michael j. morris


Gene Robinson’s invocation at the start of Inauguration week:
18 January, 2009, 11:39 pm
Filed under: cosmology, culture, inspiration | Tags: , , ,

“O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.

Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.

Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.

AMEN.”

 

This is the only transcript I have found. I don’t know for certain that it is completely accurate, but I was moved by its essence. HBO did not broadcast it as part of its coverage of today’s event, and I cannot help but feel insulted by their omission in their coverage. But I was pleased that such ideas as are above articulated are being spoken in the process of Barack Obama becoming our next president.

 

Update:
I just found this youtube video. I haven’t checked it against the transcript, but it is definitely essentially the same. I hope you take the time to read or watch this eloquent prayer:



no, normal
5 November, 2008, 1:27 pm
Filed under: culture | Tags: , , ,

I made this collage in photoshop for my technologies class. it reflect how I’m feeling today:

tech_collage_final

 

 

Proposition 8: Ahead 52% to 48% with 95.4% of precincts reporting, the Los Angeles Times reports this morning. The measure to ban same-sex marriage in California has collected 5,163,908 votes so far, with 4,760,336 votes cast against it.

Amendment 2: Florida constitutionally banned any institution approximating marriage with 62% of the vote

Proposition 102: Arizona constitutionally banned same-sex marriage

Measure 1: Arkansas constitutionally banned any single person (including all gay and lesbian couples who are legally prohibited from marrying) from adopting children by a 57-43% vote

[stats from www.advocate.com]



nowhere near sleeping

It seems as if Barack Obama is the new president elect, and this is a victory to celebrate. It makes me think of a line from Queer as Folk years ago: “Mourn the losses for they are many; but celebrate the victories because they are few.” This is a victory I can celebrate.

At the same time, as of 12:09am ET, three more states are projected to ban same-sex marriage, and one state is projected to ban same-sex adoption.

I’m looking at my tag and category clouds. GRAD SCHOOL. DANCE. ELECTION. MEREDITH MONK. PAULINE OLIVEROS. RESEARCH. What is arising from all these seeming disparate thoughts bunched up together in this online creative space? What lies in between these ideas, these subjects, and what do they reveal about one another?

Today there is an election. The course of our nation is being decided, as it always is. As I look at it, I think about listening, and research, and emergent perspectives. As I write, how am I listening, what am I observing? As Karen Eliot said today, we have made such progress. There are still battles to be won, liberties and equalities that this nation seems unprepared to afford all of its citizens. And yet we have elected the first biracial president of the United States. The world and nation continue to change.

And the question arises, as it always does for those both inside and outside of this art form: why dance? Why dance now? Of what value are our dances, our practices, our study of this art form? Equally, why blog? What is the point of any of this? I am reminded again of a quote by Meredith Monk, who once said [regarding the autobiographical qualities of her work] that she is convinced that the more personal we are, the more universal we become. And as this nation, this world, continues to evolve, I believe it does so through human encounters, relationships, and new understandings of one another and who we are as a human race, and how we fit into the Whole of this universe. And dance is part of that. It can be part of how we connect with one another, artist to artist, artist to audience, audience as general public, in relationships through the work that re-contextualize one’s experience of the world in which we live. And it is my hope that as we experience more of those connections in more articulate fashions that we will come to a higher way of being, existing, governing.
That is surely not the only answer to the question “Why dance?”, but it is an important one on today of all days.

 

In honor of hope and love, I reference you to one of my links, the Love Art Lab:
Love Art Lab Green Wedding #4 

Drawing nearer to sleep.

-M



don’t let fear win
4 November, 2008, 10:18 pm
Filed under: culture | Tags: , ,

I cannot say that I have had an optimistic day. There is not much to add to what I wrote this morning concerning “election anxiety,” and we are still yet hours to go. But I read a quote by Philip Radtke, age 65, an Orange County native cited as a “seasoned voter” on www.advocate.com. He said, “If I could talk to myself at age 20, I would say, ‘Don’t let fear win.'”

That struck me, and although I am not quite optimistic on any front, it was a nice reminder to not be afraid.

 

-M



election and voting anxiety
4 November, 2008, 9:09 am
Filed under: Ontology | Tags: , ,

Dance. Meredith Monk. Pauline Oliveros. Creative Process. Research.

These are the larger words/subjects in my category and tag clouds. They seem to be the ideas on which I am dwelling.

And yet this morning I feel almost physically ill with anticipation concerning the voting that takes place today. I voted yesterday morning, waited in line for three hours, and with every bubble I filled in on my ballot I became more and more aware of my intrinsic distrust of this system, how very uncertain I am that all will be handled ethically and appropriately, whether or not my vote will even be counted. And there is absolutely no way of knowing. It comes down to a trust that I do not possess.

There is a part of me that has just as little faith in the role of the president, and the effective embodiment  of the ideals we have been told for the last however many years of campaigning. I voted third party last election, but I knew many people who did not. I even know people who voted for Bush. I had no faith in him as a candidate or executive officer, but they did, and that faith was disappointed. I worry that no matter who is elected today our faith in these candidates will be disappointed.

Besides the presidential election that has my stomach in knots, there is the issue of Proposition * in California. For those of you who don’t know, a fairly succinct and accurate explanation from Wikipedia:

“Proposition 8 is an initiative state constitutional amendment on the 2008 California General Election ballot, titled Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.[1][2] If passed, the proposition will “change theCalifornia Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.”[3] A new section would be added stating “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” 

 

This is a landmark decision. It was a landmark for marriage to be legalized for same-sex couples in California, and that decision has spurned a bitter struggle in that state. I don’t live in California. There is no one at present to whom I wish to be married. I’m not even sure of my beliefs surrounding marriage at the moment. But my anxiety surrounding this issue has to do with the world in which I live, the country to which I am expected to pledge my allegiance, which may or may not be able to pledge its allegiance to me, to my life, my future. I remember when Louisiana (the state in which I was born and raised) voted to amend the constitution to effectively ban same-sex marriage. Not that it was even legal at the time, but there were those in power who felt the need to engrave discrimination into the state constitution JUST IN CASE anyone had ideas towards legally recognizing same-sex relationships as marriage on a state level. That day a part of me that thought of Louisiana as my home died. I don’t have the time to offer an appropriate diatribe on the subject of same-sex marriage, the over-a-thousand federal rights/benefits/privileges that are afforded heterosexual couples solely on the basis of their union, and how it feels to live in that world. But this battle in California is a massive step one way or another in the course of our nation’s stance on this issue, my life, and my future. California is the most populated state in the union, it holds more electoral votes in today’s presidential election. The very fact that it is re-examining this previously awarded equality is sickening, and serves to contribute to my anxiety.

Is there something didactic in this post? Go vote.

 

-M