Tag Archives: Politics

Phil Anselmo

There has been a lot of comment about the actions of this singer in the past few days.  He made a Nazi salute and mouthed the words “white power” while exiting the stage at a recent concert held in memorial for Darrel Abbot.  For those of you who were not aware, Phil Anselmo is the singer of the 90’s metal band Pantera.  He then got addicted to H and pain pills due to a back injury that resulted in Pantera splitting up just before their guitar player, Abbot, was gunned down on stage.  There are many reports that the shooter blamed Abbot for the band’s break up and took Phil’s side, not that any of that matters because he obviously had a lot of problems.  As much as I loved Phil in Pantera, his post addiction self was beyond interesting and inspiring.  He manned up to his mistakes, got sober, and quietly toured college campuses to talk about what he learned about substance abuse and addiction.  Phil had recently been honored by the president for his contribution to the arts.

And this he did what he did.  There have been rumors for years that Phil was a racist.  He has worn shirts that have had symbols that represented white supremacy.  He has tackled race in his music from a very meritocracy point of view which was frequently galvanizing.  He also wrote some of the best lyrics ever talking about racial harmony and brotherhood among races.  It is hard for me to look at the many things that this person has done and think that he is a racist.  There is plenty of evidence out there to support my belief, but there is also plenty of evidence out there to support that he is a racist.  I would go so far as to say that most of the people reading this will never really know.  I say that about almost all celebrity or media coverage of things.  We don’t know nearly as much as we think that we do.  It is not my place to judge someone, though if what he did offends you to the point that never want to look past what he did, then it is your right to feel that way. There are a lot of things we can interpret, but he did what he did.

The first thing I am going to say is that I have been a fan of this man’s art for a long time and because of this, I admit that I have a very biased point of view.  I look at the lyrics to his music and I have a hard time believing that he is hateful of any group of people.  I honestly don’t believe that he intended for the crowd to see him doing what he ultimately got caught doing, as the gesture was recorded as he was walking backstage.  I can believe that he was gesturing towards a friend and not intended to publicly support any hate group or ideology.  I also don’t know if that is good enough.  I won’t pretend to know what a celebrity believes or is thinking from one moment to the next.  I have the same belief when it comes many of the legal allegations that the media makes way too public and often skews public perception, but Phil isn’t being accused of anything here, it is merely a report of a stupid thing that he did and has to be viewed as that.  Maybe part of the reason that people are defending him is because he knows that he is an addict and that he goes to far when on any drug to include alcohol.  I’m not saying that to defend the action, but to say that I know this event was a heavy trigger for him.  I’m sure that it offended plenty of people and helped to reinforce a racist perception surrounding hard rock and metal music that covers the people listening to it.  If you listen to Pantera publicly now, people might assume that you are a racist or that you are trying to convey hate by your musical choice, even if the lyrical content are saying the exact opposite.  That is the kind of burden that has always been a part of the metal community that we have been dealing with for a long time that will be worse now.

Part of me wants to say that this is all being taken out of context.  There are plenty of examples that Phil’s friends, family, and fans have posted online recently in his defense.  How after he got over drug addiction that he quietly toured college campuses and tried to get the word out about drugs and addiction and their glorification in media.  How he would bring disabled people on stage at his shows or the things he would donate to his community that is largely an African American community in New Orleans.  The question that a lot of people are asking now is if it were someone else that had made the gesture, would anyone be defending it.  I think that there is a weird answer to that in that because Anselmo has always asked for a meritocratic approach to race and people and that he was one of the only members of Pantera that was trying to disassociate the band from the rebel flag.  On the other hand, this isn’t the first time that Phil has been accused of being a racist or a white supremacist.  In the past, it was easy for me to dismiss this as him talking openly about race rattled a bunch of feathers and made him a target.

Part of me wants to change this discussion to racism as a general concept and context.  The context here is that you have a 50 something year old man that is at a memorial for a friend of his that he grew up with.  The people that he was with all had known the friend that had died, and I can only imagine that being around these people is similar as when I congregate with some of my old Army buddies.  We all love each other, but whenever we are together, all we can think about are the friends that are no longer with us.  It is like being caked in depression and there is a lot of drinking.  There is a tension there that longs for release.  I know that we tell a lot of “inappropriate” jokes among each other, some racial, but mostly not.  I am a big fan of the taboo and honestly do believe when it comes to jokes that involve race are some of the most healthy because they acknowledge difference in a society that seems to take these things too seriously.  I know that some of those jokes can go very wrong and especially when you have been drinking and are in front of a large group of people, this can make a person appear a certain way.  I also don’t see the joke about Nazi’s or white supremacy, though the one Dave Chapel told about the blind Africa American joining the KKK was hysterical.  The reality might be that Phil really is a racist and how we come to term with our heroes being less than we hoped them to be shouldn’t change their ideals.

