Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In the wake of Prop 8

I wasn't a big participator in the Prop 8 argument. I'm not firmly decided in any particular way, it seems MUCH more complicated that most want it to be. Believe it or not, the argument over Prop 8 is not between lunatic, godless, twisted sex demons bent on fiery, burning apocalypse and the complete destruction of America's moral system versus wild-eyed Christian fanatics bent on conquest through Bible-violence, forcing their opinions on innocent bystanders like bloody crusaders of years past carving a swath through heathen "Mohamadens".

It's all much more human than that. These people on both sides are people, people.

However, what does get me in a bit of a fit (Besides retarded Mormons with no idea how to ethically consider people that have different beliefs and lifestyles) is the post-prop 8 backlash. Many of the homosexual-rights groups have gone well past the line. I'm not talking about civil rights or political platitudes. I'm talking about blatant disregard of life, liberty and property. Why do we even HAVE a constitution if these people can trample on the rights of those that disagree?

Check out this article, it echoes many of my sentiments in a fairly level-headed way:

Why do we stand for it? Why are the protesters climbing over the wall of the LA temple not thrown in prison? Why are many of the vocal anti-religious groups not branded as the bigoted idiots that they present themselves as? Why isn't America pissed about this?

I am.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Quick Glance of Spain

On my way to school, whether I walk or ride the bus, I witness many occurrences that reveal Spain. Sometimes Spain is the wisp of smoke, the dog crap on the sidewalks that sticks to my sandals, two women chatting with loud voices and lively gestures, the smell of fresh-baked bread, or the long line of cured pig legs hanging at a butcher shop. At other times, Spain is one of many teenagers' mullets, a flock of birds, the whine of a beggar’s violin, or the rhythm of the feet of pedestrians.

For me, Spain is the king of specialty stores and quaint mom and pop shops. There is an “-ería” for anything g you could image (frutería, panadería, pastelería, papelería, dime-que-quieres-ería), and very few monster superstores. There are large street markets where gypsies, Africans, and Spaniards sell every item under the sun. This includes exotic fruits: membrillos, jínjoles, chirimoyas, caquis [persimins], y granadas [pomegranates]. While the prices are reasonable, the problem is that you usually have to buy at least a kilo. It can be hard to carry all the food you are interested home, let alone consume it all. The non-food items you need to be careful with as they are probably from Morocco or China, and the quality is often poor. There is definitely a black market here in Spain. The salesmen offer their products (Gucci look-alike purses, movies, music CDs) on blankets and sheets. They tie a rope carefully around the blanket so that if they see the police coming they can pull the cord and the blanket will close up. Then, they can make a ran for it or try to meld within the crowd.

Part of Spain is poor and miserable. I see it in the people waiting in line at the doors of the government employment agency. Some carry babies (possibly for emotional effect when speaking with an agent), others sport Mohawks, and others dress like businessmen. They age from 18 to 60. I see it in the lives of beggars. One shook his money-cup frantically up and down with his teeth up because he was armless. There are drunks; one walrus-man passed out on the sidewalk, his enormous stomach pouring out onto the pavement.

The majority of the urban cities are anthills with cramped streets. I don’t know how the busdrivers can wind there way through them without accidents [correction: they don’t]. Navigating through an unvisited neighborhood seems like wandering in a labyrinth. There are supposed to be streets signs on the sides of buildings, but most of the time they are not available. Many of the smaller streets are not available on the map. Gratefully, the cities are so beautiful during the day that even if you are lost you end up in a place where you can enjoy yourself.

Spain is crowned with the arts. Everywhere there are cultural sites, monuments to writers and intellectuals, and museums to historical figures. The works of painters are collected in galleries like the Prado or the Reina Sofia. On the Gran Via there is a series of theaters and music venues. Add to that the many elaborate fountains, medieval fairs, and botanical gardens. Spain even protects the stork nests by placing fences around them on the roofs. Aesthetics and sports mix in the bullfights. It is a cruel art, a correct art in portraying the ser-en-lucha of existence that would satisfy Schopenhauer, but unnecessary in a life that already proclaims this message to the four winds. There is also the darker side of art here. Spain was a prostitute when I left her in 1997, and she still plays her role. Pornography fills the newspapers, and covers the shelves of gas stations. The book stores at train stops and in the streets all sell sex books with risqué covers. Even the advertising used by local pharmacies shows naked women to promote their products.

I emphasize that Spain is really a cultural passion; a mix of sensations and mental phenomena. She is not just a piece of land. I taste Spain in a gross yema [sugared egg yolk], I see her in a paella’s yellow, and I hear her in the sound of castanets. These rituals and experiences show me more of her organic history and delights than boundary lines on a map.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Voting Angst: Part Second

Honestly, it's hard for me to want to vote either way. When it comes to principles, I lean toward McCain and can't really consider Obama. When it comes to presentation of candidates, I lean toward Obama and can't imagine McCain. Obama seems significantly more rational and effective as a politician than McCain, but that doesn't mean he's the best choice. The liberal side strikes me as a pipe dream of a perfect world laced with some fairly disturbing and immoral ideas. I don't believe Obama seeks to kill babies and throw our country into communism, but there are definitely ideas that give me the heebie-jeebies. The Republican side reeks of ignorance, cronyism and decay. They can't get anything done and ignore facts that scream in their faces. Ostriches with their heads in the sand, both sides spending our money to save their personal political careers. At the expense of the rest of us. It's a brave new world or the same ol' corrupt one, eh?

There doesn't seem to be any middle ground for me. I checked out the third parties, they scare the heck out of me. They don't have ANY idea what they're doing in national/international policies. Basically, I feel like all I get is lies and propaganda and I don't know how I can make a good decision. As if there were a good decision.

So, I'll go to the booth tomorrow and vote. It doesn't make me happy; I'm not excited to do this particular civic duty. It feels like someone but a bag of poo on my porch last night and I have to clean it up now. When the chips are down, my sister's bit on the abortion issue (http://nessaandmichael.blogspot.com) seems the only thing that strikes a real chord in me. All of the rest seems like so much force-fed drivel that has nothing to do with the way the country will actually be run. It is certainly time for change, but there ain't no change in this election. So I'll vote for no change tomorrow. Not because I want to; because I have no choice.

Voting angst

Anyone have any good ideas what one should do when voting feels like selecting which cancer to contract? I've heard "lesser of the two evils" but after doing a bit of research on the positions of the main (and third-party) candidates, I've decided it's the "lesser of the five depressings." What on earth am I to do when I feel compelled to vote but feel a bit of disgust when I consider my choices?