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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Let’s hope the next president isn’t a pastafarian

Politics and the pulpit are terms that have little agreement. The cause of civil liberty and civil government gains as little as that of religion by this confusion of duties. -Edmund Burke

I have been called, on occasion, a heathen - one without religion. (I have also been called rude, crude and disrespectful, but that is another issue.) And, perhaps I am, I am not a member of any church, do not attend religious services, do not feel an affinity for any religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Buddhism. Thus I feel no compunction to accept the values or follow the guidelines of any religion. I live in a country where membership in any church is not required, I do not have to adhere to the ideology of our elected officials.
Our Founding Fathers based much of the concepts of our free democracy on Christian philosophies. Which was fine, in 1776. So was owning a fellow human being and putting law breakers in stocks. Not so much now.
Not that there is anything inherently wrong with Christian values, do unto others, love your fellow man, thou shalt not kill.
But some of those values and morality are based on one’s religion, what your particular church thinks. That is, and should be, a very personal choice. Some religions prohibit eating meat, some birth control, some feel women should not wear pants. That is everyone’s right, to follow the rules of whatever religion you choose.
Government, however, is a different matter. When the government makes a rule, it is not optional. It is the law. It doesn’t matter if you agree with it, if you find it morally or ethically at odds with your personal belief system.
So those in power should not base their decisions on their religion, laws and government policies should be based on what is fair for everyone, their religion should have no bearing on the way our government is run, which rules every citizen in the country is required to follow.
Religion is a great thing, it gives people a sense of purpose and community, a framework around which they build their lives. Each one, it seems to this heathen, has good and bad points, some of which I agree with, others I emphatically do not agree with. Which is fine, I am not required to agree with them.
Which is why I am  having a hard time with potential presidential candidates standing in a pulpit instead of on a soap box.
Rick Perry, shortly before he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination, led a prayer service at what is called a mega-church. Michelle Bachman’s faith has also taken center stage. Why? Why would their religion be an issue? If they are Christian, Jew or atheist, why would it have a bearing on their policies or ideas for government in a country that prides itself on the separation of church and state?
Unless of course, they want to make the rules of their religion the rules for the country.
This may seem far-fetched, but there are countries where citizens thought the same thing, yet religious leaders were elected as governmental leaders, and the country is forced to live within the tenets of religion, not government. Not in the Dark Ages, but now, in 2011.
The American people would do well to be concerned when someone starts a political campaign by declaring their religious views. Unless they are the same views as everyone in the country, it seems it could be counter-productive.
Unless, of course, those views are held by the real influencer of elections: big money. If the special interest groups, lobbyists and others the Supreme Court decided are individuals (and so can pump unlimited amounts of money into the political system) happen to go to the same church, well, then Rick Perry may be in like Flynn.
The prayer rally he held in Houston was financed by the American Family Association, a Tupelo, Miss.-based group that opposes abortion and gay rights. If Perry lives up to the old adage of “dance with them that brought ya,” then the American Family Association’s view on abortion may be forced upon those of us who do not share those views. Because this group’s purpose is to make their beliefs the law.
I am a citizen of the United States. As such, it is my right to live according to my own rules, or lack thereof. As a representative of the people, I want my leaders to respect that.
I’ll keep my lack of religion out of your government, you keep your religion out of mine.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sanctuary

When my mother became older, she became, in many ways, a mellower, less intense person.
“I care less and less about more and more,” she said. Things that seemed to matter so much to her no longer did, she simply did not give a flying fig.

