Friday, December 21, 2012

Why G-d?

Why do I write "G-d"?

I found an article that explains it much more eloquently than I've been able to yet.

Read it here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's supposed to hurt.

Olivia Engel, 6
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Josephine Gay, 7
Dylan Hockley, 6
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Jesse Lewis, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
James Mattioli, 6
Emilie Parker, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Aviele Richman, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6
Nancy Lanza, 52
Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Rachel D'Avino, 29
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Victoria Soto, 27

Mary Sherlach, 56
Lauren Rousseau, 30

We spend a lot of time trying to stop hurting in our lifetimes.  Our friends yell at us, and we try to stop hurting.  We get rejected from our preferred colleges, and we try to stop hurting.  Our dogs die, and we try to stop hurting.  Our country is attacked by terrorists, and we try to stop hurting.  People storm into our schools, shooting our children, and we try to stop hurting.  But I'm writing to say that I think we're wrong.  I think it's supposed to hurt and never stop hurting.

The pain is how we know that we're still human.  The pain is how we know that these people mattered.  The pain is not something we should convince ourselves to get over.  We shouldn't desensitize ourselves to these things.  They should cut us to the core each and every time.

I've been watching the TV show "Everwood" lately, and I think that the character Ephram explains this concept the best:
"You know, after my mom died, everybody told me that I was gonna be OK.  That it would take a little time, but I would heal. Well, that didn't ever happen; not really anyway… What you’re feeling right now, Amy, it doesn't ever really go away — not completely. It’s not like, ya know, you’re gonna go back to being the person you were before they died — the person’s gone. It’s more like something inside of you breaks and your body finds a way to compensate for it. Like if you busted your right hand, you figure out how to use the left one. And sure, you might resist for a while because you’re pissed off that you have to learn all this stuff again that nobody else does. Eventually your body takes over and figures it out for you. And you’re glad. Because if it was up to you… you’d look at your broken hand forever and try to figure out what it was like before."
A broken hand, should hurt.  This terribly tragic loss should hurt, and there shouldn't be any shame in that.  We should mourn and grieve, and then we should take measures to prevent this from happening again.  If you destroy your right hand punching a wall, you're not going to turn around and do that with your left; you'll take preventative action.  We can't afford to keep punching the wall  We must come up with protective measures for our children.

Please visit People's website for stories on each of the victims.  Please hurt and grieve over them.  Please cry until you can't anymore.  Then please decide on the best plan of action to stop this from happening again and contact your congress representatives and senators about it.  If all we do is sit back and mull over the atrocity this depraved man committed, we're only opening the door for someone else to follow in his footsteps.  We must take action.  We must speak out.  We must not let these children die in vain.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sometimes, my own words just don't cover it.

In you, O Lord , do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord , faithful God. I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord . I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. Be gracious to me, O Lord , for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord ; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! O Lord , let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol. (Psalms 31:1-17 ESV)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Honoring G-d with Our Thoughts

First of all, I want to thank all of you who have stuck with me, in spite of my sabbatical.  I just checked my December stats, and it is, surprisingly, not that much lower than usual.  You all touch my heart.

Now, on to the main event.

I want to talk to you about something that's been on my heart for about the past 6 months.  I mean, truthfully, it's something I've thought about a lot longer than that, but it's progressed to something that's been stressing me out lately.

I want to talk to you about Modesty and Respect.  This is such a big topic, and I'm overwhelmed at where to start.  So I'm just going to go, and I hope you will stick with me.  I'm not usually known for being succinct when I'm passionate, so I'll try to bold and enlarge the highlights for you skimmers out there.  Furthermore, if you want to read the posts that finally spurred me to write this, you can look here and here.  (Warning, they're also not short.)

