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So I'm at work, and I'm feeling like procrastinating. Yay journal entry!

Last night I was having trouble sleeping, so I laid in bed and had a bit of quiet bonding time with Cailet. She crawled up on my chest and cuddled, then moved down to my stomach and started kneading. This is really unusual for her, as she NEVER kneads. Ever. It was really sweet and special and.... yeah. I'm a sap for my cat. So sue me.

I was thinking about some of the memes I've seen traversing LJ, and a few of the more... controversial issues that have been running around. I do have to say that I really respect and admire the folks that have stood up and stated what they believed in, then held fast to those beliefs when friendships faltered and fell apart. It takes a lot of guts to do that, and while I don't necessarily agree with their views, I do have to respect the fact that they stand for what they believe in.



Alot of the current issues floating around don't really apply to me. I'm Christian, I'm heterosexual, and I have no real political party. I'm an issue voter, and while I mostly vote Libertarian, I don't have any political label for myself. Mostly, I ignore politics, which is perhaps not the best approach, but I'm happy with it.

However, I did see something recently that DID apply to me, and so I wanted to state my views here. Someone (I don't remember who, and it really doesn't matter) said that all smokers should go to hell.

Now. This is a prime example of the gross generalization that seems to plague all of us these days. We're all guilty of using stereotypes, I know that. But I do think it would be good for everyone to make a conscious effort to remember that each group is full of individuals and that while some of them may exhibit reprehensible behavior, some of them may be people that are known, liked, and generally respected.

Anyway. On to my ramblings.

Since I mentioned smoking, I'll go with that first. I am a casual smoker. What does that mean? It means that when I'm with smoking friends in an appropriate setting, I enjoy a cigarette. I do not smoke in enclosed areas with non-smokers. I do not force anyone to inhale my second hand. Alot of the people that I know that do smoke are much the same way. They would much rather step outside than make someone uncomfortable. 80% of the people that know me have no idea that I smoke. My teeth don't have nicotine stains, my clothes don't reek. I show courtesy for the people around me. Please do not lump me in the same group that blows smoke in babies' faces.

Profanity. For every thing, there's a time and a place. Crowded restraunts are not the place for bad language. Roho and Feren can attest to the fact that I can wilt any foliage within a 10 foot radius and make the cats run for cover when I stub my toe or whack my knee on the coffee table. But around others, I try to be as articulate and polite as possible. It's just a matter of courtesy. And I'm proud of my large vocabulary, thankyouverymuch. I don't need profanity in most situations.

Abortion. This... is a hard issue for me, and one I had to give a lot of thought to. For me, a fetus is a human being from the moment of conception, and thusly, abortion is murder. However... I believe very strongly in freedom of choice, and I'd honestly rather abortion be legal, but heavily regulated. How many young mothers have died from illegal abortions that weren't done properly? Even one is too many. I do not, however, believe that abortion should be a valid method of birth control. I don't know what the answer is here. Educating young adults about their options is very important, and stressing that they do have other options is good.. But.. all in all.. I think the responsibility here lies with parents educating their children about safe sex and trying to prevent pregnancy all together. (And yes, I am working on the assumption that the abortions discussed are teens or unwed mothers. Rape is another issue entirely.)

Bush. Yaknow.. I've heard a lot of things from both sides on George. I have not taken the time to sit down, look at what he's done, look at what he's promised, and formed my own opinion. So I guess.. I'm neutral on him. I suppose I'm a negligent citizen for not keeping up with things like this, but.. oh well. So I'm irresponsible. It's not the first time.

Religion. I am.. Agnostic, I suppose. I say that I am Christian, because I believe Jesus Christ was a great man. I believe he performed miracles, I believe that he was what the people of that time needed. However... I do think that we've lost alot of information from that time; translation errors, ect.. And I have a hard time believing the.... tenets? of the current religious faiths. When I was in high school I dabbled in paganism (what teen these days doesn't?), but I was very skeptical about magick and therefore thought the entire experience was hokey. Now, I'm seeing a holistic doctor, and have found that the things I once thought of as nonsense actually are helping me. So.. yeah. :) One of my closest friends is Wiccan, another is Catholic, Brendan's parents are Unitarian, my parents are Mormon. So.. I guess I believe that religion is a very personal thing, and that everyone has to choose a path that suits them best. I haven't found a path for myself yet, but when I do, I'll know it. Until then, I'm content where I'm at.

