Saturday, April 29, 2006

No More Garage Sales For Me

My husband and I sold our home a couple of weeks ago. We decided it was time to downsize and move into something smaller now that two of our three children are in college and our youngest is one year away from flying the coop. I did not realize what an overwhelming task this would be. Making the decision to sell our home was not the most difficult part either, deciding which parts of our personal history would end up in our garage with bright orange and yellow tags and bargain basement prices was. How on earth does a person decide what is priceless and what is not? How does one put a price tag on memories? And then once that difficult task is done, how does one sit in a garage filled with those memories and wait for people to come and haggle over treasures that once felt irreplaceable?

And the garage sale shoppers! My gosh, I was completely unprepared. These people are intense. They are seasoned bargain hunters with bloodhound instincts. They sniff out the bargains quickly and skillfully. Family treasures are magically bartered down to the exact amount of loose change in their pockets. And then they are gone as fast as they appeared, off to the next garage loaded with another family’s history and memories.

I think I learned something today. I’m not a garage sale kind of gal. Next time I think I’ll just call Salvation Army. I don’t like selling memory lane to the lowest bidder.

And this is why I have been rather sporadic with the blogging lately. We don’t move for another 5 weeks, but I do hope to be back at the computer with more regularity soon.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gay? You Are Not Welcome!

The Republican Party is NOT, I repeat NOT a big tent party. And if you are gay, the only value you have in the eyes of the Republican Party is as a tool for fund raising and rallying the bigots. So I just have to ask, why on earth would any gay or lesbian American even want to be a Republican? And I am not the only one wondering this. Gene Stone over at the Huffington Post is wondering the same thing. In his article, The Gay Republican: Oxymoron, or Just Moron, he so rightly asks why any gay or lesbian would choose a party that so loathes him/her?

He begins his article this way:

Given that it's spring of an election year, one of the most beloved of all Republican rites is in full bloom: gay bashing. It's not enough that the state republican parties have specifically told gay men and women they are not welcome in the party, or that one by one, they are trying to amend state constitutions to prohibit gay marriage (which in most of these states is already banned by law); U.S. Senate Republicans have announced that they are planning, once more, to argue the need for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

This is a debate more urgent, they suggest, than the war in Iraq, immigration, education, or terrorism.

What's different this year is that it's not just the right-wing Republicans doing the bashing. The latest news is that the most gay-friendly of Republicans, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, is campaigning for arch-homophobes Senator Rick Santorum and Iowa's gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle. In fact, the few non-right wing Republicans left in the party are all out on the campaign trail, avidly supporting the most extreme anti-gay rhetoric of their fellow party members.

So once more, in response to the new gay bashing, comes the old question: Why would any gay man or woman belong to a party that has stated, over and over, as clearly as can be, without equivocation, that he or she is not welcome?

And I would like to take Gene’s point one step further and ask why any parent, grandparent, sibling, or friend of a gay or lesbian would want to be affiliated with a party that so despises someone they care about? And for those who specifically vote Republican because of their anti-gay bigotry, watch out. The Republican tent is shrinking. Unless you are a rich, white, heterosexual, Dobson/Robertson/Falwell Christian male you could end up being pushed out of their little pup tent next.

Hat tip to Pam's House Blend for pointing me to the article.
Cartoon by
Beyond the Punchline Share

Monday, April 24, 2006

Keeping the Grand Old Party Grand

There are many advantages to having a Senate Majority leader who in a past life was a prominent Cardiac Surgeon. One such advantage is not having to look far when your party is suffering from acute sinking ship-itis or when the Believers in the party need a dose of Snake Oil to keep them coming back. And of course the good doctor does not disappoint! The GOP really got themselves a two-fer when they chose the prominent Heart Surgeon to replace Senator Trent Lott. No need to worry about the ailing poll numbers now, the esteemed doctor and Senate Majority leader has a cure. He just gets out his little black doctor bag and pulls out a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and waves it under the noses of the all of those worried sick religious leaders and voila, their faith is restored. Nothing works better than stripping thousands and thousands of American citizens of dignity, rights, and equality. Heck it’s better than smelling salts! Their holy juices start flowing again, their tired little souls are revived, and everything that ailed them is cured. They are ready to once again work hard to invade the privacy of all Americans and fight for the right to legislate everyone’s morals and bedroom behavior. God bless this great country.

