28 June 2005

"is there in truth no beauty..."

I posted this over on towelroad in response to the post entitled "Got Their Freak On." Andy Towle is actually responding and reporting on the media's emphasis on what is considered the bizarre aspects of Pride parades. It's what sells papers, magazines, and air time commercials.

What I fear is the response of gays who are into proving themselves to be like "straight normal" people or just like everyone else. You don't have to be straight to be normal. Marrying, having children, buying houses, paying off mortgages, being lawyers, practicing medecine, making movies, producing television, recording music has nothing to do with being "normal." It has to do with being human. We are all humans before we are gay, straight, black, white, British, Irish, conservative, liberal....

Here is what I wrote:

I bemoan the fact that parts of the community have such a strong bent to be portrayed as "normal" according to the conservative viewpoint.

Are the big "hooters" at Hooters normal for straight society? Are the drunken revelers at Mardi Gras normal for straight society? Are thong bikinis worn by 40 year old overweight Cuban women in South Beach normal for straight society? Is Paris Hilton washing a car in a scanty leather outfit for a hamburger restaurant normal for straight society? Is a divorce rate of over 50% normal for straight society?

Equality does not mean "sameness." We have been struggling openly since Stonewall for 36 years to be identified as equal. We have not been struggling all this time to be the "same," and neither has straight society.

There is a place for everyone: married, transgendered, straight, butch, bear, drag, tranny, speedoed, poz, etc., etc., etc.
"The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity. And in the way our differences combine to create meaning and beauty."

We are all perfect, whole and complete just the way we are, and we are the same in our differences. Pride celebrates the diversity that the community was founded on and fights to keep alive... for everybody. Not just gays.

think about it...

22 June 2005

take your toys and go home...

Jerry Falwell is at it again. Minimalizing the lives of other people, as usual, with his favorite group - gays.

This time, he wants his followers and all "moral minded" Americans to boycott Kraft Foods for supporting the Gay Games VII 2006 in Chicago.

Falwell wants like-minded [likened to his mind] to flood Kraft with phone calls, letters and emails.

"I urge everyone to take a stand for decency by participating in this national effort to defend traditional family values. In addition, I am calling on pastors across the country to urge their congregations this Sunday to get involved in this action. We must let Kraft (and other big companies that are watching this situation) know that we are holding them accountable for their actions."

Traditional values or values that he has decided are the only ones Americans should hold?

In the past he blamed, "'...the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen,'" referring to the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11.

He believes that he has the mandate to push his "agenda." In last year's election campaign he worked with Republicans to use same-sex marriage as a wedge issue. A week after the November election he announced he was organizing battle plans for what he called an "evangelical revolution." Falwell said that the election showed that Americans want to return to "traditional values".

Again, traditional values or values that he has decided are the only ones Americans should hold?

How else would you interpret his following quote: "I am dedicating my talents, time and energies over the next few years to the passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which will protect the traditional family from its enemies who wish to legalize same-sex marriage and other diverse 'family' forms...." Poll after poll reports that the majority of Americans want no Constitutional Amendment regarding same-sex marriage. It is a states' rights issue, historically and constitutionally.

What say do other people have? As usual, when the opposition questions his "pronouncements," he turns the tables around and blames his opposition for fomenting discord and the attacks on the American fiber. "Falwell dismiss[es] allegations of gay activists that he is promoting hate, saying, "'that’s far from true. That’s the typical whiny mantra of homosexual-rights activists when people raise objections to their activities.'"

What about objections to his activities? What about his whininess when he doesn't get his way (say)? What about the hate he is promoting against groups that do not hold his views? Isn't the call for a boycott of Kraft Foods whiny?

As children, when we don't get our way in what or how we play, we take our toys and go home.

would someone ask Mr. Falwell to take his toys and go home...


Thanks to 365gay.com

21 June 2005

poli-sci 101 question...

How many branches of government does the U.S. have? If you answered "three" consider again.

Senator Frist (R-Tenn), Senate Majority Leader, stated "Tuesday he won't schedule another vote on John R. Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador and said President Bush must decide the next move."

In less than two hours Frist changed his mind. "Reversing field after a meeting with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said he will continue pushing for a floor vote on John R. Bolton for U.N. ambassador."

The purpose that the Constitution writers established three branches was to include a system of "check and balances." This, along with "states' rights" would assure that no single person or group of people could gain power such as the monarchy of George III or other despots.

Mr. Frist meets with the president and immediately reverses his previous decision? A check? A balance?

Another indication that Rove, Bush, et al still seem to be in the frame of mind that they know what is best for the country and the citizenry based on their own quest for power, using religion, creating a private "agenda...?" What happened to the "will of the people?"

just asking...

Thanks to ameriblog for the heads up.

20 June 2005

can it also be beyond belief in another part of the cultural war...