Modesty has nothing to do with guilt. This was a big lesson for me to learn.  I may not have been the most Amish of dressers growing up, and I still am not, nor do I think I ever will be, but that is nothing for me to feel guilty about.  I didn't always believe that, though.  I bought into the lie that we tell our girls: "It's your responsibility to keep your brothers from sinning by dressing appropriately."  I'm sorry...What?  I want you to read that over again a couple of times, because, on first pass, it may be hard to catch what's wrong with this statement.  So read it again.  The more I read it, the more sad I become, because we've been deceived.  It is not our responsibility to prevent anyone from sinning.  I want you to read that very carefully.  Put frankly, it's idolatry to think that you can stop anyone from sinning.  There's only One person that can step in, change us, and turn us away from our sins, and that's G-d.  The issue of lust is a much deeper issue that goes beyond what any person is wearing.  I'm sure you've heard people talking about leaving room for the imagination in your dressing, while talking about how much they love sundress season a couple weeks later.  People who are going to lust are going to lust.  What a person wears isn't going to change that.  So let's stop pointing the finger at the dresser and start praying for healing for our brothers and sisters.

Which brings me to my next point.  Lust is not just something men do.  It feels like everywhere I turn, I see women gushing over pictures of topless men, or even men wearing less clothes than that, and, in some bizarre turn of events, this has been deemed "okay."  I can't help but be disgusted and deeply saddened by this practice.  If men were constantly posting pictures of topless or underwear-clad women on their Facebooks and commenting on how sexy they found them, the female community would be outraged.  We'd crucify them.  So I don't understand.  What's the difference?  But don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm immune.  If this is thrown at a person constantly, it's nearly impossible to stay above it, whether they are male or female.  I get that it's hard not to lust; believe me, I do.  If a man has strong hands or has paid attention to his upper arms in his workout routine, I'm having to work my hardest to keep my thoughts pure.

So what can I do?  Do I ask him, "Excuse me, sir, but would you mind wearing gloves?  Your hands are really distracting me from G-d right now."  No.  Of course not.  First of all, that's pointless.  Him covering his hands is not going to change the fact that my mind has headed down that path.  Him changing is not going to cure my indiscretion.  The only way I can stop my sin is by working with G-d to change me.

But that doesn't mean that we need to ignore the clothes issue entirely.  What it does mean is that we need to be dressing to honor G-d with our bodies.  G-d is judging us by our hearts, so I think that it is important to know your heart, even as you are picking out your outfit in the morning.  Why are you wearing what you are?  Are you thinking, "Oh, I'm going to turn on all the guys by wearing this outfit"? I think we can all agree that that is not honoring G-d.  You're dressing for men and your sexuality, making them the center of your thoughts as you're dressing.  I'd dare to take this as far as questioning if I dressed with the right thought life this morning when I dressed with one thought: "What is going to keep me warm?"

The most important part is that you're honoring G-d.  Honor G-d with your body.  Honor G-d with your thoughts.  Honor G-d with your actions.

I could keep going on down this rabbit trail.  I could double or triple the length of this post by bringing rape, assault, pornography and pedophilia  into the mix, but I think that at this point I've give you enough to go on to guess what I would say, so I'll leave that for another impassioned day.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just so you know...

I may be taking a hiatus for a bit.  I'm tired, and I'm busy, and I'm stressed.... soooooooo that all adds up to "something's gotta go."  Just assume that my day was spent knee-deep in paperwork, trash, and sheet music, until I tell you otherwise.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

MOTh: Day 30

3 Gifts Astonishing
This one is going to be brief, not because I'm ready for this to be done (although I am... I'm ready to be writing about other things that have happened, and, apparently I'm bad at blog-multi-tasking), but because that which is truly astonishing cannot be explained.
  1. G-d chooses to save me.
  2. G-d chooses to use me.
  3. G-d will never abandon me.
Praise G-d from whom all blessings flow.  Alleluia.  Amen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