Hat tip to AMERICAblog


Sunday, April 23, 2006

It's Not Funny When It's at Someone Else's Expense

This is a lesson I tried very hard to impart to my kids when they were growing up. Kids can be really mean. As parents we have an obligation to teach our children that there are boundaries to what is funny and what is not. It is simple, if the joke is at the expense of another person or group of persons, it's not funny.

Sadly, there are many adults who never learned this lesson. Here is a letter to one of those adults who really should know better. The letter writer, Jeff Whitty, is the gay author of the hit Broadway play Avenue Q.

Here is a snippet:

Gay people, to you, are great material.

Mr. Leno, let me share with you my view of gay people:

When I think of gay people, I think of the gay news anchor who took a tire iron to the head several times when he was vacationing in St. Martin. I think of my friend who was visiting Hamburger Mary's, a gay restaurant in Las Vegas, when a bigot threw a smoke bomb filled with toxic chemicals into the restaurant, leaving the staff and gay clientele coughing, puking, and running in terror. I think of visiting my gay friends at their house in the country, sitting outside for dinner, and hearing, within hundreds of feet of where we sat, taunting voices yelling "Faggots!" I think of hugging my boyfriend goodbye for the day on 8th Avenue in Manhattan and being mocked and taunted by passing high school students.

When I think of gay people, I think of suicide. I think of a countless list of people who took their own lives because the world was so toxically hostile to them. Because of the deathly climate of the closet, we will never be able to count them. You think gay people are great material. I think of a silent holocaust that continues to this day. I think of a silent holocaust that is perpetuated by people like you, who seek to minimize us and make fun of us and who I suspect really, fundamentally wish we would just go away.

When I think of gay people, I think of a brave group that has made tremendous contributions to society, in arts, letters, science, philosophy, and politics. I think of some of the most hilarious people I know. I think of a group that has served as a cultural guardian for an ungrateful and ignorant America.

I think of a group of people who have undergone a brave act of inventing themselves. Every single out-of-the-closet gay person has had to say, "I am not part of mainstream society." Mr. Leno, that takes bigger balls than stepping out in front of TV-watching America every night. I daresay I suspect it takes bigger balls to come out of the closet than anything you have ever done in your life.

Go read the whole thing.

Hat tip to the Advocate.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dear Vice President Cheney

I was just wondering something, when you sleep at night or during briefings with Chinese Presidents or whenever, do you dream about the nightmare world that you and your administration have carefully crafted for my son, your daughter, Mary, and the many, many other gays and lesbians in this country? Do you? I know I do. In fact, I not only have nightmares about it, but too many of my waking moments are also spent worrying about how the GLBT community has been used by your administration in truly despicable ways to grab power and now to desperately hold on to that power. Too many of my waking moments have been spent seething, crying, and worrying myself sick about my gay child’s chances of living the same happy normal life that my 2 other children will take for granted. I also spend too many waking moments worrying about his safety because of your administration’s constant whipping up the base tactic that has worked so well in keeping the believers from deserting your sinking ship. But this successful tactic has had consequences. It has created an atmosphere conducive to violence and gay bashing and that terrifies me. Does it even worry you or are you just too disconnected from the real world in which our gay and lesbian children must live?

Why, you ask, do I use such strong language and caustic words like despicable when addressing you, the second most powerful man in the world? Well, I guess I’d have to say that I sort of expect this desperate cruelty towards gays from people like George W. Bush, Bill Frist, and others not so intimately and profoundly close to people who are gay (at least as far as they know). For them this is just another day at the office and tramping on gays is just another dirty, filthy, and successful GOP ploy to rally the foam-at-the-mouth Snake Oil Christians and keep the dying poll numbers from going Code Blue. But you sir, you have a lesbian daughter. My mind simply reels. How could you allow the marginalization of gays and lesbians in the name of family values to even be an issue? And if you are powerless to change this, why would want to be a part of an administration that considers your daughter and my son necessary collateral damage in the fight to maintain power? Is power more important to you than your daughter? Never mind, you don’t have to answer, it’s just a rhetorical question, your actions and lack of action have spoken louder than any lame answer you could give me.

I know you are a busy man, so I won’t keep you much longer. I have one final question though. How do you sleep at all, let alone during briefings with Presidents from countries we consider threats? This question is not rhetorical, I really want to know. I could use some sleep and any tips you could send my way would be greatly appreciated.

Seething Mom

Go Visit the Big Man from Brooklyn

You gotta love the Big Man from Brooklyn. Go listen to his pearls of wisdom, he does not disappoint.

