Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

Election 2012 November 7, 2012

Filed under: Politics — katblogger @ 1:25 PM
Tags: ,

These days my tendency is to only post on the weekends, but I’m breaking tradition to gloat just a little bit about the events of last night.

We won.

President Obama was elected for another term. That wasn’t our only victory, though. Gay marriage was legalized in three states. A motion to ban it failed. A lesbian senator was elected, while legitimate rape candidate Todd Akin found his election shut down. I stayed up almost to midnight watching the results roll in, and I couldn’t be happier.

Way to go, America. It’s going to be a great four years.

Tune in this weekend for tips on getting through the deadly second week of NaNo.

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Look at me, I’m a citizen! October 14, 2012

Filed under: Politics — katblogger @ 12:33 PM
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Voting is hard.

You’d think they’d make it easy. It’s our civic duty after all. Our politicians should want to make sure we all make our voices he- oh. I may have found the problem.

Anyway, I’ve always been judgmental of the low turnout of young voters. 51% went out and voted in the last presidential election, and that was considered a high percentage! But I had no idea how much of a pain it is.

Since I’m at college, I had to register for an absentee ballot. When it eventually came in the mail, I filled it out excitedly after checking the rules over and over to make sure I wasn’t screwing anything up. Once I’d finished, I was faced with a problem. I had to get this thing notarized.

Basically, a notary makes sure that you’re voting as you, and this whole absentee thing isn’t a clever ruse designed to commit voter fraud. This is all well and good, but the notary closest to me was over a mile away. I got to walk on the grass next to a busy road, cut through a parking lot, and find my way over the practice field in the Rec complex. Finally, I got everything taken care of and returned to my dorm. (The round trip took an hour. It was cold. And windy. And rather irritating.) I was beginning to understand why some kids my age blew the whole process off. It was complicated.

The election board is kind enough not to require postage (that would be just plain rude) so my last act was to laboriously shove the bulky envelope into our much too small mail slot. I hope no one else had letters to send. Long walks and difficulty aside, my vote has been cast and will be counted. I may live in a state whose electoral vote will almost assuredly not go my way, but every bit counts.

Look at me, doing adult stuff!

It’s weird.

 

The Perfect President September 22, 2012

Filed under: Politics — katblogger @ 12:51 PM
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Someday, I would like to have a president who has suffered.

I would like to elect someone who had to drop out of high school to work an extra job. Someone who watched the sidewalk for pennies because every cent mattered. Someone who didn’t wonder what to eat for dinner, but if there was anything to eat for dinner, and if they could afford it.

I would like to elect a woman who was been called rude names on the streets, harassed, raped, had an abortion, been overlooked for a promotion or paid less than her coworkers because of her gender.

I would like to elect someone who has been gay bashed, physically assaulted, bullied in the hallways between classes.

I would like to elect someone who grew up in a neighborhood where you were more likely to hear sirens coming down the street than the ice cream truck. Where going outside risked being mugged or being shot not for any reason beyond the fact that you were there.

I would like to elect a president who doesn’t talk about how perfect America is all the time because he or she knows there are problems, and they are actually going to fix them.

 

It’s the Economy, Stupid (Or is it?) September 5, 2012

Filed under: Politics — katblogger @ 1:45 PM
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I’ve witnessed quite a few political arguments over the past few months, although these days I’m trying to stay out of them. (My workload is ample reason to avoid getting worked up every time someone is wrong on the internet.) Going to college was a relief in many ways because I no longer have a television. The hated campaign ads can’t find me.

One argument I’ve seen a lot is “You shouldn’t vote for a candidate just because of social issues like abortion/gay rights. Other things are so much more important.”

This argument is almost always made by middle to upper class white straight individuals, typically male. From their viewpoint, such matters are fairly insignificant. But for people living lives affected or shaped by civil rights constraints, they are vital. An abortion might be the only thing protecting a poor woman from complete financial ruin and life on the streets. Legal protection might keep an outed employee his job.

Yes, the economy is important. So is foreign policy and environmental programs and a thousand other things. (Luckily, I agree with my candidate of choice in most of these areas as well.) However, these ‘insignificant’ civil issues are anything but. They are, in essence, treating our fellow humans as equals. Giving them the same rights and opportunities as the straight white men drafting our laws. If a politician doesn’t support treating everyone as his/her equal, then I don’t think they ought to be  in a place of power over his/her fellows. So yes – if a politician is holding on to conservative, suffocating ideas of civil rights, I won’t be voting for them. They are not qualified to be a leader.

 

A letter to those who do not support gay marriage: July 28, 2012

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Chik-fil-A controversy. I’ve been embroiled in more than my fair share of battles on Facebook over it, believe me. In the end, the excuses make me angrier than the intolerance. If you are going to strike out against a group of people, own up to it. Here’s my message to those who ‘hate the sin and love the sinner’.

