April 18, 2013 § 3 Comments
If you know me, you know that I am nothing if not one that JUMPS in to the boat with people. If sympathy is to have feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune and empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another – I am sometimes so empathetic that I need an intervention.
I think I may have shared before that in my younger years I was so disassociated with my own emotion I would hijack other people’s trauma. As an (ahem) adult I remain deeply empathetic- in part because of who I am, in part because of my upbringing, and in part because I don’t want people to feel alone. I would rather someone have to say “back up” than “I felt alone.”
I also know that a heart cannot harden itself particularly. Your heart is soft or it is not- you can’t foster unkindness and foster love – one corrupts the other, hopefully love wins. Since Monday I just keep asking myself how do I respond to this pain? How do I help those I know in pain?
Some of you may remember that I ran the Boston Marathon last year with Team in Training in honor of Marla and over 100 Fighters, Survivors,& Taken. I’ve run a lot of marathons & 1/2 Marathons. Austin, San Antonio, Dallas,all over New England, Berlin, Lisbon, Marrakech, Madrid… You get the picture.
I’ve never run a race like Boston.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times – the Boston fans are the greatest fans in the world.
They know what you need before you do. They come early & stay late, cheering is a sport, they love the charity runners as much as the olympic runners, they LOVE that YOU love their marathon, Wellesley & BC & BU have marathon cheering traditions – it is a right of passage as a marathoner to experience them. You mark your progress in the marathon by these things.
In the final mile of the marathon you pass the Citgo sign, run under the Mass Ave bridge, and up the final and most brutal (smallest) hill of the marathon. You run onto Comm Ave. which leads you to Hereford, and as every Boston Marathoner knows, it’s “right on Hereford, left on Boylston” to the finish.
Fans line either side of Boylston – their cheers echoing back and forth off the Brownstones and high-rises – lifting you toward Copley Plaza and the FINISH painted permanently, but freshly, on the road.
To say that you NEED those cheers, those people, that energy is an understatement – to run that street with anything less than superbowl level enthusiasm would be next to impossible. 47% of Boston Marathon runners finish between 3:50 and 4:10 hour marathons. I am so hurt that 5000 people didn’t get to finish their race. I am so devastated that someone would injure the greatest fans in the world.
I was sitting in a discussion section for my American Politics class on Monday when I got the text that two explosions had occurred at the 4 hour mark of race. Sarad, my coach from last year and dear friend, called from Heartbreak Hill where he was coaching… I left class to take his call. He couldn’t get calls through to anyone on the team.
My cousin was at the Red Sox game with her girlfriend. Were they safe?
My ears were ringing. I thought I was going to throw up. I was shaking violently.
We know so many people that finish in those moments. My family and friends were sitting there at that moment last year.
I was not just empathizing, I had jumped in the boat and set sail.
In the end – some of the news was good and some hard, as we knew inevitably it would be. Boston is a small community, TNT is strong and tight knit.
People who ran last year and were there to cheer were injured – there is permanent damage.
People we know we know were finishing as or immediately behind each of the explosions – you can imagine the things they have seen.
Someone we know used to run for BU, some friends came to watch him, one did not make it.
It is very, very sad.
I dreamt for two nights that I was running through the finish – I could see Justin & my friends & family & coaches but I was protected by an invisible shield as they were bombed – and the marathon officials made me finish and pick up my medal.
As I began to regain my focus yesterday, by sheer will, I saw that an explosion had occurred in West. Home of the spicy hot chubby with cheese.
West is north of Waco. It is where I bought my Saturn and sold my ’69 Bronco (a true sign of either adult responsibility or stupidity) – the most generous and forgiving boss I’ve ever had in my life lives there with her husband and daughter Paige. After some frantic texts I found out they are fine.
The devastation began to unfold and familiar triage stations were set up and ambulances lined up to carry away the injured as another city I formerly called home prepared to care for the people of West.
I felt all out of tears, as I watched the tiny town of 2000 burn.
Twitter raced to try to get news, and wrap their mind around the devastation. I was reminded of when I thought 12 had died in Boston… I gently assured them that only time can provide accurate information, despite our desperate desire to know it’s going to be O.K.
My friend Annie has three children and said that when Sandy Hook happened they turned off the TV had family game nights and explained to their children, as they attained information about the tragedy from the internet, that mommy and daddy were sad because something terrible had happened. On Monday they did the same thing, but she wondered how much more they would be able to absorb…
The impact of what happened in West to a community of 2000 will be felt by every member of that community many times over for years and years to come, it was a horrific accident, but it will not take long for people to begin to look for someone to blame… someone to sue… someone to hold responsible.
In Boston, there is a person who sought to injure, harm, and terrorize the most incredible people in the world – the fans of the Boston Marathon.
Immediately there were calls to ‘fry’ the person, and all sorts of other terribly horrific things.
When they get to the bottom of who is responsible for these explosions and we’re going to hold their feet to the fire and… and… and… And then?
I probably asked Justin why 20 times on Monday… Why charity runners? Why 4:10? Why? Why? Why?
As if knowing why would make what happened or the consequences any easier.
Nor will being angry.
So much irrational violence in this country starts with roots of anger. Anger at a government, anger at being marginalized, anger at perceived injustice or inaction on the part of some authority… Domestic terrorism rests in seeds of this kind of anger that was fostered through years and irrationality into rage.
I turned off my Facebook account as people began to argue about the marathon bombing and gun rights… it was not civil, it was angry, and my heart was too broken to bear the anger. I feel sad that we’ve lost our capacity for civil discourse. No wonder we’re stuck in political gridlock, we can’t even respond to tragedy without arguing and accusing in anger.
I often think of the Katherine Switzer (one of the first females to run the Boston Marathon) quote, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” Running marathons has always been the place I’ve gone to cleanse my lenses of the grit of of cynicism about humanity…
It’s the same reason I told people my motive for working in humanitarian aid was selfish, you really see the most giving- selfless part of community.
My friend Liz just texted me from the blast site in West where she and her son are sitting with survivors to comfort them as various painful, but minor, medical procedures are being performed – she told me, “People from towns I’ve never even heard of drove in last night and started helping.”
S0 the answer: how do I respond to this pain? How do I help those I know in pain?
We’re going to be angry. It’s a natural stage of grief.
I’m no person to tell anyone else how to grieve, how to cope – what’s the best way. I only know there’s no way around but through. Each person will have to travel their own journey.
As for helping those in pain I keep thinking that grief and trauma are a lot like a marathon and less like a sprint. Moreover, like the Red Cross while all donations are appreciated, there will be a continued need next week and next month – because a marathon is a long race .
