May 15, 2008
We won! WE WON! Marriage in California!
August 8, 2008
On Hiatus (for the best reason, ever!)
August 18, 2008
Geez, we get married, and all hell breaks loose!
August 10, 2009
Happy, Quiet, Relaxed Anniversary to Us
August 9, 2010
On Our Second Wedding Anniversary
It's just love... you know?
Got a comment (which I won't approve) on Base8 today, too -- re my write-up of the wifey shagging the 14-yo boys. I can't say it bothered me so much as I found it ironic (or maybe that's the wrong word):
On a day like today, I almost feel sorry for the sad sack: He doesn't know what love is, and probably never will.
But this is our day -- and every day is our day -- and no one will ever take it away from us.
It's just love... you know?
And they can't take that away from me.
As long as I'm here...
I was lured out of self-imposed exile -- after eight months being of being logged out, lurking occasionally when I would hear that the place was in meltdown -- by something I read that was so over the top, I had to post. The thread is now, thankfully, locked.
Having just cruised through another thread (in GD, I think -- I'll skip linking it, but I'm sure you'll all find it soon enough), I remember why I logged off. Suffice to say, I need a long, hot shower.
I'm off to go do what I do -- which, lately, has been a non-stop effort since May to keep, and now regain, our right to marry. For anyone who hasn't heard (is that possible?), Buffy and I tied the knot in August, with family, friends, wedding planner, gorgeous gay waiters in black jackets, cake we did not smash in each other's face, the works. (Yes, there are pictures, on our blogs.)
Seriously: As you can imagine, our hearts have been all but completely shattered by the passage of Proposition 8. We worked so hard, both of us, spoke with everyone we could, donated a lot of money we didn't have to spare, blogged our asses off, and, Election Day, while Buffy was at work making up for some of the obscene sum her wife had poured into the No On 8 campaign, I was in front of a church with other No On 8 folks, campaigning and gets honks of support from passing cars (and more than a few horrible anti-gay slurs and overt gestures thrown our way -- believe me, getting flipped off was the nicest gesture from those assholes).
This past Sunday, we went to the wedding of a dear, dear friend of mine and his partner (now husband) of 14 years. G's family -- his many siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews, and G's and R's friends -- were all there. If there was a dry eye in the house, it wasn't mine. I felt so honored to be there... and so proud, meeting G's big family for the first time, to introduce Buffy as my wife.
The officiant was a county official and close friend of G's -- who had married his husband only the Monday before.
If only everyone could have been there and seen the love between G and R, and the outpouring of joy all around... It was a celebration of love -- but, oh, so bittersweet.
Of course, we hope Jerry Brown is right, and our marriage, and G's and R's, will remain intact along with those of the other 18,000 couples who married before the hateful bigots in this state took it all away -- but that's no consolation to either of us. We are grieving, inconsolably, for the couples who can't experience the same joy we did in marrying legally now, and may never be able to.
But perhaps even more than that, it is the sheer weight of this hatred that is absolutely unbearable. There's barely been one hour that's gone by when I haven't started crying all over again. Family members across the country -- including our sisters who stood up for us, who proudly witnessed our marriage with their signatures on our marriage certificate, and including my born-again cousin I thought would never be able to overcome her church's beliefs to be there for me, but did, flying more than 500 miles and staying alone somewhere for the first time in her 50-something years to honor my marriage as much as she does her own of some 20+ years -- called or wrote as soon as they heard, and I had to tell them I just couldn't even speak about it yet.
Those of you who know me know I have a sister to whom I couldn't be closer if we'd been joined at the hip; I always said I couldn't get married without her as my "best woman." I could barely even talk to her -- because she knows me so well, and loves me so much, I couldn't bear to weigh her down with the full weight of my anguish.
My mom -- small, feisty, 87 years old, who I thought wouldn't make it through her last health crisis since her last health crisis, and who, in her flowing pink chiffon, looking like she'd just walked out of a movie, raised her glass at our wedding, looked at Buffy and said: "I have four daughters now" -- she's doing all she can to try to keep our hopes up. She's hurting so badly over the utterly incomprehensible idea that so many strangers would see her baby, and the woman who has surpassed her daughter's hopes and dreams, as a threat to civilization itself... and she's still trying to give us hope. She's being so strong, when you can see the pain in her eyes.
I've got a message sitting in my email inbox from our officiant -- a fantastic woman who walked two stunned, stage-shocked fiancees through the most important moment of their lives, and made it all perfect -- titled "Don't Lose Hope," and I can't even bring myself to read it, because I know I'll fall apart.
No, folks, I'm not asking for pity (I have enough self-pity already) -- I just want to try to make anyone who doesn't understand yet just how devastating this is. To know that more than half the people in my home state -- my home state, where my great-grandfather got offa da boat, never learned English, but busted his ass for a virtual slavedriver and sired more than one hundred years' worth of hardworking brown people who planted orchards and picked prunes until their skin was like leather under the sun -- the place I love so much, and used to be so proud of... these... interlopers, these bigots, no different from the ones who spat "Black Port-a-gee" and "Goddamn dagos, goddamn wops" at my forebears, the ones who locked my great-uncle into his home from dusk to dawn during WWII because he was born in Italy, the ones who anglicized my family name with the stroke of a pen because they couldn't be bothered to spell it (and, anyway, we should be glad, right, because it sounded Mexican, and being mistaken for a Mexican would have been even worse than being known as a Port-a-gee) -- they're back, and they hate us, me, mine, ours, so much, all over again. The "reason" may sound different to you, but to this third-generation Black-Port-a-gee, this dago, this wop, it's the same reason. It just has a different name.
No, no -- don't anyone dare try to excuse these modern-day carpetbaggers for their "deeply held religious beliefs," or ignorance, or anything else. They're just bigots, and I am a non-human to them. My marriage is a sham to them, a joke. They think more highly of caged chickens than they do of my wife and me, and so many thousands of other loving, law-abiding, decent couples.
I went 'round and 'round with a lot of trolls who came to my blog to bait me -- self-identified Mormons, most of them (and if you don't believe it, you can browse through the comments yourself and read some very long conversations) -- and, in the end, it was futile. There is no changing a closed mind.
I feel destroyed, but I am not. When I can shove down the deep hurt, my white-hot anger rises, and I want action. Legal, nonviolent action, but action nonetheless. These fuckers are not going to get away with this. They have won the battle, and they may very well win the war, but I am NOT going down without fighting the fight of my life.
I've gone head-to-head with these assholes, and I've dug deeper into the backgrounds of the individuals behind this campaign of hate than any sane ten people would ever bother. The upshot? The power-brokers behind Proposition 8 have been behind every dirty-tricks campaign in California -- and far beyond -- over the last 20, 30 years. The incestuousness of this web of connections is breathtaking (I actually put together a chart, and it looks like a web spun by a spider on crack) -- and it will not be stopped if we fail to take a stand NOW.
Following this stuff has earned me a phone call or two I wasn't expecting; let's just say the Knights of Columbus do NOT like being exposed for their part in all this (and they really don't like the idea of anyone examining their IRS forms).
My advice: DO NOT for a moment buy into the "poor little persecuted Mormons / Catholics / other-religious-group" bullshit. Not for one second. The drones -- the scared sheep who think they must follow the church's edict to donate all their money and spend countless man-hours spreading anti-gay propaganda or they won't get into Heaven -- are as much to blame as the money men behind it all. These people are ADULTS, and must be held accountable for their own decisions, and their own actions.
