Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Some Thinking Points for 2006

As the Old Man of '05 dodders off the stage and pink-cheeked Baby New Year crawls into the spotlight, I would like to offer a few observations on facts that, halfway through the first decade of the Twenty-first Century, I truly believe we must face.

The Sixties are over. This seemingly-obvious point cannot be overemphasized. We seem, as a society, to be permanently stuck in the 1960's, and we are obsessed with endlessly rehashing them. Not only is that decade long past, but -- flash bulletin! -- the entire Twentieth Century is over. You wouldn't think this would be news to people, but evidently it is.

Not only are the Sixties over, but they are not coming back. You cannot step into the same river twice, and whatever similarities might exist between then and now, we now live in what, in many ways, is a different world. You can take comfort in this if you found that decade traumatic, because the sort of radical change that took place then has just as radically been repudiated. The Age of Aquarius so many graying flower-children are trying to conjure back will never happen again, because so many other people are determined not to let it. Take a moment or two to mourn this fact if you don't like it, and then get on with your life.

Unlike many of the Grandchildren of Aquarius who like to play hippie, I am old enough to actually remember the decade. It was a frightening time to be a kid. I am glad that some positive change came out of it (as a lesbian, how could I not be?), but I am equally glad that it is over, and I have no wish to see it return.

Positive change does not need to come at breakneck speed. The conservatives are right about that. But positive change is still sorely needed. The liberals are right about that. The moderately-paced, thoughtful change conservatives used to claim they believed in would serve quite nicely, and in fact looks like what -- whether we like it or not -- we are going to get.

We're all "Centrists" now. It's quite the fashionable thing. I'm not sure I know exactly what a "centrist" really is, but it's what the opinion polls are telling us the majority of Americans are calling themselves. I am a left-leaning Libertarian, which means that I favor bringing about peace, justice and harmony without tyrannizing people to do it. As far as the old Left/Right labels go, I'm neither fish nor fowl; even a liberal Libertarian is certainly far more conservative than what passes for a liberal-liberal these days. Because we still have that outdated Left/Right model stuck in our heads (see my previous Thinking Point), we insist on consigning people who think like me to the vast wasteland called "the center."

Truth be told, the center has no more relevance anymore than do Left or Right. All it actually is is a dumping-ground for fresh ideas and independent thinking. If you still fancy yourself either a liberal or a conservative, I've got a constructive suggestion for you. Shut up. Just shut up long enough to listen to some of the folks you think you disagree with. Their ideas might make more sense than you think they will.

And if you are one of those hot-and-trendy centrists, be sure you listen to those of us who are in "the center" not by choice, but because the loudmouths on "the sides" refuse to listen to us. It's where you'll find the independent thinking and the fresh ideas.

We all need to grow up. All of us. Conservatives are fond of accusing liberals of having done something they call "infantilizing" society. And, indeed, there is plenty of legitimacy to the charge. But it isn't liberals, per se, who have done this. The real culprits are the big-government nanny-statists on both sides of the aisle. The liberals may have run ahead on this score at one point, but the Right Wing has now certainly caught up with them.

We simply cannot go on behaving like bottle-babies who blame Mommy, Daddy and siblings for all our problems. It's depressing and disempowering. The truly hopeful truth -- that each of us is responsible for his or her own life, and that it is strictly by virtue of this fact that we can change our lives for the better if we don't like them -- needs to be shouted from the rooftops. This does mean we must shoulder the blame for much of what's wrong in our lives. But it also enables us to take credit for a lot of what's right. Statists both liberal and conservative persist in the fantasy that they can somehow have the latter without the former, and unless we stop them, they will imprison us all in the nursery with them forever.

The century is young. We still have a good chance of heading it in the right direction. The fact that so many people are willing to think outside the "Liberal versus Conservative" box is a very hopeful sign. The real political clash of the titans, in the Twenty-first Century, will be between statist tyrants and lovers of liberty. The tyrants want us all in the nursery. Real liberty requires real responsibility.

Saving our long-cherished freedoms is not work for the lazy or the cowardly. Nor is it a task you send a child to accomplish. And next time someone tells you they're are on the Right, Left OR the Center, ask him or her "Excuse me, but what does that mean?" They might actually have to think about it, and they're very likely to give an answer that makes you think, too.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Actually, THIS is Christmas

I do believe that Christmas has now been defined just about every way it possibly could be. Now that the culture wars have gotten ahold of it, it seems to mean whatever the tyrants on the Right or their rivals for power on the Left happen to say it is. I, personally, believe that Jesus is too big to be successfully hijacked by anybody. And so, too, is the day we celebrate His birth.

My pastor has it right. She sums up the real, enduring meaning of Christmas to us in this world by pointing to today's Gospel: John 1:1-14. In particular, I find pertinent verse 5:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

God's Spirit will not be silenced. Jesus promised His followers that the Spirit would abide with them 'til the end of human history. And the Spirit will not be silenced. The darkness will never overcome the light.

Many people are asking me why I am making the jump from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian. It's been a long process, so it's a long story. But I can tell you what the last straw proved to be.

I protested against this war. I have been steadfastly and outspokenly against it from the get-go. I still have absolutely no idea whether a democracy can be successfully born and raised among people who can't seem to come to a consensus on whether they want it and have yet to prove they have any idea what to do with it. And I'm not sure we can invade a country, bomb the living snot out of a civilian population (that can fight back only with a nincompoop, Keystone-kop military -- some of whose soldiers have actually been reported to "lie down and curl up into a ball" at the sound of gunfire) and then win them over to the concept of self-determination. How credible can our witness be to them?

Don't even get me started about the chickenhawks who've run it on the American side. If they believed their own rhetoric -- that this is a war for the soul and salvation of civilization -- and they were any sort of men at all, they would be over there fighting, too, instead of just sending poor kids from Bedford-Stuyvesant and Appalachia. World War II was fought even by men well into their forties, who left families, homes and thriving careers behind to give their all for their country.

But the undeniable and inescapable fact remains that WE. ARE. THERE. The carnage and destruction has happened, for the most part, and now we are making a genuine effort to help these people rebuild their country. But what do we hear from the Democrats in Congress? Nothing but sniping about how quickly we supposedly must now get out of Iraq. Pardon me, but perhaps a Republican friend of mine was right when she said that is "so 2002."

The Democratic Party gives little indication that it gives a rat's ass about the Iraqi people. The politicos who lead it are a bunch of rich, arrogant sell-outs hungry for power. They'll fall down and worship the Devil himself, should Lucifer decide to run for office on their ticket, and it would not matter if Jesus was President -- if He were a Republican, they would stop at nothing in their efforts to destroy Him.

Let's all face the facts together, boys and girls. The Democrats will never let a Republican President do his (or her) job, nor would the Republicans let a Democrat function in office. The spoils have become too great, and the temptation to tyrannize has overwhelmed them all. Time to dismantle all but what's most necessary and give the Libertarians a chance.

The only people who want to see freedom and democracy fail in the Middle East are the terrorists and the Democrats. I have no desire to be associated with the terrorists. And I want nothing to do, anymore, with the Democrats, either.

I am not a multi-culturalist. I believe, indeed, that there is truth in every major world religion, but I also believe that the fulness of truth can be found in the Gospel of Christ. If I did NOT believe that, I would simply sleep in every Sunday morning. When I hear about radical Muslim clerics inciting violence against gays and women in Europe, it makes the blood freeze in my veins. The "progressives" in America will do no more to protect us than do their counterparts (and evident role-models) overseas.

9-11 was a wake-up call. Perhaps we shouldn't have needed one, but we did. It's all different, now; our cherry has been popped. No, the Iraqis were not the ones who attacked America on that terrifying day. But Al Quaeda did, and they will not rest until the entire Middle East is theirs. They can't overcome us by military might, but if they can turn us against ourselves, we are in danger of imploding from within.

The libertarians (both small "l" and large) MUST be actively and vociferously involved in the discussion of how to save Western, Judeo-Christian civilization. I have come to believe that yes, it IS in real peril, and that only the libertarian solution will save us. At the risk of sounding like a drama queen, I can write in terms no less emphatic.

I refuse to root against freedom and elected-representative democracy. Refuse to do it, Democrats, do you understand? I don't like how we got into this mess any more than they do, but now that we're here, we must clean up the mess the honorable way. Those who whimper about unconditional withdrawal are a disgrace to this country and to everything it has ever stood for.

What did it for me were those purple fingers, held aloft so hopefully and proudly -- followed by the petty carping and sniping of the Democrats. Shut up, all of you, and for shame! You betrayed every gay and lesbian American in the last Presidential election, you've been doing it ever since, and you're nothing but a treeful of homegrown cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Until and unless you grow backbones and remember your principles, I'll never vote for you again.

