Tuesday, February 26, 2013


“Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry,” The New York Times reported this morning.

“[C]onservative groups said the White House had informed them that [President Bush] would soon endorse efforts to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution defining marriage to be between a man and a woman,” The New York Times reported nine years earlier, on February 5, 2004.

I still remember the boy who sat in his room 10 years ago following the twists and turns of the Lawrence v. Texas case, Rick Santorum's subsequent hateful comments, and George W. Bush's divisive campaign against gays across America. That boy never imagined that progress and change would happen so quickly, if they would ever happen at all.

Today, that boy is a man who is proud of his country and its leaders and knows that everyone he loves is one step closer to the freedom and equality promised to all Americans.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

State of Disunion

Considering that President Obama used his State of the Union address to call on Congress "to put the nation's interests before party," it is surprising that he chose the same platform to say--for the first time in one of his SOTU speeches--that "the state of our union is stronger."

For years I have wanted Obama to echo the words of George W. Bush and tell the public that the state of the union is strong. Sure it always felt hollow when Bush said it, but it was a rhetorical device that evoked hope even in its absence of truth. Obama finally gave me what I've wanted for years...

...and left me entirely pissed off.

Though we have made some progress on the economy, energy and cutting the deficit, most of those achievements were accomplished only after months of political mudslinging and often coming within inches of completely toppling the economy. This shows--as Obama reflected at the start of his speech--that our union is anything but "stronger." It is fractured. Divided, even. The ideological split currently plaguing Washington seems to have been outmatched only one time in our history: During the Civil War.

I am not suggesting that the current divide is as powerful or traumatic as the Civil War was. However, the current divide hinders progress, discourages political participation by the 'average Joe,' and weakens America's position internationally.

No no, Mr. Obama. Methinks that our union is anything but "stronger" at the moment.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Faith is a powerful thing. For those who believe. To them, faith provides enormous amounts of comfort even in the most dire circumstances. I do not have (much) faith. Nevertheless, it holds power over me because it is such a mystery.

I grew up attending private Jewish schools. Though my parents were never particularly religious, they believe in God, and it was important to them to instill a sense of Jewish identity in their children.

For a time, I had faith. Then things changed. I grew up and learned about the state of the world, and I saw powerful examples of suffering right in my own family.

My grandmother spent 30 years as a prisoner of a broken body. For a long time, she led a mostly joyless life.  When my sister was young, she barely escaped alive from her abusive ex to become a struggling single mother of two kids. Just when she'd finally gotten on her feet, many years later, a reckless driver hit her car. For over three years now, she's been in constant pain and is barely able to walk as a result of that accident.

My grandmother believed in God. My sister still does. So does the woman in my office whose thirty-something year old son who just died of cancer.

I cannot wrap my mind around how these people--and so many others--believe in God's love and kindness in the face of such awful hardships. Perhaps I should admire them for their convictions and humility, but, for now at least, I am simply mystified.