Right now there are presidents, governors, and lasagna for 300. There are interviews, news coverage, front pages & tweets.
Next week there will be soreness, quietness, and a nation that has moved on to the next crisis and a gaping opportunity for sorrow to take hold and anger to root deep.
Physical and emotional wounds are not altogether different, if not tended to carefully they can cause longterm, irrevocable damage.
How can we help? As the world moves on, we can stay fast, like the fans on Boylston in 93 degree heat 5 hours into the marathon still yelling as if it were the Superbowl. When we need a little help comforting we can use handy tools like this one , or just send a little note reminding those who suffered that we’re still thinking of them. If words are not your thing, then serve. If you can’t serve then give, if you can’t give – make a sign . I assure you. We all have some love to offer.
I have been reminding myself that this is a crazy world, filled with evil, that can only be fought with Love & Truth. When anger rises, I remind myself that answers to the whys and vindication won’t heal the deep wounds… But Love. Love covers a multitude of wrongs.
I’ve also been humming one of my favorite Rich Mullins songs, “I know that this thirst will not last long, that it will soon drown in this song not sung in vain. I hear the thunder in the sky, I see the sky about to rain, and with the prairies I am calling out your name…”
March 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
My family got in a Facebook fight today. True. Story. As a disclaimer my family HATES when I blog about them, which is fair. However, this is a pretty contemporaneous topic, and having occurred over Facebook, it’s already public.
The fight centered on a post with this text, “Why Democrats evolved from Monkeys and Republicans from God. We share 90% of their DNA discoveries reveal how we can be alike – and yet so different.” And then the kicker, underneath, I missed it initially, “Liberals are highly evolved monkeys without souls… A highly communicable disease spread by genetically inferior, idiot humans.”
This caused some tension. My Dad’s family is evenly divided between Republican & Democratic voters.
My Mom’s family is entirely Republican. I am convinced that anything I post on FB breaks their heart. Particularly one Aunt and one cousin who are incredibly Godly people, much more politically conservative, and also happen to be the majority of the reason that I have any faith.
It’s why I so strongly dislike Facebook, it’s such a hotbed for misunderstanding/misinterpretation. Since we moved to NY I admittedly remained on Facebook for the sole purpose of getting reminders about meetings for two clubs I am a member of at school, otherwise I would have closed my account.
I threatened recently to explain why I am a liberal democrat and I feel like now is a pretty solid time.
Let me start by saying that Justin and I are Christians.
I learned when I was younger that it’s dangerous to tell people you are a Christian because it’s interpreted through their lens of Christianity.
Let me assure you, my affiliation to this belief system does not in anyway make me morally superior; it also has not helped me be exemplary morally. That is my own failing, not Christ’s.
I am a solid representation of imperfection, that includes my faith. Sadly, humanity is an imperfect breed. But I guess that’s the whole shtick isn’t it?
For the most part I couldn’t even explain to you WHY I believe what I believe, I just know that I do. I know that in the darkest moments of life, my soul inclines toward prayer. When I think of hope, it’s almost always in the form of faith.
I work out my faith with fear and trembling knowing that God assured His people that His ways are higher than our ways. The bible says that we see and understand God, DIMLY, as if through a mirror. That’s basically how I understand Him.
Consequently you will likely find me not to be overly assertive about WHOM and HOW God is – the bible has assured me that I know and see in part. (I was not always like this, lessons learned hard are often well learned.)
You may wonder why I am going into all of this in explaining why we are democrats, but it is actually very important, because I vote based on my values. In recent years it seems to have become assumed that people that are Christians vote a certain way.
I used to be a Republican because I was a Christian. I went to a non-denominational, evangelical church. How to vote was never preached from the front, but during elections Focus on the Family had flyers explaining where each politician stood on the issues of abortion, homosexuality etc.
The change came when I was in South Africa – an Anti-Apartheid leader asked if it was true that most Christians voted for our then Republican, self-professed born again believer, President. She asked because she was confused by the incongruence she perceived between a party “that spent so many years resisting integration” and Christian values.
Well it was the entire south actually. Including the democrats, and the church, really.
But yes, LBJ, a southern democrat is actually who pushed the Civil Rights legislation over the edge. Finally enforcing what Brown vs. The Board of Education had attempted to do 14 years earlier.
In the ensuing years, it has been the Democratic Party that has advocated more consistently and on behalf of civil rights (Lilly Ledbetter, Violence Against Women, Civil Rights, Voting Rights, etc.). I find equality and defending the underrepresented to be one of the most consistent themes of scripture, so this falls heavily under voting my values.
As far as equality and voting democratic – I’ll start with a famous quote from Roger Wilkins, “Blacks have a 375-year history on this continent: 245 involving slavery, 100 involving legalized discrimination, and only 30 involving anything else.”
We live in a nation that is far from equal. Today, Detroit the schools are MORE segregated than they were before integration. 70% of black children DO NOT attend integrated schools. (Russell, “Economics, Bureaucracy, and Race)
I do not consider the issue of race inequality a partisan issue. However, according to the NAACP there is one black republican in the legislature affiliated with the Republican party – a Senator (the 1st since 2003.) There is also only 1 black democratic Senator. More strikingly, currently, in the House (according to the NAACP) among the listed Black Representatives in the house – not one was affiliated with the Republican party (37 Democrats – making black Representatives a mere .08% of the House.) It seems that one of the most underrepresented segments of the American population has a pretty solid idea of which party represents their interests, this very much impacts how I vote.
The topic of underrepresentation leads to the issue of welfare.
The American values that we are infused with from birth instill in us the idea that welfare is a hand-up not a handout. Got on and get off. It’s not so that you can collect, have babies and not work.
I hear a lot of people say that caring for the poor is the job of the church.
I have also heard that people want less money taken out of their check so that they have the LIBERTY to give to the poor instead of being FORCED to give to the poor.
I think these are incredibly valid statements. They are rooted in the idea that “All mean are created equal… with certain unalienable rights… life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
They require the belief that our government has an adequate welfare system, and that Americans are in fact all being given equal access to the American dream.
Sadly, the same document that promised that equality contains the 3/5 Enumeration. A hard fought compromise of the representative (in the House of Representatives) and distributive value (Federal Taxes) of a slave.
As a nation, there is a historical gap in our stated values and our lived values, which continues today.
Statistically, babies in poor neighborhoods die at a rate of 4 to 1 over babies born in middle class neighborhoods (U.S. Census Statistics – CDC)
IF that child lives, the likelihood of early childhood education is 87% less likely than that of a child in a lower-middle class demographic. The poor are entering school at a severe disadvantage.
