Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dear George W. Bush,

It's not that I am angry with you. It's more of a disappointed feeling. I won't be like all the other liberals you can ignore, either in DC or Crawford, and go on ranting about political problems and shit that DeLay and Frist have done. Not this time. And I'm not going to personally attack you, either. Actually, my dad is quite fond of you, and both of you are similar in your accents and down-home quality. There's no need to get personal, because this isn't about a friendship between you and me. I don't need you to be my pal. I need you to be my president.

The thing is, if you weren't president of the United States, I would enjoy having a beer with you down the street at the nickel joint. I'm scared to think that this is the main reason so many people voted for you in the last election. I am more inclined to believe that you need to have your stuff together when it comes to real issues in this country and abroad. In case you haven't noticed, we wield a lot of power in this world. Pretty much anything we do affects others.

So, a couple of faux-pas to consider: One, Iraq. Yes, we're there now. But, seriously, you screwed up on that one. I don't give a crap whether it was your CIA director, or Karl Rove, or an operative in Niger, or even Colin Powell (not likely). You are my boss. I hired you. So you are responsible for everything that happens in your administration. It could have been bad intelligence, but you got the power, and now you have the responsibility. It's pretty simple. There are no, and there's never been proof of, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This was pretty much to whole basis of war, so in the name of dead soldiers and dead Iraqi civilians, I am kinda hoping someone would own up to that. But, no. We must "stay the course". Admirable, but not very helpful in the realm of apologizing. I am not concerned with arguing about Iraq now. I am concerned with you taking the high road on this one. You got your first stab at it with the response to Katrina. Nice one, seriously. Just apply it more often.

Surely you must have been brought up to be humble. Now is the perfect time to exercise that. You are not God, and you don't speak on Her behalf. There are things you've done that are wrong, and the American people would be much more cool with you admitting that. It's not very attractive to keep side-stepping issues, and time and again moving the attention away from yourself. As Michael Douglas says as president in The American President: "Politics are about two things - making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections." Your administration is extremely talented at that one. Either it's terrorists (only Muslim ones), or liberals, or countries that just don't kiss our ass the way Momma should have raised them to. Just be honest with us, and we'll respect you more.

So, you did win your re-election, but running on the platform of "Fuck John Kerry" and "America is Under Siege, starring Dick Cheney as Rambo" isn't the greatest way to win. True enough, John Kerry wasn't the greatest of candidates, but now with your horrible approval rating, going to New Orleans and saying tough words like 'racism' isn't going to change your image overnight.

I don't hate all that you are, Mr. President. I don't think you're the anti-Christ. In fact, I believe you are a very genuine man who believes in what he's doing.

But the most genuine thing you can do is reflect on your administration and ask some tough questions. We are hated worldwide, and we can't keep falling back on the "God Bless America" retort. There is some serious shit happening in this world, and we have a part of that. We can either say, "Fuck you" to the world and those that disagree with us, or we can own up to our not-so-great end, acknowledge our history, and try and do some good. And we are following you. If you would just lead us, as opposed to misleading us, then things might happen.

I want to believe that you would look at your presidency as an opportunity to clear up our name around the world and enter into clear and collaborative dialogue with people around the world. Not just those that agree with us (umm...England?) or look like us (uhhh....England??). This is a new way of looking at things, a new world order to consider. Maybe not cutting off those that have the temerity to argue with the most powerful nation humanity has ever seen. You're not a cowboy, Mr. Bush. Please stop acting like one.

And please stop invoking God in your speeches. Normally the idea of doing that was to ask for humility, guidance, and a sense of justice and equality in our affairs as a nation. Not to ordain our every action as a blessed gift from

I think a bumper sticker would serve this letter well: I love America. I just think we should start seeing other people.


Monday, October 24, 2005

I was riding on the bus yesterday when a person got on. This person resembled a man who might be in the process of transferring to a woman, whether by surgery or on the outside. The person sat down in a seat, and the guy directly behind looked around, with a mean smirk, and got up to move away. He moved to the seat next to me, his eyes searching for someone who felt his pain for having to sit next to that person for an agonizing three seconds. He kept chuckling to himself, as if to say, "I can't BELIEVE I had to sit next that...", because I'm sure that's all this person was to him - a that, something less than human. He got off at the next stop, which is good because I was about to get up and move myself.

This annoyed guy had a single cigarrette in his hand, and as he exited the bus, I realized that I probably had him pegged as a homeless person. He was disheveled, with a bag that might have contained all his belongings slung around his shoulder. I don't know if he was or not, but let's just say for a moment that he was on the streets. I wonder if it's nice for him to have someone to look down on, even if it's just on a bus for a matter of minutes. Flashbacks of news footage during the 60s went through my head as I watched a disgusted person get up and move from another person who sat down next to them. Pure disgust registered on his face, and I was sickened.

