Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Governor Had No Clothes?

There’s been lots of media coverage about the $150,000 clothing spending spree that the GOP sent Sarah Palin and her family on — a big chunk of it being at that favorite of working class Americans, Neiman Marcus. I, for one, think they probably got their money’s worth. She looks pretty good in that red leather jacket and those boots. But, hey, I’m way past making up my mind about her qualifications for office, so I can focus on details like that.

 

If there truly are still folks out there that are undecided, I would hope that they would look past the leather and those glasses everyone has made such a big deal about.  For instance, recently, when asked about her role as VP, she said that the Vice President is in charge of the Senate and that she was looking — excuse me, “lookin’” — forward to when she “can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes”.

 

I’m betting there were 100 senators, both sides of the aisle, whose ears perked up over that one!

 

But, I want to be fair. It’s been on my to-do list to try and get around to reading those hundreds and hundreds of signing statements that Bush has issued in the past eight years — you know, those waivers he uses to do whatever he wants. Not to mention the various precedents that Cheney has tried to put in place by ignoring subpoenas and disregarding requests and summons by the other two branches of our government.

 

So, who knows?

 

Maybe Sarah is right — maybe the Vice President is in charge of the Senate at this point….

 

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Signs

I was driving along the other day and I noticed this sign —

Grief Support Group – Mondays 6 – 7 pm“.

Anyone familiar with the On the Gay Horizon website or newsletter knows that I lost my partner almost two years ago and it has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with. So, that sign caught my eye.

My first thought, accompanied by the tiniest jolt of hopeful anticipation, was “maybe that could help”. But it was immediately followed by — well, you know what came next. “They don’t mean me.”

Oh sure, they might let me join the group. Or, I could make a big deal out of it and push my way in. Like we do a lot of places. But do I really want to do that with a support group? And, even if I got in, what are the odds that anyone there would “get it” that my grief is no different from theirs?

So, I just kept on driving.

But, from long ago, came the words to a song I didn’t even know I remembered…

…and the sign said, “You’ve got to have a membership card to get inside.”

…signs, signs, everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind, do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the signs?

…and the sign said, “Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray” .  And when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn’t have a penny to pay. So I got me a pen and paper and I made up my own little sign. I said, “Thank you Lord for thinkin’ bout me. I’m alive and doin’ fine”.

Flip Side of the Race Card

There’s a question starting to make the rounds. It’s rearing its little head in blogs and forums, letters to editors in print publications — maybe even on the air. I wouldn’t know about the latter because I never listen to talk radio, and if it doesn’t make it into a plot line on The Ghost Whisperer or Bones, I’m unlikely to see it on TV.

It’s the flip side of the race card.

What is the difference, they ask, between not voting for someone because he is black or voting for him because he is black?

Actually, it’s a very good question. African Americans, in every state, are being registered by the thousands. Yes, as a demographic, they historically vote as Democrats. But no one doubts why an overwhelming percentage is expected to vote for Barack Obama.

Would it not be the same for our community? If we had a gay candidate in the race for the presidency, would we really care about their foreign policy experience? Or whether they could pronounce the names of all the generals running the various wars we have going? Of course not. We would vote for one of our own.

So, why is that okay but it not be okay for someone to vote against someone that they don’t feel is one of their own? Why is one condemned as racist if not the other?

I’m just asking. Somehow, I don’t think the answer to this one can be found on this particular playing field. Besides, I was ruined for these kinds of questions years ago. Back in my first year of college when I had to read a book titled Situation Ethics by Joseph Fletcher. I’ve not been able to think in terms of absolutes since.

But, maybe an answer is something most of us believe but oftentimes lose sight of — focusing on those things that we are for rather than those we are against. Voting for a candidate instead of against one. Looking for the common ground where we can agree and work to build a future that benefits us all — not, as will happen the day after this election, mobilize to undermine whatever the “other side” supports.

In my dreams? Yeah, I know.

I do try not to be cynical but with the state of politics and government….it’s hard. But Barack Obama makes me almost believe that he can make a difference. This time it’s more than simply the choice of the lesser of evils. Something about him makes me believe almost enough that, even if he was running against one of “us”, I just might still vote for him….

Unless, of course, it was Ellen. Or Lily. Or Nathan! Nathan Lane, President of the United States of America — what a world that would be!

