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Archive for the ‘2012 Presidential Election’ Category

I’ve decided that in the grand scope of life, this one Presidential Election isn’t going to make or break us. Indeed – life will go on after the polls close on November 6, 2012.

I believe what we must ask ourselves is how we all live with one other after the polls close on November 6, 2012.  All the snarky remarks, all the lies, all the predictions, all the insults, all the gay-bashing, all the Republican-bashing, all the Democratic-bashing, all the bashing of everything  and everyone  – It will all turn  into the giant pile of poo when this election is over, and then what?

How do we keep religion, political parties and gender out of the mix and come together as human beings?  How do we push aside the poo and understand that without one another we will all simply be what we are right at this moment; stuck in our own truths.

Why can’t we just let people be?  I don’t care what you believe as far as religion goes – why would you care what I believe?  The beauty of America is that we have the freedom to believe or not believe whatever we choose.  Just because someone doesn’t believe what you do or read the same book you do or follow the same god you do doesn’t mean you must demonize them.  Just let them be.

And why do people care who I love? Why does it matter to anyone that I’ve been in love with the same woman for over 30 years? And why, instead of making us look like we are spawns of the devil, isn’t someone saying: “30 years? How wonderful!”  Isn’t love simply – love?

To be honest, I’m not sure how I’m going to look at the Republicans in my life after this election and find common ground with them.  I know I need to just let them be, for they are to enjoy the freedom of their beliefs – then again – they voted for me not to enjoy the same freedom that they enjoy and that is poo which goes right to my heart.  Is there any common ground with these people? Perhaps not and perhaps just walking away would be the right thing to do for me. Like I said – Just let them be.

We all live in the same space and breathe the same air, but the playing field is not a level one.  We all know this, and we all at one time or another acknowledge this. Any one of us could be living on the streets, or in shelters or in a tent under a bridge if circumstances in our lives had been different.  These are the people who need us to put aside all the poo of politics and just help when and where we can.

After all the poo of this election – I’m going to focus on the good in the world – where to find it, how to give it, how to write it.  In the end, we are all only here on this earth for a short time, and it’s not about how much time you have, it’s about what you do with the time you have that really matters.

I’m going to find the good poo and roll in it!

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As a woman who will be turning the age of 60 in less than a month, one would think I would have a fine grasp on my life, wouldn’t one? And as an out and activist lesbian who writes a weekly column, one would think I could find the appropriate words for every situation I find myself in, wouldn’t one?

Lately, this has not been my experience.

I find myself in a position of knowing what is right for me, and yet not knowing how to get my point across with style and grace and not come off sounding pissy and self-serving.

Allow me to try to explain…

As a woman and as a lesbian, this Presidential Election is a clear choice between what is right and what is wrong for me.  President Obama is what is right; for women (me), for the gay community (me), for the citizens of the United States of America (me).  Period. End of story.

Each and every one of us should vote our conscience and in doing such, this is where the problem lies with me and those who choose to vote Republican in this particular Presidential Election.  For me, I take it personally when someone I know and who knows me is choosing to vote against my being equal to them in every sense of the word.  It’s personal to me that you believe that I’m somehow less valuable than you – that my life isn’t quite as important as yours. You may say: “Barb, I most certainly don’t feel that way,” but a vote for this Republican ticket most certainly says that you indeed do feel that way.

And how exactly am I to feel about you casting a vote against me?  Seriously, what am I to do with this smack-down of my civil and human liberties? You tell me how I’m supposed to treat someone who votes to make sure I will be kept as the “less-than” status for at least four more years – perhaps longer. Am I to treat you with the same disdain with which you are treating me with your vote?  Am I to wish the same inequalities for you and your family that you are voting for me and my family?

I’d like to think I could just shut you out of my life – and in some instances this is exactly what I have done, but…  I’m not sure this is really the right thing to do.  How do we reach people with the truth when we shut them out of our lives? How do we make people understand that the gay community is simply a community of human beings who simply want to live our lives as free and equal Americans if we cut out everyone who chooses to vote against us? Will this not just prove the point that we are pissy and self-serving?  Will that simply not keep us divided and uncommunicative?

