Wednesday, June 30, 2010

G8/G20 Summit

An avid member of Model UN at my school, I have some comprehension of the Millenium Development Goals. However, I know that even adults do not fully understand these goals or the G-8 and G-20 Summits that occured this past weekend. Established in 2000, members of the United Nations agreed on 8 target goals that would aim to improve social and economic status of the world's poorest countries. The current Secretary General of the United Nations is Ban-Ki Moon of Korea.
The 8 MDG:
1. Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty                         
2. Achieve universal primary education                            
3. Promote gender equality and empower women            
4. Reduce child mortality            
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases  
7. Ensure environmental sustainablity
8. Develop a global partnership for development      

The set year for achievement of these goals in 2015. The G8 summit is an annual meeting of the leaders or "core members" of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Commission, Japan, Russia, Italy, France, and Germany. This year was the 36th anual G8 summit and was held in Huntsville, Ontario. The "Group of 8" (G8) just refers to the 8 leaders; the European Commission is also represented. The purpose is to discuss global issues such as terrorism, energy, health, poverty, trade, foreign affairs, etc. The G20 is the group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. Together the G20 compromises 85% of the globe's gross national product. The 2010 G20 summit was held in Toronto, June 26-27, and consisted of the 20 leaders. In contrast to the G8, the purpose of the G20 is to respond to financial crisis as well as discuss reforms of the global economy and the international financial system. However, there were mixed reviews of the outcome of these summits. Many protestors felt that there was lack of discussion of maternal and prenatal needs, NGO's were virtually blocked from all negotiations, and G20 "aimed too low and promised too little for a still fragile and volatile global economy" (The Guardian). Dennis Howlet, Canadian coordinator of Make Poverty History exclaims, "Many of us have expertise on these issues, and our job here is to provide background information and commentary. It’s an indication that the Canadian government does not recognize the important role civil society plays. It’s a step backwards." NGO stands for Non- Governmental Organization, and is probably the most useful weapon in a Model UN debate. They provide funding when a country or government cannot afford a relief effort or diar crisis; common NGO's include the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and Greenpeace. They are essential in any peace treaty or agreement and it is sad that they were not recognized as part of the negotiation process. However, the next Millenium Development Goals Summit is Sep 20-22, 2010, in New York, New York. At this summit hopefully NGO's will play a more vital role and advancements will be made toward reaching the goals.

A Leap for All

This is NASA's astronomy picture of the day. Apparently it is a picture of a Fast Gas Bullet from Cosmic Blast N49... I'll continue to post these if they are to my liking. On the space topic, I remember we had an interesting AP Lang essay about space exploration. The assignment was to synthesize at least 3 (given) sources and develop a position about what issues should be considered most important in making decisions about space exploration.  Here you go:
      As Neil Armstrong was taking the first human steps on the moon he spoke, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” He was not only speaking literally, but rather that as a nation the United States could come together, collaborate our knowledge, and expand our resources to further develop and explore our comprehension of a world greater than imagined before: the solar system. This leap for all mankind was a step in the right direction for the entire planet. For Planet Earth to continue to break humanitarian boundaries, space exploration must continue to remain an important aspect of all societies.
     Beginning in the late 1970’s, the race to the moon became the most time consuming, money vacuum, and resource sucker there ever was in US history. Russia, our main and only competition, fought to not only be known as the first country to reach the stars, but to be seen as one of the dominating countries in the world. Source A explains, “India, Russia, China, Japan, and the Euro space agency know that manned space exploration builds wealth for their nation, solves problems, and enhances life for their people right here on Earth.” Space exploration provides jobs and allows for a nation to utilize their resources for the greater good. It is teaching us that as powerful, and some un powerful nations, we can focus our time and energy towards a common goal. Although developing the A-Bomb and other nuclear weapons help ensure the security of a nation, the race to space allows a country to utilize their resources in a positive manner: helping their own population and further expanding our imagination. The money spent towards space exploration is not only used to improve one nation, but instead to improve the global economy.
      Some space critics may argue that trips to space and space research could be better used to help the poverty in the US, and should not be spend on a world we know nothing about. However, Source C displays a chart where “space and technology” receives only $.06 of each federal dollar. In comparison to social security and national defense, this amount is miniscule. Although yes, reassuring the health and care of one’s country should remain the most important aspect of a budget, space research still receives four times less. This is a reasonable amount that still proves beneficial to space exploration. NASA and the space industry also create thousands of jobs which most would view as beneficial, not harmful to an economy.
      When a country has the ability and wealth it improve the state of its population, one must believe that they would take all measures to ensure their well being as well. However, space exploration represents more than just one nation’s population, but rather that mankind can collaborate to explore worlds greater than their own. In Source G, Michael Collins, one of the first astronauts in space, explains, “The Earth must become as it appears; blue and white; not capitalist or communist; blue and white; not rich or poor.” 100,000 miles away from the only life we’ve known, the only wars we’ve known, and the only poverty we’ve known, our Planet Earth is only one spec in the entire galaxy. The copious amount of knowledge we know only pertains to ourselves, and it would almost be selfish to believe that what we know is the only important and relevant information we will ever retain. In Outer Space the different political views are put aside, and all that is left is the human population as one.
      We owe it to future generations to continue to explore space as much as our minds will allow us, and expand our knowledge on something far greater than ourselves. Neil Armstrong took that step for the United States and that leap for all mankind. It is our moral duty to set aside money for space research and stop spending valuable funding on wars or national disputes.
(I only had 40 min, and I don't remember the grade I recieved, but the point it clear)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

