Tag Archive | Opinion

I live

During the last five years, my life consists of nostalgic moments in which I drown in grief but every now and then – I emerge as though some part of me struggles to catch a breath of air. An image or most likely something I read sparks something in my mind that reminds me I continue to live. Somewhere buried beneath the layers of sadness, loneliness, and depression is the person I am. One of the things he loved about me is my ability to unabashedly express my opinion on random topics. I often forget that I hold two degrees and will have a third in a matter of months. I forget that I am educated and capable of establishing well-informed opinions on so many issues. I forget that I am capable of writing so many things because I focus on struggling to breathe during the rare moments I emerge from grief.
This morning, I saw a meme that reminded me I still live.

13979_835437979849666_8032690525724461015_n      I am outraged. I forgot that I am educated because my initial response was “Are you freakin’ kidding me?” What a ridiculous, misogynistic, and ignorant declaration. Saying such a thing suggests a few things to me – the person who wrote it is a pedaphile; the person who wrote it is a blithering idiot; and the person who wrote it is indoctrinated to follow a misogynistic principle formulated centuries prior to this one. The unknown author suggests that wearing makeup and sexy clothing somehow spurs impregnation. What? The first suggestion is that allowing a girl to wear makeup at the age of 10 sets a chain of events into motion that will culminate in her becoming pregnant at 16 years of age. The ironic part is that the person who thought of such drivel most likely supports child beauty pageants. Little girls play with makeup. They just do. Now, if a 10-year-old-girl wearing makeup arouses someone who has crossed the threshold of puberty into adulthood, I propose the problem is not with the child but with the aroused. It’s that simple.

Allowing a child to date at 12¬ years old, what an odd concept. I thought that only happened when Jeff Warrens was around. Oh wait, that is not dating so much as rape and marriage. I don’t think Jeff Warrens ever considered the concept of dating. I suppose I live with blinders because I was not aware that children actually dated that early. Yes, I know they hang out in groups and have hayrides, but I think of dating as boy drives up in car, picks girl up at door, and so on. So, I suppose on this one – I’ll have to agree. I don’t recommend dating at twelve years of age.

The anonymous author then tries to convince readers that allowing a girl to wear “sexy clothing at 14” will result in pregnancy. I assume the author has not been shopping lately. Short of buying clothes sold at the local polygamist yard sale, it is difficult to purchase clothes that some warped pedaphile might not perceive as “sexy.” I suppose a parent could use duct tape to bind any hint of breast development and dress the child in layers of feed sacks, but even then, some twisted mind might imagine the child to be a miniature adult. No, a 14-year-old girl does not need to wear clothes commonly associated with prostitution, but I think we need to be realistic and understand that the idea of “sexy” originates in the mind of the beholder. Oh, and parents should forget about high-heeled shoes. In addition, forget about the cheerleading craze because they wear short dresses and cheerleaders are commonly associated with the idea of “sexy.”
I am convinced the unknown author responsible for this meme is a twisted misogynist or bitter woman indoctrinated by twisted misogynists. Girls don’t become pregnant at 16 because of any of the reasons the misguided meme author suggests; they become pregnant because they either willingly or unwillingly had sex. A novel idea to avoid unwanted pregnancy is to learn about sex education. Teach your daughters and sons that while sex is a beautiful part of life, it also brings adult emotions that they are not yet prepared to handle. Teach your children about birth control. I recently read an interesting story written by a woman who underwent the common indoctrination of how she would burn in hell if she had premarital sex. She later experienced a multitude of emotional and marital problems because of it. Look at the facts, our country has the highest rate of teenaged pregnancies and STDs. The idiotic method of teaching young girls to be ashamed of and hide their sexuality is not working. The misogynistic method of teaching young boys that it is perfectly fine for them to react physically when a young girl catches their fancy is not working. Why don’t we consider following the educational pattern that many other countries are successfully practicing in teaching the facts, the financial and emotional aspects, and the consequences, whether good or bad, of choosing to become sexually active?
Yes, I live and continue to think. I imagine the mysterious meme author also assumes that Jon Benet Ramsey’s parents invited the assault and murder of their daughter because they allowed her to essentially play dress up. That upsets me tremendously. The type of people who think that way are of the mindset that a woman who dresses provocatively invites rapists. While I don’t agree with beauty pageants, my disapproval has nothing to do with sex—it has to do with teaching young people that superficial beauty is somehow essential to happiness. But, I also have a big problem with teaching young girls to be ashamed of their bodies. The methods we try are not working. A cliché suggests that if one continues to try doing something one way, with the same failed results, one might be insane. Let’s do the math and consider a different method by educating boys and girls alike.
©Relinda R.