Hat tip to Andrew. Share

Friday, April 21, 2006

Pink sings her Dear Mr. President

Please go watch this wonderful performance by Pink. It is an amazing song! I couldn't help getting emotional. Check it out, please.

A big thank you and hat tip to AMERICAblog. Share

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I Am So Tired of Seething

Some days I wake up and I feel like I have not slept at all. I just cannot shake the feeling of constant fatigue that comes from seething anger that alternates with sadness that alternates with a sense of hopelessness that goes back to seething anger again. It’s an endless cycle. The good days have become fewer and fewer.

Even the President’s low poll numbers infuriate me. I just cannot help but wonder how there could be anyone still approving of the job this president is doing. And I am not the only one :

Mr. Bush has the support of somewhere between 36 and 39% of the American population.

Who, in God's name are these 39%? This mystefies me.

Imagine that you have a dentist with Mr. Bush's level of competence. Would he still be your dentist? How much novocaine would it take?

Imagine that your financial advisor had Mr. Bush's record of success. I hear there are some bag boy jobs open down at Kroger's. Hurry, they may still be taking applications.

I search the world for an explanation, but I find the answer, as is so often the case, in the comments sections of various blogs. Why do some people still support Mr. Bush? Pity.

And though I do not buy that it is just the pity party people left supporting Bush, I do have to admit that I too feel sorry for the man. I think he is in waaaaay over his head and has been for a long time. But I do not count myself among the 36% to 39% who approve of him. It is the fact that I pity him that I do not support him. I support presidents that I can be proud of and in whom I have confidence, not pity.

No, I think any supporters that remain now are the die-hard bible beating fundamentalists who will never ever support anyone who does not bow to their demands. These remaining hanger on-ers are the people who don’t listen to any arguments that do not support their beliefs. These are the people with whom civil discourse is impossible. These are the people who are never wrong. These are the people who do not bend. These are the people who say that it is their way or the highway - end of story. And this is why I vacillate between depression and seething rage. I know that at this point these people are the base for whom Bush will do anything to keep happy. The rest of us ---- well we are screwed. And if you happen to be gay, like my son, you are really really screwed because you are evil and should have no rights and should be marginalized into oblivion according to the Bush base. So what do you think a president with low approval numbers is going to do to keep his base happy and chipper?

I dread the 2 ½ more years of this presidency. I am worried for our country. I am worried for my children – but especially my gay son. I am usually a pretty upbeat person, but I am finding it harder and harder to find something about which to feel optimistic. I hope I am wrong about what my gut is telling me. I hope it is just a bad case of the blues and not harsh reality slapping me in the face…


Monday, April 17, 2006

Dear Yavapai County Prosecutor James Landis

As I was writing my letter to Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett, I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to sleep without asking you some questions that have been weighing heavily on my mind since reading about the case on April 4. Some of the statements and decisions you made regarding this case are quite troubling to me and many others as well. I was hoping that you might be able to explain more clearly what you meant so that we can better understand how you arrived at the decisions you made in this case. So I guess I will start with the statement you made that really got my stomach churning:

… the case likely would have been treated differently if the victims were girls or if there was evidence that the defendants were homosexual.

This statement has so many implications that it simply boggles the mind. I am having a hard time understanding why gender and sexual orientation would even factor into how this case is handled. The bottom line is that 18 young boys were terribly violated by two boys in positions of power. Whether the boys that committed this crime were straight or gay should NOT matter and should not determine how serious the crime is. Whether the children who were victimized were little boys or little girls also should have absolutely no bearing in the case.

If I am way off base here please help me understand why. I know I am not the only one having a terrible time with how you handled this case and some of the statements you made. From many people’s vantage points this has the foul smell of unequal justice.

Specific immediate thoughts I had after reading the above statement you made:

