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

12.31.2008

Memory.

Yesterday I was listening the podcast of the This American Life episode called "20 Acts in 60 Minutes." One of the acts is a man telling the story of seeing and greeting someone, and having no idea where he knows her from. Then agonizing over this until he sees her at the drive-thru window of his coffee spot...explaining the reason he felt that he might be in love with her.

So I thought this was very funny, because I am often having this "where do I know you from" dialogue in my head about people I pass on the street, or see at restaurants, or social gatherings. I have an impeccable memory. There was time when I could recall what I was wearing on any given day of a month, and on days many months before when something only minorly significant had happened. When Nathan was filling out med school applications, he called me to figure what his extracurriculars were in 1999. For real. But I seem to be fading.

Today I was walking to get some lunch (at 4pm) and saw these two women huddled next to a building smoking. I looked over at them, noticing the scarf that one of the women was wearing and deciding that it wouldn't work for me. Then one of the women excitedly greeted me, and asked me how I was. I, while continuing to walk, returned her greeting and then went on my way. I can say with great certainty, I have no idea who this woman was. None. There were some people that ran through my head, but they were discounted as they do not smoke, and it would make no sense for someone to start smoking in their mid-thirties. On the way back to my office, I found myself hoping that they were still out there, so I could stop and talk and gain some context clues, so I could know if it was a work, or church, or school, or social connection. But no such luck. The good news is I can enter 2009 knowing that I will never again get upset because someone does not remember me. But, sadly, also with the knowledge that someone might be kind of upset that I would just walk on by when we shared so much, so long ago.

12.17.2008

A New Decade.

And so I have begun my third decade. This is not something I had been looking forward to, but really I'm enjoying year 3-1 so far. Most of my friends in NYC are older than me and passed this mark at least a couple of years ago. They have told me that everything is better after 30...not as much pressure, a sudden feeling of being a bit more self-assured, and maybe finally crossing-over to adulthood in the current climate of delayed growing up. And while I will miss being able to say "No...I'm still in my 20s," and the feeling of accomplishment that I've always felt at being younger than most everyone in my classes or at my various jobs, it's probably okay. I'm no longer advanced. I'm just normal now.

And now some highlights from the last year of my 20s:
  • Made my first trip abroad, going to London for a friend's 30th birthday. And I managed to come back without an accent.
  • Made a trip to San Francisco for the wedding of one my dearest.
  • Got my nose pierced, as I have wanted to do since I was like 18. Don't tell my dad.
  • Got another tattoo and shared my first one with a friend. Her husband has almost gotten to the acceptance phase.
  • Made some wonderful (and certainly lifelong) friends.
  • Helped elect a president. I still get a little overwhelmed when I see the pictures from this election, and think about what this meant, and could mean, to so many people.
  • Learned a bunch of stuff...in books, and facts, and life.
  • Have come to the conclusion once again that NYC, you and I, though sometimes you bring me down, are in this for the long haul.

12.13.2008

It's All About Love.

I received an e-mail today from one of my activism groups, the Human Rights Campaign, about the response received by an article in this week's Newsweek called The Religious Case for Gay Marriage. Read it (all of it), and come back to me.

I have been really, really disappointed in the holiday season this year. I had hoped, however naively, that the current economy would lead people to put a different meaning on Christmas. "We can't really afford that Xbox this year, so we're just gonna love each other alot." But instead it has only increased our national greed and desperation for more, and more, and more, holding on with every fiber of our being to everything we can get our hands on. This was illustrated to me profoundly by the death of the poor man who was trampled by shoppers at a Wal-Mart in New York State. We are so thirsty for bargains that we do not notice that we are stepping on a person. Stop to think about that for a moment.

I try very hard to illustrate generosity to my clients, and to encourage them to be involved and do things for people who are even less fortunate than they, but I am mostly (not all the time) met with blank stares before the mad rush for whatever morsel I have placed before them. And I do understand the psychology of this. People who have lived in a state of constant deprivation have a fundamental drive to grab and hoard whatever they can find, as it may happen again that they are left without. And especially in a capitalist society, the poor are given very little room to be charitable. But this doesn't mean that it doesn't destroy me every time it happens. Recently, the participants in my program decided that if there was any food left over at the end of the day from the breakfasts, lunches and dinners that are provided to them free of charge, they would claim it to take it home and then throw the rest away, rather than taking it downstairs to the homeless people that live on our steps. I want to know how we got to this. I alternate between this making me profoundly sad, and making me profoundly angry, which leads me to want to withhold some of the resources I have been given for my clients as a means to show them what need is like. But then I know that they know (or have known) what desperation is like, and I wonder how they have so quickly forgotten.

So in reading this article (I know it's taken me a while to get back to it), the thing that struck me the most is strength of our collective inclination to deny other people something that has brought us profound joy, and to make enemies of people we do not understand. I believe that for most people who are married, this is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to them. And there is something so, so deeply wrong about turning this into a privilege for only a few, or into a weapon used to deprive about 10 percent of the population of their fundamental rights. There is inherent complication in the fact that an institution that is supposed to be based on partnership and love has become the basis for legal rights and privileges. And by denying certain people to right to marry, or by tying so many fundamental rights and privileges up in the institution of marriage, we are creating an underclass of people based on sexual orientation, or based simply on the fact that not everyone is cut out for marriage. And in so doing, we are missing the point, made even worse by tying all of this up in our religious beliefs, and denying people these rights based on what we believe our translation of the Bible is saying. But it also says that God is love. And it says that "love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." Never ends.

11.28.2008

Giving Thanks (2).

As is the tradition of most families on Thanksgiving, I have more than once this week gone around the table and told what I am thankful for this year. My answers, for the past few years at least, are always the same.

(1) Work...Despite the fact that my job is at times so, so difficult and so, so frustrating, I know that I am one of very few people in the world who is doing something that they truly love, and who gets to daily follow their calling in life. On good days, I know that I am doing something that will change the world at least a little bit, so I will press on through the bad days, and be grateful for the opportunity to do it.

(2) The greatest thing in the whole wide world, my friends. The people I have collected in my journey over the years are amazing, brilliant, quirky, kind, hilarious people. They are people I have known since childhood, and with whom my relationship has at times waxed and waned, but who I know will always be a part of my life. And they are people who I've known for only a short time, but with whom I experience a sort of love at first sight, knowing the first time I meet them that we will indeed be wonderful friends. And people everywhere in between. It is one of the things unique to living in New York City, the power of friendships that are formed here. We all come here on our own unique exploratory expeditions, knowing maybe two people from our pre-New York lives, and we begin to build a life. These are the people with whom we spend holidays and birthdays, days good and bad and ugly, and all of the important moments of our lives. All but one of the people I spent Thanksgiving with yesterday were people who I didn't really know at all this time last year, but I can certainly say that it was one of the best, most love-filled holidays I have ever had.