Gay Marriage. Now this is the current controversy de jour. I have seen more people dissolve friendships over this issue than any other, which quite frankly amazes me. I respect people's decisions, and being hetero myself, I know I cannot fully understand how this issue impacts those of my friends that love a member of their own sex. I don't know, really, what the difference between a civil union and a 'marriage' is. In my mind, they're one in the same. I do believe that homosexual partners should be accorded the same legal rites as hetero partners. This may be possible under current laws; I haven't researched it. I know others have said that it is, since they did the research themselves. I think a lot of the gay community is having a kneejerk reaction and not really researching their options, but quite a few folks do that, and I can't say that if I were in that situation, I wouldn't do the same. I suppose my opinion can be boiled down to the fact that I don't think sexual preference should be a reason for discrimination of any sort, and that civil unions or marriages or whatever-you-want-to-call-them should be accorded the same legal rights as any other couple, regardless of the sex of the couple involved. It is an interesting topic, since I do think that the morality of America is declining, and that saddens me. I think that perhaps our definition of 'moral' is changing from what it meant when this country was founded, and that's something a lot of people have trouble dealing with. I don't know. :)

Pre-Marital Sex. Hoooo boy. Given my current living arrangements, I'm sure a lot of folks believe they know where I stand on this. However... I don't believe in promiscuity. I was raised Mormon, and alot of the things I was taught have shaped who I am today. I broke quite a few of the teachings of the church, and I've broken a lot more since becoming an adult. I think that I might not have had all the issues and problems I had if my parents had taken a less.... puritan route of child-rearing. I believe in setting boundaries and rules for one's children, and a thorough education, but still being flexible, so that the child feels comfortable talking to the parent and asking questions. When something is forbidden, it becomes much more tantalizing and desirable; simply because it's forbidden. So I guess I don't really approve of casual sex. Coupling between two people that deeply love each other... well, they're adults, that's their business. God knows, I wouldn't give up Bren for anything. But neither would I hop into bed with someone I didn't love. This is all for me, personally. What other people do behind closed doors is their business.

I like to think that I'm a pretty easy going sort of person. I'm very much a live and let live type. Don't try to force me to live your beliefs, and I will accord you the same respect. Approach me with respect, and I will listen. I may disagree, but I'll hear you out and think about what you have to say.



You have to stand for something... or you'll fall for anything

Have a great day folks!

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Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
wolfbrotherjoe
May. 6th, 2004 09:13 am (UTC)
Thank you.
Thank you very much for letting me know how you feel on issues. I respect everything you said. You presented it very politely and openly.

I'll most likely comment either on this LJ post or in person to you later on in more detail, but I just wanted you to know it was read, acknowledged, and respected, because sometimes people sit there wondering, "Did anyone read it? What are they thinking?"

Also, I suspect you might have been talking about me up there towards the beginning, and thus another 'thank you'. *heh* Either that or you were talking in general, and I just happen to fit that description.

Just as an aside, on the Religion issue, I would suggest a book "The Case for Christ". It deals with a lot of the thoughts that you had. There's a full version and a student's version, and it is a book written by a Chicago Tribune athiest whose wife converted to Christianity, and he figured that debunking this superstitious belief must be pretty easy, what with mistranslations and the like. His job, after all, was to work with incomplete information and come up with what happened. He admits that, while his evidence does not prove Christianity, it shows that Christianity cannot be *disproved*, but rather, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that Christ was who he said he was.
wolfbrotherjoe
May. 6th, 2004 09:21 am (UTC)
As an afterthought...

I also think it is brave of you to be able to say, "I don't know." Too often we're pressured into being on one side or the other of an issue, of having either Set (A) of beliefs or Set (B) of beliefs, and if you have one belief in a set, you have the entire set of beliefs. It's hard to stand up and say, "I do not know exactly, but I believe part of both."

I think that's where a lot of the problems in discussing these sort of topics comes up. A lot of people can't conceive of believing part of a set of beliefs without believing in the other part of a set of beliefs.
haikujaguar
May. 6th, 2004 09:24 am (UTC)
I think the most amazing statement in this entire post is that you're neutral on Bush because you haven't done your own research.

Do you have any idea how amazing that is when people either want to crucify him or think he's great? I'm so tired of people insisting on one or the other and then going on to bang on everyone's heads about how stupid they are if they don't agree, because Bush is such a demon|saint.