Or, as I say with my truck-driver mouth, she simply didn’t give a fuck.
Not giving a fuck is something I think more people need to look into. Because so many people seem to care so very much about things that they can not alter or have much of an effect on. People care so very much about things that just don’t matter. They give a fuck when a fuck does not need to be given.
A headline I saw on a website today asked the question “Where did Kate (Middleton, the new bride of Prince William) get her earrings?” The bigger question is, of course, “Who gives a fuck?”
I realize that there are things we all need to care about: if our children have eaten, or if we have gas in our tank. We all have many things each and everyday that we do indeed give a fuck about, sometimes we are even required by law to give a fuck, like whether our seatbelts are buckled or our taxes are paid.
But all this constant fuck giving can get old. Being an adult requires more and more giving a fuck,
frankly it can be exhausting. Everyone needs a break, a place, be it mental or physical, where they look their life, and everyone in it, at every demand and item on their to-do list, and just say, “Ya know, I just don’t give a fuck.” It would be quite liberating, to have come to a place where we can put our cares aside, and just be, exist, doing nothing more than that, because we don’t have to.
So, in the interest of our mental health, my sister and I have founded a place, an actual geographic area, for this type of care free living. It is called Don’t Give a Fuck, Ky.
The boundaries of Don’t Give a Fuck are the immediate area around my sister’s swimming pool, the deck is included. (The bar-be-que area can be annexed and un-annexed, depending on whether we want to cook out on any particular day.)
Beside the original concept, not a lot of thought has been put into Don’t Give a Fuck, that would kinda defeat the purpose. However, it has been fun to create our kingdom, put those finishing touches on it that make a house a home.
So we have added some details, most of which are self-explanatory, since we are, after all in Don’t Give a Fuck, Ky.
Our motto? Need I say it?
Our flag? A piece of yellow legal paper, with a hand drawn hand, flipping off the world, because, you guessed. We don’t answer the phone, we don’t cook, we don’t move about much.
There is really only one rule - we will not, no matter what you say, no matter how important you think you are or a matter is, you cannot make us give a flying fuck.
So, if you reach out to us, call or email or text, and we don’t reply, assume. If you mention something that you have done, that we have done, or should have done, if somebody wants something or thinks something or thinks about wanting something, assume.
If you are feeling stressed, if the amount of fuck giving in your life has become a burden, a threat to your mental or physical health, if everyone is throwing nothing but fuck giving things your way, come on up. We will be the middle age bags sitting in the sun aging prematurely (guess why?) eating unhealthy food, imbibing in whatever vices we want.
But, don’t expect an official invite, because . . .

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/31/fk-everything-jon-lajoie_n_914355.html

Monday, July 18, 2011

K-Mart FIt


As a mother, I have several theories, concepts and observations I have developed as a result of experience and simple trial and error. One of my observations, I suppose you could call it, is the ‘K-Mart Fit’.
All of my kids had a K-Mart Fit. They occurred at ages two to four, after the first two, I was prepared and knew how to deal with the display. What is it? Well, you have your child in a public place (my first two kids did this at K-Mart) and they decide they are going to draw a line in the sand, so to speak. They find something to make an issue of, be it that they want out of the buggy or need a toy or some gum or a flat screen TV, and they find out just how far they can go, how hard they can push your buttons, before you stand up and say, “Right here, you found my limit, this is how far I will go before I push back.”
How I dealt with my four K-Mart fits isn’t pretty, it involves public embarrassment. Suffice to say, each of my kids only did this once.
But, it is a lesson we all must learn. Some of us learn this lesson too well, to the point of becoming a wimp. Some never really do get the concept, these are the people you see cursing at police officers, having arguments with their spouses in public and generally cutting off their nose to spite their face, so to speak.
However, that being said, most adults have a small part of them that will inevitably throw a K-Mart fit every now and again.
We rebel against what we hold dear, we spit into the wind, we push the buttons of someone in our lives. Not because we don’t love them, but because we do. If we didn’t care about them, if we weren’t close enough, we wouldn’t know what buttons would get a reaction, wouldn’t know if indeed there were buttons.
Why? Well, insecurities, of course. Why does a child throw a fit? To find out how much, or how little, you care. Is it enough to stand up and say you cannot do this, I won’t have it, it is not acceptable to treat me this way? Because, lets face it, if someone you don’t care about throws a fit, who cares?  You wait for them to get over it, or not, and go on about your business. It doesn’t get a reaction from you; they don’t merit it.
But if someone we do care for, whose opinion we respect, if a person we love says or does something we find unacceptable, it does get our attention. After all, only a person who is close enough to you has access to your buttons, someone who knows you well enough to know which ones to push.
Kind of like having a tender spot on our bodies we can’t keep our hands off, or when someone says “don’t look”, human nature kicks in and you can’t help yourself. You push away the very people you want to be close.
Just to see if they will push back in order to stay near.
Sometimes we throw a K-Mart fit just to see if anyone cares enough to take us out to the parking lot.
It is immature, it is childish, no one is proud of themselves when they realize they are stomping their feet with their hands on their hips. We will find excuses, much as a mother will do for a child. Instead of “she didn’t get her nap today” we say “I was tired/stressed/broke/ill or I wouldn’t have behaved so badly.” Or maybe we will simply ignore it, act as if it never happened.
But, that doesn’t always work. Sometimes people will call us on it, point out that they will go so far, but no further. Which, after all, is what we wanted to begin with: validation.
The best we can do is take the lesson, gain from each fit, try to refrain from throwing another. If we push someone hard enough, we may in fact lose them. That is a hard lesson to learn, a bitter pill to swallow, but at least we know how much they do and do not care. How much they can tolerate, which buttons are in fact the OFF switches.
We learn unconditional love is rare, and not very good for us. Adults, like children, need to realize there are boundaries. You can only poke the bear so many times before he takes your head off, or leaves you alone in the cave.
Or standing in the middle of K-Mart, screaming at no one.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

