Who I am…
I am a former lawyer, former mother of teenagers, and a quixotic seeker after and champion of factual truth.
I make the best damn brownies you have ever had that are not regulated by the federal government.
I love movies, Broadway, and intelligent conversation.
I think in song lyrics and movie and television quotes.
I believe in the use of proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar even in text messages. I am willing to debate the use of the Oxford comma, if you know what the Oxford comma is. It also makes me very happy if people use the subjunctive mood when appropriate.
I have been told I intimidate people. I am really just a fluffy-centered teddy bear. Really.
- It's all my fault. No, really. The views expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone and in no way whatsoever represent the views of anyone else, including any past, present, or future employer.
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Words to live by ….
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.
“Pray for the dead, fight like hell for the living.” Mary Harris (“Mother Jones”).
“Don’t boo. Vote.” Barack Obama.
“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” Reinhold Niebuhr.
“No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.” Sir Terry Pratchett.
“Damning facts are still facts.” Steven C. Holtzman.
“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re tested, they’re not values — they’re hobbies.” Jon Stewart.
“Darkness never sustains, even though it sometimes seems it will.” Doctor Who.
“Writing is a form of mischief.” Stephen Sondheim.
“An idea is not responsible for the people who believe it.” Don Marquis.
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” Joseph Campbell.
“Truth is our strongest ally, our biggest weapon, and our best defense.” Me.
“Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Stephen Colbert.
“The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.” Jonathan Larson.
“We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger.
We rise and fall, and light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love last longer.
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love;
Cannot be killed or swept aside.”
“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Emma Goldman.
“No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett.
“I believe that the God who made (among other things) light, and space, and number, and time, and the spiral curve of Fibonacci numbers, must be acknowledged to understand more than I do about why there’s pain in the world.” Teresa Neilsen Hayden.
“No, it’s not fair. You’re in the wrong universe for fair.” John Scalzi.
“Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.” Lawrence O’Donnell
“So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.” Molly Ivins.
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I missed the debates on Wednesday: listening to the media analysis after the fact, it appears that Romney won, perhaps by exceeding the media’s somewhat low expectations for him. I am not sure it matters to me. I have no intention in voting for the man; but a good performance from him would reassure me that the country will cope if he were to get elected.
I will be so happy when the election is over. I am sincerely hoping that my Facebook friends (all people I know in person and, for the most part, care about), who have a wide variety of political views, will give the partisan wrangling a rest. Yes, I know in many ways I am as bad as others, but I am trying to be more understanding of differences between us, and not post the most inflammatory and insulting material.
We could all decide to discuss something else, like the potential looming bacon shortage. You know, important things.
One of the things I said in my Stanford Lawyer piece was that “I learned that good people with honorable intent can look at the same problem and come up with wildly divergent answers. I learned that disagreement does not always mean someone is wrong and, more importantly, that someone being ‘wrong’ does not mean that they are ‘evil.'”
As a nation, we forget this at our peril. The result is loss of national cohesion and identity. We become a nation whose identity is so wrapped up in our political tribal affiliations that it becomes impossible to find common ground. Furthermore, frenzied rhetoric can result in the less stable among us becoming violent. People can die.
As a person, I forget this at my peril. The peril is that I will lose relationship with people who I care about. (There is a reason that my family in Mississippi and I do not discuss politics.) I have lost too many people in my life, usually through my own carelessness and feelings of shame and unworthiness; I can ill afford to lose more.
That said, maintaining equilibrium in these turbulent political waters is difficult. The rhetoric which has flown around the ongoing fights over women’s reproductive rights has been particularly nasty. It gets tiring be called a baby-killer; and the “war on women” label is exaggerated. Do I think that people such as Todd Akin and Paul Ryan are wrong? Completely. Terribly. Dangerously. Do I think they are evil people? No, even though the legislation they push forward may have evil consequences.
Is it okay to call out Todd Akin on his views on women? Absolutely. Is it okay to challenge the ethical implications of Paul Ryan’s budget plans? Absolutely. But both of those can be done in a manner that still recognizes the basic humanity of the men in question.
When I am tempted to engage in simplistic rejections of people whose opinions differ from mine, I think of two people. The first is my eldest sister, who is very conservative, opposed to abortion and birth control and … capital punishment, on the grounds that nobody but God has a right to take a life. I do not agree with some of her opinions, but at least she has a coherent .ethic supporting her political views. I like to think, in spite of evidence to the contrary, that more people do than one might suppose.
The other is a woman with whom I used to go to church. She is conservative, and strongly Republican. She opposes same-sex marriage, for one thing. It would so easy to dismiss her, to reject her as a person. I have more than one friend who would heap scorn upon her, who would question my views simply because I would be willing to associate with her. But this woman, on her own dime and with her own hands, helped renovate and support an orphanage in Tijuana. She is honestly following Jesus’ command to care for the poor, more than I have ever done. How can I not respect her?
Jon Stewart, who along with Stephen Colbert is one of the sanest political voices in America, in an interview with Rachel Maddow, observed that “it is easy to grant amnesty to those whose political views we agree with, and overly demonize those who we don’t.” He’s exactly right.
So I will struggle through the next few weeks. For the most part, I will try to refrain from posting insulting and inflammatory things on my Facebook or LiveJournal or here, for that matter — although I am sure I will fail at that at least sometimes. The trick is to state what I believe without calling into question the humanity of those who disagree with me.
It is possible to disagree without someone without demonizing them. I need to remember that.