I had to turn off the late evening news tonight. It was just too depressing.
I hate it when that happens, because I really think it is my obligation, and everyone's obligation, to keep up with what's going on in the world, if only to keep those in positions of power on their toes. Because, you now, I think a good proportion of them would be happiest if no one knew what they were doing. Ever.
And they've been up to a lot lately. In just the past couple of days I've had items come over my Facebook feed about legislative shenanigans in both Utah and Arizona, and none of it was good. In Utah, the state legislature has sent a bill to the governor for his signature that would ban sex education in the public schools. Nothing good can come of this, but if the governor signs the bill, the only thing teachers in Utah will be able to tell their students is that they shouldn't "do it" until after they're married.
Apparently the good Republicans in that state (the vote ran, so one of the stories I read said, pretty much along party lines, with the Republicans voting for the measure and the Democrats against it) believe that if you just don't talk about sex, teenagers won't have any sex. Of course, their stated reasoning for the legislation was that school isn't the place to talk about such things. Unfortunately, I think their assumption that all parents talk to their kids about these things is a little optimistic. Goodness only knows, my parents never did.
I'm afraid, thought, that ignorance is never bliss, and that if this bill becomes law, both the teen pregnancy rate and the rate of STDs in teenagers will skyrocket in a state that already has an interestingly high rate of those things for a place that is supposed to be so religious and conservative and abstemious (I wonder what the Blogger spell-check is going to do with that word, because I know I didn't spell it correctly...and I was right).
And then, if that wasn't bad enough, Arizona is in the process of passing a law that will allow doctors to not tell pregnant women if there is something wrong with the baby they are carrying if they are concerned that the woman might use that information to decide to get an abortion. There is some controversy over whether this keeping of secrets would also extend to not informing a woman who has a condition such as a tubal pregnancy that could very well kill her as well as the baby if the pregnancy is snot terminated. But even if that is not the case, don't these politicians think that if a woman is carrying a baby that could have some medical issue at birth, the parents would like to know that so that they can plan for what they will have to do when the baby is born, rather than being taken by surprise when the baby is born?
And that's the the news on the ongoing war on women. There's also the continuing bad economic news. Oh, they keep trying to spin it as if they economy is coming along just fine. But here in my county the unemployment rate is still at 16.9 percent, a bit over double the national average. This is not good news for those of us who are in need of work. Nor is the news that fuel prices are continuing to rise. And so on, and so forth.
I was appalled to read, just today, in a thread on a forum I frequent, posts from not a few people who were bragging about the fact that they don't watch or listen to news reports at all any more, and they don't read newspapers or news sites on the Internet. I believe that we all have an obligation to keep up with what's going on in the world.
But some days, I just can't take it and I, too, have to turn the news off and just go off to my happy place for awhile and pretend that everything is just fine.