Celebrities and artists are almost all hypocrites.  The Cosby Show was still a great show and still great for what it had to say about race relations, even if Bill is a rapist.  The show still holds up the way that it always has.  The lyrics and outward message that Phil wrote about isn’t any less poignant because he failed to live up to them.  In fact, there are a lot of great people that had sides to them that we often overlook because it tarnishes the image that we have of them.  Gandhi was a white supremacist.  I know that might be a little weird to think about considering that he was from India, who are kind of brown, but the term Caucasian comes from the Caucus of Asia which is kind of where India is.  Same is true of Persians.  Martin Luther King had a lot of misogynist beliefs and was a known womanizer.  Jefferson talked about freedom and owned slaves.  I think as people we sometimes have to look at the ideas and thoughts of these men and possibly take their work and their art away from who they were as people, because if we were so cautious to pick through history to only listen to the men that don’t have a few skeletons hiding in the closet, there are a lot of great thoughts and thinkers that would need to be discarded and we would be a lot worse off as a species.

Update: I finally got around to listening to the Rob Flynn recording.  I didn’t want to give it a view at first, because if there is one thing worse than what Phil did, it is bands that are not very good or popular trying to get publicity for these situations.  I tend to think Rob says a lot of things to try to get attention and don’t have much respect for him.  After watching the video, it first came off to me as someone with a personal grudge.  He goes out of his way to point out there was no wine, when Dime’s widow stood up for Phil and said that there was and that she believes, like I had, that Rob posted his video as a response to an unrelated argument they had earlier in the day.  The one thing that stood out to me in the video was that Rob claims that Phil had and has always said “white power” in the line from New Level.  I called his bullshit and googled live recordings of the song.  The ones that are more professional don’t have it, but when you get to the fan recordings that Phil didn’t think he was being recorded on, they are definitely there and so are the Nazi salutes.  It changed the whole way I view that and him.  I still stand by his songs being powerful, meaningful, and even forward thinking on race, but not sure if knowing that in his mind he is singing about Nazis changes those songs for me like knowing that Mathew Broderick killed a guy right about the time that he shot Ferris Bueller’s Day Off changes that film.  You read into them differently.

With all that being said, much like how there were a lot more people that contributed to that movie, there have been a lot of different artists that are part of the songs that he has made, and ultimately they do stand up, I just have to think about what I’m supporting.  I saw Pantera back in 2000 and didn’t catch any of that racial stuff, probably because I was too busy in the pit.  I’ve seen Down and Superjoint several times each and love those bands.  I heard Phil talking about asking those bands to go forward without him and just feel in a weird place about giving this man my money knowing that he not only is part of the band but that he releases those records.  He owns them and gets an owner’s cut.  There is a part of me that is ok if someone has a private opinion or feeling that is racist.  We all are a bit racist whether we think we are or not, but to blatantly try and signal and recruit skinheads during your shows is overt racism and it makes me ashamed to have supported it.  I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite but at the same time, I’m not sure if Phil and Down can ever go back to business as usual and the last thing I want to hear is some lame apology track or to try and speak with any kind of authority on racism like he has in the past.

I’m rather selfish as a fan.  Down used to be a Super group that made an album once in a blue moon and it was amazing.  Then they started being the main band for all those guys and Kirk left because he didn’t have time to do Down and Crowbar.  He has called on for Down to get a new singer and go on without him, but at this point, the only “super” part of the band is Pepper and Bower.  Down should be something that he earns after a lot of time off. In a lot of ways I want to hear more from the Illegals, the small band that almost no one likes that tours the really small clubs, because I actually did the music but it allows Phil to talk about his own struggles.  The first album was mostly about his injury and how that affects him and his motivation from day to day.  As someone that has a debilitating injury and knowing that struggle every day when you get up, I Love that record.  What I really want to hear is some really struggling personal recovery about his feelings on race.  I don’t want to hear about how he isn’t racist, but about why he is now.  After a career of him talking about hypocrisy I really want him to own this.

