Archive for January, 2006


Seeking Legitimacy and Peace

For year the US and Israel have been saying that they will not talk to Hamas because they are a terrorist organization and have no legitimacy. Finally, having realized that we were serious, Hamas decided to legitimacy themselves and run as a political party. Then, having won the election, and therefore, legitimacy as it has been described worldwide, Hamas offers to share power with the opposing party. It still refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, but Hamas IS the elected party and has the freedom to do as it pleases. Democracy has a dark side.

There are several ways this could go. The US and Israel could back down on their pledge not to talk to Hamas, mostly because the leader of the organization made an excellent point. What if leaders from all over the world stopped negotiating with various countries based only on who had been elected? And democratically, at that! This may not be a choice we like, but Hamas has been elected and they do run the country. Not talking with them could mean war. And the US will most likely support Israel militarily, which would probably result in a draft here. Our economy would take another hit that we can’t afford. Bad things would happen. So I’m hoping everyone swallows their pride and takes a seat at the table.

My thoughts are with Israel and the concern they must be feeling at this volatile time in their part of the world. May their courage, strength, and unwavering faith sustain them.


I Am a Sellout

Senator Rick Santorum came to speak to students at our school yesterday as a publicity stunt, both for the school and for the Iraq war. Suprisingly, he offered to answer questions. I have to say, I’m proud of my boys. They didn’t let the Senator off too easily, but there was one question about his speech I desperately wanted to ask: Why did you refer to 9/11 when justifying the Iraq war even though no connection has been established between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden?

I don’t know how we can talk about free speech in America when I know for a fact that asking that question would have gotten me fired. If I were teaching in a public school, asking that question would have gotten me a discipline slip at the very least. We have become a nation so afraid of what people think and how they will react that we censor ourselves to protect our families and our jobs. I had a teacher who told me, “Doing the easy thing is rarely right and doing the right thing is rarely easy”. I am ashamed to say that yesterday, I did the EASY thing even though I knew with all of my heart that it wasn’t the RIGHT thing. I set a bad example for my students, and taught them to keep their mouths shut even when they come across something they KNOW is wrong.



I went to a Women’s College and we used to joke that we didn’t need sororities on campus because we were one. There was relatively little pressure on the dating front because men weren’t generally around campus. For those who wanted to go Greek, there was a large University just down the street. Their sororities didn’t recruit our women, but they didn’t turn them away, either.

After reading Pledged by Alexandra Robbins, I was glad to have been sheltered from all of that. My college boyfriend was Greek, Phi Delta Theta to be exactly (just like my Daddy), so I got to observe the who process from the outside. I sent time in the frat house, went to formal, semi-formal, etc… and watched as girls who had previously ignored my boyfriend fell all over him once he was a brother. At least he was too smitten with me to notice!

Anyway, there was some scary information in the book, such as the fact that pipes at sorority house corrode at an alarming rate due the stomach acid that is constantly flushed through them. For the same reason, maintenance is called often to the house to clean out pipes clogged with vomit. I won’t give away too much of the book, but you should know that over 75% of sorority girls have been sexually assaulted, most often by a fraternity member.


No, It’s Not.

A personal disease cannot be controlled. A person becomes stricken with disease through no fault of their own. They are accosted from within, ravaged by pain, and humbled by their own mortality. Families are pillaged to pay medical costs. The individual emotional distress can be overwhelming. Cancer and bipolar disorder fall into the category of personal disease.

A societal disease is an affliction that cannot be controlled by the entity effected by it. Whether it is slow and degenerative (like religion) or swift and chaotic (like AIDS), the results are often devastating. Many of these diseases can be constrained by legal restrictions or common sense for a period of time before exploding on a world-scale. Drug and alcohol addiction fall into the category of societal disease, not personal disease.

So everyone say it with me: Drug and Alcohol addiction is NOT A PERSONAL DISEASE. Why? Because a person can decide at any time to put the beer down and back away from the cocaine. No higher power is required. There is only one step. Personal responsibility is a necessary lesson in life, and many people fail the test (and ruin it for the rest of us) by refusing to learn to partake without excess.

Forget the excuses. Addiction runs in my family, too. In fact, it runs in every family. Just because no one calls someone who plays video games 12 hours a day an addict doesn’t mean he’s not one. We all use escapes, some more obsessively than others. To practice them in moderation is the key, but you must be taught to do so. Temperance is not something that is seen often in America, and many of our societal ills have a lot to do with what we teach our children. If we teach people to refrain from drug and alcohol use, we are not teaching them to live in the world around them. There is a time and a place (and a limit) for everything, and addicts have not learned to recognize that fact.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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