MOTh: Days 28 and 29

3 Gifts in Community
  1. I'm thankful for the Bible study I've joined here in Korea.  This is a group of women who are all unmarried and in the same program to teach.  We've been studying community, and I've been learning a lot.  Furthermore, it's really nice to meet with a group that's full of people who are in the exact same station in life.  It's reassuring to hear my same struggles coming out of their mouths, and it's such a blessing to have just about every viewpoint of the spectrum represented in our group, so we get the full gamut of perspective.
  2. I'm thankful for the Bible study I joined in high school.  We still communicate regularly - more so than usual these days.  We've all changed a good deal, but it's amazing to have a group that immediately knows the background story that you bring into any situation you lay before them.  Whether we come to each other with a life update or asking for opinions on which umbrella to buy, we know each other and how to answer.
  3. In case you've missed the rest of my thankfulness posts, I'm thankful for my family.  Today, I came across the picture below, and immediately thought of my cousin.  The more I talk about my relationship with her, the more I'm told it's unusual and something to be cherished; think about it: I have a cousin with whom I'm so close that we would fall into the superficial definition of "sisters," even according to those who have them.  That is a blessing that few can claim.

3 Gifts Red
  1. I'm thankful for Kris and Cora, who live upstairs.  They're both sweet, incredibly caring people, and I'm so happy for them to have been married recently.  (Their wedding colors were Black, White, and Red.)  And for bonus points, the color of the hydrogen peroxide bottle that Kris ran about a mile to get for me in order to help me stop an allergic reaction is (you guessed it) red.
  2. I'm thankful for Dr. Nate Kerr, who introduced me to Soren Kierkegaard.  Soren changed my life through his book Fear and Trembling, which happens to be bound in red.  His words and Nate's teachings changed everything.  Not a day goes past without me repeating a Kierkegaard quote or concept to myself.
  3. I'm thankful for the blood of Christ.  I'm so overwhelmed by it.  I'm crushed that it was necessary.  But I'm thankful.  I don't have enough words to convey that.  Luckily, I get an eternity to attempt to do it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MOTh: Days 26 and 27

3 Gifts Preparing
I've failed at this since Thanksgiving time.  In my defense, there's a storm brewing, and it's been killing my head for the past couple of days.  As much as I feel strongly about snow, I wish it'd just do its thing already and leave my head out of it.
  1. I'm thankful that I have options of where I want to go from here.  Granted, the only option I'm going to take is the one G-d puts in front of me, but I don't need to feel panicked about it while waiting for Him to show me His way.
  2. I'm thankful for all the Christmas and Chanukah stuff laying around my apartment.  I think I'm going to try to get around to putting it up tonight. :)
  3. I'm thankful for the mission G-d is preparing me for.  I know that He's got a plan for me specifically, and that warms my heart to know. :)

A Gift Handmade
One of my professors in college made my Harry Potter wand for me.  I'm a child on the inside, so I was thrilled.  :)
A Gift Held
Miss Paisley Grace means a ton to me.

and a Gift Happy
재영's sweet smile always could make me happy.  :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

MOTh: Day 25

3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful
  1. I'm thankful for Tyra Banks.  Not that she's ugly at all, but she talks about being ugly-beautiful a lot on America's Next Top Model.  Judge me if you'd like, but I really enjoy that show.  Furthermore, I think Tyra is doing wonderful things, especially for young women around the globe.  She's probably the one person on this earth I'd most like to get to know.
  2. I'm thankful for snow.  That stuff makes me feel ugly, but it's really beautiful to look at.  And, even though it makes my face grumpy, my students really like it... so, that's a good thing, I guess.
  3. I'm thankful for the movie Elf, because, even though I'm not a big fan of it, it's going to handle the rest of my classes for a while.  Yay.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

MOTh: Day 22-24

A Gift Grateful
  1. I'm grateful for friends who are experiencing the same things I am and can become a family together for Thanksgiving.
3 Gifts Only in Christ
  1. I'm thankful to be alive.  I know that if it wasn't for Christ, I'd be dead now.  Sometimes I forget, but mostly it shapes everything I do.
  2. I'm thankful for my G-d.  I'm thankful that He loves me.  I'm thankful that he died for me.  I'm thankful that He uses me.  I'm thankful to be His.
  3. I'm thankful for love.  I fully think that the only reason why we can love is because He empowers us to do so.  Maybe He empowers us without us knowing Him, but it's all Him.  It's something only He can do, and I'm grateful for the moments I can tap into that.
3 Gifts Humble
  1. I'm thankful for (humble) pie.  I really like pie.  It's delicious, and I've had a lot of bonding moments over pie.
  2. I'm thankful for the Humbles, who I met at Trevecca.  In reality, we barely know each other, but I often think about them.  Sometimes they pop up on my Skype, because Emily was willing to talk to me about living abroad before I moved to Korea.  I barely know them, but they have blessed me.
  3. I'm thankful for bumble bees.  They're not really humble, but I can't say that word without thinking "bumble."  I'm rather nervous of bumble bees, but they allow for things like flowers.  And other bees make honey.  So, really, bees are pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