K!DULT

This past Saturday was the first-ever K!dult Youth Leadership Conference located in NYC. Kidult.com is a website designed for teens(Kidults) and is focused around news and entertainment. "Pharrell and I started Kidult.com so that fearless young minds could become informed, and inform the world about their radical plans," says Mimi, Co-founder and Kidult Editor-in-Chief. Mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg goes on to say, "Today's youth will be innovators in the arts, business, and government, and by participating in this event you are ensuring a brighter future for us all." The theme of this years conference was "Feed Your Curiosity," and I can truely say I was inspired by all the speakers, mentors, and topics. Speakers ranged from Felix Sanion, Founder and CEO of Mundial Sports Network, to "Diggy" Simmons of MTV's Run's House.  Some pictures-
 
First Panel: Turning Your Ideas into Moneymakers
Second Panel: How to Change the World in 90 Days
Think Big: Practical Advice from Pharrell Williams
Who Are You...Really?
Dr. Steve Perry, Founder of Capitol Preparatory Magnet School, Best selling author of "Man Up", Education Contributor on CNN

I also really related to Lynne D Johnson, SVP, Social Media for the Advertising Research Foundation, Karen Nethersole, CEO of Full Circle New York, Tammy Tibbetts, creater of She's the First, and Pamela Newkirk, professor of journalism and NYU. All of the speakers at the conference had truely compelling backgrounds and inspirational messages. I hope to continue to be a part of the K!dult community and also attend the conference again next year. Pharrell said it best when he said, "You are not the 'future', you are today." We have to take action now to see changes tomorrow. We cannot wait for others to stand up for our beliefs. The future begins with today.

Forbes Celebrity 100

Forbes just released the 100 Most Powerful Celebrities of 2010. Here is the top 10:
1. Oprah Winfrey (No surprise)
2. Beyonce Knowles
3. James Cameron (Avatar)
4. Lady Gaga
5. Tiger Woods (Remains highest paid athelete)
6. Britney Spears (Really?)
7. U2
8. Sandra Bullock
9. Johnny Depp (Alice in Wonderland)
10. Madonna (2009 Tour)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gun Control

The Second Amendment of the Constitution protects a right to keep and bear arms. Just today, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that "the right to keep and bear arms" applies to cities and states; in turn reversing a Chicago law banning handguns. The decision was split along politicial lines; the Liberals voting against this decision while the Conservatives led by Samuel Alito voted for it. Two years ago in Washington D.C the SC protected an individual's right to carry guns for self-defense purposes. However, D.C is a federal city and not a state. The decision today clarifies that the 2nd Amendment extends nationwide. Debate about gun control has never been more inflamed. Critics from the Right exclaim, "It's about time the current rules catch back up to the historical rules as applied by our Founding Fathers," while the Left describes, "today’s conservatives argue that states have the right to discriminate against their citizens on the bias of race but states have no rights to restrict the control of guns." In my opinion, too many people that shouldn't have access to guns, possess guns. Guns kill people. Guns kill children. More guns does not equal less crime. So many American citizens need to return to a 9th grade civics class to understand that the Constitution does not GIVE you any rights. It merely lets you know what you're rights are; and in this case the 2nd Amendment allows the states to keep to keep a national guard (militia). I am deeply sadened that the Supreme Court has made this decision today.