“We Can”


Recently, a particular cliché about how people should not do things for others seeking reward, but do so because it is the right thing to do continues appearing in my life. Since it keeps popping out at me in one form or another, I consider the cliché as a sign that I should write about. The true test of a pure heart is not whether an individual does something in search of a reward, or even because it is morally right; the true test is whether an individual even considers the consequence of helping another. He or she should not even have time to ponder the situation. While on our life’s journey, upon discovering someone in need of help, we really do not need to wonder whether helping another is a method of self-exaltation or whether helping falls into some category of “right” or “wrong.” We should just jump in to help because we can. I mean, seriously, when you encounter an injured person or animal and you rush to help. . .do you pause for a moment to think, “Hmmm, I wonder if anyone is watching” or “I wonder if God will reward me for this?” I hope no one pauses to consider his or her consequence of aiding someone in need. Perhaps I do exist in a never-never land because I like to imagine that the people in my life never give a second thought to helping someone. There are events in life that do not require any consideration of consequences, and helping others is definitely one such event. It has nothing to do with religion or morality; it has to do with the fact that in the flow of life, we are all on this earth together. Let’s just help each other get through it because we can.

©Relinda R. 2014

Free Speech or Financial Gain

“ I realize how depraved it was to instill false guilt in an innocent child’s conscience, causing a distorted image of life, God, & self, leaving little if any feeling of personal worth.”
Mary Griffith

I think much of the current problem regarding the Chik-fil-a controversy is that Dan Cathy is using a business to promote his personal religious/political stance. I use the term “political” because this declaration comes on the heels of the president’s public acknowledgement not to discriminate against gays. Of all the “attaboy” posts I have seen on Facebook, only one commends Cathy on exercising his right to free speech. However, he is not exercising free speech as an individual; he is exercising free speech as the spokesperson for a 2 billion dollar business. When we try to insert religion into government, the result is many people arguing about God and what the Bible states, rather than individuals researching the spoon-fed political propaganda they are consuming. We will be witnessing many politicians jumping on the big Chik-fil-a controversy bandwagon to help promote a political agenda. Appealing to self-professed Christians to cash in on their religious convictions is an excellent tactic for political sparring. In the meantime, a war is brewing between those who support gay marriage and those opposed to the concept.

I commend Dan Cathy, but not for the same reason as most. Personally, I think the manner in which he declared his opposition to gay unions is unethical, but I will spare you that rant. I commend him because he just wittingly managed to persuade many people to support his business, along with all the organizations to which he currently contributes funds and they do not even realize it. I am curious about what else his “biblical” perspective includes. He is treading on a minefield of prejudices and judgment that threatens the fabric of society. This is precisely how cults originate. He just gained a massive following by asserting his religious stance on gay lifestyles and promoting those beliefs as those of his business. I wonder which political party he supports and how much money he contributes to that party.

Cathy created an even larger platform for those seeking to make abortion illegal and countless other ideas, which I shudder to consider. The problem is that the majority of those jumping on the Chik-fil-a bandwagon, believing they are supporting a Christian idea will have no idea of exactly what else they are promoting. They may fail to recognize that they are practicing discrimination at its ultimate, which eventually leads to war. Few people are supporting Cathy from a stance of protecting free speech; the majority is only doing so because of the biblical stance of condemning those who practice homosexuality. They just are not realizing that they are also opposing many other things, including sexual equality. I have never before considered a restaurant owner’s religious or political stance as I ate there because I did not think it was relevant, but this whole debate may make me reconsider my choices of where I eat.

I emphasize that this is merely my personal opinion and I am not promoting a political agenda. I am a concerned individual because I fail to see how Cathy’s revelation contributes anything positive to societal woes. We are all stuck on this planet together and divisions such as these threaten our security. These divisions rarely “work themselves out.” Diversity is a wonderful thing, but when it reaches a boiling point and civility gets lost in the madness, warfare looms dangerously close.

©Relinda R.