MOTh: Day 21

3 Gifts Family

Yup.  Breaking format.  In reality, almost every gift is because of my family, so I'm posting way more than 3.  I have another side to my family, too... this is just the Thanksgiving side.

  1. I'm thankful for my family.
  2. I'm thankful for my family.
  3. I'm thankful for my family!

Thanksgiving 1992

Thanksgiving 1993
Thanksgiving 1994
Thanksgiving 1995
Thanksgiving 1996
Thanksgiving 1997
August 1998 (I don't know what happened to Thanksgiving.)
Thanksgiving 1999
Thanksgiving 2000

Skip a few...

Thanksgiving 2007
Thanksgiving 2008 (Dave and I went to Texas to see Becky this year.)
Thanksgiving 2009
Thanksgiving 2010 (This was a hard one.)
Thanksgiving 2011 (This was hard for me, as it was my first Thanksgiving away from family.)

And many happy returns.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

MOTh: Days 19 and 20

3 Gifts Autumn
I'm naturally inclined to be a fan of Autumn.  The only problem is that I've never really been able to get through one without allergies coming in and trying to suffocate me.  It's miserable.  I'm normally a mouth-breather for three months (at least) of the year, and, let me tell you, it doesn't matter how cute that sweater is... Pockets full of tissues and snot-trailed make-up are not attractive.  But!  This year has happened to be different, because...
  1. I'm thankful that my allergies haven't kicked up this Fall.  That's right!  I can breathe!!!  I don't have to be continually EXHAUSTED (although I've been staying up too late these days, and that's definitely making up for it).  I forgot what it was to look cute in the Fall, and, I've got to say, I'm loving it. :)
  2. I'm thankful for Fall holidays.  I love them all... or at least the concept of all of them, since there are a few in there that I don't really celebrate.  But, really, there are all of these wonderful days, most of which are centered around thankfulness and remembrance, and I love it.
  3. I'm thankful for Fall food.  I crave it all year, but, while some people try to limit their Christmas music intake, I try to limit my harvest produce intake.  On the other hand, as soon as I get the hankering for Christmas music, I play it... even if it's April.  I try not to do that in public, though; I realize that there are those who wouldn't appreciate that.  So, laugh at me for this one, if you'd like, but know that I'm laughing at you as you're craving Christmas music, and I'm just going ahead and listening to it.

3 Gifts of Tradition
I love traditions.  Maybe that's because I can't put my finger on many that my family has kept going, but I think they're wonderful.
  1. I'm thankful for my family's traditional Christmas party.  We stopped doing it after we moved to Maryland, but I loved that party.  That thing pretty much defines the "Christmas spirit" for me.  I'm excited to be rekindling it this year (while I'm trying to ignore the amount of work it's going to take).
  2. I'm thankful for the tradition my dad and I are trying to start.  Since I've "grown up", Dad and I have tried to go to at least one Orioles game a year together.  I love baseball and he tolerates it, so it's nice to have something that we can bond over.  My abilities in management show even there, as I try to make management calls, and it's a nice stroke to my ego to hear my dad agree with me (or at least pretend to).  :P
  3. I'm thankful for the traditional Schanck-family Thanksgiving.  You've heard enough about this to know what this is; so I'm just going to leave you with yet another photo... one you haven't seen me put up yet. But be prepared, because the next post is "3 Gifts Family" - one I've been excited about... and yes, I'll be deviating from the requested formatting for it.  You've been warned.  :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A video I made for you yesterday.

