What Marriage Equality Means to Me

Hello Everyone!

I am sure most of us that care to, know by now that the Supreme Court decision regarding marriage equality was announced Friday granting marriage equality rights to countless gay and lesbian couples across the United States. Anyone that reads the things I write and post knows my opinion on that.  Having said that, I am sure there are many that wonder why I argue so strongly in favor of marriage equality and to explain that there are two big things I want to talk about which I’ve been wanting to get off my chest for a while now.  One thing I’ve been holding on to for a long time and one is a relatively new change.  But they are connected, so I have to discuss them together.

1) The first thing is something that has been hard for me to talk about with anyone for quite awhile, much less anyone who will read this, but with each person I talk to it gets monumentally easier. So, having said that I’ll just come right out and say it.  The reason I am so strongly vocal about marriage equality is because it affects me personally.  I’m gay, and I want to one day be able to marry the love of my life when I find him.  If you could see into my heart you’d see how afraid I’d been for so long to say those words.  The thought of telling anyone was absolutely terrifying, much less my family, who I only recently told.  This isn’t a new revelation for me, or something that I just realized an hour ago.  This has been something I struggled with for as long as I can remember, and it has truly been a struggle in the strictest sense of the word.  For a majority of my life I hated myself because of this.  It didn’t sync with my religious beliefs and I knew I was going to be thrown into Hell if I didn’t manage to change it somehow.  I knew that… I also believed I’d lose all of my family and friends.  I suffered some pretty severe depression, nearly constant anxiety, and constant loneliness.  “Depressed and lonely” was my normal state of existence.  One of my most constant prayers was for god to “fix” me.  I felt like I was literally cursed most of the time, and I couldn’t understand what I’d done to deserve it.  I convinced myself that if I could resist these “sinful” thoughts for a month, or a week, or some other arbitrary number, then I would be fixed, and that it was all just a test to see if I really trusted god enough.  When I inevitably failed, it wasn’t god’s fault, it was mine;  I convinced myself that my faith just wasn’t strong enough, and then I would fall into a pit of despair.

It never crossed my mind until my late 20’s that maybe I wasn’t being “fixed” because there was nothing to “fix”! I finally came to the realization that it wasn’t me that was broken… I didn’t choose to be the way that I was…  No… It was my religious beliefs that were broken. Which leads me to the second thing I want to talk about.

2)  I’ve given up religion. Not just Christianity, but religion. Period.  I don’t have one, and I don’t want one. As of now, I don’t know how I want to label myself when it comes to spirituality.  I don’t know whether to consider myself “agnostic” or “atheist.” Where I am when it comes to all things spiritual is “I don’t know.”  I like to believe our souls go on somehow, but I honestly don’t know what’s after death, I don’t even know if we have a soul, and I don’t know if there is a god. The idea of heaven and existing eternally sounds great, but in spite of the assertions, there is no evidence to prove that any of those things exist.  If there is a god, I don’t believe for a second that any of the man-made religions have it right.  I can’t believe in a god that would demand a man kill his son, then tell him not to in some weird cosmic joke (as in the case of Abraham and Isaac).  I can’t believe in a god who, because of a bet with his enemy, would destroy a man’s life including allowing his entire family to be killed in horrible ways (Job). I can’t believe in a god that would throw someone into a pit of fire for an eternity of torture for nothing more than telling a white lie, saying a curse word when you stub your toe, or just being one of the unlucky ones who happened to be born in a place where they didn’t have access to a Bible.  I can’t even believe in a god who would torture even a murderer for ALL ETERNITY.  Try and wrap your head around that… All EternityNever ending… That is what Hell is supposed to be.  Someone being tortured FOREVER. Put your emotions aside for a second and ask yourself if you think that even the worst criminal will have learned their lesson after say… A thousand years of the worst torture imaginable? How about ten thousand years? Lastly, I can’t believe in a god who would make me gay,  label me an “abomination”, and then permit, if not flat out command, his followers to humiliate, abuse, oppress, and kill those like me in his name.  If there is a god, and he does the things I’ve mentioned, then he doesn’t deserve to be worshiped.

