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Ash

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In Which I Solidify My Position on Gay Marriage [Apr. 15th, 2009|03:09 pm]
Ash
I grew up in a strongly religious household. I attended church every week. I prayed. I read the Bible. And I believed. I believed that despite the doubts I held that the word of God was absolute and correct, and above question, suspicious or hesitation. If the Bible decreed that a homosexual lifestyle was wrong in the eyes of God, then wrong it was, regardless of how I felt about it.

I remember having various doubts about Christianity. I didn’t want to believe that good people who happened to not be Christian would be destined for an eternity of damnation, or that we could declare their religion “wrong”. People told me that God works in mysterious ways and that we have no idea what happens to those “non-believers” after death, but I always felt that they were simply trying to assuage m worries.

Yet I rarely questioned further. Blind acceptance, more or less.

Growing up I was a typical homophobic male teen. “Gay” was a regular part of my vocabulary, as an epithet for “shitty”, “bad”, “stupid”, etc. “You’re so gay” or “You’re such a fag” was a regular part of my vocabulary.

I was taught to see gay people as something strange, something different, something immoral and something unnatural. And I followed blindly. My parent’s positions on the topic haven’t changed. While it’s wrong to hate gay people and to be cruel to them, it’s not wrong to expect them to tone down their lifestyle and live a life of celibacy. “We”, as Christians, cannot condone the homosexual lifestyle, and we must hate the sin, not the sinner. While, thankfully, my parents believe that homosexuality is biological and that gay people don’t choose to be gay, they do believe that living a gay lifestyle is a sin and that people must learn to control it. My mother equated it to a mental illness, such as anger management. You have no control over having it, but you must learn to control it. Apparently, just as you can’t go around punching people in anger you also cannot go around fucking people of the same gender. Celibacy or hell, more or less.

I jumped ahead a little there, forgive me.

It all changed when I went to university and met and befriended gay people who were completely out and who were happy and satisfied with who they were. By getting to know them I became aware that gay people were not inherently immoral, their sexually was neither a choice nor a mental handicap and they were some of the kindest, gentlest people I had ever met.

Those of you who have been raised in liberal households and surrounded by open and happy gay people all your lives may see this revelation as being silly. But to me it was an eye opener.

While I still had some remnants of my Christian faith left I tried to reconcile my religious background with my newfound life experiences. Why not allow gay people to have civil ceremonies, I argued. That would give them all the health, tax and insurance benefits without stepping on the toes of the religious establishment by calling it “marriage”.

As my faith slipped away my support of gay rights (and other “left-wing” beliefs such as pro-choice and the absolute separation of church and state) grew.

In the end I’ve come to the conclusion that, frankly, I see no reason why gay marriage should even be an issue. It shouldn’t have to be an issue. It should be so widely accepted and tolerated that there should be no need for protests or marches or conservative pundits discussing the downfall of American morality.

People on all sides of the religious and political sphere can live in harmony. When over half of marriages end in divorce, when crime is rampant, when you have people in awful, abusive marriages and relationships, there is no reason why two people in a loving, committed relationship should not be legally and spiritually joined together, if that’s what they choose.

Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden all allow same-sex marriage. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont in the US allow same-sex marriage. A number of countries, including the UK and Germany allow civil partnerships.

The world is changing. We’re facing a number of horrific issues, such as a volatile and war-torn Middle East, economic threats from China and India, violent threats from Iran and North Korea, and the worst economic recession in many, many years.

Do we really have time, or even the need, to argue about people who just want to love each other? We need love more than ever, and we shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.
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The Conservative Media [Mar. 23rd, 2009|11:21 am]
Ash
While I regularly meet friends/business associates for lunch during the week, I’ll often either bring a sandwich from home or I’ll buy food and eat it in front of the sea at a nearby waterfront (benefits of living in The Bahamas, but not an integral point to the story). While eating I prefer to listen to something other than music. Usually it’s stand-up comedy from Dane Cook or Jerry Seinfeld, occasionally an audiobook (which includes Stephen Colbert’s I Am America… And So Can You… brilliant, if you haven’t read/listened to it already).

So today I decided to turn to the AM stations on my radio and listen to some American talk radio. Being so close to the States we get a lot of conservative talk radio.

Now, despite being unabashedly liberal, I’m quite happy for people to express their conservative tendencies. Support McCain over Obama, be pro-life, pro-Biblical-marriage, pro-Iraq war, whatever. I may think you’re ridiculous and narrow-minded to hold those beliefs, but I’ll support to the end your right to express them in a civilized manner. I’m also all for criticizing your elected leaders. It disgusted me during Bush’s term that criticizing the President was seen by many as being un-Patriotic. That’s ridiculous, the government should be held to account for its actions. So even the constant and oft-times ridiculous criticism of Obama was, well, bearable.