The light that shines forth from Jesus has illuminated the world ever since that first Christmas, twenty centuries ago. Pardon my political incorrectness, but now a whole lot of people are trying to snuff it out. But the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome it. May those who follow Christ once again be able to worship in peace in the land of His birth without it being a major news story that no blood was shed there. And may the people from which He came dwell once again in security -- both in Israel and in Europe -- without having to suffer through another Holocaust that, this time, the Leftists made no effort to stop.

The light that shines forth from Jesus, far from being a threat from which gay and lesbian Americans must hide, is actually our only real hope for liberation. Let us defend it not only from fundamentalist zealotry in this country, but all over the world, and in whatever form it takes.

Merry Christmas, and Shalom.

Friday, December 23, 2005

So This is Christmas...

Indeed, Christmas is again upon us. Time not for banty-rooster feistiness, but for Christian good cheer. I am about as ready for Christmas Eve to get here (as it will, tomorrow, whether I'm ready or not) as I am ever going to be.

In the spirit of the season, it is time for a little holiday reflection. I began this Blog still clinging to the desperate hope that the Left might be helped -- by alternative media like mine -- to see the light of its death-throes situation, turn onto a better path and save itself. SOMEBODY needs to take down the Radical Right, and as I have been a Democrat since I first registered to vote at eighteen, I still hoped that the Party of the Donkey could do it.

Why have I changed courses so quickly? Because I cannot say things -- especially in a forum as public as a blog -- that I no longer wholeheartedly believe.

I also write, as I have for some time, now, for the very classy and principled web-magazine, Whosoever, which brings Christian hope and truth to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered believers and seekers. I do this because I am a progressive Christian, who deeply believes that the Religious Right will destroy Christianity (for everybody, gay and straight) if it is not effectively countered by those who understand the real meaning of the Gospel. I used to be a whole lot more conservative, theologically, than I am, and I would daresay I am still more of a traditionalist than are many of the other writers who contribute to Whosoever. But I have come to believe that the Holy Spirit is still active in the world, still urgently speaking to us all, and that this requires we not ossify the Bible or traditional doctrine into an idol that we worship instead of the living God who promised to be with us 'til the end of time. The Religious Right is doing its utmost to silence the Spirit of God, and because of this its minions must be stopped.

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me, however, that we must do this as Whosoever is going about it -- which is by offering a truer argument and a better way. Not only is it wrong to go on trying, as do so many progressives, to force Right-Wingers to conform to our convictions, but IT ISN'T WORKING. All we've done is piss them off to the point that they see us as devils from Hell and are determined to defeat us at any cost. In the process, they are harming a great many innocent people and even destroying their own souls.

The Left, as it has existed up to now, simply is not able to overcome the juggernaut coming at us from the Right. We are too disorganized, and too deeply in the grip of secularists -- who hate all religious faith and are irrationally opposed to everything spiritual -- to be able to stop this juggernaut from crushing us. I have been saying, for years, now, that the Religious Left needs to stand up to the Right and offer what I have come to recognize (and I think most other people will, too) as a better argument and a better way. But the political Left, centered in the Democratic Party, is simply not able to do that. And I have totally lost faith that they ever will be.

I am tired of hearing atheists on the Left throw snits about creches in the public square. The whole "we've gotta defend Christmas" brouhaha coming from the Right is irrational, hyped-up hysteria, but I cannot help but recognize that the Left keeps bringing this on themselves. And they are no longer "us" for me, but "them." My shift in pronouns, right here, is intentional.

My evolution into a libertarian (small "l") has been a long time in coming. My "coming out" as a Libertarian (capital "L") is provoking more hostility from people than my having come out as a lesbian ever did. But I still believe in mercy toward the poor, in the defense of the defenseless, in liberty and equality (of opportunity, if not of outcome) for everybody. Those are the basic tenets of traditional liberalism, and they are the principles upon which the Democratic Party used to stand. The Democrats are such a mess, and so lacking in any moral center, that they no longer support anything except what the latest opinion polls tell them. And neither they, nor the Left that so stubbornly clings to them, any longer retain the ability (or even the will) to uphold the principles I once shared with them.

As a liberal-leaning Libertarian, I remain perfectly free to promote my principles in the ways I deem effective. I will continue to stand up for progressive and inclusive Christianity. But I will do it as a private citizen and as a writer, rather than as somebody trying to force my values on those unwilling to accept them by seeking to MAKE them conform to my principles. I no longer believe in confiscating their money to use for purposes they do not willingly support, or in siccing the State on them when they express ideas I do not like. Hearts and minds must be won over the hard way -- by painstaking persuasion. The liberal-statist way can do nothing but make more enemies and incite them to an ever-angrier determination to defeat everything that true liberals hold dear.

Peace, brothers and sisters. The holiday season is upon us. Whether you prefer to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" (remember, "holiday" means "holy day," making the latter greeting actually more pious than the former), please remember what makes the Season special. This is the time Christians have chosen to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. If the Brits and the Germans could suspend their hostilities on a battlefield in World War I, singing carols and playing soccer in the middle of that silent night, then surely our Ann Coulters, our ankle-biters, our wingnuts and moonbats and even our Lori Heines can stand to go at least a few days without snapping at each other.

Have yourself a glass of eggnog and chill out.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Just Call Me "Poopyhead"

Over the past couple of days, I have been at war with a couple of rabid ankle-biters on the comment board of the Independent Gay Forum. An article, by Stephen H. Miller, suggested that the fact girls seem to be outperforming boys in school can be attributed to the sinister, feminizing influence of the Left. I challenged that notion, responding that it sounds just as lame to blame the boys' lackluster grades on such a cardboard-cutout bogeybear as it did when the professional feminists got their undies in a wad over the remarks of Lawrence Summers. (You remember him -- he's the one who said male students tend to be better at math and science.)

Now, there's nothing wrong with people who disagree with me. But one particular individual was not content to act like a grownup and simply point out the errors of my ways. Because I had used the word "feminazi" -- not quoting Mr. Miller, but simply expressing my opinion of what he meant -- the ankle-biter pronounced me guilty of "distortion" and called me (oh, the gloves were REALLY off, here) a "liberal."

As I am a liberal Libertarian, and until extremely recently a member of the Democratic Party, there really was nothing too off-base about what he said on that score. But of course, he didn't mean it as an intelligent description; it was invective, plain and simple. "Liberal" has replaced "Poopyhead" as the infantile expletive of choice.

On its own, it would have been too pitifully stupid and childish to merit any response from me. But at the "distortion" charge, however, I had to draw the line. When you accuse me of "distortion," you are calling me a liar. Make the mistake of doing that to my face and you'll be picking yourself up off of your ass. Make it over cyberspace, from the safe distance of who knows how many miles and with only a first name to show for yourself, and I've got a name for you. You are a coward.

This ankle-biter was soon joined by the other, who just keeps venting and flailing his way, in desperation, past my every rejoinder. This whole exchange was fun for a while -- I love nothing better than a good knock-down, drag-out brawl, and I'll get it in cyberspace if I can't get it anywhere else. But this is like trying to fight a whiny little kid.

He has a real problem reading for comprehension, this one. First, he failed to understand that my remark about charging men and women both the same rates for auto insurance was sarcasm (as the whole tone of my post made clear), then he tried to claim I was saying that government does not hamper business. Nobody who knows me would ever get such a fantabulously nutty notion.

Why is it that so many men simply cannot remain adults when debating with women? When you're clearly winning the argument, they change the subject -- and all at once, you find you're arguing about something else. We got off onto genetic testing for auto insurance, something that had nothing in the world to do with the article upon which I had originally commented. Debate used to be an honorable sport -- like boxing (something else the crowd at Independent Gay Forum thinks women are destroying). It used to be about arriving at the truth. But for all too many guys these days, it's nothing more than a game to play -- and win at all costs. Even at the expense of the truth.

I'm pretty sure my unworthy opponents are sick and tired of the whole game by now. And at the risk of sounding homophobic, the experience has confirmed, for me, that many gay men simply can't stand lesbians. A straight chick would probably giggle, bat her eyelashes, worshipfully concede her point (gay men are SO much more fascinating to them, these days, than straight ones), and go gracefully away. But, like a fair number of my sapphic sisters, I have rejected the role of doormat. This makes me an uppity bitch, and means that I must be taken down.

I generally get along quite nicely with straight men, and with gay men who understand the code of mutual respect men have traditionally lived by. But as for the pissy queens who cannot abide me, I can assure you, the feeling is mutual.

Notice that straight men do not dare to get too snarky with each other. If one accused another of "distortion," he'd be taken outside and taught a lesson in civility he wouldn't soon forget. They and I understand each other. I am duly respectful to them, and, far more often than not, they return the favor.

I do not seem to have come with a "back-down" gear. My only gear, in a conflict, is dead-forward, in-your-face, toe-to-toe and all the way down to the mat. Get used to it, because it isn't going away.

