Saturday, March 29, 2008

Vegetative State--What Should My Family Do?

On Easter Sunday of 2008, my grandfather was rushed to the emergency room. Having been in bed rest for the past 2 months, going to the emergency was a routine event. Every month we would take him to the hospital, have water pumped out from his lungs and bring him back home.

On March 24, my grandparents were to move to Las Vegas to live with my uncle. We went on Sunday to help pack and celebrate Easter. Who knew that this would have been his last. All of a sudden he closed his eyes and would not respond to any of us. My mother became hysteric seeing her father in that condition. We shook him. We yelled out his name. Nothing. Watching 3 men carry my helpless grandfather onto chair was traumatizing.

We all went to the hospital following the emergency car. From 4:00pm to 10:00 pm we had no clue what was going on with our grandfather. We sat in the waiting room expecting the worst. Then around 10:00pm the doctor said we can go and see him one by one. We all had smiles on our faces. Sadly those smiles were going to turn into tears and utter chaos in the following days.

On Monday one day after he was sent to the hospital, my family woke up to go and help my grandmother and uncle move their belongings into the moving van. Everything was set. Everything was packed. Everyone was ready to go except no one went anywhere. My grandmother had to stay with my grandfather. My uncle, who had arrived from Las Vegas to help with the move had no other option but to take their belongings to Vegas since he had given more than 600 dollars for the moving van. So while my grandparents belongings are in Vegas, my grandparents are here.

We were all eager that my grandfather would be released on Monday and my uncle would be able to take him to Vegas. This was surely not the case. Since Monday, my grandfather has not spoken a word nor has opened his eyes. He doesn't respond to us. He can't see us. He has feeding tubes in his nose and is on oxygen support. He is 82 years old and has never smoked nor drank and yet he has had open heart surgery.

For the past 6 days my grandfather has been in a vegetative state according to one doctor. According to another doctor he is in a coma. My family can't decide what to do. Do we still feed him through the tube and transfer him to a nursing home in hopes that he will get better? Or do we pull out the feeding tube and let him die? Just the thought of having to make this decision is traumatizing for both my mother, uncle and my grandmother. They have to decide what to do. Do we put him in a nursing home and make my grandmother stay in LA? Do we simply allow him to starve to death? It's a tough situation.

I remember watching the case of Terry Schiavo's case where there was a conflict between the husband's wishes and that of the parents. The husband wanted her to die and the parents wanted her to live. I guess you could see in my tone that I want my grandfather to live. Do we allow my grandfather to be in pain, having millions of tubes around him or shall we simply pull the plug and let him rest. The decision to take away food from someone you love, and watching him die is just unheard of.

I just came back from the hospital with my family. We sit there around my grandfather and start crying. We sit there touching his feet, touching his hands hoping he would give some sort of feedback. But nothing. My mom wants to shake him, wants to yell him so he can wake up. But there is nothing. He is breathing, he is sneezing, he is coughing, he is yawning but he is not alive. It's always easier to judge other people by saying how can you let someone die, how can you remove the feeding tubes while his heart is still breathing? It is always diferent when it is personal. My mother and uncle and grandmother are going to have a final talk with the doctor to decide my grandfather's death. I still can't believe this is happening to my family, to my grandfather. The same person who at every occasion said, "Everything is wonderful" is now laying helpless in room 510.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Argentina Did it---Can We???

One of the most twisted elections occured last year in Argentina. There wasn't any ballots misssing, there weren't any fights, but for the first time a country saw its former first lady become president. Néstor Carlos Kirchner was the President of Argentina from 2003 to 2007. Who would be better to rule the country after him..his wife of course. Thus in December of 2007, Nestor's wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became President of Argentina. The final tally came. She was victorious over her running mate by over 22 percent. One of the biggest margins Argentina has ever seen. Argentina, in the year 2007, witnessed their first elected female president, first Gentleman of the house, and the first husband and wife power team. Now, United States is in the same situation. We could have the first female president and first Gentleman of the White House. I know I'm ready for this..are you?

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is another one of my powerful woman figures. A devoted wife of 32 years. A mother of 2 children. And a politically qualified individual. She served in the Senate, part of provincial legislature, and was one of the key figures who helped her husband get elected. While she may seem delicate on the oustide, her speeches have been compared to that of Eva Peron, the woman who was dubbed the "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" and was known as Evita." She wasn't a candidate to be reckoned with.

Cristina appealed to suburban working class and the poor. Ironically, she did not win the 3 populous cities of Argentina. "She will face an uphill battle in gaining the confidence of voters in larger urban areas, especially middle and upper-class strongholds." Council of the Americas She appealed to the average working families. She lacked the vote of the middle class but that didn't matter because she won. After she won, some scandals did arise. The United States claimed that there were illegal financing to her campaign summing to about a million dollar. As a referendum, Cristina limited the US ambassadors abiliites. Cristina and even her opposition leaders said that the United States was trying to divide up Latin America. Whatever the scandal was, it definitely has not contributed to Cristina's popularity. Majority of the people have very high hopes for her and her administration.

