"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day



In an effort to avoid the work I have to do today....a quiz. You can only answer with one word. No explanations.

1. Yourself: Quirky
2. Your spouse: Elsewhere
3. Your hair: Poofy
4. Your mother: Hmmmm... (is that a word?)
5. Your father: Funny
6. Your favorite item: Pen
7. Your dream last night: Strange
8. Your favorite drink: Minty
9. Your dream car: Efficient
10. The room you are in: Toxic
11. Your ex: Distressing
12. Your fear: Terminal
13. What you want to be in 10 years: Connected
14. Who you hung out with last night: BFF
15. What you're not: Ordinary
16. Muffins: Allergic
17: One of your wish list items: Debt-free
18: Time: Fast
19. The last thing you did: Coughed
20. What you are wearing: Casual
21. Your favorite weather: Chilly
22. Your favorite book: Political
23. The last thing you ate: Muffin
24. Your life: Dark Comedy
25. Your mood: Exhausted
26. Your best friend: Amazing
27. What you're thinking about right now: Vacation
28. Your car: Nonexistent
29. What you are doing at the moment: Listening
30. Your summer: Hot
31. Your relationship status: Confusing
32. What is on your TV: Plant
33. What is the weather like: Coldish
34. When was the last time you laughed: Yesterday


The Mindless Menace of Violence.

When I was about 12 years old, I decided that I was going to be a hippy. I even had a collection of clothes that I would wear for many Halloweens after this time as costumes. Really what being a hippy meant was my best friend and I listened to the Beatles, and all of our projects in GT English and History had to do with the 1960s and the anti-war movement. We even made hippy puppets for our history fair project, complete with long hair and granny glasses (The making of elaborate sock puppets is one of my greatest talents). I think back to this now and know that I had no idea what I was talking about, but am also amused to see that I may have come full-circle, though I no longer dress Bohemia, and know a bit more what I'm talking about, and sadly have not made a sock puppet in protest in many, many years.

Tonight I went to see Bobby because it looked interesting and pretty much everyone working in Hollywood is in it. And I was just so struck by the hope that the people portrayed in this film possessed in this man. I look at the state of our country, when so many of the problems of the 1960s continue to ravage our nation and our world (many of them artfully hidden from the public eye), and wonder who, if anyone, will ever come along that will give us hope like that. American politics has become such a media showdown that it is difficult to even know what is what. We pick a party and hope that they are actually against the things they say they are, though we have little faith that things will ever actually change. Even in a time like this, when so many of us are so hopeful with the switching over of the House and Senate, the reality of it is that little may actually change because it seems like their hands, in so many instances, are tied.

The end of the movie is voiced over with a speech give by Robert Kennedy called
"The Mindless Menace of Violence." Though the words were spoken almost 40 years ago, during a different time and a different war, they still ring so true.

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.


I am a...

Have you ever been ashamed to admit something that you inherently are? For most of my life, that something was the fact that I was a Christian. In High School and even in College, only my closest friends knew that I was not only a believer, but also a frequent church-goer. And even in my more recent years, it has been something that I owned up to only with great explanations and qualifications. "I am a Christian, but I don't believe..." so many things. It is only now that I am truly comfortable with this. I know that so much of this is my own perceptions throughout my high school and college years of what was going on inside the heads of my church community. In getting to know some of my high school church friends again (mainly through the blogs), I have come to realize that maybe the seeds were planted at AH. That there were many things that I believed would be unacceptable to them, that caused me to make drastic separations in my world, but that they now agree with me on. It is a blessing to know that I was not so much the outcast that I thought I was.

The church I go to now, CCfB, is truly, truly amazing. I know that I've spoken of this before, but it has been made so much more apparent to me this week. I gives me great hope for the future of the Christian faith that people such as those who are gathered with me at the YWCA each week, and those I gathered together with back in the day, exist and have not given up.


Close Talker.

