Archive for the ‘Culture Shift’ Category

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D.C. Takes Big Step Forward in Same Sex Marriage Battle

12.15.09

gay marriage

The D.C. Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that will legalize same sex marriages.  It next will go to Mayor Adrian Fenty who is expected to sign the bill by the end of next week.

This is a big step forward in the marriage equality movement and I applaud the 11 members of the D.C. Council who voted in favor of this bill.  I must say it will be a very odd contradiction having America’s Capital allowing same sex marriages while Washington still outlaws them.

Slowly but surely, state by state, district by district, the rational viewpoint will prevail and equality will trump discrimination.  Way to set a solid example, D.C.

(Photo courtesy of Steve Bott)

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Huckabee: Broken Record on Same Sex Marriage

11.26.09

Leave it to potential GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to repeat old rhetoric in his battle against same-sex marriage.

Huckabee panders to the Christian Right and alienates everyone else with his flawed slippery-slope argument that if same-sex marriage were legalized, that just about any form of union would end up being permitted.  Namely, that polygamy should then be allowed.

He argues that:

“You know, I hear people say, ‘Well, what would be wrong?’ What would be wrong, then, with a man having two or three or six or seven wives? Or a woman having six or seven husbands all at the same time? Other than the financial challenge of doing that.”

What a flawed argument, but one that can be very convincing to people who don’t take the time to actually think about it.  The issue here isn’t polygamy.  It’s about homosexuality.  And this is just Huckabee’s way to divert the attention away from the real reason that he’s against it: his fundamentalist Christian views.  He thinks that he’s masking his religious reasons for desiring a secular ban on one type of marriage simply based on the demographic of people being married, which is a prime example of institutional discrimination, by using the tired and patently false historical argument – that marriage has always meant one man and one woman – and equating homosexuals with polygamists.  Classic fear-mongering rhetoric that holds no water whatsoever.

Huckabee:

“Marriage doesn’t mean any and everything we want it to mean.  In all the recorded years of human history it has only meant one thing. It has meant a man and a woman relationship, that not only created the next generation, but that trained the next generation to be their replacements. It’s not just the matter of the biological reproduction, however. It’s the context in which children are able to grow up understanding the role models that both the male and the female provide.”

There are so many things wrong with his argument.  First off:

1) Marriage hasn’t only meant one thing in all the recorded years of human history.  Perhaps it’s meant the same thing in all the recorded years of The Huckabee Family History but you need not look further than his own admission of polygamy to realize that there are other forms of marriage that are perfectly valid for those groups of people (I assume they’re humans, thus in the realm of human history).  See also, arranged marriages, polyandry, and a whole slew of different unions in many societies.  Even if fringe or practiced amongst a small group of people, it disproves Huckabee’s statement that marriage has always meant one singular thing.

2) Being married doesn’t mean you have to be parents.  There are all kinds of circumstances where married couples don’t end up training “the next generation to be their replacements,” such as, infertile couples or those who just don’t want to have children.  I’ve never been married, but I’ve been to a number of weddings, and none of the requirements that I heard during the ceremonies involved procreation and the training of said offspring.

Huckabee uses that falsity to lead to yet another one.

3) Children can learn the ins and outs of being a human being without having both a man and woman guiding them.  I’m getting tired of reading my own print right now because it feels like Huckabee is making me sound like a broken record.  Again, all it takes is actually stopping and spending a brief moment thinking about this to realize that Huckabee is full of total crap and that nothing in his argument holds true.  With his rationale, he should be fighting to outlaw childless married couples, single-parent families, and foster parents (to take a page out of his own slippery slope book).

It doesn’t take a historian to know that marriage – like many cultural customs – has changed and varied over time across cultures as they evolve and change.  Huckabee bases his argument on his own personal beliefs that fall under those of Christianity, which is fine, were he arguing to make changes to his church’s rules, not secular American laws.  But he’s not.

This is a man who fashions himself a presidential candidate in 2012 yet bases his arguments for and against secular laws on his own religious beliefs over the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution.  The Republican Party really is no longer a political entity anymore so much as it has become a church.  And that has no place whatsoever in American politics.

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Impatience Is The New Patience

11.21.09

Microblogging.  24-hour news.  Instant messaging.  YouTube.  We are the culture of now is already too late.

Of course, I am not immune to this shift from novels, two-and-a-half-hour films, and land phone lines to 30-second clips, feature-length commercials, and toddlers text messaging.  I’m right in the thick of it.  And I love it.

