Passive Retribution

retribution

I got cut off today.  You probably got cut off today too.  Or maybe someone took the last bag of Doritoes just as you were reaching for them in the grocery store.  Or possibly some jerk bumped into you on the street, knocking your iced caramel macchiato all over the sidewalk  without even turning around, let alone saying “sorry,” or even “excuse me.”

The point is, people are jerks, and we encounter negative experiences with them every day.

What can you do about it?  What can you do when you are in line at the Dairy Queen and some cretin at the back of the line shouts “Hurry up!” when all you are doing is taking an extra fifteen, maybe twenty seconds to decide between an M&M or a Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard?

There are a multitude of options.  You could take the man’s advice and hurry up, making a hasty decision on the M&M’s.  But all that will do is add an extra level of disappointment to your ice cream while you’re spooning it into your mouth, the whole time wishing you’d gone with the Peanut Butter Cups.

You could play the passive aggressive card.  Instead of taking thirty seconds to formulate your small, albeit personally significant order, you stretch it out over two, maybe even three whole minutes.  You start considering every menu item aloud, even those you don’t like, just to let that jerk-off at the back of the line know that you are at the front; you have control of the counter, and as such you have control over his and everyone else’s time.

The only problem with this scenario is that it also pisses off the ice cream jockey who is going to be mixing your Blizzard.  No amount of comeuppance toward Mr. Hurry-It-Up back there is worth getting your soft-serve spit in.

You could always punch the guy in the face.  Tried and true conflict resolution, right?  And it feels good to boot.  But what a deluge of problems that would incur.  First and foremost, to punch someone you first have to approach him, ipso-facto, losing your place in line.  Unlike Señor Move-Your-Ass, you waited patiently for your turn. Then, even if you do get back in line and do get to order your snazzy mug of chocolate ice cream swirled with Peanut Butter Cups (yes, definitely Peanut Butter Cups), there is no way you will have time to eat it before the cops show up, because wankers like this guy don’t fight back, they press charges.

At the end of the day, after considering all your options, it really seems like the only thing to do is just ignore the guy.  Some people call it taking the higher road, but what it really feels like it taking it up the wazoo.  You can tell yourself all you want that you are being the bigger person, but it really just feels like being pushed around.

Why is it that you – you who are a kind, sincere, and generous person who always strives to do the right thing in every situation – you make all the right choices, and what you get in the end is to be treated like half-petrified doggie doo-doo by self-involved jerkwads who wouldn’t know a kind act if it bit them in their  pompous hind ends?  What kind of reward system is that?

Fortunately, over the course of human history a system of checks and balances have been invented to soothe our souls in situations such as these.  If you are a follower of most any major religion, you have the ability to pacify your indignities with the convenience of having the almighty “right” on your side; as such, rewards are inherent, regardless of what happens on this day at the Dairy Queen.

Let’s say you are a subscriber to the most popular major Western religion, Christianity.  Christianity has incorporated into it the concept of Hell – a place where sinners go when they die as punishment for their sins on earth.  If you are a good guy, you follow the rules, you do what you’re supposed to – if you are kind and wait in line like a good little boy or girl – upon death you get to go to heaven and enjoy all the most wonderful comfort an eternal afterlife can afford.

If you shout impatiently at said kindhearted people, you spend eternity burning in hellfire. This idea makes it a lot easier to eat crow in the face of these self-involved weasels.

It transforms the “ignore him” option from one that generates feelings of oppression and defeat to an affirmation of one’s own sense of righteousness.  Instead of a churning resentment growing in the pit of your stomach as you refrain from responding to the audacious watch-tapping from the back of the line, you can spread a smug smile across your face.  Cause you know what?  That guy is going to hell.

At best he is coveting his neighbor’s goods (for example, your place in line).  At worst the he’s in such a rush cause he’s got three bodies in his trunk and time is of the essence; the ice cream isn’t even for him, it’s for Dom, the guys who’s overseeing the whole operation and likes to end all his criminal activities with a medium chocolate/vanilla swirl.

It’s not just Christians who get to enjoy this freedom from the everyday subjugation of being a kind person.  Islam shares a similar version of hell as Christians, only less permanent.  (At least as I understand it.  It’s been a while since I’ve translated a Qur’an.)

Judaism?  They don’t believe in a hell, really, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope.  According to the Jews, when the world ends, as every major Western religion agrees will happen at some point, the good souls get to enjoy the freedom of a heavenly-type afterlife while the reprobates just stay dead.  That’s right Hooper Humperdink – you can’t come to the party.

Of course Eastern religions play the game a little differently.  Largely these religions are nontheistic; there is no God to make the Final Judgment, and to cast down the wicked and smite all those who would dare to take that last bag of Doritoes.  They have no God, but they do have something possibly even better:  they have Karma. According to the laws of Karma, much like what you learned in seventh grade science class, for every action there is an equal reaction.  For every bit of good you do, and equal bit of good will be done unto you.  For every bit of bad, an equal bit of bad is returned.

