Friday Night at the Taco Bell

by Kristen King on October 9, 2010

I can’t decide who was more deserving of mocking: the teenage boys hanging out at the Taco Bell hitting on almost-30-year-old women, or me for being an almost-30-year-old-woman alone at the Taco Bell on a Friday night.

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The last several months have seen more than a little interest in the beliefs and activities of political figures, an occurrence that frankly stymies me. The first flap was over whether President Barack Obama is Christian or Muslim, the second around Delaware Republican Senate candidate’s 1999 admission that she “dabbled” in witchcraft in high school.

For the purposes of clarity and disclosure, I consider myself politically neutral. I don’t support any particular political party and I don’t participate in political activities — including voting — but I respect your right to do so if you choose and won’t interfere with your choice.

Maybe it’s my position as an “outsider” to the political process that’s leaving me confused. But I seem to remember learning in school about this crazy thing called separation between church and state, and this other thing called freedom of religion. And since I seem to remember those things being kind of fundamental to the founding of the country, I’m a bit baffled as to why anyone cares about the religious beliefs of political figures. As a general rule in this country, we seem to expect that our most of our politicians have association with some faith or organized religion. Does it really matter which one?

Presumably, Obama was elected by a population that supported his political views and thought he would be a good political leader for the nation. Unless I missed something really important in Mrs. Jensen’s class in seventh grade, I don’t think his job is to provide religious or otherwise spiritual guidance or direction. His job is to oversee the running of the country. Where and whether he worships aren’t part of the job description, right? So who cares? And WHY?

As far as O’Donnell goes, most Americans seem to think of The Craft, Blair Witch Project, and maybe Harry Potter when they think of witches. But regardless of how you may feel about it, witchcraft is legitimately a religion. Wicca, the religion with which modern practitioners of witchcraft largely identify, has a specific theology, symbology, and practice. (A number of practitioners have pointed out in the media that what O’Donnell described in her 1999 Politically Incorrect clip doesn’t match up with Wicca, but that’s another conversation entirely, and one that doesn’t belong on this blog.)

Whether O’Donnell was “dabbling” in Wicca, Satanism (which, incidentally, does also have a theology, symbology, etc.), or something else entirely isn’t really relevant. What matters is that like anyone else in this country, she has the right to practice or explore whatever religion she chooses. She’s been variously identified as a Protestant and a Catholic — generally conservative either way — and no one seemed to have an issue with that. But this witchcraft thing, well, it’s a big controversy. Said one publication, “It is one thing to be against masturbation, it is quite another to admit that you took part in pagan rituals and attended a picnic on a Satanic altar.” It’s religion either way, so again, who cares? And why?

Political viewpoints causing strife and controversy in a political setting makes sense to me, but religious viewpoints having the same effect is beyond me — at least, for a country that professes freedom of religion and separation between church and state.

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Quota Schmota: Why Race- and Sex-Based Hiring Guidelines Are NOT the Answer

August 31, 2010

I gotta be honest here. No matter how many times you tell me that affirmative action and quotas in hiring and school admissions are a good idea, I will never agree. “But aren’t you for equality?” Of course I am. “Don’t you want things to be fair?” Well, yeah, duh. But the only way hiring [...]

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Calling Yourself “Bitch” Is NOT Empowerment

August 24, 2010

You can talk to me about reclaiming words until you’re blue in the face and I still don’t buy it. The swastika used to be a good luck symbol and a religious image until Hitler used it to represent the Nazi party. Should I wear clothes with swastikas on them and just assure horrified passersby that I’m reclaiming it? Should I start calling black people “niggas” because I’m reclaiming “nigger”? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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Parentheses and Terminal Punctuation

April 19, 2010

The last six weeks of my life have been punctuated by awkward phone calls full of bad news, visits to one hospital after another, and sleepless nights on uncomfortable chairs in sterile rooms. Although my family has been historically pretty healthy, we’ve been dropping like flies lately. My current illness, a particularly persistent cold that’s [...]

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The Year I Grew Up and Other Stories

March 19, 2010

I will forever remember 27 as the year I finally grew up — and not just because it was the last year I could legitimately describe myself as being in my “mid-twenties.” When I was a kid, I looked forward to middle school because those 12- and 13-year-old girls just really seemed to have it [...]

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Rant Part 2 of 3: NO – You DON’T Deserve it

September 17, 2009

I’m worried that you may be missing out. This is important, and it could change your life, so listen up: You “deserve” anything you give so much as a passing thought to — and even stuff you may not have thought of at all. If you want that new television, go ahead and buy it [...]

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Rant Part 1: YES – If You’re Fat, You Need to Lose Weight

August 5, 2009

No wonder Americans are so fat: Popular culture and advertising keep telling us day in and day out that we don’t need to take responsibility for any of our actions and we’re fine just the way we are, and people are believing this crap. Example: More to Love, FOX Broadcasting Company, Tuesdays at 9ET/8CT The [...]

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Tomorrows and Yesterdays

July 31, 2009

Last night I watched Gone With the Wind for what I later realized was the first time in at least six and a half years. I discerned this fact while trying to analyze why I bawled through virtually the whole thing. For a movie I’ve seen at least a dozen times, that struck me as [...]

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An Open Letter to the Rude Teenage Boy at the Kings Dominion Wave Pool on Being a Real Man

July 29, 2009

Dear Rude Boy: If you hadn’t crashed into my sister-in-law and me multiple times in the wave pool this weekend, I wouldn’t have said anything. I know what it’s like to splash around and have fun with your friends, and sometimes you get distracted and bump into someone. I get that. But when you do [...]

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