The Right to Life and Love

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Photo taken from The Christian Science Monitor

If we could all just learn to love each other despite our differences, this world would be a better place. You don’t even have to agree with someone on anything to love them as a human being. When someone uses violence out of fear and hate against love, the community at large tends to come together. While terrorism can succeed in leading to change, usually what happens is we come together. The best way to fight terrorism is to not give in to it. Continue to live your life in defiance. The greatest revenge is to live well.

Conan O’ Brian made a statement last night about gun violence and the terrible shooting Sunday morning in Florida at Club Pulse. (Click here to donate to the victims of the shooting). He gave support to a ban on assault weapons. Once again the debate over gun control is at the forefront. Many of us have deep emotions and opinions about guns. Hopefully as a nation we can finally have that civil and productive conversation about gun violence, instead of what we usually have, a lot of shouting. Maybe we can actually do something significant about gun violence. I’m not holding my breath, but I still have hope.

Saying that guns are not part of the problem is frustrating to me. I understand that many are afraid of losing the second amendment, but that is highly unlikely to ever happen. What we can do is ban military style weapons. They aren’t designed for civilian use and I’m sure law enforcement agencies would be happy to have them gone. I get that there are a lot of people who want to have a gun to defend themselves, but you don’t need an AR 15 to do that. Usually when we have this conversation it feels like one side care more about guns than human life. Is that fair? Maybe not, but I’d comes off that way.

I feel a personal connection to the LGBTQ community. While I am heterosexual, when I was a kid, the other children often called me offensive names, like homo, fag, gay, etc. I questioned my own sexuality for many years after that before I realised I was straight. While I don’t pretend to know what it is like to be LGBTQ, I try to empathize. I’d like the LGBTQ community to know that I support them. We mat never see a time where this type of violence will cease to be, but we can hope. Love trumps hate.

 

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History Happened Again

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At the end of the Democrat primary in 2008, then Senator Obama became our nominee, I was a Hillary supporter. I and many of my fellow supporters reached a point when we knew she wasn’t going to be the nominee. Of course we didn’t want to accept it, but it was the reality. Disappointment slowly crept in, and there was anger for some of us too.

I wasn’t angry, more sad. I was also worried about the potential of a fractured Democratic party. Could be come together? Would Obama be able to get Clinton voters? The answer was, yes. Boy what a relief it was too!

Barack Obama was and still is a charismatic figure and that helped him in the long run. However, Hillary went to bat for him and convinced most of us to vote for now President Obama. Looking back, I’m glad that I voted for him the first time and that I was able to play a role in getting him elected the second time around, both as an intern for the Democratic Party of Orange County and by voting for him that November.

Now Bernie supporters are where I was in 2008. I feel for them. It’s not a fun experience. I know about the bitterness, anger, and sad feelings that sometimes result. I don’t wish that on anyone.

I believe Bernie Sanders will ultimately be seen as having a positive effect on the Democratic party and his supporters should feel proud. Bernie deserves mad props for what he was able to accomplish. I hope Bernie will stick with the Democratic Party and help create positive change within the party. He deserves to have at least some of his ideas put into the party platform at the convention.

What I want now is inclusion, unity. It’s not going to be easy, but this country needs it. I hope that Bernie’s supporters will support Hillary in the general election and I think Bernie should play an important role in her campaign at that time. Until then, he should do what he think is best for his supporters and the American people.

The Democratic Party should continue to be inclusive and we need a dialogue of a diversity of ideas within the party. Liberals should not feel like they are ignored and moderates (like myself) need to also have a voice. It’s time for us to come together and make sure that we put another Democrat in The White House.

 

Taking a Cultural Plunge

The bisexual pride flag.
The bisexual pride flag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For my final assignment in my Cultural Diversity class, I had to take a cultural plunge. This required me to learn about a culture that is very different than mine. The cultural plunge is designed to help you learn about a group of people you know little about and to help lessen anxiety. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to be around people you are not familiar with. This can happen with whole groups of people. For example, growing up in a homogeneous environment can make you feel uncomfortable when you have to move into a diverse environment. You may not know how to act or you may have misconceptions about other cultures. A cultural plunge forces you to adjust to a new environment and confront prejudices you may have. It’s a great way to learn about people.

My choice for the assignment was to explore bisexuality. I’m including the link to download the power point presentation:

Cultural Plunge Presentation

It was fascinating to learn about bisexuality and pan-sexuality. I really enjoyed my Cultural Diversity class as it is a reminder that we cannot trust our assumptions of a culture based on one or two people. Meaning that culture is diverse even within one group of people. We tend to make generalizations about people based on our experiences in the past. The example I use in the presentation is assuming that feminists hate men based on dealings with women claiming to be feminists. It’s not fair to paint a group of people as all the same based on meeting a few people who claim to belong to that group. This happens sometimes when tourists travel oversees. When you travel over sees, you tend to be an ambassador for your country, even though you don’t represent everyone in your country!

I really feel that the categorization and classification that our brains use to remember information does not work with people. Racism and prejudice is built on these processes. I think it’s important for us to try and resist the judgments and assumptions that we have when we meet new people. We are bound to make them, but if we question them each time we make them, we begin to train our brains to put less credibility on these judgement. Plus, this allows us to change our perspective if we find that we have made a wrong assumption.