What does that mean for you, you who is standing back at the Dairy Queen, choosing between ignoring Colonel Pushy Pants and giving him a good old whack in the schnoze?  Double prizes.  Not only can you ease the sense of tyranny you feel at the hands of this man by reminding yourself “He’s gonna get his!  That’s Karma!” but you also reap the benefits of generating your own good karma for choosing to not hit pop him one in the face when you could.

And what is great about Karma is that it doesn’t discriminate by size.  Unlike hell, which is only prescribed for the bigger and more deplorable sins, it doesn’t matter how big or small the karma-generating act is – it will come back to you, good or bad.

So the next time you feel the injustice of the world churning up your insides when the fine print of your coupon excludes the items you need, or your boss writes you up for that eleven minute break you took when you were only afforded ten, or someone pulls into that prime parking spot even though your turn signal was clearly on, don’t fret.  You can ease your mind your heart and your soul by knowing that, no matter which philosophy you subscribe to and no matter which way the universe is actually fabricated, at the end of things, they will get theirs.

Constitutionally Gay: Why It’s Okay to Be a Homosexual But Not a Pedophile

The Constitution of the United States is perhaps the single greatest document ever conceived of in the history of human existence.  Specifically it is the Bill of Rights, the amendments added to the constitution before it was ratified, that Americans fight so readily to protect, and what makes the Constitution supreme over all other forms of governing artifact.  Almost the entire document, which spells out the basic human rights that the Declaration of Independence holds to be “self-evident,” can be summed up thusly:  you have the right to think, say, believe and do whatever the hell you want, as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of anyone else.

As an example we’ll start with a longtime favorite:  the right to bear arms.  You can own a gun.  You can own several guns.  You can have in your home your very own arsenal, comprised of varying types of firearms in any different number of sizes, calibers, colors, and designed for any range of purposes.

But what you can’t do is rummage through your gun collection, pick up your favorite nine millimeter, and go pop a cap into the first random blonde you see filling out her Powerball ticket at the Seven Eleven’s lotto counter.  To do so would be a violation of the blonde’s inalienable right to life.  So, while you do have the right to own a gun, you do not have the right to shoot people with said gun.  Unless another person has broken into your home, or in some other way is directly threatening your life, to shoot another person is infringing on their rights, therefore making the act criminal, and unconstitutional at its essence.

For the past many years, there has been a strong push in the United States to criminalize homosexuality.  Most of this push has been made on moral grounds, rooted in claims found in religious texts; statistically, we can assume that the majority of the morally-based push to criminalize homosexuality has come from claims found in the Christian bible, since most of the US population identifies with a Christian sect of some kind.

On the other hand, some of this push has been made purely on a level of discomfort; if homosexuality is illegal then it will stop, and the discomfort I am feeling will go away.  No matter what the reason, the movement exists to make two men smoochin’ a crime.  But the fact of the matter is, there is nothing unconstitutional about being a homosexual or practicing homosexuality, and therefore it is impossible to criminalize it.

It is important to understand that laws are not based on morality.  (If that were the case, most tax law would have to be eliminated.)  So, for the sake of this argument, let us assume that practicing homosexuality is a choice of moral disgrace – that it is irrefutably immoral to be a homosexual or engage in any homosexual act of any kind.  We are going to take off the table the idea that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.  Since this is going to be purely an argument of legality, and not one of virtue, let’s just default the moral stance to “shame on you.”

If two men or two women choose to engage in sexual acts together, the result of those actions is that those individuals will be sent directly to hell after an untimely death.  Ten points to God.  However, they still cannot be accused of doing anything unconstitutional.

As explored before, the Constitution of the United States protects the freedoms of Americans, and Americans are free to do whatever they please as long as they are not infringing on the rights of anyone else.  Americans are free to engage in any immoral act they want without fear of reprise from their government.

An American may take the Lord’s name in vain right in front of the chief of police, and not a thing can be done about it.  An American may worship false idols on his own front lawn – he may even teach his children to do the same thing, and his vote will still count in every election.  We can lie to our mothers.  We can call out sick from work and go to Six Flags instead.  We can eat cheeseburgers – oh yes, milk and meat at once.  We have the freedom to make these choices, regardless of whether they are cosmically good for our souls or bad.

What is important in this scenario is the right of the homosexual American.  When a woman meets another woman and they decide to start a lesbian relationship, they are entering this relationship as two consenting adults.  These people are protected, under the rights of the Constitution, to make the choice to do that, even if it is morally wrong and even if upon their deaths they will burn in hell for all eternity.

