Humans not human capital

An issue that weighs on my mind has to do with how many corporations view the people who work for them. Far too many seem to see employees as “human capital” rather than people. What I mean by that is that the corporate hierarchy sees the people working at the lower level as simply a living piece of machinery that’s easily disposed with should she or he not perform to the company expectations. With such a view, when an employee struggles with work or work-life balance issues, then the company simply terminates the employee’s employment with a mindset of there will be another person to take their place. This creates an atmosphere at work that breeds not only lack of company loyalty in employees, but also one of distrust of management and psychological anxiety.

People are not disposable. They are fellow human beings who likely need a job or simply a break to make ends meet. Companies who treat employees as disposable may make great profits, but at what cost? Is it really worth making a profit on the backs of people without caring about them? I often wonder how corporate hierarchy can become so callous towards the people who work under them. Sure, there are incentives many of these places give to employees, such as time off rewards or bonuses for referring other people to work there, but how much does that really reward the company more than the employees? Most do not consider that aspect of the matter.

Sure, companies cannot be expected to cover all the social needs of their employees. Yet, compassion should drive any actions taken toward the employees of a company. It takes creativity sometimes, but what’s wrong with that? It can even take looking at situations on a person by person basis and creating a more innovative approach to solving problems in the workplace. Again, aside from time, what’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t the focus be on more than profit? As odd as it may sound, might not profits be increased by thinking more outside the box and treating people who work for these companies at every level as valued individuals? I think it can. Beyond that, I think it must for companies to be in existence in today’s and the future’s society.

Think about it.

This isn’t winning

Families torn apart within the country.

Children separated from parents at the border.

Immigration agents on buses asking for papers.

Blacks and Hispanic people being profiled and worse.

Women being discriminated against in various ways.

First Nations being treated worse and more treaties broken.

Establishment of a Religious Task Force by the DOJ.

Russian interference in the government.

Press being called the enemy.

The country’s highest levels of law being ridiculed and called unreliable.

Rising White Supremacy movements.

The harassment and harm to the people in the LGBT+ community.

Alienating our allies and stature in the world plummeting.

The environment being polluted more again.

And yet this is “winning”?

Be A Gentleman, not a boy

Enough with the whole “boys will be boys” excuse when it comes to sexual assault being dismissed. It’s not “boys will be boys”, it’s predators will be predators.

Kavanaugh and others like him are nothing more than predators who are supported by other predators when they use the excuse of “boys will be boys” or “it’s just locker room talk” or “she was asking for it.”

Many of us grew up with those type of asshats, you know, the guys who were popular, fairly good looking, or who had an over supply of testosterone within their bodies. Some were the stereotypical jocks, others not so much, but still they were the type of guy most of the rest of us guys somewhat envied because girls looked at them rather than us.

See, most of us knew they were predators. We knew that when they’d hurt a girl that we’d be the one the girl might run to for comfort and consolation. We were the “but you’re more like a brother to me” type guys. We were also the ones to sit there and listen and never try to take advantage of the girl or the situation. We may have internally desperately wanted the girl to wake up and see us as more than just a friend, but we refused to act on it because we valued the girl’s friendship.

We were also the type who, if we were blessed enough to find a girl who wanted to be more than friends, that we would listen to her. If our relationship furthered into a more sexual nature, we were the type of guy to stop if she said stop and, if she didn’t say stop, we were the type of guy who would ask if she was certain and if she was ready sometimes even through the entire course of whatever we were doing. Then, afterwards, we never gossiped about it. We respected both the girl and ourselves by not revealing or bragging about it afterwards.

I know there were and still are more guys like us and feel we must speak out against the predatory guys, now probably more than ever.

We know that “no means no” and “stop means stop”.

We know that if a female is not crystal clear with us then we must ask.

We know that if a female is drunk or otherwise incapacitated that we make certain she is safe and never take advantage of her in any way, shape, or form.

The predators call us derogatory names.

I call us gentlemen or simply real men.

#DefendWomenWhenTheySpeakUp

#MenCanBeFeminists

#NotAllMenArePredators

#HoldMenAndAllPredatorsAccountable

An Affront to Humanity

He’s mocked someone with a physical disability.

He’s mocked a survivor of a sexual assault.

He’s mocked elected officials from both sides of the aisle, including a war veteran and former POW.

He’s mocked our veterans and the families of soldiers who have died.

He’s mocked or ridiculed a vast number of folks while expressing admiration for despots and dictators.

