whenever I try and learn something new
The problem with the Ice Bucket Challenge is that it opens the door to the worst kind of hypocrisy. The people taking the challenge aren’t just comedians and actors; they’re also pundits and political candidates. Disturbingly, they are sometimes the same lawmakers who vote in Congress to defund ALS research….
If you cut funding for the National Institutes of Health, you’re cutting funding for ALS research. Yes, there are other groups doing research, but they work on a smaller scale than the NIH, which is by far the world’s largest source of medical funding. [Rep. John] Dingell lists a number of Congressmen who backed a particular bill that hurt the NIH. In reality, there are dozens of initiatives that chip away at funds for medical research — and legislators who back them.
An obvious example is George W. Bush, who recently took the Ice Bucket Challenge. Bush was well known as president for reducing NIH funding to some of its lowest levels. (If you adjust for inflation, things don’t look much better under Obama.) By taking the Challenge, Bush gives the appearance of supporting the cause of scientific research that he posed the biggest obstacle to for years. Strange, right?
Unfortunately, the hypocrisy doesn’t end there. Scientific research, and ALS research in particular, isn’t about a single institution. It’s about a larger pro-science attitude that is lacking in so many parts of the United States, holding our students back from scientific achievement and spreading harmful misinformation. Politicians who don’t oppose teaching intelligent design in public-school science class — from George Bush to Mitt Romney to others too many to name — do a disservice to ALS research. I’d definitely click to see a list of creationists who have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge.
While we’re at it, guess what finding a cure for ALS also involves? Stem cell research. The ALS Association says the funds that go toward stem cell research “mostly” involve adult stem cells. (For the record, when you donate to the ALS Association, you can make sure your money doesn’t go toward embryonic stem cells.) But how much are you really helping, if you insist on saying to researchers, “We want you to cure ALS, but not in this one perfectly legal way”? It’s like giving money to UNICEF and saying, “I want this to help kids everywhere except Sudan.” Not the best way to go about being a humanitarian.
When you are 13 years old,
the heat will be turned up too high
and the stars will not be in your favor.
You will hide behind a bookcase
with your family and everything left behind.
You will pour an ocean into a diary.
When they find you, you will be nothing
but a spark above a burning bush,
still, tell them
Despite everything, I really believe people are good at heart.
When you are 14,
a voice will call you to greatness.
When the doubters call you crazy, do not listen.
They don’t know the sound
of their own God’s whisper. Use your armor,
use your sword, use your two good hands.
Do not let their doubting
drown out the sound of your own heartbeat.
You are the Maid of Untamed Patriotism.
Born to lead armies into victory and unite a nation
like a broken heart.
When you are 15, you will be punished
for learning too proudly. A man
will climb onto your school bus and insist
your sisters name you enemy.
When you do not hide,
he will point his gun at your temple
and fire three times. Three years later,
in an ocean of words, with no apologies,
you will stand before the leaders of the world
and tell them your country is burning.
When you are 16 years old,
you will invent science fiction.
The story of a man named Frankenstein
and his creation. Soon after you will learn
that little girls with big ideas are more terrifying
than monsters, but don’t worry.
You will be remembered long after
they have put down their torches.
When you are 17 years old,
you will strike out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
one right after the other.
Men will be afraid of the lightening
in your fingertips. A few days later
you will be fired from the major leagues
because “Girls are too delicate to play baseball”
You will turn 18 with a baby on your back
leading Lewis and Clark
across North America.
You will turn 18
and become queen of the Nile.
You will turn 18
and bring justice to journalism.
You are now 18, standing on the precipice,
trembling before your own greatness.
This is your call to leap.
There will always being those
who say you are too young and delicate
to make anything happen for yourself.
They don’t see the part of you that smolders.
Don’t let their doubting drown out the sound
of your own heartbeat.
You are the first drop of a hurricane.
Your bravery builds beyond you. You are needed
by all the little girls still living in secret,
writing oceans made of monsters and
throwing like lightening.
You don’t need to grow up to find greatness.
You are stronger than the world has ever believed you to be.
The world laid out before you to set on fire.
All you have to do