I’m addicted to Twitter.  I prefer texting over actually talking on the phone.  I have to force myself to do anything for longer than five minutes at a time or without several other things going simultaneously.  My brain needs constant stimuli from all directions at all times.  I’m struggling to not check my phone for messages at this very moment despite the fact that it’s sitting right next to me and hasn’t beeped or lit up in the past hour so I know for a fact that no one has contacted me.  It’s become habit and also a comforting device.  Healthy?  No idea.  All I know is that the little Tweetie icon in my toolbar is glowing blue so I know someone has posted some 140-or-less words of brilliance that I must read as soon as humanly possible.

(I just checked my Tweetie – nothing of monumental importance – and my phone – and now I’ve lost my train of thought.)

So there are some downsides to this shift.  Our need for constant stimuli has made us virtually devoid of patience.  Seriously – I bet an overwhelming majority of you reading this post won’t even make it past the next paragraph because reading this will take far too long for your attention span.  We’ve become so accustomed to having everything at our fingertips the nanosecond that we want them that when we’re forced to actually wait for things to develop in real-time – and by real-time I mean pre-TADD (Technologically-induced Attention Deficit Disorder) – we freak out.  We seriously can’t handle it.

Let me give an example:

Today was the annual meeting of the Michigan and Ohio State football teams.  Michigan is currently rebuilding with second-year coach Rich Rodriguez, who has implemented a vastly different offensive system that requires a different type of athlete than which usually plays in Ann Arbor.  This has led to some serious growing pains.  For some, the growing pains are far too tough to handle.  With ending the season with another loss to Ohio State (this afternoon makes it six in a row, and seven out of the last eight), fans are clamoring for Rodriguez’s ouster, after just two seasons as head coach and the first with a group of kids that he actually recruited.  Many have been wanting him fired since the middle of the season when the team lost to rival Michigan State, a mere five games into his second campaign.  In fact, the word “embattled” became a common adjective for the coach even before the team took a snap this season.

It seems that no one has the time to wait for a program to develop anymore.  Being a Michigan fan, I feel the pain of going 1-7 in the Big Ten.  I feel the pang in my stomach after losing to our bitter rival for the better part of a decade.  My afternoons get ruined when we commit five turnovers and look like a shell of what our team used to be week in and week out in years past.  So I could easily jump on the bandwagon and call for Rodriguez’s head and blast the system every single time there’s a bad play call, a bad decision by an in-over-his-head athlete, or just a lack of talent on either side of the ball.  But what’s the point?

Look at the alternative: RichRod gets fired.  We bring in someone else, maybe someone with Michigan ties or someone who runs more of a traditional pro-style offense.  He can’t run that system with the current personnel so he starts off with a less-than-amazing first season.  Fans either get their hopes way too high after a strong victory over a solid opponent, or they lambaste the program for continuing the losing ways.  They hope for next year when the coach has installed his own players – who will be young and inexperienced at the collegiate level and need to go through their own learning curve, as well, just like our current crop of footballers. What then?  What if it’s another mediocre season? Fire that guy and just keep on going on like that until we just happen to get lucky?  To me, that makes little sense.  We’ve invested in Rodriguez and our system, whether we all agree with it or not, and we owe it to the program to give him the real time it needs to succeed or fail.

We have to adapt to culture shifts, not fight against them with all our might.  Things change, momentum shifts, and life evolves.  No one can wait for anything anymore.  Not traffic lights, lines at the grocery store, web browsers to load, and certainly not Michigan football to get back to its winning ways.

Things aren’t going to change and I, for one, don’t really want them to.  I’ll take the bad with the good.  I’ll try to sit on the deck of this new TADD world while keeping my toes dipped in the pool of the old days.  I’m going to give Rich Rodriguez at least another year before I start questioning his ability to coach Michigan football into a perennial winner.  At least.  No one wins championships with a team of freshmen, so I’m going to wait for these kids to mature, Rodriguez to get his recruiting machine moving, and hope that in the next year or two we get back on the winning track.  I hate losing, especially this much, but I am going to be patient.  Even though, I can barely sit still without checking my email, my text messages, my Facebook status, and my Twitter account all at the same time and that impatience has become the new patience.

(For those of you who made it this far – I commend you.  Had I not been the author of this blog, I doubt I’d have made it to the end, either.  Maybe I should’ve posted this is 140-word installments instead.)