November 3rd, 2004

i fight fire with words

"There is a life about to start, when tomorrow comes..."

Honestly, i don't particularly want either of these 2 men running my country. So i'm not going to be particularly happy come morning regardless. (A repeat of 2000, i.e. no clear winner, will make me particularly upset, though, because i do not want to have to deal with that.) I only get anxious when i start thinking about how my surrounding world (leftist Smith college, liberal friends, etc.) will react to certain outcomes. Regardless of who wins, there's a lot of work to be done these next 4 years and beyond. And that will be my focus in terms of politics -- working on the stuff i care about, not bitching about how much i loathe whomever is in charge.

It does make me sad that the same-sex marriage bans seem to all be passing. I honestly believe that these bans will eventually go the way of the miscegenation laws, but "eventually" may not be as soon as i would like. Speaking out, writing letters, being a witness with my life... all these things are things i am willing and likely to do around this issue (and have done in the past, in fact). And honestly i feel more solid and comfortable and powerful doing that kind of work on concrete issues like that rather than dealing with the big sprawling far more complicated and problematic stuff like Presidents. (Activism re: specific Presidential policies is a total go, but trying to get me to campaign for an entire platform/administration... not likely.)

I have gotten unsatisfactory responses so far to my queries about the confusing pieces of my grad apps, but my paper is going well, and i have a mix of mellow background music (though it is reminding me that i function far more efficiently without background music). ::ignores the work that looms after the completion of this particular paper, as it can be put off until after some sleep::

I may not be entirely willing to listen to you bitch about politics, but i am always willing to hug people in distress.
that which IT has not [fox1013]

Is this what it feels like to be a fountain of grace?

"You always say it best." -quasisonic

"Thank you." -bella_loki

"I love you. Thanks for helping to keep me sane through all this." -sk8eeyore

"I'm a bit more peaceful now, after reading this, which I think will help me sleep." -akronohten

(We talked about grace last week at RCFOS, about giving and receiving it, about the unexpected light in the dark place -- and i referenced Seamus Heaney’s “Skylight”.)

Knowing that i was such a grace to other people is such a grace to me.

[Writing a paper was totally better than watching election coverage, though i ended up refreshing the CNN page -- too late i learned of the c-span map -- with some regularity, and of course if i hadn’t been writing a paper i could have just gone to bed at a decent hour. Anyway, my paper has not been read over to check for coherency, excessive repetition, etc., but it is done.]
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i fight fire with words

Why Bush?

An acquaintance posted "but who are the millions of people who voted for bush? and what the mother fuck were they thinking? really, what?" and i thought, "Do you really want an answer to that?" and recalled an e-mail my father had sent about whom the various people he reads were supporting for President. Many either didn't publicly state or were not voting. Many were voting reluctantly, being far from enamored with either candidate. Many had thoughtful reasons for voting for Bush. I couldn't easily find statements of Why for many of the people (e.g. Glenn Reynolds, Eugene Volokh, both of whom are very much worth reading in general) but i found some.

Virginia Postrel talks about on what Bush vs. not-Bush boils down to, and answers the question How can you vote for a guy like Bush?

"Jane Galt" (Megan McArdle) finally made up her mind after a lengthy round of discussion in her blog. Collapse )
hermione by oatmilk

"the world's not falling apart, because of me..."

i love my country
by which i mean
i am indebted joyfully
to all the people throughout its history
who have fought the government to make right

-Ani DiFranco, "Grand Canyon"
every adult before me, surely, has felt at some time that they alone could see the US was foolishly tearing itself to pieces. surely in four more years we'll all be alive, and it won't have been that bad...?

surely, thought i, the world is not ending permanently. surely, thought i, the world has ended before.
I was really pleased to see my flist today filled with people resolving to stay and fight. Not that i don't understand the urge and sometimes necessity to just give up at times (hello my recent sabbatical from politics) but leaving the country in the hands of those who disagree with you, without your dissent to balance them out, [and we know how important i think it is for everyone to engage with people with whom they disagree] when one of your big concerns is that this administration you have so many problems with is such a world power... yeah, not so much. Like i said, i totally understand the instinct to run away and hide, and i'm not trying to cut short anyone's period of mourning, i'm just looking forward to when people have recovered and resume fighting the good fight (in a respectful manner, of course).

