I’m a doctor. We get all the glory. And credit. And guess what? We only deserve part of it.
I started out in medicine in the mid-80′s, volunteering at an ER. And the biggest shock to me was learning how much of what happens in a hospital is nurse territory. Doctors will see you anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes a day, depending on how sick you are. And the rest is the nurses.
They’re the ones making sure you get your pills and checking that your vital signs aren’t dropping. They make sure you don’t fall down and break something. If you start vomiting, doctors will run out of the room and the nurses will rush in. They change your wound dressings and start your IV line. They’ll bring you a warm blanket. And clean disgusting things off you. Even if you’re drunk. Or delirious. Or mean. And through all of this they try be friendly and positive. Even though you aren’t their only sick patient.
I respect nurses. I learned early on that they’re key to being a good doctor. You piss off the nursing staff, and you’ll have a miserable career at that hospital. Respect and treat them well, and you’ll never regret it. They’re as important to being a good doctor as your medical degree. Maybe more.
If you come out of medical school with a chip on your shoulder against nurses, you better lose it fast. Because they will make or break your training, and often know more than you do. Be nice and they’ll teach you. A good neurology nurse is often a better inpatient neurologist than some doctors I’ve met.
I remember a guy named Steve, who was an intern with me a long time ago. We were only a few months out of medical school, and as we were writing chart notes one morning a nurse came over and asked if he’d go listen to his patient’s heart. With icy contempt, and not even looking up from the chart, he said “I don’t have to listen to his heart, because I looked at his EKG.” They ain’t the same thing, dude. If he’d listened he might have noticed that the patient had developed a loud murmur in the last 24 hours.
When the attending caught it a few hours later, Steve got chewed out. If he’d taken the nurse’s advice, and listened, he wouldn’t have gotten reprimanded by the residency board.
Here’s a quote from “Kill as Few Patients as Possible” by Oscar London, MD: “Working with a good nurse is one of the great joys of being a doctor. I cannot understand physicians who adopt an adversarial relationship with nurses. They are depriving themselves of an education in hospital wisdom.”
Those doctors are also depriving themselves of friends. On a difficult day on call, sometimes all it takes is a sympathetic nurse to temporarily add you to her patient list, steal you a Diet Coke from the fridge, and let you cry on her shoulder for 5 minutes. It doesn’t make the day any less busy, but helps you absorb the punishment better.
What got me started on this?
While I was rounding this weekend, a grateful patient’s family brought the ICU nurses a box of donuts, and so the staff was picking through them. One said, “Oh, this kind is my favorite, it has cream filling.”
And a patient in one of the rooms yelled, “Hey, babe, I got my own kind of cream-filled dessert in here! Come have a taste!”
You say that to a waitress, and you’d likely get your kicked out of the restaurant.
You say that to a co-worker, and you’d be fired and/or sued for harassment.
You say that to a lady in a bar, and you’ll likely get a black eye.
And what did the nurse do? In spite of the patient said, she went in his room, turned off his beeping IV pump, and calmly told him that he would not talk to her that way.
And I admire that.
Nursing is a damn tough job. And the people who do it are tougher. And somehow still remain saints.
Lupita Nyong’o wins an Oscar for portraying a real life slave, and the first thing she did was thank Patsy for her inspiration.
Jared Leto wins an Oscar for portraying a trans woman, and doesn’t mention trans women at all.
I think the problem that the trans* community (and their allies) have is that he didn’t specifically mention trans*. He didn’t say the word or title on stage. He made a vague reference to them which really could have been directed at any group. He didn’t thank them specifically, he didn’t acknowledge them by name. In a world where every bit of media exposure counts, that is a problem…
I agree with you hermemia. Just sharing the post to spark a conversation.
Okay, what. If it’s possible for Lupita Nyong’o to specifically mention slaves, it’s a “problem” when the transgender community expects the same sort of recognition? Yes, it’s a problem that he didn’t reference them directly because trans women are targets of discrimination! They can’t be lumped into a general grey mass of people who have “ever felt injustice.” Of course they have, but without a specific mention, how many cis white straight people are going to make it about themselves? Jared Leto played a trans woman. He should acknowledge them and the very specific brand of injustice they face.