(3) The opportunity to live in New York City. The extraordinary place that makes it all possible.

11.26.2008

Giving Thanks.

Three Beautiful Things for Thanksgiving Week.

(1) Repairing
rather than replacing things.

(2) Getting back to work with Street to Home.

(3) The upcoming Drunken Foodie Thanksgiving.

11.13.2008

Standing together.

This weekend, in all 50 states, there will be simultaneous protests against Proposition 8 and all of the other anti-gay legislation that has been passed and that will certainly come. See you Saturday. Join the impact.

11.05.2008

Day One.

I awoke this morning in disbelief of the events of last night. The first thing I did was check the news to make sure that nothing had happened in the middle of the night (or really the wee-small hours of the morning) to make the news media take it back. Last night was maybe the greatest day of my life.

I spent the evening with friends in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and it was decided that those of us from red states (representing Tennessee, Ohio, New Mexico, and Texas) would have to touch a worm from the compost bin if our states didn't go blue. The section of Pennsylvania where I worked turned blue, justifying my blisters and papercuts. Ohio and New Mexico went blue quickly, and my other potential worm toucher and I waited with baited breath. But before they could even declare defeat in our states, something happened. As we flipped channels, ending a period of mocking for Fox News, we were greeted by the caption, "OBAMA DECLARED PRESIDENT-ELECT." Confused and perplexed, we yelled and screamed and flipped through the channels, checked in the Internet and got quiet for one small moment when we collectively realized what this meant. It was then that we heard that cheers from the streets, and joined in. We ran up to the roof, and joined in the revelry...with people running up and down the street, hanging out of windows, jumping up and down on rooftops, horns honking. This was like nothing any of us had ever experienced. We called our friends and family around the country to share our joys. We texted and updated statuses, opened the champagne, still making declarations of disbelief.

We ran back down to watch the speeches, still hearing the woots from the street. Mocked our foe a bit. And waited from Senator Obama to come on. We watched Fox News again, seeing if anyone would throw up. And then we listened to the speech of the president-elect. Our president. Loving those words...Our president.

We decided that we're going to the inauguration, as the music will actually be good this year. And we're too close to not be there for this amazing day. And then we remember that we all had to work tomorrow.

I came to work this morning, hoping for the party to continue on my train ride in. To see someone whose smile was as wide as mine. But everyone was sleepy and unemotional. But at my job it was different. Every conversation has a new optimism. Every mention of the word hope has more meaning. Today is truly a new day, as difficult as any here, but with underlying promise, and a sense of peace that was not here yesterday. Nothing has really changed, but there is something in the air. To quote Mr. Obama "While we breathe, we will hope."

11.03.2008

One Last Push.

I promise this is my last ad of the political season. I promise...now Come Out and Vote!

Two Days in Philadelphia.

On Sunday morning (earlier than I should ever be awake) I went to Philadelphia to work with the Obama campaign doing door-to-door canvassing and phone banking. I was there for Sunday and Monday, to help them do their last minute "Get Out the Vote" effort, and I can't even tell you what it has been like to work with these people. In most crowds that I'm in, I'm the most impassioned person in the room. I get really fired up about stuff and can talk pretty much anyone into submission. But I am nothing compared to these people. They are hard core. It was just amazing to see how many people have taken vacations and weekends, and brought their spouses and children, to come for however long they can to be a part of this. And all of the people I met were so engaging, and so invested, and so hopeful for something better to come.

10.25.2008

Heal This Nation.

Because we love America, almost as much as we love Sally Field.

10.19.2008

No Poverty in Politics.

My viewing and reading of political discourse is pretty constant these days. I am beyond jazzed about the prospect of Barack Obama being our next president. I am even more excited that there are no more debates to sit through. I have grown tired of yelling at my TV. One of my friend's mentioned in her debate blog her dismay that the poor were never mentioned in the debates, overtaken by our concern for the middle class, in which the majority of us reside. I went yesterday to Pennsylvania to do canvassing for Senator Obama's campaign and sat in on informational conference calls and read stacks of policy material/propaganda. During our canvassing debriefing, we were told to go back again and again to the message that "Barack Obama will never betray the middle class," with no mention of what must be done for the poor.

So I've been thinking about this alot. If you Google Obama on Poverty, you do get a comprehensive policy statement, but this is not something that has been talked about in any of the debates or on any of the mainstream media new programs. And I guess this is because the majority of American's place themselves in the fabled Middle Class. We are used to our concerns being heard, because we are the voters that can make or break you. We need to know what you will do to make our lives easier and to help sustain our way of life. Nothing is less popular than the times when one of the candidates have talked about the potential sacrifices we will be asked to make during the current economic crisis, or the tax hikes that may be necessary to fortify our infrastructure, or to work toward expanding healthcare or improving schools. But people who live in poverty are not used to being heard. They are used to being uniformly blamed for society's ills without consideration of how these supposed ills came to be.

It is as if these people do not matter. As though their voicelessness means that they do not deserve to be heard. It is imperative that we address these problems for the people afflicted. For most of us it is difficult to believe or understand that there are people living mere miles from our homes who do not have enough to eat, who are in constant danger of becoming homeless, who are more likely to die from treatable medical conditions because they receive inadequate medical care, if any. And I feel that this is inexcusable.

Now if you look at the policies of the nominees, there are things there that will affect the poor. Raising the minimum wage, extending and improving educational policies, striving for universal health care, job creation, etc. But these things are not presented as a war on poverty because we are more concerned for our own economic recovery than we are for providing relief for people who have never had anything. I have difficulty reconciling this. I, as with all things, would like for the nominees to just come out and acknowledge these injustices, and to say what they strive to do to repair them. But maybe that is too much to ask.

An Endorsement.

10.14.2008

Act Up.

I daily get a million or so e-mails from political organizations and organizers. So a few important ones for you today...

First, from my friend, Aydrea in L.A....I had a conversation with a client of mine last week about things he did in his life as an activist working with the Black Panthers and the Weatherman (those words just ruined my hopes of ever being president). We discussed the fact that he had never thought he would be sitting there, sharing so much information, in such a vulnerable spot, with a young, White woman. I, after a while, tried to reassure him by letting him know that I have read about his fight in the 60s and am dismayed that any of it ever had to occur and that it continues to occur, and that he underwent such trauma because of the color of his skin. And it made me think of this letter.

