The World’s Oldest Profession

So the other day I’m vacuuming my house and moving around furniture, and this question surfaces to the top of my mind. It might have been because Law and Order:SVU was on.

Prostitution-Free-Zone-640x426

Why is prostitution illegal? Why does the government need to stop two consenting adults from having sex if money is exchanged?

A person can pay two people to have sex on tape for a porn video. The government has no issue there. They’ll gladly take their tax money. But if you take the camera and director away, the government now has their eye in that bedroom. If there is an exchange of money, someone is going to prison.

Strip clubs exist. Money can be exchanged for sexual arousal. You can pay to gaze at naked women swinging around on poles. And in the back, you can pay more for an erotic lap dance with sexual contact.

What is it about penetrative sex that the government has a problem with? What is there to fear about legalized prostitution?

With that industry regulated, sex workers are now safer. They are now protected by the government and away from their dangerous pimps. Their clients are no longer criminals sneaking around in the dead of night. Sexually transmitted diseases won’t be a problem for either party if the government is able to give regular tests. What is there to fear?

Beyond adherence to the morals of religion, I can’t think of a single legitimate reason. But I know brothels will not become commonplace around this country any time soon.

It’s political suicide for anyone to champion this. It might be easier for a female politician, but would any be willing to risk alienating potential supporters? Could they gain ground at the national level fight for legalized prostitution?

Nah.

For Goodness’ Sake.

The holidays are over. But I’m not done with them quite yet. There’s this saying that comes up during this time of the year.

Be Good for Goodness Sake.

It’s Kids who act good for reward. Do not be good because you want to be rewarded. Goodness is itself a reward.

This is a good idea. We want genuinely good people, but doesn’t work in practice. Most people are not this way. They work on the “Pay It Forward” system. They are good expecting other people to pass on that goodness. They desire their goodness to be appreciated and returned at a later date. This isn’t wrong, just not good for goodness sake.

No person can be truly selfless.

If there were a person who loved everyone and was selfless, they wouldn’t live in this country. You’d never hear of them by their choice because they wouldn’t care about their reputation. They’d spend their entire able-bodied life in a third world country, getting the less fortunate the help they need. They’d fight against bureaucracies and the cultural inertia that leaves those people in the spot they’re in. They’d have no time for the pleasures of life.

That statement reminds me of a news story I saw on TV a decade or so ago. There was this man who went out of his way to give back the community. He was a regular volunteer for his town’s soup kitchen. He gave money to various charities. He thought more far more than any normal person would. Then one day he met a homeless man. Winter was coming. The homeless man had nowhere to stay. The moral man had no room in his house but he built a small fort for this man to live in. He showed him how to make a fire pit. He left the man food and water on a normal basis before he went home to his wife and two kids. He checked in on him during the snow season. Then one day, he came with blankets to . The homeless man demanded money this time. The moral man refused. The homeless man stabbed him in the stomach with a shard of glass. He ran away and left the moral man to bleed to his death.

I won’t forget that story. It was an extreme case, but goes to show selflessness can get a person into trouble in the real world. True selflessness is a one way ticket to being taken advantage of by selfish people. You have to be little selfish so you can enjoy life. Make time for yourself. Pursue the things you want. Selflessness is an ideal we can’t reach.

An unfortunate truth.

Why I Eat Meat

Animals live on this planet just like humans do. They feel pain. They die. They know what it is to suffer. They are ground up and horribly murdered so humans can eat them. Little baby cows are killed to create a nice tender meat known as veal. We eat all the parts of the animals. From the bones to the eyes, even their organs. Nothing is hands off. I can’t even imagine how many chickens I have consumed in my lifetime.We exploit our fellow animals

For some reason, this doesn’t bother me. No matter how many pictures I see or sound arguments I hear against the eating of animals, I just don’t stop eating meat nor do I ever really care that much. I had one event when I was ten years old. I had gone to Africa and there things are a bit different. The chicken isn’t always already killed and brought to you. It isn’t prepared to be cooked. One day some family members of mine brought a chicken back to the house my father and I were staying , I didn’t know that it was to be a part of our dinner.

I fed the chicken and played around with it for a couple of hours. Then the time came for the chicken to meet its fate. I had left the chicken outside by itself as I played video games. I went outside and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I asked one of my cousins if they knew where the chicken had gone.

I cried when they told me that they had cut off the chicken’s head and it was being prepared for dinner. I told them that I refused to eat the food. Eventually I became hungry and I ate the chicken that I had once considered my friend. Being a vegetarian would never have worked out for me. I hate vegetables.

