Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Supreme Court's Job

Well, I finally thought I'd put my two cents worth here about the issue before the Supreme Court. Actually, as I understand it, there are two cases before the Court but the bottom line, according to the media and everyone else (Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, email, etc.), the court is tasked with defining marriage. I really thought I had my opinions and beliefs nailed down, but some interesting thoughts and other views have presented themselves to me.  Things I really hadn't thought about.
First of all, I am a born-again Christian and would describe my political views as that of a libertarian conservative.  I used to call my political views "liberal conservative", but that doesn't even make sense, does it? See, the thing is that I try to see things from both sides and hear views that may be contrary to what I think I believe. To me, same-sex marriage doesn't even make verbal sense but beyond that verbal nonsense (to me) is that there are people who want their relationships validated in some way. I have read everything to "they are going to burn in hell" to "let their love be known to all". The other side of me really does hate hating. I don't want to call anyone names just because they don't think like I do BUT I don't want to be called names for my beliefs either.
Here is my fear: the hating hate I see already, the name-calling, the vile anger and language between people who disagree will only get worse no matter what the court decides. Isn't that true? I just can't get over how polarized people are now. It isn't just about homosexuality either - it is also the color of one's skin as well. I recently was in Walmart and heading to the back of the store for something. I accidentally bumped into a young (around 14 I'd guess) black (oh, excuse me, African American) boy. I immediately said "Oh, I am sorry!  I didn't see you!" Honestly, it chilled me the way he looked at me. If looks could kill, I'd be dead. I personally have never experienced that before. Remember I lived in the deep South in the 60's and even then I didn't see it! What the heck is that?
There is a lot of talk about bullying and that is what I see not only in the schools but among adults. This bullying is such a degree today that you can't miss it any more. I had no idea that in elementary school the kids call each other "gay" or "faggot" in arguments OR in jest! That kind of name-calling would mean a trip to the principals' office when I was in grade school. Why is it allowed? Why is it even used, for heaven's sakes? So there is one issue that concerns me: more bullying no matter what the court decides. More hate. More name-calling. More friendships ending. More families split apart. And WHY?
Secondly, I happened upon a video yesterday that presented some issues that I never thought about or was aware of. Suze Orman was on Piers Morgan's show debating with Ryan Anderson from the Heritage Foundation.  Ms. Orman has been in a lesbian relationship for many years with K.T. (I apologize for not remembering her name) so what she stated as fact I took as fact. I hadn't thought about that truly committed relationships get no recognition when it comes to tax matters and other government policies. She mentioned that even though they have been together for years, if one of them dies, the other doesn't get her Social Security widow's benefit. Never even occurred to me! The same is true of any family members who lives together but not married however.  Two sisters or two brothers who just didn't find the "right" one or whatever the reason for not marrying and living together would be left with nothing. Of course, there are also those heterosexual couples who live together and never marry as well. Yes, I know about joint tenancy and also about domestic partnerships but not all states have such laws and there is virtually nothing on a federal level, i.e. Social Security, Internal Revenue, etc.
To me, that is unfair and honestly, it just didn't occur to me until I saw this video. I don't like Piers Morgan; I want to state that up front. I don't like how he treated the young man from the Heritage Foundation and I really took exception to the way Ms. Orman treated him too. Having said that, she did give me some facts to consider there.  It is not only unfair to those in a same-sex relationship but siblings and others. I agree with Mr. Anderson that much of the economic unfairness at the federal level could be reduced by a complete overhaul of the burdensome tax code. I could envision changes in the Social Security laws too that could be fair to everyone. If we had a flat tax, for example, and no deductions or credits for spouses, children, dependent adults, etc., that we would all pay our "fair share", right? I guess I am naive to think that would ever happen, but a flat tax seems so much easier and fairer. The federal government's budget would be much better off, and I suspect it would help our deficit in a short period of time. I don't know all the numbers, but it seems that if Bill Gates and Warren Buffet paid 10% (for example) of their gross income every year, that has to help our government spending issues. :)  Of course, Social Security and Medicare is rife with fraud and Obamacare is going to cost way more than originally sold to us. There are no easy answers. I know that. I am not saying there are. It just seems to me that the economic issues presented by Suze Orman could be dealt with in a manner that doesn't include marriage.
Yes, here is the other point she made: we as Christians have done a horrible job at marriage, haven't we? What examples have we set on committed relationships? Not good ones - that is for sure. Some of that high divorce rate (among believers and non-believers), I blame on the "no-fault divorce" revolution. There are too many couples who enter into marriage with the idea that "if it doesn't work out, we can always get a divorce". I was taught that marriage is a promise, made before friends, family and God, between a man and a woman to stay together through thick and thin. I still believe that way in spite of the fact that I went through not one, but two divorces! I was blessed by the Lord with the husband I have now but I cannot begin to describe the guilt I carried (and to a certain extent, still carry) that I have had two divorces in my past.
Can we expect same-sex couples to be a better example though? Just because heterosexual marriage relationships haven't been a shining example, does that give us an excuse or a license to throw that out? I have even read where the "secret" desire of homosexuals to get rid of marriage altogether. That doesn't even make sense to me. Why the big push for recognition of their relationships as marriages?
Please, no matter what happens at the Supreme Court, can we have a dialog that is rational, kind and loving? Can we try to fix the things that are wrong with tax laws, etc.? Can we agree to disagree? I don't know the answers to the problems these couples face but I have enough faith in the human race that we should be able to figure this out. I also think we need to stop pushing an agenda either way. We are criticizing and silencing those in school who have different opinions. That is not right either. I don't want to argue with anyone about this. I just wanted to write all the things that have been spinning in my head. You don't have to agree with me. All I ask is that if you want to educate me or give me a different point of view, that you do so in a kind and respectful manner. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Open Letter to my Senator

