Thursday, September 20, 2007

Free to be ignorant...

If you read my previous blog about freedom, then it served as a good portal to this one. However, if you missed out, I would recommend reading it or merely read this one with the understanding that freedom is something most American’s either can’t explain or don’t exercise correctly. If you’ve bothered to glance at a news broadcast, newspaper, or this blog, you’ve heard of what is now being called the ‘Jena 6.’ In response to racial tension and no doubt agitation, 6 black teenagers, brutally beat a fellow white student.

There is no doubt in my mind, that this attack was provoked by ignorant and unnecessary mocking from the white student. However, is that ever an excuse to brutally, nearly kill your aggressor? It troubles me that thousands upon thousands of individuals, as well as social figures around the nation are flocking to Jena, Louisiana to fight for the freedom of 6 teenagers who snapped and made the decision to nearly kill an ignorant Redneck. This is not a defense for the victim’s actions that caused the attack. But on that same note, I don’t believe for a second the Jena 6 deserve any sort of defense either.

Yes, the person was probably provoking them and was quite racist. Yes, prejudice and racism are travesties this day in age. Yes, if and when I am faced with prejudice in my life I think (and I do stress think) about physically harming the ignorant. But the absolute, hard-lined no of this situation is responding the aggressors with violence. That is why the Jena 6 are on trial. Whether or not the legal practices of Jena, Louisiana are in fact racist, is an issue of locale that should be rectified, however, these 6 young men did break the law, they did attack someone, and therefore should be prosecuted to the maximum amount.

Having said all that, I now will talk about freedom. This is America. We have a constitution that outlines what rights are granted to us and protected for us by Federal law. One of which is freedom of speech. Throughout the years and numerous Supreme Court cases, this has gone to encompass quite a number of things. One of which, if you really look at the fine print, is the freedom to have opinions. Whether if its on who you’re voting for or what church you pray at, you are entitled to think for yourself and form your own opinions. This even encompasses who you choose to hate.

Personally, I hate people who stand in the express lane with a cart that totals way over 20. This list includes people who stay in a merging lane until the very last foot and swerve in front of me causing me to gasp, slam on my breaks, and grab my heart. People who smack their food also make the cut. I also, probably more than anyone else, hate people who are close-minded, prejudice, and ignorant (these things tend to be a package deal.). I always have a few choice words I wish I could utter and wish for bodily harm to come to these people, but the point is I don’t. I restrain myself from doing these things, while reserving the right to inwardly hate them and complain about these people at a later time.

Unlike the Jena 6, I don’t brutally attack every individual that happens to make a snide remark directed at me. That is why these individuals are sitting in jail right now and await trial. Whether or not they receive a harsher sentence for being black is irrelevant. The point is they broke the law in a severe way, the victim did not. So, Mr. Sharpton, go home! Jesse Jackson, shut up!  This isn't a race issue.  It is a matter of a law clearly being broken.

This may have started with racial tension. But at the time, that’s all it was and well-grounded, calm individuals could have made strides to diffuse the situation, not jump on this guy’s head. When it comes to living in this world, we cannot help how we are perceived. We lack the power to control others’ opinions of us. We are helpless to directly influence what comes out of strangers’ mouths. We lack this power of control because of the power of freedom that has been entrusted to those around us. On the other hand, we have the power to control ourselves, how we respond and how we handle such situations. The Jena 6 are in jail now because they made a bad decision in response to an even worse situation, not because they are black.

Not so shining example...

As I sit back in between cars that pass by in the drive through at work, I watch CNN 24-in our lobby. Today, a press conference with the President streamed into the tube, and as I heard him babbling in the background, things he was saying caught my ear. He was addressing different things, among them, the war in Iraq and the new developments we were striving towards. One statement in particular made me cringe a little more than usual. George W. stated that ‘we need to teach these Iraqis the benefits of democracy.’

Ok, first of all, how long have we truly been a democratic peoples? There was a time in our not so distant history where individuals living in ‘the greatest country in the world’ were restricted from voting based on their race and/or gender. Having been around for a mere 200+ years, and only giving a voice to your Anglo-white males for a majority of that time, doesn’t really offer the brightest beacon to the people in 3rd world countries.