But, is that what we do? Look for someone, anyone, to be higher than? It sure seems like it. I am essentially a WASP, so I have plenty of people that are "lower" than me, according to the society in which I was raised. That's sick enough, but to see people who are so low on the pole that other marginalized people look down on them must be more than they can handle. It's like the movie I was watching where a guy says, "I may be poor, but at least I'm white." Or, even worse it seems, a Katrina refugee who got angry when a reporter referred to him as a 'refugee'. "I'm not a damn African with flies buzzing around my face," he retorted. "I'm an American citizen." With all that Katrina unmasked in our country, this guy wanted to make sure he was separated from poor, helpless Africans. When, in theory, they would have a lot in common.

If we as humans continue to find someone who is lower than us, then at least we can hold our heads high and walk around with the peace of knowing that "we" are not "them".

Karlyn apologized on the phone with me last week, saying she was sorry that she always brings up politics in our conversations. Sometimes that's all I can think about. It's so immense, it's overwhelming. Nothing else seems to matter except this broken world. Not to be pessimistic, but sometimes politicians are too optimistic for their own good. There is a lot of shit in this world, and we gotta be at least cognizant of the reality if we are to do something about it. In the words of Ben Harper, "We must let the future become our past/If we are to change the world."

So, last entry was love, this one's politics. I guess it's all downhill from here.

Friday, October 21, 2005

My roomie was watching 13 Going On 30, and I was sucked in. Like the great vortex of Hollywood's romantic comedies, I could not escape its pull. With all due respect to Lu, who wrote a paper on things gone wrong with society and this movie, I will use it to illustrate another angle. Yes, it's time for Jason's rant on the romantic comedy.

For starters, the ending is a lose-lose no matter what. First, the two could not be reunited/fall in love (some have argued that this would not be a romantic comedy in the first place, which makes sense). You are pissed off, because so far you have put a lot of stock into this movie and its characters, and you don't want the people to NOT find happiness. Movies that end without anything being resolved normally illicits various food items to be thrown at the screen.

If, on the other hand, the two get together, then the love story has its ending. You wanted it to happen, the characters wanted it to happen, your cousin's sister wanted it to happen. Yet it is a reminder that you do NOT possess a love like that, and so you feel equally as crappy. Depression normally sinks in, accompanied by its loving partner, loneliness. It also gives you a false hope - an idea that if you could be as daring or as risky, you could obtain that long-lost love for yourself. This is crap. And I will admit that I, more than many, absorb myself in movies to the point that I cannot distinguish sometimes between the movie and reality. This still does not excuse Hollywood for giving us a template for achieving love that is not only far-fetched: It is sometimes immature. Oh, if I could only love someone enough, and throw everything out of the window, and unload EVERYTHING on them, they must come to their senses and let true love prevail.

I don't want you to think that I don't believe that love exists. It definitely does, and it is all around us. My parents come to mind. It is evident in every part of this world, of this creation. It exists and gives us hope in the most hopeless of situations. It is the basis of many of the world's religions, and it really is all you need sometimes. But to look at it and define it the way Hollywood does is nothing short of inane. Well, yes, let's crash their wedding, break into their house, leapfrog their family members, climb the tallest tree to the tallest tower, and express our undying love for them, reassuring them that we have loved them all our lives, and they will give in. In fact, they've been waiting for us to do it. Give me a break.

Is this entry horribly depressing? I believe in the power of love, but c'mon. When we are infused with the 'carpe diem' syndrome when it comes to people we love or other instances of unrequited love, we think we can do something, anything, bare our soul, and all will be well. Relationships and love are complicated products of complicated human beings, full of grey areas, frustrations, and complexity. And I must give a shoutout to all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who make it over this hurdle and must contend with a society that does not recognize them. I mean, I have enough problems of my own, but I know fully that if things happen concerning relationships, I will be given no crap whatsoever simply because I'm a guy, and she happens to be a girl. But to know something is true and be told time and time again by people and laws that it is not is pathetic. No two ways about it.

So, let the arguments begin. But, in the end, just because you haven't found love doesn't mean you have failed.

And I watch romantic comedies religiously. Here ends the straight white guy and his soapbox.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

You know what I love?


I honestly can't get enough of it. The time when I had temporarily lost my 7+ days of music was one where I routinely contemplated suicide - or at least throwing live animals out of windows. But, honestly, what is better? Music is with us during the good times, during the bad times. How many of us lose ourselves to the tunes playing in the background. Or, needing to get away, we get in our car (car...what car? Oh yes...I used to have one) and just crank the radio.

I want a soundtrack to my life. Sounds horribly cliche, but it's so damn true. I can do very few things without music accompanying me. Some of the best times in my life are easily remembered because of the music that I recall was playing at the time. I want music when I sleep, music when I wake, music when I have sex, music when I work. (That last one is probably a little harder to negotiate with my supervisors, but I charge on with Coldplay, Rufus, and Dave.)

