November 29, 2004

Racism is bad; or, "When Honkies Attack, Part 1"

I hereby pledge never to go back to Alabama again. I know, I have the shirt, and my uncle is a professor at the University of Alabama. But I cannot, in good conscience, visit a state where poll taxes and segregation are still enshrined in the state constitution.

I just read this article, which tells how Alabama voters narrowly rejected an amendment that would have removed Jim Crow-era language from the state constitution. Yes, the Civil Rights Act made this language unenforceable under federal law, but the fact that it still exists, and Alabamans apparently don't want to change it, says to me: they are all a bunch of honkies.

One argument against, espoused by local hero Roy Moore (he of the "Ten Commandments in the courthouse" fame) and other right-wing wackjobs, claims that removing the language would make it possible for "activist judges" (there they go with that phrase again) to "force" Alabama to spend more on education, and thus raise taxes (*gasp*). Never mind the fact that this argument has been widely ridiculed by legal experts and by Alabama newspapers-- if those who voted "no" to Amendment 2 buy that argument, then they oppose spending more of their precious dollars on education. Alabamans recently rejected their conservative Republican governor's $1.2 billion tax raise to help improve Alabama's education system. Perhaps they should rethink their priorities: Alabama was ranked 44th out of the 50 states in "smartness" by the Morgan Quitno Press.

So, Alabamans don't value education as much as we might here in Minnesota (#7, thank you very much). That's all well and good, right? Let's dig a little deeper. Perhaps the reason they rejected the amendment was that many whites can afford to send their kids to private, Christian schools, while the majority of blacks cannot. Why should whites pay for those lazy, shiftless negroes to go to public schools? (Please note the sarcasm.) The moral of the story is: racism disguised as "states' rights" is still racism. Please, Alabama. The Civil War is over.

Wow, that was a pretty good rant, wadn't it? To top it all off, go watch some Dave Chappelle. Click on "The Time Haters." It's funny stuff. OK, signing off, love ya! --Pat

Posted by smit2174 at 11:19 PM


You may have heard that a guy on my floor, Marcus, committed suicide last Wednesday. He fell out the window. The day before Thanksgiving. Now that we've come back to school, his death has really hit me.

I didn't know Marcus too well, which is another small tragedy. Talking to others around the floor, it doesn't seem like anyone really did. I studied economics with him once, ate at UDS with him maybe a couple times, and said "hi" whenever I saw him, but now that seems too little, too late. When I read Marcus' obituary, I learned more about him in those tiny paragraphs than I did in the two-and-a-half months he lived just around the corner from me.

Suicide is something that I'll probably never completely understand. I understand what it's like to be depressed and hopeless about the future, and I can see the attraction of ending it all. Since I don't know the thoughts that went through Marcus' head, or his particular circumstances, I cannot judge his decision. If he felt that killing himself was the only solution to his problems, then I think he was wrong, but I understand how someone could think that way. Life is hard sometimes. If life was hard all the time, I don't know what I would do. Being the person that I am, I'd like to believe that, no matter how bad things get, I would keep my head up and look to the future. But I just don't know.

I know that no one is probably reading this right now, and that's OK. If you are reading it, that's great, but I am really intending for this blog to be a way of getting my thoughts out. People who know me well know that I am not a great talker about feelings, and this is one way I can sort out my thoughts to myself. (Plus, it's way cooler than having a diary.) I'd just like to say this, though: I may not be a great talker, but I am a damn good listener. If you ever, ever have a problem that you need to talk to someone about, please, do not hesitate to call or visit. God knows I don't have all the answers. None of us do. But I will try my best to be a good friend or a good shoulder to cry on.

Last night, we, as a floor, had a long meeting about Marcus' suicide. Floor 9 has a reputation as a very close, fun-loving community, and I enjoy being a part of it. We decided that we are going to do a candle-light walk across campus, both as a show of respect to our friend Marcus and a show of solidarity against suicide. We are also going to try to join a "yellow-ribbon" suicide awareness campaign. I hope these efforts succeed, and I hope that this tragedy makes our floor community stronger. I know that I am going to make a stronger effort to get to know everyone a little better, and reach out to people more.

I am still sorting through my emotions about Marcus' death. Even though I didn't know him well, it is still a shock, and it raises a lot of personal questions for me. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I know it must be a hundred times worse for them. I will probably be writing more about our march when that goes down, but I guess that's all for now. Thanks for listening.

Posted by smit2174 at 7:28 PM

November 23, 2004

The first entry, ever.

the war president.jpg

Yep. Iraq. Looks like a real success story over there, don't it? I know, I stole this from Michael Moore (who, by the way, is a supporter of information-sharing, so ha!), but I think it's a great picture. To go along with it, and in honor of his new album, which I heard sucks BTW (except "Mosh," of course), I will quote Eminem. Directed at Bush, in case you can't tell.

"I hope you can't sleep and you dream about it / And when you dream I hope you can't sleep and you scream about it / I hope your conscience eats at you and you can't breathe without me."

--Eminem, "Stan"

Well, that's about it for now, maybe I will play with this a little later. If I don't see you, have a nice Thanksgiving, World. I know I will. Latez.

Posted by smit2174 at 6:14 PM