There Goes the Neighborhood!

I’m so excited! I can’t wait for it to be morning so that I can trot out to my front yard and find the perfect spot for what was inside the package that was waiting at my front door when I got home tonight.

I currently live in a middle-class neighborhood in a Houston suburb. Its pretty diverse but its also Bush Country. People still drive around with those annoying W’s on their cars and litter their yards with “I Support the President” signs. Now, there are McCain/Palin posters everywhere.

Well, not everywhere. Tomorrow morning there is going to be this big, bright, shiny Obama/Biden sign smack dab in the middle of my yard — in the middle of this conservative Texas neighborhood.

Dear me, an Obama sign in my yard and rainbow puppies on my license plate — what is the neighborhood coming to?

Cats, vegetables and yellow Volkswagons

This morning I woke up to my elderly cat screaming at me to get up and dish out the cat food for her and the two other less vocal ones. Uh oh! I was supposed to buy cat food yesterday. What to do? I rummaged through the pantry and found a can of dog food. Since it was from Halo, the company that Ellen DeGeneres is promoting, I figured it couldn’t be all that bad.

They seemed to love it, so I left them to it and puttered off to do something else. When I returned, they had each cleaned their plates — of everything but the vegetables. How interesting. It would have been much easier to have eaten it all, but they were obviously interested in only what they liked.

Reminded me of yellow Volkswagons. You know, how you never see them until, for some reason, they are brought to your attention, and then you see them everywhere? Not only that, but pretty soon, they are all you see?

And that reminded me of the Biden/Palin debate. Or, rather the aftermath. It was so clear to everyone who had won. To the Democrats, it was clear that Joe Biden had won. And to the Republicans, it was obvious that Sarah Palin had won. Everyone heard exactly what they wanted to hear and turned a deaf ear to the rest.

Have we always done that? If not, when did we stop listening to each other? When did “we” start watching CNN and “they” tune in only Fox? How did pundit become a career? 

If we only listen to those we expect to parrot our own thoughts and beliefs, what is the point of any dialogue?

We may as well just talk to ourselves.

Some Questions Deserve Answers

I just finished watching the Vice Presidential debate and I’m trying to remember if I ever watched one before. If I did, it certainly wasn’t memorable. Tonight’s, however, was everything an important debate of its kind should be. The differences between the two camps were laid out, clearly, passionately and with supporting facts and figures.

The only problem is that all of that came from Joe Biden.

Did Sarah Palin ever answer a question? I know she made the statement that her maverick status meant that she didn’t have to, but I can’t remember if she maybe slipped up and actually responded to the question put to her.

You have to give her credit, though. Considering how far out of her league she is, she showed a lot of courage just showing up. She appeared confident and had obviously been doing her homework. Showing her skills as a politician, she managed to sidestep answering the tough questions — like how unsupportive this Republican platform is to gay rights. But, if I didn’t already know that, I wouldn’t have learned it by listening to her tonight. In fact, there were moments when she seemed to actually appreciate diversity.

And therein lies my main issue with not just Palin, but all Republican politicians (and a fair amount of Democrats). Pandering to their base. None of them — McCain, Palin, Bush, Cheney — are really all that opposed to our having equal rights. Palin claims that one of her best friends is a lesbian. Dick Cheney is very supportive of his gay daughter. Its just a tactic for them. Something to stir up the conservative base. An issue that mobilizes the religious right and gets them to the polls in droves.

It’s a tactic. All’s fair in love, war and politics, right?

Well, no, it’s not right. Because, for us, it doesn’t end when the election is over. It lives on through the energizing of movements to pass legislation to deny our basic civil rights. It lives on through the empowering of lunatics like Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist followers as they picket military funerals, chanting that God has taken these lives because the United States condones homosexuality.  It lives on in the implied license to follow God’s will and society’s bidding by killing innocents like Matthew Shephard and 15-year-old Lawrence King. By removing threats like Harvey Milk. To vilifying and threatening until even those like Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson are forced to wear a bulletproof vest at public events.

No, all is not fair. And I, for one, am pretty tired of it. Sarah Palin is totally unqualified to be in this election. She was chosen simply to ignite the conservative base. 

I started this by talking about questions. Let me sign off with one for you. How do we put an end to being used as pawns and scapegoats?

We vote.