Thursday, March 7, 2013

First World Problems, I know

It's been a rough few days. The three of us have caught some bug that has us all feeling pretty awful. Monday I asked M to stay home form work because I felt terrible. Every muscle in my body hurt, and I was producing a disgusting amount of mucous. By Monday evening M was feeling awful, and as of yesterday, Little Man's got the cough and the nasty mucous. Ugh. Benedryl in the bottle again -- at least it helps with the mucous.

The current politics in the US is very discouraging. Opinions and positions are so polarized that it's almost like I'm living in two societies at the same time.

On the one hand, there is a lot of really reactionary policy coming out with regards to women and control over what is done to their bodies. There's even legislation out there to outlaw divorces when people have children. And aspects of the Voting Rights Act are under review with the Supreme Court. Given the types of decisions that lot has been handing down, I'm not optimistic. I've a feeling that exercising the right to vote is going to become even more difficult than it currently is in some parts of the country.

On the other hand, States are putting forward legislation requiring labeling of GMOs as a consumer's right-to-know what their food is. We're looking actually doing something about the problem of gun violence in this country, instead of just shrugging helplessly about it. And the issue of gay marriage as a civil right that has equal protection under the law is finally making headway. Again, it's being reviewed by the Supreme Court, but while it seems pretty obvious that gay marriage is protected under the Constitution, I wouldn't put it past Scalia, et al to find a rationalization as to why it's not.

And then there is the environment, and how cavalierly we Americans are abusing it. Some revile the EPA as a job-killing regulatory agency, but I wonder how many of them take the time to remember the acid rains that deforested entire mountains and the horrible smog of the 70s and 80s? Or the toxic waste dumps that polluted entire towns and water tables, many of them to become superfund sites. Yes, those regulations make it more difficult to pollute and more costly to minimize pollution, but if you want to know what the alternatives are, look to China and India and how the environmental degradation there has affected public health.

I worry about the kind of world my son will inherit from us.

Meanwhile, I'm getting quotes for replacing the roof on the house and then we'll add solar panels made in the US and high-albedo roofing tiles. We've got the electric car. We live in a semi-urban area and walk everywhere we can. We recycle and compost, and have a small garden. We exchange produce, tools, and skills with our neighbors. We're trying to reduce our impact on the planet even as we want to keep our high standard of living. Does that make us hypocrites? I don't know.

Little Man isn't even a year old and I'm already thinking about schooling. I'm thinking about the fact that the 5 elementary schools within 1.5 miles of my house are magnet schools that we have to enter a lottery to get him into. I'm worrying that he might be extremely gifted like his father, and if that is the case, I know he's not going to get his needs met in today's public schools, even ones with GATE programs. I'm thinking that private schools are horribly expensive, and even they have issues with bullying and conformity. I worry that I might feel the need to home-school him and I don't know if I'm up to that, especially when I feel like I'm in such desperate need of me-time.

I live in a democracy. I've got the rights women all over the world wish they had. I've got a lifestyle that is the envy of most. I've had a child after years of infertility when so many are still childless. I'm lucky, I know, and I feel like an ass complaining, but it's not enough. I don't want to take it all for granted. And I don't want to squander it away. It's such a beautiful world. Will it still be beautiful when Little Man's generation comes of age, and what more can I do to see that it is? That is the problem that occupies me. Yeah, yeah. First World problems, I know.

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