States with the Five HIGHEST Per Capita Gun Death Rates
Louisiana--Rank: 1; Household Gun Ownership: 45.6 percent; Gun Death Rate: 19.58 per 100,000.
Alabama--Rank: 2; Household Gun Ownership: 57.2 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.99 per 100,000.
Alaska--Rank: 3 (tie); Household Gun Ownership: 60.6 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.38 per 100,000.
Mississippi--Rank: 3 (tie); Household Gun Ownership: 54.3 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.38 per 100,000.
Nevada--Rank: 5; Household Gun Ownership: 31.5 percent; Gun Death Rate: 16.25 per 100,000.


States with the Five LOWEST Per Capita Gun Death Rates
Hawaii--Rank: 50; Household Gun Ownership: 9.7 percent; Gun Death Rate: 2.58 per 100,000.
Massachusetts--Rank: 49; Household Gun Ownership: 12.8 percent; Gun Death Rate: 3.28 per 100,000.
Rhode Island--Rank: 48; Household Gun Ownership: 13.3 percent; Gun Death Rate: 4.43 per 100,000.
Connecticut--Rank: 47; Household Gun Ownership: 16.2 percent; Gun Death Rate: 4.95 per 100,000.
New York--Rank: 46; Household Gun Ownership: 18.1 percent; Gun Death Rate: 5.20 per 100,000.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Street Pianos

I have already been to NYC several times, but after seeing a particular commercial I was especially excited. Alicia Keys is one of my favorite artists and I follow her website frequently. She recently partnered with Sing for Hope- a charity organization centered in NYC-to place 60 pianos around the city for any enthusiast to play. The campaign called Play Me, I’m Yours, aims to bring music to the streets of NY while raising money for schools, hospitals, and communities. The ‘street pianos’ were decorated by buddies from local schools, hospitals, or charities, and will then be donated to their buddy organizations. However, their limited appearance began June 21 and ends July 5. Play Me, I’m Yours and Make Music New York worked in collaboration to bring free concerts to several of the piano locations. On closing day several celebrities such as Alicia Keys, actress Lauren Ambrose, Nathan Gunn, Titus burgess, Kevin Mambo, and the cast of HAIR, will perform or endorse their charities. “This summer, Sing for Hope will create a beautiful and worthy moment for our city by bringing the Play Me, I’m Yours street pianos to our city’s parks and public spaces. Its things like this that me extra proud to be a New Yorker, and the endless possibilities represented in these streets.”-Alicia Keys. If you are traveling to NYC soon I highly encourage you to find one of these beautiful pianos and enjoy yourself as you contribute to the essence of the city. If not traveling to NY, you can donate at http://singforhope.org/get-involved/donate/

Friday, June 25, 2010

Detroit's Finest


     As I was searching CNN mobile I was not surprised when I came across an article about former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The court room is looking like his new favorite place. Just this Wednesday Kwame was indicted on 19 counts of federal fraud and tax charges-what a guy! According to U.S District Court spokesman Rod Hanson, the charges includes 10 counts of mail fraud, 3 counts of wire fraud, 5 counts of filing a false tax return and 1 count of tax evasion. To add to the number game: if convicted each fraud count would entail a max sentence of 20 years behind bars and a fine of $250,000. The others would carry a max of 5 years and a fine of the same amount. The charges are spurred after Kilpatrick used funds from his Kilpatrick Civic Fund towards private yoga lessons, golf lessons, and mayor campaign expenses. He claimed the money was for community services and voter registration information…Could have fooled me. Most Michiganders know he is currently serving 5 years in prison (14 months) for violating probation in a 2008 case; but now he might get some real jail time. Once I had put a Facebook status saying to “Keep Kwame in jail”, and several people from my school commented, “leave him alone,” or “he didn’t do anything wrong.” Really? I was a little surprised that my peers were so quick to come to his defense when he has so obviously stole from the people of the Detroit while showing little remorse. This just proves that people are poorly informed about issues, even concerning the capital city of our state. I think it’s time to for me to bring out a shirt I bought in Birmingham, which has Kwame’s face behind bars (earring included), and reads SAVE DETROIT. But shout out to Mayor Bing for taking on the challenge to restore our city to its former glory.