Then again – how can I have any respect for someone who knowingly votes against me? How do I keep you in my life when I know your vote went to keep me from having the same civil liberties as you? That your vote went to make sure women don’t get equal pay for equal work. That you voted for a man who has no desire to allow women to make their own decisions about health-care and abortions, and that you care little for the environment and the arts and look at the elderly and disabled veterans as moochers and victims.  How do I find any redeeming qualities in your vote?

This is where my firm grasp on my life tends to slip a little. I know full well who I am; I’m out and proud and make no excuses or exceptions for that. But, I also understand that we all have differences, and we all see the world with different eyes.  Still, I’d like to believe that human dignity is something every one of us would see clearly through every set of eyes. I could be wrong, but I still have hope.

The one thing constant about life is that is just keeps going. We will all survive this election, some of us better than others depending on the outcome.  Either way, if you vote Republican and we come in contact with one another – I’ll be asking you face to face why you believe I’m not equal to you, and why you believe I don’t have the same right to everything this life has to offer as you do.  Don’t start by telling me your vote wasn’t anything personal against me – for it most certainly was – Start by telling me why your human dignity is more important than mine.  I’ll try not to be pissy and self-serving, but I can’t guarantee anything…

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I wonder if the people who go to Las Vegas know that the United States is facing an economical challenge. I also wonder if they know and understand that people are not supposed to have money to burn. I only ask this because I’ve seen a whole lot of people throwing money into machines and on tables and at scantily clad women while I’ve been in Las Vegas the past few days.

If I were not a person who read or watched television and only based my knowledge of the condition of the American economy on what I have seen the past two days; I would honestly assume that we were the richest nation on earth, we have no poor or homeless, everyone had jobs, everyone was secure, and everyone had hundreds and hundreds of dollars to just give away.

I sat with a group of older gentlemen this afternoon who were a-waitin for their “women-folk.” Yes, they actually did call them their “women-folk.” We were all in this amazing Parisian bakery inside the Paris Hotel and Casino.  I was eating this chocolate twist that made me want to do a little happy dance, as it was almost as wonderful as the one I had when we were really in Paris, France.  I was totally enjoying the decadence of it all without one ounce of guilt, when these gentlemen asked if they could use the extra chairs at my little table.

They were from Alabama, and they wanted to sit and wait for their “women-folk” who were shopping, would I mind if they just “sat a spell?”  How could I possibly refuse?

The liberal lesbian from California with three white men from Alabama with their “God Bless America” baseball hats, their fanny packs, and their “Bama” t-shirts.  What on earth could possibly go wrong?

Had I won any money they asked?  Yes, I had won a little right here in the Paris Casino.  What was I playing? The nickel Wheel of Fortune machine. Was I in Las Vegas on vacation? Yes, I suppose I was. Was I with my husband? No, I wasn’t married.  “A pretty little thing (which sounds like thang in that southern drawl) like you?”  “I just caint believe a man hasn’t laid claim to you.”

Now – at this particular point in time – I wondered if I really needed to make my gay-marriage, gay-rights stump speech.  Did I really need to attack these 3 old white southern men who were simply a-waitin for their women-folk? Would it make a difference? Would they even understand what I was a-sayin?

They didn’t give me any time to answer them as they started drinking their Parisian coffee and talking politics amongst themselves.  I started to eat my chocolate twist a little faster as I was sure the Republican rhetoric was going to force me from the table. I was thinking of what liberal comment I could make before leaving the table, and what gay image I could leave with them. I was preparing my little speech in my head when I heard one of them say: “I sure hope The President shows that Romney a thang or two in the debates. That poor white boy don’t stand a chance.”

I must have had this look of total shock on my face as these 3 men looked at me and apologized if they had offended me.  I told them that I was not offended on any level and I apologized to them for just assuming they were white, southern Baptist, racist, homophobic men from Alabama.  They roared with laughter and said that no they indeed were not, but their “women-folk” most certainly would fit that description!

I sat with these three men for another 45 minutes and we talked about more things than I could ever write on paper.  These men were sweet and funny and knew the ways of the world. They hated the south of the 1960’s and never agreed with the whole slavery thang. They aren’t fans of the Rebel flag, they don’t like re-hashing the Civil War, they believe in the freedom of and from religion and don’t believe it has any place in government. They think Paul Ryan looks like Eddie Munster and they called Mitt Romney: “Milk-Toast.” I’m not exactly sure, but I don’t think it was a positive thang.

