Tag Archives: Obama

The World Was Watching

Once a month, I have dinner with four friends — four bright, funny lesbians. There’s lots of laughter and an incredible amount of irreverence, and I look forward to it every month. Tonight, as it was mentioned that Obama signed legislation today to close Guantanamo and put an end to interrogation techniques that involve torture, someone made the statement, “Can you believe we are even having this conversation?”

Think about that for a moment. An American president officially ending America’s official, supposedly lawful, policy of torture.

During Tuesday’s inauguration, I watched as the cameras panned the millions of people on the Washington Mall. I saw tears in so many eyes and was amazed at the depth of emotion that I felt. I realized that this outpouring was not just for the man being sworn in on the platform — it was for the country that elected him.

And, all of a sudden, I understood a movie I recently saw, Valkyrie.

I’d enjoyed it and I learned a lot. I had no idea they came so close to assassinating Hitler and replacing his government. But I wondered about the central figure of the movement, Colonel Klaus von Stauffenberg (played by Tom Cruise). He was considered a war hero after being severely wounded in Africa. He had a wife and several small children. Yet, even with so much to lose, he was willing to risk it all. High ranking officers in Hitler’s inner circle, like von Stauffenberg, knew that Germany was within months of defeat, but still they made this final assassination attempt. And the reason they did this was to show the world that all Germans were not like Hitler.

That’s what I felt on Tuesday as I knew the world was watching.

No, I’m not comparing George Bush to Adolph Hitler — I actually think Bush is probably a decent guy. But the idea that the end justifies the means sets a course down a very slippery slope. It may be a way to win a battle or even a war, but at what cost?

We still have a long way to go to be everything that was envisioned by our founding fathers, but we are better than what’s been presented over the last eight years.

It feels good to be back!

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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….

 

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!

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.