This does not mean that I don't appreciate a little civility and the observance of basic adult social graces. When I complained of the lack of this in my combatants, I was accused of "crying poor me." Enjoy cyperspace, my friend. Say that to somebody's face and we'll see who ends up crying.

There is a very big difference between my posts and theirs. I use both my first and last names. Anybody who doesn't like what I have to say is always welcome to come and tell me about it in person. Will I ever be confronted by an ankle-biter? Fat chance.

As for me, I intend to remain mature, gracious and ladylike. Nanny-nanny boo-boo, Poopyheads!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Giving Sacajawea Dollars: Only "A Little Change"

Today at noontime, after church, I stopped across the street at "gay" Denny's for breakfast. On my way out, I was approached by a panhandler asking for "a little change." I rummaged in my pocket and handed him a Sacajawea dollar I'd gotten from a postage machine. He thanked me kindly, and I went on my way brimming with Christian virtue.

During the service that morning, my pastor had exhorted us to contact our representatives to warn them against voting for the budget cuts now proposed. She said they would hurt those least able to bear the burden of the cuts. "I know it's political," she admitted, "but this is a moral issue."

And indeed it is. I'm a good progressive Lutheran and a dutiful liberal, and I agree with the pastor that cutting benefits for the poor, the elderly and the sick -- while big corporations and the rich enjoy huge windfalls -- is immoral. At the same time, as a budding libertarian, I believe that income tax, in and of itself, is immoral, and that most of what is now being done for the poor, the elderly and the sick (not to mention for the rest of us) should be done via the private sector. How on earth do I square these two seemingly-conflicting views?

Both my pastor and the libertarians are right. It is the duty of all faithful Christians to help those most vulnerable in our society. And ultimately, the private sector can do a far better job of this than can the government at any level. Every responsible citizen, regardless of personal religious faith, is actually acting in the best interest of society by helping to provide a safety-net to keep those of us who fall on hard times from slipping through the cracks, so it is also a matter of enlightened self-interest for us to be charitable to others. One day, we just might need that help ourselves.

If the income tax was eliminated (or at the very least, dramatically reduced), we citizens would have more money to use in support of this safety-net. And private charitable organizations would certainly manage the funds better than the government ever could -- resulting in better and more reliable care for those who need it. I am no disciple of Ayn Rand; I understand that a charitable society is a better place for everyone to live, and that, far from being a weakness, real altruism is a sound investment for us all. I also understand that the libertarian agenda -- if it ever goes forward at all -- will only do so incrementally. The purists' horse will never even leave the gate.

Remember, I am a LIBERAL Libertarian -- placing an equal importance on both of those words. I am dedicated to helping Christianity move in a more progressive direction, because I understand that if it keeps going ever Rightward, it will continue to function as a sort of Taliban for zealot moralists who are long on legalism and pitifully short on love. We will simply never have the sort of America in which private charity can function as an effective safety-net, without any help from the public sector, unless the Religious Right is defeated -- or, at the very least, put in its proper place as a minority on the lunatic fringe. This, my friends, is exactly why it is so crucial to the success of the libertarian movement that it be joined by as many liberals as possible. A great many of the former Republicans in the Libertarian Party may not understand this, but for the sake of the cause they hold so dear, it is imperative that they wake up to that fact before it is too late.

But it is equally important that liberals understand what a disaster tax-funded "charity" really is. If we truly care about the plight of those most vulnerable, then why in the hell are we content to entrust their well-being to a safety-net so shoddily-crafted and shot-full of gaping holes? I would not wish upon my worst enemy the sort of crap the poor, elderly and ailing are forced to endure at the hands of the State.

Progressive preacher-activist Jim Wallis claims that private charity alone is not sufficient to provide adequate care for those who need it. If he means private charity in the world we now live in, I must wholeheartedly agree with him. But he seems incapable of envisioning a world in which people are free to keep what they have earned, and to use it as they best see fit. Have he and his fellow liberals so totally lost faith in humanity that they honestly believe an army of petty bureaucrats, led by "generals" who care only about their own, personal aggrandizement and enrichment, are doing better? I deeply admire Rev. Wallis as a prophetic voice in the Christian community -- one of the few genuinely godly voices we hear these days -- but I wish that he could see the bigger picture.

Somebody explain to me, please, why it's better to tax the knickers off of those who are barely able to make it, just so we can turn around and "give" a portion (and, considering what the State skims off the top for other things, a significantly diminished portion) back to them in social welfare programs? Just how is it that they're supposedly better off getting back a tiny fraction of what's been confiscated from them than they would have been had they simply been able to keep it all? To tax lower-income people at all, while mega-corporations and millionaires get break after break, is nothing short of criminal. To paraphrase my pastor, it truly IS a moral issue.

Of course a lot of libertarians are not only irreligious but anti-religious. They make the case that being forced to pay taxes to fund social welfare programs is a violation of their religious freedom, because it forces them to give to charity. Although such an argument makes me want to hold my nose, I must agree that they are right. If we don't want Pat Robertson and James Dobson's minions battering down our bedroom doors and carrying us off to prison because they don't like our choice of bed-partners, or keeping rape-victims from being able to obtain abortions, then we certainly must concede that "freedom of religion" means vastly different things to different people. It is inconsistent and illogical to argue that as long as it is the agenda of the Religious LEFT that is being pushed upon the public, instead of that of the Religious Right, then it is okay to violate the non-establishment clause of our Constitution.

Were the argument to be presented logically and thoughtfully, I believe that even a great many of those who do not believe in "charity" of ANY sort could be made to understand why some sort of an effective safety-net would make this a better country for all of us to live in. Enlightened self-interest can sometimes be as powerful a motivator as can any theological imperative or sentimental tug at our heartstrings. Privately-funded charities also must compete with one another for funds, meaning that only those that stay honest and are able to account for having used donations wisely will be able to survive and prosper. The State is accountable to nobody -- and at all levels of government, this is becoming increasingly clear.

Perhaps best of all, entrusting the general welfare to the private sector would save it from being the political football it has been for so long. Every group now held hostage by "special political interests," whether the poor, the elderly, racial minorities, gays and lesbians, or whoever else, is now at the mercy of cutthroat political careerists and pundits who care about nothing but riches and fame. Political correctness -- both Left AND Right -- plays coy and crafty little games with our most basic human rights. And those (on either side of the political spectrum) who claim they are advocating our interests know that the real solutions to the problems that beset us, if they were ever to be realized, would kill the Goose that lays their Golden Eggs.

Will that panhandler even be able to use my Sacajawea dollar? There aren't very many of them in circulation, and not every merchant will accept them. Exactly what sort of "charity" was I exercising, really, in handing him such a dubious trinket? But of course, I got it from the change-slot of a stamp machine at the post office. It came from the government that cares so much for us all that it uses them to make change for its postal patrons. When they speak of "all the compassion of the Post Office," I guess that's about what they mean.

We can't trust the government to care about us. And the best that we can ever hope for, in our puny and desperate attempts to "reform" it, is only "a little change."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Soul Searching

Giving birth to a blog is rather like birthing a child. You have to figure out what to name it and in which direction you wish it to go. It makes you reexamine your core convictions. You can't effectively impart them to anyone else if you aren't totally sure of them yourself.

Over the past ten or fifteen years, my own core convictions have changed very little. What HAVE been changing, gradually but surely, are my beliefs about how those of my convictions should implement our goals. I have grown from wanting those who think like me to regain control of the government, and to get it, once again, to force people who disagree with us to do things our way regardless of the fact that they don't want to, to seeing what it feels like to be on the receiving end of such tyranny. And tyranny, indeed, it is.

I should have been considerate enough (following the teachings of the Christ in Whom I place my faith) to realize it wasn't right to try and force my will on those who disagreed with me. Those who have been libertarians all along have, alone, had the courage and generosity of spirit to show such consideration. But I'm still light years ahead of all too many of my fellow-liberals. Even though they now know how it feels to be on the receiving end of tyranny, they still retain the fantasy of regaining throne and scepter.

For years, as I grew increasingly more libertarian in my convictions, I nonetheless thought that I could remain a Democrat and help our struggling (and increasingly out-of-power) party wake up and turn in the right direction. We've been losing, lately, a whole helluva lot more often than we've won. But the only changes the powers-that-be in the party show any interest in making are cosmetic ones. How do we "repackage our message" so that we seem to be taking a fresh direction when we are really unwilling to learn or change at all?

Becoming a Republican is quite out of the question. I have flirted with the notion of joining the GOP, getting active in Log Cabin and trying to wrest control of the Republican soul back out of the clutches of the Devil, but I do not agree with the Republicans on much of anything -- except that upon which they no longer agree with me. That the government that governs best is that which governs least, and that human beings can only be truly good, noble and charitable when they are left free to do so -- rather than when they are forced to. That the only effective way government can encourage moral responsibility is not by coddling those who choose to be irresponsible -- allowing them to duck out of their problems by blaming them on scapegoats --but by making them accountable for the choices they have made and thus giving them the opportunity to learn from their experiences. It is only too clear that the great majority of Republicans no longer stand for any of these convictions.