I don't hate all Mormons (and I certainly don't hate all Catholics -- my family is Catholic, and they're not bigots, not even the Republican side), and I am aware of many, many good Mormons who abided by their "free agency" and did what they knew was morally right: they fought against Proposition 8, as hard as they could, many (such as Andrew Callahan of SigningforSomething.org) risking excommunication, and about half a dozen I know of who resigned from the church of their own accord, specifically because Prop 8 was the last straw.
I also know of a group of Seventh-Day Adventists who opposed their own (historically very anti-gay) church to speak out publicly against this travesty.
And you know what? The majority of these "apostates" still think homosexuality is a sin, and do not believe that gay people should be able to marry, legally or religiously.
But they fought it because it was the right thing to do -- because they recognized that enshrining any religious belief into law, including their own, was wrong. That's it. That's all there was to it for them: It was wrong to force anyone else to live by their beliefs; if they condoned that, they realized, they would be doing exactly what Jesus admonished his disciple for doing in Matthew 26:51-54: trying to fulfill Scripture by force, which essentially means Scripture will not be fulfilled. (Look it up -- it's the "all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" story.)
So, you see, when we LGBTs get our asses kicked -- or kick our own asses -- for not taking it upon ourselves to "educate" people (as if we don't do that already, every single day of our lives!), we're playing a fool's game. Yes, of course, we should always do "outreach" whenever the opportunity arises, but to think 10% (or less) of the population is even capable of the kind of "outreach" that can be (and was) done by religious institutions with more money, power, and resources than we can even imagine -- and ground troops brainwashed into believing God is on their side -- is ludicrous and self-defeating.
I spent the night before the election pacing like a cat in a cage, wondering what more I could have done. My wife assured me there was nothing more, that I had gone above and beyond the call. But I couldn't shake the thought that if I had spoken with just one more person, or put an argument forth from a different angle, or donated one more time...
And then, today, I realized there really was nothing more I could have done -- and, perhaps, nothing I did accomplished anything. The church-cowed homophobes will never listen to me -- but that's not my fault. They need to listen to themselves, to whatever it is inside each of us that allows us to get inside the other guy's skin, and, even if we don't like that skin, to rise above our own prejudice and treat him as a fellow human being, worthy of everything we are, and everything we have.
There are many Mormons and SDA's who did just that.
When it appeared that he was about to be executed for heresy, Galileo defended his life to the Catholic Church with these words:
"I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use."
There are far too many people who believe that every gift is God-given -- yet are far too willing to forego their sense, reason, and intellect.
I hold those people accountable. I demand justice.
Or, as one of my favorite bumper stickers says: "Jesus is no excuse for being a narrow-minded bigot."
So, folks, don't give in this time to your natural tendency toward compassion and forgiveness with the supporters of the marriage bans in California, Arizona, and Florida, and the adoption ban in Arkansas. I know you have this tendency, because you are Democrats -- and more than a few of you are genuine liberals. (No wink, no sarcasm smiley.) And, as such, you are compelled to try to see it from the other guy's side, and cut him slack.
Don't do it this time. These are people not to be coddled (and, in many cases, not to be fucked with, at least alone). Don't let your compassion overcome your common sense, or fortitude, or determination to play hardball.
Haven't we all complained about that very thing -- about the spinelessness and all-too-eager capitulation of the Democratic leadership?
Well, you have a choice: You can be a pathetic wimp like Harry Reid, and stand by silently as your LGBT brothers and sisters are sacrificed once again. Or you can realize that you are going up against Karl Rove all over again, only this time Rove comes in the form of fanatical, fundamental, evangelical, organized religion. For those of you of the Christian persuasion, these are the wolves in sheeps' clothing you've feared.
Do NOT back down. Do NOT go soft.
Well, that's about it. I haven't even written this much lately on my own blog. And, speaking of which -- and I swear to... well, your God ... this is not a shameless plug -- I encourage you to read my blog, if for no other reason than to start clicking on the long list of sites in my blogroll. I know a lot of you reading this, to put it politely, hate my guts and wish I'd just die, but can you put aside personal differences long enough to at least come on over and check out some of my compatriots' blogs? If you don't want to listen to me, listen to them. This issue is far, far bigger than any personal crap -- we're talking about the one core value we all share: the unconditional commitment to full equality for everyone.
Hey, if I can work with in harmony with people who still say stuff like, "I'll pray that you overcome your sinful lifestyle," while fighting with me to stop the United States from becoming a theocracy, then you can work with me.
One more thing: If you think this is all just about same-sex marriage, you are dead wrong. Dead. Wrong.
There's a reason the Radical Religious Right keeps throwing out insane "slippery slope" lies like "Gay marriage will lead to 'marriage' between brother and sister! man and dog! mother and child!" The reason is that it's projection, in the Freudian sense of the word. Not that the religionists want to marry their Irish Setters or anything -- I mean, their true agenda is composed of a very real "slippery slope," and that is to incrementally strip all LGBT Americans of all our rights and protections, right on down to antidiscrimination laws in housing and employment.
Don't you understand, that's why they're so insanely hysterical about destroying our marriage right in California? If they succeed, and Prop 8 stands, they will fight, hard, to nullify the marriages of all same-sex couples legally married since June. After that, they will fight to overturn our domestic partnerships (just as Pete Knight, author of Prop 22, attempted in his suit to stop the establishment of DPs as a "violation" of Prop 22).
And then... What's next? Take your pick.
Why do you think the Prop 8 camp went so ballistic over this:
It fits the classic definition of satire. It depicts the truth.
Did you know that there were some 10+ drafts of Proposition 8 submitted to the California Secretary of State before the final version made it to the state ballot?
Did you know that the Prop 8 camp nearly had an internal meltdown over the summer when it came out that one faction (the California Family Council) had been trying to keep Prop 8 as we know it OFF the ballot, because it didn't go far enough?
Do you know what the early drafts of Prop 8 mandated? Not only defining marriage as between a man and a woman, but defining what a "man" was, and what a "woman" was -- by the presence or absence of a Y chromosome.
Don't believe me? It's on the CA SOS's site (Google it).
So where would that leave transgender people?
Where would that leave intersexed (specifically, those with Klinefelter's syndrome, or XXY by birth)?
This is satire too, but it's not far off the mark:
Seriously, this is not just a "gay thing." It's not even just a "queer thing." These maniacs really DO want to get so far into your stuff (literally), there is no limit. They will not be satisfied until everyone who is not like them has no rights at all.
You know what Rev. Martin Niemoller wrote. You don't need me to quote it for you again, I hope.
For those of you who have actually read this far, I thank you sincerely for listening.
I don't know what else there is to say, except: "I have not yet begun to fight."
Please join me. Join us. Don't let your outrage subside so that you forget about this travesty in a few days, and then be reminded of it a year from now by a small mention on page 23 of the newspaper that informs you they've taken away our domestic partnerships, and our adoption rights, and are now working to roll back fair housing -- but only for gays.
Please don't leave us on our own this time. Please. Please fight with us, and don't stop. We need you.
And don't buy their cries of "persecution." If you do, you may as well be Eve sympathizing with the snake.
That's all, I guess. Except: Please don't be offended if I don't answer any replies. I have to log out again (just to prevent myself from ripping a few people to shreds), and I can't say when or if I'll be back. I just hope I've given you some constructive food for thought, maybe even some inspiration. I doubt it -- I'm not very good at inspiring anyone who isn't already chomping at the bit, but I'll hope so anyway.
