Good Credit

As humans, we give ourselves a horrible rep.  Every time we turn on the news, there seems to be more evidence supporting the “humans are inherently evil” argument.  And there is no credible way to deny that there are some truly awful people in the world doing some truly awful things.  There are so many lists of terrible statistics that anyone would start to feel discouraged about the state of our species.

But then again, we tend to forget the hundreds, thousands, millions and sometimes billions of dollars that get sent around the world in situations where people are in desperate need of aid.  For every major world disaster, not only do governments step in and offer money, but charities crop up and people show up: volunteers, military forces, church groups, peace corps, just tons and tons of people coming together.  Sometimes these people fly halfway around the world just to hand out bottled water after terrible earthquakes or storms.

Let’s not forget the huge number of people who have, over the years, delved deep into inhospitable or unknown regions to bring food, hope and medical attention to communities unknown to most of the world.

I bet that if someone were to add up all the money given to any charities or tithed to any churches, that number would be absolutely staggering.

It doesn’t matter why we do it: if we do it in the name of our god or gods, if we do it in the hopes of bettering humanity or giving our children a brighter, safer world.  It doesn’t matter if we do it because it’s how we were raised, or because we are outraged at the current state of things.  The fact of the matter is, humans do huge amounts of good every day, for a hundred thousand different reasons.  We deal in hope as well as destruction, in love as well as hate.  You cannot simply say human nature is “good” or “bad.”  It’s human nature.  Personally, however, I see plenty of reason to be hopeful.


Dear Guy Who Cheated, I Broke Us Too

Dear “Guy,”

Let me tell you why cheating is viewed as such a destructive thing by most women.  I know you don’t completely understand what ‘the big deal’ is.  After all, you told me yourself: she didn’t mean anything to you.  You were just drunk and it just…happened.

And for you it’s probably not a big deal.  You fucked up, you know it, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t love me.  You do, and you’re sorry, and it won’t happen again, so why can’t I just forgive and forget?

Well, I tried.  I did.  I tried to forget about it as the months went on and nothing remotely like that happened again.  I tried not to feel nervous and self-conscious every time you were out of town and would go out for drinks with coworkers, or every time we were around beautiful, charming girls that made you laugh.  I tried to forget the mental image of you and her, and for the most part I did.  Sometimes it would flash across my mind, and I would feel that sting again, but we went on together because I knew you did love me.

But here’s why our relationship was never the same.  It wasn’t the physical act.  That was bad enough, but time marches on quickly.  Our relationship was never the same because with that one slip up, you told me that all the times I very privately wondered if I was pretty enough, or sexy enough, or interesting enough for you…that I was right to doubt.  You told me that never touching your phone, that never asking too many questions, that loving you and supporting you didn’t make up for not being there when you were drunk and horny.  You told me that I was right to worry about if I was satisfying you sexually, even if you constantly reassured me that I satisfied you emotionally.

You would tell me this is stupid, of course.  You probably would think that it’s the stupidest thing you ever heard.  But I had insecurities which I tried not to give into, and you went ahead and reaffirmed every doubt I ever had about myself in our relationship.  And that’s the part that really hurt.  I forgave you, but I never, ever felt like I was enough for you again.

So that’s it, “Guy.”  That’s what happened after you cheated.  Maybe you’ll never understand it, and I certainly know you didn’t mean to.  But my confidence in myself as an awesome, loving girlfriend to you was never there again.  So in the end, it was both of us that damaged the relationship.

I just thought you should know.


A Victory for Equal Rights

Prop 8 Ruling

This is a victory.

It’s not my victory.  To be brutally honest, I didn’t campaign or protest the dismissal of Proposition 8 or argue why DOMA is just freaking ignorant.  But for all those out there who did, this is definitely a victory.  And I’m proud of all the people who went into action and stood against an infringement of rights.  Gay marriage can resume in California, and I’m happy that this is the case.

I know not everyone feels this way.  But let me tell you why I do:

When it looked like the American colonies were going to war with England, there were a lot of groups who saw this as an unprecedented opportunity to do something really revolutionary.  Women were one of those groups.  Another were slaves.  In fact, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband and said, “…And by way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.” [1]

Do you know what John Adams, one of our celebrated Founding Fathers, did?  He wrote back and essentially mocked her, called her “saucy,” and then completely dismissed her request for women’s rights.

A petition was put forth by a “Great Number of Blackes detained in a State of slavery,” which submitted to a general court assembled in Massachusetts Bay the plea that all men have in common the natural and inalienable right to freedom. [2]

A war was fought over that one, but until almost 100 years later.  And even at its completion, the fight for equality for black Americans was not over.

So why do I support legalization of gay marriage?  It’s not because I don’t understand the moral arguments that certain religious groups have against it.  I’m perfectly capable of understanding their arguments.  I just don’t agree.  In our country, we have a history of suppressing the rights of anyone who does not fall into the category of ‘white male.’  And in a country that has long lauded freedom and equality for all, there is absolutely no place for that.

We claim to be a nation built upon the principles of freedom and equality.  But every time we have a chance to prove it, we fail.  Utterly and completely.  We cannot look an adult in the eye and say, “It is illegal for you unite with the person that you’re in love with.”  Some people may consider it immoral.  Some people may consider it a sin against God, or a sin against nature.  Some may think of it as a sort of disorder or disease.  But the fact of the matter is, it does not cause physical harm or in any way block or infringe upon the rights of any other Americans.

So today is a victory.  It is not a personal victory, but a victory for the principles which we’ve all learned are what make America so different, and so wonderful.  That is worth celebrating.

[1] Abigail Adams, “Abigail and John Adams Debate Women’s Rights, 1776,” in Major Problems in American History Volume 1: To 1877, ed. Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman (Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning 2012), 109.

[2] “African Americans Petition for Freedom, 1777,” in Major Problems in American History Volume 1: To 1877, ed. Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman (Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning 2012), 112-113.