I believe in appreciating those who protect us. All of them

“Please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” the commander in chief tweeted because …

  1. Military policy now is announced through twitter??
  2. The between 1,500 and 15,000 transgender people currently serving in a wide variety of capacities (out of 1.3 million on active-duty) are somehow eroding “military readiness and unit cohesion” at least according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who really ought to know??
  3. our current president just couldn’t resist finding yet another way to surprise and dismay his staff with another poorly thought out idea to appease his far right base while disrupting the lives of those he knows little about??

I guess it must have been all of the above.

Which takes me back to my blogging theme for this month. It’s not about what people deserve, it’s about what you believe.

I believe, along with Arizona Republican and Vietnam war hero John McCain, that “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.”

I believe that policy changes that deeply impact the lives of of anyone should be well thought out, based on valid reasoning, and carefully and compassionately communicated.

What our current president deserves is to be treated the way he treats others, which would involve having his safety and well-being crassly used by another as political chum.

However, I believe in adhering to my own morals, and treating people well, even if they do not deserve it. So, I hope we find a way to remove this man from office soon, and put him out to pasture where he can live out his days playing golf, eating cake and harming no one.

It’s not what he deserves, but it’s what I believe.

(For more Wonder Woman inspired thoughts, see Top Requirement for a Superhero, Believe, It’s About What You Believe, and Believe in Tomorrow.)

Four Reasons I Love It When “Love Wins”

Reason number one: Love makes us happy, and happiness is wonderful.

Several times now I’ve posted about a report on which countries have the happiest people. I’m intrigued that six attributes account for most of this variation, and I summed them up as health, wealth, freedom, love, fairness and kindness. I’ve already written about the first three and today I’m thinking about love.

life lessons6Now, the people doing this survey were not asking questions about romantic love, wonderful as is it. They used a broader definition, by asking something more like “do you have people in your life that you care about and can depend on?” This careful wording included family members and close friends along with intimate partners, and as far as I’m concerned it covered every type of love inclined to bring one happiness. (Unrequited love for someone who does not know you exist doesn’t exactly bring a lot of smiles. A spirited discussion could be had as to whether it is love at all, but that is outside the scope of this post.) Suffice to say, if you have people, or a person, you care about and who care enough about you back that you feel you can count on them, then you have love. Lucky you.

love wins2. “Love Wins” has become associated with the LGBTQ community’s struggles for marriage equality and other rights. I’m a heterosexual woman with a 34-year traditional marriage, and an avid supporter of equality in every sense for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Zane, the main character in y1, is gay, and I did my best to present his love affair with Afi as a beautiful thing to be cheered on by anyone with a heart. In the real world, friends, relatives and co-workers of mine are LGBTQ, and every time “Love Wins” it makes me smile too. Love is funny that way. It likes to see more love.

SPLC3. Love wins every time that hate does not. I’m also an avid supported of the fine work that is done by the SPCL (Southern Poverty Law Center) even though donating to them means that I get a lot of letters from them asking me for more money. It’s okay. I glance through them all and give when I can. Recently I got one such letter that moved me more than usual. It discussed the nine people killed a year ago in the white supremacist attack at Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, and noted that “Hate won’t win” were the brave words Alana Simmons spoke to her grandfather’s killer in Charleston.

Yes,“Hate won’t win” are brave words coming from someone who has been grievously wronged, and the words brought a tear to my eye. I know that love wins every time that hate does not.

cosmic conduit 24. The last reason has to do with music. I’m fixing up the music pages on each of my blogs, and today I was expanding my post about David Guetta and Estelle’s One Love.  As the lyrics to One Love say …. “if we stand together than we’ll be okay.” You know, more love wins kind of stuff… and it’s what got me started on this post.

Think of how many great songs there are about love. Luckily, far more than those about fear, hate and hopelessness, although I will concede that there are a few great songs about those emotions too. Yet in the grand overview of musical topics, love wins and I’m glad.