Now I’m ten years older. I have more power over the food I eat. Yet I still choose to eat meat. I find it hard to  come up with a convincing argument to do so. I’m well off. The food around me is not limited to only the animals around me. I have no need to eat them.

The closest argument I used to have was that if the animals were at the top of the food chain, they would be eating me. I’m just a part of cycle. That’s not very good.
I guess I just think there are bigger problems in the world than chickens being turned into chicken noodle soup. I’ve been conditioned to value human life above all other life.

Why is human life more precious than other animal’s? This is not an easy question to answer because it leads to more questions.  How many chickens equal one human life? Are dog’s lives more precious than babies? If someone has a mental disorder where they act like a chicken, can you eat them? Is eating a cat nine times as bad as eating any other animal? One man stated that his answer to this question was to not answer it and I can get behind that.

Of course another man once stated it would be better to rape animals than to eat them. That I can’t get behind. I think I’ll revisit this question in my mind when humanity is a far better position.

Chronicle Number 3: Ascent Into Atheism.

Christianity is a big thing in my family. My father is a choir master and supposedly a big man in the church. His sister is a priest. My mother is an avid churchgoer. My father would sometimes read the bible with me but very rarely. He mostly told me the stories of Anansi the Spider before I went to bed.

As a child, Christianty made sense to me. There had to be something to protect us all. I didn’t want to go to hell. I had to be a good boy.

And I was sometimes. I would go with my mother to church. I didn’t enjoy it very much. It was a Methodist Ghanian church. There was a lot of singing and dancing. They spoke in the Ghanian language. The music was loud. And they always asked for donations. It wasn’t very fun to go every Sunday night with my mom for three hours.

My mother got me to join the youth club. She bought me a bible. I remember getting there very early. It was just the pastor, his wife and me. I told her I had just gotten this bible. The pastor told me to start reading some chapter. His wife told me not to read it like a storybook. I never understood what she meant by that.

She died shortly after that talk with me.

I remember once the school year had started. The pastor had a sermon about making sure that the devil didn’t tempt any of the congregation’s church. He had all of us kids line up and chanted sayings like “Get out of this child! By The Blood of The Christ! This child is saved!” I remember when he grabbed my forehead. He told us to close out eyes before hand. An image of the devil in the sky rising from my body entered my mind.

I was never baptized as a baby.

As a child I used to pray to God. I’d say, “Please protect my brother, my mother, and my father.” I would begin the family prayer before big meals.

“May this food be bountiful for years to come and may you protect all of us. ” My family loved it.

In 2004, we switched churches. My mother stated the pastor of our old church was deeply saddened and shocked by the untimely death of his wife. We joined another Ghanian Methodist Church. I remember me and my father sitting in the car parking lot, December 31st. My father told me that 2003 had been a hard year. I didn’t understand how it could have been. Smackdown Here Comes the Pain had been great. After the clock hit midnight, he brought me inside the church.

We went up and sat. I looked around. There was a chair with a man’s name on it as well as his date of death. I had to sit and look at it. I thought about how I would never meet this man. All I would ever know of him was his name. That I have now long forgotten.

The sermon was in a language I didn’t understand. But then there came the time for first timers to come to the front. There were several of us. I remember my father saying that free time for me was bible study time. I did no such thing. It’s always puzzled me why he said that.

Going to church was always a big hassle. I’d have to be woken up by my dad far earlier than I wanted to be. He’d get really angry if he had to wake me up three times. That’s my dad’s life code. If the first two times, he tells you to do something he’s calm. But that third time, now he’s losing his temper. Some would believe this to be a fair system.

You have to dress nice to go to church. I’d wear my Sunday best just like all the other little boys and girls. We’d go to church and then I’d sit and not understand anything being said. There would be singing of songs. Some of the songs were nice to listen to. The church was adamant about getting everyone to stand and dance. If I didn’t dance I’d be yelled at by my mom or dad until I stood up.

The new church had youth sessions too. I didn’t know any of the other kids well. I didn’t talk to anyone but this one kid who liked video games. He told me he could fix my Pokemon Silver which for some reason didn’t save anymore. I found out years later there was no way he could have fixed it. I’m really mad he still has my Pokemon Silver.

The youth sessions were always about getting us to talk or watching a video. We once watched a video of Adam and Eve. I noticed both of them had pale skin. I asked then where did black people come from if they are both white.

The other kids gave weird answers like Adam actually being rainbow colored and appearing white. I remember the overseer for the kid’s youth group touching me on the arm in a very weird way. He wasn’t like a pedophile. He was just weird.

I didn’t have many interactions with the other kids. I learned one day what they thought of me. This girl thought that I thought I was so good because I carried a bible around all the time.

