AND THE LACK THEREOF*

*we put the "mmm" in communism

about

This is the personal blog of Tim. Here, Tim writes on anything he has enough inspiration to finish a post on. That usually ends up being matters of science, pop culture, technology, religion, and philosophy.

This blog is around nine years old, which is over a third of Tim's current age. Back in 2003, it was called "Of Tim: Tim's life - or lack thereof", and it was as bad as you might expect the blog of a freshman in high school to be. Tim hopes that his writing is a little better, these days.

Tim welcomes any input that you, the dear reader, might have. Comments are very much appreciated, especially if you have a dissenting opinion. If you'd like to learn more about Tim, you might want to see his facebook or google+.

Also: Tim is a very avid consumer of various sorts of music. You may be interested in his playlists!

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My grandparents like to spam their address books with terror-filled articles about gay marriage and such things. Here's a choice quote from my grandfather:

"Is "liberal" your escape from reason, or just a license to create your own morality? We have seen it all before and it is a well trodden path that allows a person to run; but not to hide from Truth. Don't be too hasty with your judgment of biblical morality.

When the liberals discovered smoking causes cancer they virtually outlawed smoking. When they discovered homosexuality caused aids they tried to outlaw what? Truth! More good sense from the liberals!"


One of my cousins lashed out, and was promptly trounced by generic blather about how godless liberals are. To teach them all a lesson, I wrote a goddamn essay.

This whole debacle was just forwarded to me last night, so I apologize for being oh-so fashionably late to this party. But if I might be heard for a moment or two, I'd be much obliged.

Arguing the roots of this nation is fruitless. We don't regard other nations based on what they were two hundred years ago - we judge them on what they are now. Norse mythology is no longer relevant to Scandinavia, Druidism is no longer relevant to England and France, and likewise, America's religious roots should have little say in the here-and-now. Even if America ever was a "Christian nation" (a debatable matter, at best), we are looking at nation that has been long divided, and we must deal with this reality. Thomas Jefferson said it best: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God."

What does do injury, however, is the suggestion that somehow my vote for Obama is both Godless and amoral. I not only believe Obama to be a man of incredible moral quality, but but that he's also a man of outstanding character seen only once in a lifetime. I see in him a true love for others and for his country, I see a strong desire to do the right thing, and I see the policies and the planning to back it up. I see those around me for the first time ever truly excited to be an American, hopeful that this country can for the first time in history be lead by someone else outside an arbitrarily chosen set of rich white men. I don't expect you to be excited like me. I don't expect you to agree with me. I respect your views and I see the validity in them.

That said, there are more important issues than gay marriage to handle. Why is the issue of two men getting married more important than reforming our utterly broken education system? Why does it even compare to the fact that over half of Americans can't afford health insurance? Why does it even hold a candle to the fact that America has within its borders 24% of all of the world's prisoners, with only 5% of the world's population? There are so many things wrong and broken within our society. So many of these problems don't even exist outside of America, too - a semester in Europe taught me that much and a half. There are solutions to these problems, and other countries have already found them. America is way behind.

Don't get me wrong: social issues are important. But if you're going to argue that the godlessness of the blue states is going to finalize America's demise, I would beg you to examine the current situation in our country. Red states currently sport higher teen pregnancy rates, higher high school drop out rates, higher crime rates, and higher divorce rates (I can provide sources, if necessary). Every red states reports significantly higher numbers of Christians. If the Bible belt is to be any example, America's problems cannot be solved by fundamentalism or neoconservatism. Our problems can't be solved by broad platitudes, or by gross generalizations, or by a simple belief in doing the right thing. Problems don't get solved with harsh criticism and stern disapproval, they get solved by doing something. As Benjamin Disraeli said, "It is much easier to be critical than to be correct."

I believe Obama went and did something - and in doing so, he revamped the American political system as we know it. His campaign registered millions of unreached voters. He opted of out of the public financing system - 80% of his donations were under 100 dollars. He'll be the first president in 150 years to owe nothing to any corporate sponsor. He single-handedly renewed my hope in the American government, and I can safely say he did the same for others around the country. He renewed the world's hope in America, too - for even as a waning superpower, our fate is tied to those of nearly every other nation on earth. Just look at Iceland.

All that's to say: don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Obama's stance on gay marriage should not be the deciding factor for any person's vote. I happen to agree that I have no right to interfere with how my neighbor chooses his or her lovers - does this invalidate everything I've written thus far? Does it just further attest to the liberal taint within my soul, or my complete godlessness? Please think rationally about this. See beyond red and blue. Not everything is black and white.

Respect the validity in disagreement. Honor the fact that others can think rationally and critically about important issues, but come to different conclusions. Avoid these over-simplified anecdotes and sweeping generalizations. Not all liberals are the same. Not all Christians are the same. Just look at our family: we're not the same.

I apologize for the essay-length, but throwing one-liners back and forth does little to accomplish much in the way of reaching agreement or understanding between one another. I hope I've contributed positively.

Love,

Timothy



PS

I thought I should add: please don't insinuate that AIDS is somehow divine justice over gay people. It's repugnant simply given the fact that AIDS is currently ravaging Africa sideways and a half, and is also universally common among America's impoverished, particularly African-Americans - unless you have a sin you might wish to label across all of those demographics, as well.