So, shoutouts to all of you who crave and appreciate music...all kinds, all flavors. Dave Matthews Band for roadtrips, Coldplay for virtually anything, Tupac for when I'm angry at this society, Beethoven in plane rides, the Love Actually soundtrack when I'm lonely, love-struck, and unashamed.

To Jay, who gave me three packed CDs of Rufus Wainwright. To David, who supplied me with more video game music than I could ever hope to enjoy in five lifetimes. To Karlyn, who has introduced me to more random and wonderful music that I would have never known otherwise. To Luke, who - besides playing his own killer songs - showed me Sufjan. To Jill, who reminded me that some music doesn't even need vocals - the instruments do all we need to understand the meaning sometimes. To Laura, who forgives me for the corny 80s music I still listen to religiously. To PL, who let me know there is good music pre-1981. To Meg, who will always understand my deep and unabashed love for Coldplay.

It's like we are all connected through this universal language. We all share our joys, hopes, fears, and loves with other people when we open our music to them. Might as well be opening our hearts, and giving them the roadmap to our deepest selves. The people who want to sue because of music-sharing step aside - we are building community across these lines we create, and listening to good music the whole way through.

And for those who disagree with me, I want to introduce you some of my music...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Soon I must have a three-way meeting with my two supervisors at work and my LVC supervisor. I know later I will give glowing compliments about the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, but with every strike you bowl, there is a gutter waiting for you.

I just don't know who to answer to. I have my two bosses at Lutherans Concerned/North America, my brand-new position of volunteer here, and I have my LVC boss in the Twin Cities. Now, we're going to sit around and have a "chat", the four of us, with great questions like, "Jason, how do you like working here?" "How do you like having Jason work here?" I guess it's just human tendency to worry about getting a less-than-wonderful comment on your working abilities, but I am just a bit annoyed at the whole triparte of supervisors I have. Am I working for LC/NA, or LVC? Is LVC my advocate, or are they going to team up with my placement to play an unfair game of Spoons? Who do I answer to? I guess I would just rather have a meeting with one set of people who supervise me, or have them meet without me. At least then I could rest in peace, knowing that my performance is getting battered somewhere far away, in a land before time.

So is a blog supposed to be a rant session? Or something to 'update' people, as my friends commented on the previous entry? Well, I just gave you both. BOO-YAH.

Now onto movies. It's 8:30am, and the office is still slow. So, I can go ahead and do things completely not work-related, and have fun doing it.

Brokeback Mountain,

Here we have a movie bringing up an important issue, one that can't be relegated to Gay Pride Film Festivals forever, especially if this society is ever going to move forward. Two cowboys, in Wyoming and Texas...what could be a better angle than that?? Plus, it's Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.

Capote, (Cool site, too)

Never knew the guy, never heard him speak, never read a book by him. But, dammit, Philip Seymour Hoffman? I rest my case. Maybe the greatest actor of our time (courtesy of John Stewart), and I'm inclined to agree.


Okay, I'm not "addicted" to Jake Gyllenhaal, but let's just say Donnie Darko was an incredible film. This one, as Karlyn described, looks like a Platoon for our generation.

Too bad two of these films are out already, but none are in the Twin Cities. I thought Minneapolis was all progressive and artsy, people!! Oh, how I love movies. Especially going to see them in a theatre. Sure, it's up to $10 per, but I still pay it. There's something about seeing movies on the big, when you pay the money, you have a greater motivation to pay attention to the movie and actually watch it.

That being said, go see The War Within. Not the greatest movie ever, but definitely one that needs to be seen by every American. I kid you not.

I should go back to work now, but I honestly have absolutely nothing to do. Maybe I'll just write another blog, all political and stuff. Till then...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

So, here's the deal. I'm looking at four different seminaries and will hopefully visit all of them this year.

The annoying thing is that the whole 9-5 job world gives you very little time off! Just thought I'd like to remind my viewers, who make up a huge part of that post-college class, and probably join me in my dismay of the "real world" sometimes.

I visited Pacific Lutheran in Berkeley, Luther in St. Paul, Wartburg in Dubuque, IA, and Chicago all with Laura Lu, my faith partner-in-crime. The thing is, we visited them when practically nobody was there! Good ole' May. So, now these same institutions (and add Philadelphia) will pay for a large part of the cost for me to get there now that classes are in session. If only we had known that they could be our sugar daddies...we would have asked to get reimbursed for our $2.50/gallon 3,000 mile road trip.

That's the other thing - money. Now, going into seminary is not a huge guarantee of financial security. But with many, many, MANY school loans (read: Texas Lutheran FRIKKIN University), I cannot take on that much more debt. So, if my GPA counts for anything, maybe I'll get a full-ride, or at least a ride every once in a while. I don't want to be a nazi about money, but it is a huge factor, is it not? I think only post-college students in the new millenium will fully feel me on that one.

Okay, I'm at work, so I guess it follows that I should be "working".

Friday, October 14, 2005

My Ghanaian name is Kwadwo. I was born on a Monday. Thanks to Laura for that little nugget.

Welcome to my blog!