I still believe the government has no business legislating morality. Telling others what to do -- when you demonstrate no interest in doing it yourself -- has never been an effective means of doing anything except discrediting the very convictions in which you claim to believe. But where did this whiny, irresponsible, shift-the-blame attitude, so common to modern "conservatives," originate? Why, they learned it from the liberal Democrats of generations past -- and present!

I do not believe in the death penalty, but when a hardened gang-banger and convicted murderer is executed, I can summon forth little sympathy and very few tears. Time and again, liberals have taken to the streets to protest the punishment of people who are little more than skid-marks on the underpants of humanity, while paying no attention whatsoever to the plight of those victimized by violent crime. In my home state of Arizona, a convicted murderer is crying foul because the State Bar refuses to admit him. Call the waaaambulance, please! And by ALL means, let's make sure we "get guns off the streets" by disarming all law-abiding citizens (the only people who obey gun laws, or laws of any other sort) with laws that actual criminals (the ones who use guns to do bad things) will simply disregard.

I am tired of this. I'm sick of being told my basic human rights are being championed by people with no moral sense whatsoever (especially when it's true). And especially when the behavior of those in "progressive" politics makes it amply clear, time and time again, that they will betray me every time it becomes convenient. Liberals are no longer liberal, conservatives are no longer conservative -- they're all going nuts. And why?

Because of the tremendous size of our government at every level, and of the power that puts in the hands of those who win the political prizes. People will do or say just about anything to get ahold of that power -- and to keep it out of the hands of the equally-unscrupulous people who would use it to destroy them. The only way out of this insanity -- the only way, indeed, to get liberals to go back to being truly liberal, conservatives to being genuine conservatives and truth to be spoken and heard -- is to take as many powers and functions as possible out of the hands of the State and place them back in the hands of the people, where they belong. When people must once again use CIVIL AND RESPECTFUL PERSUASION to sell the case for their convictions, then the truth -- the very best of those convictions -- will again rise to the top.

It is mighty tempting for me to go on voting for "progressive" Democrats who claim they'll save me from the pack of fascists that now run our country. Those in charge have made war on me not because of anything I've done, but simply because of who I am -- and if they are not stopped, they will destroy me. I can't blame a lot of my fellow liberals for continuing to cling to the Democratic Party like barnacles to the bottom of a ship. All I can do is warn them -- hopefully before it's too late -- that the ship is sinking.

Nobody -- NOBODY -- should be able to do to others what our Leviathan State now gives them the power to do. Jesus emphasized the importance of what we now call The Golden Rule. It
was, indeed, the summary and essence of not only the Gospel, but the Ten Commandments. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." There is but a single political party now living that Rule, and a small (but, thank goodness, rapidly-growing) group of people demonstrating their willingness to personally follow it. They are the libertarians -- both large "L" and small.

They are the real defenders and guardians of what makes America great. May God bless them, one and all.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Fantasy of Abracadabra (or Just WHO'S Nuts?)

You faithful few who read this fledgling Blog are by now probably wondering: is she nuts? First she tells us she's a liberal Democrat, then she turns right smack around and threatens to become a Libertarian. I have heard the rumbles of deep concern...Get the butterfly net!!!

First, let me make clear that I see no contradiction between being a liberal and being a libertarian. There certainly are Right-Wing libertarians, but that's no excuse for anybody to mindlessly lump all libertarians and conservatives together. (They certainly don't lump THEMSELVES together. Ask just about any conservative alive today if a libertarian and a conservative are one and the same -- then stand back and watch the fireworks!)

The proper name for a libertarian is "classical liberal." I have become increasingly aware, over the past decade or so, that whatever sort of liberal I am, it isn't the same sort of animal as that of a Bill or Hillary Clinton, a Ted Kennedy, a Nancy Pelosi or a Barney Frank. If the one-two punch of Bubba and Dubya should have taught us anything, it is that the State is NOT our friend.

Once upon a time, only liberals believed in the Fantasy of Abracadabra: that sweet but curiously out-of-touch notion that every problem might be neatly solved with the wave of a legislative or judicial magic wand. It sounds nice, it sells well, and it seems to produce, in those addicted to it, a high more powerful than LSD and crystal meth put together.

Now conservatives have become Abracadabra junkies, too. Hate abortion? Abracadabra -- Shazaam...shaboom...begorra and begone! The idea that some problems are not so tidily solvable never seems to occur to them. When, after all their nifty spells, the unborn children continue to die, will these crusaders for "life" simply look the other way? We can't count 'em anymore, so the unborn dead no longer count?

What about the sad state of marriage in this country? Shazaam...alekazam...bubble-bubble, toil and trouble! Pass a law (violating four existing amendments to the Constitution if done at the federal level, and three if at the state) that prohibits the poofs from getting married, and -- POOF! -- just like that, the institution is saved! Not quite as easy as it was for Samantha (we can't just wiggle our noses, look cute and blink), but hell, it still requires no sacrifice from us (at least not if we're straight) -- so it's a bargain.

The Abracadabra Fantasy allows us to find convenient scapegoats upon which to dump our problems. But nobody ever solved a problem by blaming it on somebody else. It is the road to riches, fame and political glory in this country to tell people that all their troubles are somebody else's fault. But quite the opposite from doing anything constructive to remedy those troubles, it actually guarantees that no remedy can ever be found. In order for problems to really be solved, they must first be faced and owned up to -- the one tough, grown-up task our nation of oversized spoiled and whiny brats runs from as if it were the Plague.

One of the many current, totally pointless and dumbass debates now raging between Right and Left is "What would Jesus be?" Or, in another variation, "What were the Founding Fathers?" Would they have considered themselves liberals or conservatives?

The real answer, I believe, is that without exception, they would look at us, wide-eyed with incredulity at the very stupidity of the question. "Why, we're both," they would answer. Not because they were wishy-washy, but because they would have recognized a simple truth that we have forgotten. There is no need to choose one "side" or the other and be married to it 'til the end of time. In traditional Western, Judeo-Christian civilization, the liberal and the conservative are as mutually necessary as, to the Oriental, are the Yin and the Yang.

Truth be told, NOBODY is totally liberal one hundred percent of the time -- nor is anyone totally and one hundred percent conservative. Not unless they are so unbalanced that they are too removed from reality to exist outside of a padded cell. Those who get stuck in the category of "centrist" include everybody independent and well-adjusted enough to think for themselves. Libertarians often get crammed in here, as well. After all, on the black-and-white battlefield of Left versus Right, anybody who won't take one "side" or the other is relegated to No Man's Land.

But what the Libertarians believe is that there need not BE a battle. The whole reason that there is one is because politicians, pundits and other powermongers have managed to hoodwink most people into believing they can make all opposition disappear and rule the world. It is a big part of the Fantasy of Abracadabra -- as a matter of fact, it is totally necessary to it. Wave a wand, and watch your enemies fall before you. Release the magic potion, and everybody will think like you.

Ladies and gents, we should have stopped believing in such nonsense by the time we were done leaving cookies and milk for Santa. Just because insanely ambitious and fanatically power-mad people TELL US SOMETHING, that does not mean we must believe that it is true. We are now caught up in the political equivalent of a nuclear war. It is all-or-nothing: the "right" to rule as tyrants over those with whom we disagree or the cruel fate of powerlessness and virtual annihilation.

When the powermongers get their power, do they EVER solve any of the problems they promised to take care of once we put them in charge? Why is it that, in nearly every single instance, the problems they were supposed to solve only grow worse instead?

It's quite all right for little kids to believe in the Fantasy of Abracadabra. But every grownup who buys into it is like a child, waving his fork over his spinach and pretending it is a wand. "Shazoom...shazaam," he chants, "now you are ice cream!" Then he tastes it, and finds out that his wand was a dud.

The wands of both the liberals and the conservatives who retain their rosy-viewed faith in statism are duds. Lots of people in this great, big, brawling national argument are indeed nuts -- on that, I will agree with you. I just don't agree that I am one of them.

This Blog will not be stuck in the stale mud of the past. We have finally and mercifully emerged from the Twentieth Century -- that dark swamp of statism and tyranny. The mainstream media is the tool of the tyrants. It is up to blogs like mine, and the rest of the alternative media, to point the way forward.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The White Buffalo Is Stillborn

For years now (actually decades), I -- like most liberal Democrats -- have been waiting for the mythical White Buffalo to be born. Native American tribes of the plains believed that when an albino buffalo was born, it portended great things. For libDems, the equivalent would be a new Age of Aquarius, in which the collective consciousness was raised and progressivism was again on the march.

