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Entries in politics (15)


Down With the Punchy Political Graphics!!

We try to teach the next generation the value of kindness and compassion.

We talk to them of difference, acceptance and tolerance.

We discuss sportsmanship and compromise in elevated tones and disparage bullying and name calling.

Then, those little tornadoes go to bed and we jump on our blogs or the Facebook and post things like "Mitt Romney is big, fat stupid with his stupid magical underwear and I hope his stupid money catches on fire and that his stupid (handsome!) sons get hundreds of teenage girls pregnant so he knows why Planned Parenthood is useful and not stupid like him and his stupid magical {{repeat loop}}."

I won't lie, I thought these political updates of the graphic variety on Facebook and Twitter were super fun at first, but they're totally devoid of substantial intellectual discourse. Essentially, they convey that political belief can be boiled down to pithy sayings and badly put together graphics.

Politics should be complex, well thought out and discussed in a measured manner. If your stance on anything political can be summarized in a punchy graphic or even a series of them? My friend, I hate to break this to you, but you're doing it completely wrong. 

Consider double checking the "Share" potential and its relevance to meaningful discourse of a graphic before doing so.

"Is this completely missing the point of the kind of consensus that led to the building of our great nation?"

Now, I know some smarty pants is going to point out that in the 19th century, Aaron Burr, then Vice President of the United States, shot and murdered Alexander Hamilton, then Secertary of the Treasury and that this does not at all point to consensus and yet our great nation was still built.

I'm talking about macro-consensus... big picture stuff, Smarty Pants. Also, my response to that, which you should feel free to use any time someone points out a historical situation that may undermine a point you're trying to make, is this: "That was before the Internet."

So, okay. Let's try this instead.

"If I were in charge of modeling appropriate behavior to a small child who knows nothing of the world, would my behavior be a reflection of who I believe I am?"

Your values are only real if you practice them with integrity. Integrity loosely means "wholeness." Which I will loosely interpret as "as much of the time as is humanly possible" because I know even the best of us have our bad days.

If you're going to share something like this, for example:

Please stop telling your kids not to bully people. Don't tell them it's not nice to call people "dumb" or "stupid." Because that would make you a hypocrite -- one who is lacking in integrity.

I think Mitt Romney is a poor choice for a president.

I think Barack Obama is a better choice.

My reasons are complex, well thought out and are not based on assuming there are "thousands of dumb things he hasn't said." Don't get me wrong, he's said some dumb things. But who hasn't? I bet President Obama has said dumb things.

Once or twice.

Kidding, because as someone who believes heavily in compassion as a value, I will not champion dialogue that is not only dispassionate, but blatantly and gleefully cruel.I know this is a time honored tradition in the realm of politics -- mud slinging, berating, insulting. But... that was... before the Internet?

Tariq reminded me the other night that one of the easiest ways to change a dynamic is to assume the best of intentions on the part of the other. I assume that people who support Mr. Romney have good intentions and I'm very interested in those intentions. I'm not going to make assumptions about them because I know what it feels like to have people make assumptions about me. I will most likely not agree with them on many things, but I will be a more thoughtful person because I know how they feel and why they feel it. In that way, I win. We all win.

I will also not turn politics into moral judgment. I find it interesting how many of my fellow liberals will eschew our conservative countrypersons as injecting their personal morality into politics, yet have no problem making sweeping statements about how people who don't support universal health care think it's okay for people to die. News flash? That's a moral argument. I also seriously doubt anyone wants anyone to die. Point is, if you're posting stuff like that on your Facebook wall, you will never know the truth of the matter because you've initiated a conversation by automatically putting someone on the defensive.

And... telling them that they want people to die. I mean.


That's not going anywhere productive.

Like, ever.



The Chik-Fil-A Thing.

I'm not eating at Chik-Fil-A anymore.

It's totally a big deal because that was my go to for fast food. It was the hypnotic persuasion techniques of the billboard cows. "EAT MOR CHIKN" they write. Unfortunately, I was unaware of the subconscious message insisting on, "ADUM AND EEV NOT ADUM AND STEV!"

I get the feeling that my pronouncement about not eating at Chik Fil A elicits eye rolls from many of you, but I just don't get the other side of this argument. I've tried to wrap my mind around the objection to objecting to Chik-Fil-A and all I can come up with is… "I love nuggets more than I love protecting the freedom of my fellow citizens."

Which is cool because I get that everyone has different priorities and a good nugget is hard to find.

But that can't be it. There has to more reasons to object to my objecting, right?

My Position

Am I offended by Chick Fil A's position as an organization against gay marriage? 

Absolutely, unequivocally, yes. 

Do I think Chik-Fil-A has a legal right to donate money to these causes? 

