Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is Facebook an Accurate Representation of Young America's Political Views?

According to's Election '08 Application in which 263,911 people have voted on who they want to be president:
Barack Obama (Democrat) is in the lead with 24% and 64,670 votes
Ron Paul (Republican) is a far off second with 9% and 24,422 votes
Rudy Guiliani (Republican) is third with a slightly lower 9% and 23,961 votes
Hillary Clinton (Democrat) is fourth with a barely lower 8% and 23,331 votes
Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney (Republicans) each have 4% with 12,873 and 10,638 votes respectively
John Edwards (Democrat) ranks #6 with 3% and 9,201 votes
And Al Gore, who has not proposed any interest in the candidacy since the 2004 election, has 2% and 6,692 votes.

The reason I gave you all of that information is because I'm curious about the implications that these numbers make.

First off let me say that these questions are based on the assumption that people who have used the Election '08 application are people who are interested in politics and therefore who, if eligible, will vote when the time comes. also started as an exclusively collegiate connective tool.
In using the application, people are allowed to vote for more than one candidate.

Now, my questions are these:

Are these numbers an even vaguely accurate representation of Young America?

If yes, will this interest be translated to action on polling day?

If Hillary Clinton does not have a following in young, collegiate America - arguably a non-traditional crowd, where is her following?

Does she stand a chance in the eyes of conservatives? Traditionalists?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Not a Joiner

There are a lot of things that I believe in and will stand for and will support, but I tend to not join anything. I tend to not want to advertise anything. This is consistent with my desire not to be labeled.

I love Jesus and spend a considerable amount of time doing things because of that love, but in general, you don't see me wearing a cross around my neck or wearing a Christian t-shirt.
Unless something changes over the next year, I want Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States of America. But it was a struggle for me to add the Election '08 application to my Facebook. You probably won't see me wearing Obama For America t-shirts. I won't buy a bumper sticker.
I have to lay my pride down everytime I put on Alpha Chi Omega letters even though I adore my sisters and everything that our fraternity stands for.
A lot of the men on campus that are friends of mine are in the Kappa Sigma fraternity, but I had a big dramatic episode earlier in the year because I can't wear their letters. I don't want to be a Kappa Sig Sweetheart. I don't want to advertise for them.

I point all of this out to make the point that I am just not a joiner. I love music and singing but ever since I graduated high school, I have lost the desire to be in choirs. I love expressions of individuality and anything that's different than the mainstream, but that doesn't mean I can devote half of my weeks to OCURhythms.
I have to find a way to support the things I approve of without losing my identity in them.

If you ever run across Dave Chapelle's documentary on krumping called "Rize", give it the 2 hours it asks for. It's the most interesting thing I've ever watched.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What Will People Think...?

some of you know and likely resent the next lines of this song.

What will people think if they hear that I'm a Jesus Freak?
What will people do when they find that it's true?
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak.
There ain't no disguising the truth.

And let me start off by saying that I can understand and relate to your resistance. I have the same problem with being labeled as anything. I don't like to be labeled as a Christian or as a Jesus Freak for the same reasons I don't want to be labeled as black or as woman or as young or as nerd or as sorority girl. I just don't like labels, because they leave nothing to be imagined. Even the person with the best intentions, when they think of me as Christian there are bound to be some thoughts that come along with that label that are not pleasant. Christians persecute and exploit people just as badly as others.

But I realized tonight while I was at the Thousand Foot Krutch, Barlow Girl, Toby Mac concert that I miss the days when I could sing that song and know it's true. And there's a reason why "I don't want gain the whole world and lose my soul" makes me cry almost every time I hear it.

It's not because I don't want to do and be the right thing. It's because standing for the things I'm inclined to stand for will elicit that undesirable label. Of all the things to be labeled as 'Jesus Freak' is the thing that I can tolerate. But it kind of scares me that I am so against being labeled that I do things outside of character in order to make sure that people are always wondering about me. I "go ghetto" on the white kids so they always remember I'm not just like them. I stand out among the black people so they'll remember that I'm different than most. I'll drink because I'm not a stick in the mud, but I won't get drunk because I'm responsible. I won't tell you premarital sex is wrong but I won't do it either. I won't touch narcotics, but I laugh with you when you talk about getting high.

