Monday, February 21, 2011

My Political Party

I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I do not belong to the Independent Party and I do not belong to the Tea Party. I do however have very strong political view points which I am passionate about. I am not a Republican because I am pro choice, I am against war, I am against funding military defense and invasion of other countries, I am against religion and I am against the right to bare arms. I am not a Democrat because I am against raising the tax on the wealthy, I am against supporting illegal immigrants, I am against free handouts such as welfare and government assistance to the poor.
I do not like not belonging to one specific political party because I do not have a category to be in or have boundaries to watch. It is merely the simplicity of stating that I am part of a group which then would pile all of my beliefs into a neat box. Then I would not have to explain what I am for or against, what I support and what I do not support. Oh well, I guess I have to be left out in the cold, without a party, if I am certain and insistent on all of my beliefs, which I am. I often wonder if there is any one else out there, like me, who is standing outside of those neat boxes that house individuals with the same beliefs on all the different issues. There has to be, because not every single person would fit perfectly in those previously wrapped boxes.
So the dilemma comes when it is voting time, which party do I vote for? Democrat? Republican? Independent? Populist? I guess I should prioritize my values in order to decide which party is more friendly to my "more important" beliefs. I would have to weigh in the importance of legal abortions vs. the freedom for all to purchase guns. Which is more important? Which effects me more? I can not decide. I need to weigh in the importance of hard working tax payer's funds paying for an uneducated woman's 6Th childbirth vs. the American military killing millions of innocent people in the Middle East. Which effects me more? I can not decide.
So unless one wholeheartedly belongs to one of the existing parties, they must give up something that they believe in. It does not seem fair, yet the alternative would mean having hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of parties just to make sure that every one has a category with a name that shares all of their view points. That can not be realistic.
The moral of the story is that one can never be fully satisfied and happy with their government as there will always be something they disagree with. However, we need to make sure that we are in touch with our core values and be willing to fight for them.
I am registered as a Democratic voter and I voted for the Democratic Presidential Candidate in 2008, but I do not want to be held to that.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Coffee Shop

Once upon a time in a land not too far away there was a little coffee shop that was the center of the earth. The chairs were of aged wood and did not match one another, the tables had been around for centuries as well. The vintage rug covered the floor in front of the ancient fire place and the brown leather couch facing them looked aged. The book shelf housed eclectic books, magazines, fliers and board games that never managed to leave the shelves. The piano sat proudly in the middle of the coffee shop but was humbled and willing when approached by customers. The walls of the coffee shop was home to the work of new and up and coming artists who wished to display their talent. The pictures stayed for a week or two before giving their spots to newer paintings. The ceiling was high and displayed a large chandelier that hung in the center of it, lighting up the spacious room. Two sides of the coffee shop was covered with large windows, floor to ceiling and wall to wall, providing a fantastic view of the busy street corner. The coffee shop counter was a glass display of pastries, cookies and simple sweets. The coffee shop served a simple variety of foods, the lunch and dinner menu consisted of salads, sandwiches and soups and the breakfast menu was a fantastic collection of eggs, potatoes, bread and more. The coffee in this shop was not served in paper cups, but in white mugs or in real cups with saucers. Each cup of coffee was made with tenderness, love and care, as evidenced by the sweet foam design floating on top of the milky drink, made personally by a familiar barista. Some times the design resembled a leaf and at other times it looked like a flower, whatever the design, it was always a sweet treat for the customer to be surprised by a new picture. And finally, the soft background music in the coffee shop was slow jazz.
If you were looking for a place to get a quick bite to eat or grab a quick coffee to go, this coffee shop was not the place for you, but if you were in search of an oasis, then this was the right choice. This coffee shop was where friends met to spend quality time with each other, it was a place where students met to study next to one another, it was a place where new or old couples had dates. This coffee shop was a place where a person could come in alone, get his coffee, possibly a pastry, sit on one of the almost broken chairs and read a book or a newspaper for hours. It was a neighborhood coffee shop which guaranteed you running into one, two or more friends, or a person that knew your name, or at least a person who just knew your face while you were there. In this coffee shop you were never a stranger. The coffee shop was special because no matter how bad things were out in the real world, once inside the lit spacious room with the large windows, a sense of calm would set in as life seemed alright. Loneliness disappeared as you could always find a familiar face who smiled at you.
That coffee shop in the center of the earth was a witness to many life events of it's customers such as chance meetings, romantic encounters, acts of true friendship, graduations, heart breaking break ups, marriages, and just simply growing up or growing old. On one Valentine's eve the coffee shop watched one broken hearted woman be comforted by a friend as they talked for hours over two cups of coffee and admired a beautiful display of falling snow outside. As the snow danced to the tune of soft jazz music and the lights from the chandelier flickered, the coffee shop watched a healing of a heart. One morning the coffee shop watched and laughed as one woman blushed to the fullest when she watched through the large windows a pack of naked men running across the street outside, while meeting with a very serious and conservative man.
So this coffee shop in the center of the earth was a neighborhood oasis, a familiar reminder of friendship, fun, love and good coffee. It slowed down the lives of the people who came across it and fell in love with it, as it gave comfort to those who needed it.
Many years have passed since the days of the coffee shop and that street corner is not the home to that oasis any more. The coffee shop owner and workers are gone and so are the chairs, the rug, the couch and the piano. Some of the most dedicated and loyal customers have even moved far away, and those who are still around are left with out. It is a sad sight to see, an empty feeling in place of what used to be warmth, comfort and friendship. But the memory of the coffee shop in the center of the earth stays with each and every person who fell in love with it, as it will always have a small chapter in the book of their lives.

This post is dedicated to JJJ and friends.