52% of black males who entered high school in 2007 graduated in 2012, versus 81% of white males. Black men represent 8% of the population in America, and only 2.8% of the undergraduate population at public, flagship Universities, with a graduation rate of 33% (U.S. Department of Education.) There is not equal access to education for all races.
In 1972, after Civil Rights legislation was enacted black males made only 82% of what white males made doing the exact same job. Today, black males make 65% of what white males make for doing the exact same job. That’s 3/5. (Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004. Unites States Census Bureau. pp 60-229)
In voting my values I feel it is imperative to vote with the party giving the greatest priority and attention to eradicating racial inequality and income disparity – based on that inequality and other infrastructural biases. We cannot change people’s intolerance or lack of compassion for the poor, but we can eliminate the legal perpetuation of inequality by voting down the systems that allow it.
Lastly on the topic of voting, I wholly support the separation of church and state, it was a BIG deal to our Founding Fathers for a litany of VERY good reasons.
Despite a widely held belief on the part of many Americans, America was not founded as a Christian nation, and our earliest documents state this in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS.
Treaty of Tripoli (ratified 1797,) “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”
As further proof, American does not have a national church. What it does have is an abundance of churches with an inordinate amount of opinions (even varying within their own denomination and parishes) on birth control, gay marriage, the reformation, and every other matter concerning moral conviction, family planning, and even drinking alcohol.
The Founding Fathers were from VASTLY different religious backgrounds and denominations. They held a conviction that it was difficult enough for government to come to consensus about the principles of government – to add matters of religion, where men were less ‘rational’, would lead to corruption of power (and likely civil war.) It also would place the nation directly on a path to the type of ‘incestuous’ relationship between government and Church from which they had just escaped. (Madison)
The irony is that the Founders were ultimately trying to protect the church – not the government. In their view, a church with influence in government at a policy making level was susceptible to the same kind of power influences that they were having to create the most complex system of checks and balances Constitutionally to offset in the Federal Government. James Madison wrote, “We are teaching the world the great truth that Governments do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Government.”
The inability of the Republican party to eradicate religion from the tone of the party, particularly the more right wing of the party whose dogmatic tone in NO way represents the faith that I participate in – leaves me wholly unable, as a Christian, to affiliate with the party in any way. According to my values.
Am I saying that people who vote Republican are racist hypocrites who don’t value the poor, equality, or have authentic faith? Absolutely not.
What I am saying is that there are values based voters in any party, I think it is unfair to assume that every Republican voter is a hate filled, dogmatic, Joel Osteen loving, rich, entitlement hating male in the same way that it’s unfair to assume that all Democrats are faith-less, value-less, selfish DINKS who abort babies for fun so that they can continue living their childless existence trying to force communism on America. This is absurd!
57% of America voted in the last Presidential election. Obama was elected by 51% of the popular vote. Meaning 30% of the population voted for Obama, and 26% of the population voted for Romney. All clear? This is what we’re willing to hurl relationship-altering insults about?
America wrote & ratified a constitution that said blacks were 3/5 the men that white men were. Today we continue to say to black men we value them precisely 3/5 the amount we do white men.
We are allowing babies born into poverty – at no fault of their own – to die 4 times more than middle class children. If they live, we then blame them for not being cunning enough to get out of it.
We are morally failing each other and our children.
We’ve been doing it for 300+ years – all the while applauding our Christian ethic & progressive ways, and leaning increasingly into partisan bickering and cultural hate.
Because it’s easier to spend our time blaming political parties, the church, each other, or being misunderstood than it is to take a long hard look at our own lives and ask why we’ve allowed it.
Believe me, these numbers aren’t new to the oppressed. If we are ignorant it is because we choose to be.
I am as guilty as anyone, and consider this my letter of resignation.
I will no longer participate in partisan bickering, it is meant to distract me from the real work to be done.
I will no longer participate in categorization of the church with a party, that energy will be turned to loving the unloved.
I am relegating the energy formerly spent defending myself & my beliefs and reacting to perceived slights and offenses or what I felt was a misunderstanding of myself or my views in any of the aforementioned things – to defending those without a voice, or to yelling for those who have grown hoarse from the long fight.
I will work to leave the person I was behind, with all the regrets therein.
This life is too short for blame shifting, grudge holding, imaginary offenses, and pettiness.
I will fail, I will fall, I will give you so many reasons to call me names. I hope I will be too busy fighting the good fight, keeping the faith, humming Sam Cooke, hugging the children in my life that I adore, enjoying long meals with people I love, laughing until my sides hurt, listening to jazz, running on the Hudson, reading Mamdani, Kant, or Elliot, singing Prosch until I cry, or some other form of living life deeply and well to hear any mean-spirited criticism. Obviously, those living life intimately with me will always have voice to call me to account – we all need correction of direction and intention from time to time.
But I am checking into political rehab. No more Political Mean Girls. I want my expressions to be informative and for the purpose of change or to remain unsaid.
I am also checking into the desire to be understood rehab…
I cannot continually worry about how someone is going to take something, interpret it, or judge me for it – particularly what is written here. There are many of you that loved me once that love me no more based on words written on social media and this blog alone. I wholly and completely respect that.
There are some days I am not that into me either, and I deal with me in person. The truth is that we all grow and change, and if I am tempering myself based on what I think an invisible reading audience might think of what I write, then I will never write anything.
I am sure I will fall off the wagon on all of these things, but this is my public declaration that the last 6 months have grieved me, and I am going to do my part to be a part of the solution, and stop perpetuating the problem.
My favorite Christian author is Brennan Manning. He was a Catholic Priest, but a terrible alcoholic. Then he got married. He’s had a couple of severe relapses into alcoholism. What I love about him is that he is sure that the #1 thing we all need to know is that we are loved, he also really believes that we are all really just doing the best we can.
I think he’s right. If we see someone who we think isn’t really doing the best that they can, they probably need a little more love – not finger pointing, blame, or to be reminded of all the ways they have previously failed. I’m reminded of my post after the Boston Marathon – I am making a “You’re the Shit” sign and heading out to cheer.
Thanks to each of you that read to the end. This is about 10 blog posts that have been rolling around in my head for the last year. Today gave good reason to go ahead and get it out there. I have three midterms in the next two weeks, so it’s really the last thing I should have been working on today, but it seemed exigent in light of the sequestration – the recent cases before the Supreme Court – the anniversary of Trayvon Martin. Here’s to less fighting about what doesn’t matter and fighting the fights that do.
February 26, 2013 § 1 Comment
This whole budget debacle is truly exhausting the American public. Has anyone noticed?
At the end of periods of significant policy change in America, there are empirical studies that show an increased cynicism based on a sort of passion exhaustion…
I think we have ‘budget panic’ exhaustion. This sequester threat may push Americans over a cliff.