Real Marriage Equality

I keep hearing about this preacher out West who is being arrested for refusing to perform a same sex marriage.  This is where I knew that the gay marriage cause was going to go and the biggest reason that marriage should have never become a service of the state.  For better or worse, when this country was founded, it was a bit more of a religious time, and marriage was a huge part of day to day life.  As much as the founding fathers wanted to separate church and state, this became a function for the state to recognize what was or was not a marriage.  They were government functions, and most of the WASPs that were in the country at the time could not foresee where we have taken relationships to in the modern era.  But that is not the point of freedom.  We have to imagine all possibilities and say that even these things that we haven’t even thought of yet, they will be protected and they will remain free.

As I have mentioned in many other places, I am Pagan and proudly so.  I have a faith where being in a relationship, even one defined as a marriage, where monogamy is not a tenant.  Now, no matter what your personal convictions are, I am a firm believer that people will always do as much as they can get away with when it suits them.  In states where “adultery” is legally defined as having sex outside of the person that you are married to, and committing adultery can forfeit your assets to the “injured” party,  people will lie when it suits them.  Relationships end for all kinds of reasons, open and monogamous alike.  It is not up for a court to decide that just because an open marriage doesn’t work, to get to give a moral say just because one party has proof.  We all know that these kinds of morality laws are on the books from state to state.  In Maryland here, it is illegal to have premarital sex in a hotel room.  Now we justify that such things are never enforced, but the point is that they have every bit as much legal merit as not murdering, and if someone ever made a case against you, then there is little to nothing that you can do.

That is why this preacher being arrested scares me.  He was simply practicing his faith.  I am not saying that the government should not allow this gay couple to wed, but how is it not a vendictive action to go after someone that disagrees with you, is practicing their own freedoms, and you choose to infringe on them and then make him have to hire lawyers and go through all this legal mess.  It isn’t as if the preacher was a state employee, but the case here is that he did have a state licence to perform marriages.  State sanctioned religion.  It will never end well, and no matter what the legal decision ends up being, you are going to have a decision in it that will be looked at and used against the American people putting more stupid laws on the books that infringe our rights.

Frontier(s)

This is one of those films that I have a love/hate relationship with.  I absolutely love the new wave of underground French Horror films.  I would argue that the wave actually started with the Spanish film Them (2001), though it really started to take shape with the grossly overrated Inside (2004).  By that time you start to see many of the new tropes start to take shape, with homages to the home invasion films of the 70’s and creating a genre around them with the kind of gristly anticipation of Rami’s original Evil Dead.  One of the kind of weird tropes has been that of a pregnant female protagonist.  This film is not original in any of the devices that it uses, but it is one of the more prominent and popular films to come out of this film movement, probably because it is a hodgepodge of so many other famous and better films, and often tries to say so much that any meaning often gets lost to the audience.  One of the biggest reasons for this has to be the frantic editing pace that seems to be taken from a bad Michael Bay rip off.

One of the first things to note is just how much this film looks up to and tries to be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973).  Unlike many other home invasion movies, this film is not about people breaking into the victims home, but more about trespassers in a strange world.  Unlike TCSM, or the much lesser House of Wax remake, these victims have been invited to the property under the guise of it being an inn so that they can be exploited.  To fully understand that this inn acts as a new state, as the victims are literally fleeing the city and the state, which has become a fascist police state that has come down hard on muslims/those of Middle Eastern decent.  While I do kind of shutter at that stereotype, the film is rarely if ever subtle and painting in the widest strokes imaginable.  The allusion here is to refugees that have been invited to a new host country only to be further exploited.  Since they are already refugees in France, the real message is that France, and as the obtuse Nazi references strongly imply, all of Europe has exploited immigrants.

The normal trope of chastity and sinful behavior causing death have a new place here, with the Muslim characters refusing vice at the hands of the Nazi inn keepers, as this now references to cultural assimilation and giving up more traditional values, though it is hardly only the inn keepers that are assimilating them, as the female protagonist is already pregnant.  Also interesting here is that the female is French and it is the traditional male that has succumbed.  I can only speculate that the reason for this has to do with avoiding controversy if the roles were reversed and a traditional Muslim girl were impregnated by a sympathetic French man.  This is an attempt to show that there is some solidarity with citizens against the state that resides with minorities, thought the film’s ending rather roughly contradicts this message.  The woman, after having killed all of the Nazi’s that have conversely killed all of the Arabs that she was running with, she then quite solemnly turns herself back into French authorities, maybe to protect the child that she was contemplating aborting at the beginning of the film.  To me this could only mean that at some level she is both accepting her place in the fascist regime, though I can appreciate the argument that because she is going to be in prison that she is actually sacrificing her own freedom in order to honor her friends that have fallen.

