Monday, September 25, 2006

Boundary Issues
I was commenting today on someone else’s blog, and it got me to thinking about boundaries. I refer to boundaries in the sense of where one thing starts and another begins and how we decide what the thing is in the first place. For instance, we were discussing religion, and someone else brought in a race analogy. Though the two do not have to overlap, they sometimes do, and when they do, are the distinctions even more important? Is a person who is visibly of a particular race and religion more obligated to support or denounce the behaviors of others within his religion (or race) because he is a visible representative of the group? Where does personal responsibility and social responsibility fit in?

Let’s move this away from religion, because truthfully, it’s not one of my favorite topics. Let’s say a person has self-identified and is visibly homosexual. He has a shirt on that says, “I’m Gay.” As long as he is wearing that shirt, or even after the fact given that many people may have seen him, does he have a moral obligation to represent all gay people in a positive light? No, of course not, but….let’s be completely honest here, all of us gay folk,….don’t we kind of hope he turns out to be an upstanding citizen and not do anything really stupid? If he does something stupid, how do we react? Do I have an obligation to educate those around me that “we aren’t all that way’? Where’s the boundary between “me” and “we”?

Closer to home for some, what about areas of the country where gang violence among a particular race is common? What is the obligation of the same-race college student or lawyer or stay-at-home mom to denounce the gang behavior, and serve as a call to their city that it is time for a change? Maybe there is no obligation whatsoever, but as I've been indirectly arguing against on this other blog, maybe there should be. The thing is, we as outsiders, can't create the obligation or define the boundary issue. I think that is an individual choice.

I’m working on a paper analyzing various arguments that states have used to either uphold or deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Some argue that all citizens have a fundamental right to marry. Others argue that is not a fundamental right. Some say, yes, we all have the right to marry, as long as it is a person of the opposite sex. They say there is no discrimination there because men and women equally have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Same-sex couples and opposite sex couples are both given equal opportunity to marry someone of the opposite sex. Interesting boundary issues there. Some have drawn a boundary around – what? – a behavior, a biological trait, a preference? – and then proceeded to say that the boundary doesn’t really exist because a person can just walk right over the border and have full equal rights. Does any of this sound like the race discrimination arguments this country heard no so very long ago? Aren’t most of those “boundaries that aren’t boundaries” still boundaries?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Making connections is what is on my mind this week. I don't just mean in self-serving, networking, oh-my-god-I-have-to-find-a-job/internship sort of way. I mean making meaningful connections with people who can make a difference, or help others make a difference, in all aspects of life. Sometimes it's just having a brief conversation at work to understand a challenge or situation better, other times it is networking, or sharing contacts, or passing along the name of a book, or having a moment when the light bulb comes on and we see connections we'd never noticed before.

As I write this, I wonder why I am not writing in the first person. Why am I not telling you, dear reader, about the connections in MY life? Maybe it's because I actually am looking at this at a meta-level - wondering about connections all over the place and how we make them, how we can use them, and what my role might be in facilitating them. On the other hand, of course I have been viewing it personally, as well, putting my life under the microscope, then going back to the telescope and back again. (Dang....this is making me dizzy!)

OK - my connections - and it is at this point that I have to admit I've been reading a bit about manifesting your own reality, the power of conscious creation, and related ideas that I won't go into but am pretty sure if you do an internet search, you'll come up with a ton of stuff. (OK, here's one site: Some of this may seem pretty far out there to some, and for others, it is as simple and clear as the power of positive thinking and like attracting like.) So, the connections that have happened for me lately -
1) I found out someone I know is a major player in a landmark lawsuit, having to do with what has
2) become my "A"-paper topic (Doing an "A" paper is a graduation requirement.),
3) my professor for the class in which I am doing my "A" paper nominated me to do something fun with lots of networking (connections!) potential, and
4) in that same week I was matched with a mentor in the same field of law.

Add in to all of this that over the last few months, via work, I have made a connection with a two women whose business motto is "Creating processes that empower people" and whose tag-line is the same Goethe quote that I've had taped to my monitor for the past 6 years.....well, the connections, or synchronicities, if you will, are certainly adding up!

What does it all mean? Well, for that, I will give the quintessential legal answer: It depends.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering Sept. 11, 2001

Five years ago today, my partner was 11 weeks pregnant with our now 4 1/2 -year-old beautiful boy. She and I worked in the same high-rise building in downtown Seattle and always carpooled to work. (In fact, in those simple days before children, we only owned one car.) On our way to work, the newscasters still thought it was only a small private plane that had hit the World Trade Center. As the horror of the morning unfolded, and emotions and uncertainty were on high-alert, like most Americans, we processed as best we could. What would be next? We were only about a mile away from the Space Needle. If terrorists were attacking national monuments, this would be a prominent one....visually and emotionally significant, lots of nearby ports and a naval station not that far away either....Downtown Seattle didn't feel particularly safe. In reality, I suspect no place did. Being at such a critical time in pregnancy, my partner's supervisor sent her home, and I of course, was allowed to go to. ( I say, of course, as if it was a right or a given. It was not, but was the right thing to do.) In fact, all employees were told to do what they felt was right for them and their families.

We did not personally know anyone who died that day. Our lives were not significantly impacted, on any surface level, but really, to some degree everyone's lives were affected. The entire nation was impacted, security became "Post 9/11", we saw a portion of our country devastated beyond what any of us could ever conceive, and we wondered how/if our unborn baby would be affected. My partner's stress level was high, fear was a part of daily life for everyone for a while, who knows how that would affect a tiny developing life?

There will be plenty of people blogging today about politics, about the recognized and unrecognized heroes, about how so many families and friends still live with the horendous and senseless loss of loved ones. I won't add to that body of work. I'll just say that to me, what is important right now, is enjoying each day as much as I can and appreciating the family that I am so fortunate to call my own. A short video taken last night of me playing with our children is a wonderful tribute to the love my partner and I both have for our family. Please check it out at: (It is the Sept. 10th entry entitled: Bath Time Fun with Mama.)