Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Night of Broken Silicon

Up front, I don’t really feel like I have the time or desire to write another word about this subject. In many ways, I feel like I’ve said all I have to say. But because of opinions and beliefs that I have shared on this site, I feel it important to express my feelings about a recent development in this on-going political debate. To be clear, I am not renouncing one opinion  I have shared. If it appears to some that I am, I apologize. Please go back and read those things you think I’m betraying because I don’t believe you’ll find a contradiction. However, if you believe otherwise, I apologize. I have always been about open dialogue and finding common ground through love and acceptance. That’s it. Which is why what happened on April 3rd is so aggravating personally and destructive nationally.

Can we all agree on one thing up front? Regardless of your feelings on gay marriage, or any other form of marriage contrary to the long established “one man, one woman” mantra, the hard facts are that from a purely scientific point-of-view, an argument could be made for the status quo that has existed for centuries. I suppose if taken to its most biological and primate form, you could also make an argument for polygamy (which I am loathe to do and will not be doing) but in the end, the reality is, from a purely biological standpoint, you need a man and you need a woman to create life. Factor in religion, (whether you believe in God or a god or some sort of supreme power greater than humanity or just hold to the belief that religion’s existence is simply an opiate for the masses) and the basic reasoning for the creation of marriage centuries ago would seem to be a desire on the part of society to create an institution that would provide the best possible outcome for humans during their infancy and formative years. And whether or not you agree with that opinion in today’s world, it would be disingenuous to suggest that it is an opinion completely devoid of merit.

Now, to be fair, in the United States of 2014, we are well aware that the plight of the traditional family is far from healthy. And it would also be disingenuous to suggest that gay people or the idea of gay marriage is the reason why. My own personal viewpoint is that children born in circumstances that amount to first world poverty should be of far greater concern to the faithful than what two consenting adults of the same gender want to do with their lives. Furthermore, I would stand up and support the rights of two individuals of the same gender who are committed to each other in a long-term relationship to adopt a child because I believe the life provided to that child by two loving parents in a stable home is so much more preferable to what millions of children are growing up in within the borders of our nation.

But that’s just it. The ideas that I support in the paragraph above are simply my opinions. And I should be free to hold them and support them to whatever extent I deem acceptable within the context of my personal life. Which is where this ongoing political struggle regarding gay marriage took an ugly turn last week.

Brendan Eich is one of the co-founding members of Mozilla, the parent company behind the web browser Firefox. In 2008, Mr. Eich donated $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign fighting against gay marriage in the state of California. His donation became public when the opposition to Prop 8 requested the lists of people who donated so that they could make them public. I feel it is fair to say (since many who were involved in this process have essentially said as much themselves) that the purpose of making that list public was to shame to those who gave money to Prop 8. At the time, it had little effect on Mr. Eich. However, when he was announced as Mozilla’s new CEO a little over two weeks ago, certain proponents of gay marriage both within the company and without, made it their mission to get him removed. After ten days, they were successful.

What is so disturbing about this is the arguments that have been used to justify this in the aftermath. The New Yorker magazine stated that he was fair game because his political views on gay marriage were well known. They made no mention of how they became well known and in truth, Mr. Eich was never an outspoken advocate against gay marriage. He simply gave a donation. The only reason his views were well known is because of the “outing” (pardon the pun) of Prop 8 contributors by political foes for the specific purpose to cause damage.

Furthermore, The Los Angeles Times goes on to argue that because Mr. Eich is on the wrong side of history, his personal views, regardless of whether they affect the company or not, disqualify him from holding the office of CEO, especially in Silicon Valley where liberal views and support of gay marriage are the prevailing sentiment.

To this I say…WHAT????