“Life is Accomplishment”

If you are on Facebook at all, you cannot miss all the jokes about the president’s “you didn’t build that” comment taken out-of-context for the Romney campaign. It really makes me feel bad. Allow me to explain why. I received an Associate of Arts degree in May 2010. Since I was the president of the Beta Beta Omega Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and the “Cossatot Chronicle” editor, I was asked to write and deliver a speech on behalf of the graduates and I did so. My speech centered on a motto that I suggested for my high school senior class. The motto represents an idea that life is much more than just existing, it is about growing, learning and achieving dreams. It was also my Dad’s senior class motto in 1951 and I thought it best expressed an idea for those of us who were graduating. The motto reads, “Life is accomplishment, not mere existence.”

Considering that one idea, I built an entire speech on the way none of us accomplishes anything alone. I recognized the faculty members, families and friends who helped us along the way. I do not know of anyone who can say, “I did this all alone.” Somewhere along the path, someone helped. I could not have accomplished all that I have in college without the help of others. Each time I do well on a test or submit an outstanding literary analysis, I think of the people who contributed to that accomplishment. It certainly is not my achievement alone. If I make it to point in which I earn a B.S. degree and further, even to the point of PhD, I will not be thinking, “I did this alone,” I will be thinking, “Thank you to everyone who stood by my side and helped me reach this point.” I will especially be thinking of my husband because were it not for his encouragement and sacrifices, I would never have even given college a shot.

Perhaps it is amusing to some and downright infuriating to others that President Obama used this idea to make a point, but I completely understand what he was trying to say because I tried to make the same point in 2010, a little differently, but same concept. Seeing all the jokes makes me feel somewhat foolish and perhaps many believed my speech to be stupid, but it was a proud moment for me. Perhaps some people do believe that when he or she does something or builds something, it is solely his or her accomplishment, I do not. I think it takes many people to build a dream and I will always be willing to recognize that. I have not accomplished anything alone, have you?

Image©Relinda R.

Rock on, Muppets!

I am very disappointed in what I am witnessing in society. Throughout history, racism and hatred have been promoted under the guise of Christianity. I find it so disturbing that people can promote hatred by proclaiming they know the mind of God. Homosexuality is a big target right now because President Obama has announced that he supports their rights. I have seen people going ape-shit crazy commending a certain restaurant for standing up for what they believe by saying homosexuals have no rights because they are in violation of God’s word, yet I have not seen one thing commending the president for standing up for his beliefs in believing that every man and woman has a right to live. So, do we, as a nation, think it is fine to stand up for what you believe as long as it is what everyone believes? I do not know how to tell people but if they are opposed to companies that support gay rights, they should do some homework. Companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Apple and even the Jim Henson Company recognize that every citizen of the world have rights. Are we really going to condemn the Muppets to hell because they think homosexuals deserve the same rights as heterosexuals?

I will be the first to admit that I am not a theologian who has spent my entire life studying the Bible and understanding how things are often lost in translation. However, if memory serves me correctly, there is also something in that Book about not judging others and one sin being equal to another sin. I also seem to recall something about Jesus declaring the importance of love. I do not recall him saying, “I’m going to pick those of you who condemn everyone who is different from you to live with me.” Really people, get a grip. I remember something about a bunch of wars beginning because of twisted religious fervor.

I think someone needs to remind these people promoting hatred that the Bible was written by men and the books were carefully chosen by what best promoted a political agenda. There was many other books denied inclusion in the Bible because they demonstrated that women were independent. That displeased some rulers. We certainly do not want women thinking they have rights.

If everyone would just recognize that we are all in this thing together and stop arguing about who is going to hell and who is not, it might be a much better world. I was recently discussing religion with someone and told him to follow his heart. You know in your heart what is right and what is wrong. Listen to it. Stop listening to the same voices that said witches were running amuck and must burn or was it float. Live and let live. When you say, “Oh, I am not judging that person, only his or her lifestyle,” you sound like an idiot. If a group of gay folks comes to your house demanding that you be gay, then you can practice your right to protect yourself. Otherwise, what is it that disturbs you so much about homosexuals or anyone who believes they are human beings too? How are they such a threat to you? I am always hearing how Christians are such wonderful people. Right now, I am not feeling it. Please stop choosing certain verses and taking them out of context to promote hate. Look at the whole picture. Stop listening to TV evangelists who make millions of dollars telling you what to think. Think for yourself. Your heart knows the truth, listen to it.