  1. Now that you have admitted that there is specific criteria that affects how you approach a case, did you just conveniently leave out one more criteria that affected how you handled this case? Did the fact that Clifton Bennett is the son of Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett also play a role in your decision to treat him and the other perpetrator with kid gloves?
  2. And since you stated that if the victims had been girls you would have treated this case differently, do you believe these 18 young boys were less violated, degraded, and humiliated than girls would have been? Do you consider these 18 young boys’ pain and agony less real and unbearable because they are boys? And how about the parents of the victims, is their anger, pain, and feelings of betrayal at the hands of your office overblown?
  3. Now that you have admitted that the sexual orientation of the person committing the crime is taken into consideration, does that mean that if a homosexual had committed this exact same crime, you would have prosecuted this case with full force and righteous, fist-waving fury? Would it have been lock up that evil homo and throw away the key and not the one count of aggravated assault that you offered to Clifton and Kyle, who I assume you thought were just being mischievous heterosexual boys?
  4. And if it had been 2 homosexuals that had committed this crime, do you think the victims would feel more violated than they do now. Do you think the parents of the victims are breathing sighs of relief because their children were violated by two straight bullies rather than two gay bullies?
  5. And if, as you say, the sexual orientation of the perpetrator and the gender of the victim matter, does race or social status matter too – only in a more hush hush, wink wink kind of way? I mean, where do you draw the line? What if the victim had been the sexually active town hussy? What if the accused had been an illegal Mexican immigrant, or a poor black teenager, or a Native American, or just simply poor white trash?
  6. And does the sexual orientation of the victim matter? What if the victims were gay or perceived to be gay? Would you have taken that into consideration too? Would you have minimized their pain and sense of violation also? Would you have even bothered to prosecute the case?
  7. And just wondering, did you try and put yourself in the shoes of any of the 18 parents? Did you ask yourself how you would feel if your young son had broomsticks or flashlights shoved up his rectum at camp by two of the camp leaders? Would you be pleased with how this case was handled?

I am sorry, but I cannot help but join the growing crowd of people horrified by how you handled this case. And as the mother of a gay son, I feel a heightened sense of fear and revulsion since you obviously apply the law with caveats, i.e., Gay? Straight? Girl? Boy? Son of Senator? etc. I cannot help but wonder how you would have approached this case had it been my son (God forbid) accused of this crime. I now know he would not have had a snowball’s chance in hell, in your eyes he already has two strikes against him. He is gay and his parents are nobodies.

This whole thing just sends chills up my spine. It should not matter who commits the crime or who the victim is. Justice should be blind. Unfortunately you have demonstrated that you are not. You have re-victimized these 18 young boys and their families. You have violated your obligation to uphold the law. You have violated the core principles upon which our country was founded. Justice was not served in this case.

Not so respectfully,

Seething Mom


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Dear Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett

After I read the article on April 4, 2006 about your son, Clifton, which started out by saying:

Two men, including the 18-year-old son of Arizona's Senate president, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of aggravated assault for shoving broomsticks and flashlights up the rectums of 18 young boys last year.

Clifton Bennett, of Prescott, and Kyle Wheeler, 19, of Glendale, accepted a deal offered by the Yavapai County Attorney's Office to drop all but one of 36 original charges in exchange for the guilty plea.

Wheeler also pleaded guilty to an additional aggravated assault charge for choking three of the boys until they passed out.

Parents of the victims expressed frustration and anger over the plea deal, saying it was too lenient.

I could not get this story out of my mind. In fact I have spent a good week and a half trying to sort through the jumble of emotions I am feeling. I was shocked that my very first reaction was not pure unadulterated seething fury, but it wasn’t. It was actually sadness and compassion for you and your family. I know that if it had been my son who had committed these horrible crimes, my family would be utterly devastated, frightened, and horrified. Unfortunately, my immediate second reaction to this article was seething fury. You see if it had been my son, my gay son to be exact, he would not be getting off with a slap on the wrist like it appears your son will. And there are two reasons my son would not stand a chance of getting such special treatment. One, the fact that my son is gay would have guaranteed him many, many years in prison. How do I know this? Here is what Yavapai County prosecutor James Landis said:

… the case likely would have been treated differently if the victims were girls or if there was evidence that the defendants were homosexual.

And two, my child is just the son of two plain old ordinary people, not Senate Presidents or anything.

Now there is something else that is slowly simmering into a boiling fury within my soul. In fact it is starting to really eat me alive. I am going to have to use real restraint here, sir, because I certainly don’t want to come off as disrespectful or anything since I am addressing the Arizona Senate President and all. So here goes:

Senator, I respectfully request that you refrain from any and all discussion, debate, or passionate discourse (or whatever you want to call it) about the state marriage amendment banning gay marriages and civil unions in Arizona. I know this has been a very, very important issue for you, but I just don’t think I could maintain any semblance of sanity if I heard you telling me, one of your little peon constituents, that the state of Arizona needs this amendment to pass so that we can protect families and the sanctity of marriage. I hope you understand why I am respectfully asking this of you. You see, I have never understood how banning two people of the same sex from having their love and commitment to each other legally recognized hurts marriage or families. But, I do know that there are 18 families out there who will be dealing with the devastation of the crimes committed against them by two heterosexuals, one of whom is the son of an Arizona Senate President.

