The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Automating Poverty

Posted on February 19, 2019

Most of us remain thankful for modern technology and how it has speeded up processes and transactions, mostly by letting us carry out such procedures online and at home. Nevertheless, we are more than aware that something human got lost along the way to such efficiencies.   So it is with those struggling through poverty in all its many forms.  Recent studies are showing that many in low-income situations are seeing less and less of human caseworkers and more and more of online forms, lengthy wait times to reach someone on the phone, and a lengthy array of paperwork just to get through the process of getting assistance. It’s even the subject of a compelling book.  In her Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor,…

The Other Path

Posted on February 17, 2019

In 1950, the year of my birth, a wide-ranging Gallup poll in America asked high school seniors the simple question: “Do you consider yourself to be a very important person?” Only 12% of the respondents answered in the affirmative.  Gallup asked senior students the same question in 1990 and that number had risen to 80%.  Three years ago (2016), it had risen to a staggering 94%. Clearly how people see themselves has been going through a not-so-subtle transformation.  Much of this is due to the phenomenal rise in the youth culture and its ability to capture the attention of the corporate world and the selling of products.  The entertainment industry has mastered the market on superheroes, iconic rebel figures and music celebrities with entire worlds built around their talent.  The…

Love Hurts

Posted on February 14, 2019

“Sometimes I can’t see myself when I’m with you.  I can only just see you,” wrote Jodi Lynn Anderson.  And then come those awful moments when you can’t see the person at all. The visitor known as “Death” has come and now all you can see is yourself.  Love is at its most tragic in such moments and when Valentine’s Day shows up on the calendar, it forms a kind of symphony to accompany your pain.  You dread it yet realize in the most meaningful of moments that it is the pain of losing that forms the basis of love – your affection and all that it has done to define you. Such is the anguish of Valentine’s Day.  In some ways it’s only fitting.  Its observance first came into being…

The Journey of Forgotten Memories

Posted on February 10, 2019

I opted to release the chapters of my latest novella – Life Among the Stones– as sequential blog posts to help draw attention to the rapidly evolving world of Alzheimer’s disease.  As people live longer, the occurrence of Alzheimer’s and dementia have mushroomed, causing many observers to note that we might be on the verge of an epidemic. Life Among the Stones is a fictional account of a remarkable woman – 81-year-old Alberta Alexander.  The novella opens with her seeing her dead husband’s face in an elevator as the doors close.  Thus, begins her complicated and revealing journey into Alzheimer’s.  With her two adult children fully signed on as caregivers and a long-lasting friend as her physician, Alberta moves into the process determined to retain her inner core of dignity,…

Our Bridges Are Burned

Posted on February 8, 2019

I was in a car accident during a bleak snowstorm last week and as I worked my way through the process that always follows those in such situations, I took more time than normal to look through social media.  It was a mistake.   I’d always vowed not to fall into that rut … and then I did.   There was much to learn from those hours spent on the digital frontier, but little of it was edifying or even instructive.  What there was instead was a lot of shooting, manufactured mayhem and average citizens left hiding behind their doors and peering out their windows.  It wasn’t literal, of course.  The shooting involved enflaming words not bullets.  The mayhem wasn’t a melee of violence, but opinionating on anything and everything using Facebook,…