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February 26, 2006

God Knows When But You’re Doing It Again

As you may have read, laws banning adoption of children by gays and lesbians is presently at issue in 16 states. Of course, I was about to launch into my typical tirade against religious-based hated and bigotry, but I’ve pissed up that tree so many times birds won’t nest there anymore. Besides, that’s not the real issue, is it?

The real issue is the Religious Right has found another wedge issue to bring their hysterical flock out to the polls to do the right thing. Once again branding homosexuals as monster child molesters set upon infecting the nation’s youth with their abominable disease and furthering their Satanic agenda, they will bring the idiots and fools out in massive numbers. Once there, the Religious Right believes, they will vote for the correct candidates, as instructed by their ministers, by the hate emails they receive, and by their own worst and most irrational fears. We saw it two years ago, when these same people used this same tactic to condemn same-sex marriage in 10 states pivotal to the Bush Administration.

In order to secure their support, George W. Bush – the world’s most successful liar – promised these fools a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. They turned out at the polls, he won election and then abandoned his promise.

Now, to quote Bob Dylan, “god knows when, but you’re doing it again.” And the stooges-of-faith are falling for it.

It’s the only chance Bush’s people have. They’re self-destructing faster than the plot premise in Mission: Impossible. Our ports, Cheney’s hunting expeditions, domestic spying, the Plame Game, the Iraqi Civil War that dares not speak its name, the 25,000 American casualties in Iraq, charges against Republican Congressional leaders … all in all, it hasn’t been a great year for the Administration. So they reach for the hate card. God knows when, but they’re doing it again.

So if you happen to live in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont or West Virginia, this might very well be a wonderful time to get out and organize. It’ll go a ways towards making up for taking Roe vs. Wade for granted.

To reach for my favorite Dylan quote, “Don’t follow leaders; watch the parking meters.” They’re ticking down to November, folks.

Posted by Mike Gold at February 26, 2006 03:33 PM

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Organize what? A third party? A write-in campaign? The Democratic party is dead. If the Dems don't shake themselves out of their collective coma and take back either the House or the Senate this year, then I predict 20 years of oppressive Republican rule, while the remnants of the Democratic party wither and die, before a viable new party emerges to challenge the GOP hegemony. I'm afraid things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get any better.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 26, 2006 04:10 PM

The Democratic Party isn't dead; it's merely choaking on its own cowardace.

But you live in Illinois, home to two quite capable Democratic senators (that's twice as many as we've got in Connecticut) and a pretty decent Democratic governor, as governors go, even if he hadn't heard about The Daily Show. And a couple of good Democratic congresspeople. Outside of Roddy, I don't know who in Illinois' statewide races are worthy of support, but then again, Illinois isn't one of the 16 states with the anti-gay/lesbian adoption agenda.

At least, not yet.

I wonder how Illinois' post-November statewide politicians are likely to vote on keeping abortion legal in the state. You probably recall abortion was legal in your state prior to Roe vs. Wade. It would be nice to keep it that way after Bush's Supremes knock it down on the federal level, and it ain't going to be the Green Party or the Libertarians that will make it so.

There are Democrats worthy of support. Hell, there are even a few Republicans worthy of support. But not many. And, since somebody's got to win those seats, get off of the "lesser of two evils" shit and support those who are supporting values and issues that are critical to you.

Posted by: Mike Gold at February 26, 2006 05:50 PM

Durbin voted for the Patriot Act (along with just about everybody but Russ Feingold). Obama didn't seem to think filibustering a judge who wants to destroy the constitutionn was a worthy cause. My own Democratic congressional rep is so indistinguishable from her Republican predecessor that she's been dubbed "Phil Crane Lite" -- but compared to her potential Republican opponent, she's the poster child for the liberal agenda. Nevertheless, I've already donated $100 to an independent challenger. I don't care if he splits the Democratic vote, and the Republican wins. I'm tired of voting for cowards and crooks.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 27, 2006 07:57 AM

Obama didn't support the filibuster because it had no chance. I like a politician who is more interested in being effective than symbolic. In fairness to Durbin, who doesn't earn full marks in my book but has done a fairly decent job, everyone was voting for the Patriot Act. He helped flatten the liability cap on asbestos-related health claims (which is a subject near and dear to my heart), after a bit of waffling on the subject. Jan Shakowsky, my rep, is stellar and supports everything I do. I just keep writing letters. It works.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at February 27, 2006 10:09 AM

42 senators voted against Alito. A filibuster only takes 41. I like a senator who believes in standing up for what he believes in rather than making sure he has the votes before standing up for anything. The Democrats keep waiting until they have the votes to stand up for anything; so consequently they spend most of their time flat on their asses because...guess what?...they never have the votes.

