Random Liberals

We are random liberals (who knew?). Collectively, we make up the greatest blog in the history of ourselves. We will blog about anything that suits us; mostly politics, with a little bit of religion and randomness to make the blog exciting.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Adding more peer pressure?

Last week, I noticed in the paper that a member of the Texas Legislature was proposing that we add the words "under God" to the pledge to the Texas flag. And I remembered how ridiculous I've always thought it was that Texas even had pledge of allegiance.

When I was in high school, towards the end of my educational career there, the Texas Legislature passed a law saying that all Texas schoolchildren would be required to recite the Texas and United States pledges every morning. What the exact reasoning behind this law was, I believe, will forever be unknown to the common citizen. But in my high school, this law was followed almost religiously by a majority of my peers. Even I for a while said both pledges without questioning what I was doing or saying. That all changed one day when one of my classmate's decided she needed to personally enforce this law with all our fellow peers who did not say the pledge.

I have a good friend who is a Jehovah's Witness and is therefore barred from saying either pledge by her religion. "Whitney", my friend, always stood during the pledges to show her respect for everyone else. No one questioned why she didn't say the pledge until that day. I don't exactly remember why this girl, "Mary", decided to be patriotic that particular day. But what she said to my friend will forever stay in my mind. At the beginning of the U.S. pledge, she walked up to Whitney and said, "Why aren't you saying the pledge? Are you unpatriotic or something? God."

I couldn't believe someone would so blatantly attack another person without knowing the real reason of why they did (or didn't) do what everyone else was doing. It was at that moment that all my disillusioned visions of America went down the drain. Staring straight at Mary, I sat down in the middle of the pledge and silently dared her to do or say something about it. After that day, I stopped reciting either pledge, except on days that I felt like it or was feeling extremely facetious. More than once I substituted the word "Texas" in the Texas pledge with "Georgia," my home state. I have been tempted on several occasions to copy my fellow blogger and recite the Calvin and Hobbes pledge "I pledge allegiance to Queen Fragg, and her mighty state of hysteria...", but never have. As disgusted as I am with my country sometimes, I still treat the U.S. pledge with respect.

With this new legislation coming forward, it appears to me that all it will add is a new level of peer pressure to our students. For those who do not believe in a higher being or God (but some other form of higher being), they will be ridiculed and tortured by their peers because they do not wish to say something that goes against their beliefs. In my opinion reciting the U.S. and Texas pledges should not be mandated by law or if people insist on keeping this law, provide some kind of amendment that protects against religious and political discrimination. Then we will truly be an indivisible nation/state.


Monday, July 31, 2006

Who Are We to Judge?

Well, it's been a long time since I've written. But recent world events have pushed me to want to write again.

All day today I've been listening to NPR and keeping up with the situation going on in Israel and Lebanon. It's awful. Israel promised a 48 hour cease of air strikes, but broke that promise after Hezbollah rockets hit an Israeli tank. Add up that incident with the air strike on the town of Qana, which killed around 60 Lebanese civilians including 34 children, and all I can see for the future of these two countries is no end to these mindless hostilities.

This war has seen more dead on the Lebanese side than the Israeli. I don't understand why President Bush, with that information, keeps insisting on saying that Israel has a right to defend itself. If you ask me, Israel is doing a pretty good job of defending itself against the civilians of Lebanon, who have done nothing to Israel. In the world of fairness and equality, Bush should be calling on Israel to stop the air strikes and work towards a cease-fire. But that world doesn't exist.

If you haven't read any of Baghdad Burning's latest posts, you need to. She's most recently written on the Qana bombing and what she has to say about it is powerful. I'm ashamed of my government's reaction to this, well, massacre. Towards the end of the Qana post, River writes "Is this whole debacle the fine line between terrorism and protecting ones nation? If it’s a militia, insurgent or military resistance- then it’s terrorism (unless of course the militia, insurgent(s) and/or resistance are being funded exclusively by the CIA). If it’s the Israeli, American or British army, then it’s a pre-emptive strike, or a ‘war on terror’. No matter the loss of hundreds of innocent lives. No matter the children who died last night- they’re only Arabs, after all, right?"

And, unfortunately, she's right. As long as the country "defending" itself is fighting against "terrorists", it doesn't matter who dies. It's all for the common good, right?

Remember the innocents who died in the Qana air strike and pray that this war will end before more civilians are killed. Also pray for the citizens of Iraq who are caught in the conflict that the U.S. started.


Monday, October 10, 2005


OK, posting has been non-existant recently, but that all changes tonight (possibly) when I have my first ever Fisking of a stupid article. You won't want to miss the next exciting episode of Random Liberals, when David Brooks' incredibly dumb column from yesterday gets taken apart, point by point. Stay tuned.