If their friends and neighbors are concerned for the well being of their everlasting souls, they can send them copies of Watchtower, but they cannot make a law criminalizing their choices.  That would be a violation of their constitutional rights since their choice to be in a relationship together does not violate the rights of anyone else.  And if seeing those women sucking face on the corner of 21st and Broad streets in bright daylight makes you uncomfortable, well, sorry to say but you will just have to look the other way; comfort is not covered by the constitution as a basic human right.

The major way that the American people are attempting to make criminal homosexual relationships is by banning marriages between same-sex couples.  The first thing that is important to note is that legal marriages in the United States are performed either by a Justice of the Peace (you know, a judge) or through a religious institution.

The first amendment protects freedom of religion, so even when same-sex marriage is legal in every state, any and every religious institution has the right to deny performing same-sex marriages in their own institution.  It is their right, as expressed by the constitution, to practice their religion freely, and not be forced to sanctify an unholy union.

(On the other hand, if any church engaged in human sacrifice, we would surely bring charges against that.  I’m just sayin’.)

The status of “married” effects so many aspects of our lives, in meaningful and practical ways:  the way a person will file his taxes and the exemptions he qualifies for, accessibility to health insurance, the rates of his car insurance, the names and accessibility of his bank accounts, changes in credit scores, availability of loan monies – the list goes on and on and on.  To deny a person of access to those privileges by denying them the ability to marry is a form of oppression, and therefore directly infringing on his constitutional rights.

So while a religious institution is free to deny the joining of two same-sex souls in the name of God, the governing forces of the United States of America are not permitted to do so, because doing so would be equivalent to denying these Americans with privileges arbitrarily open to those who choose to marry a person of another sex.

As part of the argument to make homosexuality unlawful, frequently the contention is made, “if homosexuality is okay then what is next?  It’ll be all right to be a pedophile?”  Many people seem to be afraid that granting (though it would be more accurate to say maintaining) the rights of homosexuals would be the first step in a landfall of legalizing would-be criminal sex practices.

So, again, for the sake of this argument let us assume that homosexuality and pedophilia are all on the same spectrum of moral deplorability.  We will assume the circle of hell that is reserved for same-sex partners is also the afterlife home to the depraved individuals who prey on children for their sexual satisfaction.

Providing that be the case, there is still a very specific reason why homosexuality is protected by the Constitution and pedophilia is not.

What is the argument that has been made again and again thus far?  The Constitution protects the freedoms of the American people to think, say, believe or do anything, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.

When homosexuals choose to enter into a relationship, as stated above, they do so as two consenting adults.  Their choice to engage in homosexual activity together is voluntary, and since they are both adults, they are able to make that choice without restraint.  Therefore, their actions are protected as freedoms.

The actions of a pedophile, however, would never be protected because a sexual relationship between a child and adult is lacking the major component of consent.

A child is restricted in many areas of life, even in regards to a law.  The most significant component of the law regarding children is called “age of majority.”  This is because it is recognized that children are not physically or emotionally mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with these freedoms, which are inherently types of legal functions.

For example, it was decided that it was unconstitutional to make alcoholic beverages illegal.  Now we can drink.  (Woo hoo!)  Children, however, cannot.  Young children’s bodies are not yet physically developed enough to process the effects of alcohol.  Adolescents’ bodies may be physically able to process the toxins, however their brains have not matured enough to process the complex scenarios which are a part of deciding whether to drink, what the repercussions might be if one does choose to drink, and especially controlling how much to drink once one starts.

Therefore, while a child constitutionally has the right to consume alcoholic beverages, the ability to exercise that right is put on legal hold until the child reaches an age of majority, which is decided by each state individually.  (In most states it’s 21 years old, just a little FYI.)  There are ages of majority limits for innumerable activities, not the least of which are sex acts.

Generally the age of majority for sexual relationships is 18 years old, the same age that a child is legally turned into an adult and can do almost anything else that was previously out of his legal reach.  Sometimes there is an addendum which says something to the effect of children the age of 16 may engage in sexual relationships with other minors of the same age until age 18.  Either way, no one over the age of 18 is allowed to engage in a sexual act of any nature with a person under the age of 18.

We can plainly see that sexual activity is one of the exploits that is legally removed from the spectrum of activities available to children because they haven’t grown enough to make decisions about it; their bodies aren’t physically mature enough, their brains aren’t physically mature enough, and their neurological processes for handling those types of emotions haven’t been made yet.

Ergo, it is impossible for a child to enter into a sexual relationship consensually.  To do so, then, is a violation of the child’s constitutional right to safety, and as such pedophilic practices can never be made legal.  It would be unconstitutional.

From birth, every American is considered a fully-formed human being and is granted every constitutional right we have.  So, while the immoral homosexuals may engage in their deplorable acts of sexual indecency and be protected by the constitution, a pedophile is halted in his sexual practices by the very same constitution, because it is protecting the rights of the child, and the child has a right to safety and a right to be free from threat and coercion.