Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Tryptophan Theatre

No blogger worth his or her salt passes up the obligatory "I'm thankful for..." blog at this time of year. Or perhaps the blogger possessing no original ideas passes it up. Regardless, I'm throwing my buckled hat into the ring.

Despite my trepidation (or is that tryptodation) about the next four years, I'm still proud and thankful to be an American. In spite of my worries about a continued suppression of civil rights and free speech for all Americans, I am thankful for the ability to fight for what I think is right and I'm still able to say and be who I am regardless. And, hey, there are at least a few other people who share similar value structures and ideas about how our great nation should be lead that I do.

I am both proud and humbled by the immense about of privilege I do have. Although I am deeply hurt by politicians and others seeking to legislate against me, simply because of who I am, with no thought to the totality of who I am, I, and many other gays and lesbians, have uncalculable amounts of privlege that others both in our country and out of it, do not.

I am (and presumably anybody reading this is) literate. I am, and likely you are, educated and have access to technology. You can probably afford some level of technology, if you don't own a computer. You likely have a job (as do I) where you have a computer and other technology, or access to one. My (and probably your) level of education is college or higher.

I am(and probably you are) not concerned about where our next meal will come from nor if we are going to have a place to sleep and stay dry tomorrow night. Most likely you will be eating an enormous amount of food with friends or family in the next few days. And, concerning the mode of transport to the houses of our loved ones, the ability to travel within a city, and between state to state is not only possible, but convenient.

We, despite what Republicans will tell you, are largely free from violence and terror. Some Americans do live in areas of our cities that are violent or are victims of heinous crimes or abuses. I have been fortunate to be largely free of that. And although I am convinced we will see another attack upon our great country, the vast majority of us are safe from this threat.

Finally, I, for some unknown reason or perhaps for no reason whatsoever, have had an immense blessing of grace bestowed upon me in terms of my sexuality. I have a loving partner and a supportive family. I have good friends and a fantastic work environment. I realized my sexuality at a point in my life where I could emotionally and spiritually cope with it.

Thanks for taking the time to allow me to share my thoughts with you.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Too Much Reality TV?

Do you think people have watched too much reality TV and thought their vote Tuesday was to throw someone out of the United States?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

What We Need Now

Twenty-four percent of respondants to a CNN/Gallup poll expressed they were afraid of the next four years under Bush. Eighteen percent were merely pessimistic. This means that 42% had a negative expectation of this presidency. How did this man get elected when so many view him so negatively. Although Republicans triumph a three million vote popular vote lead, this is only 51% of the country, decisive but hardly a mandate and hardly historic.

Three things clearly stand out as to why George Bush got re-elected and Republicans picked up a slight gain in the Senate.

There was no reason to vote for John Kerry. The vast majority of people (79%) voting for Kerry did it because they were anti-Bush, not pro-Kerry. Only 30% of people voted for Kerry because they were for the man, compared to Bush's 59% allegiance of voters. And hate or dislike is not a strong enough reason to motivate people tovote. Being anti-candidate (Bush or Kerry) only caused 25% of the voters to turn out. The overwhelming number of voters (69%) turned out because they were voting FOR their guy.

Kerry never made a sufficient case for himself; it's not enough to be different. Although Bush is so bad, being "not Bush" nearly was enough in this election(and that, to me, is a horrible indictment of the President's leadership), Kerry should have and future politicians absolutely must make a case for themselves.

The second major reason is that voters cared most (22%) about moral values. Undoubtably, in this case "moral issues" translates to stances on gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, and Supreme Court judge nominations (and all of these are strongly linked to the third cause). Democrats ran on policy; Bush ran on morality. Democrats, who during the 60's were strong activists and the moral voice for civil rights have lost that voice.

The smartest comment I have heard on this was NPR commentator Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Clinton and Professor of Social and Economic Policy at Brandeis University, on "Marketplace" who suggested that the Democrats must not touch religion - it's far too personal. But, they must find a moral voice. The commentator suggested they should talk about the morality of robbing from the poor to give to the rich (not surprisingly the majority of Bush voters made $50,000 or more). I'd suggest talking about the morality of legislating religious beliefs for a country based on freedom of religion.

