Dream of the Dragon

Tag: false starts

On Same-sex Marriage

by Justin

Today’s personal revelation, hot on the overturn of Proposition 8 in California (the Cali kids should have known better from the beginning), emerged when I realized that I don’t understand the arguments against same-sex marriage. My belief in equal rights and my opposition to archaic judeo-christian ideals were always enough to bolster my support of gay marriage. Really, it seemed like common sense and a belief in the Golden Rule would be enough to silence the debate.

But I thought to myself, with no expectation of being swayed but in hopes of better understanding what I deemed to be an enemy of freedom, maybe I should read the secular or ‘liberal’ cases for the preservation of marriage as a strictly heterosexual institution. For all I knew, I was mirroring the ignorance I condemned by refusing to understand the opposing view. So I spent an hour reading through the popular arguments against same-sex marriage. I’ll save you the suspense of reading through the whole post to discover my conclusion: they’re more ignorant than I imagined. It’s willful ignorance in the extreme and ultimately falls under one of two headings: zealous adherence to religious dogma or┬áparalyzing fear of change. (Quick note – those are really sides of the same coin, and paralyzing isn’t the right word as the fearful are remarkably well mobilized against the threat to their beliefs.) Read the rest of this entry »

David Foster Wallace on Reagan, Kennedy, and Leadership

by Justin

In response to yesterday’s ramble about Obama’s shortcomings and what he stands to learn from the skills of Reagan, a friend (and dedicated opponent of all things Reagan) sent me some selections from David Foster Wallace.

The catch here is that I’m madly in love with most everything he writes, reluctant to disagree with his opinions in the way the parishoners are with their priest. Not at all that extreme, actually, but I have great faith in his ability to think deeply and with great devotion to truth. So I’m inclined to set my prejudice aside and let his thoughts work on me. Miss E. Leas sent this selection to me, out-of-control capitalization her own:

“SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT PRESIDENT RONALD W. REAGAN (1981-89) WAS OUR LAST REAL LEADER. BUT NOT MANY OF THEM ARE YOUNG VOTERS. EVEN IN THE 80S, MOST YOUNGER AMERICANS, WHO COULD SMELL A MARKETER A MILE AWAY, KNEW THAT WHAT REAGAN REALLY WAS WAS A GREAT SALESMAN. Read the rest of this entry »

Scratched Coin

by Justin

Even the sudden evidence that journalists can wield great power and exert great influence can’t change that I associate the word coin exclusively with Two Face. And that association lands somewhere between Arkham Asylum and Tommy Lee Jones.

I’m a little late in addressing the remarkable piece Michael Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone that achieved no less than the resignation/sacking of the chief director of the war in Afghanistan. President Obama appointed McChrystal barely a year ago to lead a calculated escape from the Afghanistan imbroglio – the revelation of insubordination and the firing of a four-star general should have placed Obama squarely in GOP┬ácross-hairs.

But the man who literally wrote the book on counter-insurgency tactics (this is the COIN we hear so much about) stepped into more than fill McChrystal’s shoes. Upgrade time, really. And it may be that the firm move by Obama to remind the general of the relationship between civilian government and its military arm ends up showing some needed steel. Who knows, this debacle may change things for the better. That’s just politically, mind you, and just for Obama’s reputation in the immediate future. The Rolling Stone profile of General McChrystal resulted in not only a changing of the guard but a sudden, piercing spotlight on the entire counter-insurgency strategy.

That’s the exciting bit, really. Read the rest of this entry »