Friday, July 31, 2015

First World Problems

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about first world problems.

I was getting a pedicure yesterday. Lots of white, women-of-a-certain-age, getting their feet scrubbed and toes painted by Asian immigrants.

Cecil the lion. Shot by a MidWestern dentist with a bow and arrow, merely wounded, hunted for 40 hours, then finally dispatched with a gun. The dentist reportedly paid $50,000 for the privilege.

Some kurfuffle about some football player. I don't even know what that one's about.

The Koch brothers reportedly spending over $1 billion dollars to get a Republican in the White House in 2016.

There are times I'm ashamed of my culture. My cat has better health care than many American seniors and vets. (true story: a kidney transplant was offered to our sick cat) We worry about the stupidest stuff; ratty toe polish, having a dirty car due to drought-shaming, what the neighbors must think of our weedy front yard. We complain at how expensive it is to get into the State Fair. Media frenzy over celebrities famous for being famous is at an all-time high. All respect to Beyonce (really) but I don't care about her butt or how she maintains it.  Or Caitlyn Jenner's road to happiness, or Tom Cruise's entanglement with Scientology. Those things are important to the individuals, but it's nothing to me.

Is quality of life diminished if women cut their own toenails? Some would say yes. Women are judged by how they look, and a women who doesn't appear to care about her appearance is treated differently than a well-groomed, neatly-dressed woman. It could be argued that, conforming to these standards perpetuates the objectification of women. It could also be said that the $45 paid for this service could so easily be used for far more important things. There are thousands of worthy causes those funds could be used for. And don't get me wrong; Americans are a generous people. Show us a good cause and we are there! We send money, we volunteer. But....$45. That's meals for the hungry and schooling for the disadvantaged. In our own county.

Americans are outraged at the killing of Cecil the lion. The dentist has been picketed at his office, and received death threats. Personally, I'm appalled. Such a beautiful animal, who brought tourists and their much-needed dollars to his sanctuary in Zimbabwe. But $50,000 is a lot of money. And the Zimbabweans are rightly asking, why are the Americans so upset about an animal? What about the people being murdered?

Regarding the football player, I have only this to say: I understand football is big business. I still think an unconscionable amount of money is spent on a sport that ruins the brains and bodies of it's players in the name of entertainment.

While I know this will never happen, I'd love to see America do what some counties do; a month-long election cycle with spending limits. The purchasing of candidates is beyond abhorrent; it's an offence against the very principles our country was founded on. 

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