I realized tonight that my fear of being misidentified is stealing my identity.
Just like I told Christian last year over Spring Break: I've been trying to "educate myself" by trying everything and doing whatever I want, but I'm kind of running from the fact that I'm a good girl, a Christian girl, at heart.

To renege just a little on what I said in the last post...
I think it was really important, and with some things still is important, for me as an intellectual person who was born to be a leader in a pluralistic society to question everything. Because unfortunately for me I really only learn by action. So it wasn't until I questioned everything - God and His power and authority and capacity of love included - that I came to understand the hearts of people who question everything. It wasn't until I lived a lukewarm, hypocritical lifestyle that I was able to understand why people do it. It wasn't until I experienced the immoral that I realized the safety and peace and prosperity that come when you stand for the moral and just.
Yesterday, my advice to the world was to question everything.
Today, my advice is to figure out what works for you. How do you learn? By hearing, by experiencing, by observing? However it is that you learn, you need to seek that out until it brings you to the foot of the cross.

Now it's time for me to take my stand and truly say "I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak. There ain't no disguisin' the truth."

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Formulating Ideas

My friend Liz once told me to question everything.

I realized this theory early in my life, but I never thought to put it into words that way until she said it. I come from a background extremely driven by faith, as the substance of things hoped for, and because of this I felt like my world was telling not to ask questions, to accept things as they are and will be. But I don't think faith, the evidence of things unseen, is the same as blind faith. As Talib Kweli said, "Just because the Lord is our Shepherd doesn't mean we have to be sheep." Blind faith has no more depth, no more efficacy, than blind disbelief. People who don't believe in and try to discredit things they have never heard or experienced are ignorant (they choose to ignore the information that is available for observation). People who follow blindly behind anyone's teachings (once they are of age to think for themselves responsibly) are just as ignorant.

I believe in 95% of the things that "conservatives" or "traditionalists" or "religious people" believe in, but A) my reasoning for believing those things and B) the way I came to believe those things differ from the people on whom those labels are placed.

I don't believe anything just because someone said it. I believe what I see and what I experience. Don't tell me that isn't faith. Because the faith came, not when I saw it the first time, but when I continued to believe in once I couldn't see anymore.

I don't base my actions on anyone's mandates. For the most part, I make my own decisions based on my analysis of the situation. And I live with whatever consequences and rewards may arise from my actions.

I don't try to force people into a way of thinking that they aren't inclined toward. I drop hints, I make my opinions and beliefs known, and I truly believe there are many "religious" principles that it would behoove mankind to abide by. But abiding by those principles is their decision. I don't need to shove someone to their knees. When Life has had it's way with them, they'll end up on their knees of their own accord. Better to help and love and protect them while they work their way toward the breaking point than to spawn animosity by trying to break the unbending.

I'm also not a movement-joiner/cause-supporter. I believe one should experience anything and everything that they can, but it is possibly a limitation of yourself to align yourself solely with any one thing. Attend a peace rally and a march on Washington. Hear a political activist speak live. Go on a mission trip. Volunteer with the homeless. Attend a revival. But to become the champion of one cause is the calling of the very very few, not the many. John Wesley said, "Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Journey of Learning

This is the first of a series of English assignments that I'm going to post here. Because apparently, my professors think they are rather good.

The Journey of Learning

As students beginning an academic year at Oklahoma City University, all have, at some point, made a formal pledge to the concept of university. By continuing to attend, and by paying tuition, upperclassmen acknowledge that it is still their desire to be part of a “community of learning.” When students became aware of this desire, whether as freshmen at matriculation or before or since, there were three main inferences made about said community. The statement, “We desire to begin this journey into the community of learning,” has a multilayered interpretation. Students are inferring that as a body they are stepping into an atmosphere that they expect to be safe for exercising their intellectual muscles, free for expressing their thoughts, and inspirational for further thought and reason.

A feeling of safety is imperative to a student’s ability to learn. Students must feel that they will not be made fun of, degraded or harmed if they are wrong or do not understand immediately. It must be communicated to them that this learning environment is one where mistakes are expected, corrected and reversed. A student who doesn’t feel like it is acceptable to be wrong will not feel like it acceptable to expand their wealth of knowledge because many learn only by trial and error. A student may not try if they do not feel safe to err. They may not feel secure in mental risk-taking if they do not trust that their advisors and instructors will be there to cultivate their risks or redirect the efforts. The classroom must be an environment that is comfortable, not full of fear. It is the faculty and fellow students, the other members of the community of learning, who alleviate this fear.

