Earlier this week, the New York State Assembly overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill that would ban the use of so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy – treatments that aim to change sexual orientation – on minors. During the time I wrote this commentary, the New York State Senate had yet to vote on the bill. They have until the end of today, when the 2013-14 legislative session officially closes, to pass the bill. Should it pass, Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law. This would make New York the third state – following California and New Jersey – to outlaw efforts to turn gay kids straight.
A recent headline read, “Slow Common Core.” For quite a long time there has been a backlash against anything viewed as “too tough” for our kids. That is a tendency of living in a democracy. Anything tough for our kids is bad but at the same time they have to get a fabulous education that will equip them for life’s challenges. So the solution is teachers who can make everyone learn painlessly. And therefore, if anything goes wrong it’s the teacher’s fault, not the student’s.
We have come to that point in our nationhood, where our cohesion is at serious risk. To paraphrase John Dunne, no one of us is an island, entire to itself; everyone is a part of the main, because we are all involved in humankind. He was right, because in Latin, ‘homo’ translates as a male or female person or fellow creature. Yet, despite all of our inclusive rhetoric, there are still those among us, who would reverse the democratic process in this fragile democracy to the most despicable meaning of “State’s Rights,” in which those of color are excluded and denied inclusion, except as sub-human members of the work-herd, as the ‘State’s-Right’ politicos once considered them.
World War II may have ended in the mid-1940s. The concentration camps were liberated and those who survived the horrors of the era were supposed to get on with their lives. But for many, the war never really concluded. The brutality of the time and the decisions made by individuals of all backgrounds reverberated through their souls, in many cases for the rest of their lives.
The doctor wrote the prescription in that Sanskrit that pharmacists are fortunately familiar with, and I took it immediately to the drug store. The swelling on my nose had been pre-cancerous, and I didn't want to delay.
Each year, graduates of our nation’s colleges and universities participate in an ancient ritual known as “commencement.” They don medieval garb and participate in a ceremony designed to honor their accomplishments and be celebrated by their final “teacher”, the famed “commencement speaker.”
For a considerable period I have argued that President Obama’s foreign policy was feckless, a function of inexperience and amateurish advisement. The overarching goal of removing the U.S. from harm’s way seemed absurd since even if you want to avoid war, it sometimes has a way of finding you. But there is logic in a foreign policy position that avoids overreaching.