Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Olympics

I spoke some weeks ago of boycotting the summer Games out of disgust for the poor human rights record of China.

I watched maybe 5 minutes of them - mostly because my roomate was watching who also happens to be my mum. She wanted me to view the opening ceremonies online just so I could see how amazing the fireworks were.

Let me tell you it was a herculean effort on my part not to watch the swimmers in amazing form, including Michael Phelps who won some 8 gold medals or something of that sort. I wanted to watch the 40 something mom who got back in shape to qualify. I wanted to see the Jamaicans win their medals and break world records, and I was really curious about the little girl who sang the national anthem at opening ceremonies and was allegedly too plain to have her likeness used, so a lip syncer was found in her stead.

I heard more about the Olympics than I wanted to - I really did want to support the games - I wanted to support the athletes most of all - that is, after all, what this is all about - making the best showing for one's country and bringing home the gold if at all possible. These games were all about China tricking the world with smoke and mirrors and pretending to be normal - as if.

A discussion about lowering the legal drinking age

A former college president had the temerity to challenge institutions recently and ask for a dialogue - yes, just a dialogue, not a vote by presidents of higher institutions - about lowering the drinking age for college students - essentially lowering the drinking age for all.

A girlfriend and I were discussing this recently. I maintain that if a person is old enough to vote about who leads the state and country, and old enough to sign up to join the armed forces and go to war, they are old enough to drink.

Maybe what should happen is we should not let 18 year olds drink or vote. Where would we be then?

We have heard the arguments about brain development - maybe the brain is not sufficiently developed to handle voting and military service either. I have 3 sons over 18 and only one of them is registered to vote - the other two are - let's say - knuckleheads and not quite there yet, much to my chagrin. If my sons are a statistic, then I say let's have the damn conversation.

One night, I got a call from one of my sons right at his curfew time - the rule was always if you aren't going to make it home by curfew, please call by curfew time so that I did not needlessly worry. This son had had too much to drink and was worried about driving home - talk about responsible and irresponsible......I am proud of him for recognizing what needed to be done even while under the influence.

I grew up in Europe and learned to drink at home with my parents. I would not have known what to do if I saw someone binge drinking - the concept was absolutely foreign to me. In my senior year of high school, I was in a bar for the first time and ordered a screwdriver - it was nothing out of the ordinary - as stated, I had imbibed at home on many occasions and always responsibly, with loving parents looking on, reminding me to be responsible.

I think we need to have the conversation - it is just another of those crucial conversations that is overdue.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Adultery in the light of John Edward's admission of guilt

Statistics indicate that about 60% of men and 40% of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage. Additionally, 45-55% of women and 50-60% of men will commit adultery at some time in their lives.

Why do we expect so much more from our elected officials, even something that we cannot do ourselves? They are not our spiritual advisers - they are not our moral compass - they are simply our peers - elected to lead us because we the people have chosen them to do so.

Was John Edwards wrong? Absolutely! Was his timing positively lousy? Unequivocally! Should we crucify him and hang his entire political career out to dry because of his indiscretions? I think not!

I cannot begin to imagine the tears shed together by he and his wife, Elizabeth as they came to grips to this bombshell and what it could potentially do to their marriage. They obviously worked it out and decided to stay married - what business is it of ours to demand his head?

Leave him alone - we all live in glass houses after all, don't we?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why, John, why?

John Edwards has admitted to having an affair - yes, his wife's cancer was in remission at the time, but he had an affair when she was fighting the battle of her life.

Why did he do it? He says he essentially got a big head - became a narcissist and an egomaniac with all the hype and media surrounding his presidential run. Are men just built that way? Can they not be monogomous?

I wonder if there is not more to this story. He and his wife have been through so much - the death of a child, his running for and losing - the vice presidency - her cancer. Perhaps it all became too much for the marriage.

I maintain that we are all capable of committing adultery - if the odds are stacked in our favor - if a man or woman happens to cross our paths during a time of weakness, we, too, could fall and succumb.

Judge not, least ye be judged.