The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Who’s Writing?

Well, it’s pretty clear by now that I’m not going to get anything posted today, or any significant writing done. Today was Parker’s pre-school graduation, so that most of our afternoon (including dinner at Parker’s favorite restaurant.) I’ve got two or three things in mind to write about, but I’ve had them in mind for more than a week and still can’t find time to actually write about them. It’s not likely to happen this weekend either.

In the meantime, there are a lot of folks doing some great writing about some pretty interesting stuff. So, you can read them while I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing.

I’ve been meaning to do one of these since the middle of May, so I’m reaching back a bit.

I wanted to post about this as soon as I saw it: Gandhi’s Top Ten Fundamentals for changing the world.

    1. Change yourself.
    2. You are in control.
    3. Forgive and let go.
    4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.
    5. Take care of this moment.
    6. Everyone is human.
    7. Persist.
    8. See the good in people and help them.
    9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.
    10. Continue to grow and evolve.

Go read the explanations for each one. I can’t claim to have mastered most of them, let alone all, but it’s a good “checklist” to remember.

Speaking of change, the Democratic primary may be over, but Roland S. Martin (though I’ve differed with him on occasion), wrote something earlier that Democrats would do well to keep in mind between now and November.

Now, I know I’m not one of those voters she’s talking about, but the reality is that hard-working white Americans alone will not put Clinton or Obama in the White House.

Neither will African-Americans alone or young voters, senior citizens, the college-educated, the “no-working” Americans, gays and lesbians, nonreligious voters, veterans, Hispanics, women, etc.

In fact, Democrats alone won’t do it. You also must take a good portion of independents.

No Democrat can win the White House unless he or she is able to pull from all the various constituencies in the country, and it’s downright silly for the Clinton campaign to assert that idea that hard-working white votes are the only ones that matter.

Of course, the big news then was the California Supreme Court ruling on marriage, so there’s lots here about that.

Timothy at Box Turtle Bulletin posted a summary of marriage rights around the world, if you want to get a sense of where we stand here in the U.S., and how many country are light years ahead of us on equality.

Also, check out Average Gay Joe’s post on the total revenue earnings of anti-gay groups. It might come in handy as a reference when you hear rants about the “powerful gay lobby.”

In the wake of the CA ruling, some great stuff was posted by ex-“ex-gays.” Noé Gutierrez’s story of what he learned from ex-gay ministry is one worth reading.

Set against a biblical contrast of right versus wrong, ex-gay ministries often draw a direct link between the quality of a person’s faith and their commitment to make a choice in the “straight” direction. This value system often results in the ex-gay person being caught by a cycle of perpetual self-evaluation. Compelled to dissect every thought, every word, and every deed into these black or white categories, the life of an ex-gay can become all about choosing sides. With homosexuality as the target, the goal then becomes to eradicate all thoughts and behaviors associated with “wrong” sexual attraction. This becomes the “calling” of the ex-gay person who finds their purpose in the process of self re-orientation. I believe this mode of thinking establishes a clear and distinct association between the effectiveness of God in a person’s life and that person’s ability to commit to ex-gay change.

As if it weren’t enough to instill such burdensome expectations, the constant emphasis on thought and behavior modification will in most cases develop into a deep-seated internal conflict. If feelings of sexual attraction are not a choice but acting on them is, the split between feelings and actions can leave a person feeling segmented, even disconnected from their true self. Ex-gay groups affirm this disconnect in their members, perhaps unwittingly convincing them heterosexuality is within their reach. If groomed properly, this disconnect can become so pronounced that in some cases the “reformed” homosexual will in fact be so far removed from their sexual attractions that to say they are “no longer gay” seems perfectly within reason.

In my opinion this may be one of the greatest flaws in ex-gay doctrine; that is, the idea that heterosexuality can be arrived at through the process of distancing one’s self from what are natural, intrinsic feelings of attraction. This is just not the norm in the process of development in human sexuality. In fact it is quite the opposite, as most people would agree a person’s sexuality is at the center of their identity and of the human experience. Self-dissociation from this core element would therefore lead to a loss of identity rather than the discovery of true self. I believe it is for this reason that those who subscribe to ex-gay thinking must remain connected somehow to ex-gay ministries in order to remain “ex-gay”. Without a strong internalized sense of self-identity, a person becomes dependent on external cues to help define their experience. The idea of the heterosexual goal must constantly be repeated, reminded, and reaffirmed. Group accountability sessions, prayer meetings, national conferences and the never-ending list of books, CDs, DVDs are resources proving vital to the survival of ex-gay ideology. I am personally acquainted with the prominence of ex-gay media (see I Do Exist) and can attest to the importance of their role in helping to promote the ex-gay movement.

Over at Box Turtle Bulletin, Jim Burroway pointed out that, even though Gutierrez left the “ex-gay” movement, his “I Do Exist” video is still (or was) posted at an “ex-gay” website.