I was also really taken aback by the intensity of emotion on my flist. I just don't have the fear and loathing that many people do. I realized at some point last night that if i woke up in the morning and there was a definite winner (and i was hoping for that) i would think, wearily and somewhat gratefully, "Well, at least it wasn't the other guy." Not that i don't understand where people are coming, from, i just don't personally connect to that intensity.

(Oh, and i didn't vote Libertarian for President, ‘cause Badnarik is crazy. "Jane Galt"/Megan McArdle has blogged about this. Why aren't I voting for Badnarik? Why I am not voting for Badnarik, Part II)

I really wish people had taken that angry energy from the 2000 election and channeled it into getting rid of the electoral college. I figured out today what my ideal for the system would be. I would like Election Day to be a day that everyone has off from work/school, maximizing ease of voting. I would like the vote to be popular vote. I would like the results announced one week later, with a moratorium on exit polls etc. for that one week. (The ballot counters wouldn't be quarantined like jurors, but would be forbidden from talking about any of the ballots they had counted.)

I really like Marauder's analogy about America's two political parties (not necessarily specific candidates):
America's two major political parties are like Snape and Sirius. They have a lot of the same goals, but at the same time they have some important ones that are very different. There are times when I love them and times when I get frustrated with them. Most of the time I wish they would just be quiet for a little bit and make an effort to understand each other, even if they still won't agree afterwards. Both of them have been known to overreact and do rash things. For the most part I understand why they feel the way they do, even if I think they're acting like idiots.

Last November when the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in my state, my father worried that it was too much too soon, that there would be a backlash. The fact that 11 states banned same-sex marriages this November indicates he was right.

Eugene Volokh suspects that the Ohio same-sex marriage measure may have brought enough conservatives to the polls to make the difference in the Presidential election.

This makes me sad, but i really think that eventually we'll win. Maybe we'll have to go more slowly, but i really think eventually same-sex marriages will be as little of an issue as interracial marriages are now. Yes, this is me the girl who's usually a cynical bitch with little faith in people en masse. I'm not sure en masse is the way to win this thing, but talking to people and meeting them where they are and being respectful and showing them that the queers aren't scary and don't actually threaten them... people will come around.

P.S. I love you, marginaliana.

and moving on to fandom..

To anyone interested in watching Jesus Has Two Mommies: How does Friday November 12 sound?

To anyone who knows Sandman: Which Sandman stories focus on Despair? (I feel like i already asked Allie this way back, but i can't remember the answer.) Emma pointed out Endless Nights, which is so true, but i feel like there's some regular Sandman stories, too.

Thanks to sockkpuppett for a version of the No Limits credits that my computer will actually play (though once i watched it i was underwhelmed). But there is a new episode tonight! I so deserve that.

pictures (with captions) from the San Diego Comic Con including Jonathan Woodward gaying up the mini-Spike and voodoo Gunn

lonelybrit says White Room = slashiest con ever

I've almost finished my piece for bashipforever's Spike/Dawn ficathon. Like so many ficathon pieces, this may well end up being expanded into a larger series but it also functions sufficiently as a stand-alone piece. I also think i may need to get myself a beta.

The idea that sexual fantasy reduces stress is not a surprise, right?

sarah_p: Not that i have any free time to speak of, but is there going to be a btvs_santa this year?
want to believe [mys1985]

"thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path..."

The election results obviously influenced tonight's RCFOS, but actually it was generally in a way that i felt very positive about, which was a blessing.

As a preamble, Sarah read Luke 6:27-36
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Then she also read the 23rd Psalm.

Also affected by the election, Elizabeth brought in the following along with the material she had intended to discuss.
[The verses below reportedly were engraved on the wall of Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta, and are widely attributed to her. However, according to The New York Times, the verses actually were written by 19-year-old Kent Keith in a motivation booklet for high school counselors published while he was a student at Harvard in 1968. In 2002 Dr. Keith was communications director at the Honolulu YMCA.]


People are often unreasonable, illogical,
and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
The reading that we actually discussed was from the beginning of Chapter 2 of God Hunger.
This hunger is better than any other fullness;
this poverty is better than all other wealth.
-C. S. Lewis

God comes to us not as food but as hunger, not as presence but as distance felt, not as fulfillment but as longing, not as love consummated but as desire enkindled.

God does not take away our loneliness but intensifies it.

God does not answer our questions but floods out soul with ever-expanding mystery.