If there truly is a god, then he would be none of those things I mentioned.  If he’s there then he gave us our reasoning ability and our capacity for intelligence to use.  Any person, book, or document that would try and tell you it’s wrong to question everything and reject illogical ideas does not have your best interest at heart. If god exists, then he wouldn’t want us to take things blindly by faith, and he certainly wouldn’t punish us for doubting his existence when we can’t find any logical reason to do so.  If there is a god and he is so powerful and so infinite that he was able to create the entire universe right down to the smallest atom, then why on earth would he care if we believed in him or not? Up to this point, the existence of humanity is less than a nanosecond in the scope of all that is, ever was, or will be. To a god that created all of that, we’d be less than a passing thought.  To me it’s only human arrogance that demands that we have some ultimate purpose when it comes to the entire universe.  Does an ant care if it has a destiny? Does a dog?  Who cares if we matter or not in the grand scheme of things?  Make your life matter for you and those around you.  Make your own purpose. Do your best to be kind, to be happy, to find fulfillment in the things you choose, and try to make the world around you a better place to the best of your ability.

I guess that is my point in the end.  Writing this is about finding fulfillment in my own life, and I can’t do that while hiding who I am from the world, and much more, the people I love. My honest hope, is that it won’t matter to anyone… Having said that I am still pretty positive that the things I’ve said will shock some, will anger others, and I know I will most likely lose friends and maybe even family members over this.  But I know that I will also see who truly cares about me and values me no matter who I’m attracted to or what I believe when it comes to religion.  The truth is, even after I’ve said all of this, I will still be me.  I will be the same person I’ve always been; the same person you’ve chatted or debated with on Facebook, the same person you’ve had lunch with, who you’ve borrowed a book from, who you went to school with, who you’ve laughed with; you will just know me a little better. If you are reading this, know that if I have you in my life in any capacity, whether it be just a distant Facebook acquaintance, someone I only talk to occasionally, or someone I see every day, I value you in some way.  If I lose you, it will hurt… But don’t be surprised when I continue to live a happy life without you.

What it comes down to, is that I am done hiding.

I have a lot of Christian friends who I love dearly, and I know there are some who would attempt to sway my views.  So I am going to ask now that you ignore your evangelical urges and not do that. Please don’t tell me “I’ll pray for you” (at least when it comes to these things).  While I know you mean well, what that says to me is “you’re wrong, and I want god to fix you.” I’ve asked for god to “fix” me nearly all my life, so you can trust me when I say it doesn’t work. Pray for me if you find it necessary for your own mental wellbeing, but don’t announce it to me as if it’s some sort of ammunition.  Also, please don’t tell me that I was never truly saved or that I don’t understand scripture. Rest assured, I have read the Bible back to front several times, I’ve read a variety of apologetics, I have read books that explain scripture, and I have done my own spiritual acrobatics to try and justify some of the things I find horrific in the Bible, up to and including “well that was just (insert author’s) opinion, not god’s!” I can guarantee that (with the exception of very few people on my friends list), I’ve heard and have probably said everything you can say… It just doesn’t hold up for me anymore. If you can respect me for who I am and not try and convince me that I’m wrong, then I am more than happy to keep you around. If you insist on debating, that’s fine, but do so in a respectful manner. Just be prepared for me to show you why I believe you’re wrong. Also, if I ask you to stop, then be respectful and stop.  If you find it necessary to bring up Hell or god’s judgement in some way,  it might be best if we go our separate ways, because that is one thing I will not tolerate.