If ever there were a time when this SHOULD be happening, it would be now. We have a bona fide fascist in the White House, his faction has taken over both houses of Congress and is on its way (or so they say) to remolding the Supreme Court in der Fuhrer's image.

But is a new progressive golden age on the horizon? You may see some sign of it, but I don't. I think that the Democratic Left is closer to extinction than the American bison has ever been.

It isn't gonna happen, people, so we might as well wake up. And smell the bacon before it burns. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens find ourselves in special peril. And the poor take it in the shorts again and again.

Once upon a grand old time, progressives grew the government so big, they thought it could serve them forever. They would implement -- by force -- the wonderful new world as they saw it. It seems to have done little besides get everybody else so pissed-off that they joined forces in a holy war against us. Conservatives once claimed they wanted to dismantle the leviathan State. But then they decided to do something else. Tearing a page out of our playbook, they wrestled the State out of our hands and made it their own.

Feels real good, being on the receiving end of tyranny, does it not? Maybe we're getting exactly what we deserved. You cannot legislate a change in hearts or minds; that must be done patiently, painstakingly, one heart and mind at a time. But that was too slow for us, and too uncertain. Nor have we learned our lesson, as it is still the pipe-dream of most of my fellow liberals that we will rise again, storm the Bastille with our pitchforks and take it all back for ourselves.

Again, I say, it isn't gonna happen. The only question is, did our wrongheaded approach to implementing our will do so much damage that our cause is irreparable, or do we still have a chance -- if we change directions?

The Right-Wing theocrats are on the verge of taking all the marbles. But I remember sitting in a public-school classroom where the teacher ACTUALLY TOLD US that evolution disproved the existence of God. In fact, over the years of my taxpayer-funded education, I heard that more times than I could count. Small wonder that many of my classmates grew up with a burr under their saddle. Now they want to teach that the earth is flat -- and they want to use taxpayer funds to do it. Wonder where they got THAT idea?

If our principles are right, then we must PERSUADE others of it. There simply is no shortcut. That's true with regard to gay rights, to feminism, to civil rights for racial minorities and to just about everything else we hold near and dear. It is now those on the Right who show an unwillingness to engage in meaningful debate. They are making plu-perfect fools of themselves -- but we have lost the right to criticize them for it.

How many times have liberals thrown the "fascist" label at conservatives? It's like the fable of the Kid Who Cried Wolf. Now we really DO have our own, homegrown fascist regime in charge, and we can't get anybody to believe it. Maybe that's what happened to our White Buffalo; the wolf is eating its guts out.

Make absolutely no mistake about it. The Radical Right is so well-funded, and its minions so numerous, that WE WILL NEVER TURN THE TABLES. One wag, commenting on a post in one of the many blogs I visit each day, joked that to boost his political viability, John Edwards would oversee the public stoning of a gay couple. I'm sorry I couldn't laugh; if that were to happen, it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

John Edwards, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and most of the rest of the Democratic Ring of Power are nothing but a pack of cowards. They have betrayed GLBT Americans, along with just about everybody else any self-respecting Democrat would stand up for. The only Presidential candidate worth a second look, in 2004, was Michael Badnarik. But when he showed up at a debate to present the Libertarian point of view, he was led away in handcuffs.

The only chance this country ever has to see a new dawn of liberty and justice rests in the cuffed hands of the Libertarian Party. In order to unshackle those hands, we all need to pull together. The Democratic Party is only a hollow shell of its former self. We must argue on behalf not only of OUR rights, or of OUR freedom, but of EVERYBODY'S. Not only is this the only argument that will ever capture the hearts and minds of the American people, but if it is not able to do so, then all is lost for every American.

I was a Democrat because I believed in their principles -- NOT simply because I am a woman and happen to be gay. I will be a Libertarian for the sake of those same principles. Libertarians disavow the use of force against others. They also rejoice whenever they see freedom, and wherever it may blossom.

The Democrats in Congress cannot disguise the fact that they hope the elections in Iraq do not succeed. I think (as do most Libertarians) that the war is a wasteful and duplicitous sham. But if I'm wrong, and real liberty does result in Iraq, then this is one time I won't mind being wrong one bit. I don't think the Iraqis are ready for democracy. Come on, Iraq, and prove me wrong! Like most Libertarians, regardless of how much I have hated this war, I would gladly put all partisan feeling aside at the sight of real Iraqi freedom. Hold those purple fingers high!

The Left had better remember -- and soon -- that the same Western, Judeo-Christian civilization that the terrorists want to destroy was the very birthplace of liberalism. I don't want some radical mullah standing before Congress screaming for my head! (As our duly-elected officials sit there, gravely nodding their heads and doing their best to be "tolerant of diversity.") I'm sorry if that doesn't sound "multicultural" to you. Why is it we can only see fascism when it comes from the Republican Party?

I want America to succeed. I want democracy and freedom to survive and thrive anew. I want sane and civil discourse to return to the political arena. I want ALL Americans -- Black and White, male and female, gay and straight, rich and poor -- to prosper in peace and safety.

The government must be whittled back down to the minimum necessary. Then it can hurt nobody. Those now-extinct principled Right-Wingers were right when they said we ought to "starve the beast." That beast has run amok, and its devouring everything and everyone in its path. It is unrealistic to think that it will ever be "tamed" to serve the interests of progressives again -- or that, even if it could be, the Radical Right would not be able to easily take it away from us again.

Bill O'Reilly and the usual cast of Christmas-defending dimwits can do nothing to save Christmas. For the sake of Christmas future, as well as Yuletide of the present and the past, let's take a new look at the true message of liberty and justice for all. It comes from a seemingly-obscure corner: the small and embattled but growing Libertarian Party. But didn't the Prince of Peace come from an obscure corner, too?

Let's gather, once again, around the manger where Jesus Christ was born. And let us never forget that it was also the birthplace of the very freedom, equality and justice for every human being that we treasure. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health and very literally 'til death do us part, we and our Western, Judeo-Christian civilization are of one flesh. Let no one put it asunder.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Are the Democrats Worth It?

I spent yesterday with a very nice group of people. A friend of mine and I went to a party for Arizona Women In Tune, a local choral society that performs wonderfully. Although they accept pretty much anybody (female, gay or straight) who shows up at rehearsals, their director -- a former classmate of mine at Grand Canyon University -- makes 'em sound like pros. On the living-room bookshelves of the women hosting this party were a whole section of books paying homage to the Democratic Party: Truman, Clinton and just about everybody in between. Like probably ninety-five percent of those in AzWIT, this particular female couple keeps the torch of faith burning.

They obviously think they know which side our bread is buttered on. Although I was enjoying the party immensely, at the sight of such big-P Party devotion, I found myself growing immensely sad. The Democratic Party is one party I no longer enjoy in the least.

During the luncheon portion of our gathering yesterday, the ladies at my table shared a bitter laugh at the notion that our current Great Democratic Hope for Arizona, Governor Janet Napolitano, might actually ACT LIKE A REAL DEMOCRAT and stand up for GLBT rights. Not a chance, we all know. Look at the roster of star players in the Party, and almost without exception you'll see that every one of them has betrayed us.

A while back, I sent an email to the Democratic Leadership Council -- you remember them: the folks who claim that candidates must be "less extreme" to get elected -- asking them exactly what their attitude toward the GLBT struggle for civil rights really is. I searched their website with a fine-toothed comb, you see, and there was almost no mention of us at all. I hoped I'd get at least some sort of a response from them, a few canned platitudes that test well in some focus-group, if nothing else, but thus far I have gotten nothing but silence. I do not intend to hold my breath until I get anything more.

Pardon me, but even a "centrist" Democrat ought to still remember what a Democrat is. Since when did being less "extreme" mean pandering to the wingnut Right? The Democrats have jettisoned the core principle of respect for all human beings that made the word Democrat (small "d" OR large) mean something. If a beleaguered and embattled minority, struggling for their very right to exist, fails to "poll well," or to pass the test in some focus-group, then to hell with us.

I can well understand the basic rationale behind centrism. I, too, believe that the Left has gotten way too extreme in many ways. They are so obsessed with abortion that they treat women like idiots incapable of making any decisions about our bodies BUT letting men treat us like disposable sex-toys and then having abortions. They want to disarm all law-abiding citizens so we can't defend ourselves, reducing us to hiding in our own homes and waiting for some criminal to come and rape or kill us. They pander to the nitwits who think "protecting animal rights" means "liberating" pets to the wild and making us all eat tofu. But for crying out loud, the DLC can't tell the difference between rational principle and any momentary shift in the direction of the political weather-vane.

The issues about which the Left has become extreme and irrational are NOT essential to the core principles for which the Democratic Party has traditionally stood: the empowerment of oppressed human beings and the freedom and equality of all. The complete inability of the DLC and most of the rest of the Democratic "centrists" to understand that shows that they have totally lost sight of what being a Democrat means.