That so rocks. :)
wolfbrotherjoe
May. 6th, 2004 09:39 am (UTC)
hear hear!

I don't know how many times I've heard people doing the 'Bush is a demon' thing, pointed out the errors in their statements, supported why this or that isn't as bad as they're making it out to be, and then got labeled as some huge Bush fan.
haikujaguar
May. 6th, 2004 09:46 am (UTC)
At the risk of being tarred with a brush... ah, what the hey. People who want to believe I'm an evil Republican Christian bigot are going to continue to believe it anyway.

Many people I talk to who hate Bush seem to because of one of two reasons: 1. They fear that he's de-stabilized world opinion of America; and 2. They fear he's going to turn America into a police state in order to prevent terrorist attacks (or, as they often state, use terrorism as an excuse to turn America into a police state).

The latter reason I find sad. After 9/11 we all screamed to the government: DO SOMETHING! MAKE THIS NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN! And so we tried. But preventing something this insidious and this difficult isn't as easy as a single operation. Terrorism is a philosophical approach to war-making, one that relies on free and open societies to survive. How do you defend against that?

So the administration tried, and it wasn't good enough. Or it was too good. Or the fact that there were no more attacks proved it wasn't necessary. Or something.

Fear made us crazy, and so the adminstration can do no right on that matter.

My views on the first are formed by having immigrant parents, and thus a lot of family friends and acquaintances who are foreigners, either permanent citizens now or people who are visiting. And the sad fact of that matter is that while America is prosperous, free and doing well, there's going to be jealousy and hatred. We can either twiddle our thumbs and apologize for being a free and prosperous country (the best in the world, in my opinion, and worth giving up the culture and language of my parents and ancestors), or we can realize that there are people who are going to hate us.

They're going to hate us not only in spite of how much HELP we give everyone ever year, out of the generosity of our spirits... they're going to hate us BECAUSE of it. Nothing we do will ever make up for their feelings of inferiority.

I don't think we should cater to them, either.
wolfbrotherjoe
May. 6th, 2004 10:09 am (UTC)
I don't think there's one thing you said there that I disagree with... except for the 'two reasons'

I've run into far more reasons that people seem to hate Bush.

The war was, after all, just for oil. Or just to get revenge on Saddam for his father, some personal vendeta. And then there was the fact that he's using the war just to kill off all the minorities which make up the bulk of the armed forces. Or the people just think he's a moron, for no reason other than "just listen to him talk!"

Then there's the people who hate him not because he went to war, but because of whom he want to war against. They feel that if he had to go to war, he should have gone to war with China or North Korea, or any number of other countreis they'd have rather seen defeated, and they come up with a host of insulting reasons why they think Bush went after Saddam instead.
altonwings
May. 6th, 2004 11:37 am (UTC)
Seeing as Iraq does not supply the US with oil and that oil prices are at an all-time high I never cease to be curious as to how people believe it is in any way for oil? If we had more oil, the price of gas would be so much cheaper than it is now--so clearly this is not a rational arguement.

As for the killing off of minorities? The armed forces are very integrated, you don't have all-Spanish units, all Japanese units, etc. I find it highly unlikely that any responsible military commander from Bush down to squad leader wants to cull people from the armed forces by having them killed. Unlikely as me winning a lottery I never entered.

I'm not fond of Bush, but I at least ground my beliefs on consistent and accurate information. I believe his lack of commitment to resolving the ongoing budget deficit is important. That he has consistently made decisions that were not based on sound numbers--like the medicare bill. I see no reason to invent wildly ludicrous and unfounded rumors simply because I am not satisfied with someone.
haikujaguar
May. 6th, 2004 12:01 pm (UTC)
I think Bush is stronger on foreign policy than he is on domestic.

But that's fine with me, because right now we're far more in need of someone strong on domestic policy. I have nightmares about Kerry's desire to bow to every other country on the planet.

We're too powerful for groveling to work. We're too conspicuous for people to overlook. And we're certainly too reviled for our very strengths to put down our sword and shield. This is not a time for peace-making, as horrible as it is to be at war.
haikujaguar
May. 6th, 2004 12:01 pm (UTC)
Strong on foreign policy, even. That's what I get for having so many windows open at once. :)
altonwings
May. 6th, 2004 01:02 pm (UTC)
I agree with you. Kerry scares the holy heck out've me, and that is the honest truth to it. He would hand over everything and try negotiating with killers to make them stop--and Bush is right, you don't negotiate with them. You push them. You hound them. You kill them, but you never, ever treat them as equals.