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Feb 13th 2008, 12:18 AM
I've mentioned it more than a few times, but, as most posts get lost in all the noise, I'll say it again:
If Obama gets the nomination, I'm going to do everything in my power to log off DU once and for all -- but not out of spite or because I'm a sore loser. On the contrary, I am fully prepared for an Obama win; after being shattered by the November '04 election (I am dead serious when I say there was barely a waking hour for a full week afterward that I wasn't crying or close to it), and losing all faith in any "leader" after being let down and then completely abandoned by John Kerry (whom I had to force myself to vote for in the first place), there's little that can happen in this race to make me feel that bad again. I'll be deeply disappointed, but it won't feel as if the world has just ended, the way it did in 2004. (It helps, too, that I am not at all emotionally invested in Hillary; should Obama lose the GE, I'll actually feel very sorry for his supporters, who, having invested so much emotional energy into the man and pinning such sky-high "hope" on his salvation of Planet Earth, have a much longer way to fall than I do.)
Anyway... I'll do my best to leave DU behind, in part because (no matter how well-intentioned many are) the salt-in-the-wounds gloating by Obama supporters will be absolutely unbearable -- but mostly because I already came to the realization some time ago that there really isn't any room for me in this mythical "big tent" Democrats keep talking about. In fact, I have come to understand that there really is no place in the national political process for me at all.
This isn't whining, or taking my ball and going home. In truth, one thing the last seven-plus years has done for me is give me a much thicker skin. That may sound like horse puckey to some reading this, but honestly, while I can get just as angry as I ever did about individual issues, I'm past the shock, denial, bargaining, and depression stages, and am about halfway through resignation, on my way to acceptance. (Of course it's been a grieving process; what can you experience but razor-sharp, abject grief when you finally come to terms with the fact that just about everybody's lied to you, and that you're never going to come close to your most treasured American dream, which in my case is simply being a first-class citizen? It's still hard to accept, but at least I'm not kidding myself anymore: I understand that I'm never going to know what that feels like.)
Anyway... In all this, I've come to realize that I can pour my heart and soul into national politics for the rest of my life, and I'll wind up with nothing but a broken heart, and a broken soul.
If I am to do any good in this world at all, my energy will be better spent on the local (and perhaps state) level, focusing almost exclusively on LGBT issues. That doesn't mean I'll stop caring about poverty, or education, or anything like that -- I'll still vote to tax myself so that someone else can eat, or get a degree, and I have no qualms about volunteering when various opportunities come up. But I understand that if I don't take care of "my own," nobody else will. I really don't believe I will see marriage equality in my lifetime, and even the chance of seeing a fully-inclusive ENDA someday is slim. But I'll have far greater effect narrowing my focus and redirecting my energy -- and my time, and what little money I have -- back into the LGBT community.
Selfish? Like I said, nobody else is going to do it. And since my attention always keeps turning, quite naturally, toward issues specifically concerning LGBT youth -- suicide, homelessness, high school GSA's, and the like -- I don't see it as very selfish at all. I only wish that when I was a teenager, scared to death of coming out, I'd known even one gay adult I could look to for encouragement, let alone guidance. I want to be that adult I didn't have around. And if even one thing I can do makes a positive difference in the life of just one kid, I'll be more than satisfied.
So, that's what I'm planning to do. I know it's not the answer you were looking for -- I think you'd rather hear a plan for making our collective voice heard within the Democratic Party, and getting legislation passed, but I don't have one. I've tried everything I know.
And you know Freud's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results every time. I've been doing the same thing over and over again since I was in my late teens, and nothing ever changes.
I'm not saying I'll leave the Democratic Party -- it's a very strong possibility, but I haven't made that decision yet. But I do know that what I'm doing isn't working, and I need to do something else.
Oh, and in answer to your question in the OP: Pretty darned low right now, but almost Zen-like in the contented knowledge that I will get through this grave disappointment. As I always say, if I survived Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, I can survive President McCain (because that, I'm sorry to say, is what I sincerely believe we're looking at come November).
Btw, I wasn't planning on posting anything tonight -- my long, long thread yesterday took a good bit of posting energy, and I do need to actually work once in a while -- but it's funny: I'm posting more on DU lately than I have in many, many months. In writing this post, I realized why I'm doing it: I know I won't be posting on DU much longer, and I guess I want to have one last run. It's a bittersweet kind of release.
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Feb 11th 2008, 06:26 AM
The "I'm voting for Obama because he's sexy / he's cool / I want a rock star" threads are all a joke -- from, I expect The Site That Shall Not Be Named.
I refuse to believe so many people -- especially young people, who I grant are much quicker on the uptake than I am, being so well informed by the Internet their entire lives -- could possibly be so dense and so shallow.
So, from now on, I will take all those "You don't get it, because you're OLD / WHITE / STUPID / whatever" posts for exactly what they are: a really bad joke at the expense of us Hillary supporters.
Well done. You really made fools out of us, sucking us into this idiocy.
As for you Obama supporters who don't belong to the troll fellowship that's making you all look like morons, I suggest that if you can't rein them in, you hunt them down and expose them, before the rest of the world lumps you in with them.
The MSM has already set its sights on the "cult label"; if you want to stem the tide before it sweeps you way too, you'd best show these trolls up, ASAP.
It ain't my job, kids. It's up to you.
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sun Feb 10th 2008, 05:41 PM
...an unnamed "national security expert," but my take, as one who devours this stuff, and as a voter, is pretty much 180 degrees, as you can guess.
Plainly put, I don't get the reassurance at all that Obama listens -- at least not to anyone other than his own advisers. Don't flame me for making this comparison, as I'm not saying Obama is a madman like Bush, but I get the same vibe of "stay the course" stubbornness from Obama as I do from Bush, as well as the same "I don't pay attention to focus groups" tunnel vision. Yep, a lot of that feeling comes from Obama's dead-set determination not to listen to us gay folks (and certainly not to our biggest and most powerful lobbying group in Washington, the Human Rights Campaign) about the damage of allowing Donnie McClurkin to run amok onstage in South Carolina.
And before anyone jumps me for being a "one-issue voter" or a "take my ball and go home" whiner, let me make something very clear: I did a lot of soul-searching during and after the McClurkin business. I forced myself to ask if I really was just reacting on a solely emotional level, letting my heart lead my head. While I'm certainly angry, I finally realized two things: 1) Had it not been for the McClurkin issue, I most likely would not have taken such a critical look at the rest of Obama's policies (what I can find of them; honestly, I do not see any solid, step-by-step, workable plans I can believe in) on their own merit, and 2) that Obama's hamfisted dealing (or not dealing) with the McClurkin mess was only symptomatic of what I perceive as Obama's general bullheadedness, and -- yes -- arrogance.
Symptomatic, how? Most glaringly: Obama wants to "reach out" -- but his lame handling of the McClurkin issue is a clear signal to me that he's quite selective about who he wants to reach out to. All his nice talk about overcoming homophobia means nothing to me when his actions, no matter how indirectly, no matter how passively, no matter how un-deliberately, serve in the end only to promote homophobia.
I'm being very generous in suggesting the McClurkin deal wasn't deliberate on Obama's part; I do believe it was a deliberate message to Southern religious homophobes that he's on their side, and he's not going to let those horrible, sinful, child-molesting homosexuals tell him what to do.
At the same time, I am not saying Obama is a homophobe -- I am saying that Obama knowingly and willingly used homophobia to his advantage.
As for the other main point of the op/ed:
"Hillary Clinton too, this person said, brings a group of retainers and pols who think they've done it all before -- and don't understand that tomorrow's challenges are more serious and more complex than any of us have perhaps seen in our lifetimes."
