Monday, August 14, 2006

I know an old woman

I have this song in my head...

I know an old woman who swallowed a fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - perhaps she'll die!

I know an old woman who swallowed a spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed the fly - perhaps she'll die!

I know an old woman who swallowed a bird
How absurd! She swallowed a bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - perhaps she'll die!

I know an old woman who swallowed a cat
Just fancy that! To swallow a cat!
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - perhaps she'll die!

I know an old woman who swallowed a dog
Oh what a hog! To swallow a dog
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - perhaps she'll die!

I know an old woman who swallowed a cow
I don't know how she swallowed a cow
She swallowed the cow to catch the dog
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - perhaps she'll die!

I know an old woman who swallowed a Horse
She's dead of course!


And I finally get it.

See, I know an old woman who swallowed a lie. She's a Bush fan. Well, I'm not sure what her political inclinations are, if she has any, but she thinks he's cute and therefore has a picture of him next to her easy chair. Since she learned that I'm a scientist, she has begun saving me Time Magazine articles about science.

For instance, during one recent encounter she handed me an article about the stem cell bill, on the day it was vetoed. She talked about how excited she was about the prospect of stem cell research, especially because she has a paralyzed grandson who, she realizes, probably won't benefit from the research, but it's interesting nonetheless.

I had to break it to her that her cutie pie president wouldn't allow it. "Well, it would have been a good idea, except that Bush vetoed the bill today."

"What?"

"Both houses of congress passed it, and then Bush vetoed it."

"He wouldn't do that!"

"He just did!" I pointed to the televsion, Fox News, conveniently showing Bush, seated at a table and surrounded by his blastocyst-loving cronies, signing his name on the veto line (if there is one).

I don't remember how the conversation ended, and I'm not sure if I actually burst her bubble. But my lesson from the experience is that there are people who are confused about politics, and simply aren't paying enough attention to see through the lies. In many people's worlds, the Bush administration works, and they're happy about it.

I used to think that the country would be a better place if more people voted. Now I think the world would be better if only the people paying attention would vote. That's depressing. It shouldn't be that way. Voting should be easy, and it shouldn't require all the work of reading the daily news and listening to talk radio and having intellectual debates and weighing the issues etc. It shouldn't require seeing through lies which, if not debunked, may lead to serious problems. Like swallowing a horse.

3 comments:

  1. Great post, hon.

    Ross has a plan for using the internet to make it easier to understand the issues, but it's gonna be a while in the coming. Till then you keep bursting bubbles, ok?

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  2. Anonymous3:06 PM

    At least stem cell research will continue in other parts of the world where attitudes are more progressive: Singapore, Hong Kong, Europe, India ...

    The question is: Will the U.S. deem the use of any therapies arising from this research illegal? Should be interesting.


    - Rich

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  3. Meera- I'll keep my hopes up.

    Rich- I suppose I'm less worried about the advancement of stem cell science, and more worried about the lack of support for science in this country. It's bad in the long term.

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