And by "yesterday," I mean Sunday.

Just a normal day, cooped up in my house...

MOTh: Days 16 - 18

3 Gifts Hard Eucharisteo
It took me a while to figure this one out... well... sort of figure this one out.  But I found a decent description here, and based on that, I am creating my thankfulness list today.

  1. I'm thankful for the moments where G-d is slapping me in the face.  Yes, I don't like it in the moment, but it always ends up for the better.  Sometimes, I think we should slap each other in our faces more.  There's nothing more of a wake-up call than that.  Except don't.  You'll get arrested.
  2. I'm thankful for Jeremy Camp.  This man has the most striking testimony, and I'm not sure how he brings himself to share it, but I'm glad he did, because he taught me to stretch myself and worship through my tears; that it's most important to do it then.
3. I'm thankful for the homesickness I'm feeling right now, because it reminds me how much I love my family.  It's so hard to be without them, especially at this time of year, but I am confident that they are incredibly special and important to me.  I love them!

3 Gifts of Laughter
This is the juxtaposition post, I guess.
  1. I'm thankful for friends that I can laugh until it hurts with.  Seriously, there's nothing more special than that, and there's nothing that bonds people together like that.
  2. I'm thankful for laughing through tears.  Those are the most precious times of laughter.
  3. I'm thankful for the laughter of children.  Theirs is the most pure... I just need to remember that when I'm tired.  HA!
A Gift Made, Shared, Passed On
Catching up!  I want to get on par in time for Thanksgiving itself!
  1. I'm thankful for the time that my friends MAKE to spend with me.  I know I've said stuff to that extent before, but I'm still thrilled because of it.
  2. I'm thankful for the days when there's a really awesome treat in the cafeteria, and my co-teachers bring me some up to the office.  They've never expressed discontent that I bring my own food.  In fact, they bring me other food they think I'll like.  They're so sweet.
  3. I'm thankful for my grandfather, Norman Schanck.  Although he's passed on, I still love him dearly, and I can't help but have him over-arching through all of my thoughts this time of year.  Like I've said before, he's the rock of my faith; I'd be someone entirely different, if not for him.

Monday, November 19, 2012

MOTh: Days 14 and 15

3 Gifts Silent
I know, I know... I'm really bad at keeping up with blogging.  It's been a BUSY week, what with Kris and Cora getting MARRIED!  I did shoot a video for you, but I couldn't post it from my phone!  Soooo... it didn't get posted.  Maybe I'll put it up tonight.
  1. I'm thankful for Sunday afternoons that are so quiet that I'm tempted to think I'm the only person in my building.  I'm secretly an introvert.  I like quiet.
  2. I'm thankful for snow.  But only when it's falling in the middle of the night and I'm the only person around, so it seems silent... and then you can hear the snow.  After that, I'd be happy if the snow went away... or cancelled things.
  3. I'm thankful for music with rests in it.  Because sometimes, dear Mozart, holding my violin up for an entire symphony gets tiring.  I just thought I'd throw that out there.

3 Gifts Golden
Annnd... I had the time, so I thought I'd hit another in here.
  1. I'm thankful for 50th wedding anniversaries.  They're rather uncommon in this day and age, and I think they're an amazing thing.
  2. I'm thankful for the gold cross my aunt and uncle bought me a long time ago. Every time I look at it, I remember how much they love me and how important our religion is to them.
  3. I'm thankful for glitter, because glitter makes all things more fun.  Makeup is more fun.  Projects are more fun. Everything is more fun!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More Politics: What Korea Wants from President Obama

Well, since I'm here, I may as well inform you on the atmosphere surrounding American politics in Korea.  In general, people assume that all Americans love President Obama.

Yeah.  I know.  Let that sink in.

As I've mentioned before, Koreans (North AND South) aren't really allowed to speak out against their government.  Such things get censored online, and, as a result of global short-term memories, the assumption is that everyone likes the current government.  Since this is what they're used to, the same assumption gets applied to Americans.

Trust me.  I've had to quickly de-contort my face many times for that one.