Another Cool State

My best friend Maria Elena is currently on a short vacation in Arizona. The first thing I asked her was if she brought her passport. I knew she was not going out of the country, but I know that now in Arizona it is legal to pull over “Hispanics”, or “Hispanic-looking” people, without question. She and I were born in Central American countries and became US citizens together at the age of 2. Although we have lived in the US for our whole lives, the Arizona government could potentially pull her over to ensure she is not an illegal alien. This controversial immigration law is set to go into effect in July. The law was signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in late April; and now a dozen other states are joining in on this type of legislation. A recently released ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 52% of voters said immigration enforcement should be under federal control while 46% said laws should be made and enforced by the states. I am a big supporter of big government and this is an example of why: racist states like Arizona should not be allowed to make laws that discriminate against Hispanics! Racial profiling should not be legal no matter the circumstance. Although there should be some federal laws regulating illegal immigration, this is not the way to go about it. Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum said in a statement Thursday that, “allowing states to create their own legislation would create chaos and confusion for both immigrants and law enforcement while not fixing the immigration problem at its core.” She also added, “State-based immigration proposals should be a wake-up call to Congress, they need to take the steering wheel, fix the immigration problem and finally pass comprehensive immigration reform.” I totally agree. The time is ticking and if this bill becomes law, it will cause “massive disruptions and set a dangerous precedent,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL). July and August will be critical months for this law and we are crossing our fingers it does not pass. Maria told me that before she leaves she’s making a sign that says, “WE’RE HERE TO STAY.” My kind of girl.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SWEET

Although I do not know much about the sports I'm about to mention, events happened today that are worth acknowledging. Today, USA played Algeria in a very intense elimination game of the World Cup in South Africa. USA has never been a favorite in the World Cup, however today may change that. 45 seconds into a four minute overtime period, American player Landon Donavon (now a Twitter TT) scored the winning goal, ending 1-0. The game was action-packed from start to finish and boost Team USA to round two. Note, USA was not even supposed to win one game, let alone qualify for another round."These guys never give up and they showed that again today. I was worried because we could have gone away empty-handed, but my players decided otherwise and never stopped believing," Bob Bradley, USA coach. How nice. The second sports headline happened at Wimbledon 2010, and players John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. The match began on Tuesday and is still not finished: something unheard of in the tennis world. The current score is 59-all, which lasted exactly 10 hours.That means they have played 118 games and are still tied! This is four hours longer than the previous record and a winner has still not come out on top. Isner recorded 98 aces and Mahut 95-Both far surpassing previous records. (An ace is when you serve the ball and the opponent cannot return it-they can reach 130 mph!) Last year, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick played 77 games with Federer coming out on top 16-14. When it reached 59-all, exhausted Mahut said simply, "I think we need to stop now." The match will continue tomorrow. Good work!; But I already feel pain for the player who must lose after playing for over 10 hours.

Politicians These Days

LOL! I would love to meet this young interviewist who was clearly not beating around the bush when asking Huppenthal some serious questions. I actually did some research on this video and found that the Huppenthal campaign explained that this video was a 'sham' and a 'Democratic tactic' used to portray Huppenthal in a negative nature. However, this claim was only released after the video appeared on the Rachel Maddow show on June 16th. Whether or not this video was edited, Huppenthal is obviously put on the spot and is not sure how to react to this teen. All to often politicans become scripted actors who forget how to answer questions the general public would ask. They also become twisted in lies and like to back-track on issues in order to save their ass (or a couples votes)-as seen in this video. This reminds me of when I attended a Detroit Economic Club meeting (AP Gov) and decided to be brave and ask the Big 4 a question of mine-This particular mtg was held at the Auto Show so there was extra publicity. I went up to the mic and directed my question to Republican Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson, "What do you plan to do in order to keep funding within our school district, so that we don't continue to lose teachers and other vital elements?" But, apparently my question was not directed at the right person because he answered that he is not responsible of funding and does not have any control over what happens.. Hm...I should have asked Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, "Do you plan on having jobs available for students who graduate from an in-state college?"-A more relevant question I'd like to know the answer to, considering I start applying to colleges in one month. Also, as I was leaving the Auto Show a reporter interviewed the four students from my school, and asked me if I planned on keeping business in Michigan and if I'd attend an in-state collge. I answered, "Yes, of course."