But I heard some pontifications today that disgusted me. In fact, I have to debase myself and call it shit. I heard some shit on the conservative radio today that offended me deeply.

I was listening to AM 850 out of Ft. Lauderdale. WFTL to be specific. First came some comments from Michael Savage, whoever he is. The following is a quick rundown of his main points.

- Barack Hussein (he made a point of mentioning the middle name) is an ‘imposter’ in the White House
- The current administration is the most corrupt in history (apparently he wasn’t paying attention for the last eight years)
- Muslim education officials in England are ‘terrorists’
- There is no England anymore, apparently, and all English men are ‘soccer louts’

So that was Savage. Then came Joyce Kaufman. Kaufman began to spew some similarly hateful and divisive opinions. The major point before I was so disgusted that I turned off the radio and went back to my office (which, thankfully, is a haven of liberal ideas) was to do with Obama’s recent videotape to the Iranian people. In it he basically says, “Look, let’s forget the last 30 years of strained relations and work together for the betterment of all mankind”. Now it doesn’t mean that the US is going to sit idly by while Iran makes nuclear weapons. It doesn’t mean that the US is going to remain quiet while grave human rights violations occur in Iran. But it does mean that the US is beginning to respect Iran’s rights as a sovereign nation in the world community.

Kaufman’s response was: “My video would have been much shorter. It would have been an image of my middle finger, and me saying ‘bring it on!’”

Umm… what? If you were President of the United States you would flip off Iran and say, “bring it on”? Are you out of your mind? Disregarding the utter disrespect from one leader to another, do you really want to make an enemy out of a nation that may have/may eventually have a nuclear arsenal to throw your way? A nation that still has close ties with Russia, which DOES have a nuclear arsenal to throw your way…

One of the things I respect about Obama, and it was made evident in his acceptance speech at the inauguration, was the way that he’s willing to reach out to other countries in the global community. “We will extend a hand if you unclench your fist”, he said. That includes Iran. That includes North Korea.

To be so disrespectful and so divisive in a time when the world is trying to come together and rebuild itself after a failed war in the Middle East and the worst economic forecast in over 50 years is not only counterproductive, it’s wrong.
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In my mouth [Mar. 9th, 2009|03:53 pm]
Ash
I just ate a piece of a pencil eraser.

Let me explain. I have something of an oral fixation. I like to have things in my mouth. While working or doing anything really I have pens, pencils, pieces of metal, plastic, etc. in my mouth. I have a few favourites. Paperclips being one (the plastic coated ones are the best, because then you get to chew plastic AND metal as the coating wears away).

Fine, I’m weird. I get it.

So anyway, there I was chewing on the end of a pencil as I tried to come up with some innovative public relations ideas (for the record, they tend to frown on lying or being blatantly offensive… who knew?).

In my mouth I suddenly find myself chewing on an eraser instead of the pencil itself. I mean literally chewing. Any normal person might spit out the eraser in disgust. But nobody’s ever called me normal. I’m always up for new things, so I continued chewing and swallowed.
For the record, it does not taste good.

This reminds me of a time when I ate a piece of lip gloss. My girlfriend at the time was using this strawberry flavoured lip gloss. It not only smelled really good, but tasted excellent when I kissed her. So, I figured that if it smelled good and tasted good on her lips, then it stands to reason that it must taste good as well, right?

Fun fact – they make lip gloss out of wax. And it tastes like wax. It’s the same sensation as biting into a candle.

Not that I’ve, uhh, ever done that.
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The 2009 Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, Nassau, Bahamas [Jan. 25th, 2009|06:06 pm]
Ash


mjordan close1


Jordan says come in...Collapse )

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(no subject) [Jan. 16th, 2009|10:41 am]
Ash
A new year, a new set of resolutions and promises. Will I keep any of them? Probably not, but it’s good to be aware of one’s flaws.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. What I’d like to talk about is the current Israel/Hamas conflict.
Below is an article that my fiancé sent me on the current conflict in the Middle East (well, one of the current conflicts I suppose). Many people don’t know much about the entire Israel/Palestine conflict, including myself. The Middle East is viewed by many as being worlds away and so consistently war-torn that death and destruction is a normal way of life for the inhabitants of the region. Sadly, this is the truth.

continueCollapse )
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(no subject) [Nov. 17th, 2008|08:16 am]
Ash




5:15 a.m. is far, far too early to be awake. Goddamn Monday mornings.



