Choice: The Heart of the Matter (or Issue)?

There are some issues in dispute that seem bound by a simple premise — whether the issue is a matter of choice.

This came up for me recently with the California Supreme Court’s ruling on the ban of gay marriage being unconstitutional. I was wondering why this was such a polarized debate for people when I remembered how some people that I’ve spoken with simply believe that sexual orientation is a conscious choice rather than an natural attribute, like hair color or gender.

I think that when people accept that an issue is beyond a person’s ability to choose, that there is less dispute. This doesn’t always work, but I think it’s crucial for people to understand each other.

Sometimes I try to exemplify the issue by proposing that a person imagine they have cancer. There’s no absolute cure as of yet and the best a person can do is assume a positive attitude and pursue available treatments. While some achieve success, there’s no guarantee that a person can “choose” to get over cancer.

I’ve spoken to people before about gay rights and many times people have simply assumed that being gay was a choice. I don’t fully agree. I imagine that some people choose it, but I also believe that for many (most?) it is simply the way they are built, in the same way I’m male and Asian.

I try to apply this same thinking in matters of status, race, gender, etc… There are some things that can be affected by choice, but there are no guarantees. While many people have achieved amazing successes through hard work, discipline, and positive thinking (amongst other attributes), there are simply forces beyond human choice that affect outcomes.

My point is that I often feel sad at the lack of tolerance or compassion for people that get the short end of the stick in society. Prejudice sucks and I think it can be avoided.

Last thought: consider the people you know that have changed from being more accepting of people to less accepting, then compare that number with people changing from less to more. I think the second number would be larger and I imagine that comes from experience of the world trumping preconceptions from youth. I could be wrong.

What I learned at Novice School

Man, just sitting down for some pho for dinner after an amazing day of learning how to race. Ahhh. My legs are tired from walking so much, but aside from that, I had such a great day!

So, what’d I learn today? I learned a bunch of things including:

– autocross is NOT about pressing the throttle as hard as I physically can
– fast autocross times are typically contrary to getting my ya-ya’s out
– steady is good
– smooth is good
– slowing down for slow corners is better than powering through them
– all things being equal, the shorter line is better
– my car is amazing!

I netted the second best time, beat only by Dave in his BSP RX-8. Before he did his time, I had first and second place. Not to toot my own horn, but I was smoking!

I have so much to be thankful to this new guy I met named Raijo. He was an incredible instructor and he gave me so much to work with and practice. I’m indebted to his patience, skill, and generosity of spirit.

Lastly, I swear, the community of autocrossers really kicks butt. All the instructors were volunteers and they were good spirited throughout and endlessly helpful. Thanks to all the volunteers.