We like to stand on our self-made pedestal and preach to the world about the power of democracy and freedom. However, we also like to forget the fact that not even 50 years ago our nation struggled through our darkest days of the Civil Rights Movement. We think there should be gender equality in the Middle East when not too long ago we wouldn’t share a water fountain with a person of a different color. Not shortly after the birth of the United States were we greatly un-united.  The Civil War was the bloodiest wars ever fought on American soil. Brothers fought brothers in a battle for state vs. federal power that was partially fueled by the fact that we were enslaving human beings! What an example of democracy and freedom!

America still faces the effects of these issues still today. However, the fact is, we made it through these struggles without the assistance or driving force of foreign nations. The US keeps its nose in the air and, many times, refuses foreign aid. With that said, how do you think these Iraqis feel about a hostile force coming over and forcing democracy upon them? Some nations are not ready for democracy. It takes time, man-power, and motivation of the people.

In terms of motivation, for a country who’s voting turn-out continues to dwindle in some of the most important times of change, it is ironic that George W. feels we should teach the benefits of democracy, when his own country’s people seem to know nothing or care very little about them. In light of the 2000 election, it seems many individuals who even bother to vote in Florida don’t even know how! It peeves me that since there were no WMDs, this is our ‘new mission.’ Operation Iraqi Freedom is helmed by a country that has barely been able to define what freedom actually is. Not too long ago, US citizens were discriminated against and refused ‘freedom’ based on the gender, race, and now, sexual orientation. By risking the lives of our own people to bring democracy and freedom to another, I feel that the ‘Melting-Pot- is merely saying, “Hey Kettle, you’re black!”

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Front Row Joe

I am a movie buff! Although my tastes are drastically campy and sometimes just downright embarrassing, I love movies. I have an extensive movie collection (once again, embarrassing) and trips to the movies are always a joy. There is nothing like being lost for an hour or two in the fictional lives of attractive and dramatic personas on the silver screen. Being that this is a multi-billion dollar industry, I am not the only person who enjoys the talkies.

However, the more and more movies I see and the more trailers for those ‘coming to a theater near you’ I preview, the more I realize a shift. One that causes me to ponder as to where the entertainment industry and the tastes of the American public are headed, and why? Anyone who knows me, can attest to the fact that I am no prude. However, there is a sense of common decency that should be upheld and a moral hard-line that need not be crossed. I’m not saying every movie that is released must be a PG rated, full-family good time, but I feel the level of morality in the Cineplex is dwindling at best.

It seems that movies these days throw in gore, harsh language, and/or sex just to be in there. Once again, not being Prudence McPrude, I understand that a good love story (The Notebook) may have a love scene, a police or mob movie (The Departed) may drop the F-Bomb occasionally, or a war movie (Braveheart) may show a person losing a few extra arms or legs. These movies do not require these elements, however, when they are included in the reel, they are not out of place by any means. They are meant to heighten the drama and create an experience. Which is exactly why we go to these movies. I draw the line at movies that include this explicit vulgarity just to put it in there. Tons of movies these days revolve around sex and/or violence and have absolutely no artistic or even entertaining qualities.

Another surprising movement in American pop culture is the quiet acceptance of these cinematic atrocities. Within my own lifetime, I have witnessed the bar being lowered and lowered. We are shocked, accept it, and are thus desensitized from it. Therefore, the movie industry must come up with more twistedly dramatic movies to shock us once again. When I was a kid (as in 2 weeks ago), horror movies like Scream were by no means children’s fare. They did contain violence and other distasteful elements that were quite entertaining. However, as one fast-forwards a decade, simple slasher movies just aren’t shocking enough. The fact that 3 (going on 4) Saw movies have been made is a gross reality as to what Americans require in their ‘entertainment.’ Who is going to see these? I thought I had bad taste in movies!

Once again, I’m not saying to dumb down or remove any or all adult aspects of entertainment, but if it is in the movie, make it serve a purpose. Make it advance the plot or heighten the dramatic quality of the movie. Don’t just put it in there to shock audiences or push the envelope. It’s been pushed enough! Stop making crap movies and invest your time to make the next Gone With The Wind or Godfather. Can anyone really think of any movie made in the last calendar year that will be watched 50 years from now? Cause I sure can’t.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Because they are...

