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26 March 2009 @ 12:00 am
i was thinking tonight about statistics and the role that they play in my life. in my job (vp of outreach and communication for MS & jackson area national organization for women) i get to hear a lot of statistics. unfortunately they are mostly negative ones having to do with things like rape, violence against women, teen pregnancy rates, stds, etc.

the odd thing is, i like statistics, i always have. the give us a context for things. 1 in 3 dentists are suicidal, mississippi is number one in teen birth rates in the united states; they give us perspective. this is bad, that is good, we know how bad or good because we know how many people it effects or how many people think that way. of course we need to know where those statistics come from if we are to know their accuracy. one of my favourite sources to cite is the CDC (center for disease control). i don't always trust government statistics fully but i will usually trust the statistics from solid organizations like amnesty international, or the rape incest and abuse national network (RAINN).

it's nice to come into contact with statistics that are just random though, and what got me thinking about that tonight is oddly enough health magazine. my mom subscribes to it and gives it to me when she's done. i actually prefer fitness magazine if we are looking at healthy living magazines marketed to women in their 30s. the one thing i really LOVE about health magazine though is their very last page. while some women's magazines like to save that for the "all important" worst dressed lists and photos, health magazine has something called "vital stats." in that section they pick a theme and then give random statistics.

in the issue i was reading it was about success or the good life. it said something like (and i am doing this from memory so please don't quote me) 74% of americans believe they will achieve "the good life" and 52% believe that "the good life" is owning a second car. as i eagerly read over the statistics, musing and marveling at each one, i thought about the odd comfort that comes from knowing how many people feel the way you do about something. things like (once again i made this up) 89% of americans support the ERA or hate crimes bill makes you go "oh wow, that's great!" and things like (real actual statistic from the human rights campaign) a hate crime occurs every minute and 1 in 6 hate crimes are based on sexual orientation make you go "what world am i living in?"

statistics are sort of like a picture window - they frame our world for us. more than that, they tell us what we are looking at. i think what really motivates me when it comes to statistics is our ability to change them; to change people's minds, to work for the greater good. only 42% of americans support the hate crimes bill? how do we get the majority? how do we educate, who do we educate?

lately i have so many personal things going on that really the only solace i have found for my aching heart and my weary mind has been through the things i believe in most - my activism. the funny thing is, i was always more of a thinker than a doer. i'm a writer. i want to talk about what's wrong not get out there and CHANGE it. it occured to me tonight how much i have changed since i've been back in mississippi, and even in the last year. i said of certain people "they are thinkers and dreamers - ideas people. they're not DO-ers." i realized how long i had been a thinker and a dreamer, and certainly not a doer. the things aren't mutually exclusive. we need thinkers, people that can come up with really great ideas that just blow you away, and we need doers but you don't just have to be one or the other. one of the greatest examples of this is our jackson area NOW president ashley jackson. i don't say this to name-check or suck up, it's just true: ashley has phenominal ideas, things that would never in a million years cross my mind. if she never did anything though, those ideas would just be wasted.

i still have a lot to say, as is clear from this entry. i don't blog a lot lately because i'm just so exhausted on so many levels. but the truth is, we can think and say until we die and what good will it do us or the world? perhaps if we are a great philosopher but let's face it, who is these days? writing about why the ERA needs to finally pass may change some minds, but there is a lot more than just thinking and writing that needs to be done. i know a lot of good is going to come out of some of my ideas and the ideas of others, and i cannot wait to see them become firm and concrete physical visions of what we had in our minds eye.

in the end i'm not sure what that has to do with statistics but, you probably already know i meander wherever i can. :)
existing: bed
girl feels: thoughtfulthoughtful
melodies: the glorious thunder storm