All that is horrible in itself.

However, that there are folks out there that still support him even to the extent of laughing at his mockery and/or ignoring his admiration for despots, is even more troubling as it reflects on the character of those individuals as well.

In their ignoring or support, they are saying that they are just as horrible as he is.

Sure, I know there are more of us who are offended and incensed at his behaviour. It’s just that we need to be more vocal against him and those who support him, whether they be members of his own party or our neighbors, friends, or family members.

It’s gone beyond politics.

It’s gone to being an affront to our humanity.

Dangerous Times

Dangerous Times

Things need said that most people don’t want to hear, particularly about the state of the USA right now. Actually, better put would be the DSA, as in Divided States of America. Since January 2017, particularly, January 20, 2017, the country has been divided like such not seen since the 1800s. The rift is getting even larger the longer Dolt 45 is in office and the GOP is in power.

The rift is not simply a liberal versus conservative one. It is a racial one. It is a religious one. It is an economic one. It is an educational one. One can even go as far to say it is a moral one.

America was founded with an ideal of equality for all people. Sure, at the actual founding, the likely view was wealthy, white, male landowners. However, up until a year ago, it came to include women, children, people of all religions and races, and people of all economic classes.

The election of 2016 bought a radical and dangerous change to the USA. A candidate who pandered to a racist, xenophobic, and populist agenda somehow won the Electoral College. While it is likely due to heavy interference from Russia, it brought out an element of American society that most people hoped had gone away. That element is the ultra-conservative, nationalist, white supremacist, racist one. A dangerous turn that the world has seen before in the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and other dictators.

Now, many who voted for Dolt 45 will claim they are not racist. After all, they have friends who are not white.

They’ll claim they are not homophobic, because they have friends who are part of the LGBTQIA community.

They’ll claim they love all people, yet say they want refugees and immigrants—ones much like their own ancestors—to be denied entry into the country or be deported from it.

They’ll even claim to be religious or for religious freedom, but what they fail to say is that their parameters for that religious freedom must be their own narrow interpretation of it.

They say they want people to work for a living, yet many of them don’t. Some even have the audacity to live off the kindness of the same people they villify. Those liberals, they say.

Those who support Dolt 45 and his party are nothing more than accomplices in the crimes against their fellow countrymen and humanity that are being perpetrated by the current Administration. In their hearts, all they are about is that the “mean black guy” who wanted equality for all and a healthy relationship with other countries is no longer in office and the woman who won the popular vote isn’t in office because of her emails.

They are nothing more than people like those who stood silent while Hitler and the Nazis took over Germany in the 1930s. Even those who survived The Holocaust agree. They are seeing history repeat itself. They have and do continue to warn us, but very few seem to be listening.

These are very dangerous times and they look to get more dangerous for humankind both in the USA and out of it.

Yet One More: A poem for Parkland et al

Yet One More

Yet one more shooting
Followed by more thoughts and prayers
To be followed by more rhetoric
With no action anywhere.

Blame guns
Blame the politicians
Blame the NRA
Blame the parents
Blame the system
Blame and blame away.

Refuse to speak of it
Refuse to see the cause
Refuse to take an action
Refuse to take a pause.

Say we need more God
Say we need more guns
Say we need more safety
Say we need more done.

Our words, they hold no meaning
Our words fall empty at our feet
Our words are simply worthless
Our words, they have no meat.

More lives lost through inaction
More lives lost whilst we debate
More lives lost through no reaction
How many more must meet that fate?

We must awaken once again
When tomorrow’s sun breaks the plane
We must rise up and do something now
Or be forced to mourn again.