Who is sick of politics in America? Who is sick of the infighting? Who is sick of the finger pointing? Who is sick of the blame game & wishes someone would take some responsibility? I mean the buck stops with Commander-in-Chief doesn’t it?
Well, no. The buck stops with me, and, technically you.
Obama is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces alone (constitutionally anyway.)
If we’re literal, as a republic, Obama really represents us. Specifically he should just oversee the execution of the will of the people as conveyed by Congress and the House of Representatives.
As far as the sequester goes the Senate (that we elected) - led by Patty Murray technically passed a Budget Resolution, but it closes Tax Loopholes that the House (that we elected) has sworn that it won’t pass…
Bored? Me too.
But here’s the deal. Since Clinton left office there has been agreement from all political parties that the nation’s budget needed an overhaul. There is some (disputed) allegation that the deficit we’re facing is a result of economic policy changes from the Reagan era.
That’s cycles of Republican and Democratic presidents, Houses, and Senates. There’s no way to sort out the blame between all those years and cycles of power.
The greater point is that it is the job of government to come to meaningful compromise and get this stuff done. That’s their only job. They’ve had since Clinton to figure this out, and they haven’t. In 2011 they set up the WORST POSSIBLE SCENARIO to force themselves into cooperation in order to pass a budget… And today what’s the word? They are, in fact, unable to come to meaningful compromise and do the work of government so that our institutions and infrastructure may continue to function. According to their job description, they are unable to do their job, at great cost to the American people (but at no cost to themselves – verified today, Congress’ pay will not be impacted by the sequester.)
When is the last time you called the person you voted for and said you were displeased? When is the last time you told them that when companies that you frequent perform in such a manner you moved your business?
If we’re looking for someone to blame, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Our politicians behave like petulant children to no consequence.
We don’t vote them out of office – we’re too afraid someone from the other party might get voted in. SO WHAT?
It happened in Boston! And what happened in the next election cycle? Elizabeth Warren was voted into office. Democrats got their point across – do your job, or we’ll vote for someone who will, even if it costs us the election.
If Washington is broken it is our job to fix it. We put the people in power in place. We are their bosses. We have everything at stake – for them this is a job that they do at our behest. We either make their phones ring and keep their inboxes full instructing them regarding our wishes- or leave them to believe that they are doing a job that pleases us.
In a situation like the sequestration, if they will not listen to our voices, then we must speak more loudly with our vote.
A slight deviation; In a recent conversation about a local Congressman who is behaving in a shameful manner that I lament voting for – I was told that having him (representing the interests of Park Ave and not the urban poor) was better than having the other party in office (disagree.) Voting just to keep ‘control’ of, ahem, a seat is an American Crossroads strategy. This is not democratic voting based on the belief that the candidate best represents my interests, as the constitution intended. Voting for a seat and not a candidate is not democratic (even if it is strategic), it is capitalistic, and the confusion of these two principles led us directly to the situation we are in today.
And finally for those of you with no interest in politics – I can’t say that anyone would blame you. However, if you:
buy things, use electricity, have ever or will ever require a doctor/engineer/architect/optometrist/dentist (or anyone with a license), collect a paycheck, prefer protection by our armed forces, use roads, prefer your food/elevators/planes/cars/electronics to be inspected, hope to retire, have parents who hope to retire, watch television, listen to the radio, have ever participated in or plan to participate in public education or wish to interact with educated people, eat any food that you do not grow, mail things, receive mail, use water for daily life, have required or in the future hope to be able to call on (if the need arises) police/fire department/ambulance services, or a sundry of other such things…
then you have a vested interest in politics and should consider representing your interest in some way. Particularly if you find yourself utilizing one or more of the services listed above. Government brings those services to you by way of institutional infrastructure. Your non-participation in politics probably impacts your life in a far more significant way than you realize.
Consider this your friendly reminder that, “This land is your land, this land is my land” – it is entirely up to us to make this REPRESENTATIVE government work for us. If there is gridlock, let’s jam the phone lines and clog the inboxes until there is enough inertia to push things through. If that doesn’t work, then I think that the 113th Congress should know they’ll see a high rate of turnover. If our government isn’t working we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves, they are our direct representatives. I guess it’s time we get to work.
How to Find Your State Representative – http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
How to Find Your State Senator (top right corner) – http://www.senate.gov/
How to Contact the White House – http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
January 9, 2013 § Leave a Comment
While I’ve been struck with the flu and Facebook messaging with a friend that I adore about why I am a democrat I have been mulling over why I am a democrat. I also had an incredible conversation with my husband over dinner last night about it. Things that did not come up regarding our decision to vote democrat:
roe vs. wade
corporate tax rates
the legalization of marijuana
This is kind of like a trailer for a movie. You know, as I recover from the flu from hell and try to give my words some order and cohesion I thought I’d whet your palette for the post to come. That and give my family time to launch their campaign begging me not to post, appealing to my future need to get hired someday.
No, seriously. There is a rhyme to my reason – and I think it’s important that people realize that there are fundamental reasons that people rest on different sides of the isle even when they have similar values in other very entrenched arenas. We are a nation that is divided down the middle and we’ve got to learn to behave in a civil way toward each other. It starts with friends and family ability to engage with each other in a loving and understanding way. A blog called Stifling Trivialities seems like the perfect place to start if I don’t say so myself. Hahahahahahahahaha. Back to coughing and Christmas Cards. xoxo.
November 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Ronald Reagan won the 1984 re-election campaign by a mandate, 49 states. It’s almost unimaginable today.
However, even Barack Obama’s dream team Plouff & Axelrod didn’t imagine that he would take 8 of 9 swing states. It’s all too clear now that the Romney campaign was shell-shocked by the loss of those states. The Wall Street Journal has an incredible set of graphs explaining county-by-county what the results tell us about the election. However, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last week this is what you already know:
Obama ‘killed’ the Latino vote (50,000 Latinos are being added to the US voting population every month.) Romney dominated rich white men & conservative. Obama carried single women & homosexuals. Republicans lost both races where their candidate refused to apologize for religiously motivated comments about rape. 5 women were added to Senate, including Elizabeth Warren, who ousted Scott Brown in Gov Romney’s home state of Massachusetts. Despite incredible financial support from super-PACS Republicans were outspent by an up and coming demographic of wealth in America, gay men. And in what must seem like a blow to, what Republican strategists Mark McKinnon says is still, a conservative base – gay marriage was passed in two more states, raising the number to 9. Somewhere, that I can’t find now, I read that voter turnout was down this year from 2004 & 2008, and that the people that don’t turn out to vote are generally liberal. If I am remembering correctly the article said that if some percentage of people had turned out it would have given democrats a 3% bump. Astounding. Inarguably, the right is better at rallying and unifying their people. A skill that independent minded democrats and liberals will likely never really warm up to.
