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Category Archives: Media

Does the War on Women Exist?

In this upcoming election, one of the most common   statements made is that the Republican Party is waging   a “war on women.”  This phrase has been used most frequently in the debate on abortion and contraception in the U.S.  Just this week, “the war on women” conversation was revived once again, due to Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comments about the legality of abortion in the case of rape.  Mourdock stated that “Life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock later apologized (or did he?) for his comments, but Democrats still eagerly jumped to paint the candidate– and the rest of the Republican Party– as ignorant conservatives.
Mourdock’s comments were obviously inappropriate and ignorant, but they’ve helped to raise a prominent question: is “the war on women” really a war on women?  Or is it actually a war on the unborn child?

The Democratic Party and liberals believe that this war is indeed directly aimed at denigrating women at large, and argue that the right to abortion is a woman’s right to her body.  Most articles written about abortion in the liberal news media, such as the New York Times and Time Magazine, mention the “war on women.”  The Huffington Post has even gone so far as to have a playlist entitled “The War on Women,” with tracks such as “99 Problems” and “Butterfly Fly Away.”

The Republican Party and conservatives tend to believe that they aren’t waging a war at all, but rather that their opposition is waging a war on the unborn child.  Many Republicans and social conservatives insist that they are fighting for the unborn child rather than directly attacking the women who are, or will be, carrying one of these unborn children.  Some Republicans also insist that “the war on women” is sexist fiction contrived by Democrats as party propaganda.

So does “the war on women” really exist?  And if so, is it really a “war on women?”  I have to say that, yes, the “war on women” exists, but not in my state.  I live in New York, a historically liberal state, and there aren’t particularly strict abortion laws or politicians who make rape comments on a frequent basis.  But there are states where   both events happen frequently, and I find it hard to believe that most women in those states are happy to hear that their representatives believe that rape is intended by God.  I also find it hard to believe that women in Virginia who wanted, or needed, an abortion were happy with being forced to get a trans-vaginal ultrasound before they could have an abortion before this bill was repealed.  I’ll admit that the Republican party has a decent point when they say that a war is being waged on the unborn child.  But I also have problem with the fact that they’re more concerned with a war waged on a person who isn’t alive than they are about a war on their current citizens.

It’s true that the “war on women” will someday come to an end.  But if politicians keep making ignorant comments and attempting to pass what a Nebraska judge called “Draconian” abortion restrictions, it’s going to be a long time before we see that day.

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Stop Ignorance

If you belong to any social media site then more than likely you have been flooded with images like this for the past few days:

This movement is sponsored by Invisible Children, a non-profit organization that fights to end the conflict in Uganda. In Uganda they are fighting against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is lead by Joseph Kony; there is no real purpose of the LRA besides ensuring that Kony has power. Kony’s soldiers are not men from another country or religion, but children that Kony has abducted from all over Uganda (and now other parts of Africa) that are forced to kill. Over the past few days the level of awareness about the Uganda conflict has gone through the roof. People from all over the world are joining the fight against Kony because of this video:video (if you haven’t already seen it, you should watch it). This video also showcases/utilizes the power that American citizens have been granted excellently (freedom of speech, the right to hold a peaceful protest and so on).

The video basically gives you the background of the war in Uganda and other parts of Africa and how Kony needs to be famous to be brought to justice. It is interesting and a bit disheartening that in the first stages of Invisible Children government officials did not support the cause because it was not popular enough. But now that hundreds of people have joined the cause, politicians have deemed it worth their attention. There is just something about that wrong to me.

Of course I cannot put complete blame on the politicians, part of the blame- in fact, most of it is the people of the United States fault. Why did we not make this an issue earlier? If this conflict has been going on so long how come it is just now making major news? Did I miss something? Was this more widely publicized when I was a kid? Yes, Invisible Children is a great cause and people should get involved. But why has it taken so long for an issue as big as children being abducted and forced to murder other people to receive any sort of acknowledgement from the people in the United States. It just frustrates me a little that people, especially people my age, are (for the most part) just hearing about this issue. What is wrong with us? In a world as global as ours is we cannot afford to be ignorant of issues (like Uganda and more recently Syria) going on around the world. Why can we not afford it? Because not only does it inadvertently affect us, but also if we do ignore these issues we could end up with another Holocaust on our hands.

I am suggesting that people of all ages put more effort into seeing what is going on in the world around them. If you are in a classroom setting make it so students have to talk about a current issue once a week, or (teachers or students) just bring up a random issue in class. If you are in the world outside the classroom then make an effort to check a (global) news website such as CNN or BBC once a day. As I said we cannot afford for things to go by unnoticed. If you are like me you do not want future generations looking back at ours and saying “How did they not know what was happening?”

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Learning, Media

 

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The Moving Media

I was incredibly excited when two weeks ago we reached our unit on Civil Rights. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s-1960s has always been one of my favorite sections in US history; however, I was never consciously aware of what exactly ignited my passion. I understood the ideals of the movement  and its landmark place in history as result of hundreds of years of tensions in the struggle for equality. I could not, however, fathom why similar monumental events as the Civil War did not kindle the same reaction.

Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their peers, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. -Robert Kennedy

Over the past few years I have accumulated a collection of books and documentaries surrounding this era, enthralled by every demonstration, legislative, and Supreme Court ruling involving the movement. I especially admired the leaders for their unwavering valor and fervor, characteristics that Robert Kennedy would describe as “moral courage.”

As I perused through the pages our Civil Rights chapter, it finally dawned on me what exactly intrigued me about this period. As our book attempted to explain the effectiveness of the movement it mentioned the exaggerated demonstrations that spread to all corners of the nation through televisions. This, of course, had been mentioned in my history class, but it wasn’t until I turned the page to the iconic picture of the African American attacked by a police dog that I realized that all along it was the media coverage that had grabbed my interest. I, like many Americans of the 50’s and 60’s could not help but to be appalled by the scenes of the police pressure hosing a crowd or touched by the footage of the March on Washington. The picture of the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 of the African American athletes still gives me chills.

Mexico City Olympics-1968

In many ways we take media coverage for granted these days. Any American can turn on his or her television set and chose from tens of different news stations, even ones that cater to his or her political interests. In fact, media has become so omnipresent that it has turned into a nuisance in some cases. Just as easy as it is to find coverage of current events, stories of Lindsey Lohan’s arrest or Kim Kardashian’s divorce are even closer at hand. With certain news stations preaching biased accounts and the growing popularity of E-news and reality TV shows, I adapted a negative connotation for “the media.” I began to undervalue the effects television coverage can have in advancing a cause and believed all positive effects were out shadowed  by lack of true news. Overall, I glad I have gained an appreciation for the media through the analysis of this unit. Through the six weeks in this course I have learned that new technology is not only a tool for learning but also an implement for revolutions.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Media, Rights and Liberties