Andrew Sullivan brings up reference to an article in the New York Times, Sunday, June 19, 2005, that I meant to get to blogging about but he makes a greater point than I ever could. He brings up a comparison to the anti-Semitic argument that has been going on for centuries and the real issue of why the right is against same-sex marriage:

The sheer immoderation of these people is staggering. But their base is adamant. They are now using arguments about gays - that they are diseased, and spread literal and figurative poison throughout society - that were once echoed almost exactly by the most vicious anti-Semites against Jews:

"Their passion comes from their conviction that homosexuality is a sin, is immoral, harms children and spreads disease. Not only that, but they see homosexuality itself as a kind of disease, one that afflicts not only individuals but also society at large and that shares one of the prominent features of a disease: it seeks to spread itself." What's Their Real Problem With Gay Marriage? (It's the Gay Part)

Ah, yes. The danger of the Jews/Gays spreading their disease throughout society, their enormous power despite tiny numbers, their ability to pass, their threat to children, their flaunting of their disagreement with the New Testament. It's all so familiar. I think the arguments now made by some Christianists are replicas of the old anti-Semitism, peddled by so many Christians in the past: that Jews are to be loved, but loving them is dependent on their conversion to Christianity; that you can love individual Jews while disdaining Judaism; that Jews' stubbornness in resisting conversion is evidence of their inherent evil; that such evil, at some point, has to be segregated from mainstream society as much as possible. Gays are not the new blacks. They're the new Jews. And the Church, in both Catholic and Protestant variants, is dredging up its old anti-Semitism in new guises. The GOP is along for the ride.

is it okay to make reference to auschwitz, bergen belsen and solovetsk special camp at this point?

just asking...

19 June 2005

can it really be beyond belief...

auschwitz, bergen belsen, solovetsk special camp, gitmo...?

Governor and aspiring presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA):

To suggest, for instance, that the kinds of things that we're associated with as torture, is crazy. You hear that all the time. Oh, the Americans are torturing. Well, that's absurd. Torturing is breaking bones and pulling out people's fingernails and the like. And to compare anything we do with Nazi Germany is offensive, and Dick Durbin ought to apologize to the American people, and to the American servicemen and women who are protecting our liberties in places like Gitmo and others.

The Oxford American Dictionary defines torture as: great physical or mental suffering or anxiety. Being chained to the floor and having to listen to loud rock music sounds like mental suffering or anxiety. Oh, and being chained to the floor they have to defecate on themselves not being allowed to use the commode.

Chris Wallace from Fox News Sunday believes that I mean, what was so horrific in the memo, and I'm not saying, you know, there aren't legitimate questions there, is that someone is chained to a floor and forced to defecate on themselves, and has loud rock music playing. Excuse me? I mean, you know, Auschwitz? Bergen Belsen? The Soviet gulag? I think they would have been very happy to be allowed to defecate on themselves.

These are from interviews with Romney and Wallace from the Hugh Hewitt radio show out of Orange County. They are using the administration's usual strategy of justifying action and thought and trying to prevent legitimate dialogue by attacking anyone who questions or suggests that there maybe some other way to view things. We've seen this time after time. You can read the full transcripts here radioblogger.com.

Question #1: Wouldn't suffering of any kind to coerce another person prove to be torture?

Question #2: Wouldn't treating a person as less than a human being indicate torture?

Question #3: Shouldn't learning from the past help avoid torture?

just asking...

To hear Senator Durbin's side of what may be another contrived controversy, listen to his interview from the Spike O'Dell Show on WGN Radio, June 17, 2005, via the Chicago Tribune. [Note: free registration may be required.]

18 June 2005

a voice of reason...

Former United Nations Ambassador and Senator, John Danforth (R-MO) has written the most encouraging New York Times Op-Ed piece concerning the state of what is happening in the culture/religion war in the U.S. today entitled "Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers."

Sen. Danforth throws down the gauntlet:

"In recent years, conservative Christians have presented themselves as representing the one authentic Christian perspective on politics. With due respect for our conservative friends, equally devout Christians come to very different conclusions....

"Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers....

"For us, living the Love Commandment may be at odds with efforts to encapsulate Christianity in a political agenda. We strongly support the separation of church and state, both because that principle is essential to holding together a diverse country, and because the policies of the state always fall short of the demands of faith. Aware that even our most passionate ventures into politics are efforts to carry the treasure of religion in the earthen vessel of government, we proceed in a spirit of humility lacking in our conservative colleagues....

"To assert that I am on God's side and you are not, that I know God's will and you do not, and that I will use the power of government to advance my understanding of God's kingdom is certain to produce hostility....

"We reject the notion that religion should present a series of wedge issues useful at election time for energizing a political base. We believe it is God's work to practice humility, to wear tolerance on our sleeves, to reach out to those with whom we disagree, and to overcome the meanness we see in today's politics."

According to beliefnet.com only 12.6% of the voting age population identifies as Religious Right with an additional 11.4% identifying as "Heartland Culture Warriors." Both of these groups feel strongly that social issues are the major concern in the U.S. and government must take the lead in this "agenda." That totals only 24% of the voting population.

The rest of the population of voting age runs the gamut from moderate to left liberal and believes that there are more pressing things for the government than social issues. It's not just Christians who believe this way. Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, athiests, etc. - the vast majority of the population (76%) - identify in some form or other in thinking that government shouldn't enter into a "social agenda."

