I don’t know if its something that comes with age or what but I’m becoming increasingly tired of people (myself included) speaking in absolutes. Right / wrong. Conservative / Liberal. Good / Bad. Pro Life / Pro Choice. Pro-this / anti-that. I haven’t fully fleshed out the reasons why (and thats part of why I’m writing) but it seems to me that it bugs me for two very important reasons. First, because I don’t think, by and large, people don’t believe in absolutes if you actually get them to let down their guard and talk about where they’re coming from. Take the Conservative / Liberal thing. I’ve seen a WHOLE LOT of debate on the news, on twitter, and in person that start with the us versus them crap but if you start analyzing the statements being made they’re all somewhere in the middle… ya know… in the shades of grey…
Which leads me to the second reason why it bugs the hell out of me. If you start with a premise of debating differences you immediately deadlock all conversations because you’re in a defensive position debating and defending your position. If, on the other hand, you started the conversation without these assumptions and focused, to start, on where you agree and then branch out to explore and understand differences and the reasons you can have a much more sane conversation. Otherwise the debate send everyone’s blood pressure through the roof and have people walk away from every conversation thinking ‘well they’re just a fucking idiot’… not productive.. not helpful..
I’ve seen SO MANY examples of this around me over the years. You see it in politics. In the President’s speech the other night you saw half of the audience cheering and the other half sitting on their hands pouting. Same premise on both sides – i’m right and they’re wrong. Get over it. Stupid – all you people have a big problem you need to solve and if you can’t work together – ALL OF YOU – then we’re screwed.
I see this in my day to day life. My solution to the problem is the right one and yours is fundamentally flawed. The truth is neither is true. Both are options with merit and if you start with where they work and go from there you’ll ALL come up with a solution that is better for the effort. I even see this in debates in forums like twitter.
The result is the same in all situations – deadlock.
Now mind you I’m not saying that we all don’t have incredibly firm convictions on certain topics. There are people who think that abortion is wrong in all cases. There are people who believe that gay marriage is a fundamental human right. There are people who believe that Objective-C is the appropriate language for all development problems. Whatever. The point is if you start with those absolutes first the conversation is SO MUCH HARDER and, quite frankly, the debates are T.E.D.I.O.U.S…. Put those absolutes aside and start with the gray so you can actually make some progress…
Sorry for the rant and the random stream of consciousness post. I’ve just been thinking a lot about what has me tied in knots lately and it boiles down to that – I’ve allowed myself to get drawn into, worked up by, and emotionally invested in following these types of debates. Sure they can be entertaining on occasion – but if you get invested in them they wear you down and you don’t actually solve anything…
now back to your regularly scheduled program
I think its been a while since i’ve posted anything… No real excuses aside from the usual ones – just super busy with a zillion different things and not a whole lot of time for much else… I have been keeping up with twitter (see the sidebar) but not much time to actually pull together a post… Its Sunday night now and i figured i’d pull together a quick post…
Reader’s digest is work work, Christmas, work work, Baby Shower, work work, hanging out, work work… We had a baby shower at our house for our friends Drew and Adrian who are having a baby just after the new year. We had a house full of people and amazing food thanks to kevin… Was a lot of fun. Since then work has been super busy with things that I can’t talk about as usual..
This past weekend was pretty good. Had dinner with Alex at a restaurant called Sauce in Hayes valley that was super good. Kind of funky variations on old classics… Meat loaf. Tater Tots. That kind of thing.. Was really good. The rest of the weekend we spent working and christmas shopping. Boring I know but such is my life lately – and i’m OK with that
We did manage to see Milk this weekend. If you haven’t seen it you NEED to see it. I expected to be touched by it because i’d heard good things and because we’re surrounded by signs of that part of history living here in the Castro – but I had NO IDEA how moving it would be. They do an amazing job of combining new footage and historical footage to put together an amazing story. I came out completely exhausted and looking for more information (which is always my sign of a good movie).
Anyway.. thats it for now… more later
There are a bunch of people who still seem confused about why we’re upset about not being granted the same basic rights of civil marriage that other straight couples are granted simply by dropping into a chapel of love in Vegas. People seem to think we’re either being uppity and subversive, or trying to attack their churches, or any number of related distortions and lies.
Well lets clear this up. Its not about any of that. Its about the ever increasing number of basic rights our society ties to Civil Marriage. Wikipedia does an excellent job of listing these out out:
These are just the federal laws that treat married couples differently than unmarried couples. And this doesn’t even include state, local, and corporate rights and responsibilities. And, to be even more clear, these aren’t rights defined by the ‘liberal’ wikipedia – these are directly from a report produced by the General Council of the Government Accountability Office. These are basic allowances and responsibilities granted and expected of married couples.
And if you don’t want to wade through these here is a simple one. Kevin receives medical insurance through my domestic partner benefits at Apple (THANK YOU Apple). Those benefits for us are taxable income because to the government we are not married (We’re still not sure the effect of 8 on our CA marriage but either way the Feds still don’t recognize us thanks to DOMA). THese benefits are NOT taxable for my straight co-workers. So I’m being fined for being gay by our government – plain and simple. The State and Federal government is taxing me based on religious justification.
Sure, some of these i can reproduce through significant time and expense in a wide variety of legal documents, powers of attorney, conversations with family, and other means. But not all of them – yet EVERY ONE is legally granted and binding by any straight couple that gets drunk and goes to the chapel of love in vegas to get hitched. And, for my simple example – there is nothing I can do about that. Without marriage I will continue to be fined.
The other side can claim all the religious justification they want but until someone unties basic rights from religion I’m gonna keep demanding the right to protect my family. They tied religious marriage to personal rights and federal law – not me and no matter how you spin it separate is NEVER equal. Domestic Partnerships DOES NOT EQUAL Marriage in the eyes of the law. If something happens to me Kevin deserves all of the protections under the law as any other survivor does. Any arguments to the contrary are missing the point and if people don’t know that they need to.
So yea.. Still pissed…
(I promise more positive posts soon – I swear! )
Ok… more of a normal post this time… less of a rant… This weekend was a kinda surreal good bad weird sad kind of one… Whole weekend started friday around noon when Kevin picked me up to go to Lori’s funeral. While the funeral was profoundly sad and touching event it was truly AMAZING to see the sheer number of people who came out to say goodbye. Seems everyone thinks as much of her as we do and came out to help Ric, Bill, and the rest of the family cope. And to top it off it was an amazingly sunny day – you could feel her in the wind and sun!
Then that night we made it back to the city to walk the dog and just in time for the HUGE protest / march / rally against the passage of Prop 8. Seems there are one or two of us that are a little upset about that (more like 15,000 of us – at least thats about the number that came out en masse to take over the city). It was actually really great seeing everyone come out and make a stink. The march went from civic center, through the castro, and then over to dolores park. It turned out the march lasted all night with people camped out in the Castro until the morning (we pooped out WELLLLL before that).
The rest of the weekend was more mellow. Saturday was rainy and I just got a haircut and a Massage and then we went to dinner at the beach chalet. Yesterday was a little busier.. Dog walk at Chrissy field, brunch with Alex, Scott, and Adam, and then a photo walk with Randy and Rick. But still nice and mellow after the way things started off..
Anyway.. Told you it was boring. But after the roller coaster of last week I’m REALLY READY for a boring week.
One of my longest and dearest friends in San Francisco Bill lost his sister Lori this Tuesday. My heart goes out to her husband Rick, her son and brand new baby as well as Bill, Matt and the rest of her family and friends. Everyone who knew her will see to it that her two kids know what a ray of sunshine she is in all of our lives!