Second, from my friend Paul in San Francisco...Vote No on 8! Despite the fact that the California Supreme Court declared a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional last Spring, there is now a referendum up for vote in November to change the California constitution to make marriage exclusive to heterosexual couples. I have a difficult time really explaining why this is so important to me. But after my dear friend's wedding this summer, it became known to me how important it is that he and is partner being allowed to be and stay married. State by state things are changing...just last week, Connecticut changed their policies. New York, due to the conservative pockets outside of New York City, will not change anytime soon, but our governor enacted a policy that recognizes marriages made legal in any state...a step in the right direction. So, it's important that California not go back. Most of you don't live in California, so you can't vote on it, but you can read about it and donate money to the fight.

And then a last one, received in a e-mail today. There is a campaign to develop a National AIDS Strategy. This is necessary for the U.S. government to appropriately address the problem of AIDS as it effects people in the U.S. Read about it here, and take the opportunity to lend your support.

10.03.2008

Long Overdue.

I was reading a blog a used to read today and found myself linked there. It reminded me of the power of joy in small things. So, three beautiful things for today...

(1) Nonsensical conversations brought on by nonsensical VP debates...about pork bellies. Everyone likes pork bellies. What's so wrong with pork bellies?


(2) Having had the same conversation with the same people so many times that you have a script in your head. Sounds monotonous but really it's just terrifically efficient.


(3) The first sweater and scarf day of fall. Hooray!

9.26.2008

The Great Debate.

The debate is not over, but it has already enraged me. I don't believe that there will be any winners tonight. They are not really answering any questions, but simply restating their difficulties with each other's policies and providing one another with quotes for new attack ads next week. Equating hope with naiveté, each believing that his experience and the people that he knows make him more qualified, denying each other the right to speak without interruption. Pronouncing the names of countries with differing levels of correctness. I do understand that if in response to questions about the war, Mr. Obama were to give the answers I want, he would not be elected. In the deepest, darkest, most idealistic inner-recesses of my heart and mind, I want one or both of the candidates to throw all their notes aside and say, "F-this. I am so tired of talking in circles. This is what I really think, and this is what I want to do in the deepest, darkest most idealistic inner-recesses of my heart and mind." I imagine that some of the inner recesses of my heart and mind match up with Senator Obama's, and that Senator McCain's inner-recesses would either make me cry or make my head explode, but I still want to hear from it. So, knowing very well that McCain and Obama will read my blog, I pose the following questions:

(1) What would achieving 'victory' (and I would use the air-quotes) in Iraq look like to you?
(2) Why is Israel so much more important and deserving of our protection than all of the countries they have threatened and brought great devastation upon over the last 60 years?
(3) I recently read on Reuters that the decline in sectarian violence in Iraq was not due to the troop surge, but due to ethnic cleansing that occurred against the Sunni people before the beginning of the surge. How do you respond to this?
(4) How do you feel that maintaining an ever-expanding an 'Axis of Evil' will move forward the prospect of peace in the world?

*Pause* Mr. McCain would you please stop invoking the name of Ronald Reagan. It just pisses me off and I can't really concentrate. Thanks.

(5) It has been proven time and again that young people living in abject poverty are more likely to turn to terrorist activities in response to the rage they feel of being forgotten and seeing their countries destroyed by the greed of wealthy foreign powers. Really there's not a question there...just a statement I would like you to hear.
(6) You speak often of the American people. Who are these American people, and where did you meet them? I've got some who would like to have a word with both of you...when you get a minute.
(7) How do you believe we can solve the problems of poverty within our own nation?
(8) And just out of curiosity, have you read each other's policy statements? You seem to keep getting stuff wrong. Do we need to take a break?
(9) What do you perceive as the dangers of diplomatic talks with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, the Castros, and other foreign leaders in nations who have not traditionally be allies of American State?

That's all I've got right now. Get crackin' boys.

9.14.2008

Unrest.

I am a restless person. I come by it genetically I think, as is evidenced by the fact that by the time I was 12 my family and I had moved about 10 times. This comes as a surprise to people who don't know me well, or who have been kept at a distance. I, over the past few years, have come to understand how stress and chaos effect my health, so I try to surround myself with quiet, peaceful people, and keep myself from as much of the chaos of the world as I can. I have tattooed my body with peace in the form of dove, and with hope in the form of a command stamped on my arm, trying to remind myself that these things do exist. This is why I don't watch the news any more, or watch scary or violent movies. But no matter how much I fight it, it always catches up with me. So I try to fight restlessness with action. In my healthier moments, this has led to therapy, introspection, exercise, and acupuncture. In my less healthy periods, this has led to bad company, a bit of self-destructive behavior, switching apartments and jobs. I fight with all my might to not go back to those places. I do not like it there. But it is so much easier, and a much quicker solution.

As you can tell by my time stamp, I'm in one of these periods. I'm blaming work, and the state of the world, my constant viewing of the political conversation, and too much time spent alone. I find it hard to sit still, and to sleep. And when I do sleep, my dreams are crazy, sometimes disturbing but mostly just chaotic. And so now I am searching for what to do. And I really have no idea. I tell myself in these times to pray for peace. But my unquiet mind makes this difficult. So I try to sit, and breathe, and rest, and hope that my message is received.

9.03.2008

Reconvening.

In an attempt to be somewhat balanced, though I am fairly sure that's impossible, I've made it a point to watch the RNC this week. Last night I turned it on and made it through about 5 minutes of Fred Thompson before I could stand no more and had to turn if off. And tonight I managed to sit through the majority of Rudy Gulianni, who surprisingly only mentioned 9/11 one time, though his backdrop was the downtown skyline of New York City. And then came Sarah Palin, who made an impressive show, whose shoes were much better this time around, who has proudly towed her party line of affluence for the already affluent, and endless violence over the possibility of diplomacy. As she spoke of drilling in Alaska to bring about energy independence, I had this picture in my head of the point in the Lion King when Scar has taken over and all the trees have been destroyed and the herds have moved on. I know that none of this is far or balanced, and I have drank entirely too much of the very tasty Obama Kool-Aid to feel any differently. But I do have some serious, serious problems with all of this. They are as follows....

First of all, days late, I am terrifically insulted that the Republican Party would presume that one woman candidate is as good as the next, and that the women of America are so naive to believe that Governor Palin and Senator Clinton can be compared in anyway beyond their apparent political aspirations and their anatomical features.