What is this guy smoking? It's Obama who doesn't "understand that tomorrow's challenges are more serious and more complex than any of us have perhaps seen in our lifetimes." His empty "hope and change" mantra is evidence of that.
See, I want "a group of retainers and pols" who have done it all before. Forging ahead into the future without a roadmap may seem like a grand adventure to some, but what seems to be lost on many is the fact that the next president, whoever it is, is not going to be able to put his or her own New Deal, or Great Society, into play right off the bat. He or she is going to be spending at least the first term (and probably two terms) cleaning up after Bush. We are so many steps back right now, real progress is going to be "backfill" for a long, long time. Undoing all the damage of the previous eight years (if that is even possible) is going to take generations. Anyone who thinks life is going to be one great, big love-in -- or even easier than it is now -- within the next five, ten years, is naive at best. Deluded is more like it.
You watch and see: If Obama makes it to the White House, his supporters ar going to be most disappointed by his inability to move forward on any great vision of a future America, because he (and Congress) will be sweeping up the Bush debris. It may be progress, but it won't look like it, it won't feel like it, and it won't bring us all into that big Kumbaya circle as fast as we'd all like to be there.
And here is where Hillary's experience, and Obama's inexperience, come into play for me. I want the one who knows the ropes and has the connections to bring us up to at least the point where we were before BushCo dismantled everything. There is far too much at stake to take a gamble on somebody who hasn't been in the thick of it for longer than -- well, since Obama was a schoolboy.
Obama may think he can "reach out" until the whole world is moving together in perfect harmony like one big Mobius strip -- but as nice as that idealism is, it is painfully (and dangerously) unrealistic and naive. Hillary, on the other hand, is going to "reach out" too -- but with Hillary, that's going to mean a lot of arm-twisting of the thugs she knows, and has fought tooth and nail, for decades.
You know, I still enjoy "The Brady Bunch" -- everyone's happy, and clean, and conflict can be solved by building a house of cards or singing a song. But I enjoy it because it's fantasy -- and I wouldn't rely on Mike's seemingly Zen-like but ultimately meaningless homespun wisdom to get me out of any real-life jams. The delusion that playing nicey-nice is what got us into this mess in the first place: It got us Bush.
I want somebody who can get down and dirty on the BushCo thugs and talk to them in a way they understand. I want somebody who's willing to bust heads. Figuratively speaking, of course.
In other words: We don't need the Bradys -- we need The Sopranos.
One last thing:
"According to this policy intellectual, Hillary Clinton's experience led her to affirm the Kyl/Lieberman IRGC amendment, which could have very well been a loophole for another war."
Cheap shot. The writer condemns Hillary for her Kyl-Lieberman vote -- a vote Obama didn't even show up for. (Obama can say he would have voted for this or against that 'til the cows come home, but I can say I would have stopped the REAL ID Act by voting against the troop-funding bill it was attached to -- but you'll never really know, because I never had to make that decision. I can say I would have voted for Adlai Stevenson -- but you'll never really know, because I wasn't born yet. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.)
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Jan 26th 2008, 04:05 PM
1. You're going to get all the change you want whether the next president is Obama, Huckabee, or a houseplant.
2. "Hope" is a not a platform. "Hope" doesn't mean jack on its own. "Hope" is meaningless without a plan of action. I can dig through that gigantic pile of horseshit on my lawn hoping there's a pony under there somewhere, but at the end of the day, I want to see the damned pony.
3. You make several astoundingly bigoted, narrowminded assumptions about the very people you should be "reaching out" to:
As a Californian, living in a very mixed area (Oakland-Bay Area), I had not suspected that Latinos didn't like Black people and wouldn't vote for a Black candidate.Can that broadbrush get any wider? What a horrible thing to say -- you just called all Latinos bigots. If you live in the SFBA (as I have, all my life), you should (as I do) know many, many Latinos. Where did your perception of our Latino neighbors get so skewed? Do you hear any Latinos saying such a thing, even on DU? If so, who? what? when? where?
I had not suspected that there was a wide gi-sm between Black Religious folks and the Gay community.Is that what you want to believe? Does it somehow comfort you to lay blame on LGBTs (as well as Latinos)? Or are you saying that all black religious people are prejudiced against all LGBT people? If it is the latter, I cannot make that kind of judgment -- but it sounds like a very unfair thing to say about black religious people. At the same time, you are again doing a huge disservice to gay black people (not to mention gay black religious people) -- who are treated as if they did not exist, as if they were "an inconvenient truth" that does not fit into everyone else's nice, neat, compartmentalized view of the world.
It was LGBT black people who brought the homophobia of SOME black religious people to light -- and who have my eternal gratitude for doing so, since without confronting this very uncomfortable issue head-on, there would be no way to even begin to try to resolve it.
I was not aware that Women would vote for a woman simply because she was, and that African Americans weren't allowed to believe the same about voting for a Black candidate.If that's why you're voting for Obama, then every other argument you've ever made in his favor is moot. I wouldn't vote for or against him because he is black, I wouldn't vote for or against HRC because she is a woman, and -- brace yourself -- I wouldn't vote for a gay person because s/he was gay. I'm not jonesing for a black president or a female president or a gay president -- I want the BEST president. I do not believe your candidate would make the best president, thus will not vote for him.
I had forgotten that being of mixed race (as I am) would mean that I was possibly not "Black enough".Sheesh... and everybody else is at fault for harping on the race issue? Talk to what's left of my Silician grandparents' generation about not being white enough. Christ, is everything literally black-or-white? To look at me, you'd say I'm white. But with the overwhelming Moorish history in my ancestral woodpile, I've probably got as much "black" DNA as Obama (maybe more).
The point: The people who talk the most about getting "past" the race issue are the ones most obsessed with it. Try to understand this concept I know you don't believe: A helluva lot of white people don't take race into consideration... unless you keep hammering them over the head with the idea of how "different" blacks and whites are. Honest to God, I don't think of you as Frenchiecat, the Black Woman -- I think of you as Frenchiecat, with Whom I Have Never Once Agreed -- and Who Gets Extremely Hostile with Me When I Challenge Her to Go One-on-One on DU.
I hadn't figured that students voting was a bad thing...and I certainly wasn't' aware that gaining traction with Independents and dejected Republicans was not the way to win a general election.Skipping this, as I have no idea what you're talking about, but I assume you must mean that you are a (young) student. (Is this your first election? If so, I can sympathize a tad more with your intense passion, and vast disillusionment.)
In other words, I was unaware that a candidate discussing the politics of hope and Change was simply an empty of substance candidate with a corny sound byte that meant nothing to nobody and weight about as much as air.Now you're getting it. "Hope" and "change" are empty, meaningless words. Not once has anyone -- least of all Obama -- told me what the man intends TO DO about anything. (Oh, please, Obama supporters, don't start posting all those links again. I've read them all, and more, and at the end of the day, there's no pony.)
...I realize that there is no such thing as hope....and if there is, the priority is to slowing squeeze it out of us, drop by drop. I realize that hope is too strong of a concept for us to be allowed to have. We should instead go with whatever we are told, and resign ourselves to whatever will be.You've just nailed what sends me right over the top of Mount Frustration with you and almost every other Obama supporter: You look to Obama to tell you to "hope" because "change" is coming -- but when anyone else tries to pin you (or him) down to a definition of either "hope" (hope for WHAT, exactly?) or "change" (change WHAT, exactly?), you get angry and defensive, and bark back pre-programmed responses like, "It's pathetic YOU don't have any HOPE for the future! Why don't you want CHANGE?"
Why in the world would I vote for someone who seems to be saying, "Don't ask me what kind of 'change' -- just trust me that it will all be good." - ?