I hope if you’re a friend or family member who is reading this, that I can keep you in that capacity, because as I’ve said, I value you.  If that’s not possible, I’ll be sorry to see you go.  Anyway, that’s it for now…

Regards,

James

Caitlyn Jenner IS a Hero

The following is my response to this blog post:

https://emilysuzanne11.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/bruce-jenner-is-not-a-hero/comment-page-103/#comment-9963

Hello,

Per your follow up post, you state that you have received over 4,000 responses so I’m sure you won’t read this, but I feel the need to have my say anyway.  Your second sentence immediately caught my attention as being slightly funny “Most are so deeply embedded in presuppositions…”  Why do I find this funny? Maybe I should have used the word “hypocritical” instead.  You accuse others of holding to presuppositions, but then you proceed to write an article filled with them.  Throughout the article, you have shown your complete lack of empathy towards other human beings as well as your absolute ignorance on what it means to be transgender and what those that are transgender have to go through in their lives.  The premise of your article seems to hinge on three statements you claim as fact:

1) God does not make mistakes

2) “He made them male and female”

3) Caitlyn Jenner (that is her name) is not a hero.

I will address these points one at a time:

1) God does not make mistakes: This is a wonderfully trite Christian belief that just doesn’t hold up to sound reason or any of the available facts.  First off, if there is a God (which is questionable), and he did create the Universe and all that’s in it, then it is littered with mistakes.  I will point out just a few:

  • Genetic errors that lead to downs-syndrome (or any other genetic disorder in a world filled with them)
  • Cancer
  • AIDS
  • Natural disasters
  • Creating a world so bad that he had to destroy it with a giant flood and start over
  • Making his “Perfect Word” so vague, obscure, and hard to understand that religions dedicated to him are so fractured with different beliefs and denominations that their history is littered with internal wars where they slaughtered each other by the thousands

Need I go on?  I’m sure you will attempt to say “God didn’t create those things! Those are a result of sin entering the world!” So please tell me then… Who created sin?  You might say that was Satan, but then… Who created Satan?  If God knows all things, past, present, and future, then he had to know what Satan would do before he even created him. Right? Christians like to claim that everything is a part of God’s wonderful plan, but then that means sickness, disease, pain, and suffering are all a part of God’s divine plan.  That means that God created people specifically to suffer, and specifically to be sinners that hurt other people, which means they have no choice in the matter, and yet He will still punish them with eternal torture in Hell because they served their supposed purpose in his plan?  That sounds like a loving God to you?

Another common Christian response to this is “But sin is just the absence of God’s light!” But… Christians also claim that God is omnipresent, meaning that he is everywhere, even in the darkest, most vile of places.  In other words, if God is truly omnipresent then there can be no place where he doesn’t exist.  If he is truly omnipotent then he sits back and watches as people suffer, when he could step in at any time to stop it.  If you say he can’t because of free will, then he is not omnipotent. So the “God didn’t create sin” and “Sin is the absence of God” arguments just don’t hold up.  Either God created sin, created suffering, and chooses not to do anything about it.  You can say he sent Jesus to save us from all of that, but that doesn’t hold up either, because there is still plenty of suffering around and there is still what you would call sin, even among people that Jesus has supposedly saved. Besides that, you’re honestly going to try and claim that an omnipotent God couldn’t think of a better way to save the world from the sin he created than to have his own son (who is somehow himself) brutally tortured and killed? I could think of a thousand other ways and I’m not claiming to be omnipotent! Anyway… On to your second weak argument.

2) “He made them male and female”: This one is by far the easiest to refute and probably the most ignorant of the world we live in.  With this statement that you claim is fact, you ignore the actual scientific fact that there are other gender variations outside of your black and white fantasy world.

  • Pseudohermaphrodism: Where an individual has both male and female external genital organs, sometimes at the same time. Female embryos exposed to high levels of androgens (the male hormones) develop female internal reproductive organs but male external genitalia. Alternately, genetic defects cause children to be born with female external genital organs, which change at puberty, with the development of a penis and the closure of the false vagina.
  • Androgen Insensitivity Syndrom: Androgen insensitivity syndrome is a condition that affects sexual development before birth and during puberty. People with this condition are genetically male, with one X chromosome and one Y chromosome in each cell. Because their bodies are unable to respond to certain male sex hormones (called androgens), they may have mostly female sex characteristics or signs of both male and female sexual development.