And LOL you think this is media exposure?! This isn’t media exposure. This is media exposure for cis white men who make a profit off of portraying trans women. This is as good as a white actor putting on blackface and playing a black slave and you saying that this is “media exposure.” That isn’t media exposure. That is racism, just like how this isn’t media exposure and is transmisogyny.
EDIT: and let’s not forget he apparently “stands for" trans people
“Suicidal feelings are not the same as giving up on life. Suicidal feelings often express a powerful and overwhelming need for a different life. Suicidal feelings can mean, in a desperate and unyielding way, a demand for something new. Listen to someone who is suicidal and you often hear a need for change so important, so indispensable, that they would rather die than go on living without the change. And when the person feels powerless to make that change happen, they become suicidal.
Help comes when the person identifies the change they want and starts to believe it can actually happen. Whether it is overcoming an impossible family situation, making a career or study change, standing up to an oppressor, gaining relief from chronic physical pain, igniting creative inspiration, feeling less alone, or beginning to value their self worth, at the root of suicidal feelings is often powerlessness to change your life – not giving up on life itself.
The friend zone is very real. We have all had someone we were close to that we realized we were crushing on in a big way - but we hated ourselves for it. As much as we hoped and prayed things would change for the better, many of us acknowledged that our love for the other person was going to be detrimental towards the relationship. The people in this kind of friend zone cry while watching romance movies or go out and get drunk and kiss strangers. We make sure to keep a respectful distance between the person we like and ourselves - we are distinctly afraid of fucking things up because of our shitty heart being a complete dickweed and doing the thumpy thing when it shouldn’t.
The Friend Zone is entirely false and is a complete invention made by boys who on one hand get angry if they think you’re soliciting sex by playing video games but on the other hand get angry if you are not soliciting sex just by breathing. The Friend Zone consists rarely of actual friends - instead it’s often people who stare at us in class and make us uncomfortable by constantly trying to talk to us while we’re obviously engaged in something else. These are the people who invade our personal space and aren’t afraid to talk dismissively about the things which we are passionate about - our faith in particular.
These are not kind people. Once I was in a hospital’s waiting room and a woman was quietly saying a prayer for her son. After a few minutes, several other people joined in, linking their hands and bowing their heads. The boy next to me began to talk loudly to me about how disgusting and juvenile it was and how amused he happened to be by the behavior of the “sheep.”
"I’m Catholic," I replied, looking into his eyes, "I think what they’re doing is beautiful."
He looked down my shirt. “You seemed more intelligent than that,” he snorted, “I should have known. Are you even reading that book or are you just skimming?”
I blinked. I wish I had said something like, “No, I’m just breathing in the words and hoping they stick,” but instead I just gave him a dirty look and tried to tune him out. He kept talking to me for the better part of an hour.
Eventually, he got around to asking me out for coffee. I wanted to explain I was waiting for my mother to get out of chemotherapy, that my family was poised on the edge of a terrible end, that I barely knew him and basically already hated him. Instead, I smiled sheepishly and said, “I’d rather not.”
"You bitch," he replied. I watched his face flare hot. "You sluts are all like this. You play hard-to-get faux-intelligent and you lead people on just to hurt them."
"I’m…?" I started. I was scared. He was in my face. His hands were curled into fists.
"You’re all like this," he repeated. At this point, a few of the other people in the room were staring. I was pressed against the side of my chair, trying to get as far from him as I could. He wouldn’t lower his voice. "You fucking friend zone all the nice guys and date shitty asshole men and then come crying to our shoulders when you need someone."
I am not a confrontational person. Panic bubbled in my throat. I felt tears jump into my eyes. I started stuttering again. I was really honestly positive he was going to hurt me - for no other reason than turning down coffee.
This is the difference between the friend zone and the Friend Zone: one is hating yourself for liking the other person. The other is hating the other person for not liking you.