W.W.M.B.D.?

Every man should know that his conversations, his correspondence, and his personal life are private. I have urged Congress except when the Nations security is at stake to take action to that end.
-Lyndon B. Johnson

It has been said there are no outstanding candidates from the pool of people seeking the Republican nomination for the Presidential election of 2012. And I have had to agree, no one really stood head and shoulders above the rest. Palin and Trump were both interesting for about 42 seconds, Herman Cain seems to think legislation should fit on a cereal box, the rest had one or two points to make, but nothing that got my attention.
Until now.
Michele Bachman has apparently decided what is wrong with the country, and how to fix it. Eureka! Its not a fix for the economy, or a breakthrough in the energy crisis. She hasn’t found a way to end terrorism, or bring U.S. troops home without causing a major international blow-out. Oh no, she has found a way to solve all these problems, with one idea: marriage.
That’s right my little chickadees. Michele has got it going on! She has traced every social and political ill in our country, indeed the world, back to people not getting married. Heterosexual monogamous relationships will cure what ails us! Somebody say amen!
Michele is so sure of what will help us that she has offered, to those who want to lead us, a tool in the battle against everything that is not what she is - the Family Leader Pledge.
It is a contract of sorts. First it begins by explaining that in one respect African American babies born into slavery were better off than Black babies born today, in that they usually lived with both parents. I mean, the country needs to know this! I know I for one was unaware that slavery is comparable to living in a single parent home.
The pledge then goes on to explain that poverty is caused by the lack of marriage, not the lack of money. The divorce rate is costing the American taxpayer, Michele says. burdening the legal system, and generally becoming a pain in the neck.
And homosexuality? It is wrecking marriage. Gays getting married is worse than straights NOT getting married. It “debases the currency of marriage.” As do people who get married, but don’t do it right.
Adultery, quickie divorce, unwed cheating, exemplary infidelity (?) homosexual behavior in general and promiscuity in particular, all these terms are in the pledge. These are the issues that have made out country what it is: spoiled, fat, poor and judgemental.
See, and you thought it was Jerry Springer.
So the pledge asks that anyone who considers running for office promise not to do these things. Apparently promising your spouse, your opposite sex, legally recognized spouse, that you will remain faithful isn’t enough. You have to promise the world you will be sexually faithful as well.
I suppose that means they promise to be straight and get married, remain faithful, and go forth and multiply. Because the pledge says, “robust childbearing  and reproduction is beneficial
to U.S.demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security.”  It also points out inherent danger in “intrusively commingling among attracteds.”
Honest, it says those things, you can’t make this stuff up.
There really isn’t much for make fun of here. The fun is already made, all we need do is laugh at it. Because it is so completely ridiculous, so off the wall insane that it will be reduced to a grab bag for jokes, it’s low hanging fruit.
No need to point out some of the notable people in history who would not have been allowed to make their contribution to the world if this pledge were used as a screening tool. But, if I was going to do that, I would mention Thomas Jefferson, Alexander the Great, Franklin Roosevelt and every Ceasar in the history of the Roman Empire.
But really, is that the point? As far as I can tell, the point she is trying to make is to point out the shenanigans of other politicians, thereby making herself look good by making the competition look bad. Apparently she can’t do this based on her policies or platform or ideas, so she will win the confidence of American voters by pointing out the lack of moral fiber of her opponents, indicated by their failure to legally marry, produce progeny and remain faithful. Because everyone knows that will ensure your ability to deal with the issue of the debt ceiling, duh.
Actually, in the interest of saving time, I am thankful Michele Bachman for this agreement. It is a litmus test of sorts, really. If this is what she thinks should screen out potential presidential candidates, I think it’s pretty safe to say her judgment is a bit suspect, common sense nonexistent and political and media savvy questionable.
So, bring on the adulterers, philanderers, homosexuals, co-habitators and childless couples of all kinds. Let us pass Michele’s judgement on these scourges of American life, and base our decision on who should lead us in these difficult times (which times are not difficult?) on their willingness to live their private lives according to her sexual moral code.
Our Founding Fathers may not have followed it, but, hey, they were no Michele Bachman.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Respectable language