(2) In my line of work, you meet alot of veterans. People who thought it was their duty, who were poor and enlisted for greater opportunities, or who were drafted and had no out, who fought in Vietnam or Desert Storm. Not one of these people who I have met believes that this war should continue. They know all too well the toll of war. This was one of the reason I was so supportive of John Kerry 4 years ago. He was someone who had fought in an unjust war, and who had had the courage to step back and to say so. Though his ordeal there was nothing compared to Senator McCain's, he knew what he was talking about when he said that this should not continue. It is not cowardice to believe that we should end the war before all important victory is attained...whatever victory even means anymore.

(3) I am very insulted by the disdainful and mocking tone tonight's speakers used when speaking of Senator Obama's experience as a community organizer. They have never seen the need for such organizing as they have apparently never been a part of a forgotten community. Community organizers are the people who begin the fight for better schools in low-income neighborhoods, for better opportunities and higher education for young people, for health care and housing for poor and marginalized people. When you insult their advocates, you are once again forgetting millions of forgotten people.

It is frighteningly apparent that the people who develop the party platforms for the RNC are speaking to a very small piece of America. They do not speak to the millions of unemployed or uninsured Americans. Or the millions of people living on the streets. Or those living in seemingly endless cycles of poverty and despair. I am terrified at the prospect of the country being put into the hands of people who see no need to give people hope and who mock those who try to do so. Because quite frankly, hope is all some people have right now.

8.20.2008

Train of Thought.

This morning I came into work, only have to leave very quickly to attend to a situation. My boss is out of town this week, so I am the boss. And I think I’m doing a very good job—making rash decisions, passing down illogical edicts, suspending people willy-nilly, eating tacos. But anyway, so I took a cab to said situation and got hopelessly, borderline-yelling-at-the-cab-driver lost, and then decided to take the much safer, better directed train back to my office. And then I started thinking.

If I were homeless, and going to do some train panhandling, what song would a I choose to sing if I were to choose to sing?

This led to a playlist in my head, and I decided on either a gospel-y showtune, or an old jazz standard. Then I began thinking about what it would take for me to become homeless. I’ve discussed before my theory about safety nets. And then I started thinking about burning metaphorical bridges, which is what we generally attribute the lack of safety net to. And then I realized… If you burn all your metaphorical bridges, then you’re either on an island, or you are an island. Which explains a lot really.

8.08.2008

Catching Up...Again.

I'm becoming one of those people. I don't know what it is that is keeping me from the blog, but I'm trying. I promise. So catching up a bit.
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A couple of weeks ago, I got to go to San Francisco to visit UT friends and go to the wedding of one of my dearest. San Francisco (which I've decided to pronounce with an accent) was lovely, though I didn't really see alot of it. I decided to not do anything much. My friends all live in interesting neighborhoods, so it was like sightseeing to walk out the front door. I will go back, since so many who I like so much live there. But really, the most important part...the wedding. When people have asked me about the wedding, all I can say is "It was lovely." Not too big, very personal, nice attire (final touches picked out by me the previous afternoon), wonderful cupcakes. And due to the legal providence of California Supreme Court, my friend and his partner were able to legally marry. It is days like this that make me ever more puzzled as to why people would be against the marriage of two wonderful people who want to start a life together.
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Today, I contributed to the national employment crisis. I had to fire someone. Though I did not technically do the firing, I did the hiring. I observed the issues. I attempted to help with said issues. I discussed and contemplated with others. I got frustrated and decided that I could do nothing else. So in all I did the firing. It's pretty awful to know that you're putting someone out there during a time when there are no jobs be found. Social Work School does very little prepare you for anything administrative. And I know it's a bit ridiculous, but I feel like today I have contributed to poverty, and unemployment, and the housing crisis, and a million other social problems. But, hey, it just wasn't a good fit. But if you know anyone in the NYC area, who works in social services or would like to, who needs a job, send them my way.
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The Olympics....I LOVE the Olympics. Especially the summer ones. Gymnastics, and fencing, and diving, and swimming. But I am, as are most people, bothered by the human rights record of the host country. I might have the same issue if the United States were hosting. And so up until the moment I turned it on, I was debating whether I could watch. But I gave in, and the Opening Ceremonies are amazing. But the commentary provided to the announcers is pretty propagandistic, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to forget the images of the families of children killed in an earthquake who were punished for wanting answers to why their schools were so unsafe, and destruction of the Tibetan state. And the abject poverty that is being hidden from the public eye, in the interest of an immense sporting event.

But then the Olympics offer people hope. And we're all about hope. The images of the man who carried the American flag into the stadium tonight, who is one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. He tells a story about running to restaurant 5 miles away to watch the Olympics on a black and white television, and knowing that he wanted to be there. When I watch the Olympics, I rarely cheer for the Americans (unless they're the swimmers because half of them seem to have gone to UT). I generally cheer for the underdog...for countries without professional sports teams. As I've been watching tonight, there was a commercial for Visa (a problem in and of itself) that talks about the unifying nature of the Olympics, how for these few weeks, everyone is watching and cheering, inspired and hopeful. And so we say, "Go World!"

7.15.2008

Packing It In.

When I read all the stories about the lives of our soldiers and the Iraqi soldiers being lost (over 40 in the last 5 days), I begin to wonder what would happen if we just decided to scrap the whole thing and go home. Maybe, hopefully, continue to provide aid and expertise to re-build the infrastructure of their country, as we said we were there to do, but put all the guns and the rockets and the missiles and the soldiers and the jeeps and the hummer-thingys and the tanks on a boat and ship them home. Maybe put the weapons and other accoutrements of war in a museum for future generations to see, and hopefully not use. Send all the soldiers back to their families, give them a year of paid vacation and medical and mental health treatment, and maybe jobs or free college tuition to wherever they decide to go. No applications necessary. Would the Iraqi people maybe be so relieved that we are gone that they would stop killing each other too?

7.04.2008

I, too, sing America.

This year, I decided that I was not going to celebrate the 4th of July. Someone had to work at my office today, so I decided it should be me, the anti-patriot. And my across-the-hall neighbor and I agreed it was the best way to express discontent. So I worked today. And I had no intention of doing anything particularly American (eating apple pie, singing Yankee Doodle Dandy, preempting something imaginary with a war). So I worked, went to visit my homeless friend, and went home. But as the day wore on, it became for me a more serious matter.

You see...the United States of America and I have lately not been getting along so well. My job often requires me to be the bearer of bad news, or to at least be in the room when said bad news is delivered. And that bad news generally comes from, or is due in part to the actions of, the US government. In the past two weeks I have told someone that though they do not make enough money to eat, the US government believes that they get too much money to be given any additional help; I have listened to people speak of losing dozens of friends to AIDS in the 1990s, simply because it wasn't thought important enough for the president to focus on; and have had to let a man know that the US Immigration service believes that despite the fact that he's been sleeping in a park next to the BQE for the last year, he really should have $400 to pay for the replacement Green Card that is required for him to have any hope of getting off the streets.