God does not soothe that "old ache" but deepens it.

God does not open the door but prompts us to go on knocking.

For our hunger is a joyful longing.

Our hunger is God made present.

Let us Pray

Do not take away the hunger of my soul
or let me fill it with spiritual trifles,
ready to hand,
sweet to the taste,
but good for only a moment's satisfaction.
Deepen my hunger.
Enkindle my desire.
Come to me
in the longing in my heart,
for in my emptiness
you are present.
As always, we got off on tangents after a while.

Sarah talked about how she was frustrated with the whole "I'm moving to Canada thing," and she had a wonderful analogy about how if you're Catholic you shouldn't become UCC just because you're frustrated with the hierarchy in the Catholic Church; you should only become UCC if for you God is more fully present in UCC than in Catholicism. She said she had used the same analogy in reverse when struggling herself a few years ago with staying in the Catholic Church and reasoned at the time that you don't leave your country just because you're frustrated with the administration.

Cassidy talked about how we are products of our experiences and that if we had had different experiences we would be different people, so we should be aware of the fact that if we had had different experiences we might be those people we so dislike, and that if they had had different experiences they might be different people and that we could try to be those different experiences for them.

Liz brought in this article from the Boston Globe.
A telling loss for the church
By Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist | November 3, 2004

The Catholic Church in Boston is one of the big political losers this morning.

Senator Marian Walsh is going back to Beacon Hill, the voters in one of the most conservative Catholic districts in Massachusetts having ignored the counsel of their bishop and cast their ballots for a whole person instead of a single issue.

It had been bad enough that Walsh was the only legislator to call in 2002 for the prosecution as well as for the resignation of Cardinal Bernard F. Law in response to the clergy sex-abuse scandal. The West Roxbury Democrat and lifelong Catholic then rejected the urgent appeals of Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley last spring and voted against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

This modest lawmaker, a state senator since 1993, all but painted a target on her back.

The Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the church's lobbying arm, put Walsh at the top of its list of incumbents who needed to ''feel the backlash in November," in the words of an editorial in The Pilot, the house organ of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Instead, Walsh defeated handily Robert Joyce of Roslindale, a lawyer running as an independent who made his commitment to ''defend traditional marriage" the centerpiece of his campaign in a district that encompasses West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Dedham, Westwood, and Norwood.

There were nasty anti-Walsh pamphlets on windshields in church parking lots after Sunday Mass. There were whispers about her sexuality, about her alleged animosity toward Catholicism, stemming from her marriage to a divorced man.

''It was ugly and it was sad," said Walsh, a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School who also attended Ursuline Academy and Newton College of the Sacred Heart.

Her victory, she said last night, ''is an affirmation that all people are created equal, that all people deserve to have their constitutional rights protected, and that however much people may disagree, most people are good and want very much to be fair to each other."

There is irony in the transformation of Marian Walsh from predictable ally to pariah in the eyes of the Catholic Church. A tireless advocate for the poor, for public education, for affordable housing, for substance-abuse treatment, she also has stood with the church against the death penalty and abortion. That last stance put her at odds with a liberal establishment that otherwise found much to celebrate in her record of support for human services and expanded access to health care.

It is not easy in politics, Walsh long ago learned, to defy neat categorization. Social workers, for instance, withheld their endorsement of this natural ally in this crucial election because of Walsh's opposition to reproductive choice. Her antiabortion position has kept her from firm alliances with some female colleagues on male-dominated Beacon Hill, as well, but she accepts the consequences of her votes with equanimity.

''I don't apologize for voting my conscience," she said. ''People who agree with my position on abortion were willing to listen to me on gay marriage. Maybe they didn't agree, but they came to see that I voted the way I did because I saw it as a civil rights issue. I could not deny some of my constituents their constitutional right to marry."

The real irony is that it was the Catholic Church that gave Marian Walsh the strength to cast that vote. ''It was the church that taught me to believe in an informed conscience and to act on it. It was the church that taught me to question authority, to do what I believe is right," she said. ''The sadness I feel is to see the church stray so far from the heart of its mission, to really wander off the path. It has been very dispiriting for me personally."

Politically, yesterday's election returns were far more dispiriting for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Boston.

Eileen McNamara is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at
After meeting was over, i told Liz my my grace story and we talked about being centered and about being present and she told me about a Jesuit she knew and i told her about Bob Murray.