If you are reading this right now, you are experiencing one of two emotions, anger or agreement. If you are angry and believe that, I am going to hell, oh well. If you are hoping that I will insert an apology for offending you at this point, then continue to get angry because there is not going to be an apology. I know myself well enough to recognize that I have no right to judge anyone based on his or her sexual preference. I have no right to judge anyone based on anything. It was not that long ago we wiped out Native American Indians because we wanted their land. It was not that long ago that we thought it was just fine to kidnap human beings and sell them into slavery. Two-hundred years from now, someone will be saying it was not that long ago we actually thought it was just fine to condemn others because they were different. Listen to your heart. Your heart knows the truth. If we are basing hatred purely on the Bible, unless I missed something in there, Jesus never said to convert and kill all the Indians, make African Americans your slaves and hate your gay neighbor and anyone that does not hate him too. Rock on, Muppets, rock on!

©Relinda R.


Ranting and Bitching While Wondering…


                                                                                             Photo from babble.com


     It just happened to me again. I was channel surfing, believing that I might find a suitable program to watch since I have about 200 channels. While continually tapping that little arrow on my remote, I wondered what happened to television during the last 30 years. It seems as though we gave up on sitcom escape and settled for ugly dramatic reality. Just as I was cursing the television for allowing so much rubbish on the air, I ran across a program titled, “Toddlers and Tiaras,” again. I am ashamed to admit that this is the second time this outlandish program caught my attention. I could feel my brain cells melting again as I watched. Why do I do these things to myself? It took months to recover the brain cells I lost last time I watched the show. While I question these mothers’ sanities, I also question my own for watching. In my defense, their stupidity mesmerized me.

     I just find it so ironic that people complain when little girls become obsessed with weight and looks, but we allow them to be judged like cattle. Some of these children are just babies and are subjected to massive amounts of makeup and told to “wiggle their butt.” Really? There was one little girl of about nine years or so wearing false teeth and dancing like a showgirl. She also displayed the attitude of a spoiled little brat. Not one of these girls demonstrated unique talent unless shaking your butt and pursing your lips counts as talent. Oh, I have heard the arguments about pageants being so crucial to a child’s health. Come on—that is bullshit. Teaching a child that looking pretty will determine his or her future is ridiculous. I actually see two possible outcomes. First, the child will believe that appearance determines success, welcoming a host of emotional disorders including Anorexia and depression. Second, while the child may adjust well to being displayed like a show animal; he or she may turn out to be a narcissist or worse—a sociopath.

     Yes, I am ranting. All children are beautiful. Teaching them otherwise is atrocious. Let us discuss the mothers on the show. The majority of them appear as though they have not missed any happy meals but they starve their children. Could this be an attempt to recapture some semblance of youth by living vicariously through their children? Apparently, winning Grand Supreme or something like that is very emotional. I remember my brothers showing cattle. The titles are similar—Supreme…Grand Supreme. Ladies—get a clue. Find a hobby, perhaps knitting, preferably anything other than putting your child on display like a show animal. Teach them that good morals and caring about others will pave their road to success. Whether they have won “Little Miss Grand Booty-Shaking Supreme” will have little, if any, impact on their future. 

     I know that some people may be horrified by learning that I object so vehemently to beauty pageants. If that is the case, I encourage you to watch this program. Once you see how utterly ridiculous it is, I think your opinion might change. These little girls will become young women soon enough; let them be children while they can. There is no need to parade them like cattle, teach them to show all their teeth in a fake smile and encourage them to “shake their booty.”  One cute little three-year-old became very emotional upon learning she won “Grand Supreme” or some other crap-title and threw a tantrum on stage. Her mother said, “Oh, she’s crying, but I know that she is just thrilled deep down.” Hmmm, really? Let’s evaluate. The little toddler was screaming, trying to rip some giant tin crown from her violently teased hair and throwing money on the floor. I failed to see that “thrill” her mother claimed.

     My favorite pageant mother’s defense is the claim—“Oh, she loves the attention and competition.” The children are CHILDREN, for God’s sake! They would love playing on a swing or in a sandbox! Be honest. The mommies (and even some daddies) love the attention and competition. I find it sad that they need a group of judges to validate their child’s beauty. If they fail to see their child’s beauty of innocence, then they are missing one of the most important experiences of life. Some of the things these insane mothers tell their children are disgusting. “If you don’t listen to mommy and shake your booty, you’re going to be a loser.” That is unacceptable. What would possess a mother to say such a thing to her child? What happens to these little girls when they lose? Will they become the next generation donning black trenchcoats and sporting sawed-off shotguns? I hope not.

     There—I am through bitching and ranting about the absurdity of beauty pageants. Wondering—I will never be through pondering the stupid things we do as we struggle to blend in with a constantly evolving society.

©2012 Relinda R.