Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fil-Am Politics in the Eyes of a Barber

I just came back from my regular haircut, and as expected, I had to listen to and absorb the views and opinions of my barber.  He is also a dual citizen like me, so our conversations always cover both Philippine and American events.

He read my last article on Civil Disobedience and about the Reproductive Health bill that covers contraception. He said he was at the Congress rally for a non-partisan Constitutional Convention on January 26, 1970. He claimed to have heard me speak at the event and even remembered and liked what I said as I described the types of politicians at the time.  Rejecting the participation of professional politicians at the convention, I named them as “mga tao na kung sumamo sa bayan during the campaign ay kasing amo ng mga tupa, ngunit pag panalo at nakapuesto na, ay mga anak ng tupa”.
On contraception, my barber’s take is that the Catholic Church is against it because it would go against the biblical mandate for a man (Adam) and woman (Eve) upon their creation to “go forth and multiply”.  That’s why he says that some, like Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, believes that masturbation is a sin not only because it is “lusting” but more so because it wastes cells needed in the fertilization of human eggs, thus preventing pregnancy.

                  Figure 1 The Pope: Head of the Catholic Church
If there has to be birth control, the Church encourages abstinence. What about withdrawal during sex by married couples? It also prevents pregnancy and wastes the needed cells for procreation.  Sin or not, at least, they are considered natural birth control methods.

Is taking birth control pills prohibited by the Church? My barber thinks so. That’s why the Church objects to the RH bill which allows and, in fact, funds the use of artificial birth control pills. What about a pill that would put the man to sleep prior to a planned sexual activity, thus preventing a potential pregnancy? Is this an artificial or natural method?

If there is a biblical mandate to “go forth and multiply”, why is it that unlike the Protestants who are also Christians, Catholic priests and nuns are not allowed to get married and, therefore, theoretically and morally are prevented from going forth and multiplying their kind? My barber seemed puzzled on this one. But of course, this has not prevented the likes of Fr. Damaso and other priests from begetting Marias and Claras even to this day.

Excommunication is a punishment that the Church gives to violators. It prohibits Catholics from receiving the Sacraments such as Communion, Reconciliation, Matrimony, etc. Not receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony would not allow you to get married and procreate. Another seeming contradiction that my barber imparted.

I diverted the discussion to American politics because it affects the two of us more. So I asked my barber, “What is your take on these mid-term elections?”

Figure 2 President Ronald Reagan: Idol of the Tea Party

According to him the birth and growth of some third parties or movements are actually healthy.  The conservatives continue to push the anti-abortion agenda, a pro-tax cut, anti-taxes, balancing the budget, and anti-spending programs to convince the electorate that they deserve to regain control of Congress and some state and local governments. The liberals, who successfully pushed some programs such as Health Care and Financial reforms, are still not satisfied with what the Democrat-controlled Congress had done, so the extent of their enthusiasm and participation had decreased causing a possible defeat of several Obama candidates.

There is one party and candidate that caught the attention of my barber, however. It sounds like a one-issue movement but as claimed by the leader of the party Jimmy McMillan, it is not. The party is the “Rent Is Too Damn High” Party. The following video links should give us an idea of what McMillan and his party stands for:

Figure 3  McMillan:  Leader of "Rent is Too Damn High"

Jimmy McMillan is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who was also an Orange Agent victim. He is running for Governor of New York because he believes that, in New York, the “rent is too damn high”, it’s hard to find a job, and it’s hard to provide education, breakfast, lunch and dinner for your children. Government officials are in cahoots with landlords thus making rent control laws ineffective. People have to work two or three jobs just to pay the rent to the landlords who have committed 10,000 violations.
As my barber finished my hair cut, I repeated my original question to my barber, “What is your take on these mid-term elections?”

He said that as a young boy growing up in the Philippines, he first heard of what the late President Ramon Magsaysay said, ‘those who have less in life must have more in law.”

When President Obama and the Democrats took control of the reins of government, they were mandated by the people to pass and execute laws that benefit the people especially those “who have less in life”.  President Obama was given four years to show and accomplish what he has set out to do within the period. He and his partners in Congress, for example, passed a health care bill benefiting mostly those who could not afford. It was a law that has evaded us for decades. He and his partners in state and local governments are still beginning to execute the said law.

Two years ago, Obama and company started a course that changed the direction of this country with the consent of the governed. We “cannot change course mid-stream.”  Neither can we “change horses mid-stream” or mid-term elections. He believes the Democrats should retain control to help Obama finish his job.

Take it from my barber!

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