EDIT: The responses have been amusing.

A distant relative that I don't actually know:
"I know that at the end of this election my faith is not in government, but in Jesus Christ. He has a bigger plan for all of us and he will use anything to His glory. So we wake up another day just happy to be alive and well. I know the end of the story and I am on the winning team. We still love the world through His eyes and live for King Jesus until He takes us home."

My 80-something year old grandfather:
"I appreciate Tim's effort to marginalize what has been said but the wordy and inane comparisons fail miserably to explain why going down a road already proven to be a failed system could possibly prove to be "positive". Throwing more money at education than everyone else on the globe has produced a deficient product in comparison. More will do even less. Judging history has proven to be the necessary and exact measure for current appraisals. "He who doesn't learn from the past is doomed to repeat" is a paraphrase of several political philosophers - probably a bit wiser than our contemporary young people. Seeing Obama as a man of noble character means someone has ignored his judgment. It sees him also as NOT guilty of shitting on anyone and everyone he has looked to as mentors or helpers, in his political quest, whenever they became a hindrance to his search for power. It looks past his deceitfulness when his past record, by rhetoric or votes, is brought to bear on his judgment. A look at his oration to far left assemblies and how different it was stated in a broader spectrum audience is more than a little alarming. He lied about his intentions to accept public financial support for his campaign. His sources of support have been hidden for questionable reasons. And this represents character?

The argument about red states/blue states is not proven. Those statements are inaccurate and illegitimate .

The fact that Obama wishes to support gay marriage, and abortion, represents departure from a moral code of thousands of years existence. A wise person could not possibly see that CHANGE as absolutely positive.

Sorry Tim but your argument fails to reach the level of responsible debate."


My uncle's father:
"'There are so many things wrong and broken within our society. So many of these problems don't even exist outside of America, too - a semester in Europe taught me that much and a half. There are solutions to these problems, and other countries have already found them. America is way behind.'

Tim - - you don’t know me but I know your mom and dad - - the above is your quote - - and I don’t want to sound ugly - - or start any MORE controversy - - but if this is REALLY how you feel - - why don’t you move to Europe or some third world country and enjoy your life instead of being miserable in this backward country - - just an idea - -"
posted by MC Froehlich at
Blogger Amisa said...
Very nice email, Tim. I'm curious if any of your relatives have written back. I hope they react well.
Anonymous Gemma said...
Bravo.
Buyah, bro. I had a similar argument with Grandpa. In response to only one of his accusations, that Obama is a Marxist, I suggested that we ought concern ourselves with as diligent as possible a quest for the facts. It seems so abundantly clear to me that anyone who knows anything about Marxism, agree or disagree with its principles as applied through the ages, would agree that the platform on which Obama ran is fundamentally incompatible with the tenants of Marxism, which to me suggests that either a.) he doesn't know what Marxism is, b.) he does know what Marxism is and chooses to call Obama a Marxist anyways, c.) has spent no effort analyzing the news and is regurgitating Fox news headlines, or d.) is cognitively challenged.

None of them appear to be good options, and my conversation ended much the same way yours did--folks yelling at me in their emails.

I pity them, but it also angers me; as I see Christianity as the foundation for the greatest evils in our history.
Blogger Karen Holly said...
Well spoken. I hate to criticize relatives but your grandfather...what a hypocrite. When it comes to "shitting on the people who helped him," did he read /anything/ about Palin?
Blogger Shoshana said...
A few things.

I disagree that there is nothing to learn about our present political system by looking at the intentions of the founding fathers, but I think the argument your grandfather seems to be trying to make that they would have wanted a religious state is presumptuous, if not outright wrong. Tell your grandfather to read Locke's second treatise on government--not to mention the Bill of Rights-- if he doesn't believe that.

RE your grandfather's response--

McCain switched positions as much as, if not more than, Obama during the course of the election. During the primaries, McCain pledged to run a "respectful campaign" against his opponent. Not so much. His selection of conservative Sarah Palin as running mate was also a significant departure from his fairly moderate record.

Also, we don't "throw more money at education than everyone else." We have comparable rates of spending on education to other developed countries, with somewhat lower rates of success in terms of performance. I would be happy to talk about this in detail, but it would make this long comment a lot longer. Let me just say that unfunded federal mandates to increase school performance in a time that the states are also cutting back on spending in education are pretty much impossible to meet.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/13/education/13child.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

The issue of gay marriage is a civil rights issue, not a moral one. More and more scientific studies show that being gay is not a choice. It is wrong to deny people equal benefits based on a feature they were born with that they have no control over.

Interesting USA today opinion piece on it:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/2006-08-21-forum-blacks-gay_x.htm

Lastly if, he claims that "The argument about red states/blue states is not proven. Those statements are inaccurate and illegitimate," he should just refute it with data that says that red states have lower rates of teen pregnancy, lower school dropout rates, etc. If the facts you gave were really that inaccurate, he should just provide the accurate facts to refute them.

<3 Sho

PS This is a large improvement over the days when you were posting essays about the evils of gay marriage. Go Tim!

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