Thanksgivings. Graduations. Birthdays. These days, and others like them are usually the ones we remember forever. We painfully anticipate their slow arrival. We invite our friends and family to special dinners commemorating the event. We dress nice, take pictures, and look back on the photos with cheerful remembrance. But, what of the days in between these monumental moments that we are counting by, the ones that seem delightfully mundane and mere filler between timeless snapshots?

As I watch my parents grow older and happier together, stand by and witness my nieces and nephews progress into real live people, and even as I look in the mirror and see myself continue to mature (slow as it may be), I realize that it isn’t the moments that are tucked away into our photo albums (or folders full of digital images nowadays) that really matter. The moments that define us seem to be the ones we let fly by, or even worse, ‘suffer’ through on the way to the next holiday.

We take off of work (if we’re lucky enough), we make detailed, meticulous plans (if you’re me), and breath the air in the atmosphere of ‘special event’ stress (once again if you’re me) during these moments and forget the ones that really matter. We don’t photograph simple and loving phone conversations with our parents or friends. We don’t use PTO to mark another day we are healthy and happy along with our friends, family, and other miscellaneous loved ones. We rarely shell out the money for a card and stamp to let someone know they are loved for simply being themselves. No. They had to have survived another year in this world, walked a stage in a silly cap and gown, and/or given us a gift.

Why are these ‘filler days’ merely boxes that are crossed off our calendars? If anyone knows me, they know I am impatient, picky, and more often than not have something to complain about. Now, I doubt this will change any of these things, but I wanted a written and posted statement of exactly how grateful I am. Now that I’m working, I may not be coming home for the holidays, so I plan on sitting back and enjoying my phone call to my mom during the end of my lunch break, emails from my siblings sharing beautiful photographs from monumental (and not so monumental) moments in their and their children’s lives, and breath I sigh of relief every time I walk into my apartment safe and sound without a voicemail relaying troubling or tragic news.

Although I will always love and celebrate the ‘special’ days that banks are closed and mail isn’t delivered, I will also try and inwardly remind myself to equally appreciate the days in between. The days that require no invitation, ironed shirt, or gift. The days that are beautiful and memorable simply because they are. Although I may not have a picture or funny anecdote from these days, I had them, and hopefully, will continue to have many more.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Got a light?

Ok, this is being written not because of my being a smoker, but because I am an American who is fed up with a group of aging elected citizens who feel they can legislate morality. I must admit I am a little biased because I smoke, but being that I am 21-years-old, this discussion seems a tad irrelevant. The article about Congress wanting to pass a bill that would raise the legal smoking age to 19 is as laughable as it is nauseating. You might as well put a legal age minimum on sex, because, like sex, minors will just continue to do it.

Although I would never give one power of attorney or be in charge of a covert, sting operation, I believe 18-year-olds are 'adult' enough to make choices that may or may not be deleterious to their health. Hell, we think them adult enough to send them to WAR, send them off to college (where, by the way, there are worse things than cigarettes or snuff), and let them elect these officials who want them to vote but wait another year until they smoke. Confusing. I am in complete agreement with the current legislation. 18 years is an age landmark that brings on a world of responsibilities and new found options. It is the first step towards adulthood, and short of car rental or alcohol purchase/consumption there isn't much else an 18-year-old can do.

Proponents of this bill say it is to stop high-school students from smoking, in spite of the fact that they are legal. Hmm. 1st problem, they are legal! Legislation should be designed to grant freedoms. Once that freedom is granted, it is a slippery slope to take it away again, if you can recall the extreme popularity of prohibition. It is also said that this bill would stop 18 year olds from buying cigarettes for their UNDERAGE friends. I'm sorry, but there are consequences that are currently in place the deal with providing tobacco for minors, and people do it anyway. Also, by raising the age by one year simply makes Slow-held-back-Bobby-in-the-back-row the new Mr. Congeniality to smokers in every 4th period Biology class.

Plus, you could raise the legal age to AARP heights, and people would still smoke. Granted, it might be harder to talk my Grandpa into buying me a carton, but I would find a way. People would find a way. Contributing to your minor friends is the price you pay for beating them to the legal age of 18 or 21. Let's give a some, not a lot, of credit to 18-year-olds everywhere. I wouldn't let too many of them run a country or any business larger than a lemonade stand, but of all the other responsibilities our legal system lays on their shoulders, let them smoke while they fight a war, cast their ballot, buy their lotto ticket, or sign legal documents without their mommy standing over their shoulder. If this bill passes, I am moving to Mexico and buying every 18-year-old I know a big Carton of Marlboro Reds!