”—A nighttime story about why the terrible deep Friend Zone, mostly written because about seventeen boys have asked what I mean when I complain about it. (via inkskinned)
“It’s hard to tell people they deserve to be poor when they’ve done everything they were supposed to do to avoid poverty: gone to college, worked 40 hours a week. A free market that fails to reward honest toil and initiative must inevitably become less free. If Americans can’t get the money and benefits they need from their employers, they will turn to the government for help. And if the government won’t help them, perhaps they’ll vote in one that will.”—You Call This A Middle Class? “I’m Trying Not to Lose My House” (via azspot)
I had a patient in the clinic who really did not want an abortion but who had no resources to cover the costs of prenatal care or childbirth. She was single and without insurance coverage but made just enough money to be ineligible for state assistance. She already had outstanding bills at the hospital and with the local ob-gyn practice. No doctor would see her without payment up front.
We were willing to do the abortion for a reduced rate or for free if necessary. But she really didn’t want an abortion. Once I understood her situation, I went to the phone and called the local ‘crisis pregnancy center.’
"Hello, this is Dr. Wicklund."
Dead silence. I might as well have said I was Satan.
"Hello?" I said again. "This is Dr. Wicklund."
"Hello," very tentatively, followed by another long silence.
"I need help with a patient," I said. "She came to me for an abortion, but really doesn’t want one. What she really needs is someone to do her prenatal care and birth for free."
"What do you expect us to do?"
I let that hang for a minute.
This Common Secret, Susan Wicklund
Crisis Pregnancy Centers often disguise themselves as medical facilities, with advertisements offering “help” with an unplanned pregnancy. Their main goal is to keep the pregnant person from having an abortion at all costs. Usually, all they’ll give you is a free pregnancy test, some baby clothes, and maybe a box of diapers.
The patient referred to in the quote was given free prenatal care and did not have to pay the financial cost of childbirth by a local anti-choice doctor. She would often stop by Dr. Wicklund’s office to let her know how she was doing:
"He (the doctor) always moans and groans about being tricked into [doing this]," she says. "Then he goes off on these tirades against abortion."
The top ten recipients slated to receive US foreign assistance in 2014 all practice torture and are responsible for major human rights abuses, according to
The top ten recipients slated to receive US foreign assistance in 2014 all practice torture and are responsible for major human rights abuses, according to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other major human rights organizations.
The violators and degree of aid they are expected to receive are: 1. Israel – $3.1bn, 2. Afghanistan – $2.2bn, 3. Egypt – $1.6bn, 4. Pakistan – $1.2bn, 5. Nigeria – $693m, 6. Jordan – $671m, 7. Iraq – $573m, 8. Kenya – $564m, 9. Tanzania – $553m, 10. Uganda -$456m
Each of the listed countries are accused of torturing people in the last year, and at least half are reported to be doing so on a massive scale.
Financial support for such governments could violate existing US law mandating that little or no funding be granted to a country that “engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, including torture.”
The United States remains a signatory of the United Nations Convention against Torture, ratified in 1994. That the top ten recipients of US assistance all practice torture calls into serious question the Obama administration’s overall stance on and understanding of fundamental human rights.
Did any trans woman audition for Jared Leto's part, do we have this information?
I’m not sure what difference this necessarily makes because regardless of how many trans women Jared Leto “beat out” for the role (and who was doing the judging? Cis producers?) there are still a lot of problems with this casting and the subsequent “Best Supporting Actor” acclaims.
If only 5 trans women auditioned for this role, then the production did not look hard enough before settling for a cis actor. If 2000 trans women auditioned for this role and the production still thought Jared was better than all of them, then that says more about the production and Jared’s cis privilege than the quality of his acting. I suspect the number was closer to 0 than 2000. There is no way to justify that Leto was the best actor for the role without also invalidating the work of every single trans actress as less talented. And, as trans advocates have pointed out, Leto’s gender as a cis man “is important to the perception of the role. He is perpetuating the ‘man in a dress’ trope.” The quality of his performance does not buffer against the reinforcement of this stereotype.