So yeah… “He made them male and female” except in those instances where people have biological characteristics of both, by no choice of their own.  I guess that could also rebut the “God doesn’t make mistakes” argument you make.  In light of these two things (and there are more out there), is it honestly so hard for you to believe that perhaps someone was born with the body of one gender and the brain of the other?  We use medicine to cure countless diseases and ailments, yet you claim it’s a sin to use medical science to correct that? And finally…
3) “[Caitlyn] Jenner is not a hero”: To you? Maybe not… But to the thousands of kids out there that are transgender (or just LGBT in general) who have to suffer in a society that treats them like they are nothing, Caitlyn Jenner can be an amazing hero.  She is someone who has been through it all, rose to fame as an athlete, lives a very public celebrity life, and yet still chose to be herself knowing that people like you would attack her, demean her, and call her a sinner for making that decision.  In spite of the presuppositions that you make from your place of privilege in society, that represents the very definition of courage.  So how dare you try and claim otherwise.  As if you have any basis for doing so.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

The following is an essay I wrote for my history class that I was pretty happy with.  Some of the lessons learned from the fire I discuss are still relevant today as reminders to those (Republicans… cough…cough) who claim government regulation is useless red tape.

The Triangle Fire: A Tragic Catalyst for Change

Today, many Americans might dislike their jobs, but it’s hard to believe that anyone would compare them to slave labor or say that they feel unsafe outside of normal, everyday risks. The states require employers to pay their employees at least the Federal minimum wage, many pay more, and all are required to provide sanitary working conditions as well as follow safety standards set by the government.  But it hasn’t always been that way.  The road to the working environment that many of us are privileged enough to have has been earned by those before us who fought a hard battle for workers rights, and it is a road that has been paved in blood, sweat, and tears.  The Triangle fire is glaring proof of the terrible life that many American laborers had to live with and they had no outlet to voice their objections.  Wealthy businessmen ruled the growing industrialized nation that America was becoming and they basically hand-picked the politicians that were responsible for running our government.  It was a dark time for a majority of Americans, and it didn’t seem like it was going to change; that is, of course, until one terrible event that claimed 146 lives.  The fire that occurred at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was tragically fatal, however it served as a catalyst for widespread change in public opinion, as well as for Progressive reform of government regulations.

Unlike the working world these days, in the years leading up to the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, government involvement in business regulation was pretty much nonexistent.  While there were some regulations regarding working conditions and safety, they were typically vague, and generally weren’t enforced anyway.  Regarding fire escapes, Arthur E. McFarlan states “the New York building code was non-committal.  It did not, apparently, wish to go too far” (McFarlane, 41). Apparently, it was the view of the government that requiring an escape route for laborers in case of a fire was “going too far” when concerning regulation.  But the lax attitude towards business that the government held was far worse than that.  In many cases they didn’t even know that a factory had opened its doors for business.  As Alfred E. Smith reveals “So lax had the state been prior to 1911… that there was no way for the state even to know when a factory was started” (Smith, 118).  This statement alone goes very far in showing us just how the government felt about business.  It was a “stay out of their way and let them do their thing” stance, no matter how many people it hurt; and it did, in fact, hurt countless Americans.

