Tuesday Topic Trio: Catholic Church and Condoms, TSA Pat Downs, & Big Business and Health Care11.23.10
Dominating the headlines over the past few days you’ll find stories about negative side-effects of the new TSA security procedures at the airports, the Pope’s shift on his stance on the use of condoms, and whether or not Big Business actually wants the new health care law to be repealed.
Just a few of my thoughts on all three in quick, bite-sized pieces:
Personally, I couldn’t care less about getting my groin felt up briefly by a TSA agent at the airport. Would I rather I didn’t have to be violated just to get on an airplane, where the trip has become unpleasant enough as it is? Absolutely.
But, I do question whether or not it’s all that necessary. Is the invasion of privacy and inevitable embarrassment of many really keeping us safer? And at what cost? At what point do we have to accept some level of risk – since, let’s just be real here, there will always be some risk no matter how much security we have. Total safety is an illusion, so when do we put our feet down and say: enough? Do we have to wait until we force everyone into private cells to get full cavity searches? I sure hope not.
While the Republicans swept the House of Representatives with the Pledge to America that included the declaration that they were going to repeal the health care law, it seems that business lobbies aren’t quite on the same page — most think that a repeal effort would fail.
The reality is this: the GOP holds a majority in one house of Congress. Even if they pass repeal legislation there, they’d be hard-pressed to pass something similar in the Senate which still holds a Democratic majority. And, of course, Obama would veto it, sending it back to Congress, which would doubtfully be able to muster up a two-thirds vote in favor of the repeal.
Instead, business would rather aim for tweaking some of the aspects they don’t like the most. I’m not sure I agree with what they want to change, but they’re looking at the facts in front of them and urging a pragmatic response, which actually could make the law better, more efficient, and more successful. It’s not a perfect piece of legislation, after all — always room for improvement. But the current GOP isn’t exactly known for its pragmatism, so we will see.
Depends on what they find to be more important: sticking to their guns and fighting the good fight for the full repeal even if they lose; or, tweaking individual elements that they find to be the most in need of fixing and actually getting those done. My bet is on the former.
While not remotely condoning condom use as a form of birth control, for the first time, Pope Benedict XVI admitted that there could be cases where using condoms, even during condemned sexual behavior, would be preferred to help prevent the spread of HIV.
Granted, the situation he said it would be preferred is only in the case of male prostitutes, but it’s a start. And a big change from when he said a year ago that condoms make the spread of AIDS worse — clearly a completely false claim scientifically.
It’s relatively surprising to hear this coming from the very conservative head of the Catholic Church, who in the past has been unequivocally against condom use. And it sparked quite a lot of discussion and damage control from fellow ultraconservatives. I mean, the goal is to help save lives by stopping the spread of a fatal disease, one that is still running rampant in many parts of the world — let’s accept reality and deal with the fact that people are dying.
The way I see it: people are clearly already having unprotected sex with multiple partners of both the same and opposite sex around the world. If they weren’t, AIDS wouldn’t be spreading like wildfire. So the outright ban on condoms and focus simply on abstinence out of marriage and condemning homosexuality isn’t working. Again: a dose of pragmatism is a good thing.
Idealism is nice. Being pragmatic is better.