Archive for August, 2012


Dissappointed

Disappointment: Sad or displeased because someone or something has failed to fulfill one’s hopes or expectations.

aka GOP Platform as released at National Convention

I consider myself to be a Christian and while I know that ideologically I am a Libertarian in the past I have voted Republican, last night when I read the GOP’s platform I think that might have changed.

I believe that without a doubt our founding fathers planned this country with a significant Christian influence, but I also believe that they put in significant protections for the church from the government. Now I fear that it is the government that may need protecting from members of the church.

I do not want my government to ever have a say in how I practice my religion, or any part in how I should interpret my faith. I believe that the principle of personal choice, in so far as it causes no harm to others, is one that sets our country apart in greatness.
I do believe wholeheartedly that the issue of gay marriage is closely tied to freedom of religion. I firmly believe that MY church should not be forced to anoint a gay marriage, but also that no one should stop a different church from doing so it it is within their beliefs. Therefore it really upsets me for the GOP to make it their #1 priority in the platform to enforce a religious definition upon a civic function.

I would much prefer marriage be completely left up to churches and have NO government involvement. However I do firmly believe that the government has no place defining which religion’s definition should be used.

Personally I can see no great harm in letting Bob marry David, even if I can see a religious argument against it, but that is just it, the ONLY argument I can see against it is one based in religion.

Still putting aside the fact that I don’t think it should be an issue of importance at all, at very least it is not THE MOST important issue our country faces. The economy, education, and healthcare (issues which I generally tend to side on the R side of the isle) all stand out as issues that are vastly more important than who is eligible for a marriage license.  I guess time will only tell but I’m not so sure I will support a party who doesn’t have priorities that I can support as well.

Knowledge

The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.
-James Madison

GOP and Women

I found this article incredibly interesting and touched home to me as a woman who usually votes Republican. I may have different opinions from Sen Huchison on many traditional “woman’s issues” but I loved her commentary here on the fact that the GOP is not anti-woman and that assuming that a rational thinking woman HAS to think one way about an issue is wrong.

Some highlights:

“Women make up half of the most diverse country in the world. We are represented ethnically, socially, racially, economically, religiously and ideologically across the spectrum. To say that there is a set of concerns that can be labeled “women’s issues” is absolutely true. To assume that we all feel the same way about them — or that we must feel the same way about them to represent our gender legitimately — is inherently sexist.”

“Americans have thoughts, opinions and ideas spanning the political spectrum, about which reasonable people can respectfully disagree. But it is both unreasonable and disrespectful to demand that half of them hold identical views simply because of their gender.”

Unfriendly to women? Not my GOP

By Kay Bailey Hutchison via CNN

Politicians say some really stupid things sometimes, and this comes to no shock to anyone who happens to pay even the slightest attention to the news. Recently though even those of us rather inured to stupid off the cuff comments from politicians were shocked to hear a national politician speak with astounding ignorance about a very sensitive subject in a heated campaign year.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” – Rep Todd Akin

First off I don’t even for a second want to debate the term “legitimate rape” as there is no such thing. Rape in any circumstance is wrong and that is one of the very few things I will never consider an argument against. The real anger I had against this statement however was the sentiment behind the concept not the incredibly insensitive and stupid phrasing.

The idea that a pregnancy could be prevented if it were violent enough or distressing enough to cause “shock” is an outdated, medically unproven and an incredibly dangerous thought. Many women who are abused are already afraid to come forward, or already feel as if it was their fault somehow. The idea that a woman who happened to get pregnant from rape, deserved such because her rape was not “real” because it didn’t cause enough “shock” is simply horrific. The thought that this comment might cause a woman to possibly not come forward about her rape because silence is better than facing someone saying she is not a real “victim” is tragic to me. Even if the vast majority of people have condemned these comments the fact that the sentiment is out there, and held by someone in power is very disheartening.

All of this attention to the issue of rape and abortion can not be seen as totally unfortunate however. I feel that these issues are incredibly important in today’s society. Political discourse on the issues of victims rights as well as the legality of abortion should not be prevented, but they should be respectful, and aware of the rights feelings and ramifications of those positions to victims of sexual assault.