I don't like Bush's economics, but economics don't mean a damn if I am living my life in fear in every public venue I attend, or every aircraft I board.

These people don't want peace, and Kerry doesn't understand that. In the same manner the Palestinian terrorist groups don't want a free Palestine, they want to kill Israeli's. Terrorists only want fear, they have no idea what it means to be responsible--and since their only weapon is to kill innoncent people, we have to push them back. Keep them off guard, kill them when we find them, and deny them sources of money and places to hide until they are no longer a threat. I agree with you on Bush vs. Kerry, believe me...
altonwings
May. 6th, 2004 09:30 am (UTC)
I love the honesty in what you've said. You don't have all the answers and are unwilling to make some kind of personal stance until you have the time involved to really know the subject. It's a rare gift to prefer understanding than to embracing constantly shiftling political and social circles. I think this tells a lot of the strength of character inside you.
drgn_ldy
May. 6th, 2004 10:01 am (UTC)
I want to thank you for supporting the fact that sexual preference shouldn't be used as a for discrimination of any sort, and that civil unions or marriages should be accorded the same legal rights as any other couple, regardless of the sex of the couple involved. Not many people would want to say something like that.

I admire you for being able to state your opinions on things. And esp being able to say I Don't Know. You go girl!

enveri
May. 6th, 2004 06:33 pm (UTC)
So many of my friends live alternate lifestyles, and... well.. in all honesty, if things had ended up differently 6 years ago, I might have as well. I can't in good conscience deny them what I have. It's just not fair.

elusivetiger
May. 6th, 2004 10:14 am (UTC)

Good post. I won't bore you by contrasting my beliefs with yours, but the integrity to state your best judgement at the time and act in a consistent fashion is of utmost spiritual importance. All who seek wisdom eventually re-evaluate the beliefs and world view of their young adulthood to see if they're still consonant with the world as they now see it, as it was, and as it might be, and this should always be encouraged.

Something I've never understood but which many seem to fear is to be "wrong" on an issue; we are thinking, judging beings, and we have these faculties to use, not to ignore. Over time our notions of "right" and "wrong" can and should change, to be honed and refined over the course of a lifetime. It seems you've done some good thinking and for some of these issues may well have arrived at a resting point, a place where you're comfortable that these opinions are truly the best that can come from that most quiet, but wisest, of inner selves.

None of us were ever meant to be perfect; just to be and act from the best judgement and wisdom we can muster.
enveri
May. 6th, 2004 06:36 pm (UTC)
None of us were ever meant to be perfect; just to be and act from the best judgement and wisdom we can muster.

I wanted to reply to this earlier, but due to the proxy I'm forced to use at work, I can't reply to Livejournal comments.

I want to thank you- that is probably the single most profound statement I've ever heard. And I am honored that you read my journal.

My opinions have changed a great deal as I've gotten older, and I'm sure they will change again. As for being wrong, I think it stems from our human need for acceptance and approval, so we want everyone to think we're clever and infallible. Doesn't work that way, unfortunately. :)
duncandahusky
May. 6th, 2004 03:38 pm (UTC)
I'm doing you a great disservice to ignore the rest of your well-thought-out and well-stated entry (most of which I agree with, and that which I don't, well, I can certainly respect your beliefs), but to clarify on one small bit:
I don't know, really, what the difference between a civil union and a 'marriage' is.

I can't speak for the "gay community" any more than the "gay agenda" describes the motivations and beliefs of millions of non-heterosexuals, but for my part, the two terms are interchangable. BUT. That's to my own mind. Where it gets sticky is this - federal laws (and the laws of many states) are written such that benefits are conferred by marriage - not by civil unions, not by domestic partnerships.

The problem that I have with civil unions is that it presumes that sometime in the near future our dear lawmakers will go back over the laws on the books with a little bottle of Wite-Out and a pen and write in "civil union" everywhere it says "marriage". In this eventuality I have no faith. Therefore, any magnanimous gesture of civil unions or domestic partnerships is inherent an empty one - you get a certificate and pat on the head, now please go away and don't bother us again. To my mind, the only viable road to equality is through gay marriage.

