Sunday, January 20, 2008

Here and There and Back Again

I have posted very little here over the last few months. While there have been a variety of reasons, the most significant of those, I suppose, has been my involvement over at Blog Critics Magazine. I have written a few articles there, but mostly I have been bouncing around commenting on other writer's posts. Additionally, and more recently, I have been doing commentary on the Blog Talk Radio program "Big Tent Roundtable." We have aired about a half dozen one hour programs to which perhaps nearly that many people may have actually listened.

The net result is that involvement has pretty much drained my "artistic juices," to the extent that on the few occasions I've had any urge to post something here, I either didn't have the energy, or I just couldn't come up with enough of an idea to sustain anything meaningful.

I wonder at my younger son who is a writer currently enrolled in graduate school. He has consequently been, a part of the "slave labor" large universities demand of their post graduate students, wherein they are obliged to teach one or more usually freshman level courses to earn their keep. He has been doing that now for three semesters while still taking course work himself requiring a prodigious amount of reading and, of course, writing his own material. I think, though, that he does, to some extent, thrive on that kind of pressure. He drinks a lot of really strong coffee.

I can't muster that kind of energy or concentration. My best excuse is that I am 34 years his senior. So, cut me some slack.

Most of the issues I have been writing and commenting on over at BC are connected to the current presidential campaign. While I suppose it might be unfathomable to some, I am, at this juncture still in Hillary Clinton's camp. But I favor her only marginally over Barack Obama, and I wouldn't be at all dismayed if he wound up with the Democratic nomination. I find Edwards off-putting as he often shamelessly wears his religious faith on his sleeve. The only Republicans I find even marginally palatable are John McCain and Rudy Guilliani. At least they represent the more moderate, less hysterically religious arm of the party. Frankly, the thought of either Huckabee or Ron Paul as president turns my godless stomach. Romney is a Mormon, so he is obviously a nutcase, albeit one with scads of cash, great suits and killer hair.

I am more interested and involved in the current election process than in years past owing largely to the presence of both a woman and an Afro-American in the running, either actually having a legitimate shot at winning all the marbles. Of course, as always with presidential politics, the stakes on the table for this election are high. But the rest of the world continues on largely heedless of our country's electoral process, having other fish to fry.

Still in the political arena, but on the state level, the Indiana legislature has once again been considering a "same sex" amendment to the state constitution. This legislation was first introduced for consideration back in 2005 during the impassioned height of this issue. It passed both houses with flying colors. In order for this measure to become a part of our constitution, it must once again pass in both houses of the legislature and, upon such passage, would then be placed on the ballot in the next state wide election. If approved by, I believe, a simple majority, the "one man/one woman" marriage definition would become a part of our state constitution.

Happily, and to my surprise, the measure is floundering. The Indiana State Senate remains in the control of Republicans and probably still has the votes to pass the measure, but the House now has a Democratic majority. There is less enthusiasm for the measure there. The chair of the House committee responsible for this bill, a Democrat, refuses to let it out of committee, effectively killing it for this legislative session. If it fails to gain a majority vote in both houses during this session, that would effectively kill the measure and the process would have to start over again from square one. Yay!

It is terribly sad that a number of states have, in fact, enacted such measures in their respective constitutions. A number of other states have similar bills on the table for consideration. It is difficult for me to imagine how mean spirited and presumptuous people can be regarding the lives of others.

I have often quoted H.L. Menken who defined a puritan as someone who is afraid that someone else may be having a good time. While I find that an amusing observation, I also suspect that it is sadly, pretty much right on target. For anyone to presume they have a right to force their ideology on others is beyond my ability to understand. It requires a great depth of contempt for, and condescension to fellow human beings.

Life is very hard. Lao Tzu knew it, and said as much. But one doesn't need to be a deep thinker or a philosopher to figure that out. Life, for so many people in this world, is a living hell offering little or no hope of anything better to come. A relative few of us have been able to scramble up from the dreggs to actually find some level of joy. Part of that "joy" is the freedom to love whoever we may choose. Finding true love and happiness with another human being is relatively rare and a thing to be cherished. Anyone who is so lacking in compassion and understanding they feel compelled to intervene legally in this case against same sex couples, who have perhaps found some level of love and happiness, is at best, a meddling prick.

The notion that they are protecting the "institution of marriage" is ludicrous crap. As if heterosexual unions are so fucking sacred! Consider that now, in this country more than 50% of traditional marriages fail within the first five years. This 'hallowed' institution can be legally entered into on a momentary whim at 3AM on the Las Vegas strip by a man and a woman who may have just met, after having mindless, drunken sex in a ceremony administered and witnessed by Elvis and Elvira impersonators and a dwarf who sort of resembles Hervé Villechaize of Fantasy Island fame, repeatedly exclaiming "The Plane! The Plane." No doubt, such unions are blessed by their god.

I should note that Indiana has a state law prohibiting same sex unions. That's not good, but at least a statute is not codified in our state constitution. It will be much easier, over, perhaps a shorter period of time to repeal a law, than it would be to rescind a part of the state constitution, which would require the same procedure as that described above.

I sincerely hope that the measure dies a quick and quiet death in the Indiana legislature never to be seen or heard from again. That may be a vain hope, but I'll keep my virtual fingers crossed.