Thursday, December 18, 2008

What are you doing here?

That is probably the second most common question I'm asked. People come to my cubicle, see my Obama buttons (two, I'm tasteful) and my picture of Obama and Biden from the convention (not as tasteful, but cool to me), and they immediately forget what they came to talk about, instead asking me "You're a liberal? What are you doing here?"

See, I'm in the Navy and apparently, being a liberal in the military makes me a total freak. I usually just let it slide, but with the new year, and the impending inauguration, I've decided to change my attitude. No more shrugging it off. No. From now on, I'm going to take on these douchebags (nicely,if they out-rank me). As far as I can tell, the only people that have actually defended the Constitution in the past eight years have been liberal. Torture? Conservatives. Wiretapping? Conservatives again? I mean, Bush was the one who said the Constitution is "just a piece of paper." So, fuck conservatives. They suck at defending the Constitution.

I'd like to say that I have no idea why conservatives have felt that they own the military, but that's not exactly true, and this article does a pretty good job of explaining what drives the conservative mind ("fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity"). Well, I'd say that pretty much sums up the military. That, and they can be protected from "the gays." I guess it makes sense that conservatives would be attracted to the military environment. And there's guns, so many guns!!!

The past eight years have been a Bush love-fest. It's gross. He can do no wrong and I've endured way too many "discussions" about how going into Iraq was the right thing to do. But, I can feel the pendulum swinging back in the other direction. For people that have taken the "support the president or fuck off" attitude, they're surprisingly ready to shed that mentality. Ok, it's not surprising, but it's so hypocritical, it makes my head spin!

Well, I've been supporting the Constitution all along. It's not about the President, and it never should have been. So, you want to know what I'm doing here? The same thing I've always been doing here: exercising my right to serve my country and defend the Constitution. If you don't like that, well, fuck off.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Addicted to Religion

I just want to preface this by saying that I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I haven’t even taken the “standard” college psych class. I’m just writing from my observations and experiences. So, on with the show…

I have this theory that everyone is addicted to something. Alcohol and drugs are the common ideas that pop into people’s minds because those are addictions that cause chemical dependency, but there are many more addictions and they’re only driven by one chemical: dopamine. Gambling, shopping, BASE jumping, sex, food, hell, even politics (c’mon, you know you’ve gotten a “rush” from a heated debate and totally trouncing your freeper cousin). We’re all after that feeling of total awesomeness. It’s not that our compulsive society drives these addictions, but that our need for satisfaction drives the compulsive society.

Addictions can be treated, but the need for that next rush never goes away. my observation is that people “trade” one addiction for the next. I have a family member that is a gambler. After attending Gamblers Anonymous, he gained about 60lbs. He loves food. Well, he loves eating. It’s that rush. It makes him feel good. I’m sure everyone knows someone who has traded one addiction for another (maybe it’s you); food for exercise, gambling for shopping, alcohol for God. Yea, I said it. People don’t stop being addicted, they just focus their addiction on something else.

How many people do you know that found God after battling an addiction or rough spot? I know a lot. After all, most born-agains have the “My life was crazy until I found God” story. And, it’s not just Christian God. We all know people who have converted to another religion and became fanatics. Well, I’d like to replace the word “fanatic” with “addict.” I believe that the religious fanaticism in this country is not about God at all, but about addiction.

Think about it. Is there another explanation for religious fanatics? They’re addicted to feeling righteous, to feeling superior. But, beyond that, they display all the signs of addiction. Here are some general signs of drug use from the Mayo Clinic:

• Feeling that you need the drug regularly and, in some cases, many times a day
• Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
• Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems
• Driving or doing other activities that place you and others at risk of physical harm when you're under the influence of the drug

And my personal favorite (from the Hallucinogens section):

• Greatly impaired perception of reality

Interestingly, neglect and abuse were not listed, but from my own experiences with addicts, these are classic symptoms.

Religion can absolutely be substituted for drug in many of these cases: daily church attendance, not being able to go without church, feeling that only God can handle your problems, denying medical care to people because of religion. The impared perception of reality speaks for itself. We can plainly see that religious fanatics are not operating in the same dimension as the rest of the world. These are signs of addiction. I went to college with a girl who became “born again” and she used to pray that God would give her ideas for her assignments. She’d waste hours waiting for signs instead of just writing the paper. I thought she was just crazy, when in reality, she was an addict.

Maybe it’s too controversial to suggest that people can be addicted to religion, but I’m pretty sure that if scientific studies were conducted on the dopamine levels of religious fanatics, they would bear strikingly similar results to those of recognized addicts. Religious addiction is damaging our society, our Constitution, and it, more than anything else, drives a wedge between us and keeps us from moving forward as a people.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How can I say this?? You're wrong

So, I saw this the other day and laughed:

First of all, it's funny, but more importantly, it's true. I'm so sick and tired of having to defend equality. I'm sick of the Prop H8-ers, of the fundies, of the "civil unions are ok" people. No. Separate is not equal and marriage is a state institution. You and your partner can go into a church (or house of worship) and say your vows, but without a marriage license, you're not married. Conversely, you can go to town hall and say your vows before a judge or clerk, never set foot in a church, and be married.

So really, let's just get this equality thing on the books and everyone chill the fuck out. Civil unions are not equal. And, I don't really understand this thinking at all. Marriage is not car insurance. You can't pick the features you want. You're either married or you're not. It's very simple.

One reason this issue touches me is because my parents are an interracial couple and married only four years after Loving v Virginia. They endured hell to date and my mom, who's white, was shunned by her mother (didn't attend the wedding, never met or wanted to meet me, her oldest grandchild). People are people, rights are rights, and to quote Loving v Virginia, "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,'..." So, to all those people out there who are opposed to gay marriage: You're wrong. Go worry about your own lives and stay out of everyone else's.