This brings me back to the politician himself who was not knowledgeable nor respectful to victims of such horrible crimes. While I know that no one is perfect, I do believe that politicians have a moral obligation to use the voice and attention that they get in conjunction with their jobs responsibly. If they do not do so, as in this case, I think that it is a failure on their part to do their job and they should face consequences. I may not believe that one off the cuff remark taken out of context (which while not the case for this example is often the source of similar stupid politician moments) should always spell out disaster for someones career, they should expect to face some pretty serious negative repercussions when a comment is offensive, poorly researched, or outright offensive. I think it is the voters job to make sure those consequences are carried out and that we don’t vote for candidates like this who use an incorrect opinion to justify policy making.

Side note: The following are comments that I found interesting; one is a piece about a victim of rape, and the other is an opinion piece that while doesn’t conform to all of my political stances on the issue reflects the anger and dismay I felt when reading about this issue over the past week. Please note that there is also some really great pro-life commentary going on out there that isn’t offensive toward victims of rape and is attempting to clarify what many non-insane pro-life people believe and those are well worth reading as well.

Rape Fatigue and You: When there is just no anger left

Raped, Pregnant and ordeal not over

Victims

“Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel

On Chicken and Marriage

I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church, and while the vast majority of the people I interacted with have left an indelibly positive impression on my life, it became quite clear to me fairly early into high school (quasi adulthood) that there were things that the church as a whole stood for that I could not reconcile to the God I knew and loved.

First and foremost on this list was the way the church as a whole addressed homosexuality. I don’t particularly want to get into the theological debate on Christianity and homosexuality at this time, but I was forced to confront my own beliefs on this matter when several people I knew and loved, and whom I knew to love God themselves, came out as gay to me. The resulting crisis of faith is something that I still struggle with today, and something that I still can’t completely explain. I know I love God, and I know that I love the wonderful gay people in my life who I believe without a doubt were brought into my life by God to bless and enrich my life. I don’t believe that loving and respecting my God and my faith are mutually exclusive from loving and respecting my friends and their lives as LGBTQ people.

For me it all comes down to that love and respect. I have many moral and political disagreements with my friends on both side of the political spectrum as well as this particular issue, and that’s what brings me here today, that and fried chicken.

A few weeks ago it appeared as if the entire world was shocked that a company that has openly proclaimed a clear alignment with conservative Christian values, (to the point of having ALL of it’s stores closed on Sunday) openly and honestly explained that they support conservative Christian definition of heterosexual marriage. I think it is a little ridiculous that a company that is most famous for it’s chicken, and silly cow adds became the center of a political and cultural fire storm. However what I find MOST ridiculous is the firestorm itself.

I honestly felt at a loss standing in a tempest holding onto a bag of chicken, not because the company agreed or disagreed with my opinion, but because it tasted good. Major corporations spend their money supporting causes and candidates all the time. In fact if you looked in your pantry or on your credit card statement I am fairly certain you could find purchases from major corporations that spend money on something that you violently oppose without any trouble at all. It’s nothing new, it’s nothing shocking that a company run by conservative Christians would support related causes. Feel free to stop buying their product if you want, or to frequent their establishment more, but don’t mind me and the vast majority of other people as we choose to consume based on need, personal taste, and product quality. Honestly it doesn’t make us any better or worse of a person. I know my convictions don’t change depending on where I swipe my debit card and I doubt anyones do. Yet it sure felt like a few weeks ago many people seemed to think that they did.

I have friends who passionately believe that gay marriage is an essential human right and I also have friends who wholeheartedly believe that “traditional” heterosexual marriage is essential to maintaining a “moral” American culture. I’ve heard researched, reasoned and passionate arguments on both sides for the past several years of my life. I personally have very strong opinions on the matter, but honestly it isn’t the differences of opinion that shocked, frustrated and frankly down right pissed me off, it was the hate and vitriol with which they were expressed.

Many times I get on my soap box and explain that proclaiming beliefs in what the other side sees as hateful isn’t getting them anywhere and this week was a perfect example of that. I was shocked at the flames of hatred being spewed in every direction.