I now cling to membership in the Democratic Party simply because they oppose the death-march to fascism upon which the Republican Right is taking this country. We are like the citizens of some little Old-Western town, terrorized by desperadoes, who let the least-odious of the yahoos pin on a badge and "defend" us -- strictly because nobody else will. The Democratic Party has betrayed everything it ever stood for, and has lost the right to expect our loyalty.

The extreme Left in Europe has gone completely insane. As the Islamofascists there grow ever bolder, publicly calling for the execution of all homosexuals and now even going so far as to threaten putting bombs in gay bars, our enlightened liberal "defenders" do -- nothing. Sexual minorities in Europe and England are terrified, begging their governments to protect them. They get nothing from the "progressives" but politically-correct, mealy-mouthed dreck. The persecution of GLBT citizens across the Pond is being tolerated in the name of tolerance itself. We are being sacrificed to the Left's misguided notions about "multiculturalism" and "diversity."

History clearly shows us that everything on the European Left eventually makes it to the American Left. Is the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" -- the faction I myself have supported for so long -- really going to protect us? Are we not deluding ourselves to think they'll even try?

There simply are not enough GLBT citizens to keep the loyalty of politicians who care about nothing except power. Only one political party in this country DEMANDS -- on unwavering principle -- that ALL citizens, including those who are GLBT, be treated fairly and equally by their government. And it is not the Democratic Party. It is the Libertarian.

Of course not all Libertarians like us. I've heard some of them say some pretty stupid things about gay people. But at the very least, they don't believe storm-troopers ought to kick in our front doors and carry us off to jail for being in bed with the "wrong" person. And quite unlike the Democrats -- who are deeply divided over the entire mess -- the Libertarians staunchly oppose Right Wing efforts to tamper with the Constitution (at ANY level of government) to render us second-class citizens.

Many liberals believe that all libertarians are conservatives. That has not been true for a very long time. More and more former Democrats are joining the Libertarian Party. They recognize that the most important thing is to drive fascism from our shores. Though it is a third party, it is growing fast. Could the Libertarian Party become a major party? If the Democrats don't get back to being Democrats, it not only COULD happen, but WILL. Third parties in America have become major parties before. Just look at the Republicans.

Unlike the cowardly Democrats, who still can't figure out what they believe about the war in Iraq, most Libertarians are vehemently against it -- and not at all afraid to say so. They also oppose the corporate welfare and pandering to the rich that are strangling the American middle class.

I would be a left-leaning Libertarian, to be sure. But I have been a libertarian-leaning leftist for a long time. You might even say that I'm something of a "closet" Libertarian. I must confess that I find Reason and Liberty magazines immensely more compelling than the steady dribble of vapidity coming out of publications like The Nation and Mother Jones.

As more and more disgruntled Democrats join the Libertarian Party -- not to mention more women -- its complexion will change. It will become (and indeed, already is becoming) more liberal. I support even many of the things about the Libertarian Party that will not change no matter how many liberals join it. And in the weeks and months to come, I will explain why.

I do have questions, and am skeptical about some Libertarian claims. I wonder how many of them could actually govern, for example, as they tend to be True Believers who hate all compromise -- and governing in a free society requires compromise at least some of the time. I also wonder how many of them really fit the stereotype (unmarried, angry young men who can't get laid), and how receptive they are to a large influx of liberal and female members. They need to decide which they are more afraid of: getting "girl-cooties" or achieving actual political success. It's been a good eighty years since a political party could rise to prominence without an at-least fifty-percent female membership.

When they find out that their pretty fairy-tale about women "being too dependent" to be Libertarian is nothing but bullshit, and that the real reason many women (me being one of them) are reluctant to become Libertarians is because of all the typically-male, head-in-the-clouds theorizing they do instead of coming down to earth and GETTING GOING, maybe they'll actually get somewhere. I've worked with both men and women all my life, and I can tell you that women are more practical than men. If this country is ever to move from where we now find ourselves to where the Libertarians believe we need to go, we have a helluva lot of ground to cover. Women will want to know just how we honestly, realistically expect to get there -- and we won't be content to carry the whole load on our backs.

As the Chinese proverb says, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." I don't want to wake up someday and realize I could have fought fascism in this country but did nothing. My next step may be a doozy.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorillas #4, 5 & 6

Here are more of those pesky apes who won't go away: mini-King Kongs, who -- despite their smaller size -- are just as obvious as the Big Guy on the Empire State Building...

There are gay Christians, too. The lie-mongers who say otherwise are such cowardly little creeps that the Jesus about whom they're always babbling would turn away in disgust at the very stink of 'em. I can't wait for Him to come back so He can knock their heads together and take some names. I'm too mean for you? AWWWWW. He would call them the "brood of vipers" they really are and be done with it.

More often than not, they do not actually come right out and SAY there are no gay Christians -- they just IMPLY it. That's the lazy, cowardly way to do it, and they are lazy, cowardly people. They can't win a debate with any reasonably-intelligent gay Christian, so they have to pretend we don't exist. They cannot admit us in their neat and tidy little Romper Room world. They don't want to deal with us because they CAN'T deal with us.

Now, if they said they know we exist, but that we are not "good" Christians, or "real" Christians, or whatever, that would still be stupid but at least it would be more honest. They could even say "there are these crazy, evil gay people who THINK they're Christians" or "who CLAIM they're Christians...as they actually plot to overthrow the government, make dogs meow and cats bark and totally destroy the world." That, too, would be cretinously, shit-eatingly stupid -- but at least it's more honest than the little kiddie's game they so often play. They close their eyes and then chant, "We can't see 'em, so they're not there!"

THAT. IS. NOT. HONEST. It simply isn't. It is a LIE. It is a lie they are more prone to tell by omission rather than comission, but the fact that so many of them are too chickenshit to actually come right out and SAY we don't exist does not change the truth that God made us, too.

You wanna showdown with a REAL gay Christian? Just bring it! As John Wayne once put it, "Fill your hands!" And oh, I know my speech is plain and blunt. Jesus never said a word about salty language -- but lying and hypocrisy of your sort, He unequivocably condemned.

These people have made war against the most basic human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens. I will certainly exercise the tough love of telling them the truth about what they are doing -- hopefully before they reach the Judgment Day they keep prattling about and find themselves on the same side of The Throne to which they would assign us. And I truly am trying to warn them, in no-punches-pulled, Christian-sisterly concern. (Let's see if they're even a fraction as good at taking that sort of thing as they are at dishing it out.) What I will NOT do is shut up, go conveniently away or ever, EVER stop fighting.

Hetero homophobe, phoney-baloney Christians pick on gays because they've somehow gotten the notion that we won't stand up and fight back. There's nothing I love better than showing them how very wrong they are.

People who ridicule womens' sports only make themselves look like damn fools.
Usually, those who do this are men. Though sometimes, it's a woman (usually a very ugly straight chick who couldn't get laid to save her life) who clings desperately to the pathetic hope that, if she can only be ugly enough to other women, she'll be able to get a man to pay attention to her for more than ten seconds. She's almost certainly making a donkey's twat of herself in vain, because I have never seen it work.

It's much more common, again, for a man to do this. And SUCH a man! Invariably, the sort of "man" who feels compelled to prove his masculinity by dissing Mia Hamm, the LPGA and the WNBA is simply attempting to overcompensate for his own, pathetic inadequacies. Little Suzie beat him out for shortstop back in tee-ball, and he still can't get over the pain.

These guys are such losers, they don't realize they aren't proving they're heterosexual (though if you've ever seen one of 'em, you know in an instant there isn't a woman -- OR a man -- on the whole planet who'd care). All they're proving is that they NEED TO PROVE they are heterosexual, and that is a horse of an altogether different color.

The most amusing aspect of the Phony Masculine Protest Against Women's Sports is that the sort of asshat who indulges in this hardly ever even knows anything about sports. Almost without exception, the men who rail against the WNBA, for example, know next to nothing about basketball -- and I mean the game, period, whether played by women OR men. They are almost never even former athletes -- far from even being has-beens, they're wannabees who never were, and they are so disappointed they didn't emerge from the womb knowing all about every sport that they've never bothered to ask enough questions to learn anything. Our fathers' generation prided themselves on being students of their favorite game. This generation of guys thinks that the Y chromosome somehow mystically transmits all sports knowledge -- though if that's so, then somehow it skipped them.

I never waste my time getting mad at a dipshit like this. The most appropriate response, when confronted by one, is to simply point and laugh. As getting laughed-at makes them want to run home crying to mommy, it doesn't take very long for them to crawl back into the woodwork from which they came.

Which brings me to a very closely-related Gorilla...

