Welcome to Capitol Punishment. This site takes its title from the fact that that is precisely what it feels like for me living just down the street from the Capitol: PUNISHMENT.
Despite being born and raised in the Lone Star State, I am perhaps the antithesis to the stereotypical Texan. For starters, I don't believe in magic. Not any kind of magic. Talking snakes and zombies are not my thing; people did not ride dinosaurs; and this planet is not--I repeat NOT--6,000 years old. As Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson astutely noted, the great thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe it. Evolution is a theory in the same way that gravity is a theory. If you disagree, read a book and get with the program.
Things I love: books, evidence, coherent arguments, intelligent discussion, passionate curiosity, my husband, my parents, my friends, and copious amounts of white wine.
Things I hate: dogma, the Texas State Board of Education, people who say "I'm not really a reader," the Jersey Shore viewership (granted, these last two are practically synonymous), those whose beliefs have simply been inherited from their parents or their pastor devoid of all forms of critical analysis, celebrity breakups in the evening news, Rick Santorum, and animals in clothing (humans aside, of course--keep your clothes on, people!).
I read the news obsessively and I have for years. It can only be described as an addiction at this point. I am registered to vote, have done so in every presidential election since coming of age, and maintain the belief that there is no such thing as a "wasted vote," despite the fact that registering Democrat in the state of Texas is perhaps the single greatest argument against that position. I volunteer for the Rock the Vote campaign, I marched on the steps of the Capitol in 2010 when the SBOE effectively decimated our Social Studies curriculum (with, sadly, all of about 50 people), and would've done so in 2009 when they did the same to science curriculum had I been living in Texas at the time.
I classify myself as socially liberal and economically moderate. I find it disturbingly ironic that the libertarian and conservative positions seem to value most an existence free from governmental interference, all the while maintaining that what goes on in the privacy of a bedroom or doctor's office is a matter of public debate. I believe that social programs are both necessary and beneficial to a civilized society, but that when these programs are (mis-)managed in a fiscally irresponsible way, they largely lose their meaning.
I am continually blown away by the general public's lack of interest in politics, particularly my generation, given that what goes on in politics both directly and indirectly effects virtually every aspect of our lives. To quote the great Carl Sagan:
Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.
So far as I can tell, this country fails miserably on both fronts. And again from Sagan, though he was originally speaking only to ignorance in science and technology here, this seems highly appropriate in terms of political ignorance as well, so I've taken the liberty of making a few minor adjustments:
We've arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on [science, technology and politics]. We have also arranged things so that no one understands [science, technology and politics]. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mix of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
And blow up in our faces it surely will, unless many more people start paying attention.