MJ Tribute

Just this past weekend my dance studio put on a recital dedicated to Michael Jackson. It truely was a beautiful and great way to remember this phenomenal pop star. In two days it will be one year after his sudden death. Heard recently, Christina Aguilera, Smokey Robinson, LL Cool J, Marc Anthony and many more will be performing a one hour tribute to the star on CBS's, The Early Show. Christina quoted, "Music wouldn't be what it is without someone like Michael Jackson. I remember going to my high school talent show singing 'The Way You Make Me Feel' and being a huge fan of his album Bad. I know all my dancers wouldn't be behind me dancing if it weren't for that." I also agree that he was the first real dancer that ever lived and truely inspired millions throughout the years. Michael Jackson should be remembered for being an amazingly caring person as well as an outstanding father, too. Also, BET will be having an all Michael Jackson week starting Friday. We will never forget you and all you've done for the world!

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day

Dedicated to Summer

Love Doesn't Pay the Rent!

Sure we've all heard the saying, "Money can't buy happiness," but can it? One of my favorite Tyra episodes came on today about women who teach their kids at a young age to marry for love. Although this is wrong on many levels, I see their very valid point about marrying a man who is financially stable. This day in age it's just not realistic to marry solely for love and be in debt for the rest or your life. I hope to make a very good salary but I also expect my husband to be making the same or more. No, the man does not have to be the money maker, yet men still should contribute more to the family income. A man can look at a woman and automatically want to marry her based on her looks, but when a woman looks at a man's salary and instantly want to marry him, she's labeled a gold digger. There are just some constants other than love that help determine a successful marriage. However, teaching an 8 yr old girl to only talk to boys who buy them cookies is ridiculous and sad. True, money runs out, but love doesn't pay the rent.

Be Thankful

My Sister's Keeper is a definite movie must-see!!(just watched it for the 3rd time!) Even Khloe Kardashian admitted she couldnt stop crying after seeing this emotional film-I became mildly depressed after this past trimester in school and was questioning my priorities and role in life. I felt like I should be punished for not being perfect and for letting down my parents; basically thinking I don't deserve to be happy this summer and I must do something worthy of my time-But this movie reopened my eyes that there are so many bigger things than grades and being perfect. Everyday, people die of cancer, families are torn apart, and lives are changed. Disease, famine, and poverty surround us, and although you may feel like "your world" is falling apart; be thankful you're still alive and able to put these negligible dilemmas behind you. Use the power you gain from overcoming these hurdles to help people worse off and truely in need of some strength.

Ignorance


More news from my favorite state, Texas: The Republican party now wants to turn same-sex marriage into a crime! As if their current anti-homosexuality status wasn't high enough, this takes the cake-yet, still not surprising. Taken from the platform itself: Marriage LicensesWe support legislation that would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for such. [...] Basically, if someone were to help a gay couple get married, “the GOP would like to see that person serve mandatory jail time.” Although reading these articles makes me sick, I  realize that this hatred comes with the world we live in and we must accept that it will always be a part of society we'll have to overcome.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Poor "Baby"

Recently, Cameron Diaz stated in her interview with InStyle Magazine, "Having children changes your life drastically, and I really love my life. Children aren't the only things that bring you gratification and happiness, and it's easier to give life than to give love, so I don't know." <-So true. Anyone can make a baby, but to truely love your children and take care of them is a different story. Just because she doesn't want to have kids or doesn't know yet if she wants to have them does not mean she is a bad person or doing anything wrong. Not everyone can be the Angelina Jolie's in this world and adopt seveal babies. (although I hope to adopt at least one). There's no point in having kids if she is clearly happy with her lifestyle and acknowledges the fact she's not ready. This just portrays the fact that some people believe it's a woman's job to have and take care of a family...However, they are neglecting the truth that women can still make a difference and help people in other ways. Following a career in any field requires dedication, and having children sometimes just doesn't fit the schedule: more power to these women making $$. I commend Cameron for standing strong with her decision and not "following the trend" to have a baby on her arm!