However, something happened this year that was really unexpected. Despite the Christian Conservatives incredible push for Romney, for the first time, it wasn’t enough to win the office. They seem as lost about their lack of impact as the Romney campaign. Even with studies coming out just before the election alerting the evangelical right that they might be losing touch with the very people they are seeking to connect with.
As far as platform goes there are philosophical differences between the parties about the practice of government. One side believes in a strong government that supports its people. The other side believes in a less present government that allows for the government to be run at a more local level, city or state. It’s likely that most people believe in ‘big government’ on some issues (social security, defense, etc) and ‘local government’ on other issues (schools, public works, etc.)
So how does this all tie together? In the numbers. And what they say back to each of these groups.
To Obama, in the words of Maureen Dowd, “Last time, Obama lifted up the base with his message of hope and change; this time the base lifted up Obama, with the hope he will change. He has not led the Obama army to leverage power, so now the army is leading Obama.” From those who do not support Obamacare, gay marriage, higher taxation etc. There is a cry for bi-partisan work and representation. This is not a statement that one side or the other refused to do it before, it is a statement of forward motion.
To Mitt Romney and the Christian Conservatives, perhaps you’re missing something crucial. If you are reaching all the people that you wanted to, if you are unifying your base, and yet the man you want in office doesn’t get elected, and the culture you are trying to connect with is rejecting both your organization, its values, and its candidate – something is wrong.
No one is asking everyone to think the same way. This difference of ideas leads to a balance of power. I am not asking for the moral minority to suddenly love the idea of gay marriage. What I am asking is that the dogmatic tone end. That everyone put down their boxing gloves, not all southern Christians hate Obama, not all white men are racist fools, it is not the goal of the LGBT community to keep Christians from church on Sunday, or women from being stay at home moms. This is a country that was founded on the principle of equality and freedom of religion. That means even if you don’t believe in it, you don’t have a right to keep someone else from it.
I’ll argue reverse causality again. If homosexual marriage were the predominant family structure, how would a heterosexual feel about an agnostic telling them that it is their moral belief that Christian heterosexual marriage is immoral, or cult-like. If Islam was the dominant faith of the citizens of the US would the evangelical right be comfortable with laws and leaders enforcing those values on them they did not agree with them? You can’t argue numbers and the empirical data is trying to tell the republican right and the evangelical conservatives that they are missing it, and by it, we mean the ability to connect with the people.
Obama is not leading with a mandate, but he is going into his second term with a nation of people who have fought hard to make their voice heard. This is the year that white became the minority in America. This is the year that America transitioned away from the Christian nation so many right wing conservatives have based their entitled dogma upon. This isn’t a matter of right or wrong. This is a matter of people. And in the end, sadly, ironically, that’s what Romney and the Evangelical church missed and Obama got.
If there is one thing that I am learning in this world of political science it’s that numbers don’t lie. I hope that all of us will take the time to understand what they are saying.
October 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I really don’t have time to blog today. I had a paper due at 10 today, I have a quiz tomorrow at 1, a presentation and 10 page paper due at 11 Friday, and a test at 1 on Friday. I don’t forsee much sleep between now and then, thanks to professors who “generously” alter our syllabus to accomodate for mid-terms… This means that the syllabus that we plan our entire lives around, they change, for some unknown reason – often claiming it’s to accomodate the fact that other professors are giving midterms or something like that. However, for the previous 7 weeks we have been carefully constructing our lives to accomodate for tests and papers due on specific dates, you are not doing us a favor when you move them. That being said, these are not things that I can control, so I will forsake all of life for the next two days and hope that something coherent comes out. Unlikely.
However, today is something called Giving Day on Campus. Here’s the video
And here is what I want to say. I love Columbia. I cannot believe I go to school here. I think my professors are incredible. I have the most incredible deans and advisors known to mankind. I have never been so pushed or challenged in my life. Every single word of this being the most stressful school in the nation is true. People can try to tell you, but they cannot prepare you. Some things you just have to learn for yourself. Another thing you have to learn when you get here is that Columbia is made up of 17 colleges/universities/seminaries etc. I am a part of the school of General Studies, the school designated for students that transfer in. It’s one of the top Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation, I am a part of the school of Political Science (which trades #1 spot in the world – with Stanford, we’re top this year), and if I perform well I will be a part of the SIPA five year program (which for me will hopefully be three.) But a lesser known fact is that as far as Ivy endowments go, or private school endowments period, The College of General Studies has one of the smallest and most under-funded endowments around. Why? Well, Columbia only recently allowed women in, so you can imagine their welcome of transfer students was hesitant as well. The endowment is 43 years in existence. Most graduates of GS finish school an average of $90,000 in debt (with living CU cost about $63,000 a year.) You can imagine that once they go on to graduate school and start to pay their loans back, as young as the school is, the endowment is really hardly even… well endowed.
If you are like Justin and I you get a lot of pleas for money (you get a lot from me – though less lately.) People ask us for money all the time. To live, to buy houses, to buy goats, to buy clothes for babies, wells for clean water, etc. We are paying for my education, however… GS has the largest number of veterans in the college than any other Ivy, and the way they honor these men and women is incredible, the endowment works incredibly hard to make sure that they bear as little of a financial burden as possible to get the education that they want to achieve. You cannot imagine the amount of single parents, working students, etc. that I go to school with. GS is THE home of non-traditional student – this is VERY non-Ivy, but GS makes it happen. We listen to a lot of SNARKY comments from 18-22 year old students in the other. very well endowed schools, about how ridiculous it is that we complain about our endowment or that we are allowed to go to school part time. Let me be clear, in comparison, their endowments exceeds ours by millions. MILLIONS. Our ability to access school given aid is less because of this, so we are allowed to go to school part time so that we can afford school. Get it – that’s how small our endowment is. Not just that, but because GS could not offer a “full ride” if it wanted to, students of GS spend longer paying back their loans, and are not able to give back to GS as quickly.
So, where am I going with all of this? As of this moment Columbia College has raised almost $1 million dollars with a matching gift of $65,000 – GS has raised $68,000… About what it costs to go to Columbia for a year. I know many of you are inspired by my story, are cheering for me, and love me. You would be EVEN MORE inspired by my fellow students who are FAR more inspirational, who are working harder, with a heavier load, and then going home and raising children, or working a night job, or fighting PTSD… I just fight Sadie. Would you consider giving $5, $10? Seriously, I know that we can’t compete with the money that CC or Columbia Athletics (FOR THE LOVE OF PETE) will raise today, but I really believe in this. EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION! I do not advocate a school costing this much, and I don’t love the Ivy vs. CommunityCollege ranking system (I clearly love them both!) but I do believe that if we all help a little where we can it will make a difference. So let’s all chip a little in for the ones who can’t.