Too often, I see people say they don’t support gay marriage but have no problem with gay people. “It’s not discrimination,” they argue. “I just believe marriage is sacred”, etc.
Fine. In your religion it’s sacred. However, marriage is also a legal institution with real world applications, and denying a couple marriage is going to have real world consequences.
It can lead to legal, financial, property, and custody tangles. It can lead to partners of decades not being able to hold their loved one’s hand when they’re hurt because they’re not registered as ‘family’. It can lead to one partner dying because they can’t be treated under their partner’s health insurance because they’re not married.
It can also lead to that awkward catch in the throat when you say “partner” instead of “husband/wife” because no one will let you earn that title. The pang when someone asks “Are you married?” and you have to say “No.” The belief that your relationship is less real, less valid, because you don’t have the right to wear a band of gold on your finger and sign a piece of paper because of what’s written in your chromosomes.
Let’s get this straight. These ‘harmless comments’ you make about homosexuality being wrong or gross or sickening or wicked…. they can see it. Friends, family, coworkers…. you don’t know who your words can hurt.

LGBT people all over have killed themselves because they feel completely alone in a culture you help create. Others are attacked, abused, or even killed by family or strangers because of who they love. Your hands may not have been on that bat, and your finger may not have been on that trigger, but you contributed all the same. It’s not far to go from ‘wrong’ and ‘wicked’ to ‘must be punished’. And then some people have the gall to say it’s the victim’s fault.

People keep justifying stuff to me with religion. We’ll see when He comes back, they say. They say it’s in the Bible, a ticket to heaven or hell, a sin, some stain on your soul that won’t come out.
I’m an atheist, ok? I don’t see god or sins or souls or heaven or hell. What I see is people hurting people when they don’t have to, and in my wacky godless morality, that’s wrong.

Your beliefs are your beliefs. Justify them as you will. I accept that you consider them valid and you do not anticipate their change. Just don’t tell me that you’re not hurting anyone. You’re hurting a lot of people. Your opinion sways politicians, and your vote may even come into play. When it does, you are affecting people’s lives, and you are not doing it for the better.

These views feed into a culture where gays are seen as sub-human and less valuable. It promotes an atmosphere where things like this can happen: http://loobypls.tumblr.com/post/27815060532/today-my-hometown-was-struck-by-a-disgusting

and people don’t care. It shows that we consider a group of people less than, not as good, below, not important. It shows that we find our own comfort and the knowledge that our religious convictions are being upheld more important than the dignity, livelihood, happiness, and in some cases well-being of our fellow human beings, who may not share those convictions. It shows that you in some way, whether you acknowledge it consciously or not, think you are better. Better. Armed with a book and a god who may or may not exist, you are ready to step on the rights and happiness of other human beings. So do so, and I hope you sleep well at night. But I will be there to speak out and say it’s not ok.

 

I’ll Admit It – This Scares Me. A Lot. August 25, 2011

Filed under: In the News,Politics,Religion — katblogger @ 6:39 PM
Tags: ,

Check these fun people out:

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/24/139781021/the-evangelicals-engaged-in-spiritual-warfare

This is absolutely freaking horrifying. Not only are they a group that:

– supports measures in Uganda that can kill homosexuals for certain offenses

– intend to dominate and erase all other religions

– think all non-Christians are influenced by demons

– and even more…

But not only this, they’re showing support for Rick Perry. A presidential candidate. Running for President. Of here.

Am I the only one getting nervous?

Maybe I’ve read too many dystopia novels, but I know how people build up to lines and then just jump across them. This is the reasoning I can easily imagine:

1. Non-Christians are under the influence of demons.

2. Non-Christians are demons.

3. Non-Christians should be killed for the greater good.

Maybe I’m overreacting. I hope I am. But if this group gains power, I fear for the future. The future that they and I have very different hopes for.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Gosh, Fred Phelps Again… October 7, 2010

Filed under: In the News,Politics — katblogger @ 8:05 PM
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I know, I know… how many posts have I devoted to this cretin? Media coverage is what he wants. We should all ignore him, and maybe he’ll go away.

But oddly, I’m on the same side as him in this one. Well, not exactly on the same side… but in the general area.

If you’ve been living under a rock, with a handy internet connection that only leads to this site, let me explain. A father of a soldier killed in Iraq is suing the WBC. And although no one actually likes them, we have to support them in this case. Let’s go over the facts.

The first amendment guarantees citizens the right to free speech, and the right to protest peacefully. However annoying this protest was, it was peaceful. And it was speech. Therefore, it’s a double whammy from the Bill of Rights.

If the Supreme Court decides this isn’t allowed, what next? Will it be illegal to protest the Iraq War on 9/11, because it would offend the families of the dead? Would atheists not be allowed to speak up on Christmas? We can’t censor speech just because it’s annoying or rude. That’ll lead in all sorts of unpleasant directions.