While there isn’t public information available about who else auditioned for the role of Rayon, Jared Leto has spoken about his audition experience. Leto believes that the director “may have seen Rayon more as a drag queen or someone who enjoys pushing a gender envelope or dressing up in women’s clothing.” In that case, it is more likely that cis actors auditioned fro the role of a drag queen, and Leto chose to interpret this character as a “transgendered" (not even the right language coming from someone who claims to be an ally) "beautiful creature.”
"There was a Skype meeting set up with the director [Jean-Marc Vallée]. It wasn’t really an audition, but it was kind of an audition, you know, underneath it all. But I decided to use it as a test really for myself to see what I had to offer. So I said hello via Skype, we were in Berlin, and it was wintertime. We were playing one of the biggest shows of our lives that night, I remember. I reached out and grabbed some lipstick and started to put it on, and you know, his mouth fell to the floor. I was wearing — I think this jacket — and I unbuttoned it and had on a little pink furry sweater, and I pulled it down over my shoulder and proceeded to flirt with him for the next 20 minutes and then woke up the next day with the official offer. Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, baby." - Jared Leto on his audition for the role of Rayon.
Director Jean Marc Vallee said of this audition:
Do you know this actor Jared Leto? I just Skyped with him and he hit on me; He was feeling me up through the screen! I don’t know, it was very uncomfortable but I think we found Rayon.”
It’s sad, because it seems like from the start Rayon was an amalgam of cis men’s stereotypes of a provocative trans women. So of course the perfect Rayon is overly flirtatious and sexualized in a way that makes people uncomfortable. Of course the perfect Rayon is someone who gets the job by playing up the sexuality by hitting on a cis straight man.
This is a really big problem for Georgia. You can’t lose eight hospitals and not have it effect your state overall.
The organization for rural hospitals in Georgia says ‘if Georgia doesn’t figure out how to stop what’s going on, how to keep it’s hospitals opened, that state is going to create a Third World nation health situation in rural parts of the state.’
Now, one way to fix this problem, of course, is to get the poor people who live in rural parts of that state to have health insurance, so that they could go to the doctor before things became an emergency, and when they did go to the doctor, the doctor and the hospital would be paid for the treatment. Radical idea, I know, this whole ‘health insurance’ thing.
The federal government has told Georgia that it will pick up 100% of the cost of getting health insurance to 600,000 people in that state who are currently uninsured. The federal government would pay 100% of the cost of that for three years, and 90% of the cost thereafter, and even though Georgia’s hospitals are dropping like flies, losing the fight to stay opened, as they struggle to treat that state’s poor, rural population which doesn’t have health insurance and can’t pay for the treatment out of pocket, even as that’s happening. They’ve lost eight hospitals, Georgia republicans have said ‘no’.
They’ve said no to covering 600,000 more people in the state, at no cost to the state.
They’ve said no to that deal.
The governor of that state, is named Deal. It’s Nathan Deal, and now Governor Deal of Georgia has proposed a new solution to Georgia’s vexing problem of all it’s hospitals shutting down:
If the rural hospitals are shutting down, because they have to treat people at the emergency room, but none of these uninsured patients can pay for that treatment, if that is the crux of the problem, well rather than turning those uninsured patients into people who can pay, by giving them insurance, Governor Deal has decided ‘You know what, let’s fix the other side of this problem. Let’s fix the Ronald Reagan side of this problem. Let’s repeal the requirement that hospitals have to treat people.’
That’s his big idea, that would do it. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has now proposed this. He is turning down the option that would 600,000 more people in his state to have health insurance. He is turning that down and instead is proposing that the solution problems is for the federal government to repeal the Reagan Era law that says ‘if you turn up at the hospital while you’re in labor, or while you’re having a heart attack, that hospital has to treat you.’
That’s a federal law, he is asking federal officials to move to repeal it, because that would be good for Georgia.
The governor said that revisiting that specific law is what congress should do “if they really want to get serious about lowering the cost of healthcare in this country.”