PS – I will not even get started on the ridiculousness of the fact that a large portion of college FRESHMEN couldn't buy a pack of smokes or tin of snuff, because I think we can all see how ludicrous that is.

PS2 – Why has smoking got such a bad rap? Yes, I am completely aware of the negative health effects of a puff, but why not raise the legal age of eating a whopper? I am in complete agreement with legislation that restricts smoking in public places like restaurants or bars, but if I want to smoke a cigarette outside, on my back porch, or on a curb outside said bar/restaurant, don't look at me like I just got my membership card for All Qa'ida or the KKK. I was out the other day with some people and said I was gonna step outside for a smoke, and they looked at me like I had just said I was gonna go refocus my camera lens for the child porno I was getting ready to shoot. It’s just a cigarette. I am considerate and try to avert my smoke from others and try not to litter my butts all over the place. So, all you non-smokers be considerate of ME and all other smokers and let us smoke!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

This just in...

If anyone knows about recent events in my life, they now know that I work for Wells Fargo. While spending eight hours a day in a bank lobby, a 42-inch plasma screen TV streams CNN into my brain. Things can also get all mixed up some days and we flip over and watch MSNBC or Fox News. Either way, the current news has been making my ears twitch and been blinking in my peripheral vision. After just a few weeks of this, I’ve come to the startling realization that this nation’s media is drastically misguided and priorities are mind-numbingly out of whack.

As I type and you skim this blog, American citizens are overseas are devoting their lives to our daily freedoms. Like most American civilians usually do with unseemly or taboo topics, we’ve pushed this war to the back of our minds. Out of sight, out of mind. The war has been going on for almost five years now, and in that time over 3000 American brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters have lost their lives, and thousands more have been wounded and forever changed. As the numbers of casualties rises, the number of stories concerning them have dwindled and taken a backseat to much more ‘interesting’ headlines.

Also, in more recent and developing news, an election year is on the horizon. In a short while, our nation, the ‘most powerful nation in the world,’ will have a new leader. Although the press has been quite good about disclosing this fact, it is still somewhat back burner information. This is unthinkable because, for the first time in our nation’s history, we have forerunners who include a woman, a Black man, no war veterans of any kind, and a gambit of other candidates on either side who embody the future of our great nation.

These are just a few of the great and life-changing things that are currently affecting our daily lives. However, the American media has downsized their severity and prefer to cover stories concerning Paris Hilton’s stint in jail. The pressing questions that the media are answering concern the status of Brangelina, Britney Spears’s custody battle, and/or the latest starlet in rehab. The sad thing is that the viewers seem ignorantly content about the content.  Also, while on the topic of ignorance, in the wake of Miss Teen South Carolina’s mind-numbingly numb answer during 2 of the worst hours in broadcast television history,  it is equally numbing how interested we were in this particularly uninteresting answer.  YouTube practically shut down due to the overwhelming number of hits for this video. She was featured on the Today show, and CNN acted like someone had spotted blazing chariots coming down from the heavens.

While these ‘pressing,’ Mensa-esqe stories were going on the in the background I made a comment about the sad reality of what is now considered news. A coworker replied with the fact that they were tired of hearing about the war and the upcoming election. This stunned me. Why would one be tired of hearing about developing stories that can and will affect you and everyone you know? To not be a complete hypocrite, I must admit that I love a daily dosage of E! News, but the stories and press that should be the most important seem ‘boring’ or ‘tired.’ Maybe we should start tuning into media outlets that report on actual news and be a part of and be informed on our ever-changing world. Or we could just sit back and ignore these things, and b!+©H about the results later as Americans also like to do.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Role Models

If you read my blog ‘Tell Me What To Do,’ this one is somewhat similar in theme, but it is directed at a different audience. Like what was discussed in the other blog, individuals in American culture are subject to constant advertising and publicity about what we SHOULD be doing, buying, and wearing. This message may be aimed at the consumer-driven-American, but it also finds its audience in YOUNGER Americans.