My life is very regimented. Every Sunday without fail, I check out the New York Times Magazine to see if there are any interesting things in there (that I am sure to read about half of because those things are long), and I check the Style section on both Sunday and Thursday. In today's Style section there was an article of the study of personal space, or proxemics as it is called. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My college roommate had a big thing about personal space and we had this friend who was such a close talker that sometimes you could feel him breathing in your mouth. It was pretty disgusting,and it really freaked her out. But he was really funny and generally saying something inappropriate. I didn't used to be a big personal space person. But as I often find myself uber annoyed by people all up in my mix, I think I've been converted. Such as a good friend of mine who is about 6 inches shorter than me and a very close talker. When she speaks to be, I feel like she's sitting under my chin. And a girl, I met at a party a couple of years ago who was an actress. I kid you not, when she talked to you she stood about 2 inches from your face. I blame it on her profession, but it was still pretty terrifying. So anyway, enough of my non sequitur. Have a good weekend.



Over the past few weeks things I've been reading and discussions I have had have made me think alot about what justice actually means. What does it mean in the Justice System? What does it mean for the poor of our nation? What does it mean for the world community? And is justice equivalent to venegence, which often brings violence?

As I am a pacificist-to-a-fault, I cannot see a time when I would ever believe that violence is the answer to anything. Whether this means finding for the death penalty in a murder trial, or retaliation in a time of violence between two nations, I cannot wrap my mind around it and how this is getting us anywhere. Violence only begets violence, thus creating more violence and more injustice, more people seeking retribution. And I feel like answers lie in this sentence. So many things in the world that are not physically violent acts can be seen as acts of violence and sometimes escalate into acts of war. Not treating people as equals. Not being respectful of difference. Actively not meeting the needs of your country's poor. Sitting idly by while people die for lack of simple healthcare and nutrition. Seeking to deprive people of their basic human rights, because they are not a part of your mainstream. So with all of these things, in my mind, justice is found through equality. Using our food surpluses to make sure that everyone has enough healthy food to survive; using our technology and vast scientific resources to wipe out epidemics without care of the profit margins on these life-saving medications; providing the children of our country with an education so that they have the opportunity to compete; not seeing difference as deviance, as dangerous.

During one of the discussions that prompted this, it was made very clear to me that my ideals are not so practical. I am well aware of this. I, afterall, believe that if I could remove one thing from human nature, it would be competitiveness. Can you imagine...no greed, no war, no playground bullying, no sibling rivalry, sports played just because we like to play, advancement for the sake of humanity rather than profit and prestige? If only the world existed as it does in my head...


A Democracy Hangover.

People, I am tired to today. But it is a joyful tired, having stayed up into the wee small hours of the morning waiting for election results. Election day is like my Super Bowl. I love it, but that love generally turns to sorrow very quickly. But for the first time in my voting life, I voted for people who were elected. It's a very alien thing. I now live in a state whose senators, governor and attorney general are Democrats. WHAT!?! I know. It's crazy, but true. And that's not all...we took the House and are so, so close to taking the Senate. Any minute now...I can feel it.

P.S.--It's all decided now. And yea! The House, the Senate and no more Donald Rumsfeld! What could be better!


A Positive Note.

I've decided to start the week off with a positive note and give you my Three Beautiful Things for Monday, November 6th. Here goes...

1. Dreading a social event, only to walk in the door and find most of your friends (who you didn't know were coming) are already there.

2. The fact that all babies love to meet other babies. I was on a very crowded train yesterday (due to Marathon traffic) and saw two babies meet up and become fast friends. If only things were still that easy.

3. Election Day! We hope that this one stays a beautiful thing, but right now it has beautiful potential.


The Reach of War.

In the month of October, 103 American soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This story is accompanied by photos of the funerals of some of these soldiers. Pictures of their wives and mothers and children. And this alone is enough to remind me of why no good can come of this war. But we don't see the pictures of the thousands of funerals in Iraq, or hear the names of the 600,000 civilians who have been killed. We rarely hear how these days at war effect the soldiers, most whom are so, so young, and how it is that they are expected to go back to any sense of normal life once this is finally over. Today there is a story about a Marine who is a medic in Iraq who is all of 22 years old. I cannot even imagine the weight of his world.