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What Would People Think?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How Being A Government Employee Changed My Perspective

In practicing law for the government, I've learned of something called the deliberative process privilege. Think of it as something akin to lawyer-client confidentiality or executive privilege; it's a legal rule that allows the government in most circumstances to keep certain documents from the other side of the lawsuit (when they would normally be entitled to it) if the documents were part of the deliberation that eventually lead to the government making a decision. This also prevents some documents from being released under the Freedom of Information Act. The idea is to encourage free and vigorous debate among government officials without concern that what they say will be used against them....or plastered across the front page of the Washington Post.

So, when the White House released a bunch of documents related to the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys, my first thought wasn't "these people should testify under oath." It wasn't "what do these documents say about the accusation that partisan politics led to the firing of these attorneys?" No, as much as those issues concern me, my first thought was "those documents are protected by the deliberative process privilege! YOU PUNKS JUST WEAKENED MY DELIBERATIVE PROCESS PRIVILEGE BY RELEASING THOSE DOCUMENTS!"

This has nothing to do with whether the firings were wrong or whether White House officials should testify under oath. It doesn't change my opinion about whether certain government officials should be fired by the American people or by Congress (if you get my drift)...it's just that.....dammit, I want my privilege.

Funny how being a partisan swiftly changes one's perspective.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Things I've Learned About Myself Since Marriage....

1. I am a really violent sleeper. Kicking, elbowing, or otherwise acting like I'm the Unconscious Karate Kid. I'm also an unrepentant cover thief.

2. I hate loading the dishwasher, but don't mind unloading. The opposite is true for Christy. This works out well...except when one of us is out of town. Suddenly, the dishes pile up either in the sink or in the dishwasher. It's amazing how quickly you get dependent on each other.

3. I really like giving. Seriously, nothing makes my day more than performing some small gesture (or large gesture) that takes some burden off of Christy. I actually derive pleasure from this. Actually, I've found this extends beyond Christy. Try buying a homeless guy lunch sometime...it makes the stresses of an office job seem like nothing in comparison.

4. I'm not very good at time management. A funny fact for a guy who compulsively checks his watch. If I were better at it, I would probably - among other things - find more time to post stuff on this blog.

5. Maybe I AM a cat person. Christy's cat, Max, has been conducting a stealth campaign to get me to like him....a campaign sometimes interrupted by wetting and throwing up, but nevertheless effective. Never underestimate the effectiveness of sitting in someone's lap and demanding pets. I recommend this technique be used sparingly at the office.

6. I don't hate all vegetables. I have actually eaten and even enjoyed things like carrots, spinach, onions and peppers. Don't tell my parents. They wouldn't survive the shock. Christy says broccoli is next. But there's a difference between maturing in what I eat and selling my soul to the vegetable industry.

7. I am late and need to jump in the shower, get dressed, and get to work NOW!

Bye folks. Leave witty comments.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Submission Is Subversive

Christianity Today (a magazine I've subscribed to lately that includes a number of thoughtful voices across the theological - and political - spectrum of Christianity) had a cover story last December about the Virgin Mary as revolutionary. Really interesting article with a view of Mary I hadn't seen before. You should read it. Even folks who don't share my Christian beliefs would find it interesting.

Apparently some people don't agree with this view. A reader accused the author of trying to twist Mary to fit the author's (liberal) agenda. The part that really got my goat was how the reader concluded his letter to the editor:

Mary's response to Gabriel's birth announcement clearly shows that subversion was not her modus operandi; submission to God was.

Reading that sentence, I wanted to scream at the page: "Can't you see that they are one and the same?!" Submission to God IS subversive.

Submission to God means a radical rejection of this world's - and this nation's - values...its morbid obsession with money, power, and pleasure. Submission to God means sharing Jesus' identification with the outcast - the lepers and adultresses of his time, the criminals, homeless, and homosexuals in our own. Submission to God means total loyalty to Him...and at most conditional loyalty to any political party, nation, or system of government.

Too often Christians have let themselves be co-opted by the world's self-centered power lust. Thus we have the Crusades, we have Ken Lay (a Christian) throwing all moral scruples aside to enrich himself at the expense of others, we have George W. Bush twisting and manipulating his faith to endorse torture and preemptive war.

But it isn't always that way. For examples of Christians who submitted themselves to God, and thereby overthrew (or at least radically rejected) the twisted values of their societies I give you Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, St. Francis of Assisi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. And, of course, I give you Jesus himself. Not all of these were political revolutionaries (though some were). But they all lived revolutionary lives. They were all subversive to their society's values and power structures. And they were subversive BECAUSE they were submissive to God's will and to Christian values.

The fact that such thoughts would inspire skepticism in Christians and non-Christians alike is a testament to how poorly many of us are doing at being Christian.