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Alien Perspective


Maybe there are many of us who are beginning to feel that we came here from another planet.

I’ll hang in here a while longer just to see how things go, but I have a bag packed to return to my home planet.

Just kidding. I still believe in possibilities, but I have to say that the cultural landscape of America is becoming daily more alien. Yesterday’s newspapers were full of that kind of disorienting information.

For one thing, there was a front-page photograph of a classroom in Utah where teachers are being trained to carry arms. Texas is the leader in this approach, and there has been the possibility that this radical idea would be contained, since they are trying to secede–all except Austin, that is. There is a movement in Austin to seek independence from Texas.

Apparently the proposal to arm faculty is also gaining a foothold in Ohio and Arizona, and there may be other states as well. Thankfully, opponents can foresee unintended consequences. Teachers have been known to blow their circuits when dealing day after day with some students who have had no sleep, who are hyperactive or medicated for psychological problems, who are doing drugs or have behavioral disorders, and who have violent tendencies or are basically insolent and obstreperous and have no interest in learning. Just recently in Santa Fe, for example, a teacher was caught on video camera dragging an uncooperative blind student down the hall by his feet. Things happen.

And then there is the problem of taking time for target practice. The most recent Programme for International Student Assessment revealed that 15-year-old U.S. students ranked l4th in reading and 25th in math worldwide. We are in a state of intellectual crisis. So now we’re going to ask teachers to spend time at the firing range instead of grading papers and doing lesson plans? Has their job description morphed?

After that article, I moved on to the news that Hobby Lobby has failed to achieve constitutional protection from the federal health care law requiring insurance coverage for the morning-after pill. They are not fighting to protect sperm rights, having finally understood that the prescriptions don’t cause abortions, just prevent fertilization. They are instead invoking the biblical injunction to “go forth and multiply.” Since the report above suggests that we can barely add, multiplying is probably a stretch.

To express my displeasure with Hobby Lobby, I will never again shop there for glue, and I’m not the only one. Why didn’t the company just quietly decide to restrict hiring to post-menopausal women? It would be a while before young women caught on and even longer before they were able to gain support for a constitutional amendment to prevent discrimination against the fertile female. I should offer my services in corporate strategy.

The third of the three most bizarre news items was a piece about the American Medical Association (AMA) issuing a policy statement that “physicians should always make treatment and referral decisions based on the best interests of their patients.” I stared at that sentence for a minute. Hasn’t this always been the case? Have I missed something? Should I be worried about why the AMA has felt the need to act on this?

Actually, yes. Many physicians’ practices are being bought by hospitals that then basically set revenue goals to qualify for a certain salary and bonus. So this means that unnecessary diagnostics and surgeries, as well as infections and drug reactions caused in-house, are a good thing for hospital and doctor affiliations, right?

I’m getting confused. Here on the one hand we have a craft store willing to sacrifice revenue for religious principles and on the other hand hospitals that may sacrifice medical ethics to generate revenue.

So do you see what I mean? As I said, the culture of the American landscape is daily looking more alien. Maybe there are many of us who are beginning to feel that we came here from another planet. Perhaps we came here to help out. If so, it seems like time to organize.

One Response to “Alien Perspective”

  1. Kate

    This is a good one. As a society, I think we have totally lost our minds. And since I have little faith in organizing in any way, that doesn’t leave much. I will just quietly proceed, trying to keep my head screwed on straight, trying to do the right thing, and hoping I don’t go postal myself one of these days.