As with many of these types of films, there is a heavy emphasis on what one has to do to survive, and that violence is actually the lowest common denominator of what makes society and civilization tick.  Non violence, while preferable to violence, is always going to not withstand those that choose to enact violence on the nonviolent, and that as much as we may try to remove ourselves from that message, we always have to harden ourselves for the potential of defending ourselves.  She literally escapes death through a puddle of pig shit and blood, arising free yet changed from the experience.  Her turning herself in is in a way admitting to herself that even though she survived, that there are more out there like the Nazi family and that she is incapable of protecting herself and her child indefinitely, and that she does in fact need the state’s violence to protect her, though submitting to those terms is also submitting to their selection of suppressing the immigrants, to which her child has a heritage.

Ultimately the film suffers from being too literal and confused, much like the editing style that does keep the audience from emersion in the film, though with some many contradicting ideas and possible meanings, you can say that you will not have a hard time at least getting in the mindset the film wants you to get in, even if you can’t agree on a concussion.  Then again, that sounds very French to me.

The Anorexic

I really haven’t given much of an update in a while as to what I’m up to.  My most recent project is a documentary that I was hired to do regarding the state of Maryland’s taking the child of a family because the child had anorexia and had complications resulting from the disorder.  The child had already been in treatment, prior to the state’s involvement.  Going into this, I knew that there were a lot of questions that would need to be asked, especially regarding why the state felt like they needed to take the child away, which can become a rather hairy subject when the person paying the bills is the person who is going to be under a great amount of scrutiny, hypothetically paying me thousands of dollars to make a two hour inditement of him being a bad parent, and yet he was steadfast in the truth that the government is overstepping their bounds and that other parents should be aware of what is going on, though his politics are a bit right of my own (proud centrist) I can definitely appreciate a parent that is upset and lashing out.

His reasoning is to give more red tape to the government before they are able to separate children from their parents with his case hopefully being heard by the supreme court in Maryland.  After a few interviews and background discussion with educators and people in the medical field, they have very mixed opinions, as they believe it to be already too difficult with so many children being abused at home or being neglected.  Some of the points I will be exploring is the way in which once the state takes custody of a child, the state then appoints a lawyer to represent the child to the state, when that lawyer does not take into account the wishes of the child.  The state giving out bonuses for children to be taken away from their homes to social workers.  Why the state has their doctor give the prognosis of children in question, even in cases that go beyond that doctor’s scope of practice, and more so that when other medical professionals regard that prognosis, that there are no repercussions?

I have to say that it is still too early to give my opinion.  There are many questions I want answered on both sides and totally understand why many people are so suspicious of his claims, and see how some could see the parent as bringing this situation on himself, but look forward to talking with the other side’s legal team soon and look forward to sharing my conclusions.

Ebola

This is not generally what this site is about.  I’m sorry if what I am about to say seems less credible, but I have someone close that works for the state health department here in Maryland, and yesterday they had a meeting concerning the Ebola crisis.  No media was allowed, and for what I’m going to assume was because any media understanding of how inept this is being handled.

The first and biggest thing that was covered were emails that were found by an independent researcher finding that the Ebola strain we are now facing is now airbourne.  This means that if people have it, then by their very breathing, they can be spreading it to everyone around them.  Generally when something this dangerous is that contagious, then quarentines start to run rampant, because a whole fuck load of people could die.  The reason that we know that is because of the nurse that was infected in Dallas, because she was wearing a surgical mask.  The current magic bullet theory is that what disrobing, she somehow digested some infected fluids.  Bullshit.

The next big thing is that Maryland has no money for protective suits for state workers.  So in a meeting designed to instruct the very people who would be the first responders.  Now imagine that you are one of these people, that is working in the medical field in a state where they are treating many of the stricken, and you find out that the CDC is not adequately giving out information (airbourne) to contain this virus, and that you will then be asked to be in a closed room to treat the infected without protective equipment, all but ensuring that you will also become infected.  That is like asking AIDS doctors to administer the cure with their dick without the use of a condom.