I’d forgotten about exactly how I’d referred to the song in the book, and when I found the excerpt it made me smile.

Joy felt like she was living two lives at once. In one life, she taught Samoan third graders by day, dressed demurely in lightweight long-sleeved tops and loose colorful skirts to her ankles, and pretended to be Afi’s wife by night. Given the vast number of options open to humanity in 2010, it wasn’t a bad life. She wasn’t hungry, she wasn’t hurting, she had a friend nearby, and she was doing useful work. Life came a lot worse.

In her other life, she sailed the ocean, barefoot in a tank top and gym trunks. Her hair blew free while her body moved softly with the thunk of the boat hitting the waves and with the rhythm of her latest favorite song. For the past few weeks David Guetta and Estelle’s One Love had been about every third selection on her MP3 player, and when she wasn’t listening to it she was generally singing the song in her head while she imagined Toby’s hand on her thigh as he sat at the helm of Miss Demeanor. She would see his hint of a smile as his fingers started to rise higher up her leg and then each time he would turn to her, with his soft brown eyes asking her a question. As the song picked up tempo she felt herself smiling her answer back to him and then he always set the sails and they went below deck where the song was playing loudly and life was very, very good.

Of course, that other life existed only in her mind. But anyone who had ever been in love would know that it was the more important of her two lives.

Ah, yes, that romantic love stuff does bring us joy, even when it is just in our imagination.

I confess to having a weakness for amateur videos that make me feel like I am standing right  at a concert and this simple and seldom viewed video of One Love being performed at Electric Zoo in 2011 took me in with its tag line of “right place right time last song.” I’ve had that feeling and it’s a fine one. Go ahead and sing along with the audience, and enjoy letting love win in one more way.

 

(For more posts on the subject of what makes us happy see If you want to be happy move to a cold country?, Happiness fascinates me, None of us are normal if we’re lucky, Some Kind of Kindness, The fairest of them all?, and When is it time for “More”?)

NOT going to hell in a hand-basket

Many people my age (over 50) seem to enjoy pointing out the many ways in which society has decayed.  From breaking up with your boyfriend by text message to posting videos of a rape on facebook, let’s face it, the ammunition is there. So maybe a little perspective is in order.

As I child I watched a movie called “Advise and Consent” with my parents. The only thing I remember at all about the plot was that some member of congress was blackmailed. When I pressed for information, both of my parents were too embarrassed to answer and later my mother madoilyde an attempt to explain homosexuality to me. This was still a world in which blacks could not eat in white restaurants, women with career ambitions were regularly denounced as ugly, and I met protestant children who were not suppose to socialize with me because I was catholic. By the way, I attended daily mass back then with a lace doily pinned to my head because it was sinful for women to be in church without their head covered. When I lost my doily (which I often did) I had to use a kleenex instead, because looking silly was far better than offending God with my bare head. Sigh….

click to visit Chris Zarconi photography

click to visit Chris Zarconi photography

Today and tomorrow the supreme court hears two cases concerning gay marriage. I hope that those rights are upheld, first and foremost because I am a strong believer in the right of every human to pursue happiness. I believe that individual rights trump arbitrary rules that protect no one but rather have been put in place for the convenience or comfort of part of the population. (I’m just not comfortable with gays, with African Americans in the same restaurant as me, with women  who work outside the home or who are in church with bare heads).  I don’t believe that we get to limit each other merely to make ourselves comfortable.

Tonight, I am taking a few minutes just to be amazed.  Yes, there are things in this world that are worse that they were fifty years ago. (Fast food.) And there are things that are better. (Produce aisles in any grocery store.) And then there are things that are just plain amazing. Tomorrow, the Supreme court considers a case concerning gay marriage. People are lined up outside to show support and 58% of the population agrees with them.

Allow a sort-of old person to point out just how incredible this turn of events really is, no matter what the court decides. A society that moves towards more love and tolerance is NOT going to hell.  And I have absolutely no idea what a hand-basket is.