There are several things I want to address, but first and foremost, let’s talk about this wrong side of history argument. The Los Angeles Times compares being against gay marriage in 2014 to being against interracial marriage or racial equality in…2014. It admits it may not be as retrograde, but still suggests that they are the same. The problem with this argument goes back to what I stated earlier. Regardless of whether anyone likes it or not, there is a biological argument that simply does not exist with regards to racial equality. I am not saying I adhere to this argument as being substantial enough to completely deny the benefits of marriage to gay people, but it is an argument that has not been fully laid to rest. Mainly, those who support gay marriage point to the fact that those who have been given the opportunity to enjoy marriage in a heterosexual relationship have not handled their stewardship well and therefore don’t deserve the right to define marriage in today’s society. Divorce rates well above 50% indicate they are right. But that doesn’t fully address the basic biological argument. Especially when it is combined with a religious component. Therefore the argument in 2014 is hardly laid to rest. Bottom line, to say that the “wrong side of history” had been fully developed and therefore justifiable grounds for discrimination is a tad sinister. Could it be that in years to come Mr. Eich is discovered to have been on the wrong side of history? It is certainly possible. But also on the wrong side of history is disqualifying individuals for privately held convictions. Just ask Joseph McCarthy.

Secondly, the argument that he was not fit to serve because the political make-up of Silicon Valley is predominately pro gay marriage is also ludicrous. If those who supported Prop 8 had also publicized the names of everyone giving money to their opposition, would those justifying Mr. Eich’s ouster be so quick to support the ouster of…let’s say the CEO of Cabelas sporting goods. I have no knowledge of Mr. Millner’s view on gay marriage, but if he had given money to fight Prop 8 in California and had then been forced to resign because the hunting and fishing community is predominately anti-gay marriage, the resulting explosion from those justifying Mr. Eich’s ouster would have been heard ’round the world. And rightly so.

Finally, I turned to Slate.com. And here, I found a compelling piece of editorial journalism. Mr. Bouie’s argument is that if Mr. Eich’s removal was unfair, it was only a high profile example of what many who are gay, and live in states that do not have laws protecting gay individuals from being fired for their sexual orientation, face. To this argument I say, okay, I agree with this one. Neither is right and both should not happen. I find no issue with joining Mr. Bouie’s call for every state to work toward non-discrimination laws that extend to sexual orientation. Because as he states so eloquently, “For as much as employer flexibility is important to a dynamic economy, it’s also true that no one should fear firing for the people they love, the identity they claim, or the donations they make.” Now there’s a rational thought in the middle of hysteria.

Bottom line, I believe the world is changing. I believe the realization on the part of religious people the world over that same-sex attraction is not easily explained away is becoming more widespread and is fostering an environment that could be beneficial to all. Should it have happened years, decades, and possibly even centuries earlier? Yes. It should have. But it’s happening now. And while advancements may not come as quickly as some would like, taking actions like those that were taken against Mr. Eich will not help anyone. They will only further divide and foster more anger. Which is ironic since this whole argument exists over the rights of each individual to love whom they will.

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Blessed (Not By Elton John)

WARNING: The following post may contain sappiness and does not contain the USDA’s daily recommended dose of cynicism.

Often following a particularly biting post or one where the more negative aspects of my personality shine through, my wife will remind me that she intends to have all of my blog posts printed and saved in a book format.  She did this with my old blog and it serves as a bit of personal history. Her purpose is to keep me on track from saying something that I will likely regret our posterity reading at a future date. It doesn’t always work. In fact it rarely works, but I feel that for posterity’s sake, I should take today’s portion of the top 100 items that leave me in shock or speechless (see previous post for explanation) and devote it to things that I am shocked and speechless to be blessed with.

Now to be clear, as I was contemplating this post earlier in the evening, I had a need to turn on a light and was struck with how blessed I am to live in a time of electricity. Which made me think, Do I have to include that kind of stuff in this post? I quickly determined that no, I do not. For one, I have never lived in a time where indoor plumbing, electricity and telephones have not existed. I did, when I was very young, have to get off the couch to manually change the channel on my parent’s small black and white television, but I hardly think that counts as a major hardship. So with that in mind, I don’t believe I am truly shocked at those kind of blessings. I don’t think it’s possible for someone like me. I have never known a life without them. It goes along the lines of the “How can I know good without knowing evil” kind of debate.

So, the items I will include are only those kind of things that when I sit and ponder, I am stunned at how blessed I truly am.