And there is the difference between the Hope-'n'-Change Obama supporters, and me: You operate on an undefinable FAITH, while I want specific, step-by-step PLANS for implementing whatever this great and mysterious "change" is supposed to be.
Hillary will not get my vote, because she was finally able to take away my hope.Obama will not get my vote, because I want to know what I'm voting for.
So there is no need to pray, to wish, to have a vision, because at the end of the day, hope was taken from me for the last time during this election campaign.Oh, FFS! That's exactly what I mean: Do you need someone else to give you "hope"? If you're going to pin your entire reason for having hope about anything on ONE MAN -- not a god, not an angel sent from on-high, not a superhero, but just ONE MAN, who is human, whose feet (his wife tells us) stink to high heaven, who belches and scratches his privates and functions just like every other human being on this planet -- how in the world have you managed to exist this long in life?
That is why I believe you, and most of the rest of the Obama supporters, react with such hostility all the time: You are pinning a lifetime's worth of dreams on this one man, who may very well end up disappointing you.
For once, I almost feel some sympathy for Obama: He's bought into the idea of being a demi-god -- but the first time he falters in the eyes of his supporters, he's not going to hate himself for it half as much as you will.
You want "hope"? You make your own. Stop expecting this just-a-man to fulfill every wish you ever had, or you're going to be devastated beyond repair when you get to the bottom of that pile and realize there's no pony there.
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Dec 10th 2007, 01:06 PM
You're right: On the issue of LGBT equality, Obama isn't any different from the rest of the Dem candidates, other than Kucinich and Gravel -- but that's no excuse; in fact, it's a cop-out any Obama supporter should be embarrassed to resort to. Frankly, I'm sick to death of hearing that argument; every time someone criticizes Obama, the chorus of "But they all do it!" and "Hillary is worse!" is deafening. Almost no one around here can manage to keep the topic on Obama; people seem compelled to give him a free pass by way of comparison. A candidate should be able to stand up against scrutiny and criticism by virtue of his own words, actions, and record; to claim he's no worse than anyone else doesn't make him a good choice -- it only makes him one of a lesser-of-all-the-evils choice. That's hardly a ringing endorsement of his virtues. And it says a lot (none of it good) that Obama's supporters themselves don't (or can't) hold him to a higher standard than that.
As for being "shocked by him more than anyone else," I'm not -- after all, he's just another politican -- until it comes to the issue of equality for LGBT Americans. Call it some sort of reverse racism if you like, but the bottom line is that yes, I do expect a black man, especially one from my post-boomer generation (Obama and I are almost exactly the same age) not to be so blind to his own hypocrisy -- and yes, homophobia. Obama has made the point that at one time, his own parents' marriage was "probably" not legal in several states, yet he seems absolutely incapable of understanding that his refusal to support marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans is grounded in the same illogical, superstitious, archaic corruption of Christianity that prevented African-Americans from marrying Caucasians (not to mention from marrying one another at one time).
That same blindness was no more obvious than during the McClurkin fiasco: Aside from the sad fact (which I believe even the majority of Obama supporters admit now) that Obama deliberately threw us not-so-important queers aside in favor of the homophobic, Southern, black, devout, church-going vote, he stubbornly refused to pull McClurkin from the line-up... just months after demanding that CBS and MSNBC fire Don Imus for a single racist remark.
This is typical of Obama's double standard; how this kind of the-blacks-beat-the-gays hypocrisy doesn't turn everyone's stomach -- and how people fail (or refuse) to see how empty and meaningless are Obama's promises to unite all Americans, and be the President of all Americans -- is beyond me.
Finally, you write: "I do it because I like the music. They arent running for office or making any laws so how exactly is me supporting an artist who doesnt share my views on something like the war 'working against me?'"
Good heavens, where do you think right-wing celebrities get the money to make campaign contributions to right-wing candidates -- and causes? They earn it, just like you and I do -- and if you would stop buying their music, and stop buying tickets to their movies, and stop patronizing sponsors of their television programs, you will have withheld another ten or twenty or fifty bucks from their coffers. That may not seem like much of a difference to you, but it's just like doing your part for the environment (switching light bulbs, not littering, driving less, etc., etc.): If we all did it, we would "starve the beast."
It's the simplest, easiest, most painless, and most immediate form of direct action there is: You don't give money to people who give their money to the enemy. I don't know what's so hard to understand about that.
Stop wasting precious time actually watching Bush press conferences! No matter what the issue, if you've seen one, you've seen them all... Mahna-Mahna!
It was requested by several DUers that I give this post its own thread, so here it is.
Mods, I understand that you may see this as calling out another DUer, or continuing an ongoing discussion in a new thread, but I promise you, that is not my purpose here. I am addressing an overall, ongoing theme of the past few days; i.e., is experiencing relief or even joy at the death of one's oppressor a reasonable reaction, or is it despicable behavior, constituting "destructive anger"? When I wrote it, I was indeed moved to do so by the turn of a phrase by a single poster, but my intended audience was (and is), truly, everyone (DUer or not) who would attempt to shame us out of our deepest, most genuine feelings of relief and gratitude that the most powerful figurehead of oppression against gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered since the Inquisition is no more. (To that end, I have edited a single line so there is no mistake that I am addressing the broadest possible audience.)
Thank you in advance, mods, for letting this post stand.
- - -
"Destructive anger" is shooting two men to death as they sleep in their bed, and saying the only thing you're sorry for is that you didn't inspire more people to emulate you -- since, after all, you're not guilty of a crime, but only of "obeying the laws of the Creator." (1)
"Destructive anger" is killing three people and injuring 150 more by bombing abortion clinics, lesbian bars, and the Olympics, because Jesus would condone "militant action in defense of the innocent." (2)
"Destructive anger" is murdering at least 11 people, most of them gay, because "According to the Bible, homosexuals must die because they will never enter the kingdom of God." (3)
Where do you think people get such ideas? Who do you think "inspires" them?
Preachers who teach that satanism, Nazism, and homosexuality all go together? (4)
Preachers who teach that "God hates fags," and that God is killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq because America tolerates homosexuals (oh, and by the way, "Thank God for IEDs!")? (5)
Preachers who teach that killing abortion providers is "justifiable homicide," and that "sodomy is a graver sin than murder"? (6)
Preachers who teach that gays, lesbians, abortionists and other "sinners" were personally responsible for 9/11? Or that AIDS is not God's punishment for homosexuals, but "for the society that tolerates homosexuals"? Or who warns that "If we do not act now, homosexuals will own America"? (7)
"Pro-family," "pro-life" organizations (8) that continue to perpetuate the ravings of a universally-discredited psychologist (9) who advocates castration for all gay men? And tattooing, forced quarantine, and banishment to Molokai for all AIDS patients? And who once opined: "'Unless we get medically lucky, in three or four years, one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals"?
Religious leaders who call gay people "objectively disordered" and "intrinsically evil"? (10)
Preachers, syndicated columnists, and TV and radio commentators who insist that there is no such thing as a "hate crime," and that it is in fact the Christians who are being persecuted... by "the gays"? (11) That "homosexual activists" are doing to "people of faith" the very same thing "Hitler began to build against the Jews"? (12)
The day Ellen DeGeneres brainwashes millions of gay people to into believing that heterosexuals are an immoral, degenerate, biologically-inferior subspecies whose very existence is a threat to the salvation of our souls -- and when heterosexuals start losing their jobs, their homes, their civil rights, and their lives because of it -- then you can lecture me about "destructive anger."
