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It's strange to think that I only have about 25 classes left here if I don't take summer-school courses again. A minimum of six of those are for my major, a few more for my minor, and then the rest are just subject to my whims and the vicissitudes of the cluster system (which isn't really all that bad, you pansies). I'm halfway done, then, having already taken 25 classes—that is, if you count this semester's classes and the two courses I took about half of and dropped.

What I find interesting is that while one of my roommates was in the Arts & Sciences office waiting to meet with a dean (her four-year advisor) about a week ago, she overheard two dean types talking about the kiosks here. Apparently it's a well-known fact that students hate the kiosks and that they make the university look bad by making it look as though technology here is piddly and limited. The deans said that apparently the only people who liked the kiosks at all were parents. The thing about that is, I think the only reason the parents tell the administration they like them is that 1. many parents are technologically challenged, effete snobs who are still amazed by Flash movies and 2. they hope that by complimenting the administration, their Johnny or Susie will have a better chance at getting kudos from the university. These are the women who walk around with their arms permanently bent at the elbow, their hands hanging limp, à la Peg Bundy.

In other news, the saga of the hub continues. I already got back on by forcing my IP, thanks to a friend's networking expertise, so I was pretty content with things. I got an IM from the op, though, saying I could get back on if I was quiet about it, more or less. He hadn't OKed it with anyone, but he'd lifted the ban on my IP. I had to chuckle at that, as the IP and nick bans really did a whole lot of nothing once I figured out how to circumvent them. I didn't bother to reply, as what to say? "I already got back on the hub a week"

Then a friend IMed me yesterday reminding me of the op's "pardon," noting that now she's an op on the l33t hub. Heh. That's pretty cool for her, but I'm not that excited by Direct Connect anymore—I can't get whole albums on there, the quality of files isn't particularly great, and all in all, it's just not that novel after the past few semesters of it. I like the power involved in being able to control whether other students have access to things, but it gets old, esp. as the current main hub owner is pretty bombastic and tyrannical. This results from the underlying drug culture they're trying so desperately to protect, as they all have a vested interest in keeping that alive—but I really don't care.

The editor-in-chief posted a medium-sized rant about why gay marriage should be allowed in the United States a day or so ago. He makes a point, sure, but it's a pretty well-worn one. My response addressed a bit of the problem with his approach, and, yea, the approaches of many. They just can't see how there could be a barrier to changing the definition of a "civil ceremony" like marriage. There's a big barrier, though, and that's the fact that the majority of people in this country—including our congressmen—go with their conscience (or at least what they consider to be their conscience) in casting their votes:

"I'm not going to address everything, but one part of this strikes me as questionable. You say, '[M]arriage is not a religious institution, but is a legal, civil contract between two adults.' In many, if not most cases, it's both.

You see, in the eyes of the state, yes, marriage is a legal contract that gives both parties entering into it certain rights and privileges in the eyes of the law. That's important, to be sure, as when, for example, someone is in the hospital and two parties, the person's parent and the person's partner, are vying for control over that person's future health and well-being. This can be especially crucial in cases where the person is in a coma or other state that renders them incapable of making their own decisions about medical care. In such cases almost anyone would most likely want the person who is closer to them and who knows them best, which is probably their spouse or life partner/lover/whatever you'd like to call them, to be in charge of making such decisions. Current laws deny homosexual partners that right, and yes, it's a definite problem for those citizens, I agree.

That said, however, I think there's an important barrier to be surmounted that I don't think you've addressed. You have to take into account that marriage is also a sacrament or highly valued tradition in many religions, especially within the Judaism/Christianity/Islam group of related religions, whose variants compose the vast majority of religion practiced in the Western world. More people are religious than you might think—60-plus percent of U.S. citizens attend church regularly and claim church affiliation. That's not something to be dismissed lightly. Might doesn't make right, but numbers make a key difference here. This is why:

We like to conceive of the United States government as an abstract, constitutionally governed entity that has no obligation to aid any given religion. Indeed, were the government to prefer a given religion over any other, that would be unconstitutional. The only obligation the government has with regard to religion is to merely not impinge upon their freedom of worship.

Yet the very prevalence of these religions means that for most of the individuals who compose our nice abstract government, the issue of marriage is not an abstract one at all, but a matter of their personal faith. While we'd like to think that our statesmen are nicely objective when it comes to voting, the truth is that they often go with their conscience, especially when they're seeing thousands of bills cross their desks during a given session of Congress. We can't completely get rid of religion's impact on our government when our very statesmen are acting (and voting) on the basis of mandates handed down by religious systems of morality. These individuals aren't likely to act against their conscience in voting, and it would also be unconstitutional to ban anyone with religious affiliation from participating in government, which is a major part of why GLBTQ marriages probably won't become standard for a long time to come.

I mean, who wants to be responsible for bringing about the next Sodom and Gomorrah?

(Note: Just to be sure, I'll reiterate this. I'm not saying that this means the majority is right. What I am saying is that the prevalence of religion makes it a lot more difficult to get laws allowing gay marriage on the books. I think you underestimate the power of religion in our society.)"

Yeah. I think I've got a point, kids.

- - -

I begin to feel vaguely queasy about the whole pony thing, but nonetheless, they still are damned cute.

Edit: Something very amusing: I just walked by the other room and saw one roommate, headphones on and oblivious, looking at pictures of My Little Ponies online. I quickly snuck back to my room, grabbed my camera, and tiptoed back to take pictures of this...but they didn't come out, thanks to it being my crappy digital camera. Ah well. I've definitely started something with all this. Our suite now has a total of 12 ponies, only half of which are mine.

11:43 pm, November 22, 2003 :: the jablog years

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