They do not like Chick-Fil-A, they love, love, love college football and confirmed for me that football in the south truly is a religion. These men were WWII veterans, and their voices changed when they spoke of their service to this Country during WWII.  War has a way of defining the people who fight in it, and live to tell the tale. Their eyes filled with tears and they spoke softly of buddies who never came home and they told me that some 70 years later they have never really come to terms with the men they were told to kill. Indeed – war changes people.

I wanted to stay and meet the “women-folk” but I somehow knew that I would have absolutely nothing in common with these women, so I hugged each of these men, and went on my way.  I stopped at a bench, pulled out my journal, and wrote down everything I could remember from the past 45 minutes. It was like taking notes during a college lecture on history, religion, philosophy, sports, politics and human nature all in one course!

I will smile every time I watch an Alabama football game knowing that these three men are somewhere together cheering on their Crimson-Tide.  I will forever be grateful for their honesty, their kindness and the lessons learned in that Parisian Bakery in the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  The jackpot I hit with these three men was far better than any I could have hit from a slot machine.

Roll Tide!

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This election is one of these moments in time when you have to look yourself in the mirror and ask the reflection you see just what it is you believe in.

You have to ask yourself if you want to keep perpetuating the anger and hate and blame and bigotry and homophobia, or do you want to rise above that and vote for acceptance and tolerance and citizenship.

There are a great many people in our country who will choose the path of hate, and hate is really is what it’s all about. If you ask any of the Mitt Romney supporters what he plans on doing about the tax policy, they can’t tell you. They can’t tell you because they don’t know. They don’t know because Romney doesn’t know. He has been real clear about not revealing his plan until after the election. Think about that: You have no clue how he will reform the tax policy – and then think of what sort of mind-set it would take to cast a vote for this man.

Mitt won’t discuss abortion – but you know that he was once pro-abortion and is now pro-life. But don’t ask him or his wife – they won’t discuss it because that isn’t what this election is about. Mitt is for an amendment to the Constitution to make marriage be between a man and a woman – but don’t ask him or his wife any questions about that — they won’t discuss it because it isn’t what this election is about. Mitt’s economic plan is to give more tax breaks to the rich and raise taxes on the middle class. Do you know his plan for Afghanistan? Do you know what his foreign policy is all about? Ask yourself what exactly it is you do know about this man – other than what he is against, which is: gays, women, Medicare and Social Security.

If you really know nothing about Romney and his plan for America, one must ask oneself, am I voting for Romney or am I just voting against President Barack Obama? And if you say yes to the later, then you must ask yourself why it is you are voting against President Obama? Is it the economy? Is it the whole gay-marriage thing? Is it his belief that a woman has the absolute right to equal pay? Is it his belief that a woman should make her own choice when it comes to abortion? Is it his stand on Afghanistan? Is it because he bailed out the auto industry? Is it his decision to kill Osama Bin Laden? Is it the fact that he ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and gave gays and lesbians the freedom to serve their country openly? Or, is it simply the color of his skin?

One cannot ignore the race question when it comes to this election. I’ve seen too many websites filled with racist cartoons and hate-filled rhetoric for me not to believe that we are still a nation filled with bigots who believe that gays, women and people of a certain color and religion have their place and need to be kept there.

Sadly, the Republican Party plays on that with their anti-gay, non-Christian-baiting, women-hating, “let them eat cake” platform. The folks who don’t know Wall Street from Main Street only know that this is the party that validates their hatred of gays, women and religions they don’t understand.

This is the party to associate yourself with if you want to own guns you don’t need, and have enough ammunition to kill whoever and whatever you want a hundred times over. This is the party to cling to if you want to blame everyone but yourself for what you perceive to be wrong in America.

Mitt and his party will take us down the road of hate, bigotry and towering fences at our borders. The poor will get poorer and the middle class will be no longer. You’ll have to leave the country to find a job, and anything with the stamp “Made in America” will be called nostalgia.

My fellow travelers in the gay community, our time is now. Our time is now to stand and be counted. Our time is now for you to be proud of who you are as a person and who we are as a community. Our time is now to vote as if our future depends on it, for it most surely does.

Vote!

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No matter who gets elected in November – no matter who makes the laws – no matter what religious zealots say; there is no one on the face of this earth, or any other earth, who will ever be able to regulate with whom a person falls in love.

