Monday, February 4, 2008

Links in a chain

Over the years, a few people I once considered my friends have told me, "You should be more like your sister." The implication was that I should be more adventurous. But that's not how I see things. The way I see things, we each have our own path, and the thing to do is to follow one's own path. My sister is the ultimate traveler while my mother is the ultimate homebody, but they are the same because both are following their own paths. My sister's life is more glamorous than my mother's, but glamor is irrelevant. Whether one's life is glamorous has little bearing on whether one is being true to oneself and living up to one's potential.

I feel that my grandmother, my mother, my sister, and myself are a chain of women across the generations. Even though our lives are very different on a superficial level, we are all carrying on the same tradition. We carry on the tradition of striving to follow our own paths rather than conforming to expectations. We also carry on the tradition of being the kind of person who would never say to someone, "You should be more like ____." Instead, we are the kind of person who says, "It's wonderful that you are yourself." We view others in a compassionate, respectful way. Although we recognize the validity of diverse viewpoints, we are selective about which people we become close to. We are committed to our family and those we have chosen as friends. We encourage the people in our lives to follow their own paths rather than telling them how they should be. We live life heartily and with integrity, but also diplomatically. We don't put up a fight against others, we just go our own way. The people in my family are role models to me not because of the number of adventures they have but because of the way they follow the path that is true for them, regardless of its glamor or adventurousness. I am one of them because I am true to me, and anyone who tells me I should be different from what I am is missing the boat.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Tuesday and the latest debate

Those of us who will be voting in the Democratic primary on Feb. 5 have two candidates to choose from. People in New Hampshire had more choices. There must be a better way to organize the primaries, so that people from all states have a range of choices. Maybe we could divide the country into 8 regions, and have a different primary day for each region. That way it would be more evenly divided. Also, the order of the regions could be different in different years.

The two candidates that I have to choose from aren't really that different from each other. They define their difference as being about experience vs. change. Obama says "I think what is at stake right now is whether we are looking backwards or we are looking forwards," while Clinton says we should need someone who can solve problems from day one. I think I prefer the experience over the change. The claims of change strike me as empty rhetoric. Politicians always like to claim they will bring change. I'd rather have someone who knows how to do the job.

So many people seem to think that being a good Christian means devoting your energy to condemning other people as sinful. In contrast, I think Christianity is about helping others. I liked what Hillary Clinton said tonight: that she opposed a law against providing any sort of assistance to undocumented immigrants because "that would have criminalized the good Samaritan and Jesus Christ himself."

Apparently there have been people concerned that Obama is secretly a Muslim. It seems like a strange worry to me. Anyhow, to address that concern, Obama gave a speech a while back saying how Christian he is. I didn't like the way he seemed to accept the premise that it's important to be Christian in order to be qualified to be President of the United States.

But I think both of them care about helping the downtrodden, getting people good health insurance, and ending the war in Iraq. Either way, it would be refreshing to have that kind of president.