In the same way that students must feel safe to learn, they must feel free to express themselves. For many people, in order to retain information, facts must become thoughts and then conversations or writing assignments. A student who is afraid to speak up in class or enter into a dialogue with his instructor is less likely to gain a working knowledge of the subject matter. He may memorize facts and learn to regurgitate them, but he will lack true understanding. A student whose writing is limited by topic or length may feel like they are being told to think inside a box or structure. It may be assumed that traveling outside this structure is wrong and the student might then begin to place cognitive limits on himself. This contradicts the journey of learning; it places unnecessary roadblocks along the path to knowledge. Students are expressing between the lines of their pledge that they desire to have these roadblocks, these limits, removed for them.

Students “desire to begin” their journey. This says they are aware that they have likely not yet started to truly learn. It could be implied that students believe it is the job of instructors to show them the broadness of the horizon of learning. It is instructors’ responsibility to open students’ minds to the idea that learning has no limit and no set path. Prior to matriculating into college many students have felt that they were only “allowed” to hypothesize to a certain extent, only allowed to mentally reach so far. Yet it is the desire, the deep-seated longing, of these students to go past what they have already learned into realms of cognition that they never knew existed. In order for them to succeed in this journey, students need to feel inspired. Some only need services like matriculation to hint to them that the walls are broken down and they are at the threshold of the world. Others need to see it in their professors eyes during lecture, recognize it in the assignments being made, and understand it in the way those assignments are graded.

Students want to feel secure in their learning endeavors and free to express their ideas, conceptions, and misconceptions so that they can be more and more inspired throughout this journey in their community of learning. The desire is underlying in almost everyone and is brought to the forefront through calls-to-action like matriculation convocation.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Women vs. Men; Am I sexist?

I am more than definite that this will step on some toes. I just hope I don't offend you so much that you stop reading. It's just an opinion. Take it, think on it, accept or discard it and then move on. You don't have to hate me.

Your Left Hand Lives for Love. Your Right Lives for the Moment.
Your left hand says 'we.' Your right hand says 'me.'
Your left hand is your heart. Your right hand is your voice.
Your left hand rocks the cradle. Your right hand rules the world.
Your left hand sees red and thinks roses. Your right hand sees red and thinks wine.
Your left hand plays hard-to-get. Your right hand just plays hard.
Your left hand celebrates the day you were married. Your right hand celebrates the day you were born.
Your left hand says I love you. Your right hand says I love me too.

This was an ad campaign that beefed up a sales pitch that has apparently been going on since '03, but that many of us just became aware of last fall. It was created for "promoting the diamond category that celebrates a woman's desire to treat herself and acquire a diamond ring. Formerly, many women had to wait to walk down the aisle before they could display a diamond ring on any finger. Tradition dictated that diamond rings were the province of the occasions, of engagements or anniversaries."
Quoted from
(To read more on Right Hand Rings, just Google it. There's a ton of info out there.)

Initially when I saw this ad, being a media major I looked at it with a critical eye. And yes, it's a good ad, from a technical standpoint. But from my standpoint, it kind of makes my blood boil, the more I look at it.

The ad implies that love is less important than the moment, that 'we' is less important than 'me', that your heart is less important than your voice, that mothering can be compared to world-domination, and that love of another is less important than self-love.
Everything that I've grown up knowing and believing is challenged in this ad. I've always thought that there was nothing more impacting or powerful than love - whether of a man or a child or a friend. "From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" so how can you give credit to your voice without first paying attention to your heart? I've always believed that respectable people, people who make a difference, are people who put others before them self.
But I guess people who buy right hand diamonds simply for the sake of it aren't really concerned with the things I just mentioned.

Let me get back on point.
This ad, like the movie "Mona Lisa Smile", challenges not the ability of women to buy diamonds, or to be mentally equal to men, but their role in the world.
Are women the same as men, discounting their sex organs, or do our physical differences imply that we have different mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, occupational, and familial purposes?

As an intelligent woman in college headed toward a career, I do not believe that women are much different from men mentally or occupationally...although there are some jobs, that because of the physical or authoritative nature of them are better conducted by men. Back to that later.

We all know that women and men are emotionally different. That is scientific fact. The question remains, do women's more categorically surface emotions have an affect on their jobs and their ability to lead?
My opinion is that they do.
Hate me if you want to.