If somebody hates womens' sports, NOBODY is making 'em watch. You would think, judging from the outrage of many of the losers who like to cry in their beer on sports talk-radio, that somebody was holding them at gunpoint, force-marching them into an arena, tying them into a seat, duct-taping their eyelids open and FORCING them to watch women play sports. The fact that (A) they NEVER have to watch anything they don't want to, and that (B) nobody actually gives a shit what they watch never seems to occur to them.

Let me clue you into what is really going on here. They are trying to bully and shame other people out of enjoying womens' sports -- not simply because they themselves don't enjoy it, but because they are afraid somebody else might. This is especially true of many of the self-appointed experts who work in the sports media. Again, they are almost always wannabees who never were, and they CAN'T STAND that there are women getting paid for playing sports -- with big arenas full of people paying to see them play, and Olympic medals, and Nike shoe contracts, and all the rest of it. Oh, it's just killing 'em!

Here's where some former tee-ball washout will holler that the mens' arenas are generally full of more people than are the womens'. It may take a couple of generations to change that, or it may never change, but who the hell cares? It does not diminish the enjoyment of the people who DO pay to see womens' sports because the losers, the sour-grapers and the dads too selfish to take their daughters to the game aren't there. And I'll tell you another dirty little secret they don't want you to hear: a growing number of the fans of womens' sports are heterosexual men -- many of whom actually care enough about their daughters to be HAPPY that they, too, can now dream of growing up to play pro sports.

An awful lot of former (male) athletes are excited about the explosive growth of womens' sports. That's probably because they got their own chance at the brass ring, so they don't begrudge it to anybody else. Not even to Little Suzie.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Who's With Stupid?

I look forward, every morning, to my Writer's Almanac from Garrison Keillor. It is absolutely packed with info every scribe's sure to love. This morning, I had the joy of discovering that today is Ann Coulter's birthday! Yipee-skipee-skidoo!!!

I'm sure somebody is friggin' charmed by Ann Coulter. I guess they must be; people buy her books in skads. I simply find it impossible to understand the fascination.

Why is America so enamored of people who say stupid things? What does it say about us, as a people, that the lunatic ravings of an Ann Coulter or a Michael Savage attract such lavish attention? (At this point in the young life of my Blog, probably all of ten people regularly read it. But there's no bitterness here...)

Now, seriously, folks. Why is it so hard for people with something intelligent to say to win a hearing, while the sort of cretinous potty-dribble of a Coulter, a Savage or a Hannity spreads its plague far and wide?

Notice, please, that I'm not calling them stupid -- every one of these hucksters is crazy like a fox. I find it impossible to believe they could have risen to positions of such prominence (Ann Coulter, for example, is a lawyer, and many of these asshats are duly-elected public officials) if they were capable of believing the dreck they spew.

If Trent Lott truly believed that homosexuality was psycologically akin to alcoholism and kleptomania, the old boy would never have been sharp enough to get elected dogcatcher. If Doctor Tom Coburn honestly thought that his precious daughter dared not go into a public bathroom for fear of being assaulted by a horde of lust-inflamed lesbians, he certainly never would have been smart enough even to be admitted to med school -- much less to hoodwink enough people to vote for him to get elected to the Senate.

That's what's so bone-chilling about these people. THEY KNOW BETTER. Make absolutely no mistake about it, they themselves know better than to believe a single word of their propaganda. THESE PEOPLE KNOW THAT THEY ARE LYING -- and they're laughing at all those bozos who line up at the bookstores to buy their neatly-packaged toxic waste. They're laughing all the way to the bank.

But the things these people say are hardly harmless. They want to change the Constitution by writing millions of Americans out of it. They are hyper-pumping up continued, fanatically-irrational support for a war in which thousands on both sides have already been slaughtered without a lick of either accountability or sense from their Commander in Chief. And they inject the venom into those who commit crimes of hate against other human beings -- all because these sick souls have been told that certain groups of people are evil.

I'll tell you who's evil: it's people who tell lies and say ugly, stupid things for fun and profit. But nobody's forcing the public to buy into what's going on. I simply choose not to be one of the suckers. Who will join me in helping to clean up the American mind? Who's with me -- and who's with Stupid?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Reflections on Pearl Harbor Day

When we think of September 11, 2001, our reference-point is always December 7, 1941. These two tragic days brought home to us that we are no more invincible than any other nation in the world.

Many things have been said and written since 9-11-01, some quite profound and others downright idiotic. We've heard the Euro-nitwits tell us we somehow deserved it, and a certain Geritol hippie professor wax philosophical about chickens coming home to roost. Nobody "deserves" to be attacked by terrorists. Our behavior since the attack, however, does leave something to be desired.

Here's a lesson from Moral Logic 101: It is perfectly possible to react badly to evil. According to the muddy thinking of the Right Wing, anything we do is okay simply because we were attacked and our attackers were evil. And if you argue with them, these deluded souls can only conclude you think the terrorists were in the right.

No, my poor, befuddled friends, THIS is what I think: I think that the terrorists were evil, and that what they did to us was inexcusable. I also think that though we're capable of being marvelous people, much of our behavior, since 9-11, has been very bad. We haven't been ourselves lately.

The soundest lessons we ever learn about civics, about being human in the world in general, we ought to have learned before we're even out of kindergarten. Remember all those times Mommy told you "two wrongs don't make a right?" I know it got dull, hearing that over and over again, but maybe -- just maybe -- she knew her stuff. Murdering thousands of innocent civilians and torturing non-combatants probably isn't America at its best.

And "but the terrorists are even worse" is no excuse. Since when do we let terrorists set our moral standards? Placing the bar just higher than the snake's backbone isn't aiming that much higher than its belly.

To the degree that any recognizable nation attacked us on 9-11, it was Saudi Arabia. You remember them: those great buddies of the Bushes. Fat chance we're going to kick any Saudi butt -- hell, they own half of this country! Attacking Iraq as payback for 9-11 is like retaliating against the Japanese for Pearl Harbor by nuking Thailand.

Although I remain vehemently opposed to this war, I certainly understand we cannot simply pull out tomorrow. We killed a lot of people and broke a lot of things, and now we do need to help clean up the mess we made. What I am opposed to is making the mess even bigger. I also fail to understand how you can force people to accept democracy. These folks give little indication that they're ready for prime-time.

When will we ever learn the difference between helping people and telling them what to do? They may seem, sometimes, to be one and the same thing, but they're not. We need to figure out ways to help the Iraqis without telling them what to do -- and that involves doing something that we, very frankly, are not very good at. It involves LISTENING. President Pom-pom doesn't listen to anybody except the cadre of combat-dodging cowards with whom he surrounds himself.

Let's remember Pearl Harbor for what it truly was: the end of American innocence. It showed us we could not simply hide out on our own, little island and ignore what was happening to the rest of the world. "You will be like God," the Serpent promised the mother of us all in that long-ago Garden, "knowing good and evil." And so she took the fruit and ate it -- and sure enough, we've carried the burden of knowing the difference between right and wrong ever since.

Every day -- no matter what's going on in the rest of the world -- we have the opportunity to do what's right instead of what's wrong. We can't control what the rest of the world does, but nobody else can stop us from being the very best America we can be. We may not live in the Garden of Eden anymore, but it's never too late to choose good over evil.

Let's stop tossing around words like "good" and "evil" as if they were strictly abstract terms. Let's remember what they really mean.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Why I Am A Liberal -- Part 1

I am a liberal because, unlike your average conservative, I don't flatter myself that I'm more virtuous, self-disciplined, hard-working or courageous than everybody else.

Very few, if any, of the smug young trashmouths in Right-Wing punditry are anything to shout home to mother about. Be they male or female, most are vain, self-congratulatory phonies, living in a fool's paradise.

The women are usually heterosexual and almost always happily-married, with husbands who make plenty of money, and instead of thanking the Lord Above that they have been so blessed, they prefer to think it's something they have a right to feel proud of themselves about. In true conservative fashion, they believe they earned every blessing God has ever given them -- they just had it coming to them -- and that anyone who is gay, divorced, miserably married or poor deserves to be that way because they're just not as good.

The men live in a continual state of denial about how much easier, safer and more comfortable their lives are than were those of their grandfathers or great-grandfathers, yet pine away for women like the kind they used to make. They rarely support their families (if their wives work, then they're not supporting their families -- they're helping their wives support their families), and are so far gone in their molly-coddledness that they don't even have any pride about going to serve their country in the military in times of war. They seem unaware that Great-grandpa would have sooner died than let a woman fight in his place, or would have taken three jobs upon himself before making his wife work outside the home. Sure, Great-grandma deferred to him in ways women rarely do men any longer -- but make no mistake about it, she made him earn every minute of it.

