Monday, January 21, 2008

It's Official - No Returns

Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 16:08:09
Subject: Verify Graduation Information

Dear Michelle,

This is to confirm that you have ACTIVATED your intent to graduate for
spring semester 2008.


Office of the University Registrar

How I Know I Need to Get My @ss Out of School

"[D]o you realize people born in 1990 can vote? ...[and] 1987 can drink." ~KH

Friday, January 4, 2008

Law School Application Essay (revised)

I was a young kid bored in the back seat in a traffic jam in Brooklyn. I sat smooshed between my siblings, sedated by the heat, hypnotized by the cacophony of engines, horns, overheated drivers and swiftly moving people. Across the street, his stillness caught my eye. He was dressed in layers and layers of faded brown clothing, worn and untucked. He matched perfectly, fruitlessly, the wall of the brownstone church he leaned against with both hands, his head bowed, almost imperceptibly rocking. The cord from his headphones dangled down at his side, attached to… nothing. His palms pressed flat against the walls of the church, he rocked and swayed to sounds only he could hear. The rest of us did not exist.

I have spent years honing my public speaking skills only to realize that the true creative power is in the listening. For example, “God said let there be light, and there was, and it was good.” What disappears from view in that sentence is the unspoken – the listening. Consider the possibility of God as the phenomenon of no gap between speaking and listening; divine communion. Closing the gap between speaking and listening creates agreement, creates reality. First we agree, and then we hold these truths to be self-evident. When we lose sight of that, we lose sight of our creative power.

Law exists inside a way of listening. In Plessy v. Fergusen, the rationale for segregating “Negroes” from other train riders was considered so obvious by the court that it declared elaboration unnecessary. Years later, in Brown v. Board of Education, the court declared the “mindset of the time” of Plessy v. Fergusen had passed and current awareness of equality as self-evident would henceforth supersede. The court of public opinion held a new truth to be self-evident, and thereby influenced judicial interpretation of the constitution. In response, the Court used the language of law to speak a new reality into existence, expanding possibilities for all Americans. Our modern parallel is the current public debate over the meaning of “marriage.”

Although in America religious marriage is available to all, civil marriage is reserved for those couples who fit the way our society commonly hears the idea “marriage.” I contribute to shifting the way people hear the word “marriage” by communicating that I am married to my same-sex partner. People listen for certain context clues and piece together a story. Our wedding photos, wedding bands and use of the word “spouse” tell the story of two women who are married to one-another. Six and a half years ago, weddings like ours were an unusual occurrence in Pittsburgh. Last month, however, I attended the inter-racial, same sex wedding of two of my friends, in a local church. The pews were packed with witnesses. As the public debate grows louder, people’s ways of hearing the word “marriage” continue to broaden. It is my belief that one day soon the validity of same sex marriage will be self-evident, and laws to the contrary will be put to rest as anachronisms.

By shaping how people listen one shapes what is heard, touching off the next round of discussion and progression. Whether declaring the value of a human to be 3/5 versus whole or negotiating the meaning of the word “marriage,” creating, interpreting and implementing laws creates a particular reality. I see Law as the international language of commerce; the business of human endeavor, the codification of values and relationships. Law is an ongoing, evolving conversation in which resources are recognized, valued and distributed. I intend to use the language of Law to continually close the gap between speaking and listening, to create a reality in which what works for one individual or corporation, is that which benefits all. There will always be a new possibility waiting to emerge.