I recently was checking my email and saw an article flashing on the side among things such as stocks, latest gossip, and a 5 ways to find your ‘Mr. Right’ article. It was about the party-girls of Hollywood and their INFLUENCE on young girls of America. It detailed how these many young women of Hollywood are role models for young impressionable America. Now, being a role model is all well and great, but the article emphasized the NEGATIVE effects of the Paris Hiltons and Britney Spearses of the L.A. nightclubs. This article came at an interesting time, because in one of my Human Development and Family Studies courses, we were discussing ROLE MODELS and how they are an influence on people, especially young little Misses.

The article had interviewed numerous concerned parents that said their young daughters adore Lindsay LOHAN, Paris HILTON, and Nicole RICHIE types, and that 4th graders are saying words like ‘sexy’ and dressing provocatively. Parents of the preteens and teeney-boppers also regaled tales of their young adults’ expensive tastes in clothes, jewelry, or latest cell phone Ms. Hilton just lost.  They continued to complain about how they had to buy their children these things they wanted, and watch Daddy's little girl walk out the front door wearing skin-tight hot shorts.

This is troubling, but what seems MORE troubling is that these parents in some way seem to be inviting or encouraging these behaviors and interests. Although anyone who has been around a 7 to 12 year old knows that it is difficult to oversee what they hear and choose to repeat. However, it is just good parenting to discipline a child who engages in age inappropriate rhetoric. When I was a kid, which wasn’t extremely long ago, kids who dropped the F-BOMB got a mouthful of soap, a slap in the face, or both. Also, when at home, how about you don’t let your child watch E!’s latest episode of the Simple Life or MTV reality trash? And when it comes to a 4th grader wearing provocative clothing, the last time I checked, 4th graders COULDN’T drive themselves to the mall, whip out THEIR credit card or checkbook and pay for whatever clothes THEY wanted. Although you may not be literally dressing your children once they reach a certain age, you still retain a great deal of pull when it comes to what they wear. If you don’t like it, DON’T BUY IT FOR THEM! And if you happen to have a child that is of driving and working age, if they want to buy the latest Chanel, Gucci, or Fendi slut-skirt, make them work for that hefty purchase price. With that choice in mind, maybe they’d rather the parent pay for the clothes that their PARENT approves of.

All this comes down to the PARENT being the role model for their children, NOT the cover girl of the latest issue of US Weekly. I’m sure the parents in the article I read that were interviewed were upstanding citizens and, in their own respects, GOOD PARENTS. But, like the other Americans who wish to sue people who of all things serve them HOT coffee, or explain that their 12 year old axe-murdered his best friend because he saw an episode of Power Rangers, these parents are looking for a SCAPEGOAT.  I am not a parent. But, I know that I would NEVER let my hypothetical 9 year old daughter walk out of MY house wearing anything revealing, too flashy, or provocative. As much as modern-day parenting stresses the child’s needs and letting them be expressive, there is a line that must be drawn and times when a foot should just be put down. Although this line is continually being pushed further and further back, parents can at least TRY and remember where it used to be. Parent your children, and know and dictate what their needs are. There are many SEXUAL PREDATORS who prey on young girls, but don’t serve your daughter up on a silver platter wearing something that would make a dime-store hooker gasp. And stop blaming the media that you, in one way or another, are exposing your children to.

Tell me what to do...

Although the only use I usually have for The Daily Toreador (my school's daily periodical) is to seek and solve the daily crossword and/or So Do Ku, the crossword Monday was strategically placed across from the Opinions page. There, a headline caught my eye, "The Dixie Chicks should just go away." I proceeded to read the article, and was pleased with the overall substance of the article, however conservative and Chicks-bashing it was. However, the fact that the writer was, in the first place, somewhat condemning actors, socialites, or, in this case, singers for spouting their political views is laughable.

The consumer driven market we live in has made these people our role models. Whether its what we wear, the music we listen to, or the things we eat (or not eat) and drink, celebrities influence our every move (whether we'd like to admit it or not). I'm sure dairy farmers themselves would personally thank the 'Got Milk?' campaign spokespersons like Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, and Kelly Clarkson for the boost in awareness about and consumption of milk. Hey, Britney's doing it, why not me? Speaking of the ex-Mrs. Federline, upon the debut of her 'not so innocent' image back in the early 2000s (pre-baby-Britney) the advent of low-rise jeans was catapulted by the six-pack-bearing bombshell. Even six years later, her fashion faux pas and crotch-baring photographs have merely raised social awareness of the vital role underwear makes in our daily lives. I don't know how many times I've stepped out of my Jaguar at a party and thought 'Hope the mouse is in the house! Thank God I remembered my underwear.' As obscene and nauseating this example may be, the media explosion that followed the unfortunate photos was mind-numbing. The picture and party-girl stories were plastered all over every Holly-Housewife tabloid and publication available at the checkout counter. The editors, writers, and investors in these magazines bank on our fascination with what celebs are doing, wearing, not-wearing, or buying.

