I'm not gonna pretend I've been here since day one, when I have been clearly out of sight and out of mind.
I've been gone baby gone...for a couple of weeks now...
I can honestly say I haven't lifted a golf club, nor have I attended any concerts (unless of course you would like to count an 8th grade commencement ceremony jazz ensemble -- who were amazingly quite good -- Go, Earl Warren Middle School), but I have easily cheered on for America in the World Cup games, taken in a couple of my girl's Friday Night Lights Field Hockey games, watched a little Wimbledon -- while I even gathered the nerve to dust off the racket myself!
We have slept in, we have stayed up late, we have read books, we have cooked, we have had family visit, we have had graduation, we have lived one day to the next on what appears to fall under one category, and one category alone -- SUMMER. It is here.
Family vacations, taking a little time off, children running through sprinklers, fireworks, barbecues, lemonade, spending a long afternoon soaking up a good book on the beach, celebrating summer in each our own way begins to shape our days and nights, upturning the usual routine rather easily.
Of course, the world does not stop when the summer solstice hits, does it. Just when you think you can slip into a sand dune and let the world go by... bam... Rolling Stone turns the tide faster than you can say Afghanistan in June.
Yet for me, I was still in the midst of reading my Newsweek from June 21st, surfing through it's usually cadre of left vs. right; never would have paid money for it if it weren't for the visit with the folks -- papa was drawn to "Saint Sarah" on the cover and that was all she wrote. Lucky for me, he left it for me to peruse. But little did he know, it would be another article that would ultimately strike my inner fem fancy (not), simply titled "I DON'T THE CASE AGAINST MARRIAGE". Oh joy.
Now that the worst parts over, and tying the serendipity of these two things together, I guess we can all be grateful that the Rolling Stone brought to light the irreconcilable differences -- and like any good divorce, it's all for the better. And yeah, Petraeus! Besides the obvious humor in the fact that our Commander in Chief returned to a general whom Bush handpicked to save the day in Iraq, watching the mercury rising in thin skinned Obama for a couple days could very well have been great entertainment -- if it weren't for the reality that we were still right smack in the middle of a war.
But that's just the way of the world these days, isn't it. If things don't work out, walk away. If you can't say something nice, say it anyway and carry on. If the right thing for the whole is the wrong thing for a few, protest, light a car on fire, call each other names, ridicule and fall back on partisan politics. But in the end, oh we should be so proud, Rolling Stone, a magazine!, changed the tempo of a war! overnight! Wow. One might think there was a conspiracy involved, but that would be just juvenile, wouldn't it.
Things just weren't working out in dem dare hills of Afghanistan. There were mounting frustrations, they were behind schedule, there were irreconcilable differences between civilian command and McCrystal, it was turning out to be the highest month of record in losing our troops, with a looming deadline only a year away; a game-changer, an affair of the heart, a loss of loyalty's, a punch in commitment and faith, was just what we needed to turn things upside down and find a way out or a way back in.
Something had to give. Something had to change. Something had to bring new life into the arranged marriage that it is -- having nothing to do with McCrystal, but everything to do with the bigger picture, of America and Afghanistan; otherwise, we would lose all sense and sensibilities of the inherent relationship worthy of repair and the very reasons we were together in the first place. The truth is, no relationship can successfully live on the brink for long -- for indifference kills whatever spark is left.
The "I Don't" article declares right up front,
"Once upon a time, marriage made sense. It was how women ensured their financial security, got the fathers of their children to stick around, and gained access to a host of legal rights. But 40 years after the feminist movement established our rights in the workplace, a generation after the divorce rate peaked, and a decade after Sex and the City made singledom chic, marriage is -- from a legal and practical standpoint, at least -- no longer necessary."
Ah no need to read anymore. It is done. Finished. If you go on to read the arguments against marriage, it will not disappoint, surely, these two "educated, young, urban professionals, committed to our careers, friendships, and yes, relationships" have it all figured out.
Kind of like Afghanistan, America gets swooped off her feet, only to be left with still the majority of the house cleaning and chores, even if in fact bringing home substantially more bacon, shouldering way more than her fair share of the overhead -- and if that weren't enough, left alone to deal with the kids, or unscrupulous dictator, more often than not -- a raw deal, indeed.
