Category Archives: Humanity

Let Hate Die With Him

So, a certain bigoted hate-mongering beacon of controversy passed away on Wednesday night. I don’t blame a single person who wants to protest his funeral, or dance on his grave. The man was hated almost as much as he hated others, and he deserved it.

But he’s dead now, and though his church and family is still around and may protest more funerals and cause more ruckus, he’s dead, and there’s one less bigot in the world. This appears to be a plus for humanity in general.

So what to do, to mark the occasion? Protests, celebrations — all of that is fair. Does he deserve the peace and quiet he refused to allow so many others at their funerals?

The world has plenty of hate. I don’t want to add to it. I want to improve something, try to make things better than Fred Phelps ever did.

If you’d like to join me, I’m planning on donating to a few organizations, and I just might send each donation noting “In Memory of Fred Phelps”. Continue reading Let Hate Die With Him

Stardust Spirituality

On January 13th, I attended a debate in Santa Monica between Rabbi Michael Gotlieb, Dr. Theodore Drange and Dr. Yaron Brook. The topic was “God vs. Atheism” and both Dr. Drange and Dr. Brook were representing the atheist side. The debate was engaging, entertaining and frustrating, as I have a number of other points I did not feel were properly addressed.

I walked away from that debate wanting to sit down with the Rabbi and engage in more of a discussion about religion, faith & science. I decided to write him a letter, which I will send him, but that I can share publicly to explain my own lack of faith to those who have asked me.   Continue reading Stardust Spirituality

On & Up

We’ve all made mistakes in our past. We’ve dated people we probably shouldn’t have, wasted time and money, hurt people (intentionally or unintentionally) and otherwise made regrettable decisions. Mistakes are lessons if you learn from them, and what matters is that you try not to make them again. If you have crappy patterns, deliberately change them.

If you want a good future, move on from your past. Give others that opportunity as well. Move forward. If others won’t let you, leave them behind. Everybody’s got a journey, and sometimes you get to hold hands along the way, sometimes you have to fight and walk in opposite directions. But never stop moving. Never stop trying. Never stop striving. Never stop doing. Not for anybody else, but for you.

The Boston Marathon Bombing

Boston was my home before I moved West. Boston will always be “home” to me, that place I go to see the family (blood and chosen) that made me who I am.

This afternoon I received the news that two bombs had exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Copley Square. Copley is a familiar place to me – I used to work a block away, and I’ve watched the Marathon go by many times, in the past I’ve greeted the runners as they finished their 26 mile run.

As usual, when a tragedy strikes, things are chaotic. Reports were coming in from every media source, I sent and received dozens of text messages checking on the whereabouts and well-being of the people I know and love in the area.

It’s been six or seven hours since the first bomb went off. We still don’t know who did it. We don’t know the full count of people injured, though there have been two confirmed dead. We don’t know much, and news media simply recycles the same story until there’s something new to add. We are surrounded by images of emotion, of blood and pain and smoke and fire, and incredible videos of people who ran towards the explosion, towards the people there who needed help. There is such a mix of feelings – the pain of knowing that some humans do this to one another, but the hope found in knowing how many come to help, how many come, selflessly, to give, and reach out to one another, strangers united by their humanity.

MarathonRunnersWhen the dust has settled and we’ve learned more and had time to try to make sense of this tragedy in Boston, perhaps we’ll take a moment to reflect on the fact that being the victims of bombing, whether foreign or domestic, is a terrible thing. 

Maybe as we heal from this hurt, we can take some time to learn where other bombings have taken place in the world lately. Maybe we can try to help. Maybe we can try to stop them. Maybe we have that power. Maybe it’s time to look to our leaders and demand we no longer be responsible for this feeling we’re experiencing, experienced by others around the world.

No person, no nation, no people should feel what Boston feels today.

Evolving

The other night, I decided to listen to two of my favorite albums by Fiona Apple. She was one of my favorite musicians throughout my teenage years. Her turns of phrase, melodies and contralto composed a soundtrack to my development into adulthood – the arrogance of adolescence, the catapult of indignation, the soap-boxing, and that threatening but necessary lurch into realizing you fight for independence only to find you’re not quite sure what to do with it. Listening to the songs I loved tremendously – still do – brought back all those emotions and ideas that permeated my thought-processes from ages 12 to 20.

I’ve been keeping blogs for more than 10 years. Looking back, I want to hit myself sometimes, realizing my ideals, my half-formed concepts, my passions and my pains have been posted publicly in a place that doesn’t really have an erase-all option. Even if I went back in, deleting where I could, Google’s got some unforgiving caches, and in the arena of wish-I-hadn’t-said-that, I’m pretty screwed.

My generation, and the ones following us, have this to worry about. My parents might’ve had some wild ideas in the ’60s and ’70s, and a few regrettable Letters to the Editor might be located if one were to dig. The fact remains, however, that the witnesses to those developmental years of paranoia, self-importance, confusion, rationalization and opinion-forming are generally human, anecdotal, and aging. I don’t mean to pick on my parents specifically. Both of them may read this and send me indignant e-mails expressing their certainty that they never had bullshit theories or ideals that would come back to haunt them if they’d been armed with a blog address and an internet connection. I already know they did – they named my brothers after characters in epic sagas of idealistic political philosophy. It’s okay.

The fact remains that young people today are growing up in a world where, by the time they’ve hit college, they’ve already been exposed to political opinions and social ideals that may run contrary to their own. Chances are, through Facebook, message boards, Twitter, or a blog platform, they’ve already had a few things to say right back. They aren’t just reading the newspaper and crafting a carefully worded Letter To The Editor – which may or may not be published. They’re capable of quick-posting everything from “First comment!” to “[the writer] is an [inflammatory remark]!” to “the media is biased!” to “legalize weed” or, well, anything.

I’m not saying that isn’t awesome sometimes. There’s not much that is more satisfying than seeing an intelligent 16-year-old lay down the facts on some idiot online, by giving a well-reasoned reply to a inflammatory comment. But it’s still tough when I see my own commentary from age 15 regarding [insert pretty much ANY political issue here]. Though I’m happy to report I was generally using correct spelling, grammar and a thesaurus, I was also full of a whole lot of bullshit. Not to say I’m completely clean-and-sober of the bullshit now – I just try to cut out the logical fallacies, mass generalizations, and character attacks I used back then.

But, here I am, 23 years old, and thus far reasonably unscathed by the very public and sometimes obnoxious diatribes of my less humble youth. Although, it’d be interesting to run for President some day and see how much of it comes back to haunt me.

Over the past few years, this realization has made me a less active blogger. My 12- to 20-year-old self had a lot of dramatic ideas, especially philosophies of the religious, romantic, and political kind. Heck, I wrote a lot of bad poetry that is still lingering around on the Internet.

I’ve become convinced that no matter how thoughtful I attempt to be in my writing, I’m going to look back at it in five years and think, “Who gave that girl a blog?”

Despite my self-doubt, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on me, and where I am in the world now.  If I were to compose a letter to my fourteen year old self (which I’m certain 14-year-old me would scoff at and ignore), it’d warn firstly that I will encounter love, loss, heartbreak and lies between then and now.  Secondly, that nothing can indicate exactly what my response to these events will be, just to maybe save my most passionate reactions for the paper-journal, not the digital one.  And thirdly, it’d remind me that I am small, the world is big, and the world revolves around this thing called the sun, not myself nor my generation.  There’s a lot of notes I’d leave myself.  And 10 years from now I’ll be telling my 23 year old self the same thing differently.

But here goes.