Ladies and Gentleblues, it's a new year out there. Time for a serious look into the ol' pink matter, or brain, for those of you who insist on anatomical correctness. (If any one of you so much as thinks about commenting about the true color of brain matter, so help me I'll slap you upside the head with my big Creative License stick.)
It's like State of the Union time in my mind, summing up opinions and venting those festering pools of irritation, folks, and there is a LOT of CRAP going on, let me tell you. And a couple of kudos, too. So let's get started.
Great big, fat, hypocritical pusspool oozing nasty things like persecution and the doctrine of hate all over my rosy-colored dream of utopian America. What is UP with these Christian fundamentalists shoving their petitions and their prayers and their group meetings all up in my email and my office and my schools?? I got one today asking me to support the ideals of prayer in school and Christian television programming. I get invitations at my workplace to participate in weekly prayer meetings in the conference room, which, even in the most comfortable, caring work environment such as mine is hard to graciously decline. Uh, hello? Is anybody thinking out there? Not everyone in America is a Christian. And while those who call themselves Christian (and I don't think all of them are living up to the name) are certainly entitled to the same free speech rights as everyone else, that doesn't mean they have the right to force feed their dogma to the young and impressionable in an environment where I have no parental oversight or ability to protect the developing mind of my child: namely, school. I happen to be one parent who gratefully accepts whatever protections are offered that will keep my son from being biased toward any one religion. I don't expect them to ban all religious expressions. I DO expect them to refrain from forced participation and coercive pressures to embrace said expressions. Feel free to keep "under God" in the Pledge, America, but don't make my kid recite it. It's my choice to keep his mind open to many possibilities until he's old enough to evaluate which spiritual path rings true in his heart, and then to accept his choice even if it's different than mine. I want him to self-educate on religion, to follow where his curiosity leads him, to read books, question spiritual leaders of different faiths, and decide for himself what feels right, not blindly accept the only "truth" he's been allowed to experience during his formative years. And I want a few freedoms for myself as well. I want to not be afraid to declare my religious choices. I want to not feel ostracized for walking a path outside of the mainstream. I want to be able to wear the symbols of my faith in public without fear of repercussions within my family or colleagues or friends. I want to trust everyone I care about to accept me the way I am, but every day in the news I read things that terrify me and make me question the real meaning of "freedom of religion." Because I think it doesn't just mean freedom to practice the faith of your choice only if you keep it secret and outwardly pretend you agree with the majority. I think it should mean freedom from persecution, freedom from judgment, from slander, from the slinging of insulting and hurtful labels that have no basis in fact. It should mean equal recognition, equal respect, so that no one faith is held above all others as the superior, most righteous, most legal or most normal. /rant
On to the attaboys (and attagirls, as the case may be):
A big hat's off and salute to our troops at home and abroad, no matter what their current assignment may be or whether you agree with it's motives and means. My earlier commentary on freedoms I lack does not mean for one minute that I ever forget or am ungrateful for the many, many freedoms I DO have. Those men and women put on a uniform everyday and proudly display our country's symbols in a world that isn't always happy to see them, that boos and hisses on one side of the scale and shoots and bombs them on the other, but they persevere and give their all to keep us safe and secure. May your 2007 be safer than your 2006, wherever it takes you, and may all your homecomings to friends and loved ones be sweet and long-lasting.
Three cheers to bloggers who tell it like it is and for anyone to see - to cancer fighters, infertility chroniclers, civil rights watchdogs, recipe geniuses and personal friends. Your blogs educate, empower, inflame, inspire, and otherwise ignite my thinking and feeling responses and I thank you.
So, here's to 2006, with all its ups and downs, goodbye, we love you, we'll miss you, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. 2007, bring it on!