Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wake me when it's November

So sorry about my complete lack of attention to this blog. I can only defend myself by saying that I have worked myself into a complete state of paralysis. I am now at the point where even putting my thoughts into a coherent blog post is too overwhelming a task. I just cannot seem to shake a very intense feeling of foreboding about the upcoming presidential election. And with each day this terrible sense of doom seems to be growing. I wake up each morning so sick to my stomach that I debate whether or not to read the morning paper or even turn on my computer.

I am hyper-aware of how dirty the GOP can get when it is backed into a corner and I fear that any confidence we may be feeling at this point in the game is very foolish. Each day I encounter some kind of reminder that this thing is not a done deal for Democrats. And what is most sobering to me is that dirty slimy campaign ads work. I am gobsmacked daily with reminders of just how many people so willingly buy into it all.

Maybe living in an area that is so overwhelmingly conservative is part of the problem. I just cannot escape the madness. On a daily basis I run into people, even people I admire and respect, who blow me away with statements (about Obama) like: “I just don’t trust him.” Or “You know he’s a Muslim.” Or “Well McCain has the experience to handle the terrorism and wars we are in – you know he’s a war hero – don’t you?”

But maybe worse than anything else for me is the complete selfishness that I see going into so many people’s decision-making process: “I’m a small business owner and Obama is going to tax me to death.” Or “I don’t see anything wrong with our health care system, I am very happy with my insurance and care.” Or “I don’t want to pay higher taxes and Obama will raise my taxes.” And I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that this is an area of very well-to-do people who go to gyms that have every TV turned on to CNBC and start sentences with “I” and end them with “me”.

I even dread getting together with friends anymore. I just don’t want to find out that yet another person I know and admire is approaching this election as an uninformed, selfish, Fox-news sound-bite voter. And then to top things off, when I inform them that I will be voting for Barack Obama for president, I end up a recipient of every viral email containing the latest horror the GOP has dreamed up about Obama.

So to sum up, I am in a stupefying funk that shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. I am scared to death that ignorance and selfishness is going to give us 4 more years of nightmarish Republican rule. And I am going into hermit mode. Posting may be very light for quite some time.


Friday, August 01, 2008

And who will speak for the homophobes?

Jon Stewart must feel like manna is falling from heaven when people like Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness, open their mouths to defend the indefensible. And sure enough, last Wednesday when Ms. Donnelly testified before Congress about why she felt the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy should remain in place, she did not disappoint.

And did Jon Stewart ever have a field day. Not only did he brilliantly cut through Ms. Donnelly’s pathetic homophobic bullsh*t, but he was able to boil her testimony down to one easy-to-understand line: If we let gays and lesbians serve openly, who will speak for the homophobes:

(Cannot get the video code to embed) Video can be seen here.

But crazy, hateful , homophobic rantings aside, there was something else that was really bothering me about Ms. Donnelly’s testimony and it went beyond the fact that she wants to keep able-bodied, patriotic gays and lesbians from serving their country openly and honestly without fear of dismissal. And it even went beyond her nutty screeds about “gay men sharing a cramped submarine with other soldiers,” and her stupid comments about “inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community", and her irrational fears about "forcible sodomy," and her idiotic obsessions about "exotic forms of sexual expression," and her fear-mongering tales about “groups of black lesbians who want to gang-assault" fellow soldiers.

But I just could not put my finger on what it was that was bothering me more than the above mentioned craziness. And then I read this post over at Obsidian Wings and he articulated perfectly what I could not:

I imagine that it often happens that soldiers who are part of the same unit do not like one another. Sometimes, a soldier might even despise another member of his or her unit, or think that other soldier immoral or contemptible. And yet, when these feelings do not have to do with sexual orientation, we routinely expect soldiers to put their personal feelings aside and do their jobs. And when they don't, we assume that they, not the people they endanger, should be disciplined.

If, for instance, a soldier is racist, and cannot find a way to work with African-American soldiers, we do not discipline or expel the African-Americans. If a soldier dislikes another and cannot put her feelings aside and do her job, we do not punish the soldier she dislikes; we punish her. In all other cases, we assume that given a choice between two soldiers, one of whom is trying to complete his mission to the best of his ability, and one of whom is unable or unwilling to put his animosity aside and do his job, we choose the first. We expect this of our men and women in uniform, and we also expect that they will be given the training and the leadership they need to act like professionals.

I have never understood why it's different when gay men and lesbians enter the picture.

Bam! He nailed it. That was what was bugging me – that a crazy unhinged woman with no military service or expertise could look straight into the eyes of a retired Marine Staff Sargent named Eric Alva, a gay man who lost a leg to an IED in Iraq, and tell him and Congress, with a straight face no less, that she was worried – NOT ABOUT HIM -- but about her fellow homophobes. What in God’s name is wrong with our country? And why the hell was this woman even given a platform and a microphone to speak. What a slap in the face to all the brave gay and lesbian men and women who have selflessly served our country and defended Ms. Donnelly’s right to be a despicable homophobe. Share