Speech/Letter To A School Board about Abstinence-Only Education

I come to you this evening as a former teacher, parent, and concerned community member to speak against the present sex education curriculum that emphasizes abstinence only. To put it simply, it does not work. While there is nothing wrong with abstinence, it needs to be seen as a tool for preventing the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies and not as the only tool we give to our children. You wouldn’t try to build a house with only a screwdriver, so why would you teach a student that the only way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STDs is only through abstinence? It makes no sense.
I am a former teacher of both English and health in the states of Florida and South Carolina. I taught at both the middle school and high school levels. In both of those states, abstinence only education is the norm. I personally taught students, 7th and 8th graders in particular, who already had one or two children of their own by the time they reached my classroom. At the high school level, I witnessed the same pattern. Part of this was due to the educational system failing them by only offering abstinence as a way of avoiding getting pregnant. While abstinence is the only way to absolutely guarantee not getting pregnant, it is not the only way. When I saw groups such as the one that comes into our schools come into schools where I taught, it was cringeworthy to say the least.
For one, they painted the girls as the cause for abstinence failure while leaving the boys off the hook. Much like the recent gum demonstration by the group within our schools, female students were painted as promiscuous seductresses who lead boys into having sex as they had sex with one boy, but saw no reason why they should not have sex with another. The males are somehow always seen as the victims. This is not only misogyny, but also mixes in fundamentalist Old Testament blame for the fall of man due to women. Last I checked, it takes both genders to have sex that can possibly result in pregnancy.
Second, as mammals and primates, we humans are naturally curious about our bodies and those of others around us. Teenagers have been experimenting with their sexuality most likely since the dawn of the human race. Many times, it starts as self-exploration, but it can evolve into exploring it with someone else. When and if that occurs, we owe it to our children to give them the tools aside from abstinence to practice safe sex. This means to tell them about contraceptive methods and, if possible, make them easily available for them to obtain. If we do not, they will not know about them or, if they do happen to learn about them, will be too scared to obtain them. In doing so, they will place themselves at risk for an unplanned pregnancy and possibly STDs.
Third, one of the most ludicrous things that the program presently being used suggests is the idea of “reclaimed virginity”. Hate to break it to you, but that is not possible. Once an individual has sexual intercourse, he or she is no longer a virgin. He or she cannot become a virgin again. Maybe celibate, but not a virgin. A girl’s hymen does not miraculously regrown nor does the semen somehow re-enter the boy. An amusing anecdote to this is a conversation I overheard two of my 7th graders having one day. It was shortly after the group there had performed their “education” for the students. One girl told her friend that she was no longer a virgin. The other asked who she had sex with. The first girl responded that she hadn’t had sex, but simply used a tampon, so she was no longer a virgin. They looked up and saw that I was standing behind them. Having built a rapport with my students, I asked them to remain after class. I called in a female teacher from an adjoining room and we explained to them that virginity could only be lost through having sexual intercourse. While I haven’t heard the claim made by the local group, it is made by some. That type of misinformation, aside from being misinformation, can also cause harm to a student psychologically and possibly even socially. Can you imagine if it had gone around a school of 1500 that someone was no longer a virgin when that was not the case?
Fourth, that brings me to the whole shaming that the abstinence only education produces. Making students sign a pledge to remain abstinent and even going as far as encouraging purity rings sets many students up for failure and ridicule from their peers. Well, at least the female students. Male students still get away with breaking them under the whole “boys will be boys” excuse malarkey. Girls face the brunt of the shaming when it comes to this area between self-talk if she should engage in sex to the social gossip that goes on within our schools. The teenage years are painful enough without adding shame to them. An article in Psychology Today from September 2017 brings up the practice of “slut shaming” that is prevalent in these abstinence only programs. One example they gave was one that I personally witnessed as a teacher where the group presenting had each student write whether or not she or he were a virgin. No names were given. The presenter made a similar comment made in the article by saying that “all the students who were not virgins likely had STDs and wouldn’t finish high school”. Seriously?!? The students I mentioned at the beginning of my talk all graduated or earned their GEDs, by the way.
Fifth, these abstinence only programs ignore that there may be some students who are sexually active already and, thus, in doing so, do not give them access to contraceptive methods or ways to prevent STDs. That was also backed up by the article from Psychology Today.
Many students cannot rely on their parent(s)/guardian(s) to educate them about sex or contraception. It is up to the schools to do this. Abstinence only education fails to do this and, by failing to do this, it fails our children. We cannot have groups like the one being used to teach our children. It would be much better to have the local health department send someone to do this or even reach out to the Education, Biology or Medical programs in local universities like Syracuse, LeMoyne, or SUNY Upstate to send in professionals to teach our youth. Theology and religious based programs do not belong in the public schools. If parents want them, then the parents should either have their children in private religious schools or arrange for their faith leaders to teach them and exempt them from science-based sex education. That is what this all boils down to after all. Yes, abstinence is the only sure fire way to prevent pregnancy and reduce the chances of students developing and STD or STI. However, it is not the only way and our students deserve all the tools they may need rather than just a screwdriver.
Thank you.

Works Cited

Mintz, Laurie. “Abstinence-Only Sex Ed: Harmful? Unethical?”. Psychology Today. September 5, 2017. .