When I say “the pursuit of happiness” in my blog tagline, I really mean it. I really care about the interconnection between women, technology, and happiness.
I realize now that it’s impossible to talk about happiness without talking about politics. Because there is such a thing as the politics of happiness.
Sometimes this becomes really clear. Take, for example, the decision to bar gay marriage. In a rational, legal sense, that decision denies gay couples a right (or the many rights that come with marriage). But in a personal sense, that decision prevents their pursuit of happiness (and if you don’t believe me, stare for a few seconds to one of the pictures of just married gay couples in San Francisco in February 2004).
[It turns out that the words “certain unalienable Rights” and among these “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” that our Founding Fathers idealistically included in the Declaration of Independence, never made it into the American Constitution. They only agreed on the much blander Ninth Amendment “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”]
So I found out about Badger by reading Lilia’s blog–and Lilia found her through Profgrrl, and Profgrrl found her through Academic Coach. A string of women blogging about women, connecting to other women, using blogging to change each other’s lives.
[Which clarifies the connection between the politics of happiness, women, and technology.]
Badger is a graduate student and her husband is an artist. Last year, Badger’s husband was diagnosed with liver cancer. Suddenly, the political decisions that shaped health care management in this country became brutally personal. Politics were letting Badger’s husband die.
Cost to date for surgery, CT-scans, hospital stays, doctors’ visits, and labwork: $79,000. Insurance benefit left for year: $21,000. Days left until new benefit year: 145. Response from Social Security Administration when I went down to their office with our 2004 tax returns to prove our lack of income: Priceless.
“There’s nothing I can do for you. Come back in two years.”
Prognosis of someone with stage four liver cancer: 3 months
So, here it is. I tried to avoid blogging publicly about politics. But it turns out that it’s not possible to have an opinion on happiness (everybody looks for it, everybody deserves it) without talking about politics.