Her husband, Nestor, paved the way by "steering Argentina out of its worst economic crisis in 2001, when it defaulted on $80 billion in loans." Herald Tribune Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez even helped with the loans. The relationship between Argentina and Venezuela has grown immensely and some claim that the US is watching closely. Now the world is watching as to what Cristina is going to do.

Again the issue of whether her husband paved the way or not was stated. Some claimed that if her husband wasn't president she wouldn't stood a chance. But the reality is that she was successfull on her own without her husband. She was elected into office several times. She was dubbed Queen Christina, because of her strong personality. Whatever the reasons are, she is here today. She is the President. It is up to her to advance Argentina and broaden its influences across the globe. It's simply a new adventure to see how much she can do for her country. Having a former president as her husband is a bonus.

This is what I see happening in November. Hillary Clinton becomes the first female President of the United States. Bill Clinton being swarmed in as the First Gentleman. He stands behind the scenes with Hillary running the show. While yes, of course, they will share opinions with each other, but in reality all couples do that. In addition, we must not forget that Bill Clinton was a smart man so I don't see anything wrong with having 2 powerful individuals influencing this country. Some even see Hillary becoming more powerful than her husband. Maybe that's why some people are scared of her. Whether this historic event happens or not, we now know that it HAS happened elsewhere. So, ony time will tell with the US.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Solidarity, Sister! Paying Prostitutes a Little Respect

I've spent the last few days watching anchormen on the local news channels refer to prostitution as the “world's oldest profession” with a sly grin on their faces. Though prostitution, or advertising sex in exchange for foods and goods, has played an essential role in our evolutionary past, I believe we now have the resources to make prostitution completely unnecessary. And thanks to the Spitzer scandal, this issue is back on the front page of newspapers and is at the forefront of everyone's mind.

Everyone is asking the same question: should prostitution be legalized? But a far more important question to ask is what can we do so that women don't resort to desperate measures such as selling their bodies for cash? What alternatives can we create for them? How do we eliminate prostitution from the grounds up?

Many American cities think the best solution is shaming the men who solicit the services of prostitutes. The photos of these male clients are posted not only on websites but printed and dispersed throughout the community. Some towns go a step further and send letters to the relatives of these men, informing them of their crime.

But trying to cut demand seems unreasonable. It's safe to assume that some men will seek sex outside of their established relationships, even if prostitution is eliminated. If they're not paying a few dollars for anonymous sex or thousands for high-class escort services, they will simply have “affairs, lovers.” They'll go on dates, bars and clubs, looking for casual sex. It's also safe to assume that some women will readily accept the “no strings attached” sex. Therefore, trying to curb the demand by men seems foolish. Humiliating these men, like we did to now ex-governor Pitzer, doesn't solve anything. Neither does sending them off to jail. (Unless of course, they use the government's money for their “private needs,” like it is alleged of Pitzer.)

Charging and arresting female prostitutes, however, is a much more ridiculous notion. Prostitutes don't pose a danger to society; in fact, they're in one of the most dangerous “professions.” We should be helping them, not arresting them. They're probably more likely to die on the job than any other “professional.” Putting them in jail does nothing but overcrowd our prisons with these harmless women. Instead of raising taxes to build more prisons to house these “small-time criminals,” we should use those funds to create alternatives for the lower-class and poverty-stricken women who look to prostitution in order to make ends meet.

We need to create jobs, raise the minimum wage, create free educational and vocational programs for adults, have a national health-care and daycare system. In other words, we need to eliminate all the problems that force women into prostitution. Prostitution is not an isolated problem; it is the result of a faulty economic and political system.

We need to stop looking at prostitution as a “victim-less” crime. These women, these prostitutes ARE the victims. They're the victims of a system that has given up on them, that chooses to allocate money for wars that don't need to be fought and abstinence-only programs that are proven ineffective instead of on poverty, job training, instead of on them.

Little girls don't grow up wanting to become prostitutes. They don't want to go to work at a time where the rest of the world goes to sleep. They don't want a job that can get them killed. Little girls don't dream about being a part of the sex industry.

But prostitution happens. We already know why. The jobs they have don't pay enough; the jobs they want aren't given to them. Their children need to be fed, clothed, immunized. They need support and don't find it in their familial harms.

But these issues are tangible, treatable. If we fix these roots, they wouldn't branch out to become “prostitution.” So it's not a question of making it legal or not; it's a matter of ethics, of humanity. Let's start caring about these women, yeah? And each other.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bitches Work Hard for Their Money!

She's a bitch. Get over it.

If a bitch is someone who is intelligent and wise, fights for what she believes in and isn't afraid to speak up, then Hillary Clinton is a bitch. A major one.

I always thought a bitch was someone who was cold-hearted, only thought of herself and had no respect for the opinions of others. I never thought a bitch in terms of someone who makes her own decisions. But appparently, this is the case for Hillary.

Regardless of what you may think of Hillary's presidential potential, it's easy to see that in the media and in our homes, people see her as a bitch.

This is disheartening. The definion of "bitch" has changed with the times; as more women began to seize opportunities for success, "bitch" has come to describe more women.

