Yesterday I was struck (not literally, I assure you) by three relevant and fascinating bits of news. Some of it was late-breaking and of-the-moment; the rest simply timely. But all three struck me as having some interesting commonalities.
1) First, there was this article in the New York Times, about the economic and career-progression price women pay for having children. The article discussed the relative success we’ve had moving the needle on pay equality and equal opportunity, but how that has left issues of family responsibilities in shadow. As the author writes, “our economy extracts a terribly steep price” for the decision to step out of the workplace.
2) Then there is this piece, from NPR, about the controversy over the proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York. New York’s Mayor Bloomberg spoke courageously, saying “This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions or favor one over another. The World Trade Center site will forever hold a special place in our city, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans if we said no to a mosque in lower Manhattan.”
3) And finally, California removed its collective thumb from its butt and repealed Prop 8, which refused the right to marry for those whose equipment didn’t line up the way the government wanted. The judge spoke well, saying, “Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples.”
This is some fascinating stuff. Freedom of religion, freedom to marry, freedom to care for your children…all three of these articles intersect around personal freedoms, but also personal choices. It is not just about the choices of individuals in the privacy of their own lives (or what they hoped would be the privacy of their lives), but also of the reporters, the mayors, the judges and the readers. We all make choices. Problem is, we often don’t realize we are choosing until after the fact.
In my writing, I am writing for and about teenagers. Talk about choices. I’m not exactly working on morality tales, but still. I read these articles and they make me think, they make me question, they make we want to be a part of the dialogue. It is my hope that whatever I write, from tree-climbing emo boys to headstrong mermaids, make readers want to think about their choices too.