Same-sex people, people from different races, people of different religions, young and old, old and young, even a woman and a man – folks are going to fall in love and enter into some sort of relationship. You cannot regulate love – no matter how hard you may try – you simply can’t tell people who to love.

The Republicans and some of the Christian crazies would like you to believe that if gays are given the freedom to marry, we will destroy life in this United States of America.  How did they know that along with my penny loafers and button-down Oxford shirts, I have my light saber and my Wonder Woman suit in my closet just waiting for the right moment to “come out” and take over the United States?

I can’t speak for the entire gay community; however I don’t believe we are trying to end this straight life that you value so much.  We aren’t trying to regulate who you love or who you marry or even how many times you can marry. We aren’t trying to burn your churches or change your religion.  Believe what you will – worship whoever or whatever you will – simply leave it out of my bedroom and out of my government.

Republicans keep saying they want smaller government and yet – there they are hovering like a helicopter mom over my bedroom, and because I’m a woman – they are now hovering at my doctor’s office and they are loading the bombs to drop at my local Planned Parenthood.  That’s not smaller government – that’s intrusive government.

Republicans and Churches like to expound on the belief that we are forcing gay marriage onto Americans.  Okay…  Are you not forcing your religion onto Americans?  I won’t force you to be gay if you won’t force me to be a Christian.

We in the gay community want to be recognized as humans with feelings and the ability to have a stable, loving, responsible relationship – a marriage – if you will.

We are told that children need a mother and a father to be raised properly – Okay – you tell that to the children who are beaten and sexually abused on a daily basis by straight men and women – you tell them they need to stay there and be abused because it would be much worse for them to be in the home of a loving gay or lesbian couple who long for a child.  Who are these people who make these assumptions about what constitutes a family? Who are they to judge? Mostly – why do people listen to them?

This election is about a choice; for gays it’s a choice between moving forward to a more open more accepting future or moving back and having to fight battles that our brothers and sisters fought long ago.  I put it in the perspective of me staying in the big diverse city of San Diego with my partner of 30 years and our family and friends who love and support us or… moving back to the little Pennsylvania town where I was born and raised; Where some of my family has followed me around reading scripture to me in a desperate attempt to save my homosexual soul, while spouting the talking points of the day which they heard on Fox News. Of course, that’s not really a choice for me – common sense and self-respect have me living in San Diego and having very little contact with my family.

No matter how they all tried – in the end no one could regulate or change my love for Susan.  Love always wins – always. Why would we not want a government that supports love? Why would we want a government that tries to regulate who we love and who we sleep with and when we have children and how we care for our own bodies?

It’s your choice who you vote for – I would hope you would choose freedom, love, compassion, and equality.  Please choose wisely…

 

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Our son informed us last night that he wasn’t going to vote in November.  Apparently he’s disgusted with everything and everyone, and he’s just not voting. I could see Susan’s head start to explode and then I saw her change her tactics – she went full-out for that whole Mother guilt thing. That – do it for your gay mother thing – and the do it for your mother who is going to be 71 thing – to the make that my birthday present thing – and it ended up being the: “Oh Brendan – you have to vote, you just have to” thing…

One would have to know our son to understand how surprising this “I’m not voting” statement is.  He’s compassionate and caring and believes in his soul that he is his brother’s keeper. He will talk with great fervor about liberal politics and has little or no tolerance for this gay-bashing, hate-filled, religious right of the Republican Party.

He also has little or no tolerance for what he believes to be wrong with the Democrats – hence his decision to not vote in November.

I understand that everyone has the choice whether or not to vote in this or any election. I also understand his disgust with all parties involved in this debacle that is November’s election.  I’ve been there.

The thing is – if you don’t vote – then you have given up your voice.  You may think – Oh Barb – I don’t have a voice anyway, no one cares, no one listens, no one gives a damn.  Okay – but don’t you care about your voice?

When you give up your voice the people you dislike most in this world – they win. They have beaten you; they have succeeded in shoving their agenda so far down your throat that you’ve given up your voice to them.

The fight for freedom is never, ever easy and the fight for what is right and just is never going to be agreed on – ever.  There will always be the choice for you to make between good and evil. Now, what you consider to be good others may consider to be evil, which is why every vote counts, every vote.