To further underlind the incompetency of the CDC, they actually issued a statement during the conference, to trained medical professionals no less, stating that the only people at risk of having Ebola were those that originated from West Africa or people who had traveled there.  This of course is a fantasy that went out the window the moment that people here started to become infected or that Dallas nurse boarded an airplane.  What makes it even more upsetting is that if these idiots actually believed their own nonsense, then why is air travel from the only place where you can get such a deadly communicable disease still allowed access into our country.

The CDC even went so far as to say that the reason that this is being allowed to spread is because of racism, because medical people have not been wanting to treat anyone from west Africa, even after being told by the CDC that only people from there were carriers, despite not having the ability to protect themselves in the process.  Again, another major Obama blunder that will end up killing lots of Americans and it is all because we are racists.

UnAmerican Football

A lot has been said this year about the NFL already, and very little of it has had anything to do with the game that is being played.  The first thing that is being talked about is Ray Rice.  I’m going to start there because we really do have to break this down piece by piece to understand just how much these recent dealings have affected our national way of life and understanding.

Ray, unfortunately, hit his then fiance in the elevator, striking her unconscious and then dragging her out of the elevator.  We knew this way back in February.  We saw some of the tape then.  I had seen the tape that everyone is so up in arms about then.  It was not some big secret.  Even if it was, Ray came out in his police statement and said that he struck a woman unconscious by his fists.  If I, as a nobody, can read that report online, then I’m sure that if you are a billionaire that stands to lose millions of dollars in endorsements based upon your player’s popularity, has somebody on the pay role whose sole job is investigating this sort of thing.  We all knew what he did way back then, but we didn’t have it shoved in our faces like in the current news cycle telling us how and what to think about it.

I want to be very clear in saying that I am not trying to defend what Ray Rice did.  I am an avid Steelers fan, and was never a fan of Rice’s.  On a side note, I should also probably point out that I am also not a Christian, and all the talk that Rice and former Safety/Guru Ray Lewis gave about football and God strikes me that these two men are wife beaters and murders, and how much religious piousness has lead these two to commit heinous acts despite all of their outward zealousness.  It stands to my reasoning that the more rigid and repressed your religious beliefs are, the more you are likely to act out when no one is looking.

Ray also does not deserve the hate that he is getting.  Working in investigation, I can tell you that the first time someone gets caught doing something wrong is very rarely the first time that they have ever done the infraction.  Though legally we can’t prove otherwise.  For all that any of us know from that tape, his wife was drunk, as was he, and spouting all sorts of vitriol towards him to which he responded without thinking.  That is not an excuse for his actions, but they are a description of them.  He was week, lacked self control and did something wrong.  I agree that the man should be punished.  If initially, he had been suspended for 8 games or the whole season, I would not have protested it in the slightest.

The reason that I am protesting this has to do with the mob mentality and the harm that this is doing towards victims of abuse.  Now, in terms of Ray Rice, his wife, who married him for what I imagine is for little more than money, is going to face the same fiscal cuts as Rice.  I think that she is a big girl, and capable of making her own decisions on the matter, and in turn, is being handsomely rewarded for her silence and support of Rice.  Hardly the face of abused women in this country, being paid millions for their silence.  Mark my word though, in ten or more years, when the man’s money has run dry, she will end up on talk shows talking about how scared she was for her life and how he forced her to support him.  I’m sure such details will be in support of her new book, for which she will make millions more.

The only reason that Ray Rice’s suspension was extended was because of the response from people, most of whom do not watch football.  Despite all of the negative press that all of this has gotten, the ratings for the NFL have stayed about the same.  They haven’t gone up or down.  The fans of the game don’t really care.  What this means is that with the NFL trying to expand past the primary audience of football fans and trying to incorporate a larger female audience that might contribute to those enormous SuperBowl ratings that we see every year.  That game is an event that has become larger than the sport it represents.  Since football is the largest sport in America, that game is all about this country, whether you watch the sport or not.  It is about watching the game, not who is playing.  I mean for most of us, our team will not be in the big game, but we watch because it is supposed to be the culmination of the two best teams in the league giving it their all for their chance at glory in the history books.  We love winners and closers.   Women play largely into the statistics of untapped potential supporters.

