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The Bigger Picture
Oddly specific. Universally applicable.

Enough with the judgements and assumptions about women’s emotions

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We can never win, us women. If we’re smiley and friendly, then we’re giving off signals that encourage men’s advances. If we try to protect ourselves from these advances then we’re cold: “bitch” they’ll say. “Up her own arse.” “High and mighty,” “snob.” “Think you’re too good for me, do you?”

Why do I care what these men think of me? Why do I worry about their juvenile response to blunt rejection? It’s taken me a while to realise this, but I don’t. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that a man thinks I’m a cold, nasty snob because…


How I learned about Targét and Bible Camp

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By sheer coincidence, I had to travel to my boyfriend’s hometown a few weeks after we started dating. I was incurably optimistic then, so I suggested meeting his parents while I stayed in Chicago. I was calm about crossing this serious relationship milestone so early on —until about a week before my flight. In the course of about three days, I descended through multiple distinct and excruciating levels of panic.

Since all gay thinking is overthinking, everything seemed fine until I realized how different we were. He was quite literally a Boy Scout from the Midwest: kind and pale just…


POLITICS

How the U.S. Constitution allows for democracy to be thwarted

Empty chairs inside a National Assembly
Empty chairs inside a National Assembly
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Contrary to the ill-informed opinion of such luminaries as Sens. (R, Utah) and John Kennedy (R, Louisiana), the United States is indeed a democracy. The word itself comes from combining two Greek words: démos (the people) + krátos (power, rule) = rule by the people. Accordingly, it takes the exactly three words to establish the United States as a democracy, for all intents and purposes: “We the People […] do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In the history of the world, minority rule has been by far the…


POLITICS AND RELIGION

I don’t think they understand what they just said

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I tuned in intermittently to a livestream of the maskless hoax-fest in Tulsa, OK, this weekend. “Health and Freedom,” they called it. The “rally-style” event was sponsored by a man who .

I would watch for a while and snap it off when I couldn’t stomach any more. Some of what I heard:

“The government no longer has dominion over us!”

“We’re not compromising. We’re taking over!”

“It’s a sin not to vote. God is disappointed in you when you don’t vote.”

“COVID is an excuse for stealing your liberty!”

“You need to be ready…


My bad habits are a middle finger to a world that says I’m not enough

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Self-improvement topics have taken a beating on Medium lately. I’ve never been a “Type-A” person, or what I bitterly refer to as the “scholar athlete” — an identity in high school I couldn’t even get half of. Brilliant youths with bright futures, who played varsity every day after school and then stayed up late to finish their AP calculus homework. As for me, I’m still the proud owner of a rare 86th Place Junior Varsity ribbon from a cross-country meet in 2001. My husband is a lucky man.

So while I’m drawn to self-improvement and “productivity hacks” and pretty much…


We can learn a lot about relationships from the Obamas

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Every sitcom has that episode where the girlfriend wonders if her boyfriend is going to propose. And in parallel, the boyfriend is asking his friends whether she’s going to say yes. And then there’s a season finale where he gets down on one knee and she tears up and he puts a ring on her finger.

Now, I’m a die-hard romantic. I always enjoy these scenes, and I do tear up at some of them. I like cute gestures.

But why do we romanticize such poorly planned decisions?

The world has progressed over the past several decades. Relationships and their…


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My son was five months old when we wrapped up a two-week vacation in the sleepy beach town of Edisto, South Carolina sun-kissed and refreshed. We were in the throes of new parenthood and the salty air and sultry nights had been restorative. But as we arrived to the airport, I couldn’t quite hear the ominous music humming in the background, warning us that new parenthood isn’t supposed to be restorative - It’s supposed to push you to the brink of your sanity so you can grow into the best version of yourself, or whatever. …


Helplessly watching her drift to extremism

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My two best friends and I were in Chicago for a shopping trip when the Supreme Court heard the 2000 Bush-Gore election case. ’Twas the heady days of hanging chads and such. Every time we walked into the hotel room, my oldest friend in the world snapped on the TV. She was eager for Bush to win.

Other than that weekend, we probably discussed politics for less than an hour over 40+ years of friendship. We went about our politics privately and compatibly.

Just 16 years later, I jettisoned my moderate Republican affiliation the minute Trump gained support in the…


How to empower people

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Many of us go to the supermarket, buy our shopping and go home. Very seldom would we reflect on the privilege of being able to do that. — Murray Edridge, Wellington City Mission

Once a month on my work commute, a long line of vehicles snakes from the Patterson Baptist Church’s front door through its parking lot and down the side-road running parallel to the highway.

The same day, dozens of cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans park wherever they can find space alongside the road running past the Marble Hill food pantry.

All of these people are waiting for someone…


What do you do when you find money on the street?

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Ethical dilemmas often present themselves when and where we least expect them.

Recently, I drove home in the rain and discovered what appeared to be a wet twenty-dollar bill lying in the middle of the street in front of my house. On closer examination, however, it turned out to be a thin stack of twenty-dollar bills compressed by an unknown number of vehicle tires.

When I got inside, I spread the bills out to dry and discovered that my total find was a nice even $200. My immediate reaction was, of course, one of delight. And why not? …

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