Yaht Clubbin'


       Supposedly this oil genius, BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, was recently seen at an extravagant yaht race off of  England's Isle of Wight.. This somehow sparked my memory to when The Big 3 CEOs flew to Washington with their private jets, claiming bankruptsy and asking for a $25 billion bailout.. At least they made it better when they finally drove from Detroit to DC with hybrids, of course. What makes this topic even funnier is when I heard the Texas(ew) republican, Joe Barton, apologize to BP for the "shakedown" the Obama Whitehouse pulled on the company.. WHAT? Although people are critizing Obama for the way he reacted, or didn't react to this diar situation, there is no reason in anyone's mind to apologize to BP. The Obama Whitehouse has every right to interrogate BP until questions are answers and problems are resolved. Not only does this make republicans looks like idiots (althought this isn't hard), but they make Americans look like brown nosers in order to please some rich investors. I don't understand why people do the things they do...  leaving thousands of animals dying while enjoying yourself on a yaht, or representing dilapidated Detroit with a private jet...we may never know.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FEED Projects


Since i'm unfortunately still in school and have finals until the 18th, I will not be able to fully start this blog =( But in the meantime you should check out these bags sold at Lord & Taylor! The perfect gift and you're helping donate to UNICEF (one of my favorite organizations). Check the site too;)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