But with the high speed modern world, changing war tactics via the pages of a magazine, living in the new era of the "more educated and less religious" -- like Europe, as the case has us led to believe -- we can see right through the sanctity of marriage along with any other complicated commitments made around the world for what they truly are, as merely the outdated, war-torn, archaic symbols of domestic and foreign relations alike.
We quickly deteriorate into a world where "egalitarian, independent couples" turn us into "egalitarian, global communities" intertwined not for tradition, culture and the strength of family, but for the social justice of a different kind; systematically and liberally tearing down the very institutions that have made us and have made us good.
The thing is, with the help of the due diligence made self evident in "I Don't", clearly feminists are to blame for society breaking down before our very eyes as we speak -- no it is not a mirage, it is true; bearing in mind that "41% of American births that occurred outside the marriage in 2008 -- the highest figure ever recorded", along with the 30-50% high school drop out rates from east to west, our children being raised in a sea of instability while under the spell of reality TV, scandal, nonexistent parenting and liberal indoctrination, oh and let us not forget, the gluttony of the "less religious and more educated" re-framing and advocating less God and more Mao-ism mindset as the new way and the new truth and the new light....you're right, who needs the institution of marriage any longer, we are doing so much better the further we fall away from something so Betty Crocker like that.
I looked up on Yahoo Answers just how Atheists get married, just for kicks and giggles. It was the strangest thing. Of course, there were the general responses, like "on the beach, at the park..." Then a few others caught my eye, one telling of her own experience saying it was "outside in a garden. The ceremony was done by a Christian Minister, but only because he is a friend of mine." another one simply noted, "an Atheist Unitarian Minister" -- just how many oxymoron's do you get out of that?
Even when we crave to get so far away from tradition in this modern world, somehow we still cling to a courage of convictions of all that is real and true in the expression of our commitment; we cannot help ourselves, we still clamor to make wholly and right -- before friends, family, the entire world, even if under our own terms and conditions. It still has to feel like it means something.
"I Don't" gets one thing really right -- marriage is far more than economics today. We are learning that perhaps the rush into marriage at a young age, for traditions sake, posed a few issues -- especially for women. But has the adverse of the last 40 years served us -- women and children -- any better?
Can we now wait to find our soul mate and tie the knot for all the right reasons, and grow families and have careers, without losing our ability to raise secure, thoughtful, compassionate, educated, spiritual creatures who grow up wise and wonderful, productive and happy, pillars of the community?
Can we now settle down ...and figure out really, truly how to get it all? Because if this is the new feminism idea of marriage being no longer necessary, this culture of what's the point, commitment/contempt-ment , nothing really matters except my career right now, my kids are fine, doesn't matter what the Constitution says, the Declaration of Independence has nothing to do with Natural Law and unalienable rights endowed by our creator, it is just a piece of paper, I read it in a magazine, shall we continue?
As a culture, we will not survive.
While Afghanistan may be in better hands now -- with second chances coming by way of General Petraeus leading us into a renewal of our vows -- what about us?
Borders mean something. Boundaries mean something. Commitments mean something. Constitutions mean something. Pieces of paper, embodying clear cut documentation of original intent, all mean something. And this world, our world, is testing this upon every level of society and living -- from the individual family, and extending far beyond, to the larger community we share.
What we have at stake in the age of enlightenment against the sanctity of marriage, as carefully laid out by Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison in a nutshell and in a magazine, is telling us far more than the life expectancy of the typical, and expendable, husband and wife scenario; but rather, the travesty of taking for granted that which we do not fully respect, j'adore, nor understand anymore as the "more educated and less religious" we become -- for it has ramifications.
Owning up to the ramifications will take more strength of character than every feminist put together; for it is not about you, your career, or who you hook up with, or for how long, is it. We do not do temporary living arrangements, short term commitments, multiple households, empty churches, broken children any better than long term soulless marriages from yesteryear.
As that reality sinks in, it should be mentioned that the secular custom of marriage, according to most every culture, was strengthened by religion as the modern world progressed; we, as a people, chose to bring in deity and ritual before God and family for a reason -- as we were made stronger, deeper and truer to each other in the process. Not always; but contrary to one of the "I Don't" boxes of note stating that "one in five U.S. marriages dissolves within five years" -- FOUR out of FIVE continue to proclaim I DO!
Oh it is good to be back.
Make it a Good Day, G