Which leads me to the third reason: an unusual presence of Evangelical Christians, the Religious Right. Karl Rove managed to help turn out thousands of fundamentalists that did not vote in 2000. These were especially prominent in states with the gay marriage amendments on the ballots as well as the I-4 corridor in Florida. And now these people, Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, and others are asking for payback for getting the faithful to vote. The Religous Right continues to be a growing power that is not being taken seriously. People wanting to avoid policies and lawmaking heavily influenced by ultra-conservative and religous values "far right of the mainstream" need to mobilize moderate and liberal people of faith. Those of us who are Christian must be as political as our fundamentalist brethern and talk about what Jesus REALLY would do and how our friends and family are lied to and manipulated by the true wolves, wolves posing as sheep. People of no faith or other faiths must also act and mobilize to counter this small but influential political voice within the Republican party and our nation.

My sense of self-preservation makes me seriously contemplate relocating to Canada and I've joked about it like many of my friends and other Democrats (apparently this joke is so pervasive, CNN ran an article online about the issues involved in immigrating to Canada: "Canada No Safehaven for Democrats"). However, my bully reflex has kicked in. Although I might move to a more tolerant area of the country, I will not abandon this country, which I love, and leave it in the hands of people who are either stupid, hateful, ignorant or intolerant. Our nation is better than this and I can help make it better. We all can. The next four years will be difficult, but what we need now is love for ourselves and our country.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Internalized Homostupidity

According to CNN, 23% of gays and lesbians voted for George Bush. To paraphrase Jon Stewart, that's nearly a quarter of our people who were wearing tin foil hats and chanting in their underwear before voting at the polls.

I know we are supposed to like it up the butt, but we aren't supposed to like Bush. I guess some of us just decided to shove a big Dick (Cheney) up there instead.

Were these people in a K-hole when they voted? Did they miss that the Log Cabin Republicans refused to endorse Bush? Republicans hoped to use gay marriage to garner votes from the highly religious black community and failed there - how did they succeed with our own people?

How do you support someone who has used the restriction of your civil rights as a tactic for maintaining their power? Bush owes the religious right now, who made special efforts, particularly in Florida and the eleven states where anti-gay amendments were on the ballots to bring in big numbers of voters. And they're already demanding their due - which will be the Federal Marriage Amendment. They won't be satisfied with the FMA either; we could possibly look forward to other restrictions of our civil rights. Bush will certainly appoint anti-gay judges to the Supreme Court.

Is this internalized hate run amok? We have enough closeted politicians pushing anti-gay legislation without our own people turning us in to the lapdog of fundamentalists. To these gay Bush supporters, I say you've earned the president you've elected. Can you all please pack up and go to Egypt or some place where you can be more fully oppressed?

My Favorite Quote of the Election

From a caller on a radio talk show..."I'm voting for Kerry because 'Yee-Haw' is not a foreign policy."

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Slash and Burning Passion

Comic professional Steven Grant wrote about a subgenre of superhero comics that I was completely unaware of in his most recent column Permanent Damage at Comicbook Resources. Steven details this small comic niche:

"Obviously, there's still ground to be covered with the superhero, and the post-superhero. There are different things yet to do with them. There are even weird, unexpected subcultures out there built around superheroes: a friend yesterday told me about "slash," which has apparently been an open secret for a long time but somehow I just missed it, basically self-generated fiction by and for educated, mostly straight, often married middle-class women, featuring homoerotic (male-male) revisions of popular characters of TV, screen and comics, like the old Kirk-Spock fantasies once prevalent among an offshoot of STAR TREK fans. (Female "slash" fans are reportedly a hefty chunk of the fans of DC's TEEN TITANS and OUTSIDERS comics.) Which ties in beautifully with the Apollo-Midnighter romance in THE AUTHORITY and shonen ai manga like GRAVITATION. Slash fans have their own conventions, websites and everything. " (Note: THE AUTHORITY features two openly gay men, essentially a Superman and Batman riff in a relationship.)