I do understand the irony of me writing all of my anti-American spiel on the Internet, when if it weren't for the that whole freedom of speech business I would be arrested for such things. But, for the love of all that is good and holy, I am tired. I am so tired of hearing of the supposed good that we're doing for people, when the people who need the most help are allowed to languish. I am tired of listening to the freedoms that we are fighting to give people in the Middle East when I know and see the blatant racism exercised by our government when an immigrant from an Arab country seeks assistance. I am over seeing the supposed freedoms of the market economy destroy scientific integrity in keeping life-saving medication from eradicating diseases that should have never been allowed to flourish so. I am simply tired.

I have spent the last few weeks writing pleading letters in my head to Barack Obama asking what he will do to help with each new issue I run into. I have written, again in my head, countless blog posts calling these things into question. And I have written one very angry and certainly awful poem. I don't know if I am right about these things, or if I am (as one of my co-workers called one of our co-workers) just some white yuppie kid with an education who wants to help for a moment before moving on to something else. But my heart is somewhat broken. And I don't know how to fix it, because I see no triumphant moment in sight. I try to keep hope, because I have to as it is tattooed as a command on my left wrist. But I'm not sure how much more my metaphorical heart can handle.

6.24.2008

New York-iversary.

If I had been writing here 6 years ago, today would probably have been the day that I announced to my five or so readers that I was moving to New York. My best friend had left the weekend before, and had arrived today, and I had decided that it must be done. I would have written from the home of my friend Brian who kept me busy those first few days, as he knew how sad I was that Nathan had left. He would be the one who would listen to me when my uncertainty about this decision waxed and waned. I was so distressed every time I talked to Nathan on the phone, simply not being able to believe that I would see him again in only a few weeks, because really...who just up and moves of New York. I would begin collecting boxes from the HRW Special Projects move to the 7th Floor, but would hold off on packing them for a few more weeks, because REALLY...who just up and moves to New York. I would never believe that this would be permanent, or that my world would be so, so different than what I had anticipated. Or that I would love it this much. Or that there was any way I could’ve survived the things I have lived through here, or the people I have lived with. Or that my world, and the world, would be an entirely different place than it was in June of 2002.

Tonight Nathan and I went with two of my most cherished NYC friends to hear the New York Philharmonic play in Central Park. Enjoying the beautiful music, and the wonderful weather with people I love...the best way to celebrate a 6th New York-iversary.

6.11.2008

Catching Up.

I have no idea why I haven't posted in almost a month. I have only one job. I've actually got a good deal of time on my hands. And I've probably got a good deal to say on the goings on of the World. But yeah...nothing. So now catching up.

(1) I got a new tattoo. Jen TB and I took a field trip to Hand of Glory Tattoo, where I got my first one. And where Jen got my first one. We spent a very nice day in Park Slope...brunch at my favorite diner, got inked by Jeff P. Yea Jeff P.! It is titled Hope in a Box...Arial Narrow. There's no logical reason it's in a box...it's just a design thing.

(2) Obama final wins. Hooray! And now it begins again. I was on a plane back to NYC on Sunday (more about that in (3)) and was sitting next to a family from South Africa. The father asked me about the election, and predicted that McCain will win. I've been told that to people abroad our elections are on par with the latest news about Paris and Nicole and Lindsey and friends. And they too find it absurd that people start campaigning like 2 years before an election and expect to somehow keep our attention. They seem to have little faith in our political system, or in the promise of a new political regime. We've got alot of work to do to restore our country in the eyes of the world.

(3) I took a trip to London last weekend. It was awesome. Crazy fun. I and some friends went to London to celebrate the 30th birthday of our friend, Amanda. It's a beautiful city. Buildings holding the most mundane things, like records and police, were built hundreds of years ago. Our hotel was a 20 minute walk to Big Ben and to Westminster Abbey. And we had an amazing view of the Thames from our hotel rooms...at our 5-star hotel. Friday night we went to Roller Disco, which was off the hook. And Saturday sightseeing and then Saturday night, a Masquerade Ball for Amanda and her friend Abi, jointly celebrating their birthdays. It was great fun and we gained some awesome international friends, who have all promised me a visit to NYC soon. Pictures at left.

5.16.2008

Another Question.

So yesterday when I read the headline that the gay marriage ban in California had been lifted, I was super excited. And then I got an e-mail from a dear friend, who because the ban has been lifted will actually get to marry this summer, rather than his ceremony being merely symbolic. Again, so exciting. But then this morning, perusing the news, it begins again that people are now gearing up to fight the ban to protect marriage from such corruption. So my question is, why does marriage need to be protected from people who love each other committing their lives to each other?

I read this morning, much to my chagrin, that all three candidates are opposed to gay marriage. I understand this as a political decision, but do not understand it as a human decision. Maybe it's because I am not married that I cannot understand why the institution needs to be protected. But under the same vein, if we need to protect marriage from same-sex couples, don't we also need to protect it from divorcing couples, or from people who marry for money or publicity, or from people with tacky wedding dresses? All equally insidious. For real...can someone explain this to me?

5.15.2008

All the Time.

I was reading this story today, and wow...read it and then come back to me. Okay, you're back. Can you imagine spending the rest of your life within 15 feet of a person? That's not 15 yards, that's 15 feet. But then imagine spending the rest of your life within 15 feet of a person. There is no room for anger, or nonchalance, or emotional distance. And there's no electricity, so very few means to distract yourself from that person. Just something to think about.

5.06.2008

A Glimmer.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to write the communion meditation to follow a sermon at CCfB called Love and Concern. I was coming off an incredible night at work and so wrote about some of the people I work with/for.
I have come to believe that all you really need is to survive is a safety net. Most of the people that I find on the street are people who have no one. They lose one piece of their life's puzzle, pieces we all generally take for granted, and everything falls apart. I met a man a few months ago, who is homeless only because he lost his ID. Losing his ID lost him his job, lost him his housing, left him with nowhere to go, and sleeping at the bottom of some stairs in Queens. This man essentially does not exist. No one knows he's there, or that he is in such need, or that he slipped through the cracks so, so easily. He is an immigrant, has survived a war. Has no where, no one to go home to, and so has no home. He is left in limbo, knowing very well that no one should have to live like he is living. Another man I met recently has fallen victim to the same problem, but in a different world. He has lost his partner of 35 years to cancer. And now he too is homeless. He has enough money to get by, and a roof over his head, but the person that made it home is no longer there. He has no one to take care of him when he is sick, or to listen to him when he is sad, or angry, frightened, or excited.