'Till Death Do Us Part

      Marriage should be between a man and a woman: the motif that rings within society and particularly the Catholic Church. It is not only taboo for two people of the same sex to get married, but for two people of the same sex to be in a relationship at all. One may ask who would deny a loving couple the right to marry, but an increasing number of Americans dedicate their time and effort to deny gay couples these rights. It is not only becoming a trend to hate “gays”, but a trend promoting hate and ignorance. Through this political cartoon Ward Sutton not only portrays the ironic nature of “marriage”, but the mockery of the connotation the word can instill.
      The title alone, “George Bush, The Pope, and Other Conservatives Explain: Marriage is a Sacred Institution…,” blatantly portrays the satire and sarcasm employed. George Bush, former President of the United States was known for sticking to his Methodist faith and for not supporting any gay right laws. Throughout his eight years it was never a secret that he did not approve of gay marriage, and this even spurred the singer Pink to write a song dedicated to his hatred and obtuseness. The pope, another famous (or infamous) figure is an icon who dedicates his life to preserving the bible’s definition of marriage. This allusion not only appeals to Christians, but to all people who are even faintly familiar with this faith. The Pope represents the top tier of the hierarchy of Catholicism, and the man on earth closest to the “word of the lord”. For Catholics there is no one above the pope; therefore if one is to really label themselves a “Christian”, they must live by the literal words from the bible and the pope himself. As a figure who represents people from different races, ethnicities, and political ideologies, it is a tad ironic for the Pope to choose one side over the other and claim not to accept those who think otherwise. Catholicism is a religion known to be hypocritical. Major principles include, “Treat those how you would like to be treated,” or “Accept others,” yet, when a gay man asks to be married in a Catholic church he is shunned and treated like he is an embarrassment, or “not a real Catholic”. If the Pope truly accepted everyone he would not so strongly advocate the banning of same sex couple marriages. The last allusion Sutton uses is conservatives. Conservatives or more commonly referred to as Republicans, are similar to the Pope in that they take the literal words of the bible for truth. Conservatives represent the “manly”, “pick yourself up from the bootstraps”, and “hard-worker” type person, echoing that people cannot be born gay and therefore should not be allowed to marry. However, this ignorance is expected from conservatives who already believe that elite business men rein over the “non-hardworking” American (who in actuality works more than the business men).
      By cleverly illustrating eight different marriage scenarios, Sutton illuminates the truth behind the real “sacred institution”. The first box is a picture of two teenagers sweating as they lock arms down the altar. The girl is pregnant, which itself is a perfect reason for marriage, right? Often marriage is used as a way to “fix the problem,” or a way to make mistakes right. It is often used to justify decisions made and a way to hold the wrong-doers accountable for these mistakes. The boy is wearing a baseball cap, possibly a symbol for a southerner or a rural citizen. To the corner is a gun pointing towards the couple, reinforcement that marriage is used as a threat or weapon to prosecute rule-breakers and heathens. Marriage should in no way be a punishmentbut a ceremony rejoicing a couple’s commitment. The second box portrays two couples with alcohol in their hands, apparently wasted, saying “I do.” The woman is asking, “Do what?” as if she was not even conscious making this life-long commitment. Las Vegas is often illuminated with lights from casinos, hotels, and also marriage chapels. Some view participating in these chapels as the “cool” thing to do in Vegas; however a marriage to a man you meet at a casino does not just stay in Vegas. The third box displays two people smiling, dressed for a wedding after winning a reality game show. Shows like the Bachelorette or the Bachelor depict the grand prize as a marriage and something you win, not a loving commitment between long-lasting couples. The losers are often not good enough for the Bachelor and therefore not worthy of a marriage. Messages like these are also harmful to children by making them feel as if he/she has to look a certain way in order for a man of woman to marry them. This illustration is a contrast to the first, where the marriage was a prison sentence; now it is a prize. The fourth box is of two celebrities in sunglasses talking with reporters about their new celeb-wedding. It is not uncommon for middle class America to be in awe when hearing about the price tags and extravagance of these weddings. They are seen as symbol of status and wealth. The woman here is showing her sparkling, large diamond ring as if it is no big deal. A wedding ring is the latest accessory in Hollywood, so get one before you’re behind the trend. The man in this picture is holding a “pre-nup”, another common weapon behind this sacred institution. Once being single becomes the new fad again he will be safe knowing his partner cannot rob him of half his worth.
      The next row begins with an elderly man and a shapely young blonde; both with entirely different interests on their minds. He had a bubble of her chest, while she has one of money. The man was probably a CEO, now with a copious lump sum in his bank account. Anna Nicole Smith is a woman who was infamous for this gold-digging lifestyle. Marriage is seen as sealing the deal to the benefits from both parties, and when this geyser dies she will most likely reap in his wealth. Note that a heart is nowhere to be found within these thought bubbles, another reinforcement that these people are not marry for love, but merely using each other for their own selfish needs. The sixth box portrays a politician and his mistress standing in front of a Family Values Sign. The politician is winking slyly while waving to the crowd. This is another example of abuse of this “sacred” institution. Marriage should be as means to show commitment, not to win elections or fools audiences. The seventh box is of an apparently gay man and his wife. The man is sweating profusely while the woman looks innocent and na├»ve. He appears to be shaking in his boots as if marriage to a female is a shield from his true identity. He is hiding behind the term “marriage”, hoping no one will uncover his desperation or guilt; too ashamed to admit his sexual orientation. By marrying this woman he is only putting both of them through a life filled with embarrassment and lies.
      Finally, the last box portrays two gay men discussing this so-called sacred institution. Diction such as ‘clearly’, helps emphasize the satire used throughout the entire cartoon. Sutton also uses the descriptive words, “loving, and committed”, to ultimately sum up what a true marriage should consist of; not the latter mentioned in this piece. This cartoon also not only mocks marriage but it mocks the fact that while this abuse is continuing, gays are still seen as not worthy of this sacrament. By not legalizing gay marriage the government is only stripping these citizens of religious freedom but the right to equivalent financial benefits acquired through marriage. Discrimination against gays is one of the last legal forms of discrimination. To move forward as a society we must be not be stuck within the narrow-mindedness of Claudius Ptolemaeus. The world is evolving; and as the world evolves the people on it continue to expand, as does the diversity that engulfs us. To become a society, nation, globe, that lives in unity, we must except every type of person and embrace variations from ourselves.
      “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”- John F Kennedy. Differences, such as in sexual orientation will always be present, but like President Kennedy said, the least we can do is ensure our nation equal protection for our citizens and for this everlasting diversity.