Now, I also agree with the position that the government has no business being in the marriage business anyway, and that ALL unions, hetero- and homosexual, should be civil unions. I consider the liklihood of this ever coming to pass diminishingly small, as well.
enveri
May. 6th, 2004 04:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks for clearing that up for me, Duncan. :) I definately agree in that case- I would feel much better if all unions were civil and marriage was just another name for the partnership as you said. :/

I really really admire you and Taki, and I would be utterly delighted if your and others' relationships were legally recognized. :)
wolfbrotherjoe
May. 6th, 2004 04:19 pm (UTC)
My view on this issue is that the government should issue civil unions and religions issue marriages... and ne'er shall the twain meet.
enveri
May. 6th, 2004 04:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you, that's what I was trying to say. :)
enveri
May. 6th, 2004 06:39 pm (UTC)
I am curious though, as to which parts you see differently. Perhaps we can chat about that sometime? :)

(Unless it's politics. That's probably going to go right over my head. ;) )
nekosensei
May. 6th, 2004 04:04 pm (UTC)
Before 9-11, I was ambivalent about Bush. After the terrorist attacks, I thought that he had some tough decisions to make and I felt that he was doing the best he could under difficult circumstances. However, that was all changed after he invaded Iraq and unfortunately I have never forgiven him for it, for many reasons.

1) I know you've mentioned this before, but his waging war on Iraq has turned the world's opinion against us. I've been outside of the country before and after the invasion of Iraq and I have to admit that, while we were disliked by the world from the get go, things have become much worse. I can not even count how many times I had to apologize for the actions of my president while I was in Spain.

2) With his invasion of Iraq, Bush has diverted much needed resources away from our war on terror. He has spent billions upon billions of dollars on this war when they could have been better spent taking apart Al Quaida's organization. Worse, his invasion of Iraq has given Arabs one more reason to hate America, virtually handing propaganda opportunities to Al Quaida on a silver platter. Yes, Saddam was a very bad man and the world could have been a better place if he were removed from power, but *why* now, especially when the economy and the world situation seems to be so unstable.

3) With his invasion of Iraq, Bush has spent valuable resources that could have been used bailing out the economy. To top it all off, in the space of four years, Bush has managed to turn a budget surplus into one of the biggest budget defecits in history.

4) Iraq is virtually impossible to govern. You have three different ethnic groups: the Shi'ites, the Sunis, and the Kurds, none of who were particularly fond of one another. According to an article I read while I was still an undergraduate, the only good thing about Saddam was that he was a strong leader who kept these groups from killing one another (albeit many lived in fear under his regime). The article further went on to say that the reason past administrations were reluctant to invade was because they were afraid that, once Saddam was removed, it would create a power vaccuum and eventually the Shi'ites, Sunis, and Kurds would start fighting one another and chaos would ensue. The US has already started to see this happen.

I honestly believe that Bush hasn't learned a thing from history. I has succeeded in getting us into another Vietnam. Many soldiers / private contractors are dying. Many more are demoralized by extended tours of duty. Unfortunately, we are stuck in the middle of this. Unlike Vietnam, backing out is not an option, because the consequences in these unstable times could be disasterous.
wolfbrotherjoe
May. 6th, 2004 04:25 pm (UTC)
The part I feel you are missing is that we aren't in a war on Al Queda, we're in a war on terror.

We're after not just the people who did 9/11, we're also after everyone who's said that they would gladly do such.

Like when Saddam announced on national Iraq TV that even if the US pulled out of the middle east entirely and gave into every demand, he would still one day bomb us to hell and back.
nekosensei
May. 6th, 2004 07:37 pm (UTC)
And how many countries have wanted to bomb us to kingdom come? What are we going to do? Invade them all? And just how long could we go about doing this until we screwed over our economy?

If Bush wanted to remove Saddam from power, he should have kept up negotiations and continued pressuring the UN until he got international support behind him, and not go in cowboy boots first. Not only did that turn world opinion against us, but it also stuck us with a huge quagmire...and not to mention the bill.
wolfbrotherjoe
May. 7th, 2004 02:49 am (UTC)
Well, it's not so much how many countries have wanted to as much as how many countries have outright stated they were *going* to...

On the UN issue, on one hand, I agree with you, we should have gotten UN support...

On the other hand, we never would have gotten it because so many of our so-called 'ally' nations are in bed with terrorist countries, selling them military hardware that they're not supposed to be.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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