Heads up!

Narrow perspectives and prejudice can be served on the same platter. I’m going to argue the case for a broader consideration of two recent offerings on the Empire’s Opinion page. There are many more facets to “liberty,” beliefs,” choice,” and “negativity,” than were reflected in the words of Bishop Edward Burns and former legislator John C. Wynne.

My understanding of the U.S. Health and Social Services policy calling for most private health insurance plans to include coverage for contraceptives, Plan ‘B,’ the morning-after pregnancy-preventing pill and sterilization, is to provide for the health, safety and family well-being of the general population. Catholics or others are free to refrain from making use of any of those prescription products or medical services if they are contrary to their beliefs.

However, the hospitals, clinics, social service agencies and universities having religious affiliation and that employ non-Catholics and provide services for non-Catholic patients or students would need to meet the HSS requirements. Ironically, surveys report the reality that 98 percent of Catholics already make use of contraceptives.

Catholic friends of mine in the Bay Area who had five sons, barely a year apart from each other, were advised by their priest to begin using contraceptives, which they did, gratefully and guilt-free. This was 45 years ago! There may be as large a gap between Catholic laity and the Catholic hierarchy as there is between the U.S. Catholic Church and the papacy in Rome.

Paying taxes for things that we don’t support or make use of is certainly common in our system of government. If we don’t have children, oppose the war in Afghanistan, wish to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in downtown Juneau, is it optional to withhold taxes for schools, our military excesses or the downtown parking garage? Not bloody likely.

Now about negative ads. If they are factual and relevant, they are fine in my book. If they are misleading or distort reality, no matter how “positive” in language, that is also demonstrably intended to deceive. Whether one is a consumer or a voter, it pays to be well-informed. An education doesn’t just enable us to better achieve employment goals, but also to more effectively participate in our democracy.

Right now we have a front-runner politician who speaks very positively about his own attributes and ability to become president of the U.S. — without providing any specifics about pertinent experience or policy details whatsoever.

The Jan. 30 Time magazine has a provocative article calling for “Truth Vigilantes, Attack! Why shouldn’t the press call out political lies?” It goes on to say, “A journalism that gives distortions a free pass is, more than readers and viewers realize, as good as useless. An effort to appear objective can go too far. News outlets should never be fearful that doing their job aggressively and calling a lie a lie will make them look like political hit men.”

So, heads up, everybody!

Dixie Hood

Juneau

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