When the paper in Noonan, Georgia called the Noonan Times-Herald, when they published Governor Deal’s proposal on that issue this week, they said that what the governor wants to do is get rid of the rule that says that emergency rooms have to treat sick people, the first comment on that article was this:
'Why yes, that is a way to cut medical spending: let the poor die.”
Rachel Maddow 02/28/2013 on Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s proposal to repeal the Reagan Era “Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor” act. (via misterdelfuego)
Governor Nathan Deal is a horrendous deal for Georgia. He needs removed from office.
“Sadly, as caregivers fight for more protections, some disability organisations have come out against this emerging labour movement, claiming that it threatens disabled people. Meanwhile, caregivers imply that they’re being exploited by disabled people and their families. The result is an impasse between two groups who should be working in solidarity with each other, because they both, ultimately, want the same thing: a safer, happier, healthier, better working environment.
The problem here lies not with either party, but with the society and culture surrounding disability and caregiving. Caregiving, whether of disabled people, older adults, or children, is not valued by society, and consequently, wages are kept artificially low. A reluctance to provide reasonable allowances for caregiving means that disabled people are forced to scrimp on the number of hours they have available, and the funds they can offer (in many cases, they do not actually control hours or pay, as these are preset by the government agency that provides caregiver assistance). Lack of autonomy forces disabled people to pressure caregivers into providing overtime services, even if they may not necessarily relish the idea of compelling an aide to stay or asking an aide to come in early.
Pitching these two parties against each other dodges the larger issue here, which is that the culture needs to change. All labour should be valued, and the minimum wage in general must be raised, with no exemptions for any workers, including caregivers. Funding for caregiving must be increased to allow greater access to caregivers—many disabled people now rely on caregivers in shifts for 24 hour care, and similar shift arrangements can eliminate care gaps while also eliminating overtime for other disabled people. Disabled people and caregivers working together to accomplish these aims could do a lot, and it’s tragic to see labor and disability leaders refusing to embrace the possibility for solidarity.”—Stop Pitting Disabled People and Caregivers Against Each Other | this ain’t livin’ (via brutereason)
The transitional authorities were not from the right, or even from the western part of Ukraine, where nationalism is more widespread. The speaker of the parliament and the acting president is a Baptist preacher from southeastern Ukraine. All of the power ministries, where of course any coup-plotter would plant his own people, were led by professionals and Russian speakers. The acting minister of internal affairs was half Armenian and half Russian. The acting minister of defense was of Roma origin.
The provisional authorities are now being supplanted by a new government, chosen by parliament, which is very similar in its general orientation. The new prime minister is a Russian-speaking conservative technocrat. Both of the major presidential candidates in the elections planned for May are Russian speakers. The likely next president, Vitali Klitschko, is the son of a general in the Soviet armed forces, best known in the West as the heavyweight champion boxer. He is a chess player and a Russian speaker. He does his best to speak Ukrainian. It does not come terribly naturally. He is not a Ukrainian nationalist….
Whatever course the Russian intervention may take, it is not an attempt to stop a fascist coup, since nothing of the kind has taken place. What has taken place is a popular revolution, with all of the messiness, confusion, and opposition that entails. The young leaders of the Maidan, some of them radical leftists, have risked their lives to oppose a regime that represented, at an extreme, the inequalities that we criticize at home. They have an experience of revolution that we do not. Part of that experience, unfortunately, is that Westerners are provincial, gullible, and reactionary.
Thus far the new Ukrainian authorities have reacted with remarkable calm. It is entirely possible that a Russian attack on Ukraine will provoke a strong nationalist reaction: indeed, it would be rather surprising if it did not, since invasions have a way of bringing out the worst in people. If this is what does happen, we should see events for what they are: an entirely unprovoked attack by one nation upon the sovereign territory of another.
Is the West about to go to war with Russia over the fate of Ukraine? The question should answer itself. I can’t imagine many Americans or Europeans willingly spending “blood and treasure” to keep Moscow’s mitts off of Kiev and Kviv. So why, then, did President Obama publicly warn Vladimir…
Is the West about to go to war with Russia over the fate of Ukraine? The question should answer itself. I can’t imagine many Americans or Europeans willingly spending “blood and treasure” to keep Moscow’s mitts off of Kiev and Kviv. So why, then, did President Obama publicly warn Vladimir Putin that armed aggression against Ukraine would lead to “consequences”?