October 1, 2012 § 2 Comments
Upworthy recently tweeted this video from the View. I began confessing my sins because I had never seen Whoopi and Elizabeth agree on anything. There was a moment where Sherri gently asked Ann Coulter something about why she says so many hateful things. And Ann pointedly comes back and says, “Where, name one place where I say something hateful.” Sherri scrambles, obviously not familiar enough with the current book, but familiar enough with Ann’s tone. Sherri was generous to Ann. Whoopi as well, though she didn’t just ‘take it.’ However, it stirred in me a post that I have been wanting to write for a long time and that has been stirring in me since I’ve been at Columbia, and taking a Major Debates of Africa Class.
At Vassar I was given an incredible, but difficult experience.
Let me also say that I am a story teller. I am prone more to parable than fact. To the best of my memory this is how it went, but my memory is laughable, and we all experience and remember things different ways, and our memories shift over time. Already, just a year later I am able to look back on this experience with a different capacity than I was even 7 months ago. So don’t read this like a New York Times article…
I took a class called… I can’t remember. Women and Race at the Intersection – or something like that. It was taught by Diane Harriford and Navina Hooker. They have taught this class for many years to many different students. I was the ONLY blond haired, blue eyed girl in the class. There were some other fair skinned students, but I was the cliche. The class began with the reading of Orinoco and moved through the literary history of writers of color and their emergence. Where did race come from? When did it emerge? How did it impact literature? How did writers of color, particularly female writers of color establish their voice in the literary world? How did they overcome literary establishments like the canon? These are reasonable questions. Compelling questions.
Especially so in a class of MANY first generation students of color, native students, and international students. The diversity of students was paradigm shifting. What was also paradigm shifting? As the class progressed I noticed something. I felt more and more awkward. I was having a lot of passive conflict with other students. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, I just felt like my existence was wrong. I wanted to wait until the last possible minute to walk into the class… I wanted to hide. I then had conflict with other students. One day around the third week of class, while reading “The Bluest Eye” we watched a video called Black Doll White Doll.
A girl on our class that is first generation Sudanese, ashamed as she cried, began sharing stories about people staring openly at her on the street and struggling with her sense of beauty. Then another girl, first generation Caribbean, emotionally sharing about her mother speaking strong words of beauty to her every day before she left because she knew that as she left the house she would not see anything on the street that would reflect beauty back to her in her own image. Followed by another girl, Haitian and American, sharing about how complex it was to try to explain to her white parent how she could not blend like they could – that white had the luxury of “invisibility” but color stands out: that every room she walked into she spent AWARE of what people thought of her. And then a boy in the class then shared how when his son was born he hated having to teach him the lessons that his father taught him, that his father taught him, about how a ‘black’ boy had to act around white people, police, people in authority – so that they (the white people/police/authorities) didn’t feel threatened. And then another girl,first generation, the youngest in a big Caribbean family, talked about how weird it was to her how white people were so familiar – “oh I like your shoes” “your hair (she wears it naturally) is so cool, is it real?”
And then the inevitable happened, one of the other white girls in the class explained, “That’s nothing, we’re just being nice. You guys are taking that the wrong way. I don’t understand what’s wrong with that.” When EVERYONE responded back, “that doesn’t feel nice, it feels invasive.” She didn’t accept the cultural difference, she kept defending and the chasm got larger, the division and the differences became more apparent. Another boy in the class, a first generation Haitian, tried to explain again that it was striking to him that nothing in the media, in ads, in dolls could show a person of color – it’s all blond hair and blue eyed – and when this is the world you live in, to have a person who benefits from the luxury of that reflection try to relate to you with such familiarity, is abrupt. I just listened. EVERYTHING LOOKS LIKE ME. EVERYTHING. Over time, as nothing looked like anything in so many other cultures, blond and blue came to symbolize everything that was wrong with American culture, so said Toni Morrison’s the Bluest Eye… and my class… and my professors… and the video. I wanted to crawl under the table.
As the conversation progressed I had an increased sense of panic and dread, I did not feel threatened or attacked. I felt ashamed, I wanted to run, I hated my skin color, I hated my hair. I lived through the class, I cried for a long, long time. I asked a TA that I really trusted for some time later. I said, “I don’t want to exploit the situation, but I don’t want to squirm out of it. So I am just going to ask you if you wouldn’t ming telling me what you wish people like myself would walk away with from a day like today.” She is so smart, but also an incredibly generous soul. “So she asked me what I heard in the class that day.” I shared the parts that struck me, I apologized for the things that sounded ignorant, and felt ashamed for never realizing the luxury of my own invisibility. She responded very gently, “So then just sit in that. That’s how most people of color feel every day of their lives and you have the rare experience of getting to have a minute glimpse of it. Take what you can of it. Write it down. Revisit it. Learn what you can from it. And hold on to it. But don’t try to beat yourself up, that’s not going to do any good. It’s a journey, so just be on your journey.”
I am thankful for my peers at Vassar that keep me grounded. I am thankful for the essay that Marilyn Frye wrote, On Being White. I often go back and re-read it and remind myself that my issue to deal with is myself and my people. People of color are plenty smart and capable and don’t need committees of well meaning
Ann Coulters white people to come in and ‘help’ solve their problems. They need white people to sit around in committees and figure out why after all these years we are all still racist and seem to be in denial that we are so. I also recognize that there are places to disagree and argue with these ideas. And I think that’s OK as well. Has there been progress? In some ways, yes, especially if you ask white people. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everyone should go to their color-coded committee and solve their race related problem. I just think that that as white people we should stop appointing ourselves as the head of the problem solving committees of all the things and wait for an invitation. Believe me, when we are wanted, we will be asked.
I am not posting this because I think that everyone should think what I think, but because I want to keep the conversation going. It is as important that we are challenging our own hostilities and judgements, as it is that we are recognizing the overarching racism of our culture.
Justin and I saw an incredible play this weekend called the Exonerated put on by the Culture Project. And in one of the most challenging parts of the play, one of the actors said, paraphrased, “Maybe what we are saying makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you think the issue of race is no longer a problem since the civil rights movement. Maybe you think why do you need to keep bringing up what’s wrong with this country when post 9/11 we should be thinking about what’s right? But when you take your car into the shop you don’t say, ‘Hey, can you tell me everything that’s RIGHT with my car?’”