I believe we have all encountered such people in our daily lives, or have maybe felt this ourselves. The moment you step off the plane, or park your moving truck, and know that you are just one in a city of millions. Or maybe in a child who has suddenly been moved to this country, without any knowledge of language or culture. Or in a young person growing up in poverty, feeling that there is no way out. Or someone suddenly single after they thought that part of their life was over. Or suddenly faced with an illness that threatens to take their life, or that of someone they love. And suddenly we are each left standing alone, wondering what to do next. Knowing that it should not be this way. Knowing that we should not go unprotected, uncared for.

But when we stop to catch our breath, we remember that are not unprotected. Though it is at times obscured by our panic, we are covered by the hand of God, given shelter in these times. Given community among God’s people to know that we are not alone. And we know that in the end, we are covered by grace, and will be given a place of rest.
I must confess to you, that sometimes when I write these seemingly inspired things, I do it really just hoping that it will be true. As evidenced by my previous post, I've been struggling a bit lately. I was discussing this last week with my logical voice in Queens, and he told me that I need to quit my job and go work in a bank. I have realized that I get to a point of overwhelm about every 6 months. Due to the ridiculous amount of work I've been doing lately, I lasted about 9 months this time. I get to the point where cannot escape all of the trauma and chaos I experience with people all the time, and where I cannot see an end to it. I begin to selfishly and whole-heartedly hope for the apocalypse, because really....could it be any worse? But then, this week, a glimmer of hope.

On Sunday night, I got a call from a man living in the neighborhood of a client that I had been looking for for a couple of weeks. This man lives in the neighborhood and gets his coffee everyday from the Dunkin' Donuts where my client stands outside for most of his days. They had been speaking, and my client had mentioned that I had been trying to help him and asked that this man give me a call. So I get this call, and my world is rocked. Part of overwhelm is coloured by martyrdom..."I'm the only who cares. No one else is trying to do anything. These people will die...DIE...if I, and I alone, don't help them." But then, someone, whose job it is not to help people in this man's situation, calls and wants to help me help him. New York will never cease to amaze me.

***DISCLAIMER***I realize that some of you might be puzzled/bothered by the fact that I am really excited, rather than freaked out, at the prospect of a random man getting my phone number from a homeless person. Just know that this is neither the most dangerous, nor the craziest, thing that I have done in the course of my job. Fear not, all work takes place in well-lit public spaces with co-workers nearby.

4.28.2008

Full.

I was reading the blog of a blog friend today, and he talks about being empty. No reserves of wit or wisdom. No ideas. Unable to make any movements. I read this and thought to myself, "Is this my problem?" But then no. I feel like my problem is the opposite. I am full. Fullness is sometimes good. A full heart. A full stomach. But not really this kind. This is more the kind of fullness that you get from...I don't know...a key lime pie eating competition. You like...no, love key lime pie. So you eat some, and then eat some more, and it's a contest, so you quickly eat some more. You're kind of gasping for breath now, but you've gotta keep going. It's for a trophy, and you love trophies almost as much as key lime pie. And it's over...you've won. But now you really don't want anymore key lime pie...ever, ever again. The analogy loses something along the way, but you get the idea. Fullness that starts with something you love, and ends up making you very, very ill...and maybe a little bit sad that you couldn't just say no.

I do the work I do because I love it. I started out in one area and loved that, but then saw a need in another area. So I started working there, but maintained ties to the first group of people I worked with. But then the job I had became something other than what it should've been, and I needed an outlet (or another job) to make me feel like I don't need to just scrap it all and start over. I got that job, and I loved that job, and that job was awesome. I felt like I was doing something great for people. And it gave me the experience I needed to be able to move on from my awful job. So I'm working, and working, and working. Directing a worthwhile program, providing support to a community that is very important to me, helping people move in off the street. And I love it. I feel like I am doing, or at least attempting to do, everything I possibly can. But then I go on like that for about 9 months. My brain fills up piece by piece. If you were to draw a picture of my brain right now and label all of the nouns (ie. people, places and things) that are occupying space in my head, I do believe that there would be not one vacant space at this point in time.

So last week, I was laid off from my second job. We had a reorganization about two months ago, and in doing that they did away with all of the part-time spots...one of which was mine. But they had no one to work my shifts, so I and my co-workers were kept on until we were no longer needed. Kind of like Survivor. Last Tuesday, I got a call saying that they had found someone to fill my spot and I would have two more weeks. You're thinking "Hooray! You get to sleep and maybe see your friends and meet new people." And that is what I had hoped to think. But the Friday before all of this, I made a significant break through with a client who has refused to work with anyone. We were on our way!!! And now, I'm going away. And suddenly the space this man had taken up in my head expands, and occupies what was taken up by an assortment of everyday things. And now I'm feeling a bit paralyzed. So I go to my more logic inner voices for help. But sadly the logical voices don't really reside in my head, but in Queens, and Hoboken, and Boerum Hill, and San Francisco. I call them and e-mail them to distract me, and to advise me, and to help me realize that it's not all on me. They offer a listening ear, a bit of advice, an amazing lot of help. I hope to maybe be bit less full soon. Hopefully, not empty. But existing in a place where there is room for newness, but also for the old to expand.

4.26.2008

Things Worth Reading.

Randomness to read...

(1) A fantastic list.

(2) An article.

(3) And an editorial.

4.12.2008

Between the Lines.

In Social Work school, we talk alot about boundaries. It's a very difficult thing to figure out. Social work (for me anyway) is like 1 part psychology, 1 part systems knowledge, 4 parts activism, and like 57 parts empathic heart. And each work setting comes with a different set of standards, and thus a different set of rules. I'm very strident about my boundaries, because I feel that it is the only way to do the work that I do. But every now and then, there is someone who steps through.

I've decided that work boundaries are kind of like a dotted line. Chunks of solid space with gaps in between (kind of like a border fence, or the ozone layer). It goes along for quite some time, impervious and stoic. But then all of a sudden there is a huge unfortified space. For me this comes in the form of very young people newly diagnosed with HIV; in patients who remind me of people I love; in people who I feel have been left behind too many times; in people who are essentially being told that in the eyes of people who matter, they do not exist. I find myself worrying all the time about where they might be, or how it is that we are going to overcome these obstacles, or how it is that I am going to keep them from slipping away again. I battle in my head with how far I am willing to go before I put up a wall and say "I'm sorry. This is as far as my vocation allows me to go. Bless you on your journey." And then I battle in my head to not feel guilty for stopping short. These are the times when I am thankful that I have a roommate. Otherwise, I might have bunkbeds full of homeless people sleeping in my living room. And Marcus just would not like that.