Kip has long been among my regular reads. We part ways on political stuff once in a while, what with him being a libertarian. One of his posts on the California marriage ruling in particular struck me as a good way of handling the “just a word” issue.

A New Jersey straight “married” (just a word) couple can have their marriage (just a word) recognized and legally enforced in New York.

A Massachusetts or Canada “married” (just a word) gay couple can, now, have their marriage (just a word) recognized and legally enforced in New York.

A New Jersey gay “civil-unioned” (just a not-quite-word) gay couple cannot have their civil union (just words) recognized and legally recognized in New York. This despite the fact that the New Jersey Supreme Court insisted and demanded that “civil unions” be afforded all (just a word?) the rights and privileges of marriage.

New Jersey tried, and failed, to make marriage “just a word” —

We will not presume that a difference in name alone is of constitutional magnitude.

It was a Sisyphean nightmare then; it is a Sisyphean nightmare now. Marriage, for better or for worse, is not “just a word” in American jurisprudence. That is axiomatic in the exteme.

We all know how well the “New Jersey compromise” has worked for same sex couples. Or, rather, how it hasn’t worked.

I love people who blog about stuff I know even less about than the stuff I blog about. Queercents is one of those blogs. Check out Nina’s post about how we can sway the rest on marriage … with our wallets.

Well, the good ole’ United States of America is about to finally get it. That’s “states” and in this economy money seems to be talking. Back to The Advocate article:

New York City comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. estimates his city’s economy would gain $142 million in the first three years after implementation of same-sex marriage legislation.

Let’s take our millions up the coast to Massachusetts or across the border to Canada. Because only when state legislatures realize how much money they’re losing will they help us gain the equality we’re seeking.

Yes, mayors and legislators should support marriage equality because it’s the right thing to do. But for those who aren’t there yet, we must expand our argument beyond what is right to what is lucrative. If we wed with our wallets now, it won’t be long before businesses and politicians wake up to the economic benefits of equality. Then the real America will start to agree with Mayor Quimby [of The Simpsons] and recognize that now is the time to legalize gay money — I mean gay marriage.

Where are my gay dollars going to get spent first? Wedding rings, of course! So what about you? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but Ed over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars is one of my favorite folks to read when it comes to that “sciency stuff” (to borrow a phrase from Homer Simpson), but particularly for how he deals with nonsense from the right, like this Dinesh D’Souza piece on the California marriage ruling.

I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone to hear that Dinesh D’Souza is making disingenuous arguments about the California Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage last week. First he blathers about enumerated rights and, conveniently, ignores unenumerated rights:

How, then, can a court invalidate the referendum and over-rule the will of the people? Basically through a kind of legal fraud. The court has to pretend that there is a right to gay marriage even though it is nowhere evident in the state constitution. Read the constitution, hold it up to the light, squeeze lemon juice on it–you won’t see a right to gay marriage in there. It is simply not an enumerated right, nor is it a right that can be clearly derived from other enumerated rights.

I bet there’s a whole range of unenumerated rights the court has rightly protected that D’Souza is all for. Nowhere in the constitution does it mention any right to travel from state to state, or to send one’s children to private school (or to homeschool them, for that matter), or the right to read a book if one chooses to. Read the constitution, hold it up to the light, squeeze lemon juice on it – you won’t see any of those rights mentioned. Yet the courts have rightly protected them anyway.

Why? Because the founders made absolutely clear during debate over the bill of rights, particularly regarding the 9th amendment, that they could not possibly list every right that an individual has. Thus the 9th amendment says that just because a right is not listed does not mean the government can violate it and that all unenumerated rights are presumed to reside with the individual. The burden is on the government, not the individual.

I don’t often read God’s Politics anymore, but this post about the New York Times article about young evangelicals — “Taking Their Faith, but Not Their Politics, to the People” — caught my eye.

Inserra’s comment, along with others in the Times article, shows how the word “political” is used in different ways. The article’s description of “a new generation that refuses to put politics at the center of its faith and rejects identification with the religious right” similarly shows the ambiguity of the word “politics.” Consider the previous statement in light of what follows:

They say they are tired of the culture wars. They say they do not want the test of their faith to be the fight against gay rights. They say they want to broaden the traditional evangelical anti-abortion agenda to include care for the poor, the environment, immigrants and people with H.I.V., according to experts on younger evangelicals and the young people themselves.

In this light, “politics” means culture wars, litmus tests, anti-gay rights, narrow agendas. Is that a good definition? If we define politics more intentionally – as how groups of people organize and govern themselves – then the NYT article is mistitled and its repeated pitting of faith versus politics obscures the issue.

I mentioned Kip earlier. Check out his take on the previously mentioned New York Times article on young evangelicals.