I write, professionally as well as recreationally, so words mean a lot, each one is a choice, some made with no thought, some pondered and considered, debated and researched. I pay attention to language, which words are used say more than the words themselves.
Each person’s vocabulary says a lot about them, as mine does about me. Which words I use changes, with the subject matter, the people I am conversing with, the situation, my mood, the weather, the alignment of the planets maybe.
And I feel strongly about a number of things, some of which might be considered “issues” I suppose, political or social debates, fashion statements, recipes, font choices, baby names - I have an opinion on each of these things, some of those opinions are felt more strongly than others.
Sometimes, I simple, “I’m sorry, but I disagree and feel I must say . . .” simply won’t do. Sometimes only a flat out, “are you out of your fucking mind bat shit crazy” will get my point across.
What I don’t understand is when people say I am too smart or too well spoken or possess too big a vocabulary to use what some people consider foul language when I am in a debate or making a point.
What the hell is up with that?
Yeah, I like a clever well turned phrase, a carefully chosen sentence, just the right adjective/noun combo. But sometimes that perfect combo is “fucking idiot.” Sorry, but its the truth.
So quit telling me, or anyone else, that they are ‘above’ certain language. I like the language just fine, its just that its sometimes fucked up.

Friday, July 8, 2011

official emotion

A man I know once told me he had had his heart broken three times. Broken. Not that he had been hurt three times, or that three bad things had happened to him, but that his heart had been broken three times. As if there was a heart ex-ray, oooo, that was a bad sprain, but here your heart is officially broken. What comprises a heartbreak? Is there some scale of pain I know nothing about? Love, what is love, as opposed to infatuation or lust or interest or any of a thousand other feelings? How does a mind distinguish jealousy (is it envy?) or anger (is it frustration?) or confusion (do we not want to admit what we really know?)How can someone say they love one person? Feeling strongly enough about one person to commit to them for a lifetime, that is completely understandable, natural, as it should be. Understanding one someone, feeling understood, feeling safer and more comfortable with one person than anyone else, it is a wonderful thing, human epiphany, hey I found you! Indeed, some people spend the bigger part of their lives feeling incomplete, searching, wanting, sometimes needing, “the one.” A soul mate. But, is that to say we did not love the ones we knew before? We find true love, everything else is just that, something else. What came before (or after or during) is a crush or attraction or horniness. It did not qualify, didn’t make the necessary score on the scale, it isn’t love. We were too young, or lonely or blind. We didn’t commit, it didn’t last. It was all sex, there was no sex, I didn’t know them well enough or long enough, I knew them too well. Is love is quantifiable? Identifiable? One certain thing? A percentage of our time or attention or sex drive?Don’t pigeonhole chambers of the heart, don’t reserve feelings for where they “should” land.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

quiet solitude

At a different time in my life, my days were filled with people who depended on me, some for the very stuff of life. I fed them from my body, from my heart and mind, cared for them on a very basic physical level, as well as mentally and with my heart.
So, I did my job, they are still alive, they thrive. They need me less and less, and some not at all. It is the state of being I worked toward for years.
But now that I am here, it do not find it to be the halcyon I had imagined. I have time to myself, I have hours I can call my own. When I consider what I would have done, 15 years ago, for a day without demands, it surprises me. It seems those years are sleep deprived, and mentally exhausting, even as I was so happy during them.
Now, there is a vacuum, it seems. the old cliche is true, I want them to need me again, I want to be able to furnish what they require, at least a little. I would love to read them a story, or sit on a porch swing, with a child wrapped in a blanket, and talk about the stars and music and kittens.
But they don’t want to sit with me, not for more than a couple of minutes, which is as it should be. To start becoming needy toward my children would be regression, it would be pathetic, asking them to enable my lack of direction.
But, ah, to nurse my baby, one more time, to become the symbiotic organism that is a mother with a child at her breast, nothing else needed in the world! It is one of the most exquisite experiences a human can have. It is to fall in love a thousand-fold.
But all I have is time.