raised a hand to stop what was going on. “This is wrong, brother. I don’t agree with him either, but this is wrong.” That is all it would have taken. It didn’t happen.

This morning’s news is that Congressmen in favor of health care reform were spat upon and called hateful names that dredge up shameful portions of our nation’s history. What has become of us when men who are responding to the voices of their constituents can be humiliated for doing their job?

An important principle of our nation gives us all a voice. We’re all blessed by that principle. I’m not sure that principle doesn’t imply that we use that voice responsibly. Who in that crowd on Capitol Hill yesterday said “this is wrong brother. I don’t agree with them either, but this is wrong”?

On social media sites, opinions on health care are often met with strident opposing responses that come across as dismissive of opinions other than what the responder holds. Friends and families become estranged because the political atmosphere calls for not only rejection of opposing opinions, but shaming those who hold them.

My son will vote in his first election in November. After seeing the tone of arguments made on-line by admired friends and family, he has made the choice to speak only with his vote on political matters. I’m proud he’ll stay engaged in the process, but saddened that the tone of discussion these days is driving his voice, and probably others, into silence.

This is wrong, brother. We don’t agree, that’s our right,  but this atmosphere is wrong.

Omawarisan

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22 Comments

Filed under Diplomacy, Ethics, hate groups, Life Lessons

Not covered is not acceptable.

The summer recess for Congress is nearing its end and it will be time for those we elected to do what needs doing on health care, or respond to hysteria driven by industry and right wing rumors.

Chemotherapy? Denied.

Chemotherapy? Denied.

I found a story on CNN that illustrates the need for reform very clearly. The video describes the efforts of Dr. Nick Spirtos, who opened a chemotherapy clinic in his office after the county hospital equivalent closed due to budget cuts. Spirtos provides chemotherapy treatment free to those in need through a combination of pro-bono work by him and his partners and financial donations. Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Healthcare, Uncategorized

What is my job as a citizen?

I’m struggling.

I want to toss some thoughts out because I’m not sure what a citizen’s role really is in the US anymore. I’m curious what people here think.

Until recently, I thought that my primary role in the running of our country was to communicate and understand what my elected officials were doing. Those who communicated effectively with me and who made decisions I either agreed with (or at least understood the logic behind) were to be rewarded with my vote. Those who were less effective in those tasks I’d vote to replace. That’s what I understood in my civics class back at Oxon Hill High School.

Maybe high school civics from the 70’s doesn’t really apply anymore.

A few years back, I resolved never to speak again on two things – faith and politics. It seemed to me that there was no longer the convention that folks could talk about these things, disagree, and move on as if they’d spoken about nothing of more consequence than the weather.

All the same, I slip up on that resolution sometimes.

Whats the point? Were not changing each others minds

What's the point? We're not changing each others minds

It has come to the point that when people discuss those topics, the goal is very often to bring the other person to the opposite side, or berate them as a fool, or worse. Continue reading

39 Comments

Filed under Thinking/Considering, Uncategorized

The Argument Clinic.

Whats wrong with this picture? Not a damned thing.

What's wrong with this picture? Not a damned thing.

This morning, I had the opportunity to sleep in. I woke to the sound of my wife getting ready for work and watching the news. She passed on the news that Laura Ling and Euna Lee are on their way home from being captive in North Korea. It is a good day. What could be bad about that?

Well, apparently it can be bad, because according to the Republicans, sending Bill Clinton to speak to the North Koreans was wrong because it gives that countries leaders opportunities to use the release and photos of Kim Jong Il and the former president  as propaganda tools. Continue reading

25 Comments

Filed under Diplomacy, Life Lessons, Movie reviews

A reasonable change of perspective in an unreasonable situation.

It was quite a treat to come home last week and find I’d been offered the chance to write something for this website. It is certainly one I read and admire. As the week went on, I struggled though; most of what I write isn’t all that political. What could I possibly contribute? Then came the encounter between Professor Gates, the Cambridge Police Department, and the subsequent reaction by President Obama.

In short, I see the President’s handling of this as a great positive, a leap forward over what we endured over the past eight years. But first, a little personal revelation so you’ll know where I am coming from.

I’m a cop. I’m starting my 25th year of service at one of the largest police departments in the country. I’ve worked in our local school system; I’ve been a detective. I started our department’s domestic violence unit. I currently work on the street as a sergeant in an inner city neighborhood. I’m also the senior member of our Hostage Negotiation Team. I teach a mental health intervention class. I’ve been busy. The thought of my oncoming retirement makes me smile.

The facts of the encounter between Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sergeant James Crowley have come out in dribs and drabs. Few, and certainly none of us, know the entire circumstance. There have been no shortage of opinions floated by folks who don’t have any perspective on the situation. Sadly, one of them was the President.

On the one hand, I can’t blame him. He stood behind a person he considers a friend, whose background he knows and respects. If one of my friends ended up in hot water, my first instinct would be to rise to their defense.

On the other, I know that folks in my profession are painted with a broad brush. If Crowley and his department are painted as bumbling and racist, the reality is that that assessment and situation will color how people approach me and the officers I supervise hundreds of miles from Cambridge. Bumbling and racism are things I do not tolerate. So, I was a little frustrated with the President’s reaction. I voted for him, how could he do this to me? Continue reading

18 Comments

Filed under Diplomacy, Diversity, Ethics, Obama