As much as we - myself included - like to pretend that we are, women are simply not as physically strong as men. (Childbirth not withstanding. I credit the ability to deliver babies to our quality of endurance, not our physical strength) Take the best all-around player in the WNBA and pit her against the best player in the NBA and the man is sure to win. Put the best female soccer player against the male one and the man will win. Put the best female Olympic runner against the best male and the male is likely to win. (Here's another bone of contention...) Put a female soldier in combat against a male, neither having guns, and see who wins.
None of this is to say that women shouldn't play sports or participate in physical labor activities or be in the military or work construction, and it's not to say that we can't...simply to point out that men are better at it, more physically equipped for it. And if men are more physically equipped for physical labor, what are women more equipped for?
That's a question, not an implication.

The next two categories, religion and family, is where you are most likely to become angry with me. I reiterate. Don't be angry. Just take it with a grain of salt as an opinion that you disagree with.

Let me start by saying there are exceptions to every rule. Nothing that I am about to say is necessarily true for all situations.
My belief is that a family should consist of a strong man who serves as an authority figure, a strong woman who is submissive (inclined or willing to submit to orders or wishes of others, according to WordNet) to her husband, never subservient (subordinate in capacity or function; subordinate meaning of less importance or secondary, according to American Dictionary and, and children who are aware of the roles that each of their parents play. Those children must submit to their parents, especially to their father. The boys should submit until they become independent, or as the parents yield authority. The girls should submit to their fathers until they become independent or until they marry, whichever comes first. If they become independent, they are their own authority figures in the day-to-day of things, but fathers should still be consulted in major life decisions. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife..."
Enough with the logistical break down.

I don't think the man has to be the only or even the primary bread-winner. But, I do think that money notwithstanding he retains the right to govern his home. Yes, even if his wife is paying for it. This is why my view of a good marriage is contingent on men who listen and care about their wife's opinion and contingent on the ability of people to communicate.
I don't think that women should be primary care-givers. I believe that parenting is a shared role in which both father and mother play equally crucial parts.
I don't think women should be commanding officers.
I don't think women should be head pastors. I think we are wonderful in secondary pastoral roles, but I think we should leave tending the flock as a whole to men.
I think the man is the head of the house, but as it was so eloquently put in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "the woman is the neck and she can turn the head whichever way she wants to."

After my last post on American War inspired by the CNN/YouTube Democratic Debates, the climactic statement is...
For the aforementioned reasons, I cannot bring myself to approve of a female president.
I think Condie's role as Secretary of State is fine. I am even fine with a female vice president (provided the president doesn't die). But I don't think a woman should be Head of State, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, the leader of perhaps the most influential country in the world. I'm not for Hillary Clinton or any other woman for president.

I believe that as a woman, I was born to be the suitable helper for a man. "She was called woman, for she was taken out of man." I believe I was born to be a mother to children. I was born to nurture and love and support and lend strength. I was born to lead by example and not necessarily by title or mandate.
There are a great many other things I was born to do, but those are the ones written on my DNA. Or perhaps I should say on my chromosomes.

Next Topic: America's "moral leadership"

Monday, August 6, 2007

American War

I'll admit, I am far behind in my news gathering, but I am currently in the process of watching the CNN YouTube Democratic debates. There have been several things that have been said that I'm sure I will address eventually but since this is the most provocative question in politics today this is the one I'll address first.

When it comes to war in general and especially right now in Iraq, the arguments are basic although we do our best to complicate them. Do we A) fight, stay, deploy, fund in efforts to militarily enforce our views of democracy in a nation where they don't truly want it or do we B) preserve the lives of our troops and the nation's finances and make this a diplomatic fight - one done through words and the U.N. and treaties and trial and error?

The problem with option A is that people who disagree with the goal of the war feel that people are dying in vain.
The problem with option B is that people are far more responsive to bloodshed than words.

The question now is do we stay - knowing that this is in the process of turning into another Vietnam - and hope to God that our troops can make a difference before too many more die? Or do we pull out - knowing that this action will undercut the intentions behind the war - and admit that we, the United States of America, tried and failed?

My personal opinion is that we should do the latter, pull out, cut our losses, mourn for our troops, welcome them home and let the U.N. handle it from here.