Concerning wages of the factory laborers, Clara Lemlich says “they all get different pay for their work, but it runs only from $3 to $4 a week; the finishers make to the $6 to $7 a week” and “we are charged for the piece and sometimes for a whole yard of material – perhaps $1 or $1.50.  At the beginning of every slow season, $2 is deducted from our salaries.  We have never been able to find out what this is for” (Lemlich, 56-57). So not only did they make next to nothing to begin with, the employers would then take money out for materials and would apparently take a bit more just because they wanted to, with no reason given.  These women and their families could barely afford to live; they had to share nothing more than a few rolls and an apple for breakfast, barely had enough money to buy second-hand coats to survive the winter, and many people had to send their young daughters to work harsh jobs in factories just so they could afford even that much (Cohen, 46-47).  As for their working conditions, things were even more bleak.Shirtwaist The photo titled “New York Garment Industry Sweatshops, circa 1890” gives us a small glimpse into the environment that so many had to work in.  In it we are shown two female workers in what appears to be a narrow, poorly lit hallway that seems to serve as their work space.  Along with their equipment, the hallway is stuffed with a random collection of cloth and other work related debris is piled on the floors, hanging from the ceilings, and scattered all over the table and counter spaces, leaving the women hardly any room to move around (Photo #10, Kerre).  Not only were the girls forced to work in a shop that was cramped, dirty, and gloomy, but they also feared for their own safety.  As two women relayed to their landlady “that place is going to kill us someday” and “What worries me more is a fire. Since that factory in Newark where so many girls were burnt up there’s not a day when I don’t wonder what would happen if a fire started in our shop” (Scott, Cornell).  It can never be said that the fire was unexpected or that the Triangle Factory owners had no time to prepare.  Fire was a very real danger that these women and girls had to deal with every day of their lives.  Unfortunately, as can clearly be seen, the government didn’t care about the citizens they were supposed to protect, and those that would take advantage of their desperate need to work certainly didn’t care either. This is a fact that Samuel Gompers proves further when he quotes a man who he advised to institute something as simple as fire drills as saying; ‘Let em burn up. They’re a lot of cattle, anyway’” (Gompers, Cornell).  These people were literally at the bottom of the heap of American society, they were called cattle, and they were treated like it by almost everyone that could make any real difference.  They had absolutely no voice to defend them, and no one that would listen to their grievances anyway; that is until the rise of union popularity.

As the laborers quickly began to realize, the Union was their way to finally speak out about the injustices that were being carried out against them on a daily basis and the strike was a way for them to shout “no more!” to the unscrupulous factory owners. The Triangle Strike of 1909, a massive gathering of women unlike any other in American history up to that point, was a protest against despicable wages, the terrible way they were treated, and the unsafe environment they were forced to work in. But ultimately “the main issue [was] recognition of the union.  On that hinge[d] all the other questions at issue” (Mailly, 69).  These women wanted the places where they worked to be unionized so they would have a collective voice to speak for them.  Even when the police, “who have all apparently been in sympathy with the employers”, allowed the women to be abused and even arrested them after they were abused, they still protested (New York Times, 60).  Even when judges, who were supposed to stand for justice for all told them “that their gender would not elicit sympathy in the courtrooms” and that they were “on strike against God and nature” they still protested (Argersinger, 14).  This protest was the end result of a government who pandered to the rich, it was the poor and downtrodden, those who had no power, finally fighting back against these business owners who couldn’t see that their wealth was built on the backs of those laborers that they crushed into the ground on a daily basis. They couldn’t see it, or simply didn’t want to, until the day of the strike, which came at the busiest time of the year for them.  “It could not have come at a more opportune time for the workers.  As a result, from the first hour there was a rush of employers to union headquarters to sign the union agreement… This means not only the establishment of the union in these shops but also a radical increase in wages in many of them” (Mailly, 69).   For the women of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, however, things didn’t end quite so well.

