Saturday, June 17, 2017

conversation with my daughter

As I've mentioned, I have a daughter who's 17.
She's basically a decent kid and I'm super grateful that she is who she is.  I'll spare you the whole proud mamma stuff, but know there's a list of awesome regarding her. ♥

Having said that, we struggle a bit to have conversations about politics & such.  Totally normal but I want to get better at it.

Recently, she sent me this link.  
I replied with a link regarding a wasteful grant by NSF for a theater production about climate change.  She was confused.  So we agreed to talk about it later.
Since then, I've been thinking about how to actually reply.

Now I want to respond to it in several ways.  My first difficulty is my own passion on topics I'm, well, passionate about.  So I'm fleshing out my response here.

First, I totally laughed. (Which daughter did not understand.  She didn't think it was funny.)  It was well made and obviously meant to be funny and make a point. 

I was upset by the end comments eluding that the reason this happens is because Trump is cutting the budget of the NSF (National Science Foundation).  Come on!

Is it OK that field drug tests do such a poor job and are so unreliable that their results are basically a parody of justice?  (this is the part where you are supposed to open another tab and do some research to see if this statement is true or if Samantha Bee only used research that supported her opinion.)

I did some research and it would appear there is a problem with reliability and false positives.  It is still a really big jump that any field test = we should not remove funding from the NSF.  Seems to me we just need better field tests.  Wouldn't that resolve the problem?  Perhaps there should be a requirement for secondary lab testing before any conviction.  Or no approval for plea-bargains without secondary testing.  (Although I'm sure people can be held in jail for way too long due to lab back ups.  There has to be a way to work this out though.  We did send people to the moon.)   

So what do we actually learn from the video?
  • That drug field tests lack accuracy and can lead to false imprisonment and convictions.
  • That yes, racism is still alive and well.  (another whole issue)
  • I could easily conclude that there is someone making money on those tests that maybe should have some accountability on the efficacy of their product.  
  • I'd go so far as to say we need changes in policy regarding the use of field drug tests and where they stand in the course of a police stop for any reason.
I think on this particular issue, the science is fairly decent.  We can always improve, but that would be the responsibility of the labs that create the product.  If they want a product that works, shouldn't they work to improve it?  Why does it have to be a government grant that makes this possible?  This is a for profit company.  

This is where I think differently.  I don't want the government responsible for everything.  I want people to be responsible for their own lives and decisions and for government to only be involved when absolutely necessary.  I would much prefer our communities come together to handle much of what government does poorly.  Yet, we live in a world where personal responsibility is lacking and many hands remain outstretched & waiting.

So I guess that's my response.  I applaud investigative journalism that uncovers such injustice.  I do not applaud the leaps in thought that people use to make their own points seem more credible.  But that's another post.

Since I wrote this I've had a discussion with my daughter.  The poke at Trump at the end barely registered with her.  She was upset by the racism and classism evident in the stories told.  That if you're white and can afford an attorney, you are set free.  If you are black and can only afford the court appointed defense attorney... you're probably going to jail.

I'm pleased my daughter is upset by these things.  She should be.  I should be.

Friday, June 16, 2017

conversations with millenials

I have 2 kids.
Son, 19 
Daughter, 17

Both my kids have grown up in a Christian, fairly conservative home.
Things that have been important to me as a parent:
ability to think for yourself

I don't allow parroting of opinions.  You need to be able to back up what you say with facts and reason.  this is not always a fun environment for a kid, I admit; but I find it so terribly important to raise adults who can think for themselves.

My son had a bunch of friends over prior to our last Presidential election.  One of his friends made a comment about how he was voting for Bernie Sanders.  So.. I asked why.

Friend:  I think he'll make a really good President.

Me:  Why do you think he'll be a good President?

Friend:  Because he's the only one who really cares.

Me:  I don't know much about Bernie.  What does he do that makes you think he cares?  (honestly, this was totally conversational, not interrogating)

Friend:  I don't know.  I just think he does.  

Me:  I'd love to hear more.

Friend:  [stares blankly.  leaves room]

Me: [commenting to my son] He didn't grow up in this house, did he?

Son:  nope.

Before that friend left, I challenged him to do a little reading on why Bernie was so great and that I'd love to hear about why he likes Bernie next time he comes over.

A girl can try.