20 August, 2012

Separation of Church and Rape

We live in a Theocracy here in the United States. Plain and simple. Not only do we feel no need to justify how it is that we govern differently from Europe or Canada, but we proudly and ignorantly assert that "they've got it all wrong over there."

This week, the big topic was abortion. People who have no conviction and no authority other than the "moral authority" vested in them by their religion and their political aspirations are spouting off nonsense about "legitimate rape" and other such things.

We have so many issues as a nation that require serious attention. So many problems remain unsolved. And yet, religiously motivated topics continue to seep into public discourse.

Once and for all, let's separate church from state. No tax breaks for religious organizations. No political contributions from religious organizations. No discussion in media about candidates' religious affiliation. No laws or agendas originating from religious dogma.

Let's clean it up and govern from a rationally defensible place.

Is that too much to ask?

12 August, 2012

Asteroids and orbits

That's how it came to me, in my mind, after the conversation was over. She was someone who had sort of just popped into my world for almost no reason other than chance. On her quest. It is her journey, at the moment, borne out of trauma and a lifetime of expectations and burdens about "how things are supposed to be." One could say that "fate" landed her here (though I don't really use that term in the typical sense). And then, little snippets of causality landed me in her world. Now, for a little while, I get to play a tiny part in her internal evolution. Revolution. It's not clear where it will lead. But I am not a critical piece in the puzzle. At most, I am like an asteroid, passing close by her orbit. Not very close, and not for very long. But there's a slight chance that those interactions and exchanges that occur during this brief window of time might have the subtlest impact on her path. And we all know what happens when things start small.

But the truth is, I don't actually know what impact, if any, this will have. Could be nothing. Could be everything. Or, as is usually the case, could be somewhere in between.

And this is what got me thinking about asteroids and orbits.

I realized that it was not just her and me. Though it was this example that spawned the metaphor, it is really the case for every interaction we have, every minute, in every day. We are all planets, on our various paths. And we are all asteroids, passing by each other on these various journeys. Sometimes, so far away as to be nearly irrelevant. In other cases, making full-on impact and destruction. Still other cases, winding up in a magically improbable orbit with one another, stabilizing, and forever altering. But, in the vast majority of cases, making subtle tweaks to one another's paths. We change each other, if only a little, just by opening up to each other. I am not exactly who I was a year ago because of a whole series of new connections I have made.

Last week, I wrote about how we'll be remembered. But this week, I am thinking about how we affect one another. Because we do. We validate one another. We make each other shine. We give each other hope. We make each other feel. Sometimes we feel sadness. Sometimes we feel joy. Sometimes we feel longing. It's not that we are incapable of synthesizing all of these things entirely within ourselves. But it happens so much more readily through others we allow into our world.