What “consequences” did Obama have in mind? To put it another way, what cache of consequences could the United States fling at Moscow that would make Putin (or any Russian leader) change his behavior, or alter his cost-benefit calculus, when it comes to Ukraine?
Putin may face a bad month or so in the world media—perhaps face some sanctions and other troubles—for moving tanks, planes, and Russia’s own brutal brigade of riot police to quash protesters, overthrow parliament, and restore some version of the old regime. But in his mind, that’s nothing compared with the prospect of losing Ukraine.
Putin, after all, has lamented the breakup of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20thcentury. He considers Ukraine to be a Russian “territory,” not an independent nation (and said so to President George W. Bush in 2008). And the Crimean peninsula, which Nikita Khrushchev ceded to Ukraine in 1954, is Ukrainian in name only, and even then just barely. (Khrushchev didn’t quite surrender the land but declared it an autonomous enclave.) The Russian Navy maintains an important fleet there; most of its people speak, and regard themselves as, Russian. In the ongoing crisis, Putin did send troops to seize Crimea—to the complaint of few locals.
Yes, Russia signed an accord guaranteeing Ukraine’s borders, and Secretary of State John Kerry scored debater’s points by noting that Putin couldn’t very well insist on Syria’s sovereignty while violating Ukraine’s. None of this matters to Putin, nor would it have to any other Russian leader in memory. Putin could cite the Crimean people’s pleas to restore order in their streets (not that they’d been teeming with disorder). If the crisis persists, he could easily find someone in the eastern part of the Ukrainian mainland—which is largely pro-Russia—to issue similar pleas. “I’m not invading Ukraine,” he could say, “I’m only answering the calls for fraternal assistance from citizens endangered by hooligans and terrorists.” (Indeed, in his phone call with President Obama today, Putin reserved the right to protect Russian interests in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.)
Of course, these are rationalizations, not real reasons. Putin’s principal motive, now in the Crimea and possibly later in eastern Ukraine, is to reassert Russian hegemony.
Who knows how long Russia can sustain an occupation, especially in the face of insurgents who have an ancestral hatred of Russia.
Is this horrendous? Yes. Is it a big surprise? No. What can we do in response? Not a whole lot—again, unless we want to go to war, which would be stupid. There are good reasons why even George W. Bush backed off (or at least stopped short of pursuing) a pledge to consider Ukraine for NATO membership. First, calmer minds weighed the level of Western interests in Ukrainian independence against the cost of defending it in a pinch, and found the former coming up short. (A military alliance like NATO, in which an attack on one is seen as an attack against all, should mean something.) Second, polls suggested that only a minority of Ukraine’s citizens wanted to join this alliance; about 40 percent saw NATO as a threat.
In 1959, and again in 1961, when Khrushchev threatened to occupy West Berlin, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy called his bluff, and Khrushchev backed down. If Khrushchev had sent in tanks, the United States couldn’t have staved them off. (Berlin was in the middle of East Germany, and at the time NATO had only small conventional armies.) But West Berlin was a key Cold War battleground, a symbol of freedom and the home to millions of people who had been promised American protection. Eisenhower and Kennedy said that they were willing to go tonuclear war to keep West Berlin free—and Khrushchev believed them enough to back down, in part because, despite his belligerent claims to the contrary, he had almost no nuclear weapons of his own. (Kennedy actually ordered a top-secret study on whether a nuclear first strike against Soviet military targets was feasible; it turned out, it was.)
Ukraine is not West Berlin. More to the point, Ukraine is much more important to Russia than it is to the United States or to any Western European nation. Russia is on Ukraine’s borders; Putin sees it (as, again, would any Russian leader) as a vital market, supplier, and, most important, a buffer against Western encroachment. None of this implies support for Putin’s position, politically, morally, or otherwise. It merely describes the facts on the ground: the interests, the stakes, and thus the risks and options on all sides.