The choice in this election is really quite clear. The Republicans laid out their vision of what they want the United States to be in their Platform.  No abortions – no exceptions. No gay marriage – no gay civil unions. You can carry your guns – and use them – anywhere. No taxing the rich – raise taxes on the middle class – vouchers for Medicare – prayer in public school – the public display of the Ten Commandments as a reflection of our history and of our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage – it goes on and on and on and on… read it for yourself :  http://www.scribd.com/doc/104221532/2012-Gop-Platform

For those of us in the gay community and for those who love and support those of us in the gay community – your choice is an easy one.  All you have to do is read what they believe about gays and lesbians having the right to marry.

  • …We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.
  • Preserving and Protection Traditional Marriage
  • The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by  both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college,are physically and emotion-ally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engagein crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore,the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of  family  formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize andhonor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many  burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote throughlaws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

To all my friends and all the friends of gays and lesbians everywhere – please consider the importance of your vote. Consider all that you have – and all that the gay community doesn’t have, and all that the Republicans don’t ever want us to have.  Mostly – I want you to remember that it’s about respect and validation that we are simply Americans wanting to live the American dream of family…

So, to my son and to all the sons and daughters of gays and lesbians in this United States of America – if for no other reason than the fact that you love your Mothers and Fathers and want them to live in a County that no longer treats them as vile, undeserving, second-class citizens…

Please let your voice be heard – Please Vote.

Love,

Mom

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I saw those two sentences  in an article I was reading this morning, and I suddenly understood why folks are so hateful.  It’s easy.

 It doesn’t take a whole lot of brain power to go from; “My life sucks: to: “I’m going blame ________ (fill in the blank) for that.”   It especially doesn’t take much brain power when you have politicians, ministers and priests all telling you who to blame for your lot in life.  They aren’t asking you to love _________ (fill in the blank); they are telling you what you must do to prevent __________ from ruining your life, your marriage, your country.   It’s not based in love, it’s based in fear and fear breeds hate and hate is simply – well – it’s easy. Why search for the answers when others are telling you how to act and how to feel, who to blame and who to hate.

 Jump on that hate train. It stops at the; It’s the Gays, it’s the Women, it’s the blacks, it’s the Jews, it’s the Muslims, it’s the ________________ – (You fill in the blank) stations, all across America. It’s easy to board the train of hate and blame

 My life and the lives of millions of gay Americans is affected everyday by the easiness of hate.  It’s become easy to hate homosexuals in America, and in some instances, it’s become a part of the fabric of the organization.  Political parties, churches, social organizations make billions of dollars on their ‘’gay hate.”  They can wrap it in any sort of bow they want, but hate is hate. Period.

 For some of us in the gay community, it takes a great deal of courage to still love and value ourselves as Americans. When you are told on a daily basis that your life doesn’t matter, and you have a political party placing in their platform that you have no right to have a life that involves marriage and individual rights that are to be given to all Americans – it is not always easy to be loving and caring. The thing is – when gays stand up and say we’ve had enough – we are radicals and we are trying to change the entire fabric of America. Nothing could be further from the truth. We simply want what is ours to have.

 It takes courage to stand up for who and what you are and speak your truth.  It doesn’t take courage to stand behind someone or something that speaks for you – that’s laziness, ignorance and hatefulness.

 It takes courage to continue to fight for what is right and just for everyone.  It doesn’t take courage to only want certain rights for certain people – that’s called discrimination and that is hateful and easy.

 It takes courage to love unconditionally; most of us only achieve that sort of love with our pets! We place conditions on friends, lovers, partners, husbands, wives, etc… and in the end we are usually disappointed and angry that they didn’t do what we wanted. It’s just easier to be disappointed than to release them to be the person they were meant to be.  It doesn’t take courage to control and demand – that’s just fear and insecurity ruling your life.

 It takes courage to be gay in a straight person’s world. It takes courage to know who you are is simply who you are and not a choice you made, and that you deserve “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It takes courage to stand and say: “I’m gay” knowing that your life from that moment on will never be the same.   It doesn’t take courage to mock and discriminate and judge and hate – that’s foolish and stupid, and as we in the gay community know full well; you just can’t fight stupid.

 It takes courage to go into the voting booth and vote your heart when you’re being told to vote because of religion, racism, and ignorance. Your vote doesn’t belong to your church or your political party or your family or your spouse or your friends or your whatever. It’s your vote, your voice.

 Hate is easy. Love takes courage.

 Choose to be courageous.

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