I am appalled at what my U. S. Senator has been trying to pull with gun legislation. Just what are they trying to do to our Constitution? I wrote the following letter to Senator Feinstein, who, unfortunately, is my U. S. Senator along with Barbara Boxer.  Senator Feinstein got quite angry and upset with Senator Cruz when he pointed out certain provisions in the U. S. Consitution saying he "lectured" her. Well, she obviously needed to be and she still does!  Here is what I wrote to her:

"Dear Senator, I am quite familiar with your opinions about guns. I am one of your constituents and I am appalled that you fail to see that removing guns from the hands of citizens is constitutional. Yes, I know you don't like lectures on the constitution but I suggest you read it, Senator! Please take a moment and consider the statistics of cities and other nations who have taken guns out of the hands of its citizens. The murder, rape and robbery statistics have skyrocketed and are still doing so. Consider the city of Oakland! Oakland has banned guns yet there are murders just about every day. Why? Because criminals could care less about the law; that is what makes them criminals! Taking guns out of your citizens will not, I repeat NOT, take them out of the hands of the criminals. And, what next? What other protections of the Constitution will you take from us? Remember, you work for the voter not the other way around. I know you will answer that you don't agree with me but I would be remiss in not letting you know how I feel about your gun grab. It is wrong and it is, as you WELL KNOW, unconstitutional."

My family live here and it would break my heart if I would have to leave the state. But I may have no choice if I am going to live peaceably with no further attacks on my liberties. California is a socialist state as is the state of New York. Both states have draconian laws already and among the most expensive states to live in. Raising the minimum wage to $22 an hour, as stated by Pelosi won't make the state any more affordable either. How can a supposedly educated person even think that would work? All that would do is make everything so expensive NO ONE can live - we'd all be street people eating out of trash cans. What a lame idea. It is an embarrassment that she speaks for California.

California and New York both are not family friendly or business-friendly. I don't blame businesses and families from leaving our state and moving to Texas. Right now, it seems like a very good idea.  Listen people, we MUST start making a lot of noise now or we will find ourselves unarmed and living in a communist nation.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hating Hate

Have you noticed that the word "hate" is bandied about more and more these days? Usually, hate is an accusation when one person disagrees with another. Instead of having a reasonable, sensible, well-thought-out points to one's beliefs, the reaction is "well, you are just a hater and haters gotta hate".
This is the most ridiculous logic I have seen in my entire life!  We are all entitled to our own opinions. You don't have to believe as I do and the reverse is true as well. That doesn't make us haters, bigots, racists, homophobes, etc. (you get the picture, I am sure).  How is my opinion hate? If I have expressed it, and not called you names or disrespected your viewpoint because you believe differently, why can we not have a discussion stating the points we believe support our opinion? Or, if all else fails, why can not just agree to disagree?
It is not logical to believe that everyone is going to feel the same way about different issues. We come to the table with our own life experiences, our own core beliefs on how we want to live - right? Based on that, there are definitely going to be differences in how we see things and what we believe. I don't hate someone who believes differently - not at all.  
What I DO hate is the name-calling, the use of vile language directed at me, the raising of the voice with the name-calling and language. I feel battered and abused and I know that any further rational discussion isn't going to happen.  How can we learn from each other if we are so rigid in our belief systems that we refuse to hear anything slightly different?
I have seen tweets on Twitter that are perfectly innocent...say a statistic on crime. No mention of race, age, sexual orientation - none. Within a few tweets that person who came up with the statistic will be accused of being a racist and in the instance I remember, the tweeter was Native American and accused the original tweeter of being a racist. It is mind-boggling. I couldn't believe my in the heck did a statistic with no percentages of who does what become a slur against Native Americans? How did the tweeter become a hater by reporting the statistics? See what I mean?  Logic is just lost here and I see it all the time across the internet:  Facebook, Twitter, blog comments, TV and radio talk shows.
Why do we all have this huge chip on our shoulder and LOOK for a reason to be offended? Can we remove the chip please?