I guess. Except, and I might lose you on this one, I think legislation preventing consenting adults from getting married legally should be against the law.

Do I think people should stop eating there because of their corporate stance? 


Do I know that lots of business owners give money to groups like the ones Chik-Fil-A donates to?


Am I unfairly targeting a business owner? 


Is writing this way with all the questions more efficient than writing actual sentences? 

Definitely. You should try it, sometimes.

There's a difference between a business owner and an entire corporation. If Mr. Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, gave money on his own to anti-gay marriage groups, then my boycotting would be limited to lending him a fiver and I might suck down a few of those awesome Diet Lemonades they sell at the restaurant. I'd be conflicted about it, but I just might be all, "Wow, this guy sells good lemonade given that he's being such a meanie about the whole marriage thing."  

On the other hand, the reality is that his company takes millions of fivers from lots of people and, as an entity, donates them to organizations intent on limiting the rights of my fellow American citizens. He chose to make his company stand for a certain set of values. I was with him when he closed on Sunday, but this? Too much, man. Furthermore, I believe their stance is based on a bigoted interpretation of a religion founded by a dude who would probably not have eaten at Chik-Fil-A in the first place. 

Speaking of Jesus and Talking to Yourself

No, seriously, ask yourself… would Jesus have eaten at Chik-Fil-A?

Other than the fact he was Jewish and I'm pretty sure that chicken isn't kosher certified, Chik-Fil-A uses their money to be exclusionary and not very groovy. I know Christians and Muslims disagree on the exact nature of Jesus in the corporeal sense, but I assure you that we can all agree in the "not exclusionary and extremely groovy" sense.

I don't know if it will make an overall societal difference if I stop eating at Chik Fil A. In fact, I'm pretty sure it won't.

I believe that apathy is a parent of oppression, though, so, in the end, it matters to me to stop eating there. Every morning, I have to look myself in the mirror and say, "What's up, Awesome? It's good to be you".

Why, yes, I do point at myself and wink when I say that.

I'm not saying that you have to boycott businesses who insist on coming out as politcally oppositional to your political views, but it is something that I have to do to be able to talk to myself with integrity. Because, let me tell you something, you do not want to be ethically shady when you're talking to yourself in the mirror.  That's just being crazy.

By the way, I know it's killing you, so I'll just tell you: the other parent of oppression is Kris Kardashian.


Let's talk about the Chik-Fil-A thing.. 

Do you think I'm off base with my boycott?

What do you think of these right leaning folks who are taking their photos with bags of Chik Fil A? 

I really want to hear your answers, so please comment freely.

Please remember that because "the win" is never making the other person look stupid but learning something new, I'm requesting that your discourse be civil and compassionate while you're in this space. Thanks, Awesome.


Photo Credit



#BlogHer2012 #BHIdentity Panel Snippet

There were major delays at LaGuardia airport. My flight was supposed to arrive in Memphis at 6p.m., but I didn't get home until after midnight. I'll be posting a little post mortem post on the conference later this week.

In case you didn't make it to the panel with myself, Deb Rox & Kelly Wickham, I thought I'd post a portion of my notes for your reading pleasure. I know most people use bullet points, but my style for speaking is to write a script for what I'm going to say and then never look at it again. Once I write something down, it's generally committed to memory.

Hope your summer is wrapping up and your ready for the fall to push on through.

From "Blogging the Fine Line Between Your Identity and The Issues" panel at Bogher 2012

In what ways does your identity limit or enrich your blogging?

 My identity enriches everything that I do. A friend once that told me she was envious of my identity -- the rich cultural heritage, the religious aspect, and the sense of community it brings me and the inspiration that community gives me. What my friend didn't realize is that everybody has multiple identities and that thoughtfully recognizing those identities helps create a community.  -- whether I'm writing to reinforce, defend or to dispel and reconstruct, identity is always a factor for me. Religious, national, cultural, gender, sexuality... Can an identity limit you? Definitely. That's why I added the "thoughtfully" part. I feel like this is the issue with our political landscape right now, we are being conditioned to think of identity as kool-aid drinking instead of viewing it for what it is: a malleable and fluid state that is in a constant state of evaluation or even reconstruction. As a Muslim, for example, I'm critical of structures within my religion as it's practiced -- that critical eye feels like an appropriate application of identity. If I thought I had to think a certain way and that being critical was never appropriate, then my identity would limit me a lot. 




One Day A Warrior 


What have we done to you, death,

That you treat us so,

With always another catch

One day a warrior,

The next a head of state; 

Charmed by the loyal, 

You choose the best.

- Al-Khansa, Poet, Arabia (600 - 670 C.E.)

Photo Credit



More Than Words