Basically, everyone I've talked to here (who's Korean) is a pretty big fan of Obama.  (Well... except potentially this girl.)  But then again, I apparently missed a group.

I titled this post "What Korea Wants from President Obama."  I probably should have clarified.  CNN somehow got a small group of North Korean defectors to speak out - without having their identities protected, no less - on what they wanted from this election, and what they want moving forward.  It's certainly not ground-breaking or incredibly unexpected, but it's still fascinating to watch.

Go ahead.  Respond.  What do you think is most important for President Obama to do this term?

MOTh: Day 13

3 Gifts Behind a Door
At this point, I'm pretty sure they're just stretching for these, but, nonetheless, I will complete this challenge... in my own arbitrary pace, as the case may be.
  1. I'm thankful for the cabby that was right behind the door to the outside this morning.  I'm also thankful for the particular cabby that was behind the cab door.  With Kris and Cora's wedding rehearsal tonight, I definitely had my hands fool on my way to school (today is a "no rest for the weary" kind of day).  Normally, I have to walk halfway to school and then call a cab from a landmark they'd recognize (my apartment building isn't big enough for them to know it), but today, there was one at the red light outside.  I definitely thanked G-d for His small miracle on that one.
  2. I'm thankful for the apartment behind my door.  Despite the bunny smell (which is really bad now that the heat's come on), despite how small it is, despite the fact that it's not really good for entertaining company, I have a roof over my head and a warm, safe place to sleep at night.  There are MANY people who can't claim that; I have no room to complain.
  3. I'm thankful for Jeff, Terry, and Jenny, who sit behind a certain door at KNU.  They work their butts off to help all of us here, and they are so often taken for granted.  Our program is unique in that it has people like them to help us out, and, man, do they HELP us.  I feel like they're there to help me every time my eye twitches.  They put up with all of us when we run by at the end of the day, tired and grumpy.  They put up with us when we're panicked.  They put up with us when we're frustrated.  They put up with us letting down our cultural appreciation shield.  And, yet, I've never heard one of them badmouth us.  They deserve some sort of Nobel Prize for that, I think.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

MOTh: Day 12

3 Gifts at Noon
I meant to write this by jotting down the first three things I thought of at noon.  However, I was really quite busy at noon, so, now, I'm taking a different approach, and I'm writing noon-time things for which I'm thankful.
  1. I'm thankful that my school allows me to bring my own lunch.  As my body doesn't do well with meat, I'd been spending a lot of lunchtimes at my previous school not eating.  I lost a bunch of weight from it.  Now, I'm allowed to bring whatever I want! (usually, I go with a PBJ, carrot sticks, and a yogurt).  I'm happy to no longer be unhealthily losing weight.
  2. I'm thankful for the tuna fish sandwich the 7-11 in my building often sells.  This is the best tasting tuna sandwich I can remember having in a LONG time.  I think the fact that it's so easy to get plays into that. yum!
  3. I'm thankful for the relaxed atmosphere in which I eat lunch.  It's nice to be able to take a legitimate break and chill out.  I don't have to worry about who I'm offending or impressing or what anyone's saying about me, because I'm at my desk, usually watching Tyra beautify some conceited girls.  Beautiful.

Why I think Texas is right on... Regardless of how I feel about their actions.

In case you've been living under a rock (and yes, you MUST have been living under a rock, since even in KOREA I know what's happening), let me catch you up on what's been happening in the good old US of A this week. I'm going to quote the Washington Post, since I think they introduce it quite succinctly and well:
From states across the country, Americans have filed petitions on the White House Web site seeking to secede from the union and form new state governments.

While most of the petitions come from states that supported Mitt Romney in last week’s election, a few swing states and even the deep blue Northeast are represented.

Petitions have been filed for Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

“We petition the Obama Administration to peacefully grant the State of Alabama to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government,” reads the Alabama petition. The following text is the same in most of the 20 filed so far:
As the founding fathers of the United States of America made clear in the Declaration of Independence in 1776:
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
“…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government…”
Now, I don't normally like to talk politics, because I think that the American people are almost always too uneducated on any one political subject to talk about it at all, but I'm making an exception this one time, because, having been educated in the deep South (or a city that thought it was in the deep South), States' Rights is a topic I feel pretty competent on. And I think I can probably still leave you guessing on my political bents on this one. You know how women like to be mysterious.