I thank you for your time on this matter.


Seething Mom


Friday, April 14, 2006

It’s Not A Choice You Idiots

Ok, I guess I’m not done ranting about this subject yet. I am not sure why the article about 22 year old Ruth Malhotra and her lawsuit demanding that her school revoke its tolerance policy because she feels it is an infringement on her religious expression sent me over the edge, but it did. I really really lost it on that one. In fact, I was so enraged that I was sick to my stomach with a pounding headache for two days. Normally, I try not to let these bible beating do-gooders get to me, but there was just something about a 22 year old trying to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment.

I have two sons about the same age as her. And this twit wants to make sure that one of them is open game for her harassment and discrimination and then she wants to disguise it under her tattered, smelly blanket of Christianity. Why? Because she is one of a select group of chosen ones who hold the exclusive direct line to God. And because of this privileged status, she knows that homosexuality is not an inborn trait, but rather a lifestyle choice. She knows that homosexuality is evil. And she has been tapped by God to save everyone from this evil. She will use our courts to try and dictate who meets her standards for humane and civil treatment and who does not.

Now one might argue that there are studies, lots of them, that are still trying to unravel the truth about sexual orientation. But these religious chosen ones already know the answers. They don’t need no stinkin studies or science. For them science is evil. For them science has no place in any discussion when they have the Good Book to tell them what is and is not. Heck, as far as the chosen ones are concerned the Bible (that book that is a copy of a copy of a copy of a translation of a translation of a translation by the only literate guy in town who, by the way, had this habit of adding little side notes in the margins that somehow made it into the text of the book as the irrefutable truth) trumps that old Constitution any day.

I know I am sounding a bit unhinged right now. Please forgive me, I am really seething over this. As a mom who knows her kids like no one else ever will, I resent some 22 year old, wet behind the ears, ignorant kid trying to tell me or anyone else that homosexuality is a choice and therefore those who choose it should be singled out and treated differently. This is wrong on so many levels, but let me make two points. First of all, no one knows for sure (though I have my strong opinions based on gut wrenching experience) whether homosexuality is a choice. Second, even if we were to someday prove that it is indeed a choice, who is Ruth Malhotra or anyone else to condemn it? She chooses to be cruel and bigoted in the name of Christianity and we even give her a forum in our legal system to espouse whatever nonsense she wants. No one is infringing on her rights to do it either. And Ruth, as much as I would like to put a sock in your mouth and shut you up, I realize that you have every right to spit out whatever your blessed (no pun intended) little heart desires. But as Shakespeare’s Sister has said many times: my rights end where yours begin, which when put into the only perspective you seem to see things from, translates into your rights, Ruth, end where someone else’s begin. And that includes people upon whose lifestyles you sanctimoniously look down your nose. Get it Ruth? You are entitled to speak your mind and even try to enshrine into law your twisted concept of religious expression, but you are NOT entitled to deem someone else unworthy of civil treatment because they don’t meet your standards. If homosexuality is a choice as you believe, and if it is evil as you believe, then please don’t choose to be an evil homosexual. I will make you a deal, you can continue being a pious, misguided Christian if you want and I promise I won’t sue for the right to harass the hell out of you. But maybe you should find some other cause that actually helps those less fortunate than you to prove what a good Christian you are --- maybe collecting money to feed the poor, or volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, or tutoring poor inner city kids who are struggling in school. How does that sound? Hey I will even give you my evil son’s phone number and he can tell you how good it feels to make a positive difference in a less fortunate person’s life.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Intolerance = Good Christian?

Dear Ruth Malhotra,

I have a big problem I need to discuss with you. I came home from a wonderful 4 days visiting my two sons who, like you, are in college and around your age (20 and almost 22). I am in this great mood because for the first time in months our entire family was able to get together and have this really nice time and enjoy this really wonderful city in which they go to school. Anyway, we get home, I get unpacked, do laundry, catch up on mail, return calls, and finally get a few free moments to sit down and catch up on the news I missed while I was gone. I am feeling really relaxed, really happy and then it happens, my head explodes. I stumble upon this LA Times article about your lawsuit demanding that your school, Georgia Tech, revoke its tolerance policy because you see it as an unacceptable infringement on your right to religious expression. Huh????? Are you kidding me???? You are feeling infringed upon because there are policies in place that protect people who are gay from being harassed by the likes of people like you? Really? No kidding? You’re for real? And you’re actually doing this in the name of Christianity? Wow!

