Thursday, May 24, 2012

How can we be so forward?

Not my writing and, but something a friend forwarded:
This explains why we forward stuff:
An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road. The man was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized that the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse. Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter "H" that glowed in the sunlight.

Standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like gold.

He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. Parched and tired out by his journey, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.

'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

'Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'

As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked, 'Can I bring my partners, too?'

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.

After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

'Excuse me,' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Sure, there's a pump right over there. Help yourself.'

'How about my friends here?' the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.

'Of course! They look thirsty, too,' said the man.

The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it. The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog.

When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree. 'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked.

'This is Heaven,' he answered.

'That's confusing,' the traveler said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold street and fake pearly gates? That's hell.'

'Doesn't it make you angry when they use your name like that?'

'Not at all. Actually, we're happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'

Sometimes, we wonder why friends forward things to us without writing a word. Maybe this explains it:

When you're busy, but still want to keep in touch, you can forward emails. When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep in contact, you can forward jokes. When you have something to say, but don't know exactly how, you can forward stuff.

A 'forward' lets you know that you're still remembered, still important, still cared about.

So the next time you get a 'forward', don't think of it as just another joke. Realize that you've been thought of today and that your friend on the other end just wanted to send you a smile.

PS: You're welcome at my watering hole anytime.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ten Real Good Ways To Preserve and Protect Marriage

Thinking that citizens are better served by an insistence that gay marriage deserves more concern right now than any other national concern, The Republican Election Complex insults us. In a naively sober sanctimony, that gang – pretending to deep and profound thoughts – declares that we absolutely must defend that “sacred institution upon which this country is based.”


If God told me to fix the marriage problems in this country and gave me the power to accomplish it, I'd forget about state legislators and campaign promises. Let those who need the issue blow hard while I use divine power to achieve the miraculous:

1. I’d worry more about those couples already married than about those who want to get married. I’d be concerned and working toward seeing that they kept their jobs or, if unemployed, found good ones upon which they could economically stabilize their marriage.

2. I’d work intensely to stabilize marriage by doing everything in my power to achieve – not “work toward” – health coverage for every member of every family and every member-to-be of every family-to-be.

3. I’d work for increasing family incomes with minimum wage increases and expanding worker benefits. I wouldn’t  pretend that corporate tax cuts have created meaningful long term income opportunities for that sector of society where the largest number of marriages already exists.

4. I’d use understanding that the sacred institution of marriage is placed more at risk when it attempts to survive with inadequate housing, bottom-line cheapskate and/or corporate slumlords, and home ownership as an impossible dream.

5. I’d strengthen marriage by dropping the wide-eyed conservative clutter about increasing defense spending at the expense of social programs and remind the country that the Little Bush swagger and the “bring it on” rhetoric that started with Dubya now sounds like it spilled from the urinal in a junior high boys’ locker room. 

6. I’d take a long look and seek answers from those who truly know about failed marriages among our residents and stop thinking that unfettered capitalism includes within its framework some sort of naturally-occurring equal opportunity for every citizen to succeed in some idealized cookie-cutter manner.

7. I’d tell the amateur foreign policy conservatives shut the f*** up and give priority to our married soldiers and their spouses. I would not see world politics and economy as a giant game of RISK with our quite human single and married military population as mere wooden markers on a map. I would certainly not let theose political fools write out strategy and military checks that the children in military families – built on our sacred institution of marriage – will have to cash.

8. I’d focus on those military families and single soldiers in another significant way – I’d care about what happens when they come home and are no longer wooden markers on a map. I’d make sure that the VA is truly an effective and functioning VA – a boon to our society of veterans and something for which we as a nation can all be proud and not suspicious. I’d see to it that families and the marriages that build them are not hampered by a need for food stamps and other welfare.

9. I’d sustain our sacred institution by getting out of the business of trying to control one gender’s right to chose. If I  wanted to be seen as moral, wise and ethical, I would trust our processes of education and scientific study and encourage responsibility around human sexuality as a national concern and effort rather than a divisive argument based on polarized personal moralities.

10. I’d sustain and advocate for the sacredness of our marriage institution by educating and protecting our precious national resource of youth. Rather than prance around sounding pious and sober about gay couples, I’d march around obsessed with doing something about the factors that do greater harm to our families and their young members. I’d work to encourage the nation to turn against its domestic abusers and family abandoners in a major way.

In short I ever had the power to define marriage as “the sacred institution upon which this country is based,” I’d be ready to start encouraging an intervention in all those things that form the framework for failed marriages, failed families and ruined lives.

I’d stop pretending that the American people believe that banning gay marriages is the answer to solving the problem. I’d tell all those macho image-makers and self-serving patriarchal philosophers that marriage is incomplete without intellectual, spiritual and moral equality. I’d insist that earned income is a function of ability and has absolutely nothing to do with gender.

My ideas for this writing were originally inspired by an article by Cheryl Seal in 2004 at The Real Assault on American Marriage: 10 Top Ways Bush Republicans Have Undermined Marriage

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