Okay, so there are a lot of rumors going around on this topic: Secession is unconstitutional... secession is fine... blah blah blah. Here's the thing: It's neither. Way, way, WAY back in the day under the Articles of Confederation (Go ahead, click on them and do your research, no one will know if you do, so no one will mock you. Oh, and here's the Wikipedia Article, just in case you want to only pretend like you know what they say.), states were unable to secede from the nation. However, the United States Constitution nullified the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution doesn't speak on the topic at all. (I'm just going to trust you know what the Constitution is.) So, that leaves us in an interesting fix.

So why does the world seem to be focused on Texas out of all the states (count them... it's almost half of the nation) involved in this hissy fit (for lack of a less biased word)? Well, Texas has a long, grand history of secession, seeming to jump on that band-wagon whenever possible. It seceded from Mexico in 1836 asn was quite happy to do so again during the American Civil War in 1861. But in 1869, this issue came into dispute in the Supreme Court ruling of the case Texas vs. White. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase had a LOT to say on the topic, including this:
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to 'be perpetual.' And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained 'to form a more perfect Union.' It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
And this:
When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.
Unfortunately for Chief Justice Chase, he seemed to be leaning a little too much on the Articles of Confederation, because in 1870, President Grant signed an act, readmitting Texas to the nation, which seems to be an action nullifying the opinion of Chief Justice Chase. Or does it?

Chief Justice Chase also specifically mentions a scenario in which secession is appropriate, which brings us to where we are today:
The United States Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869) that unilateral secession was unconstitutional while commenting that revolution or consent of the states could lead to a successful secession.
So... what now? Well, no one really knows, honestly. I predict that this all is mostly likely going to be dropped almost unilaterally. The only state that I'm curious about is Texas which are the only state with the financial stability and enough motivation to follow through on this - they had a range of reported number of signatures on their petition, all of which are over the necessary 25,000 to receive direct attention from the White House (although there are a number of other states financially able to, if they wanted).

Here's how it breaks down in my head:

A lot of the highest tax bracket lives in Texas. Like it or not, Texas is the land of oil and ranching, and those are two things Americans cannot get enough of. People are filthy rich there - mind you, not all people, but there are enough. These people are getting slammed with tax increases left and right, and if there's one thing Texans don't like, it's big government telling them what to do. They (and I use the general "they" here, not the all-encompassing) of the opinion the government is being tyrannical, so they're implementing the right that our Founding Fathers gave us: To stand up to the federal government and tell them to shove it. (Or, as the Declaration of Independence so much more eloquently puts it: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”)

Now, does it hurt me to think of a divided United States (an oxymoron if I ever heard one)? Yes. Absolutely. Unwavering. Am I as proud as they come of Texas for standing up for what they believe? Heck yes. Don't just bow down when you feel your rights slipping away; they don't come back.

As for the other states... I'm just going to roll my eyes at them and suggest they take a bit of a time out as cure to this hissy fit of theirs.

For more information on secession and how it happens, click here.

Feel free to leave your incensed comments below, although I will filter out any offensive language and/or trolling.

Until next time!

Monday, November 12, 2012

MOTh: Day 11

3 Gifts of Remembrance
I've been seeing all the Veteran's Day posts go up, and I thought I'd add one of my own.

  1. I'm thankful for our veterans.  I may live a life of a more pacifist bent, but I do recognize that these men and women fought so I didn't have to.
  2. That being said, I'm thankful for my grandpa, who fought in World War II.  I'm proud to be his granddaughter.
  3. I'm thankful for the opportunity I had in Thailand to understand just exactly the scope of World War II.  I felt decently knowledgable on the subject, and, yet, I still had no idea.  War is a nasty thing, friends.  We should be doing everything in our power to avoid it.

The graves of Allied soldiers (POWs) who fell in Thailand.