Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gay Marriage...

The Republican sabre rattling over gay marriage continues to get louder and louder. A gay rights group recently stated: if marriage is indeed about the family unit, heterosexual couples should all be required to have biological children. This argument makes an interesting point, but there really is a lot more to marriage than just having kids.

A marriage allows a couple to enjoy spousal rights.

Some examples:
* If a spouse in a horrible accident, marriage allows the partner to make medical decisions for them.
* If a spouse dies, marriage sets up an inheritance.
* If a spouse is sick, marriage means that health insurance will often cover them.
* If a spouse is asked to testify in court, marriage protects the partner against their testimony.
* Marriage affects banking (depends on state in what ways/how)
* Marriage provides a mechanism for seperation, divorce, and division of assets.

Most of these things can be done through a convoluted combination of legal paperwork. But even then, there are large portions of things today that require family ties. Basic things like visiting someone in the hospital.

The current definition of marriage is completely tied to a Christian basis. A marriage must be between a man and a woman. A man cannot marry more than one woman or another man, and women have a similar treatment. The argument against gay marriage is that a marriage is about providing a family unit for children. If that's true, why is a marriage not defined by a couple having children?

The current definition of marriage is an establishment of Christian theology in government.

Destructing marriage in order to remove this establishment would destroy spousal rights across heterosexual couples creating an enourmous outrage. The denial of gay marriage by conservatives represents an attempt to prevent strong homosexual relationships from forming. By denying marriage, a homosexual couple can not have the legal benefits of family.

The problem with this debate is that marriage is more religious than legal in the eyes of many people. The second you mention "gay marriage", a person shouts "that's not what the bible teaches". But marriage as a religious institution has no place in government.

In short, the protections and complications of a bonded relationship between people span more than the heterosexual couple. If the government is going to recognize that specific case, then it should recognize them all even if it does not use the term "marriage". And further, it should recognize them all equally.

That conservatives fight over this issue is further proof they are not in reality conservative. A conservative government would have only a bare minimal law for civil unions or marriages to provide for basic spousal rights and freedoms. Yet again, gay marriage shows to me that the difference between republicans and democrats is the space between my genitals and wallet.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Willpower and dreams

A deathly silence stood between the Nazi officer and Wladyslaw Szpilman broken only by the sounds of the Third Reich's war machine. But even those sounds succumbed to the powerful melody that Szpilman began to play across the keys of the piano. The damaged and broken instrument came into perfect tune in the minds of the two men and sounded a flawless masterpiece. In that brief instant, Szpilman gave the performance of his life and allowed both to regain their humanity in the midst of the most inhuman of conditions.

The scene made for good cinema in The Pianist, but only worked so well because it touched on a larger theme. Many words describe the emotions that came into play there. One word that truly fits the whole situation is willpower. If you look closely, examples of willpower are all around, from Clinton moving to be President before his political carrier even started to a runner wining the race.

As children, we are taught over and over again that we can do anything we want. "Put your mind to it, and you could be the next President of the United States" - a phrase so repeated that it's cliché. As adults "reality hits" and we become jaded, speaking of practical limitations and only seeing the struggle. We loose track of our dreams and settle into a life of just living. It's happening right now, millions of people moving from point A to point B without thinking. It is only when people have dared to dream - stepped for a moment outside of the "real world" and looked at possibilities - when humanity has progressed.

The dream is only part of the whole though. The dream is the idea, and willpower is what makes the idea a reality. Without willpower there is no action. Without willpower, we let the dream die. Why do I write about willpower? Because lately, I've been so drained from constant efforts in all areas of my life that it's been difficult to continue dreaming. But today, I remembered the importance of the dream. Dreams let me escape a world of bondage for freedom. Dreams let me move across the country and make new lifelong friends. Dreams let me finally graduate college last year.

The interesting thing about willpower is that it requires the dream, and in turn the dream requires willpower. That I continue going to work and keeping my life in order shows willpower, but without the dream it has slowly fizzled. And so now, I have resolved to continue dreaming and urge everyone to do the same.After all, without hopes and ambitions and imagination, are we really living?