Ruthie, Ruthie, Ruthie you poor misguided, ignorant child, what on earth is wrong with your life that you, at the tender age of 22 have nothing better to do than to initiate a lawsuit intended to rip away protections of anyone who does not fit your idea of the perfect Christian? How on earth do policies protecting people from harassment for something they cannot help hurt you? Let me tell you why I am having a royal conniption fit right now. One of my sons is gay. And I can tell you from firsthand experience that he had absolutely, positively, NO CHOICE in this matter. As his mother I watched the agony and torment this child went through for years, alone and afraid, because of cruel and hateful people like you. I can tell you with the certainty of a mother who watched helplessly for what felt like an eternity that he fought like hell to be Ruth Malhotra’s brand of generic, nothing out of the ordinary, sterilized normal. I can tell you that after years of praying, begging, pleading, denying, and pretending to be something he could never really be, he finally accepted that God meant him to be who he is. He finally realized that he never had a choice in the matter, he finally realized he was born gay, he finally realized that people like Ruth Malhotra are snake oil Christians and not real Christians. He finally realized that his life would never be like Ruth Malhotra’s life and that he was damned grateful about that. He finally realized that he would have to deal with pompous, sanctimonious, little asses like Ruth Malhotra his entire life. And he finally realized that people like Ruth Malhotra will one day have to stand before God and explain their hateful actions.

Ruth, nothing sets an already Seething Mom into a rip roaring fury faster than some snot-nosed, hateful, misguided, sanctimonious, pretend Christian telling me, a mother who has spent many a night crying, begging, and pleading to God to help her son accept who he is. I knew my child was different from a very early age. I may not have put my finger on what exactly was different, but I sure as hell knew that he was different and that he had problems with being different as soon as he was old enough to know that he did not quite fit in with the Ruth Malhotra crowd. Ruth, do you have any idea how it feels to have your heart breaking into a million little pieces because someone you love more than life itself is hurting, really hurting and you know that you are powerless to make the pain go away? Ruth, have you ever been able to feel empathy? Are you capable of knowing the depths of someone else’s pain? Have you ever heard that saying about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes? Do you even care about anyone other than yourself?

And I suppose what makes your lawsuit and your misplaced sanctimonious superiority even more hideous to me is thinking back on the last conversation my husband and I had with our oldest son right before we left to come home. He is getting ready to graduate in May after 3 years of grueling, heavy, coursework (averaging 23-26 units per semester) and a semester at Oxford. He will be graduating at the top of his class with a dual major in Political Science and Economics. He is planning on going to law school. He is an extremely optimistic, high on life, goal oriented person. But he has a big problem right now. He does not feel that he can go on with his educational goals until he finds a way to give back to those less fortunate than him. He has interviewed with both the Peace Corps and another program in which he will devote 2-3 years of his life teaching in a very poor inner city school. Ruth, this kid is one of the most driven individuals you will ever meet. He sets goals and then he achieves them. But he has decided that he must take a break and do something for those less fortunate. His dreams and goals will have to wait until he satisfies this need to give back. He wants no attention, no accolades, no praise. He just wants the satisfaction of knowing that he has made a positive difference in other people’s lives. I cannot convey the pride my husband and I felt that night as he told us this.

Ruth, I can’t help but wonder how your parents feel about what you are doing. Are they proud, are they ashamed, do they feel they failed as parents? I would be so heartbroken if you were my daughter. I know I would feel as though I failed as a parent if one of my children were doing what you are doing. I pity your parents for they shall never know the pride my husband and I felt the other night when we listened as our son apologetically explained to us why he had to take time off from school. Ruth, real Christians don’t waste time worrying about their rights to be intolerant, in fact real Christians don’t tolerate people who make a mockery of true Christianity. And you, dear, are making a mockery of true Christianity.

Hat tip to Shakespeare’s Sister for pointing me to this nightmare article in the first place. Please go read her take on this whole thing, as always she does not disappoint.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We Are Back

We are home, we are exhausted, and it was fun.

I had forgotten what a crazy, upside down schedule college kids keep. It’s been a few years since I was in college, but judging from what I saw while visiting our two sons, not a whole lot has changed since I was a co-ed. Their day begins between 1:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon, meals are whenever and whatever they can scrounge or afford, laundry is done every 3-4 weeks (easier to buy new undies than to wash the dirty ones), a $.50 an hour raise at work is reason enough to go out and celebrate on the town, and a night on the town doesn’t really start happening until about 11:00 p.m.