The article does note, on the other hand, that the next generation of Evangelicals are not, contra young Mr. Fine, becoming Democrats. Neither are they at all becoming pro-choice — or, for that matter, particularly pro-gay. They still know an abomination when they see one.

They are, however, leaving their Republican voter registration cards at home when they go to church and leaving their fire-and-brimstone sermons home when they go to vote. They see their version of Christianity as a personal guide, not a voting guide. They recognize the difference between winning converts and winning House seats. They worry more about redeeming their own souls through good works and righteous living than about redeeming your soul or mine through theocratic lawmaking and adjudicating.

Good for them. (And better for us.)

Meanwhile, the generation gap on same-sex marriage is well documented — even the bigots acknowledge it in society at large. It even exists among conservatives themselves: “One in three under 30 favors same-sex marriage, compared with one in 10 of their elders.” That is why gay marriage is of course inevitable and why the bigots were so desperate to enact as many state constitutional amendments as they could, as quickly as they could: the clock was ticking. They knew they couldn’t stop the march of modernity — but they could certainly try to slow it down.

Prometheus, from my observation is always true to his tag line, “All Respect and No Restraint.” So, when someone asks him for a short definition of “racism,” he obliges his typical hilariously correct fashion.

I don’t need to detail the negative traits and conditions Americans assume all Black people either have or have overcome. And I will sprinkle the obligatory anti-troll pixie dust here…there are those who fit the preconceptions, the suffering one and the overcoming one, and some of them are Black.

If you have to guess at or assume any of these standard traits to classify a Black person as one of the negative types, you’ve probably done something racist. If you change your mind about the person as a result of a racist joke, you’ve probably got at least latent racist tendencies. If you actually build on the assumption of those traits, you probably believe them to the degree that would allow you to be called racist.

That yanks me out of my chronology for a second, as it reminds me of one of Kip’s comments left elsewhere.

Denouncing someone, for what you say they are, is bigotry.

Denouncing someone, for what they say they are, is not.

On a similar note, Jasmyne Cannick offers an interesting take on how Obama went from an “inadequate black man” to “half-white” overnight.

Inevitably, Sen. Barack Obama’s ascencion as the Democratic nominee for President brought up the not-so-small issue of his “whiteness.”

Up until now Obama, has been characterized for the most part as Black or African-American in the mainstream media.

Not mixed, not white, but Black or African-American.

Now that he’s the nominee, overnight news reports have taken to labeling him as the first “mixed race” Presidential nominee.

…Even actress Halle Berry, whose mother is also white, is mostly always labeled as Black.

So why now, after Obama secures the nomination, over that night he went from an ‘inadequate Black male’ to mixed race?

If he’s been Black all this time, don’t come trying to claim him now that he’s “done good” by clinching the nomination.

Clinton supporter Harriet Christian didn’t make mention of “that half” in her racist tirade out the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting that included labeling Obama as an “…inadequate Black male” and I am sure when Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro said “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position,” she didn’t take into consideration “that half” of Obama.

It’s almost as if Obama has passed some sort of intelligence test.

One of the things that should be an issue in this election is the make-up of the Supreme Court. The next president will appoint at least two justices. Who makes those appointments and who gets those appointments will have implications for the right to privacy and reproductive freedom. Jill linked to an op-ed that reminds us how things used to be

The patient also did not explain why she had attempted the abortion, and we did not ask. This was a decision she made for herself, and the reasons were hers alone. Yet this much was clear: The woman had put herself at total risk, and literally did not know whether she would live or die.

This, too, was clear: Her desperate need to terminate a pregnancy was the driving force behind the selection of any method available.

The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous “coat hanger” — which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in — perhaps the patient herself — found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it.

We did not have ultrasound, CT scans or any of the now accepted radiology techniques. The woman was placed under anesthesia, and as we removed the metal piece we held our breath, because we could not tell whether the hanger had gone through the uterus into the abdominal cavity. Fortunately, in the cases I saw, it had not.

However, not simply coat hangers were used.

Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion — darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.

Another method that I did not encounter, but heard about from colleagues in other hospitals, was a soap solution forced through the cervical canal with a syringe. This could cause almost immediate death if a bubble in the solution entered a blood vessel and was transported to the heart.

The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face, was that of a nurse who was admitted with what looked like a partly delivered umbilical cord. Yet as soon as we examined her, we realized that what we thought was the cord was in fact part of her intestine, which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.

I don’t want to wrap this up without pointing to a wonderful post by Donna Rose, which offers a moving take on Father’s Day, being a parent, and being true to yourself.

2 Comments

  1. I like Ed from the Dispatches From The Culture Wars too… just wish he would use a few more four letter words LOL!

    I would………then again I’m Aussie, and u ain’t an Aussie until u can swear!

  2. I would………then again I’m Aussie, and u ain’t an Aussie until u can swear!

    Then I must be part Aussie, because I can swear a blue streak, when inspired. 😉

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