Friday, February 13, 2015

On Valentine's Day

Looks like I picked the wrong day to try to get over triskaidekaphobia.

But seriously, folks...

So I guess society dictates that I wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day.


What am I doing for the night? Well, Mrs. ESE is spending the night at a Barry Manilow concert (yes, you read that correctly), so that means the dogs and I have the night to ourselves. We'll play fetch. Maybe this time I'll have them throw the toy and I'll sit there looking disaffected. Seriously, I have no shortage of things to do with my time. Papers to grade, books to read, and so on.

I am wondering however if we should not take time on this day to consider the less fortunate. I mean, we do that at other holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, why not do so on Valentine's Day? I'm not talking about just the heartbroken and alone, either (although having been there more than my share of times, I'm certainly sympathetic.) Consider the members of our society unable to express their love.

While we are making progress, there are still 13 states where it is illegal for homosexuals to get married. There are even problems in states where it is legal as the fundies of said states refuse to go gentle into that good night. A minister in Alabama (of course) was arrested last Wednesday for disorderly conduct as she refused to marry a gay couple. Despite a federal court ruling, there are still county courthouses in that state that are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. I have never had to apologize or be shamed for who I love. Tough to believe that in our current age there are still people who must go through such things.

Just so I'm not accused of "America bashing," we're not the only place with similar difficulties. Sects of Islam apparently have a problem with Valentine's Day itself. This story from last year tells of Salafists in Gaza City directing bitter streams of bile towards shops selling the traditional flowers and balloons for the holiday.

"Valentine's Day is haram [sinful]," said a youth on the scene. Addressing those around him, he added, "Love your mother and your father. Do you have to flirt with a girl to know the meaning of love?"

"God called upon us to love, so how can celebrating love be considered haram?" countered another bystander.

While I've certainly never been accused of being a hippie, I'm no opponent of love in any form. With the world so full of negative forces, I can't see how removing the positive force of love will benefit us. Perhaps the extremists of both religions could ponder that for a time.

Who am I kidding? It wouldn't change anything even if they did.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

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