Nobody killed Jerry Falwell. But Jerry Falwell killed millions of us -- without spilling a single drop of blood on his own hands. His legacy is not one of faith, but of "destructive anger" and death -- and it is a legacy which will last long after my bones, and yours, and the bones of your grandchildren, have turned to dust.
Until you understand that, you will never understand why many of us were relieved upon awakening two mornings ago to discover a world we were no longer forced to share with the one man responsible for coalescing such a diverse group of hysterical haters into a vast, indomitable force, for giving them an unassailable excuse for hating us, and for inspiring so many to dominate us, persecute us, beat us, murder us, drive us out of our homes, and attempt to legislate us out of existence.
Until you understand that, you understand nothing about "destructive anger."
1) Benjamin Williams
2) Eric Rudolph
3) "Railway Killer" Angel Maturino Resendiz
4) Pat Robertson
5) Fred Phelps
6) Fr. David Trosch
7) Jerry Falwell
8) Family Research Council, American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, NARTH, Claremont Institute, Colorado for Family Values, Traditional Values Coalition, and many others
9) Dr. Paul Cameron
10) Pope Benedict XVI
11) Far too many to list
12) Rev. Lou Sheldon
Bold emphasis mine:
Foes of Hate Crime Bill Prove It's NeededMuch more:
Everybody understand now?
Simply put, the people who are currently protected are the ones enjoying "special" rights -- or, as I like to think of them: privileges.
But, hey, I'm willing to give up equal protection under the law if you are too.
Now, if you're against all hate-crime laws, then I'll give you credit for being consistent. If you're really being consistent.
I hope you realize that by railing against hate-crime laws, you're on quite a slippery slope. If you believe that there should be no protections in place for minorities against crimes committed on the sole basis of who we are, then be prepared to explain why we shouldn't eliminate all "special rights" laws, such as protection in housing and employment.
And don't give me any of that "thought crime" malarkey. If you really believe that there's no way to determine that a gay -- or black, or Muslim -- person was beaten or murdered on the basis of who they are, then how can there be any way to determine that the reason a person was fired, or evicted, for the same "thought crime"?
In which case, I expect everyone against hate-crime laws must want to see both the Fair Housing Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act repealed immediately. There's no way to justify support for either if you oppose the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Act.
Heck, you may as well overturn the Americans with Disabilities Act. After all, don't all those wheelchair ramps and court sign-language interpreters represent "special" rights?
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Wed Nov 22nd 2006, 07:01 AM
And I remember it.
I was sitting on the linoleum floor of our L-shaped kitchen at the ranch, playing with pots and pans as any two-year-old would, when my mother came in from the family room, where the television was, with one hand to her face, wearing a look of pain I will never forget. She asked me -- not told me, but asked me, in a very weak, quiet way -- if I would stop making noise. "Why?" I asked (as any two-year-old would). "Because," she said, "today is a sad day. Today is a day we don't want to make any noise."
It took some time -- all of those Four Days in November -- to connect, in my own two-year-old way, what had happened to the only thing I could relate it to: the death of a pet. But I did. And I understood then why I wasn't supposed to make noise that day.
CUT TO: PACIFIC GROVE - DAYTIME - AUNT ANNIE'S HOUSE - SOMETIME IN THE MID-1960s
Aunt Annie had lost Uncle Frank some twenty or thirty years earlier, but she still dressed in black -- until the day she died. We visited her -- my mother, my grandparents, and I -- once or twice a year. I loved going to Aunt Annie's, and I loved her. There was always a period when I would grow bored with the grown-up conversation, but it was worth it, as half the day would be spent on the windy, rocky beach, and the rest of the time we would eat far too much food at the kitchen table I would inherit some twenty years later.
Aunt Annie's home was a classic, stucco California bungalow, photos of which were featured in all the Monterey-area guidebooks due to the breathtaking mass of wisteria adorning the exterior.
I was unaware of just how "famous" Auntie Annie's house was; it was the interior that fascinated me: There wasn't a wall without a framed picture of Jack or Bobby on it, and not a surface without a memorial figurine or commemorative plate; one wall was dominated entirely by a tapestry of the two brothers.
At some point during every visit, Aunt Annie would find a moment to take me aside and into her dark bedroom, where she would show me her large, ceramic statue of St. Ann, her namesake, and tell me the story of St. Ann, and how St. Ann was the mother of the Virgin Mary... as if she had never told me a hundred times before. I didn't mind; at four, five, ten years old, I knew enough to know it made her happy to tell me again. And I felt special.
There was something else Aunt Annie would tell me -- tell anyone within earshot, in fact -- repeatedly, every time I saw her. Partly because I was less than a year younger than the heir to Camelot, but mostly because Aunt Annie loved the Kennedys more than anyone but her dear, departed Frank, she would intone, softly, with this oddly serene smile on her weathered face: "When she grows up, J- is going to marry John-John... Yes, J- is going to marry John-John..." I think she really believed it. I know she did.
CUT TO: ARLINGTON CEMETERY - EARLY MORNING - SOMETIME IN OCTOBER, 1996
It is wet, and I am sick with the flu. But I have only one full day to spend in and around Washington, D.C., and I will see The Mall, and The Wall, and Arlington, even if it kills me. And it almost does.
I wheeze like a grampus as I hike the gentle, sloping hills of Arlington to visit the women and men to whom I most want to pay my respects; if I do nothing else before I collapse from this damned thing I've been trying to kill with too much Ny-Quil and Dristan, there are four stops I must make -- and then if I have any strength left, I will visit Oliver Wendell Holmes and Robert Todd Lincoln.
I do visit Holmes and Lincoln, but not until after I have watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, stood silently for a very long time before the Space Shuttle Challenger memorial, and given Medgar Evers my promise to carry on.
I save the Kennedys for last. There is no one else around -- just me, and Jack, and Jackie, and Bobby. And, for the better part of an hour, I cry like a baby.
And then I have to leave. I forget just how sick I am until I find my way back to the Metro station, and I suffer badly for not taking better care of myself, throughout the drive down to North Carolina, and for another week after that.
But I don't care.
Of course I never wanted to marry John-John, even if it had been possible. But when he died, I cried like a baby, all over again.
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Thu Nov 16th 2006, 05:35 AM
"Play & Pray With Us"? Something about that alone just creeps me right out.
Or maybe it's the gigantic, killer-bee-stung lower lip on Jesus... Oh, wait, that's his beard...
So, there I am, digging deep into the Library of Congress online photo archives, searching for some specific WWII images I want to use in my currently-in-progress video, and I come to the concentration-camp pictures. I hesitate; I'm vaguely aware that my heart rate has gone up. I take a deep breath.
Even though I can look at the worst crime scene photos without batting an eye, I have an over-the-top reaction to Holocaust pictures. Many years ago, I taped "Schindler's List" off cable while I slept, and in the morning I took the tape out of the VCR, labeled it, put it back in its box, and slid it onto the shelf. I knew when I taped it that I wasn't ready to watch it, and I didn't know when I would be ready. I thought perhaps six months, maybe a year.
That tape sat on the shelf for ten years before I finally watched it.
No doubt my uncontrollably visceral reaction to Holocaust images has much to do with the fact that when I was in the third grade (third grade! eight years old!) they had us watch that torturous footage taken after the liberation of the camps -- that grainy, black and white film of the bones in the ovens, the decaying corpses being carried by the defeated captors to the mass graves, the bodies of would-be escapees left hanging on the barbed-wire fences right where they had been shot, frozen in the exact moment of death.
But I have a job to do, and that's more important than my gut reaction. So I swallow, grit my teeth, pour a glass of wine, and dig in.