And "everyone was voting for the Patriot Act" sure impresses the heck out of me as well-reasoned rationale for following the herd.

But in fairness to Durbin, he has subsequently developed a spine -- and I'll probably vote for both Durbin and Obama again next time around. I will never again, however, cast a vote for Melissa Bean.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 27, 2006 10:26 AM

Given the post 9/11 climate, everyone voting for the Patriot Act is a lot more excusable in my book than other kinds of kneejerk reactions. The Patriot Act is a terrible piece of legislation, and I will never forgive anyone who votes to reauthorize it. But I was scared after the attacks, just like a whole lot of other people. Thinking clearly doesn't go with fear.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at February 27, 2006 11:52 AM

They say that many people voted for George Bush because he seemed like the kind of a guy you could go have a beer with. Personally, that's the last guy I want running the country. I would like to hold our national leaders to a somewhat higher standard; so I'm not giving anyone a pass on the Patriot Act based on the fear factor -- and IMHO, the only thing the Democrats were afraid of was appearing to be "soft" on terrorism. The Republicans keep telling them that they'll look weak and they don't have the votes anyway; so the Democrats meekly go along.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 27, 2006 01:23 PM

Y'see, I think most of those dolts actually thought the Patriot Act was a good thing at the time. They believed it was temporary and, heck, we've always suspended various liberties during times of war, going all the way back, according to the Bush Administration, to President Washington's electronic surveillance. And they knew their constituants were real jumpy. So was their family. Remember, Washington got bombed as well.

But today, it's a different turf. The war on terrorism is being conducted exactly like the war on drugs ("this is your brain; this is your brain under the constant threat of terrorism -- from your own government!"). Bill Buckley thinks the real war is a bad idea. So does most of the American people.

We know we've got to change our mindset and things have changed. I was at Grand Central Terminal this weekend; lots of soldiers in fatigues wandering around looking for Arabs, wondering why they weren't at the ports.

The Bush Administration is on the ropes. They don't care; they can do a lot in two years. But by and large their Republican friends in Congress, particularly those running for reelection, no longer want the White House's support.

The Democrats can win back the Congress. Republicans can move from the far right and still get votes. It's the Religious Right that ain't gonna budge, and I'd vote for Saddam before I vote for one of those freaks.

Posted by: Mike Gold at February 27, 2006 01:39 PM

Rick, it's easy to take the high ground when no one's firing at you. There's what our politicians should do and what they do do. Yes, they thought the Patriot Act was a good idea because all they got were the talking points and felt something had to be done. Most legislators don't get any time to read and digest the legislation they're voting for anymore. On "NOW," some congressmen were given 1.5 hours to read a 600-page budget proposal full of pork before they had to vote.

I think we should gather intelligence and then do something intelligent with it. We are more vulnerable than we need to be. Unfortunately, nobody cares about protecting people, only government contractors.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at February 27, 2006 02:33 PM


This is not a case of hindsight being 20-20. I knew enough about the Patriot Act before it was passed to know it was really bad idea. Durbin presumably knew at least as much as I did. As soon the vote results were in, I fired off an angry email to him. I realize that politicians have to make compromises -- but not compromises in our fundamental rights. We're not talking about some pork spending on a weapons system that doesn't work, we're talking about the Bill of Rights.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 27, 2006 03:09 PM

I'm really not trying to split hairs about this--though it will look that way--but gun-control advocates look like they're trying to mess with the Bill of Rights, too? I know you'll say that the right to bear arms is being taken out of context by the NRA to assert its constitutional rights, but I guess people look at rights differently. I essentially agree with you, but I'm not as cynical about the motives surrounding the original passage of the Patriot Act as you are. If the terrorists had not been found to have been using libraries, would the Act have included reporting from libraries? I doubt it. The legislation was as reactive as every other thing we do--like removing our shoes at airports TO THIS DAY because one nut smuggled a weapon in his heel. Yes, it was a bad piece of legislation, but because it did nothing to solve a problem that still needs to be solved and it has been used since then for other opportunistic purposes.

Posted by: Marilyn Ferdinand at February 27, 2006 04:59 PM

Although I may not agree with the NRA's interpretation of the second amendment, at least they err on the side of bestowing rights rather than taking them away.