 

 

Way to go Texas!!!

kissingEvery time I do a write up about y1, I have to decide whether I should mention to potential readers that main character Zane is a young gay male. Every time, I decide it’s not that relevant to the plot. It is a part of who he is, sure, and there is a mild romance in the novel (actually two romances, the other involves a hetero couple) but I’d rather use my limited words to entice readers with other things. Plus, while I have nothing against steamy sex scenes in other people’s books, it’s not what I write. Both love affairs are told so tamely that I felt to mention them would risk disappointing those who might want more.

So I’ve been a little surprised. y1 has been out since last September and I’ve received 8 reviews so far from people who I have no idea who they are. (And a few more from friends and online writing buddies and thank you guys for that!) The book has been mostly well received, averaging 4.3/5 over all and 3.9/5 from total strangers. But, a quarter of my strangers have felt the need to “warn” other potential readers that the book contains references to a homosexual relationship. Oh dear.

Thwaitressings like this tend to put me in a funk, not just about my writing but about humanity in general. It was in the middle of this dour frame of mind that my youngest daughter sent me a link to the video below.

Please watch this staged scene of a waitress criticizing gay and lesbian couples, as over and over the citizens of Texas tell her to stop being rude and to mind her own business. Mind you, in this state one still occasionally sees marquees in front of churches proclaiming anti-gay rhetoric. So I was pound and delighted to watch so many of the fine citizens of my home state, what-ever their beliefs, put courtesy and respect for the rights of others ahead of their own political feelings.

That’s right. If it can happen that consistently here, you have just got to feel better  about the world.

Defending my marriage

Picture3Yeah.  I really am going to post about that.

A few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated 31 years of marriage. Truthfully, it was less “wahoo” and more “how the hell did that happen?”  You see, sometimes he really, truly pisses me off. As I do him. Yet, we have grown together for so many decades that we are now two plants that intertwine so thoroughly that we can’t be separated. We support and caress each other in some spots, while in other places we grow at odds so that we can each allow the other the sunlight and space that we need.  I suspect, for all its ups and downs, that our friendship and our love is what a good marriage is. And yet, what we have is apparently under vicious attack. The Supreme Court just announced that it will consider U.S.A. vs Windsor, a constitutional challenge to the “Defense of Marriage Act”, a law that is supposed to be protecting my husband and I.  DOMA.  And it is protecting our relationship from what exactly?

There are two romantic relationships  in the novel y1. Heterosexual couple Joy and Toby have challenges to overcome but, of course, love triumphs.  I am at heart a romantic. Homosexual couple Zane and Afi have the same issues and a good many more. International boundaries separate them, and their is love is actually illegal in Afi’s home. It will take nothing less than fully recognized marital status to resolve their issues. Legalities matter.  Oh but wait.  Fully recognized marital status for these two young lovers is a threat to my marriage, because ….  because?

What does it take to make a marriage work for thirty one years? My husband and I had the blessings of society and few of the difficulties often faced by others.  We are the same age, race, and religion. Most of our problems we caused all by ourselves. Luckily, we dealt with them. The biggest threat to finding solutions? A cynical society that often conveyed the message of “oh, just give up if gets tough”.  Romance is dead.  No relationship can last. Nobody’s ever happy in a long term relationship. It’s a powerful message that is out there and, I know from experience that it does not help a couple push through those tough times and find a way to make it work.

So today, I am picking up my pen and defending my marriage. Yes, allowing two people in love to have all the legal support for making their relationship last, helps my marriage too. That’s right. A world where love and long term commitment between any two people is honored is a world in which making ones own long term commitment work is just a little bit easier.  It helps every single married couple if every time two people, any two people, find the courage and desire to make a commitment to each other, we don’t just tolerate.  We celebrate with them.

Obviously, I am not saying that marriage is right or preferred for everyone.  But if it is what you have chosen, consider defending your marriage now.  Allow me to suggest signing Kirsten Gillibrand‘s petition to repeal DOMA by clicking here. Let’s really defend the institution of marriage!

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