Thursday, October 30, 2008

We're Smarter....Trust Us.

After watching countless hours of political coverage over the last several months, I think I have finally figured out why I have an aversion to the policies of Democrats. It isn't because I love the NRA....I don't. It isn't because I think war is the answer...I don't. It's because when it comes down to it, Democrats think government can make better decisions for me than I can. Why is this? It's because they think they are smarter than us. Obviously, if I don't have health care, it's because I am an idiot, right? If I don't have a college education, it's because I am a dolt. If I can't afford to live in a home large enough to embody the "American Dream," it's a result of my dimwittedness, right? There are so many holes in this type of logic it's laughable, but here are three that make me scratch my head:

1) Not everyone with the mental capacity to do so chooses to go to college. Did you catch that word "CHOOSES"? Some of the most successful people I know have no education beyond high school and they don't blame the government for their lack of postsecondary education. They actually made a choice to do something the government doesn't recommend and they succeeded. Scandalous.

2) Success in this country should not be equated to wealth. I was shocked to watch profiles of people who were supposedly struggling economically in our country when they were still able to drive $30,000 gas guzzlers and eat out at restaurants. Have we lost our minds? If we find it difficult to make ends meet, we should definitely adjust our level of living to our means. I think people find this so difficult because they think they are successful as long as they can eat out or drive a certain type of car. We need to get real. The government is not the solution to personal wealth, nor should personal wealth be our primary goal in life. If we have learned nothing else over the last several weeks, we have surely learned that we cannot rely on money.

3) Health care is a privilege, not a right. I know what you're thinking. I have a cold heart. Hear me out first. Although I am focusing on health care here, I could have replaced it with education and made the same point. We have the keen ability in our culture to take things for granted that we see as a right. Look at our education system. We are spending more money than any other country in the world on our education system, but we are failing. Why is this? I believe it is because education is not seen as a privilege, but a right. Students are forced to attend classes, forced to make certain grades, and forced to learn a specified curriculum. Imagine what education could be if the government did not dictate all these areas. It is the same with health care. It shouldn't be shoved down our throats. We should also come to terms with the reality that we are not invincible. Immortality is not an American right.

Because these programs do not pay for themselves and they are good for us, the royal smart people in Washington only ask that we donate a few bucks and all our needs will be granted. Well, listen up democrats (and you rogue republicans)...I think you may have missed something fundamental to how the government is supposed to work. It's a little something called the Declaration of Independence. In it, we are guaranteed the right to "life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness." Your promises of a world-class education and top-notch healthcare are admirable, but pay careful attention. It is not your right to place these in our laps, but our right to pursue them. Something interesting happens when people pursue their own happiness. Not only are they likely to achieve it, but they are likely to have developed the tools to sustain it. If you try giving them happiness without asking them to work for it, they often lack the tools to sustain it and you have created a cycle of dependence. We have to get back to declaring our independence.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

So, I bet you're wondering what topic is blog-worthy enough to bring me back from being over a year blog-free? Twins. Identical Twins. 65-Year Old Identical Twins. My husband and I were eating at Jason's Deli tonight and in the middle of dinner he says, "Turn around NOW." Usually this would mean that he has spotted some wicked facial hair, but not this time-- there were two ladies old enough to be my grandma who were identical twins. Not only did they have the exact same glasses and the exact same haircut, but they had on the exact same black capris with hot pink flamingos around the cuff and hot pink button-up cotton shirts to match.

As we watched them stand in line to order I said to my hubs, "How much do you want to bet they'll order the same thing?" He wasn't game for guessing but something told me they would. Peep this...not only did they order the exact same sandwiches, but also a one-trip salad bar. After they went to fix their salads together, I had an overwhelming urge to see if they built their salads the same way too. I walked waaaay out of my way to pass by their booth and sure enough, their salads were the EXACT SAME. I'm not just talking ingredients, but placement too. Muffins at the same spot, grape salad looking stuff in the same spot...this was an obvious coordinated effort. As much as I was impressed that someone could even make a same-salad as another person, I was way more weirded out.

If any twins out there read this, please don't misunderstand me-- I think you guys are great. I wanted a twin when I was a kid so we could dress the same and wear matching flamingo pants. I just don't get the purposeful attempts by some twins to be so alike. We get it. You look the came from the same zygote. Why must your cherry tomatoes be in the same plate locale as your twin? Live a little. Go for the sprouts instead.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Is Literary Analysis a joke?

I am a graduate student working on an M.A. in English and I have become more and more disillusioned with discussing the meaning of texts. It isn't that I don't find meaning in texts, but that I don't believe I can reasonably find ALL the meaning my professors seem to relish in our classroom discussions. This isn't a question of personal interpretation of texts, but is a question of the usefulness of asking others to see meaning in elements even the author may not have intended to be overtly meaningful.

One of my favorite examples of over analyzing a text is Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods on A Snowy Evening. The last two lines repeat "And miles to go before I sleep...And miles to go before I sleep."