Bitches are women who decide to work. Bitches are women who put their kids in daycare. Bitches are women who are promoted before their male counterparts. Bitches are women who protest. Bitches are women who demand better pay. Bitches are women who aren't silent. Bitches are women who aren't afraid to bark in outrage. Bitches are women who take the road less traveled. Bitches are women who pave the way for others.

Hillary Clinton is a bitch. A major one.
So why are other "bitches" hesitant in voting for her?

It's unfair to assume that all women want female leaders, but it's important to ask what KIND of women THESE women want.

Should a female president be feminine? Should she be more masculine than her male opponents? Should she be able to cry? Should she not show any emotion?

What do we want from Hillary?

The public seems to have an oddly focused eye on Hillary. While politicians are expected to be under scrutiny, it's not a stretch to claim that Hillary is getting most of this action.

She's criticized for being too "cold." When she is near tears, people either accuse her of "acting" or using it as evidence that a woman can't hold it together, that she's too emotional.

My God, what will happen if she's on her period? Or worse, what if she's suffering from hot flashes?!

Even her wardrobe is criticized. When she wears skirts, the length is never right; it's too long, it's too short. When she wears pants, people claim it's too manly. When some cleavage is shown, people are outraged. Breasts?! She has breasts!?!

Yes, I can confirm that Hillary Clinton has breasts. See ---->

The only thing people seem to agree on is that Hillary is a bitch.

While a colleague Reluctant Republican might state, "Hillary is hard and emotionless and despite all of her efforts to appear feminine and soft she cannot seem to get it right " I believe this is simply dandy.

Tina Fey points out on SNL, "Bitches get the work done!"
I for one will be voting for a bitch for president. What about you?

Today is Women's Day

March 8th, 2008 marks the International Women's Day festivities around the world. It started in Russia and was celebrated mostly across the Soviet bloc. Now it is celebrated across the globe. A day to thank your mothers, your sisters, your daughters and wives. My mother grew up in a household that would celebrate March 8th as if it was Christmas. Relatives would gather at her house, drink, eat and dance the night away. They would share personal stories of struggles and how they overcame each obstacle.

Today I woke up to find my father giving my mother a kiss and warm embrace. He said to her, "Thank you for being the woman you are today."

Today is a day of historic signifance. A day to show the progress that we have achieved, and the amount of obstacles we yet have to overcome. It is in a way discouraging that in the United States we do not celebrate this day accordingly. To many Americans, it is simply another day. Unfortunately, some are not even aware of today's significance, which saddens me truly.

I am not one of those individuals that has forgotten what my ancestors went through in order for me to have the many opportunities I have today. Love them for who they are--not what they look like. Privilege Indifference had written an article that notes how women, these days, are trying to change who they are, what they look like just to fit in. It is essential that women on this day, come together and praise each other's beauties rather than degrade one another just because one is considered by society to be prettier. Respect and love one another. So I am taking this day to reiterate my appreciation for my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts, and my sister for being as powerful and beautiful they are.

I hope you did the same.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Africa's "Iron Lady"

She's not your typical grandmother. She was given the Medal of Freedom on November 5, 2007. This honor is considered to be the "highest civilian award" by the United States. So one might wonder who was the recepient? It was none other than Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. For individuals who do not follow international news, she became "Africa's first elected head of state following Liberia's presidential runoff. " BBC She was elected to office in 2006. We have also seen another female take take control of a country-Michelle Bachelet of Chile. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, just like Michelle, did not lead a serene life.

She too was imprisoned. She was exiled. She was charged with treason. Through all this, she did not give up. Some say she is the "Iron Lady" because of her iron will and determinism. A follower of Ellen's political career states, "It would have been much easier for her to quit politics and sit at home like others have done but she has never given up." Ellen signified strength. Ellen portrayed power. Ellen presented hope to a country that had seen too many years of civil wars, of corruption, and of civilian casualities.

She wasn't just another candidate running for presidency. She lived through the political turmoil. She was a victim. "When she opposed the military rule of Samuel Doe, she was imprisoned before eventually fleeing Liberia." Time Luckily she decided to return to her mother country. Ellen knew that staying away from Liberia was not going to solve anything. While she was in exile, she was able to work at the World Bank and the United Nations. Being charged with treason and being exiled did not stop her from her political endeavors.

Through the struggles and obstacles, she obtained a position that no one would have ever thought. Even with her being president, some still are hesitant of having a female president. It's always frustrating when individuals use the gender card. I mean, for the past centuries, males have ruled our countries. Males have raged wars. It would simply be interesting to see what females have to offer. We honeslty cannot do any worse. Women have nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Ellen had nothing to lose and gained everything.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, just like Michelle Bachelet, did not have a husband by her side when she ran for the presidency. She was a divorcee with four sons. Laura Bush said, "Johnson-Sirleaf's courage and commitment to her country are an inspiration to me and women around the world." Time Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appears to be a women of power, of intelligence, of strength and courage. She defied all odds. She's in a position that many men and women dream of. She's on top of her game and did not allow any male figures to take her chances away. She fell, but she got right back up. So for women today, to simply say we have no control of anything, they are dillusional. If women in war torn nations, are able to get to the top, then what is holding our women living in top notch countries to reach our full potentials?