Friday, February 10, 2012

Agendas



Ripple Effect
Yesterday, I tweeted a link to a Rolling Stone article entitled One Town's War on Gay Teens. It's really long, but I think it's well worth your time.

Now...I'm biased when I say I think it's worth your time. I'm biased because I'm a big ol' gaymo. For some, that likely means my opinion on the subject loses all credibility, because how can I be objective? That position has merit.

On the other hand, couldn't I also be viewed as an expert? Kinda like - "BAM! After a lifetime of gaymo-osity, I hereby proclaim myself to be an expert! Take that you Nobel Prize winning Oxford Scholar!" Or something along those lines. Maybe. Or not....

I digress.

(the point is - it's worth your time because you're a human bean and the article has good things inside that are worthwhile for human beans to read)

After I tweeted the link, I got a response from someone who I believe took issue with the idea of governmental involvement. Specifically, she asked:
Where are the parents??? Rather have the prob solved by parents & school vs. politicians who ONLY SCREW THINGS UP!
I've been hearing this a lot lately and in many different contexts (and personally, I believe it myself) this notion of less governmental involvement (although I would like to point out that the public school district is an arm of the government). We definitely see it a lot on the campaign trail and it is certainly a principle of the Republican party.

According to Scholastic ('member them? That's the organization we all ordered books from as kids in (public) elementary school. Man, I love their mission page, 'specially that last paragraph), our current political parties are described thusly:
Republicans tend to take a more conservative stand on issues. They believe that the federal government should not play a big role in people's lives. Most Republicans favor lower taxes and less government spending on social programs. They believe in less government intervention in business and the economy.
Democrats are sometimes referred to as "the Party of the People," attracting immigrants, blue-collar workers, women, and minorities. Democrats tend to take a more liberal stand on important issues. They believe that the federal government should take a more active role in people's lives, particularly those who are in need.
But, what does any of this have to do with my opening paragraph and a story about kids killing themselves? I'm trying to get there, I promise. Bear with me.

As a human being, I have my own personal perspective that, as I've written before, colors everything I see and think and do. I can't help it. It just is. It's the same for all of us, no?

And a lot of that "is," for me, is a constant questioning. Of everything. I like questioning. I want to know more. I have so much to learn (s'why I dig the last sentence on the Scholastic Mission page: Good citizens may honestly differ on important public questions. We believe that all sides of the issues of our times should be fairly discussed — with deep respect for facts and logical thinking....).

As a lawyer, I have a deep respect for the law and recognize that, for all its flaws, it is sometimes the last best bastion against craziness that we have in this world. And even then, it's not always enough. Unfortunately, not near enough. (And speaking of the law and craziness, ya gotta, gotta, gotta watch this documentary.)

But here's the thing...in that minuscule, infinitesimal part of the universe, where law and humanity intersects, there is only you. And me. And a kabazillion other people. And how we get along begins with you. And me. And each of us.

What I'm trying, not very well, to say and convey, is that it's not enough to say, "Where are the parents???" 

Along with that very pertinent question, I want to also ask, "Why is it ok for a public school district to adopt and advocate something called, 'No Homo Promo'*?" We, as a society, don't stand for that. Just like we don't stand for things like segregated water fountains for people of different races or the internment of a class of people based on the color of their skin or the extermination of a people based on their religious belief. 

And that's the real issue, I think. 

There are so many agendas weighing on us everywhere we turn. Talk radio. The Church (religion). Political campaigns. Twitter (or FB or any kind of social media, I suppose). The 6 o'clock news. School boards. Our parents. Our friends. THIS BLOG. *ahem*

What do you listen to? How do you listen? What do you learn?

Do we learn by what we see? By how we were raised?

Do we ever figure it out?

I don't know. 

Love
  Joy
    Peace
      Patience
        Kindness
           Goodness
              Faithfulness
                Gentleness
                  Self-Control

These sound like such excellent tenets, don't they? I want all of these things in my life, all the time. Like, now (oops...patience).

Did you also know they are set out in the King James Bible (Galations 5:22) as "fruits of the spirit against which there is no law"?

It's true. 

But the thing is - I never, ever see any gentleness or kindness or love or peace or joy in play when I see the people from the Westboro Baptist Church picketing at funerals, or a Christian politician, like former Susan G. Komen VP, Karen Handel, talk about issues on her then-political platform, and I don't know how many fruits of the spirit were on display when Barb Anderson set out to get her "No Homo Promo" campaign adopted by the Anoka-Hennepin school board, but the end result seems to indicate there weren't many. 

And that's my point.

These tenets...these "fruits of the spirit"...are universal concepts that we have opportunities to display every day, in every moment, and in every way. It begins the moment you wake up, and carries over into every interaction you have throughout the day, all the way to the dinner table and into the night when your head hits the pillow. And what I mean by that is this - your kindness and charity and peace and joy and love (or lack thereof, as the case may be!) gets imparted to those closest to you, usually your kids, your siblings, your family members, and co-workers.

But. 

When you're a public servant, a governmental official, you have a different platform. And it can impact people on an altogether different level. 

That's evidenced by what we saw play out in the lives of these kids from Anoka, Minnesota, in the face of such an agenda. And it happens every day.

As I said in my tweet: This is insane and has got to stop. 

It really, really does. 

Sorry for the preaching.** 

preach/off and peace out.

***

* To be fair, that's a colloquial adoption. Anderson did not frame her crusade as a 'no homo promo,' that's just what it ended up being referred to after it was passed. But, dude, don't take my word for it - read the article.

** Have I told you lately I miss online poker? 

6 comments:

  1. Good post.

    Kindness is the only important currency.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Desiderata

    Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

    Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

    Strive to be happy.


    --- Max Ehrmann, 1927

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Laoch, thank you sir. I always appreciate you reading (and your comments)

    @ginaR, touche. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This didn't sound preachy at all.
    P.S. What Laoch said.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @dbs, thank you dbs. On both counts. =)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Did you think about picking the best Bitcoin exchange service - YoBit.

    ReplyDelete

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