That dream-girl of Great-grandma's generation would have laughed your average modern man right out of the room. She wouldn't have even recognized him as a man at all. He has traded certain privileges for others, he did so with his eyes wide open, and he has nobody to blame for it but himself. The fact that he wants all the privileges available to humankind without having to trade anything for them, and the fact that he cowers behind the convenient skirts of "the feminists," whimpering that "it's all their fault," would only make his dream-girl want to puke even harder. And the fact that he is so blissfully unaware of these facts, that he needs to make himself feel proud of the fact that, in the crapshoot of birth, he happened to be born in an historically-privileged position and that therefore everybody should defer to him, is nothing short of pathetic.

I am a liberal because I realize that the modernization of human society has involved a certain give-and-take between different groups of people. Heterosexuals wanted to be able to marry for love, and then to experiment sexually until they'd found spouses with whom they were sexually compatible. I would be the last person in the world to begrudge them that, but for them to toss traditional morality aside to the degree they have -- even going so far as to continue calling themselves Christian when they flout Jesus's clear condemnation against divorce (about which, unlike homosexuality, He really did have something to say) -- but then turn around and treat gay and lesbian people as if we're less than human, is ugly indeed. Traditional marriage is in the pickle it's in today because straight people refuse to behave themselves. Nobody ever solved a problem by scapegoating somebody else for it.

I am a liberal because when most contemporary conservatives talk about "individual responsibility," they're talking through their hindquarters. They are, for the most part, the whiniest, spoiled-brattiest, most cowardly, dishonest and self-indulgent bunch of losers I have ever seen. The only effective way to exercise moral leadership is by example, and this crowd is in a pretty sad condition to do it. They don't want to "walk the walk" of real morality -- they merely want to flap their traps about it.

I have no problem with a man who enjoys the fact that his life is better than his great-grandpa's, but who lovingly acknowledges the fact that his wife's job helped to make life better. I'm not criticizing him for having evenings and weekends free because she works; I just want him to understand that it's true. Nor do I have a problem with a woman who appreciates family -- as long as she also realizes that (unlike many other women) her family is something to appreciate. If you don't want to go get shot at in a war, that's okay too -- just don't call others cowards or traitors because they don't think other people ought to go get shot in it, either.

The phony conservatives of today live in a fantasy-world. They say they believe in the same things that decent people of former generations did: honor, truth-telling, commitment and common sense. Let them begin to live as if they really stand for such things. To the degree that those old-fangled values ever make a comeback (and it's as much the fault of so-called conservatives as it is the liberals' that they ever went away), then let's all pitch in and help to bring them back. In reality, they belong not just to the Right Wing, but to us all.

I am a liberal because I understand, as well, that the blessings God gives us do not come to us because we earn them, but because God has blessed us. And that the good things of life that we receive, God means for us not to hoard jealously away, but to share generously with as many others as possible.

I am a liberal because I believe that Jesus really meant everything He said. And because I recognize that I, myself, am not God. When I acknowledge a blessing, I thank God for it. I do not thank myself.

Let's by all means bring back the best of the values from the past. But let us realize that fairness and humility reign chief among them all.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dialogue With Gay Conservatives -- Part 1

I'm the sort of person who makes a point of reading and listening to those with whose opinions I know I will probably disagree. Hardly any conservatives seem to do this, and all too few liberals bother to, either. But you can learn very little when you live in an echo-chamber. I fail to understand how someone even knows what he or she really believes without making the effort to hear both sides of every argument. Liberals can only refute Right-Wing propaganda by recognizing where it's coming from and understanding what it's trying to say.

Gay conservatives are a minority within a minority. They pretty much get dumped-on by everybody. Having lived in red-state Arizona all my life, there has been no way for me to avoid meeting and talking with conservatives of every stripe. I probably know more gay Republicans than I do straight ones. Though I heartily disagree with their point of view for the most part, I am one of those rare gay liberals who actually understands and respects it.

One of their most-frequent mantras is that gay people have the right to believe whatever makes the most sense to them -- just as straight people do. And who could disagree with such a no-brainer? One of the most annoying things about being gay is that everybody's always telling us what we can and can not think. As a gay Christian, I well understand the frustration of being flogged -- both by straight believers and gay non-believers -- for daring to embrace the seeming paradox of out-and-proud homosexuality and Christian faith. So I find the defensive (I would go as far as to say belligerent) stance of the average Log Cabin type very easy to relate to.

It's not that I think my gay brothers and sisters shouldn't follow their convictions wherever they lead them. The problem, for me, is that I simply don't agree with modern, Right-Wing Republican dogma. I would still be a Democrat, even if I were straight. And as much as my Log Cabin friends resent being told they "must" be liberal Democrats to be loyal to "the community," I resent being told that I'm such a zombie I'm incapable of coming to liberal conclusions on my own and for their own sake. Over the years, I've had to tell more than a few gay Republicans to put THAT in their pipes and smoke it.

Let us, once and for all, just put aside any notion that our individual condition in life must dictate our political persuasion. You will never hear me say that every sexual minority must toe the Democratic party-line, either in this Blog or anywhere else. And henceforth, if I hear anybody suggest anything to the contrary, I will know that I am dealing with either a liar or a fool.

Are a great many gay liberals mean and spiteful people? (This, too, is a common gay conservative claim.) Again, how could I deny it? There are nasty characters in every segment of humanity. If I were a gay Right-Winger, I do believe I'd be a little more careful about assigning angel status to everybody with whom I happened to agree.

Every barrel has its share of bad apples. Just watch out if you think it gives you license to disqualify whatever those in a different "barrel" believe. You think there are no scoundrels among the Republican ranks? Hah! -- I say -- and double hah! Unlike your average Right-Wing GLBT'er, I would never have the temerity to suggest that everybody who shares my opinions is a saint.

One of the few points gay conservatives do score, in my view, is on the issue of how human rights, in general, ought to be protected and defended. In forcing minorities of every sort to be dependent upon the whim of the majority, the Left has done us a huge disservice. Why must we win a popularity-contest in order to secure the protection of our most basic rights as citizens? Only by returning to the rock-solid truth that human beings derive our rights not from the particulars that divide us, but rather, from the universals we all share, will our rights really be safeguarded. I don't have "special" rights because I am a woman or because I am a lesbian -- I have sacred, non-negotiable and unalienable rights because I am a human being.

Another area of agreement between myself and conservative gays is that society must return to a more decent standard of behavior. Like them, I feel the standard should be exactly the same for gays as it is for straights -- but that this standard must be one in which the bar is set significantly higher than it has been in the recent past. Gays who feel, for example, that marriage is "too straight" should be perfectly free to refrain from getting married themselves. But they should not play into the hands of the bigots who would relegate us to second-class status by keeping those of us who wish to marry for love from so doing. I also share the embarrassment and revulsion so many gay conservatives feel at the self-indulgent antics of many in our community, and heartily resent the fact that the news media finds the more "normal" among us too boring to merit their attention.

My over-forty years of life as an unpopular and relatively-powerless minority renders me unable, however, to fathom the desire of so many conservative gays to belong to a party that doesn't want us, doesn't know what the hell to do with us and wishes we would leave. Gay Republicans are an embarrassment to the GOP, the same way gay Christians are an embarrassment to the Church. Why? Well, because we give lie to their propaganda. We aren't whiny, "poor-little-me" reprobates, content to wallow in self-pity and victimhood and live lives stuck in never-ending adolescent rebellion.

Why do they want to belong to a party that lies about them? Sure, they claim they want to change the hearts and minds of straight Republicans, just as I want to help change those of straight Christians. And I suppose they could ask me why I want to belong to a Church that doesn't seem too keen on welcoming me. I will give you a very simple and basic reason why being a gay Christian is so different from being a gay Republican. Jesus Christ promised the Church that the Holy Spirit would abide with it 'til the end of time -- but to the Republican Party, He made no such promise.

The Christian Church is an institution at once both human and divine. The hearts and minds of good straight Christians are indeed changing, even if it isn't happening as rapidly as we might wish. The Republican Party, however, is a strictly human institution. I have far less faith that the greed, selfishness and all-around knavery that now governs it can ever be rooted out. Right now it rules the country, but for this power it has sold its soul.

It's an integrity thing. Why would any right-thinking person want to belong to a party that denies the very existence of some of its own members? The very truth of our being is something they would sweep under the rug. And why be a member of an organization that is hostile to your every effort to live a decent and happy life? I must confess that I simply don't get it.

There are, of course, many other reasons why I am a Democrat and a liberal instead of a Republican and a conservative. I will continue to discuss them in my "Why I Am A Liberal" posts. Suffice it to say, for today, that a political party that tries to deny the very existence of certain human beings holds no attraction for me. Especially when I am one of the human beings it wishes out of existence. If you force me to oppose you as a matter of my own survival, I don't think it ought to be too hard to figure out what I'm going to do. The Republican Party is doing all it can to ruin our lives -- and that is hardly a platform for which I intend to sign up.