I didn’t have a choice of going to church or not. When my father would go too early to take me, he’d leave it to my mother to take my brother and me.  Rarely I would get out of it. When I did, I would be punished. My game controllers were taken away. So most of time I ended up sitting there and not understanding what was said.

Then the pastor started having english sermons. Jesus was a protector. He was there to save me. He died for my sins. The devil was there to make sure I went to hell. But with Jesus and I could be saved because as my mom’s favorite church song goes,

God you are wonderful oh God you’re so good.

Hell seemed like a scary place to be. Infinite torture. Fire. Not a desirable end. So I was on Team Jesus.

It’s funny the little things that can make a crack in your faith. It’s probably because my faith was never based on anything stronger than what I was told to believe in.

As a kid, I had a friend named Joe. I don’t know what he’s up to now.

As a kid, Joe was a pretty cool guy.

In 6th grade science class during a talk between he and I, Joe V told me he didn’t believe in anything without seeing it for himself. I was baffled.

“How can you not believe in God?” I asked him.

He shrugged.

This idea became the foundation that would cause me to question things.

In religion, people don’t like it when you ask questions. I learned this the hard way.

Morality?

What’s the absolute worst thing a person could do? Is it killing another person? What about raping about person? What if they raped and killed a person? Is that two times as bad as just doing one or the other? Is it worse to kill a child over an adult? What if the person was a jerk and deserved it? What would be a suitable punishment for any of these crimes?

Should people who kill be killed? Should the same be done to rapists? Or should we try to rehabilitate them? What if it’s not possible? Do we just throw a bunch of dangerous criminals in one place and lock them away for the rest of their lives? What do we do if we put an innocent person in jail? Do they get some sort of reparation?

Can you balance out your crime? If you stop someone from being raped, can you be forgiven? If you save a life, can you go home? If you hit someone with your car, and pay for their hospital visit, should that be it? Or should there be further punishment? What if the victim doesn’t care? Should the government still be able to step in?

What if you don’t kill a person? What if you kill or rape a dog? Should that have the same punishment as a person? What if you rape two dogs? At what point should you receive the same punishment as killing a human? How about fish?

Would the police step in if there was a fish rapist on the loose?

What if you kill an animal that’s endangered? Should you get double the punishment?

What if you kill a million people? We can’t kill you a million times as punishment. We can’t throw you in jail for a million life terms. Should we just torture you? Is torture a good punishment? Also, at what point does this become genocide? A hundred? A thousand? What if they kill a hundred people indiscriminately in a region? Is genocide worse than mass murder?

What if someone kills a person who commits genocide before we could figure out whether torturing them was alright? Is vigilantism something we should punish? What if someone shoots some guy after he’s been sentenced to death? Should they be punished?

What if some guy raped and murdered hundreds of children, endangered fish, dogs, and cats?! Should we just blow him up?

Is that the right thing? Is it the moral thing?

It’s hard to gauge this.

I’ve always thought that murder wasn’t seen as bad as rape by the general public. Dexter is a TV show where a killer kills killers. I don’t think it would have been green-lit if he had been a rapist who raped rapists. People can cheer on a thief, drug dealer, or serial killer. I don’t think you can get them to cheer on a pedophile or rapist.

Unless that rapist is a man who has sex with intoxicated women in a comedy. Then again, our morality doesn’t come from films. It’s just an imperfect reflection of it. Films are made to appeal to the general public, but even then you can often see some people don’t like the idea of glorifying serial killers.

Murder is a hard crime to judge. Eye for an eye seems to make sense on the surface level. You kill people, so you need to be stopped. But murder isn’t so black and white. We have different degrees of murder. In our society, it matters if you planned it out beforehand or just lost it. It also matters if your life was in danger or if you were protecting someone else. In America, assisted suicide is not allowed, but in other places it is. Sometimes you can kill a person and it’s not murder. You can still be held responsible. Sometimes people die due to mistakes by corporations and nothing happens.

The simple act of killing a person is much more complicated than it seems. It’s up to the law to figure out what to do.

Should our laws be flexible? What if we change them after someone’s been convicted of a crime that we’ve decided no longer exists? Should they still pay their “debt” to society?

Speaking of debts, what if someone can’t pay off their debt? Should they go to jail?

Or even worse!

What if some guy doesn’t tip his waiter?!

What if you tie up vegetarians and force feed them meat loaf?

What if your lover likes smelly  violent sex with blood, fish, vomit, poop, and sexual fluids all over the place? Should you get in trouble for that? Is that moral?

All this morality stuff is hurting my head…