Thursday, December 02, 2004

Quick Hits #2

Happy December, dear readers. It is officially the Holiday Season, the one time of year where American consumers are reminded that no matter how empty your bank account (or your spirit) may be, there is joy in rampant consumerism, and it is the duty of all good Americans to spend, spend, spend. Anyway...


World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day has come and gone. I, too, have lost family, friends, and colleagues. More than twenty years has passed since the discovery of this decimator, and according to studies, we have made little progress in prevention and treatment. Rates of new infection and deaths are still equal to those of the mid-1990's. Why can we make bigger cars and smaller phones, but can't get people to understand that a condom has to be worn during sex, and that demonizing the sexually active won't stop the spread of HIV? Will the Angry White Male, AKA The Check Writer, stop seeing himself as inconvenienced by everyone who isn't like him? Will he ever stop feeling threatened by Black women, the group experiencing the highest number of new HIV infections? Will he ever stop flushing money down the crapper on "abstinence only" programs? Hasn't the church always preached abstinence until marriage only to discover that few people wait until the honeymoon to become sexually active? Or can it be that the Angry White Male has discovered an easy way to get rid of those he thinks are expendable anyway -- gays, Blacks, drug abusers, the poor.

I'm sick of red ribbons, five-mile walks, begging people for money to give to yet another organization. I'm tired of drug companies getting rich off of poor countries' suffering, and I'm disgusted with holier-than-thou fat cats withholding their toys because no one wants to play the game their way. The truth is that people are having sex; married, unmarried, men with men, men with women, women with women. Young and old, Black and White, Christian and non-Christian, everybody's doin' it. Save your judgements, oh ye of supposed superior faith, for "with what measure you judge, you shall also be judged," and support real programs, including condom distribution and honest sex education.

Gratitude
I planned to create a longer version of my "What I'm Thankful For" list at the end of the year, but it seemed so odd to not post anything for Thanksgiving, that I've decided to start early on my year-end wrap up.

As always, I'm thankful that although I live in a country that doesn't always respect all of its citizens, all of its citizens have the opportunity to make lots of noise about being treated poorly. Yes, the vote was snatched out from under us. Yes, Canada, Belgium, and The Netherlands seem quite appealing, but boys and girls, one should never allow themselves to be kicked out of their own home. Feeling threatened? Stand up and fight.

I'm thankful that I had a meal earlier today. Chances are better than good that I'll have one later, and one or more tomorrow. Many haven't had the same chance I had, and I may not be so fortunate tomorrow.

I'm thankful I have a body that is fully functioning. The size of my hips and thighs is irrelevant. I have a round belly. I wear glasses. I'm moving around, I have my senses, and I am coherent enough to type this. This could be my last post. And, my official race time in the Prospect Park Turkey Trot (5 miles along the park's rolling hills) was 1:05:47 -- five minutes faster than I projected, and three minutes faster than I thought I finished.

I'm thankful to have met incredible people from around the world, from a variety of beliefs and cultures. They've changed my life, for better or worse. So many people would never dream of leaving their small town to meet someone unlike them. I'm grateful for courage.

I'm thankful for the love of someone whose existence proves to me that angels are real.

Don't wait until Thanksgiving to think about thanks.


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