I also want to be clear here and state that I know that some of the most loyal football fans in the world are women, my wife being one of them.  I’m not going to belittle that demographic and suggest that there are not many of you that love the game and your team and know as much about the game if not more than I do.  What I will also say is that the women the NFL is courting right now is not like that.  These are the types of fans for which the New England Patriots, along with their color coordination and sexy quarterback schtick, have finessed them into the game.

This is entertainment that costs people in the real world.  For all of the big hits that we see, real people are being hurt, potentially ending their careers, abilities to support their families, or injuring them so completely that they have drastic health issues for the rest of their lives.  We have somehow made our peace with all of that, and so have the athletes for that matter, though an increasing number are finding themselves broke from overspending and not preparing for their careers to end when the eventually do.

The second aspect to this is the Adrien Peterson thing with his kid.  I have not seen the picture, nor do I care to.  Pictures rarely give an accurate portrayal of what they are showcasing.  I am also a firm believer that, for the most part, the state has no place in dictating how a parent raises their child.  For what I can tell, Peterson is actively trying to raise his kids.  I know that he has a bunch of them from a lot of stupid decisions that he should have learned from a lot sooner than he did, but he did have the will and resources to be a dad.  I’m going to dismiss the idea that he has a history of abuse because the first incident didn’t come out until the second did.  That mother was not worried about her child, she was worried about her pay check, or she would have gone to the cops a long time ago.

Now for the real question.  Does taking away Peterson’s ability to make money really help these kids.  I mean these mothers, who obviously were with him because he was rich and famous and got pregnant as a paycheck for life, are not thinking about the big picture.  They are going to rob him dry, and without him getting paid, the well will run out.  There will be no more money and I don’t see how that is in any way better for the children.

I have never been a fan of lynch mobs.  The more that you give in, the more that the demand from you.  Punishments are supposed to be balanced.  This conversation really isn’t about victims.  Social consciousness for this issue really hasn’t surpassed the idea that it is socially unacceptable and a hot button issue.  That is it.  People calling in talking about how they too have lost their temper and really yelled at their kids, as if emotional abuse was so much better.  We are marginalizing the issue and the intricacies of people and relationships.

American President

I think that most people would agree that politics are pretty much a joke in this country.  I put a huge blame on the two party system.  Almost the entire election process, especially when regarding the presidential elections, is to prove that you are not as bad as the other person.  With the exception of Obama’s first bid at office, which quickly turned out to be a nightmare because he lied throughout his entire campaign because of political realities or just simple incompetence.  I don’t know of many people who actually studies politics that actually likes Obama, but most Democrats are quick to point out just how much worse Romney was.  Now, I do lean a little more on the conservative side, especially when it comes to economics, but Romney is way to associated with big business and I have to say that he was just as bad as Obama in different ways, though every time I think that I might have voted for him, I am reminded that the two states I could potentially have voted in went red, so it wouldn’t have made any difference.  I keep trying to tell people about third party candidates, People are more afraid what the other party would do to them than they are concerned about what it is that their own is doing.  We don’t care that we don’t like our government or the people we elect.  After all, it could be worse.

I think the first step for me was to realize that one is just as bad as the other.  Neither party stands by the principles for which they were started.  They have abandoned you.  I generally take this time to try and spread the word of the Libertarian Party, but since I know that many of you have already heard my rants, I am going to take another stab at what I see the issues at hand being.

What if each state elected one candidate.  There were no party affiliation, and literally anyone could run.   Now here is where things get unique.  For a couple hours a week, there was a show called “The American President”?  It would be run pretty much like American Idol.  Each candidate would get the same amount of time to talk about the same topic.  Every week there was a vote and one went home.  No candidate was allowed to be on any kind of media or was able to campaign outside of the show.  The only things that were allowed outside of the show were formally written policy suggestions about that week’s topic.  This might actually force some people to do some research and have candidates stop talking about abortion as if it were still a relevant issue (For the record, I am anti-abortion as it stands now, though I don’t really want to get into that now.  What is important to me is that even though Roe Vs. Wade is not in any danger of being overturned any time soon, people still talk about abortion, when the office they are campaigning for has nothing to do with abortion rights.  There are so many relevant issues that we gloss over because people don’t understand them.  Candidates talk about these issues because it elicits a strong emotional response from people.  I swear, I have seen a person running for sheriff talk about his abortion platform.  We let them get away with this.)