Monday, May 25, 2009

School Daze...

Pomp and Circumstance, honor cords, endless ceremonies, tassel turning. Yep, that was me! ....LAST YEAR! OH MAN! It have been a year already!?! I guess time flies when you are figuring out what to do with the rest of your life. Haha. I'm trying to think of the point and which this all bothered me. I suppose that it was this Friday when I watched with pride as my LITTLE sister who I remember wearing diapers and getting kicked out of pre-school, crosssed the stage, a high school graduate and was not so little anymore. It really hit me then. I felt like I was being ousted from the graduate circle, exchanging my carefree days for the ball and chain of adulthood.

Truthfully, I've spent at least a portion of my post-campaign life wishing I was still in college. I have many friends still there, a number who are on the brink of alumnihood and frequent harassment by the campus donor office (as soon as I get healthcare, you'll get your first check, I promise). I want to go back not because, then, my time belonged to me or because I lament monthly loan repayment. Its because so many life spasms are are excused and condoned in under the umbrella of college. I mean, I got away with countless foolish acts (I'm sure that I could have squeezed in a few more)because I was a student, and I can only imagine that the foolishness threshold has only increased since then. My travels through college was frequently punctuated by me telling myself "Jonae, you are about to be an adult, get your act together" Even though a statement like that could send chills through my spine, at least I still had get it together!

Ok, ok, so I am not ready to cast my days as a student into the Hay-day category quite yet. Heck, I still haven't found anywhere to wear the gold shoes I bought for the occasion. But, as I mostly expected, the bar of time has been raised higher and I've switched from "Get the heck out of high school and stay in college as long as possible" mode to "If I can get a man, some kids, a house and a Graduate degree before 30, I've REALLY MADE IT!" mode. It's the most painstaking transition ever because unlike high school and college, where the variables are determined by you (what school, what major, honor roll or not) the variable are much more out of your hands (not totally though, as people would have you to believe.) The standard by which you measure sucess are not so readily accessible and you may have to work harder than ever to achieve them. If you are anything like me, every moment of jubilant success and accomplishment is met with the mounting pressure to climb to a higher height. Not familiar with the pressure? It goes something like this " So you worked on the campaign trail and helped get Barack Obama elected? Wow. So, What are you doing now? " . I think that when we truly become comfortable in adulthood, those conversations bother us less and less....

So here I am, trying to explain to my newly graduated sister, the perks and perils of adulthood and I don't even know fully myself. In premature retrospect (the length of an entry is not really retrospect) I'd say that I'd only trade my 9-5 or my slice of the "change the world" pie out of cowardice. The desire to have hoops to easily jump though and the piece of mind that comes with them. So, what say you adulthood? Huh? Speak up? My youth is trying to drown you out and it's having fun doing it. Adulthood is still kind of a stanger and a fickle friend rolled into one. All I know is that there are lots of bills, and people expect alot of you. Still, I search far and wide for deep, meaningful words of wisdom for the class of 09. Since the don't drink, smoke, or have sex talk is far beyond played out for a generation that has probably done all 3, (besides hindsight is 20/20 right?) I save the energy and say this,

Congratulations class of 2009 and welcome to the great beyond....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's Love Got to Do With It?

Specter, Souter, and some "churchgoers" who think torture is ok. Quite an interesting concoction of views for the past week or so. Different stories that collectively, I believe, call into question the idea of justice and whether that overpowers our sense of humanity and love. Coincidentally, while I was I was thinking through the content for this entry, I walked into my mom's room and she was watching "What's Love Got to do with it," the infamous love story of Ike and Tina Turner, a movie that turns the idea of love completely on its head.

What's love got to do with justice, really? I wrote in a previous entry that we cannot legislate love, it's a sincere human emotion. But what happens when an institution, a virtue, like justice that is decided by humans, is weighed against love, a virtue that can only be projected by humans. Do we keep the two entirely separate? Do we love justice more than we love one another? Finally, how does someone's views on one justify the other? That's a thesis statement of sorts. But why LOVE though? Love, to me, is like a seed planted in society. It yields fruits like compassion, good-will, sympathy. And sure the average person who claims to posses these things doesn't sit on the couch gushing about mankind, but our capacity to do good, comes out of our capacity to love.

WWJD?: Despite my problems with the research supporting this articles finding (a survey of 700 people isn't really alot for a CNN article is it) and how it was presented, I find it disturbing that anyone with a full and truthful understanding of the message of Jesus Christ and that whole crucifixion business would feel comfortable torturing someone, anyone. The only reasoning that I can apply to such a statement would be that some people's sense for bringing people to JUSTICE and seeing them punished is much greater than their compassion for their fellow man. I suppose these might have been the people that believe that Jesus authorized the war in Iraq. :-/ It seems that no amount of mega-churches will move us toward love if that's not the condition of our hearts.

Souter: The replacement of Souter on the Supreme Court fits nicely into this whole business because, of course there is a tremendous amount of pressure for President Obama to appoint someone with equally or more left leaning views. Ideological balance matters, sure. But what is political premise and convoluted logic when seen through the eyes of love. Nothing, really. Let's rewind a bit. This same Supreme Court justice, appointed by Clinton, that supposedly balances the left was around when we were waterboarding folks at Gitmo! While we are bringing some of those folks guilty of such crimes to justice, having a more liberal justice will ultimately not change what people tolerate in their society. No matter how "liberal" we brand our society, any society that values castigation over age old LOVE has got some real problems whose sentences don't end in Ginsburg, Thomas, or Scalia.

What shapes our opinions about love and justice? Ballads? Court TV? C-Span (clearly justice, not love). I think I discovered the definitions wedged somewhere between a Lauryn Hill CD and a Malcolm X speech. But even so, I think that my compassion far outweighs my tendency toward justice. But who says we can't have both. Everyday, I tell my kids " Do the RIGHT thing." but little do they know, but I am fully aware, I push them towards justice, despite what their heart or mind tells them to do. Why? Because when you don't do what's right, you get punished. So even at 3 years old, these kids learn that the right vs wrong things in life hold more weight than anything, including love. In this day and age, I suppose anyone completely inundated with a diet of popular culture and authoritative figures, is pulled in many directions. Follow love? Or the letter of the law? I'm not pretending to know the answer to this one but I can an offer an introspective sociological experiment disguised as a remedy. :-)

Try sitting in a court room for an afternoon and watch the parade of criminal cases...the alleged kidnappers, the child molesters, the murderers. To someone on the right side of the law, these people may seems a world away. Unless you are someone who is brimming over with compassion, you look upon these people with with a sort of disdain. The shame-inducing kind. Why? Because they have done something WRONG. And while they are people too, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, their identity is stripped down to WRONGDOER. And they should be punished. But WAIT, where's this all enduring LOVE? Hiding. Waiting for the societal seal of approval. Which already discounts its value. What's the matter with all of this? We withhold love/compassion, a free immeasurable, gesture but dole out justice and judgment quite freely. Therein lies the problem with a society that views everything strictly through the barrel of a smoking gun.

S0 what, in conclusion, does love have to do with it?!? Perhaps EVERYTHING, and perhaps....well...nothing. One thing is for sure, in the world we have built, we will never be short on ways to torture and punish people, but maybe....just maybe....we could sneak in a little love.