This ties in with the apparent love that some straight women have for the show Queer as Folk which features soft-core gay sex. This is an interesting flipside of the straight man's stereotypical fascination with lesbian sex. I'm honestly a bit baffled about this, other than to say that if you're attracted to good looking people of one sex, then you're likely to be attracted to a whole gaggle of them making out?? And although I doubt that this "slash" population is of any significant size, with straight America's continued fascination with same-sex sex, why can't they move from objectifying us to seeing us as people deserving of equal rights?

I'm Proud to Say I'm a Pawn American

Hey Hey
Ho Ho
Bush and Cheney have got to go!
Hey Hey
Ho Ho!

Did you do your part to get rid of one of the worst presidents in modern history?

I've been told on other blogs that I'm just a pawn of the media. I've fallen for the liberal rhetoric that Bush caters to the Religious Right and that he's intolerant. I've fallen for the propoganda that paints him as someone who doesn't think he's made a mistake. I've been misled by the vast left-wing consipracy that Bush is a stupid man. I've fallen for the Democratic talking point that he lied and misled the country for invading Iraq.

Only...he's culpable for all those things.

He's actively backed the Federal Marriage Amendment. He's stated that he would not have supported civil unions as governor of Texas. He, from the on-set, distanced himself from the Log Cabin Republicans. He advocates for "family values," the only opposite of which I can infer is apparently "gay values." He identified Christ as the philosopher he most identifies with (isn't that scary?) and talks regularly about how Christianity changed his life. His faith-based initiatives have strongly blurred the relationship between state and church. His stance on stem cell research and abortion are direct influences from the religious right.

He's been asked twice that I've seen about what mistakes he thinks he has made or what he has learned from his Presidency and has twice failed to come up with an answer.

Bush supposedly has a high IQ. However, the man refuses to read; he insists on aides summarizing reports to him. And his communication skills are pathetic. He constantly makes up words, uses malapropisms, forgets the simplest sayings, and doesn't listen to his own speeches. When he loses his place, he can't recover because he doesn't really know what he's saying. The man had the best education money could buy and squandered it making C's (and he's proud of that work).

And he constantly lied about why we should invade Iraq. He knew the information for justifying the war was tenuous at best, but Rummy, Cheney and company were looking for an excuse to go in since Day One. And Cheney still refuses to admit that their claims were bogus. They dropped the ball with persuing Osama Bin Laden and that is the biggest failure of all.
I don't agree with Kerry on "wrong war, wrong time." I never supported invading Iraq. It was clearly a diversion - something accomplishable because they probably knew capturing Bin Laden was too difficult. Bush even tried to write Bin Laden off as "not a threat" when he failed to capture him and now Osama has reared his head again.

I haven't even talked about the deregulation of industry and freedoms he has allowed major corporations. I haven't mentioned the damage to the environment he's allowing. I haven't brought up his tax cuts for the very rich. I haven't talked about the conflict of interests with Haliburton in Iraq. This man's career, and his presidency is no different, has been spent looking out for himself and his corporate buddies.

He needs to go and go quickly.

Monday, November 01, 2004

My Susan B. Anthony Dollar's Worth

In 1873, Susan B. Anthony delivered a compelling speech about women's right to vote after her arrest in 1872 for casting an "illegal" vote in the presidential election. I have co-opted a part of this speech on this presidential election eve. (For the original speech, go here).

It was we, the people, not we, the white heterosexual citizens; nor yet we, the heterosexual citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to a portion of ourselves and a percentage of our posterity, but to the whole people - homosexuals as well as heterosexuals. And it is a downright mockery to talk to gay men and women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while we are denied the means of enjoying all the same rights and priviledges of our heterosexual brothers and sisters.

For any state to legislate what a successful and ordained union of two people is that then results in the disfranchisement of up to 10% of the people is a violation of the very principles set forth in our Constitution and the defeat of miscegenation laws. To amend the Constitution against its own citizenry withholds the blessings of liberty the Constitution should protect.

This government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sexual orientation; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe. This oligarchy makes every straight person the ruler and sovereign over every gay person and carries dissention, discord, and rebellion into thousands of homes across the nation.

Are all gay Americans not citizens as our straight brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers? And, if being citizens (and I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the fortitude to say we are not) every discrimination against homosexuals in the constitutions and laws of any state or our great nation is today null and void, precisely as is every one against our transgendered friends.