The Patriot Act is only one of the many ways the current administration has been stripping away our rights and constitutional protections, and I don't see the Democratic leadership doing much about it. I don't even see them getting particularly vocal about it.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 27, 2006 09:55 PM

Hey, Mike, have you heard the latest case of "judicial activism" which won't be challenged by the usual suspects on the Right because it helps one of *their* causes?
It seems that a Tennessee judge has ruled the anti-same sex marriage amendment may appear on the ballot DESPITE the fact the state's legislators FAILED to operate under Tennessee's very process for amending its Constitution. Yep, that's right. The judge has ruled that apparently amending the Tennessee state Constitution doesn't have to follow proper procedures if the "extensive" media and Web site coverage meant that "the proposed amendment was actually, although not officially, published well in advance of the six-month window required by the Constitution."
Full information can be found at http://www.planetout.com/news/article.html?2006/02/27/3

I'm already resigned to the utter irony of Alabama's likely overwhelming support for the upcoming Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. (For those not in the know, the State's voters just *6* years ago added an amendment formally overturning the state's ban on miscegenation. What's really disheartening about that vote was it was still opposed by more than 35% of the state's voters, despite the fact that the Constitution ban on miscegenation had been unenforceable for more than 30 years following the Supreme Court's Loving decision.) This state's legislature just recently failed to add "sexual orientation" to the state's hate crimes laws, and, last year, we even had one legislator who wanted to bar any gay-themed (or gay-positive) material from State-operated libraries, even to the point of pulling any existing books in the libraries and taking them out to landfill facilities (fortunately, he didn't receive any support from his fellow legislators).
Of course, most of us in the State are more concerned at the very chillingly real possibility that Roy Moore (who's no friend to the GLBT community) could become Governor and turn the current "poor" condition for the state's GLBT community to "utterly abysmal". The notion that the most vehemently anti-gay candidate could become Governor while the State's Constitution (now approaching 800 amendments and growing by the year) could begin a turn towards turning non-heterosexuals into second-class citizen gives most of the state's GLBT leaders far more concerned with keeping Moore out of the Governor's Mansion (the State Constitution can ALWAYS be amended; a Moore governorship will give the Christian Right's agenda its first template for a national version).

Posted by: JosephW at February 28, 2006 02:26 AM

Fundamentalists puzzle me. Aren't most of the biblical rules they wave around in the Old Testament? Leviticus, which is usually quoted as the anti-gay source, is certainly in the Old Testament. I thought Fundamentalists were all about Jesus 'n pals. You'd think they'd find the Jewish origins of the Old Testament somewhat suspect. And although Jesus may not have laid down a lot of concrete rules, he was pretty specific about money lenders (or at least the Catholic church seemed to think so for a long time) -- and up until a couple hundred years ago, no good Christian could engage in usury. Yet I don't see any of those modern bible thumpers demanding a constitutional amendment banning the lucrative loan industry.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at February 28, 2006 10:27 AM

I still call hypocrisy on anyone who claims to be a True Believer for following the rules from Leviticus on homosexuality, but still eats cheeseburgers and shellfish and uses indoor plumbing (all issues specifically addressed in that same book!).

Posted by: Jonathan (the other one) at March 8, 2006 05:48 AM

Jonathan (the other one), you don't even have to worry about the cheeseburgers and shellfish to cry "Hypocrite" at True Believers. Hell, there ain't a True SOUTHERN Believer who could pass up any part of the good old pig when it comes to eating. Pork barbecue is part and parcel of most outdoor political rallies here in 'Bama, and you can best believe there's a fair number of "God-fearin' Christians" who won't say no to multiple helpings of that flavored shredded pork. (Heck, it's nearly guaranteed that the meat in any barbecue is pork unless otherwise specified.)
And, lest we forget, nearly every True SOUTHERN Believer starts his New Year off with a good helping of black-eyed peas (flavored with some pork product), usually accompanied by a nice portion of pig-meat (typically, it's ham, but pork chops are a common alternative). In fact, here in 'Bama, grocery stores and meat markets are usually stripped bare of whole hams and packs of pork chops by the early evening of Dec 31 (just as there are usually no turkeys left in the stores the night before Thanksgiving).
Then, there's chitlins (actually, "chitterlings", but ain't no one pronounces the word according to its proper spelling) and pork rinds--the latter being just slightly higher on the social acceptability scale (at least, until you get one that still has some of the hog's bristles on it *EEK!*); of course, most of the pork rinds on sale are little more than pork-flavored potato or corn chips, that could explain the higher acceptability. Nor should we forget the oh-so-popular pickled pig's feet (although, they have fallen into some disfavor among southern whites, as have chitlins). We also see pig's ears and pork tripe on sale in many mainstream grocery stores.
But it is utterly amazing how so many Southerners are so quick to spout the Bible's "homosexuality is an abomination" but have no problems eating Biblical "abominations".

Posted by: JosephW at March 19, 2006 11:55 AM

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