Our arrival to town was greeted with sincere happiness and anticipation. My husband and I never felt so loved, adored, and wanted. Carefully prepared shopping lists were presented, restaurants they could only dream of eating at were chosen and reserved, dorm rooms and apartments were cleaned to a presentable state, and girlfriends and boyfriends were introduced. It was great.

These past few days brought back a lot of wonderful memories from my college days, but no desire to go back to those days. I loved them while I lived them, but reliving those long gone college days again vicariously through our sons did not make me long to have them back, it just wore me out. It was truly wonderful to see them enjoying their college years as much as I enjoyed mine. They don’t know it yet, but they will probably look back on these years of poverty, hard work, and dreams as some of the best, most carefree years of their life, I know I do.

It is great to be home. I need my routine, I need my sleep, and I need to eat normal food at normal hours. Ugh, I think ….

I might be getting old. Share

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It’s Spring Break…

and we are headed out of town to visit our two college sons. Posting will probably be very light for the next 4-5 days.

Even Seething Moms need a break…


Make Way for a Real Maverick

Move over Senator McCain, there is a real maverick in town. And in today’s political climate filled with robotic, programmed yes-men, scared to do anything that might negatively affect their poll numbers, this is really good news. His name is Senator Russ Feingold and he is the real deal. He is a man who follows his conscience regardless of where it might take him. His decisions are based on what he feels is best for the country and not what’s best for his political career. (Can you feel the fresh air?) He uses the constitution as his bible and not the other way around. He does not pander to the Dobson, Falwell, Robertson crowd. He makes decisions that other Republicans and Democrats consider political suicide because he cares more about this country than his popularity. He is an American first and a politician second. He is so true to himself that often times he finds himself standing alone, even fellow Democrats who might be in agreement desert him. He is a true hero. He is a man of integrity. He is a man whose priorities are in the right place. He is a real maverick.

He saw through the Bush Administration’s smoke and mirrors campaign for war with Iraq and voted against it. He was the only one willing to vote against the Patriot Act even though others shared the same fears he had that it went too far, sacrificing precious rights and freedoms for vague assertions of making the country safer. And when President Bush authorized a no-warrant domestic surveillance program, Senator Feingold dared to accuse Bush of breaking the law and misleading Congress about it and proceeded to seek censure of the President, again with no support from Republicans, and most Democrats cowering in the shadows. But what sealed my admiration for this man is when he came out this week and said

he not only opposes a constitutional amendment in Wisconsin to ban gay marriage and civil unions, but in fact, favors full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Calling such a ban a "mean-spirited attempt to divide Wisconsin," Feingold urged constituents at a Paddock Lake "listening session" not to support it.

He went on to argue not just for civil unions, but gay marriage.

"Gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy." Feingold went on to add, "[This] kind of discrimination ... has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue."

The Senator went on to argue that religious groups do not have to recognize any civil marriage.

Thank you Senator Feingold for giving me some hope that there are still people out there that care more about this country than their own political aspirations.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dear Mr. President

Times are tough right now, I feel for you. So many of your own are turning on you and now criticizing you in public. It must be hard seeing so many in your own party distancing themselves from you as though you are radioactive. I am sure you can’t help but wonder where all that love and complete unquestioning devotion and obedience you used to enjoy is.

Well maybe I can brighten your day a little. I am writing you, not to pile on, but to thank you. You see, I used to be a Republican, but you sir, helped me see the light. You helped me see that I am absolutely, positively NOT a Republican. You helped me realize that I just don’t hold dear any of the values that you and your party hold near and dear to your hearts. You helped me realize that I have probably been in the wrong party my entire life. Wow, do you know how much painful introspection you have saved me? You opened my eyes and made me ask myself some really, really difficult questions about my country and what I feel is best for it, about my family and what I feel is best for them, about what my duties and obligations as a good American citizen are, and about our world and what our global obligations as Americans are. None of my answers to those issues even remotely matched the policies you have in place. You helped me realize that I am not on board with any of the Republican philosophies or values. I really do owe you. I needed the wake up call you provided me. And I am not the only one who owes you a big debt of gratitude, my husband thanks you, my mom thanks you, my 3 voting-age kids thank you, 3 of my 4 siblings and their wives thank you, many of my friends thank you, and half my bunco group thanks you. It feels so good to see things clearly now. And you are responsible. Thank you.