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Obama [Nov. 9th, 2008|02:15 pm]
Ash


Obama and the roaches

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Prop 8 [Nov. 8th, 2008|04:23 pm]
Ash
I've been thinking a lot about the so-called success of Proposition 8 in California, but I've been unsure what to say about it.

For those who don't know, California legalized same-sex marriage on June 17, 2008. Proposition 8 is designed to change to state constitution to read that marriage is only valid between a man and a woman. Millions of dollars were raised on both sides of the issue. Brad Pitt, Stephen Speilberg, Google and Apple all donated $100,000 to fight the passing of the initiative.

There was hope that such a liberal state as California would overwhelmingly deny the amendment, enabling same-sex couples to continue to marry. Unfortunately, Proposition 8 has passed (though there is hope that the uncounted absentee ballots will change the decision). It seems that despite California's liberal tendencies there are plenty of people who remain against same-sex marriage.

I, along with many opponents of Prop 8 see this as a civil rights issue, and that replacing the word 'gay' with 'black' shows how ridiculous and outright offensive the amendment is. Proponents of Prop 8 don't see this at all, and range from straight out homophobic to accepting of the gay lifestyle but not enough to allow marriage.

All I can say really is that it's a sad day for California. In a time when the country overwhelmingly elected a black president, an idea that seemed impossible just a couple of years ago, for a state to not just deny its citizens the right to marry but to blatantly take that right away once it had already been given is horrendous.
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Another election '08 post... [Nov. 6th, 2008|09:30 am]
Ash
The blogosphere is buzzing with news of Obama’s win. Around the world people are jubilant, hopeful and excited. Others are pleased, but wary. Other still, I’m sure, are disappointed for whatever reason.

In the US there seems to exist a true feeling of optimism for the future. The world has been going in a downwards spiral for a number of years now, and until Tuesday it felt close to hitting bottom. We’re certainly not out of danger yet, but there is certainly a feeling that with Obama at the helm there is hope for the future, no matter how slim.

I’m often wary of getting too involved with the politics of other nations. Canada held their elections recently, and most of the world didn’t even know, let alone care. Both Australia and France had elections within the last year, but for the life of me I can’t tell you when. I hate admitting my own ignorance, but I can’t even pretend otherwise. I’ve never even voted in Britain or The Bahamas, two countries where I hold citizenship (albeit through no fault of my own. I’ve never been over 18 in Britain during an election, and The Bahamas doesn’t allow proxy voting).

But America is different.

Sure, we slam the country for being arrogant, self obsessed, and for getting involved in the business of others. We criticize its influence on the western world’s economy and culture, its warmongering nature and its self-proclaimed leadership of the free world. We criticize seeing Obama bumper stickers on Bahamian cars, Obama posters in the UK and Obama t-shirts in Japan. We think, ‘hey, it’s not your election’.

But in some ways it is our election. For all of our bitching, America is almost inextricably the leader of the free world. It does shape the globe in a myriad of ways, and the lives of almost everyone on earth is intrinsically tied to the success of the United States. I joked the other day that the world should be allowed to vote in the US election… the US meddles in the world so much, why shouldn’t the world meddle in the US. I was being facetious, of course, but in some ways I do feel that. We’re all so affected by American policies and actions that it is our election, and maybe we should have some kind of influence over it.

But back to Obama. Starting in January America will have a young president, an intelligent president, a president who will be able to bring change to the United States, and to the world. America will have a president who isn’t influenced by the religious right and will move the country’s attitudes forward into the 21st Century. American will have a president who inspires hope, who creates optimism, and who will help America reach its potential. The US, under the Republicans, took advantage of a world that loved it well. Obama will help to rebuild that old reputation and will lead the world, not as a dictator but as an ally, in solidarity with its global brothers, into a brighter future.

Finally, I do have to say a few words about John McCain, particularly his concession speech. He was eloquent, honourable, and accepting of his loss. Rather than criticize Obama one last time, he held out his hand in friendship, support, and respect to his new president. His concession, where he took the high road, made up for all of his negativity and mistakes throughout his own campaign. America is headed for a brighter future, and both John McCain and Barack Obama will be a part of it.
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Year (and a half) in review [Nov. 2nd, 2008|09:37 am]
Ash
So it's been far too long since a substantial LiveJournal update on my life. The last significant thing was a couple of weeks before graduation, back in May. 2007. So I think it is long, long overdue.


so what has he been up to...Collapse )

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