As a side-note, tomorrow, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day.


Monday, September 19, 2005

The Good Samaritans

I listened to This American Life yesterday with my dad (it was actually last week's episode). Ira Glass did long interviews in New Orleans with several survivors of Hurricane Katrina. One of the interviews was of Denise Moore, who rode out the hurricane in her home, walked to a nearby hospital where the rest of her family was after the storm ended, and then was taken with her family to the convention center. She told of the horrendous conditions that the refugees endured in the center. Then, when she was asked about the truthfulness of rumors circulating that women in the convention center were raped and that many people had been murdered, she told a very interesting tale. She said that many local young thugs and gangsters had brought weapons into the convention center, and were standing near the most vulnerable people, making sure that they weren't molested. These thugs were also out "looting" food, water, clothes, and anything else that was needed. They took care of people in the convention center while politicians flew over, looking hopeless and helpless and while the Gretna police were determined to keep black people from seeking refuge in their city.

Her story reminds me of another story which I'm sure most of you have seen somewhere or another. [slightly modified for a more contemporary audience]

25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: "Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?"

26 Jesus replied, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"

27 The man answered, " `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, `Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

28 "Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"

29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

30 Jesus replied with an illustration: "A large group of people was living together in an arena after being attacked by a hurricane. It stripped them of their clothes and money, beat them up, and left them half dead beside the road.

31 "By chance an important leader came along; but when he saw them lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed them by. 32 The police also walked over and looked at them lying there, but they also passed by on the other side.

33 "Then some despised thugs came along, and when they saw the refugees, they felt deep pity. 34 Kneeling beside them, the gangsters soothed their wounds with medicine and bandaged them. [...]

36 "Now which of these three groups would you say was a neighbor to the people who were attacked by Katrina?" Jesus asked.

37 The man replied, "Those who showed the people mercy."

Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same."


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pledge of Allegiance, Take 2

I believe that now would be an appropriate time to resurrect one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes jokes of all time (originally posted here, very early in the life of this blog):

I pledge allegiance to Queen Fragg, and her mighty state of hysteria...

Today, a district court judge ruled that teacher-led recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools are unconstitutional because of the phrase "under God". The suit was brought by the parents of three California schoool-children. The lawyer for the plaintiffs is none other than Michael Newdow, who was the plaintiff in the case that was thrown out by the Supreme Court last year on a technicality. As I said in my post last year on the original lawsuit, I do not like allowing teacher-led recitations of the Pledge at all. Even if students cannot be required to recite the Pledge, a lot of pressure is placed on students to conform, especially if a person of authority is leading the way. Students who are barred by their religion to salute to the flag (or who choose not to do so for other reasons) face discrimination by teachers and other students if they do not stand with the rest of the class.

For a much better articulation of this subject, go read this post by Lauren of Feministe.


Friday, September 09, 2005


I don't really have anything to say myself about the tragedy. I just want to point everyone to this story, (via Workbench) which has been reprinted in many places. It is the personal experience of two EMTs who were vacationing in New Orleans when Katrina struck. They were stranded in the city for several days, and during that time they -- along with other people they banded together with -- were treated like dirt by the authorities who were supposed to be mounting the rescue operation. At the same time, however, they tell of many ordinary people -- some who were stranded with them, others who they met as they finally got out of the city -- who displayed incredible kindness and compassion.

Please read it all the way through. This story tells us a lot about the still pervasive official classism in this country, but also about the compassion of random people.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Equal Rights Are for Girly-Men

Yesterday was a day of celebration for GLBT-rights activists in California, as the Assembly narrowly voted in favor of a bill that would give same-sex couples full marriage rights and responsibilities. However, the celebration was short-lived, as the Governator indicated today that he intended to veto the bill:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday he will veto a bill that would have made California the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through its elected lawmakers.

Schwarzenegger said the legislation, given final approval Tuesday by lawmakers, would conflict with the intent of voters when they approved an initiative five years ago. Proposition 22 was placed on the ballot to prevent California from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states or countries.

What the Gropenführer seems to have forgotten that members of the California Assembly are the elected representatives of the voters, and so by definition they represent the intent of the voters. (Yes, I know in practice that is not always the case. I'm going with representative democratic theory.) It is entirely possible (I would say probable) that the public have changed their minds in the last five years, thanks in part to the marriages in San Francisco last year which -- startlingly -- did not lead to the apocalypse.

Later in the piece, Schwarzenegger says that same-sex marriage is an issue for the courts to decide.

It seems to me that Arnold might have missed those many memos which accuse any court that declares laws banning same-sex marriage "activist". Or he's guilty of rank hypocrisy. I report, you decide.