If this, indeed, is the majority, then what is stopping more people from speaking out like Sen. Danforth? Fear of peer pressure? A loss of a sense of power? Dread of being called unpatriotic? Suspicion in thinking that "maybe they are right?" Anxiety? Apprehension? Antipathy?

just asking...

you don't know your...

Here is the answer to the age old "You don't know your ass from a hole in the ground!" cunundrum.

Put your finger in the hole and walk away. If your finger is still in the hole................................

maybe it should be a litmus test for politicians and judicial nominees?????????

16 June 2005

be afraid.... be very, very afraid... part III

I can't make any comment that says as much as the article itself:



be afraid... be very, very afraid...

p.s. I haven't been ill or anything, just extremely busy; closing out the school year, transferring budget and making sure George W. gets no money back, getting the Summer School program set up, working on the new school year, & assisting at Landmark to name a few. Plus, I've been working on a longer piece to publish. I've been getting to work earlier, coming home later and falling asleep in the recliner with the laptop keeping me warm and putting me to sleep. You all know what it's like. Hopefully, I'll be able to blog a little more regularly in the next couple of weeks. We're also going back to the Canadian Rockies for a couple of weeks in July, so I will recover and clear my mind. Yeah, right.


01 June 2005

le "non" de France... partie trois

Efraim Karsh in today's The New Republic Online has another take on the "non" vote in Paris (and today the Netherlands) as not being a bad thing:

The version of the EU constitution voted down on Sunday was an imperial document, not a democratic one. Europe and the European Union are both better off without it.

He comes to this conclusion after thoughtfully following a logic that outlines an argument that the original thought behind the EU has gone from one of unifying and rebuilding post-war Europe to empire building with France and Germany behind the change. His money quote:

But in truth, France's vote against the constitution is an important victory for European unity, because the document posed a serious threat to the great European experiment in peace and prosperity. What began 53 years ago as an idealistic attempt to use economic cooperation to heal a war-torn continent has deteriorated with the passage of time into a gigantic imperial machinery that has largely eroded the democratic values and objectives for which it was originally established.

This is also a lesson and warning of which the US needs to take heed in its fronts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon (and Canada). Of course, the US has been in the empire business for a long time but has done it under the guise of expanding democracy. Others have used this argument to move their own agendas:

Notwithstanding its universal pretense, each and every great empire throughout history has been dominated by a specific religious, ethnic, or national group, which has viewed its preeminence as a vehicle for the promotion of self-serving interests and the assimilation of attributes and value systems in the subject populations. This is how the great monotheistic religions of Christianity and Islam expanded well beyond their original habitats to become world religions, and how so many languages--Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French, to mention but a few--transcended their origins to be assimilated by numerous countries and communities.

The US cause is seen as "noble" because it is empire building based on the belief that democracy is the best way of government. Democracy in the US came about because of very specific conditions that led to the American Revolution and very unique circumstances of mistrust that the founding fathers and the original colonies and states wanted to ensure were not repeated. Therefore, we are a republican form of democracy with a set of checks and balances between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in unison with states' rights - two of which are right now under attack by the religious and neo-conserative right.

Am I saying that democracy is bad? Absolutely not! The best form of government in my personal experience, political belief, and philosophical understanding is democracy. Democracy according to one definition in the Oxford Dictionary is the practice or principles of social equality. All mankind is equal because we are all perfect, complete and whole exactly as we are. We combine our differences to create meaning for ouselves and others, but we are all the same in our differences and have the right to our differences without interference from others as long as no one is harmed in any way.

However, is the US form of democracy the best for every country, region or national entity? Since the US's came about because of historical reasons, can it be expected to happen in places that have a different political genealogy?

As an example, Russian history is filled with intense class conflict going back hundreds of years with virtual slavery at its roots. The upper class and royalty used the peasantry as their own personal property. The revolutions taking place at the beginning of the 20th century were extremely violent because of the Russian personal experience. They went to the opposite extreme from democracy, pushing communism, trotskyism, stalinism, socialism to ensure it would not happen again.

Now when they moved away from all of the "isms" at the end of the 20th century, chaos ensued when Boris Yeltsin tried to go full-steam ahead with free markets, a full democracy, and power coming from the people. How did the people react? Like teenagers given total freedom of the house when their parents are on vacation!

The other thing to remember is that the Russian/USSR empire was totally dismantled when the former Eastern bloc countries demanded their own identity restored. This is a very simplistic view of what happened, but as an example it points back to the empire building of the EU. One of the first things the former Eastern bloc countries wanted to happen was to become part of the EU. This took on an entirely different view for the "real" European countries. Not only were they being invaded by the Muslims but the cheap Eastern bloc labor began to flood the markets. The result was greater unemployment for "real" Europeans. [France's unemployment has been at 10%.]

It's interesting to make all of these comparisons, especially, if you look at the EU as empire building. Its goal has become competing with the US for prestige, economic dominance, and world leadership and to get a step up over Russia, Japan, & China before they move up on the scale.

plus ca change, et rien...