Ready? Then let’s pick up where we left off with number 90.

90. To Quote Dr. Suess, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”

Two things, I realize this could actually fit in the same category as those listed above because travel has always been available in my lifetime. Also, I don’t want this next paragraph to come across as bragging. It isn’t meant that way, so please don’t take it that way.

But when I sit back and think of where I have been allowed to go in my lifetime, I marvel. Now compared to others, it isn’t much, but in comparison to millions of people currently on this planet and in comparison to billions who have lived upon it over the course of time, I have seen some amazing things. I served a mission in England. I got to see the rolling hills of Wales and stand where Kings have been crowned. I have seen The Statue of Liberty from across the bay and eaten lobster in Maine. I’ve met Mickey Mouse on two different coasts. And I’ve sat amidst the waves of a storied Hawaiian beach in the early morning hours with not another single living soul in sight. I’ve been blessed to do some truly amazing things in some truly amazing parts of the world, to the point that if I were never allowed to travel again, I would still have to admit that I’ve been blessed.

89. In Case I’ve Never Mentioned It, I Wrote A Book

At this point, over 1,500 people have either read my book or have at least purchased a copy. That means 1,500 people have read the words I put together or at least paid for the privilege to do so. That is mystifying to me and extremely humbling. In comparison to John Grisham or Stephen King, I have a long way to go. But even though I know I probably won’t, how awesome!

88. Never Underestimate The Value of a Good Friend

I am always amazed at the caliber of friends I have. And not just friends who come and go in a year or two, but folks I have been blessed to call friends for decades. Yes, decades in the plural form. And to be clear, as far as decades go, I’ve only been around for four. Why such good people put up with me as the years go by I will never know. But I am grateful for them more than I can express.

87. The Power of the Fork

I am allowed to call myself a proud alumnus (I would probably have used the word alumni improperly here had I attended BYU) of the great Arizona State University.

86. The Old Pueblo Has Never Been My Pueblo

There may have been a day that I would have welcomed the opportunity to be a proud Wildcat from the University of Arizona. But that opportunity would have required me to live in Tucson. And I am beyond blessed in never having had to do that. Speaking of which…

85. Not Everywhere is Ideal for Hanging Your Hat

Along with Tucson, as of yet, I have never had to live in Lordsburg, Deming or any other locale that gets a large portion of their revenue from traffic pulling off of the I-10. I’m sure many of these communities are fantastic, but…no para mi.

84. My Mother Always Prayed For Good Influences

I have been influenced by some amazing people in my life. From a music teacher who showed me how to believe in dreams to a mission president who taught me to believe in miracles. Parents who taught me to expect more, but only if I earned it. Extended family who provided everything from a challenge to my rigid mindset to a soft place to land when the difficulties of life reared their ugly head. A brother who has helped me see the value in welcoming differences rather than requiring similarities. And a wife who sees the real me on a daily basis…and stays in spite of it.

83. Who Are These Little People That Look Like Me?

Yes, I know every parent says this, but suck it up and take it because I’m going to say it anyway. My kids amaze me. It’s funny what you dream about when you are expecting your first child. It’s also funny how often those dreams don’t come true…and that it’s more than okay. After so many years, I still can’t answer the question of which is harder, having a child that is nothing like me, or having a child that is exactly like me. Both provide more learning opportunities than I ever could have imagined. But mostly, I am blown away that I get to be a small part of the lives of these amazing human beings in the making. They deserve better. But I’m glad they didn’t get what they deserve.

82. Workin’ 9 to 5

In my entire adult life, I have never had a job that wasn’t Monday to Friday, with eight hours somewhere between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Yes there are days when I might have given this away to make more money. But in today’s world, coming home every night and spending time with my family is one of the greatest blessings I could ask for.

81. I Have Never Failed to Live Up To My Potential As a Constant Disappointment

I doubt I will ever be able to understand why a loving Heavenly Father continues to bless me as he does when I work so hard not to deserve it. Nor will I ever be able to put into words how grateful I am that he does.

That’s it for our trip through the 80’s. We’ll return later for a groovy visit to the 70s.

 

 

 

 

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