Now I would be remiss if I did not mention one teensy little detail that actually started our transformation in motion. That catalyst, so to speak, was learning that we have a gay son. But up until about November or December of 2003 when we learned this little tidbit of info I actually thought our family was the perfect American family as per the specs set forth by the Dobson, Falwell, Robertson crowd and the Republican Party. Imagine our horror learning that one of our sons was one of those nasty, dangerous homos that you incessantly talked about while campaigning for a second term as President of the United States. It was just devastating to know that we had one of those horrible threats to American families and the sanctity of marriage living right under our roof. He looked so harmless, so normal, and so sweet. He even acted like a typical teenager preparing for college and worrying about grades and SAT scores, and his social life, and what he was going to do on the coming Friday night. We were completely fooled. It was at that point I realized that we were really the antithesis of the perfect American family and the perfect Republican and the perfect Christian as defined by you and your base. So that was actually what first set things in motion, but don’t you fret, you sealed the deal and get credit for everything else. The only thing I am having a tough time figuring out at this point is what could possibly have triggered about 60% or more of the rest of the country to reach the same conclusions we have reached. They can’t all have gay children, can they?

Hat tip to AMERICAblog for the pointer to the article that inspired this thank you note. Share

Ireland Gets It

"Sexual orientation cannot, and must not, be the basis of a second-class citizenship," - Irish prime minister, Bertie Ahern, yesterday.

Ireland will soon legislate civil partnership rights for gay couples, the legal equivalent of marriage in the UK. What's fascinating to me is how two of the most historically Catholic countries in Western Europe, Spain and Ireland, are now in the forefront of recognizing gay civil equality. Italy and France are, however, less evolved. Perhaps the link between Spain and Ireland is that both countries endured many decades of Church-State collusion, allowing the Church to enjoy astonishing civil powers. The sex abuse scandal helped the collapse of the Church hierarchy's moral authority in both countries. But it's politicization that wounded both Spanish and Irish churches in the long run. There's a lesson there for America's Christianists. There is a price for conflating religion and politics. Eventually, it will come back to haunt you.-- Andrew Sullivan


Sunday, April 02, 2006

It’s Official – Good Bye!

In an earlier post I wrote Senator John McCain lamenting the fact that he had abandoned all of the qualities that had set him apart from other politicians and earned him the name Maverick. Well today, Crooks and Liars has a clip from today’s Meet the Press that just confirms my point. I guess I had to actually see the Senator in action before I could really be at peace with his complete transformation. I can now move on. Any admiration I had for him is just a memory now. He will never, ever get my vote. Wow, I never thought that someone like John McCain would jump in bed with the likes of Jerry Falwell, but alas he has, and alas I say good bye.

And on another note sort of related but not really, I could not help but notice that each time Senator McCain referred to Jerry Falwell as the Reverend, I found myself bristling. I don’t know why that is… Share

Whatever It Takes

Well here we go again, yet another Republican politician resorting to dirty panic politics to save his political career. The poll numbers start sinking so it’s time to reach out to the base (I’m using restraint here) and appeal to their bigotry and ignorance to get the ol numbers back up again… It’s the same old tired trick the GOP pulls every time things get tight. This time it is Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio. His lead against Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in the upcoming 2006 Senate race is shrinking so according to the Columbus Dispatch:

he will take a lead role in pushing for a U.S. constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, at least in part to regain support from unhappy conservatives in his state.

He realizes that he will

need a heavy turnout from conservatives, many of whom are unhappy with him on issues of same-sex marriage and curbing immigration.

It looks like he is going to have a close race with Sherrod Brown. It makes a lot of sense politically for him to want to solidify that (conservative) base and this is one way to do it," said John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron and an expert on religion and politics.

I just wish people would wake up and recognize that any politician that can so easily throw a whole group of people under the bus in a desperate attempt to save his or her own career is truly unfit to hold office. And those who fall for this divisive trick hook, line, and sinker need to ask themselves why they think they are safe from ever being singled out and deemed expendable.

And one more observation. It seems that every article I read lately that describes the GOP base as unhappy then goes on to describe what would make that base deliriously happy and the solution always seems to be marginalizing a specific group of people. I just cannot wrap my mind around the idea that there are people whose contentment with a politician is contingent on how willing that politician is to deny a whole group of people rights that everyone else is guaranteed under our constitution. Why is it that the unhappy conservative base cannot be happy until they know that others’ unhappiness is enshrined into the law of the land? I just don’t get it. This is not about values, this is about cruelty and ignorance. Share

Saturday, April 01, 2006