The strike ended with The Triangle owners refusing to unionize and while the women did win some concessions in wages, they didn’t win as much as others and the safety conditions didn’t change at all (Argersinger, 16).  Unfortunately, this would lead to a fatal fire, a fire the women clearly saw coming, less than two years later.  The fire, which started on the 8th floor because of a match or cigarette carelessly tossed aside, quickly spread to the 9th and 10th floors.  Those on the 8th floor were able to warn the people on the 10th floor, but the women on the 9th were never warned of the impending danger.  The first sign that they had that the building was on fire was when flame and smoke started to fill the air.  The number of employees estimated to be working in the Triangle Factory that day was close to 1,000.  But “whatever the number, they had no chance of escape… The first signs that persons in the street knew that these three top stories had turned into red furnaces in which human creatures were being caught and incinerated was when screaming men and women and boys and girls crowded out on the many window ledges and threw themselves into the streets far below” (New York World, 73).  The women really had no escape from the flames.  The fire escape had collapsed from the number of women trying to flee, the doors that were not locked were already blocked by flames, and the one elevator available was far too small and slow to help more than a handful of people.  Their only options were to jump to a quick death below or slowly suffocate or burn to death.  For many, the choice didn’t require much thought.  One person watching below “saw a girl rush to a window and throw up a sash.  Behind her danced a seething curtain of yellow flame…. Her body went whirling downward through the woven wire glass of a canopy to the flagging below.  Her sisters who followed flamed through the air like rockets” (Chicago, 76).  The scene that spectators watched helplessly was truly horrific, and by the time it was over, less than thirty minutes later, a conservatively estimated 141 lives had been claimed (New York Times, Cornell).

After the fire, the family and friends and the people of New York itself, were understandably grief stricken.  Crowds of people “which numbered… about 400,000” turned out to mourn for those lost (New York Times, 88). However, as people slowly began to realize that the fire didn’t have to happen, grief swiftly changed to anger and outrage.  As the businessmen and the government began their attempts to sweep the accident under the rug, the people began to understand that the industry itself and the regulations that were supposed to govern it were broken, and that along with the women and girls of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, hundreds of others had died at the hands of wealthy industrialists just in that same year.  “It is well known that those who were killed in the Triangle disaster are only part, and a small part, of those murdered in the industry during the passing year.  There were only 147 incinerated and mangled.  But there were thousands of others who met a similarly agonizing fate during this year of 1911” (Literary Digest, 111).  The people would not allow the government to ignore these deaths as they had so many others.  The public had been “convicted” and knew that this happened because of “neglect to enforce laws for the protection of lives of people in factory buildings” (Smith, 117).  If the government would not willingly change, the voice of the masses would force them to.

As rising outcry and heightened publicity protested the injustice that was being carried out a committee was formed to “meet public protest” and to “make a thorough investigation of safety conditions in factories and to pass laws to prevent a recurrence of such a catastrophe…”  (Smith, 117-118).  The government, formerly so pro-business that they let business owners have free reign, had completely changed its tune.  Before the fire the government said “we don’t have time for you,” but after, its new motto became “Health is the principal asset of the working man and the working woman. The state is bound to do everything in its power to preserve the health of the workers who contribute so materially to its economic wealth and its industrial prosperity” (FIC, Cornell).  With the new government outlook on industry, on June 30, 1911 the Factory Investigating Commission was formed and with it came sweeping reform in working conditions and regulations. By 1913, “the Commission recommended, and the legislature over a period of three to five years, put into law the program of compulsory shorter work day and week for women, limitation of age of children at work, prohibition of night work for women, workmen’s compensation for industrial accidents, measures to prevent industrial accidents, and elaborate requirements for the construction of factory and mercantile premises in the interests of health and safety of the people who worked in them.”  While the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory escaped nearly unscathed from the fire and from justice, for the first time in history, the government had finally stepped in to do its job of protecting its citizens and holding factory owners accountable if they broke the law. As Frances Perkins puts it, “the extent to which this legislation in New York marked a change in American political attitudes and policies towards social responsibility cannot be overrated” (Perkins, 121).

The changes in the government’s attitude towards business after the fire most definitely “cannot be overrated.”  The fire and the outrage that followed afterwards changed the working environment for so many Americans for the better.  Though many of us might take them for granted, almost anyone working in America today can clearly see what workers all over the country gained at the terrible cost of the lives that day.  Our environment is safe, most of us are paid a living wage, we are by and large not treated poorly by our managers, and we are allowed to unionize if we want to.  While there are times when things may seem unfair, or when we feel like our jobs are the worst, there are a variety of different avenues that we can take to voice our concerns and to make positive changes for ourselves and those around us.  It’s certainly not a perfect system, though looking back at what the women of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory had to deal with, it is nearly ideal.  The truth of the matter is that we owe quite a bit of thanks to those who died in that fire, for without their sacrifice, without the grief their families had to suffer through, things might never have changed.