Which leads back to the original question: Why did Obama publicly state that aggression in Ukraine would trigger “consequences”? Clearly he was telling Putin to recalculate the potential costs and benefits of an invasion. But Obama was ignoring a simple fact: Putin would incur almost any risk to avoid losing Ukraine. To put it another way: There are no consequences—none that the United States could credibly threaten—that would keep Putin from doing whatever it takes to hang on to Ukraine.
More often than not, Obama has acted like a foreign-policy realist in the five years of his presidency. In his public statements on Ukraine these past 24 hours, he has not. Rather, he has drawn another “red line” that the threatened party feels it’s worth the risk to ignore.
Obama spoke today with Putin for two hours, and Kerry is presumably talking with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Russian news agencies are also reporting that Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister (and erstwhile rival of deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych) is traveling to Moscow on Monday to speak with Putin. All of these figures, not least Tymoshenko, understand what Soviet strategists used to call the “correlation of forces”—the contending interests, risks, possibilities (and impossibilities) at his historic moment.
Neither side wants an escalation in violence and disorder. The question is how much each side is willing to accept an escalation in the pursuit of its vital interests. And in that equation, Obama and the EU do not hold strong hands.
Under such circumstances in a crisis of this potential magnitude, Obama should be looking for common interests. One such interest is ending the bloodshed. Even Putin couldn’t want to send troops to the Ukrainian heartland. The Russian army is hardly in tip-top shape: It could probably mount an invasion, but who knows how long it could sustain an occupation, especially in the face of nationalist insurgents who have a fierce, even ancestral hatred of Russia.
Perhaps Obama could offer assurances that he won’t offer Ukraine membership in NATO (that’s not a live issue anyway), nor will he push to revive the plan for Ukraine to join the European Union. This latter pledge would be a big deal: The protests were set off when Yanukovich cancelled plans for a formal association with the EU, after Putin lured him back into Moscow’s bed with a $15 billion aid program. In exchange for these assurances, Putin would call off his shock troops, recognize the Ukrainian parliament’s ouster of Yanukovich (whom Putin never liked anyway), and allow Ukrainian elections to go ahead this May, perhaps under international observation. Obama could present the deal as a victory for democracy (the Ukrainian people will decide!). Putin could swallow the deal, believing that a pro-Russia candidate might win (legitimately or otherwise). In any event, the Ukrainian politicians will have been shown what Putin could do if they get out in front of their skis again.
Then again, maybe they’re not talking in these terms. Putin could overplay his hand, not wanting to look weak in his backyard and perhaps believing that the Western leaders won’t walk away from him altogether because they need his help in Syria and Iran. Or maybe Obama and Putin could come to terms, but protesters and police in Kiev and elsewhere might have different ideas about an equitable solution—thus re-escalating the violence. (Just a few days ago, remember, Yanukovich and the heads of three protest groups shook hands on a settlement—but the deal satisfied neither the protesters nor the real authorities.)
The crisis may be almost over, or is may be just beginning—an unsatisfying way to end a column, but the Ukrainian people have had a very long unsatisfying history, and many of them won’t want to crawl back to their slumber after seeing the first signs of a new, engaged political life in decades.
Marriage equality will, in time, fundamentally destroy “traditional marriage,” and I, for one, will dance on its grave.
It’s not a terribly difficult conclusion to draw.
As same-sex couples marry, they will be forced to re-imagine many tenets of your “traditional marriage.” In doing so, they will face a series of complicated questions:
Should one of us change our last name? And if so, who?
Should we have kids? Do we want to have kids? How do we want to have kids? Whose last name do our kids take?
How about housework, work-work, childcare? How do we assign these roles equitably? How do we cultivate a partnership that honors each of our professional and personal ambitions?
As questions continually arise, heterosexual couples will take notice — and be forced to address how much “traditional marriage” is built on gender roles and perpetuates a nauseating inequality that has no place in 2014.