Let’s all take some time today to ask ourselves where we can move forward in this area. No committee forming. Just soul searching. First personally, then in our family, then our community, and then society. It’s a natural progression that begins with us individually.
September 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
I have gotten a few comments on the radio silence. We’ve been up to a few things. We moved at the end of July, I started school at the end of August… Some significant transitions. There are a lot of really funny stories to tell about the move (movers), and our life here (or lack thereof) – there are some pretty incredible things to celebrate – we have celebrated, and we will continue to do so. However, to move forward I think I need to rinse a sour taste out of my mouth regarding this blog.
If you are reading these words you are here by your own choice. I am so glad that you are here, I am pleased that you are reading, but I am not writing this blog for you or for anyone you know. I have some friends that are using their blogs as a social platform, or a ministry platform – I am gaining friends who do this for a living. I do this because I like writing and my friends (tell me that they) like to read what I write. TO BE CLEAR – beloved reader – YOU do not know all of my friends. My own husband does not know everyone that calls me friend. There have recently been some gross and erroneous assumptions regarding the motive and insinuation of my blog resulting in the unnecessary loss of time, emotion, and energy. As my friends know, I am a (an over?) communicator, IF you are a friend of mine and I need to say something to you I will not say it to you on an internet platform. The experience was very invasive, presumptuous, and damaging – all because of gossip and assumption. It’s a blog people, don’t take it so freaking seriously. DO YOU KNOW ME?????????????????? My dream job is SNL! If you don’t like what you read here, stop reading. It’s really simple. It’s actually the beauty of the internet. I apologize for how harsh this is sounding, but honestly, unfortunately the need has arisen to make the boundary abundantly clear.
IF you are still reading, on this blog I will talk about politics, religion, MY CAT, race and gender issues, food, wonderful people, ridiculous things – I have no intention of trying to taylor my posts to the political/religious/self-particular moral beliefs of every reader – consequently I request that you not try to enforce yours on me. I am happy to have healthy dialogue, but I am not up for self-righteous dogma, and I am not up for judgement or condescension. This life is a long journey, we’re all on it. I intend to grow and change everyday – my ideas, my self, my spirit are being transformed daily – you will see that in these posts. That’s not hypocrisy, that’s just life. If you don’t agree with something, or think I am missing a key piece of thinking I’m all about it – I love the thought of discussion that leads to discovery or greater truth! Here’s the thing, learning is a conversation that we’re in. But I am not going to be in a conversation with everybody about all the things. As well, I am fighting hard to not interact with people the way they were the last time I saw them (many of my friends live in other towns.) I want to see each of my friends and believe they have grown and changed. If the last time you laid eyes on my was when I moved away from Texas in 2006… that was three cities, 6 years, and an acquired husband ago – chances are, I’ve done some changing, and I bet you have as well! While I am thankful that many of my distant friends keep up via this blog, it is important to remember that you are not keeping up with a 19 or 30 year old version of me.
So there it is. I hope that I can move forward with the internet. I don’t have much time for it, but I am going to try to utilize the blog to summarize ideas and things that I am reading. I am hoping to manage a post a week. I am sure that the tone of the blog will change, and for some of you that will be a bummer. I totally understand that, and you are probably the kind of friend I would do better to get coffee and chat with anyway. Some of you will probably like the more academic turn, and for that, I am grateful, as it is where my life is dead center right now, and without much outlet for processing, as it requires almost all of my time and energy.
Let me end by saying we feel so incredibly thankful. We have been dealt a Providentially beautiful hand. It will come at a cost, financially and with our time, but the opportunity to be here, learning, and living is incredible and we know that we know that we know, it was not by our own design – even if it was the result of very hard work. We do have some friends here in town, so please don’t worry that we are totally alone. We are fine, we just don’t get out very much. I left the UWS for the first time since orientation at the end of this week. Time feels like my most precious commodity. I imagine I will be missing birthdays, and all things announced or communicated via Facebook and such. Texting remains my favorite form of keeping in touch. We are insanely happy. We are simply trying to breathe deeply and not let the moment pass us by. Thanks for all the love, cheers, texts, emails, posts, calls, and acts of support in this journey. I will work hard, and I will try to find a creative and academically beneficial way to bring you on the journey with me. We’ll see how it works out!
May 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The Gospel Coalition (a group of very conservative mostly Presbyterian – reformed- pastors) posted an article entitled “How to Win the Public on Homosexuality.” I saw the article posted on a very intelligent and respected friend’s Facebook page. She addressed it, instead of to the public at large, to fellow conservatives (which I respect – though the post and dissenting conversation by myself and one other man have now been hidden on her wall.) I am pretty sure that we all know that I am a reformed conservative, and actually, had I not seen the title the Gospel Coalition gave the article, I would not have clicked – as I am reformed.
I will say, as I have said before, I feel an increased concern regarding the political behavior of conservative Christians. However, this is not an attack.
Full disclosure: I supported GW the first time (he has a great governor of the Great State of Texas.) And as a human I genuinely believe that he is a good man.
Conservative Christians – in clinging to family values, and talking about the original intent of the founding fathers – seem to be confusing the constitution (a living, or changeable document) with the bible, which many CC believe to be’absolute’ (unchangeable, to be interpreted according to author’s intent.) For the non-CC reader, it is important to interject here that all Christians do not interpret the bible the same way, even among denominations there are deep divisions regarding “truth” – this the case in Episcopal and Anglican church – two factions of what was formerly the same denomination, as well the Presbyterian Church has STRONG opinions about absolute truth, therefore there are 11 different factions of the denomination, because they cannot agree on which version of absolute truth is the MOST correct.
However, my concern is not about the church’s inability to come to a consensus on absolute truth – here is my growing concern – If there is discussion of original intent, the reason we formed the US was because of the oppression of the Church of England, if the CC continue to force the issue of making their moral conviction legal legislation, they will establish a precedent that will make us the very country we sought to escape.
Some of the most worrisome things that I read in the post intended to “win” the public to the Conservative Christian view (I am afraid this article is woefully and wishfully titled):
Christians declare our right to speak out and legislate according to religious conviction in defense of traditional institutions. Gays pursue their right to life, liberty, happiness with regard to their sexuality. But homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all.
Legislating according to religious conviction is in direct opposition to the constitution. Here is why. Because we were founded by a group of religious zealots with wildly different beliefs who had all been marginalized by the dominate Church of England, they knew that even with a 98% majority of the population a truly free and democratic state MUST adhere to a separation of church and state. This was actually the beauty of democracy, that while majority was allowed to rule according to vote, the rights of the minority were still protected. This was UNHEARD of at the time. Particularly when it came to religious liberty.