And there are the all-too-familiar photos of the gaunt, emaciated Jews with barely enough strength to look up from their packed-like-sardine bunks, and there are the bones in the ovens, and...
And the real thing makes "Schindler's List" look like a Disney movie.
But those pictures I was prepared for (as best as one can be prepared to revisit one's nightmares). And then I came across this relatively innocuous-sounding link described as:
"Prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, Germany, December 19, 1938."
So I click the link, and promptly burst into tears -- partly because of what jumps right off the screen at me, and partly because the description (which I'm sure was written at the time the photo was taken) ever-so-judiciously avoids mention of the very thing that sends a sharp, stabbing pain through my chest.
Why do I want to share this with you? Because I think that you may find a use for it at some point in the future. Because it is proof that it did happen, and we are not making shit up. Because sometimes people people don't believe it happened on such a scale. Because so many are in such denial it could ever happen again. Because I'm so very angry at those who dismiss our very real fears. Because I can't sleep until I show this to someone else. Because... Just because.
But maybe I don't need to explain why. Just bookmark it for future reference, will you? I have -- and I am considering scaling it down and using it in my sig line.
Don't worry -- there are no dead bodies in this picture. But the facial expressions... Death would have been so much easier.
If you're ready, click the link:
The picture that won't let me sleep
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sat Nov 11th 2006, 06:18 PM
Liberal will rail against the the enrons of the world or corporate polluters, but have nothing to say about gang violence or organized crime or drug trafficking or illegal drug use.Maybe you perceive it that way because the popular notion of being "tough on crime" has more to do with punishment than with prevention.
Liberals have plenty to say about gang violence and organized crime and drug trafficking and illegal drug use -- but curtailing any of these problems is a longterm (even generational) process; it should be obvious to everyone, no matter what their stance, that long prison terms and the death penalty do nothing to lower the crime rate, except for the criminal who's been locked up or put to death.
The answer lies not in such "quick fixes" as imprisonment and execution, but in investing in courses which break the cycle of violence in our culture, education -- early, continuous, and quality -- being the number-one method. You pull people out of the cycle of violence and crime by giving them a better way to live, and then you keep giving them every opportunity to have the fullest, richest life possible. (I don't want to start in on the whole class-war issue here, but that's what's at the heart of the problem.)
It's poverty and hopelessness that creates criminals -- and terrorists. Unfortunately, our society takes the same approach to domestic crime as it does international terrorism: Forget about addressing the causes -- just punish the perps, fast and hard. And what does that get us in the longterm? More criminals -- and more terrorists.
You may as well beat a child black and blue for hitting his little sister, all the while screaming, "You NEVER" - whack! - "NEVER" - whack! - "EVER" - whack! - "HIT anyone else!"
Lot of good that does.
The problem is that too many people believe in revenge over prevention.
Side note: As for the "traditional" methods of preventing crime, never forget: Liberals are not the ones to blame for cutting funding to the nation's first responders. And when it comes time to bulk up our police and firefighting forces, who is it that balks at forking out their precious tax dollars at every turn? Not liberals, but the "fiscal conservatives."
Re drugs: Decriminalize marijuana, and you'll empty half the prisons in the nation. How does that fight crime? Easy: Prison is Crime University. If you don't want a lot of otherwise nonviolent people to become graduates, then stop throwing pot smokers and growers into prison.
(Another effect of unreasonable drug laws: Take a look at just how well California's misguided Three-Strikes law has worked out; our prisons are overflowing with minor offenders to the point that we are now sending inmates to serve their terms in other states!)
Re guns: It's a myth, all right. I don't hunt, I don't sit up nights with a shotgun on my lap waiting for the terra-ists to invade, and I believe the NRA has devolved from RKBA defender into a bunch of paranoid lunatics -- but when you want to take my gun, you will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.
The answer to soothing the NRA's hysteria is not a lot of lame-sounding promises that we'll never take away their guns -- that's a defensive position. The answer is to point out that it's not liberals who have been gutting the Constitution, but are the ones fighting to the death to preserve it -- especially the Bill of Rights (can you say "habeas corpus"?) which includes the Second Amendment, as it stands.
In the end, liberals are not silent on any of these issues -- it's that our solutions are not what the "revenge is sweet" crowd wants to hear.
Posted by Sapphocrat in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Fri Nov 10th 2006, 03:31 AM
You have much more of a stake in this than any of us do. I hope you will speak up and tell us your thoughts and feelings.Are you ever going to be sorry you asked, once you see the length of this post. LOL But thank you for asking. I don't believe I've seen a more sincere request. (I thought I did once, but then I was told I was going to hell for my sinful "lifestyle." LOL)
I wanted to sit back for a while because I was seeing a lot of non-LGBTs chiming in (which is very unusual for me to see), and I wanted to see it from your perspective instead of through my own rainbow-colored glasses. LOL
Since there's been a lot of input since I last checked in...
Are we banging up against walls or do you think any of ours ideas have a chance?Up to this point in the thread, two main ideas stand out: Semantics and education.
Semantics, as in not calling marriage equality "marriage": Personally, I don't care what anyone wants to call it, because all that matters is that my partner and I have 100% of the exact same rights you and your husband do -- and, frankly, we'll call ourselves "married" no matter what anyone else calls it.
I understand completely the weirdness factor the religious amongst us have about the word "marriage," as "marriage" is generally considered a religious institution. (I find insulting the implication that all gay people are godless heathens who don't want religious marriage. That's neither here nor there, but that subtle distinction isn't lost on me.)
I do my best to skip words that "frighten the horses"; e.g., I happen to HATE using the word "partner" -- it's cold and impersonal and means nada to me, but I always use it in the presence of straight people, because anything else seems to make most straights queasy.
(What do I call my partner when I'm talking to other gay people? My "lover" -- that comes naturally for many of us, and doesn't carry the sense of illegitmacy I think it does with straights. When my lover and I are finally married, I will call her my wife without blinking an eye -- but that makes a lot of straight people even queasier than "lover." So, solely for the comfort factor of straights, I force myself to call us "partners," or "life partners.")
I seem to be getting way off topic here, but there is a point: that semantics is a very big deal indeed -- especially to people with a big Ick Factor about LGBTs in general. So it will always be "marriage" to me, but you can -- and, to get around other people's Ick Factor, you will have to -- call it anything but "marriage." Which irks me, but I'm not entirely un-pragmatic.
Which all leads to a discussion of semantics much larger than I'll get into tonight. But just as I try to appease straights by saying "partner" and 'same sex unions" (or whatever), there are many other words and phrases I would urge you (the collective "you") not to use when trying to drum up support for us -- some because they're insulting to LGBTs, but in this case mainly because they're turn-off triggers to lots of straight people; e.g.:
- "lifestyle" - Strike it from your vocabulary. I don't have a "gay lifestyle" any more than you have a "straight lifestyle." We all just have lives.
- "gay rights" - There's no such thing, any more than there is such a thing as "black rights." Do (straight) African-Americans have special rights? Of course not. They just have the same (legal) rights as whites. So why qualify "rights" with "black" (or "gay")?
- "gay marriage" - Same thing. We don't want some special category of marriage. We just want marriage equality. And that's what I call it: "marriage equality."
- "sexual orientation" - It reduces us to our genital function. It's really an affectational orientation, but I know that's a mouthful, so "orientation" (without the "sexual") would do just fine, IMO.