Case in point, the 'celebrity' is now multi-platform performer/entrepreneur. Taking advantage of the malleability of the American people's interests and buying habits, these individuals take our behaviors straight to the bank. Although J.Lo may be one of the first multi-platform stars, since then its unheard of to just be a mere singer or actor. The hyphenations are flying left and right. Singer-dancer-actor. Actor-spokesperson-reality show judge. Singer-designer-producer. Spokesperson-dancer-fragrance. Fragrance? That's right, we love celebrities so much, we want to smell like they want to smell. Whether it's J.Lo's 'Glow' or Sarah Jessica Parker's 'Lovely' we can't get enough.  Why else would advertisers shell out millions upon millions of dollars to get celebrity endorsements?

We have created larger-than-life role models out of these people. Now, these things may seem mundane. That is why many are so shocked when celebs spout their political agendas. Hell, the American people have elected celebrities to vital roles in the American political system. If he can save the world from futuristic kill-bots, why shouldn't Arnold be able to save California from smog emissions? Also, one of the most photographed, Googled, and beautiful women of all time, Angelina Jolie, is single-handedly saving Africa before our very eyes. Even celebrities look to their peers for how to behave. Post-Angelina in Africa, celebs like Oprah, Bono, and George Clooney have joined the 'Save the world' bandwagon and lets start in Africa. 

But when these people speak up about anything but their latest clothing line, a backlash media explosion erupts.  If you don't believe me, ask Natalie Maines what she was doing months after 12 little words rocked her world.  But, why be shocked at something that we've basically begged for? We used to be pleased with the fact that these people were talented actors, singers, or whatever they did, but now we yearn for someone who dances in the limelight to tell us what to do, where to spend our money, and how. So, before we start throwing stones at people like Green Day, the Dixie Chicks, or Angelina, for God's sake, let's at least see what they're wearing and go get it in every style and color.

Tightening The Bible Belt

Religion is an integral part of society. It is a cornerstone of beliefs, morality, and structure for any given group of people who share a common dogma. Religious views vary from person to person, region to region, and culture to culture. However, there is a certain region that has some quite troubling views. Deep within the 'Bible Belt' (the shiniest Bubba belt-buckle part of it) there are crosses lining the rolling hills, churches filled to the brim on Sunday mornings, and kind, gentle church-goers who sit in their pews demurely... wave politely at passing friends... read their Bibles diligently... and sing their hymns triumphantly.

However, another common activity of these church-goers or at least a majority of them here in the ‘Bible Belt,’ is judgment. Yes... while they sit in their pews, wave their hands, read their scripture, and raise their voices, these church-goers are simultaneously passing judgment on the passing crowd. If these people would take a moment to actually look at what they read in their beloved book, they would learn about a man who never judged. These people claim to know Him and His way of life and His teachings He died for, but actions speak louder than words. He taught and practiced love and withheld the judgment. That is why it is so shocking that these so called ‘followers’ practice judgment and stipulate their love.

Promiscuously brazen whores!!! Freedom-hating terrorists!!! Disease-ridden homosexuals!!! Or any other ‘labels’ or derogatory ‘titles’ that are given to any given group are usually given by those who consider themselves “Holier” than those they are labeling. God said a great many things, He forged a universe out of nothing, and above all else (in my opinion) He loves. He must live in a glass house, because He never throws stones. Not at the town whore who’s wiles sentenced her to a stony death, nor the children who wanted to gander at the Messiah, and not even the thief and murderer who dangled from a cross at His side. So what gives us the right to warm up our pitching arms and hurl that first stone?