4.09.2008

So it's that time again. It's AIDS Walk time. And again this year, I'm walking with my amazing friends at Christ's Church for Brooklyn.

When I set out to be a social worker, it was because I wanted to work with people living with AIDS. It took me a long time to pin down the reason why I was moved to do this. But now, some 7 years later (if you count the pre-New York volunteering days), it's clear to me that it is the scale and scope of this thing. AIDS never should've happened. If the first people affected by AIDS had been upper or middle class, heterosexual, white Americans, it never would've been allowed to get so far before a movement was made to stop it. If ground zero hadn't been a place already so abused by colonialism and greed. If in the United States, it had decimated populations other than those already marginalized and voiceless.


So now what? Now, it is time to move. Now, it is time for justice, and for everyone to be taken care of as they should've been long ago. It is time for us to stand up. To speak out. And on May 18th, to come together and walk. Please join us.

3.19.2008

A Little Perspective.

I watched a documentary a few weeks ago, called No End In Sight. It is fairly obvious from the title that this film is about the War in Iraq. I have officially entered the anger stage where the war is concerned. This film is from the perspective of the military and diplomatic advisers who were supposed to manage the war in a logical way, making it possible that it would quickly be over, and that the loss of life would be limited. There were actually plans in place for rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq, and to truly bring about democracy...imagine that. And thus, the anger. I've got nothing left to offer.

But last week, I read an article written by a man named Omar Al-Rikabi. He is a pastor in Arkansas, has an American mother and his father is from the Middle East, so his perspective is a bit different. His article says more than I could ever say.

3.15.2008

The Blogs I Would've Written.

Over the past couple of months, I've thought to write several possibly good blogs, but am working like 8 days a week, so yeah...I haven't gotten around to it. So without further ado the list of blogs I would've written had I not had so many jobs.

(1) A blog entitled, The Girlification of Casey B., titled after for some reason The Emancipation of Mimi, Mariah Carey's first album coming off of crazy. This was to be about the fact that I had stated in my 29th birthday blog that this would be the year that I would become outwardly edgy, but think that I have done all I can (tattoo--check; piercing--check; funky-ish haircut dyed slightly red--check; having begun and ended an undefinable relationship with a man my parents would soooo not approve of--check, check and check). So I decided this might be the year I allow myself to be slightly girly instead. I'll let you know how that goes.

(2) Eat, Pray, Love. A birthday gift from a dear friend, and the most recent book for me to have a love-hate-mostly-love relationship with. I'm seriously ashamed of how much I love this book. It's also part of #1, as it is by far the most female-centric, non-feminist book I've ever read.

(3) An exposition on the reorganization of a non-profit, because it wasn't making a profit...and the subsequent laying-off of myself and my other part-time colleagues. (This is the 2nd job. No need to panic.) And the oddity of working for the people who laid you off, so they'll be covered until they can find someone to replace you.

(4) A small discussion of the resignation of my governor. For some reason, the thing that bothered me the most about it all was the image of his wife standing stoically by his side while he humiliated her by telling the world that he spent tens of thousands of their dollars on other women. The government will recover, but I doubt that his family ever will.

(5) And my new favorite web site, Stuff White People Like. It's funny, 'cause it's true.

I've got a bunch of other stuff brewing. Hopefully, it won't all come out in list form. Peace out.

3.04.2008

Drinking the Kool-Aid.

So, as you can probably guess from my posting of multiple Obama media/art pieces, I've got the fever. I cannot express my excitement at the prospect of Barack Obama having any chance of becoming our next president. Though I haven't spoken to many of them, I've been telepathically influencing the votes of my Texan friends, sending them 'Yes, We Can. Yes, We Can.' chants. And so far, they have not disappointed. People I never expected to depart from the Right, simply because they've always rested there, have indeed done so.

I was reading back on some of my previous posts about war and politics, using the little tag thingys at the bottom, and I came upon one I wrote last November about Bobby Kennedy, and his speech
The Mindless Menace of Violence. In this post, I mused about the hope and potential that Bobby Kennedy held in his hands, and wondered if this would ever happen for my generation. I believe that it has. I'm hoping for an audacious hope to reign. For our want for a better world to overpower our need for dominance, and the drives of capitalist culture. I guess, we shall see....

2.26.2008

(Life).

I loved My So-Called Life. Absolutely loved it, but we only had one TV in my house (the horror) and so I never got to watch, until the 24-hour marathons my freshman year of college. I would watch with my across-the-hall dorm neighbor Rachel, and then go to my room and watch. And then wake up in the morning, and go back to watch with Rachel. It was glorious. Glorious. But was only on for a season. And I was way, waaaay too old (at the age of 19) to be watching a show about teenage angst.

So today, I am blissed out at the premiere of quarterlife (lower-case for hippness), brought to us by the creators of My So-Called Life. I heart angsty television. And though I'm no longer a 25 year-old aspiring artist, I love their lives. The lead character said early on in the show, speaking of my generation, (paraphrased) "We were geniuses when we were in elementary school, and now no one seems to remember that." I feel this way sometimes. I want to scream "Do you understand who you're talking to here? I got straight As in elementary school. I got 3rd place in the spelling bee three years in a row. I was the Knowledge Master/Quiz Bowl Champion. And I was in the Top 10% of my high school class, BTW. Listen to me!" I ask myself, "When did my life become mediocre?"

I've mostly exited my angsty, artsy phase. But I like to remember it sometimes...and think what it might have been like if I hadn't somewhat sold out to the idea of health insurance and sustained dependable income.

2.14.2008

F- You Valentine's Day!

Okay, so my dislike for this holiday is probably not quite that strong, but I feel the need to restore some of my street cred after I spent much of my morning walking down 5th Avenue carrying a brightly colored balloon bouquet. But I felt I must lodge my complaint against the Valentine-Industrial complex.

1.30.2008

Job Update.

So I'm in the middle of my third week at the new job, and it is brilliant. Everyone is nice to me. No one has mocked me for my quietness, my ideals or my shoes. I feel respected and valued and all that stuff you should feel at work. The neighborhood is great...my bank is three blocks away, there's a Starbucks directly across the street, and there are all sorts of fun/healthy restaurants nearby. The learning curve for the job is pretty steep, so I'm not doing alot of client work yet, but will be soon. Today I met the man who was my predecessor. And he turns out to be someone I saw speak at a seminar I went to a couple of years ago. Really that seminar and this man's words changed the way I thought about my work, and increased my convictions that the system I was working within was in many ways furthering the problems of many of my clients. I am very honored to be filling this man's shoes, as much as that is possible.