Part of the reason could be that I just watched The Interpreter, which for those of you who don't know is a movie about a woman who interprets for the United Nations and who overhears a threat on an African political leader's life.
In the movie, she talks about how she believes in the U.N. and believes in what it stands for. Communication. As a journalist and an expressive personality, I can't help but be yoked to that. Communication.

Now, before you call me unpatriotic, I come from a military family. My uncle and grandfather are both retired Air force, my cousin is active duty Air Force, my other cousin is active duty Coast Guard. I have a friend who was in the National Guard and has thought about re-enlisting but he is afraid to because he has a son and doesn't want to go to Iraq. I had to think about what to say to him, how to advise him. It wasn't theoretical, it's his life. I have numerous girl friends whose boyfriends are overseas. It's very close to home to me.

I support the military. I believe that sometimes it is necessary to fight. And when all of this started, even in my limited understanding, I thought it was time for us to fight. But I also believe that sometimes mistakes are made, things get out of hand and sometimes we just can't do it alone. It has spiraled out of control. Let's try a different approach.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Beauty In Everything

Sometimes I find myself in these sappy moods where I can look at just about anything and think it's adorable.

Right now I'm watching "My Best Friend's Wedding". They - the bride-to-be, the man, and the woman who still loves the man - are at a karaoke bar, and Kimmy, the bride-to-be, doesn't sing but they make her do it anyway. She is HORRIBLE. Can't carry a note to save her life. But I find her wonderfully endearing anyway.
Jules (Julianne), the woman who still loves the man, is aggressive and far too self-centered and complicated beyond belief, but I find something beautiful about her desperation and all her quirks.
Michael, the man, is so unbelievably in love with Kimmy, for reasons that I'm just now seeing after hundreds of times watching this movie. He believes in her and defends her and then even when they almost break up, he fights for her. And he's protective of Jules and jealous of her time, even though they aren't together anymore. How lovely.

Last night I was watching "Crazy/Beautiful". The girl is one of those troubled types, depressed and a little suicidal, which evokes emotion in and of itself, but she's also an artist. She has this Polaroid camera that she takes pictures with almost constantly and she puts the pictures in a book and on her wall. I wish I had one of those.

Best Friends.
All the little things that just make my heart smile.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Exercise and Government

Working It Out
So I went to the gym, a new all-female gym, today. I got measured and weighed (ick!) and debriefed and then I took a step class.

There was a portion of the step class where we did some kick boxing. Kick boxing in general is hard. But the part that was hardest was the jabs. I'm not a fighter and I've never kick boxed before so I was completely unprepared for the burn. And right when I was thinking, "My shoulder is about to fall off and then I will quit" she said "Come on, jab! Like you're punchin' somebody in the face!"
I laughed. And then I flashed back to Camp last weekend.

Saturday night, the message was over David and Goliath. Andy Tilley talked about how David ran to meet Goliath, he ran toward his battle. He didn't approach it cautiously, he ran at it. Andy went on to define our battles as things that effect our daily lives - sin, pain, relationships; Satan, in a nutshell. And he talked about how we are quick to fight for things that don't matter - who said what about our hair who talked to our boyfriend - but when it comes to the things that mean spiritual life or death for us, we back down and put it off until tomorrow.

Not to sound conceited or "holier than thou", but in my opinion, the battles that I face pale in comparison to the world's and the Church's battle against sin and death and Satan. So I spent that time while Andy was preaching wrapped up in thought about how to best fight Satan on behalf of the students I've been put in a position to help lead, or on behalf of the people I go to college with, or how to fight death and disease and poverty on behalf of those who can't fight it for themselves.

And it's interesting how when my shoulders were burning in the middle of my step aerobics class, God reminded me of how passionately I'm willing to battle in the spirit realm and how dispassionately I battle in other areas.
The moral of the story is I jabbed like I was punching Satan and I didn't quit on my step class.
Bein' a Christian ain't just about goin' to church.

Town Hall
Have you ever been to a town hall or school board meeting, or at least seen one on TV? A panel of legislators or representatives or people who are directly related to law-making sit at the front of a room and members of the public attend and participate in the democratic process.

I decided tonight while talking to my mother that if national government were run like state and city government, America would be in better - if not good - shape.

What do you think?

Change of Pace

Creating this account is me trying desperately to:
A) find a method of communication that satisfies my need to express
B) have that method be one that other people like me also use
C) be taken seriously.

God only knows what will come of this, but perhaps it will be something that makes me smile more often than not.