Personal reflection and an unbiased view of oneself and others would do this world and those in it wonders. If these ‘Christians’ would only look away from those they are labeling and turn their glance at a mirror and a better interpretation of the ‘Good Book’ they would be less hypocritical and more understanding and open-minded to the aspect of human nature we all call a ‘flaw.’ It is no wonder that the greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, and why sometimes I question my own Christianity and how I am being perceived by non-Christians due to judgers and hypocrites who also praise my God.

Chuck & Larry

Ok… before you think that this is some crazy liberal, left-wing rant on why gays should get married, this is not also a gay man’s 15 minutes on a soap box screeching on why he should be allowed basic rights granted to every other American in the nation. I myself have gone through my own struggle with accepting this concept and truly examining the actual definition of equality. Due to my personal religious views, I see marriage, as defined in the Bible, as something I would never endorse or seek to allow. However, as a citizen of the United States of America, I believe that everyone has the right to get ‘married’ as defined in the laws of this ‘free’ country. Last time I checked the United States was considered the ‘leader’ of the free world and is pretending to be a model of freedom and democracy for the other 6 billion individuals across the globe. However it seems there are certain freedoms this country is not granting to all of its citizens.

First of all, this nation cannot be a ‘symbol’ or example of the perfect nation if it is not willing to grow and change with the times. It is not a good enough reason to say the Bible says its wrong for the fact that church and state are separate. No decisions in this nation should ever be made on the basis of what it says in the Bible. Although a number of laws seem to coincide with a number of commandments laid out in scripture, they are not one in the same. First of all, not everyone in the US is a Christian and also the Bible, in certain places, is highly open to interpretation. Some things are in black and white, but if you open the door for some things to be banned or become laws simply on the sole justification because the Bible said it, bad things will happen in this country, as they have many times before. There was a time that the Word was interpreted to say women are less than men and that non-Whites were inferior as well. Due to this twisted interpretation, the United States went through some of its darkest years, from which, the ripples from those stones are still being felt.

For those of you who believe that it would destroy the sanctity of marriage in the US, think about this.... about 38% of all marriages fail within the first 4 years! And with people getting drunk and married in Vegas, people getting married more times than they have fingers on one hand, and/or people who marry simply for money, looks, or status, seem to have taken care of that de-sanctifying. Also, maybe it’s just because I’m in West Texas or there might be people like this all over the country, but, how ‘sanctified’ is a shot-gun wedding that is only being held simply because the groom knocked up his soon to be mother-bride. Say “I do” kiss her quick and drive her to the OBGYN. Is that a marriage that is sanctified? I don’t think so. Now, some of these marriages last and turn into loving unions, however most end with a Jerry Spring quality kid and 2 angry, bitter divorcees. So, ‘marriage’ in this nation is anything but blessed or sanctified.

Plus with almost 50% of marriages falling apart, divorce lawyers are making a killing, not to mention marriage counselors, wedding planners, and various venues that cater weddings (bars, hotels, churches, reception halls, etc.) the economy would boom with the explosion of this realm of the economy.

Also, as I gay man, I see the social world of ‘gay society.’ The gay man is about monogamous as the stereotypical frat gay. I believe this is due in part to of course the fact that they are men and refuse to not sow their wild outs, but also due to the fact that they can never truly have a solidified, legally binding union between them. Many straight bachelors are settled down because a beautiful, smart woman gives them an ultimatum that calms their horniness to an at least controllable boil. Also, like most women, lesbian couples are very devoted and have solid relationships.

Another quite ridiculous claim against gay marriage is that if you let two guys/girls get married… what’s next? And I’m not sure what these people even mean. Do they mean like a dog? Or goat-man of some kind? Either way, I think its safe to say people shouldn’t marry animals and anyone stupid enough to think that would happen should really be sterilized. The point is, right now there is debate on whether two individuals of the same sex should be allowed to be legally recognized as a union. To make the jump to animals is to brand a homosexual subhuman.

The point is, America, stop starting wars and invading people’s countries telling them what to do and demanding they change and become more free and democratic, like us, when there are plenty of fires at home that our government needs to acknowledge and put out. Once again, beating a dead horse here, you can’t be an example of freedom and democracy when you refuse your own citizens' rights based solely on their sexual orientation. We are all people. Maybe people who are sucking on social security, are dangerously stupid, or morally corrupt shouldn’t be allowed to get married. Now that’s a law I can get onboard with.