But sadly there is a downside to the new job. My commute is so short that I'm a bit behind on my reading. And it takes me two commutes to listen to an episode of This American Life. If only I could find a way to spend more time on the train...

1.25.2008

Picking Sides.

I still have two more weeks to make my primary election decision, but today the New York Times has made theirs (here and here). Though I'm not sure that I fully agree, I am moved by their arguments and particularly enjoyed the paragraphs in which they reem Rudy Guiliani (who my father has repeatedly threatened to vote for as a means to get a rise out of me.) But then there's this, serving to continue my indecision.

1.20.2008

Figuring it out.

Originally written for communion meditation at CCfB on 1.20.2008:

It is only recently that I learned that my belief system was an actual belief system, rather than simply a coping mechanism. I did not know that there was Universalism outside of the Unitarian Church, which I contemplated joining at a theologically desperate point in my life. I came to Universalism circuitously, having simply lost the ability to worry about salvation any more.

My religious background is much like most of yours. I was raised in the Church of Christ, baptized when I was 14 at church camp, because that was what the kids in my youth group did. I don’t think I even grasped what my baptism was supposed to have been about until I had a crisis of faith in my early 20s. But then as I thought about it more, I began to wonder if I was truly saved. So I went to retreats and on missions to Mexico, to Bible studies and devotionals. I wept many, many tears in the interest of finding what I thought was missing. Then I got a second job, which is often the case with me. I began working for the newspaper at UT in hopes of finding a career after I decided not to teach. I edited and designed the paper sometimes 5 nights a week and I began missing Sunday night and Wednesday night church in the interest of this endeavor. But what I found at the paper was what I had been searching for. As I edited, I read every story in every section of the paper. I started reading the New York Times, and the BBC, and watching a constant stream of news, as to stay informed about what should go on my page. One night in particular stands out in my head as a turning point in my thinking about God and salvation and redemption. That summer, there were several executions covered by our paper, but one in particular got national coverage--the execution of a man named Gary Graham. The eyewitness testimony had been called into question and this case was being appealed to every level, up until the final seconds. And because of where I was on this particular day, I watched it unfold. Hearing the story of this man and his crime, the pain of his victims and their families, the distinct possibility that an innocent man was set to die, I was shaken. I could not help but think about the value of his life, of the consequences of his actions set in motion by circumstances far beyond his control, and about the state and destination of his soul. And over the months that followed, these questions only persisted and multiplied. How can a person trapped in the cycles of poverty and marginalization in this country be expected to find God when they have no hope? Why is it that so many people I love are instantly condemned for things that are intrinsically part of who they are? How is it that a person a world away, who has never known peace, can be expected to accept our narrow vision of God?

These questions being far too large for my 21 year-old mind to handle, I decided to stop trying to understand it. Instead, I decided to focus on what I could do. Volunteering at various places, getting wrapped up in the issues that moved me, which led me to a career change and has entirely changed my perspective. With each new person that I meet in my work and in life, it becomes clearer to me the value of every human life. And when I look at the view of Christianity that I was taught from my earliest memories, there is no longer room for me there. I firmly believe that we do ourselves a great injustice by living our lives simply to stay out of Hell. There is nothing man can do to earn a place in Heaven, and under the same umbrella of grace, there is nothing man can do to fall out of God’s favor. For me, once I realized this and was able to stop worrying about my own salvation, and about winning souls for Jesus with the five steps and the multicolored bracelets and the fliers and strategically placed information tables and the fun, but salvific, events, I was able to more fully be who God intended me to be. An imperfect being, in a far from perfect world, who has been known to do and say outlandish things, who has a definite penchant for the radical and is probably wrong about so many things. But who is striving to live her life in love, to do what is best and to know that God wholly loves us for who we wholly are. That we are all covered by grace and by this grace we are free.

1.10.2008

Campaign 2024.

Let me just say that I heart Hilary Clinton. I always have. Even during the first Clinton election in 1992, though such things were probably not allowed to be stated in my vastly Republican Junior High school, I had a secret appreciation for her. Hilary and I have special bond. She is the only person I've ever voted for who actually was elected. So I heart her and support her and hope she wins this thing. That being said, I have some problems. I am supremely bothered by the fact that her tears are reason for news stories and op-eds (though they're both really good op-eds) and blogs and tirades by drunken subway riders. If John McCain, talking to a group of people at a restaurant, had expressed his exhaustion and had to pause for a moment because he is under a considerable amount of stress, there would be no stories titled 'War Hero breaks down in Diner'.

As a crier myself, I am bothered, very bothered, by the perception of tears as a sign of weakness. I am not fragile. I can and will destroy you in a verbal fight. And then I might go into the other room and cry. Or I might cry right there. But my words will still be the same. Despite cracks in my voice or tears in my eyes, there is still power in my ideals and my actions will still hold the same meaning. This is simply an emotional response to a difficult situation. No one was ever thought weak for raising their voice during an emotionally charged conversation. The same should be said here.

That being said, I have some other election related problems. I heart Hilary, but I also heart Barack Obama. His message of hope and driving change appeal to my radical tendencies. And the things he has called for are not outlandishly idealistic, but simply show great movement in what I believe is the right direction. And I'm bothered by Hilary's votes for use of force in Iraq and Iran, and the fact that both she and Obama support the construction of the Border Fence, and the death penalty, and have not made a stand for equal marriage rights. I'm kind of ridiculous when it comes to my politics. I'm looking for change with such fervor that I am brought to tears any time I hear or read a speech by either candidate, especially Obama. So I'm looking for someone to tell me which way to go. I don't like picking a lesser evil without outside guidance.

I have for a long time now said that I am planning a run for president. I'm eligible for the presidency as of 2018, so any time after that all bets are off. My best friend told me last week that he would certainly vote for me, as I have good experience in the public service and he agrees with my positions on most things (though he is not always comfortable with my penchant for the radical). My campaign will be about bringing humanity and honesty back to politics (or possibly to politics for the fist time). This means not avoiding issues because they are controversial or difficult; not talking in circles to avoid stating an definitive opinion or admitting fault. The slogan on my backdrops and my podiums will be 'Just stop it. You're being ridiculous.' People get ready. There's a train a-coming.

1.09.2008

A Threat.

I got a Yahoo! alert on a story about the current conflict between Iran and the U.S., regarding a "he said, she said" fight about some ships. GW is reported to have called Iran "a threat to world peace." This is one of the statements that just makes me want to call GW up. "For real?," I'd say, "You are calling someone a 'threat to world peace'. Really? Really?" He is soooo lucky his number is unlisted.