- "homosexual" as a noun. Ditto genital function, and it's a clinical word that sounds like a pathology. Lesbian, gay man, bisexual person, transgendered person, and collectively "gay people," "lesbian and gay people," or "LGBTs" is better. I don't mind "queer," but a lot of LGBTs hate it with a passion, so I would avoid it.
You get the idea. Stuff like that. If there's ever a question about the right word to use, ask one of your friendly neighborhood LGBT DUers. We even have a concierge desk. LOL
Education: This is where it really all lies: Making people familiar with gay people in their midst. Some surveys say 70% of all Americans say they know at least one gay person. Silly surveys! 100% of all Americans know a gay person, but either don't know they know one (or more), or won't admit that Uncle Freddie and his "roommate" aren't really roommates.
Which leads us to...
You must have had some conversations about this in the past, what ideas have you come up withOh, a few conversations here and there. If you haven't had enough of me by the end of this post, go search for me in the archives. I talk. A lot. About this.
At the heart of it all really is just getting people to realize they don't hate gay people as much as they think they do. I'm sure you've heard countless stupid white people say things like: "I'm not a bigot! One of my poker buddies is black, and we get along just great! See, black people are fine, one at a time -- it's just in groups, they scare me."
It's a horrible thing, but I bet 99% of all the white people reading this are nodding, and going, "Yeah, I have heard that." And some have said it themselves.
Well, it's exactly the same with homophobes and gay people: "I know a gay guy at work, but I like him -- he's not one of those pansy-ass faggots you see in those fag parades on the news!" It's not Bob the Gay Guy in the next cubicle that freaks out Joe Homophobe -- it's just that in groups, we scare him.
So you're spot-on about making people see faces instead of mere "issues." (Although I'd have preferred it if you hadn't compared homosexuality to a degenerative neurological disease. LOL Don't worry; I thought it was funny, but only because I really get your intentions.)
So, how do you make gay people "human" to straight people without a clue (or a desire to be clued in)? First, that problem is mostly ours: if every LGBT came out at the same time, LGBT equality would almost be a non-issue, because our sheer numbers would make us unstoppable. (And I'd bet any amount of money we account for a good 15% of the total population, maybe more. In Australia, a full 17% of all 20 million residents identify as gay or lesbian -- and you know not every last Aussie is out of the closet. And no, there's nothing in the water; Australia for all its fault is just a far more openminded country. It's not that big a deal to be gay.)
But at the moment, precious few LGBTS are completely out -- to themselves, family, friends, at work, and beyond. (I resent those who stay in the closet, because they make it hell for those of us who are out -- and we end up doing all the dirty work for them, without any help from them.) For my part, I encourage closet cases to come out (while supressing my resentment -- although I'm just about ready to scream at Jodie Foster about now). What you can do is the very same thing: Encourage your closeted gay friends (and you know a few, even if you don't know it yet) to come out, and support them every step of the way -- and encourage your gay friends who are already out to get politically active.
Beyond that, it would be nice if every city and town had a "Meet Your Local Homos Day." LOL There actually used to be a program in the SF Bay Area during the 1970s/80s where a Real Live Gay Person would give talks to high school classes about what it meant to be gay in America. Great program, and the kids dug on it -- but there was so much backlash from the 'phobes, it went away.
But there are many, many opportunities out there, and many more to be made, in order to put happy gay people out there for the world to see. My partner and I (who live on opposite sides of the planet, thankyouverymuchINS!) volunteer for any opportunity to bring our specific situation to light; and I myself occasionally speak at city council meetings on behalf of my old high school's Gay-Straight Alliance. And sometimes my face gets on the local evening news.
But the people who make the biggest impact are the straight people who speak on our behalf. Simply put, straight people will listen to other straight people more than they will listen to us. So I would encourage you to seek out such opportunities, locally, for starters, such as city council meetings (where LGBT issues do come up from time to time), and learn to love speaking in front of groups. (It's not so bad after the first time! And a supportive audience can make it downright fun.)
Yes, write LTTEs -- of both complaint and praise -- every single time an issue catches your eye. If there's nothing to respond to, find a reason to write. For example, to bring attention to an issue going on in my hometown, I got an urgent call from a fellow activist asking me if I'd write a piece for a local paper about the next-day anniversary of the suicide of a young gay Mormon who couldn't resolve his gayness with his church. I made a quick call to the editor, who extended a Friday deadline, and wrote the thing in half an hour -- and it was published the next day.
Sometimes opportunities just throw themselves in your face, and you have to jump on them.
Yes, write your congresscritters. Be a pest. And repeat the reasons you want Bill XYZ passed (or stopped), every single time.
Finally, get involved with us. Hang out with us. Make yourself a regular in DU's GLBT forum; jump in, ask questions, and argue with us when you disagree. Do the same thing in real life: Go to your local Gay & Lesbian Community Center and volunteer an hour a week -- even just to cover the phones, for example. Then drop in on an open discussion/social group. Just walking into a community center will present you with an overwhelming number of opportunities to find out exactly how you can make a difference in your area.
And watch our TV shows if you can. I don't mean "Will & Grace" reruns, or "Queer Eye." I mean, tune into LOGO if you've got it on cable, and watch documentaries about gay people, made by other gay people. That's where you'll see our lives, in every exhilarating, and excruciating, detail. Find "In the Life" on your local PBS station. Listen to "Queer Channel Radio" on Air America.
If you're going to sell us, you've got to know your product.
Those are just a few suggestions. Be creative, and actively look for opportunities, and suddenly opportunities will be flying at you.
I have never understood how one sector of society can be left out while others are given certain privileges. In college I took a psychology class and we had a debate over homosexuality. There were two teams of three people and I volunteered to be on the 'homosexuality is inborn' team. I have never been against homosexuality but this debate really opened my eyes. I had no idea that homosexuality is found in many species of animals. How can someone argue that it is a conscious choice when dumb animals do itHeheheh... It usually goes like this:
'Phobe: "Homosexuality is NOT NATURAL!"
You: "Yes, it is. Did you know that the natural occurrence of homosexuality has been documented in more than 550 species of animals? In fact, bottlenose dolphins don't even form heterosexual pair bonds, but almost exclusively homosexual pair bonds; they mate heterosexually primarily for procreation. And 100% of all bonobo chimpanzees, which are among our closest living relatives, are exclusively, and permanently, bisexual."
'Phobe: (sputtering) "But... But... PEOPLE are not ANIMALS!"
End of conversation.
I never gave much thought to how black people were treated until our sixth-grade teacher took us through Jane Elliott's "Blue Eye Experiment." It was supposed to last for three days, but it was such a painful experience for those of us who didn't have blue eyes, the teacher halted it before the end of the first day.
I hated it SO much (maybe because I was already relating it to my own "differentness," which I've known since the day I was born) -- but I've never forgotten the lesson.
If you have never heard of this experiment, check out PBS's page on the doco "A Class Divided" (start with the link "One Friday in April, 1968"):
Sometimes that's what it takes for people to really get it: a course of study, or something more extreme, like literally putting a person in somebody else's shoes.
I'd love to see a "Gay Eye Experiment" for straight people who don't recognize even a hint of homophobia in themselves.
You are welcome but it is really quite selfish. I want my kids to grow up in as hate free a world as possible. I want to nurture them in a loving world. I want to live in an environment conducive to acceptance and understanding. And it terribly bothers me when I see people oppressed. I look forward to your comments.That's not selfish at all. You may think it is, but re-read what you wrote above, and ask yourself: Who are you doing this for? Your kids. After them, then there's your desire for a loving world, and you can't stand oppression, even though has no direct impact on your daily life.
If that's selfishness, I wish everyone were as selfish as you.
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