Perhaps it is because on this particular issue I tend to fall on the more “liberal” side my past experiences (no doubt influenced by what side I am on) has always seen the conservatives being more guilty of sensationalizing this issue to the point of vilification of the other side. Those proclaiming and thus fueling the “culture war” in my eyes have most frequently been conservative. In fact I myself have been called a bad Christian, chastised and attacked because of my particular stance. However for the past several weeks I have honestly been shocked at the level of hatred being spewed by the liberal side of this issue, “my camp” if you will.

I can not count the number of times I have heard, read or seen some status or other on Facebook proclaiming that anyone who dare consume “hate chicken” is a bigot, and in some instances a “perpetrator of human rights crimes”. For every well reasoned argument that I’ve read expressing an anti-chicken call to action, I read many more angry, mean spirited and down right insulting posts. Don’t get me wrong, I feel their frustration, I at many times feel their anger even, but I can in no way understand or support the HATE that came pouring out. That said some people that were organizing appreciation days and other vocal positions of support also frequently crossed the line, but over all the anger and frustration that I felt was at both sides for the escalation into propaganda and hatred.

Both sides of this issue claim that they are hated for their opinions, that they are standing on moral high ground being battered and eroded by the waves of ignorance from the opposition. In reality I think this week really proved to me that a great many people on both sides are in a pit flinging mud at one another as they both sink deeper into the mire. It is true that both sides of this issue can not inherently both be right, but this week to me they were both incredibly wrong.

In order to have any credibility in my eyes you have to recognize that there are intelligent people on both sides of this debate. There are people who passionately believe in their cause, who have strong reasons for their beliefs and who honestly want the best for the future generations in this country, and they are standing on both sides of this issue. Due to the nature of the debate both sides can not win, however that does not mean that we don’t all need to respect and love each other when we disagree. It’s ok to disagree, it is ok to passionately disagree, it is not ok to vilify one another. Propagating hate on either side and making people who you disagree with into villians will only lead to violence not to solving the issue or coming to terms that both sides can agree on. Let’s think about that next time that we are tempted to hyperbolize our frustrations (on either side) and ask ourselves if we are doing more harm to our cause than good.

A great quote from one of my favorite movies and an amazing screenwriter:

“You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” – The American President

My degree in Political Science and living near Washington DC have given me the wonderful opportunity to meet an amazingly diverse group of people who have in turn enriched the last several years of my life. The downside of this is the ever present conflict that arises on my Facebook page or at social gatherings any time something of political interest happens. My friends and acquaintances run the gambit from exceedingly liberal to exceedingly conservative, and on both end of the spectrum are very intelligent people with very passionate and well informed opinions on almost every major issue. That said it makes it very hard to feel comfortable putting an opinion out there without feeling the need to apologize to one group of friends or the other (or sometimes both). I like to write in order to process events, but I’ve yet to find an outlet where I feel comfortable doing that without offending someone so this is where this blog will come in.

Step away now if you are easily offended, I promise there will be no hard feelings. I respect people weather or not I think the same way they do on an issue. I believe that differences of opinion, even big ones, do not mean that I can not appreciate, respect and love a person. There are smart people on almost every side of the major issues facing our country and world today, and you can’t really make an informed decision unless you take the time to remember that and consider multiple sides to an issue. That said even if I think you’re wrong, (and at some point I think most people are wrong about one thing or another) that doesn’t mean we can’t agree to disagree. I love political and moral discourse as long as it is respectful.

I’m a libertarian, but for most of my life I’ve identified and voted with the Republican Party. This is both baffling and infuriating to some of my more liberal friends, while my more conservative friends and family are frustrated when I’m not a good enough Republican in their eyes. I don’t think my opinions and beliefs line up well with any major political party or group, and I reserve the right to change my mind when I want to. For the most part what I discuss here is meant to be my opinion, and just that, not an endorsement of any particular party or agenda. I’m also a Christian, however I ardently believe that I can not force someone to believe the same as me, nor should I try. I will voice my religious opinion and will answer questions about my faith as best I can, but I believe that faith is the ultimate choice and an individual has the right to make it on their own with the influence of the divine.

All of that said, here goes my experiment in joining the blogging world. I doubt many will notice but maybe it will at least be entertaining to me.