I won’t even begin to explain why saying “homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all” is wrong – but in an era of horrific and increasing bullying of gay teens using language like ‘threatens us all’ is nothing short of propaganda.
It’s so easy for us to look up Romans 1 and observe the obvious gap between biblical teaching and homosexuality.
I would like to respond to that quote with this one -
[The] Problem is, gays don’t see us as agonizing over our acceptable sins. The pursuit of self-fulfillment covers a multitude of adultery, divorce, and pornography in our churches. Why shouldn’t it also cover homosexuality?
There is that – one might contend that there is an obvious gap between what the bible says about dozens of issues and the actions of most believers (and non-believers)- judgement, slander, selfishness, hate in your heart, a controlling spirit – the difference is that people aren’t getting kicked out of churches or taking away people’s constitutional opportunities as a consequence.
It does seem strange to the rest of the world that in the midst of all of the aforementioned things- Christians stand up, plank in eye, and take their tweezers to homosexuality. Particularly that they spend a good amount of their time trying to tweeze homosexuality out of the eyes of people who are not, in fact, Christians.
As my non-CC readers may or may not know, Christianity was established because New Testament (not yet) believers were living ‘under the law’ this is when you are forced to live according to religious law that you do not believe… Think “rules without relationship.” Then Christ came and liberated them from the law and drew then into relationship. I think you can see where I am going with this. Imposing a moral Christian belief on an entire nation of people who may or may not agree with that religious conviction could be construed as bringing them under the law. As I understand the bible, this is not a good thing, or something that draws people into relationship with God (or into relationship with his followers.)
Many gay-rights advocates have excused themselves behind a professed love of God’s Word. You won’t likely win a debate with them by citing Bible verses they’ve been trained to explain away.
I hope I don’t need to point out, that this article is a training exercise into how to explain the opposing view away. In this vein of logic, no one is likely to win. In fact, it is likely that everyone loses.
For presidents and paupers, gays and straights, there is no other way to true happiness than the one Jesus traveled, the way that ended in the agony of the Cross and the ecstasy of the Resurrection.
Here is the crux of the article. These convictions are biblically based for a specific sect of Christianity, even the article acknowledges that the church is divided on this issue (this sect simply claims to be more right than the ones that don’t agree with this point.)
The way to morally transform America, according to the Christian faith, is to introduce people to the God that you know – not to impose your religious conviction, via legislation on an entire nation of people.
For those of you who will cry, “UNIVERSALISM!” and call this a postmodern or relative truth argument – I assure you this is a pragmatic argument.
There is no denying that Christians do not agree on INNUMERABLE topics, not just this one. I’ve been aquatinted with a church community that for 20 years can’t come to a consensus about drinking, they are not talking about getting drunk, literally – there is an inability to come to consensus over just one glass of wine…
Separate to, but in light of, the inability of the church to be on the same page regarding interpretation of the bible, and who is most right about the absolute truth - the protection by the federal government from being pulled back and forth in that battle is a welcome protection. The separation of church and state is in place to protect people from having their rights taken away by people acting in the authority of God, on behalf of the greater good of ‘all.’ If the church can’t agree amongst itself what the authoritative word of God says about this issue, it’s hard to think that in the name of God and on that God given authority that one faction of the Christian church should be creating legally binding policies based on their conviction. More simply stated, we’ve got enough to deal with with Congress, don’t pull the nation into your battle. Also, it’s in direct opposition to the Constitution of the United States of America.
If this does not convince you that what you are doing is outside the methodology of Christ, and logic then there is one final plea.
If you believe with all of your heart that it is your duty as believers to,” declare our right to legislate according to religious conviction in defense of traditional institutions” I urge you to consider this…
One day, you may not be the moral majority.
When I asked my friend who posted the article if she was OK with religious legislation imposing on her religious liberties, she answered “In a nation where 78% of Americans (Pew Report 2009) profess Christianity as their religion, yes, I expect the majority to vote biblically.” (believe me, she has carefully considered this, it is the topic of her dissertation at Baylor - I told you she is respectable and smart.)
Let’s consider hypothetically that the next moral majority is muslim. They decide, as the religious majority, that Ramadan should be required – legally, the majority of the nation affiliates with Islam anyway. Continuing in the course of action being proposed by this article, the precedent will have been set that legislation based on religious conviction of the ‘moral’ majority is OK. I would speculate that there would be fighting tooth and nail against this by Christian Conservatives, but it’s the precedent that is being advocated and pushed right now.
The truth is, for the most part, no one is asking you to change your MORAL conviction on homosexuality, I am simply making a plea for you to not impose that conviction by way of legislation. This is an appeal made as much for your sake in the long term (Revelation seems to assure us that the days of Christian moral majority are numbered) as it is for the protection of the fundamental rights of Americans.
In light of these things I want to revisit Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians, “Of these three now remain; Faith, Hope, and Love – but the greatest of these is love.”
We should make sure that we are careful not to be convinced that “the greatest of these” is Faith – because as any CC knows – faith without love is “a resounding gong and clanging cymbal.”
***disclaimer – I recognize that this is not an inarguable topic (and I am no Demosthenes,) but I believe that this perspective is strong and needed. It was not easy to write, as I am sure for many CC it will not be easy to read. I am simply asking you to thoughtfully/prayerfully weigh the perspective and consider pouring your energy on this topic into sharing the Love that you believe in, instead of battling this legislation.
February 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Needless to say I have not managed to incorporate Shoop into the daily vernacular.
I did weep a few times during Whitney Houston’s Homegoing.
1 – Tyler Perry
2- Kim Burrel
3 – Kevin Costner
4 – The recessional
I was moved again that despite everything, we are all just people desperately trying to get it right. I saw a Facebook post on an acquaintances wall that said, “How can we tell our children to just say no when we hold funerals that make martyrs out of those who didn’t?” While I understand what he meant, I also wanted to plead with him to extend compassion to those who spend their lives battling with addiction, longing for freedom. Famous or our neighbors.
I ran a half-marathon in honor of my AM this Sunday. She ran the LIVESTRONG, she’s run it many times before, but never as a cancer survivor. It was a beautiful day in Austin and a beautiful day in Hampton. My friends Rita and Sarah L tore the 1/2 course up, and my friend Jenn ran her PR in the marathon by NINE minutes. Can you imagine??? A great day for cancer research.
Yesterday was a sad, sad, sad, day. I can only tell you that a part of my family has suffered so much loss over the last few months it seems unimaginable. We are all squeezing a week into two days, we will spend the rest of the week celebrating the life of a wonderful woman. The democratic party has lost an incredible supporter and the world has lost a wonderful woman.
Life is brief. Love well.