Archive for October 2010

The Color Purple

October 20, 2010

I’m not talking about the movie or the Broadway musical.  Today is Spirit Day.  On Spirit Day, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD) encourages people to wear purple to bring attention to the deaths of six teenagers, who committed suicide over the recent weeks after being bullied over their sexualities.  Why purple?  For some reason, purple has become associated with homosexuality and gay/lesbian rights.  I don’t know the reason for this, and I’m really just feeling too lazy today to try to figure out why.  If someone out there knows, feel free to leave a comment.

I don’t particularly want to get into the gay rights debate on here right now, but I do feel that Spirit Day is worthy of being addressed.  Although GLAAD intended the day to be specifically to address the trials that teens experience in school due to homosexuality and perceived homosexuality and to show these students that there are others out there who support them, GLAAD misses that the larger issue is bullying as a whole.  There are a number of people out there who argue that bullying is good for a number of reasons: It forces people to conform – They say that like it’s a good thing, not me. – It lets people know what’s expected of them and that there are consequences for not meeting expectations.  It’s Practical Darwinism, weeding the outliers out of the society to create a group that functions better as a whole.  All of those reasons are a bunch of hogwash.

While there are some actions, such as streaking and throwing pencils into the ceiling tiles, that are unwelcome distractions in places like sporting events and school and should be curtailed, there is a need to nip it in the bud.  The process of doing that does not require threats and abuse though.  Well, the threat of jail, fines or detention are acceptable.  Picking on someone because of who they are or a disability they may have is an entirely different story than reprimanding streakers and delinquents.  Sexuality, race, religion, economic status and so many other differences do not affect maintaining order and civilization.  There is no place for taunting and hazing that can – not will, but can – lead to long-lasting psychological effects.  They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but given the levels of emotion running through teens and the extremes that they see the world in, it doesn’t take as much to emotionally drive a teenager to death as it does an adult.  The “fun and games” aspect of harrassment must be stopped.

There are people who also feel entitled to abuse others because their lives do not agree with their faith.  My response to hate sometimes spewed in the name of God is this:

Leviticus 19:18 – Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.
Romans 13:9 – The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

There’s some old school and some new school Christianity for you.  Even if you don’t agree with how someone lives, you are still commanded to love them.  Love is not teasing, pushing, hitting and kicking.  Love is peace.  If you know someone who is experiencing bullying, be there for them.  Hug them.  Listen to them.  Let them know it gets better.



October 3, 2010

Last night I went out with some friends for karaoke (video on facebook) and was generally having a good time.  I did backup vocals for a friend while he sang and then after a couple more songs, the DJ got a call saying someone had tried to break into his house.  Understandably, he packed up and left, bringing an early end to the musical stylings of the locals.  I was the last of the group to settle up my bill, and when I walked out to meet the others, I saw someone I hadn’t seen in awhile.  I stopped to say hi, and then noticed somebody else I hadn’t seen in an even longer time.

I thought it somewhat odd that she would be there on karaoke night.  The last time I saw her, she was an alcoholic/addict in recovery with over 2 years of sobriety.  She was a very sweet young woman then, who had her life back on track.  I’ve been told that alcoholics will drink again.  It’s a question of when, not if, and the only thing that will stop them is dying before it happens.  Still, I thought that she would beat the odds.  I thought that with all she had been through during the time that I knew her, if she could stay sober and clean, she’d make it just fine.

Last night, I saw her smoking on the patio with a few people who were drinking.  We smiled at each other.  I still wanted to think the best, although I knew why she was there, and that’s the reason I didn’t walk over to ask how she was doing.  After a few minutes, I went to meet up with my friends at their car.  As I went, I saw her pick up the bottle of beer that had been sitting out of my view behind someone else and down whatever was left in it.

I don’t know why I got my hopes up that she would be alright.  Everybody I’ve ever heard talk about alcoholism has said that sobriety doesn’t last forever, even with support.  Even an alcoholic I know who has been sober for over 24 years always says that he’s just a day away from his next drink.  I guess I just always want to think the best of everyone and hope the best for everyone.  After seeing her last night, I’ve felt pretty crappy.

Although I’m leaving this post public, I’m turning off comments for two reasons.  One is that I don’t particularly want to talk about it right now.  I just wanted to get it off my chest and leave it for awhile.  The other reason is that I don’t want say any more about her.  She has a hard enough road ahead of her without me telling everyone who she is and everything else about her.