I can just see my professors analysis of this poem would reveal that Frost surely used the method of repetition to cause the last two lines to be impactful. He was making a profound statement simply by repeating the last two lines.

Frost was once asked why he repeated the last two lines. His answer? I ran out of things to say.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

I was talking to my Mom on the phone yesterday and a weird thing happened to me. I found myself, at 27, giving my Mom advice. It was one of those moments when you can sense a changing of the guard. I first realized this was true last year when my Mamaw died and I found myself comforting my younger cousins and siblings. I was glad to be able to do it but realized the responsibilities that can sometimes come with age in unexpected ways. I guess the conversation I had with my Mom just reminded me that I am not a kid anymore and that's a bittersweet feeling. No longer can I play with imaginary friends, pitch a lemonade stand, or play the summer away...or can I? I am realizing as I get older that sometimes the things we struggle to achieve as adults to "make" us happy are the very things that don't. We work to make money to better our lives, but we all know people who've slaved over their careers as their lives have passed them by. One of my most important life goals at this point in my life is to have a life. About six months ago, I decided that the misery my job created for me was not worth the stress it provided my husband and I in our lives. I know not everyone has this luxury, but I think I made the atypical choice and decided to change career paths not to make more money, but to be happier. Now that I'm not a kid, I know that sometimes the best adult decisions are made by reverting back to what was important to you when you were a, friends, and time!

Monday, June 19, 2006

So it's been a while.

I am one of those people who becomes easily fascinated with something and just as easily loses interest. This blog is just one shining example.

There are only a few things in my life that are complex enough to hold my interest. And they are:

1) God

2) My husband

3) Food

I find all these things to be composed of enough variables or to simply have enough depth to keep me interested.

I guess God could go without saying, but I find it especially interesting that the more I read the Bible, the less I feel I know. It's not that I don't feel like I'm gaining basic knowledge, it's just that it seems like as you study more, more layers of the complexity of God are revealed.

My husband is one of only a few people I've ever met who have enough depth to want to get to know and keep knowing. Unfortunately, lots of people I have known can only share so much of themselves before you get bored with them. This may seem harsh, but I think it's true if you consider it. It's not that these people are unimportant, just that either their thoughts are limited by their life experiences or that they just don't take the time to be thoughtful----my favorite trait of my husband.

Food may seem like too shallow of a thing to include in this list, but not for me. I was raised in the South where a person is only as good as their casserole. I love Food. The way it makes people relate to it and one another is unique to me.

I guess I could categorically say that these things are all about relationships, and let's face it---what is more complicated in life and more necessary than that?

Friday, March 24, 2006

On the way home from work yesterday, the song "Breathe" by Anna Nalick was playing and whenever I hear it recently, it makes me very emotional. I know it's because my Dad's mother, who will always be "Mamaw" to me, passed away unexpectedly about six weeks ago and it reminds me of how life rolls right along whether we want it to or not. The chorus goes:

'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl.
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe

As I was listening I also thought about how if I really knew what the writer intended the song to be about, it probably wouldn't match what it means to me very well. I've often thought how we destroy meaning in songs and stories when we try to discover their meaning.

It may sound odd to think this, but just consider a time when you've been watching "Behind the Music" and the artist told everyone how the song you thought was a sweet love story was really about his obsession with heroine.

I don'k know about you but I think the beauty of art is that we are allowed to take it as it is and make it our own. And when I discover the back story, it seems tainted to me in some way, like being backstage at a play or on the other side of the camera. As an art consumer, I don't want to know how or why it came to be.

I just want to know that it can mean whatever is meaningful to me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I've held out as long as I could.

Now it's time to talk about religion. I'm not at all talking here about doctrine or what I believe really. I'm just talking about the topic in general.

Doesn't it seem like it has just become another social exercise in our society? Do you really meet lots of people who are actively moved by what they believe? I'd say it's a rarity in my experience. Why do we care more about our Easter Sunday dresses than the worship itself?

Does everything we do have to be so superficial? Why do we care so much about what others think? The irony about letting others' opinions stifle our religious beliefs is that it really goes against everything true religion teaches us.

True religion is passionate and denies self. It frees us by allowing us to serve something higher than ourselves. It shows us that in the scheme of things, what people think is really unimportant in relation to doing right. Suffer persecution now and reign victorious later.

If all these things are true, why do so few people have the passion they need to do the right thing, regardless of what the guy next to them thinks?

I really don't know the answer. But I can speak for myself and say that in the times I've cowered it has been mainly for one of two reasons. (1) I didn't believe strongly enough to follow through, regardless of consequences. (2) I didn't want to do the right thing. I analyzed my choices and purposefully chose to do wrong.

Admitting that makes me uncomfortable but I think it's true of most of us at one time or another. How can we fix it? My only answer is to surround yourself in what matters most and it will become your greatest motivator.