Works Cited

  1. Agersinger, Jo Anne E., The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 14, 16.
  2. Chicago Sunday Tribune, Thrilling Incidents in Gotham Holocaust That Wiped Out One Hundred and Fifty Lives, March 28, 1911 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 76.
  3. Cohen, Rose. Out of the Shadow. 1918 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 46-47.
  4. Federal Investigating Committee. “Importance of Investigation”, accessed on May 18, 2015 @ http://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu/primary/reports/LegislatureOfNYS.html?sto_sec=investigation#scope
  5. Gompers, Samuel, “Hostile Employers See Yourselves as Others Know You”, accessed on May 18, 2015 @ http://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu/primary/newspapersMagazines/af_0511.html?sto_sec=mourning
  6. Lemlich, Clara, Life in the Shop, November 26, 1909 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 56-57.
  7. Literary Digest, 147 Dead, Nobody Guilty. January 6, 1912 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 111.
  8. Mailly, William, The Working Girls’ Strike, December 23, 1909 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 69.
  9. McFarlane, Arthur E. Fire and the Skyscraper: The Problem of Protecting Workers in New York’s Tower Factories. September 1911 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 41.
  10. New York Times, Arrest Strikers for Being Assaulted, November 5, 1909 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 88.
  11. New York Times. “141 Men and Girls Die in Waist Factory Fire; Trapped High Up in Washington  Place Building; Street Strewn with Bodies; Piles of Dead Inside”, accessed on May 27, 2015 @http://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu/primary/newspapersMagazines/nyt_032611.html?sto_sec=fire
  12. New York World, The Triangle Fire. March 27, 1911 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 73.
  13. Perkins, Frances, The Roosevelt I Knew, 1946 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 121.
  14. Photo #10, “New York Garment Industry Sweatshops, circa 1890” accessed May 27, 2015 @ http://kerre.org/History%20102/Summer%202015/Work%20and%20Living%20Conditions%20Photos.pdf
  15. Scott, Miriam Finn. “The Factory Girl’s Danger,” accessed on May 27, 2015 @ http://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu/primary/newspapersMagazines/outlook_041511.html?sto_sec=mourning
  16. Smith, Alfred E., Up to Now: An Autobiography, 1929 in Jo Anne Argersinger, The Triangle  
  17.     Fire: A Brief History with Documents. 2009. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s Press. p. 117-118.

Things Change… A New Direction

Hi Everyone,

When I started this blog a few years ago the intent was to write about my opinions on politics and religion.  However, what I refused to acknowledge at that time was that my views were in the process of a monumental shift.  At the time, I had changed from a Conservative to a Liberal and I believed that the change had ended there.  Over the next few years though, my religious views also began shift and change.  I had desperately tried to hold on to my Christianity, all the while it was slowly slipping away.  It came to a point where I could no longer ignore the things about the Bible that I found horrific, the lack of logic of it all, and the outright contradictions it had within itself and with the real world.  To make a long story short, my religious views had to go.

So needless to say, my blog will no longer be about politics and religion… Entirely… There may still be posts about religion and politics, but at this point, I just want somewhere where I can write. I may write a political commentary piece, an essay, a movie review, or even the occasional story, but I just want to write and have people read what I write.  You may think that there won’t be a unifying theme to the blog, but the unifying theme will be me.  It will be about the things in my everyday life that I find interesting, things that I feel strongly about, or things that make me think. Hopefully you too will find something you enjoy, something you feel strongly about (whether it’s in agreement or opposition), or something that just makes you think.  We need more people that think critically these days.  Anyway… Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy it.

Regards,

James

P.S. I’m currently taking suggestions for a name change.  Any ideas are welcome!