Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Some Thinking Points to End the Month

As February hurtles toward the finish line, here are just a few, random thoughts with which to close the month:

Sometimes celebrity deaths are genuinely sad. I'm going to miss Don Knotts. I know he was 81 when he passed, and so he got to live to a ripe old age. I also know that I never even so much as got to meet him, much less got to know him as a person. But I feel like I have lost a member of my family. And every time I see one of those saucer-eyed formal portraits they keep showing of Knotts on the news, I can't help thinking, "I wish...I wish...I wish I wuz a fish!"

Knotts was an entertainer, and he was a professional. He didn't spend his time shooting his mouth off about politics or chasing women. No matter what role he played, he did it so perfectly that it was impossible even imagining anybody else doing it. And Barney Fife is a classic. It speaks volumes about the decency of his lifelong friend, Andy Griffith, that even though it WAS "The Andy Griffith Show," Barney got most of the laughs. The good of the show, and the joy it gave the viewers, was always both actors' primary concern.

A great many of the folks in the entertainment business are genuinely fine people. My brother-in-law happens to be an actor, and I can certainly vouch for him. He has given my sister nearly thirty years of happy marriage. From every account I have heard, Don Knotts was another good soul.

R.I.P., Barney.

The American people are making fools of themselves over the port controversy.
Okay, so this is yet another of those rare occasions when I find myself actually agreeing with the President. All the outrage about a company from Dubai managing our ports is nothing but racist crap. Them A-rabs, don'cha know, we can't trust 'em. Somethin' about those towels they wear on their heads...and the oily color o' their skin.

This is nonsense. Of course two of the 9-11 highjackers came from the UAE (a fact I missed in an earlier post). But I'll believe we're sincerely outraged when we attack a nation (like Saudi Arabia or Egypt) that can actually defend itself. The other nations from which 9-11 terrorists came are big and strong enough to fight back, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, owns so much of big-corporate America that we have mortgaged our very souls to them. Just watch what happens whenever Bush receives a delegation from the House of Saud. Not only does he hold hands with them, he practically sits on their laps.

Bush didn't even know about the port deal until it had been sealed. And as overseeing port contracts is not Constitutionally a part of his duty, there's absolutely no reason why he should have. Of course what this is, really, is a case of what goes around coming back around to bite him in the ass (Remember, I can still use that word 'til tommorow). He has taken on so many powers that are NOT Constitutionally his that I can see why a lot of people think overseeing the ports deal ought to have been one of them. Moreover, this Administration has stirred the pot of racist hysteria against the Middle East to such a fevered boil that Americans can hardly be blamed for not being able to turn off their paranoia now that it suits Bush and Company for them to do so.

We are a nation of Barney Fifes. The character on those old black-and-white reruns is indeed one of the funniest and most memorable on TV. But in real life, Barney Fifes are not nearly as funny. One of the first things I noticed, as a young tomboy growing up with a lot of male friends, was how insightful The Andy Griffith Show was about the male psyche. There are basically two sorts of guys: Andy Guys and Barney Guys.

Andy Guys are easygoing because they're sure of themselves. They don't need to get cocky about it. They seldom carry their sidearms, but they do okay out on the firing range. They don't brag about their prowess with the ladies, but once Ellie Walker leaves town, they know Helen Crump will come along. And though they're only the sheriff in some podunky little town, they know that when the big case comes along, they can solve it with ease -- and let the deputy take the credit for it besides.

Andy Guys go out and fight in the wars, and they earn most of the medals. But once they've come home, they don't want to talk too much about it (having actually done something worth bragging about, they feel no need to brag). When the time comes for a younger generation to go to war, the Andys are the ones reluctant to send anybody else unless they absolutely must. And even if they have been tortured themselves, they don't want to see it happen to another human being. John McCain and John Murtha are Andy Guys. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are classic real-life, un-funny, non-sitcom Barneys.

The whole damn country has been taken over by Barney Fifes. Too piss-in-their knickers cowardly to go and serve their country in actual combat, they strut and preen stateside from sea to shining sea about how brave they are to have an opinion about the war that costs them absolutely nothing and causes them no conceivable risk. I really liked Don Knotts in "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." It isn't so funny when a passel of trembly, bony, bug-eyed pencil-necks are sending teenaged boys and girls overseas to kill and be killed so that they themselves can feel like heroes for "supporting the troops." C'mon, guys, I know it doesn't take much, anymore, to feel like a real man even when you aren't one, but this is far, FAR more pathologically pathetic than simply feeling like a star quarterback because your NFL team won the game.

And it was funny, in black and white, when Barney proclaimed the storekeeper a Christian of lesser piety than his own because the fellow didn't know the words to "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." It's considerably less amusing when live-and-in-living-color Barneys smugly assume themselves better Christians than others because they happened to be born heterosexual. The very fact that heterosexuality has been enshrined as such a cardinal virtue is actually a grim sign of how far into the moral abyss our country has fallen.

It isn't all that difficult to understand what Christian morality is. Jesus actually took the trouble of telling us in plain language. The difficulty is that darnit, we just don't want to do what He told us to do. How much easier simply to gunk up the whole works by replacing the genuine teachings of Christ with a bunch of rules that are rigged in the favor of those who make them.

Anti-gay Christians, in particular, interpret Biblical moral teaching differently for themselves than they do for gays and lesbians. They are "no longer under the law, but under grace" -- and, therefore, no longer bound by the Holiness Code of the Old Testament. What they evidently missed, in their spotty, shoddy, sloppy, disrespecful, hypocritical reading of Scripture, is that Jesus said we will each be judged by the standard with which we have judged others. On the Day of Judgment, those "Christians" who have used the Old Testament Holiness Code to judge other people will find themselves judged according to that Code. They will not be able to avail themselves of any "grace" they refuse to extend to others.

Back to Barney. At heart, the character was a really good guy. And at any rate, as Andy Griffith has taken great pains to point out, Don Knotts was NOT Barney Fife. He was a very intelligent and insightful actor, who knew his character to a degree that Barney never dared to know himself. From what I have heard about him, it seems that Mr. Knotts, himself, was very much an Andy Guy (who, it must also be mentioned, ACTUALLY DID serve his country in World War II -- and brought home a few medals, to boot).

When we watch our old "Andy Griffith" reruns, we feel at home in Mayberry. We are with people who remind us of ourselves -- usually in a comfortable sense, but sometimes far less so. There have, in fact, been few shows in TV history more insightful about the human condition. All over the country, actual Bible studies have formed using the show as their basis. We can learn a lot more from Andy and Barney (and Opie, Aunt Bee, Goober, Gomer and all the rest) than, perhaps, we ever imagined.

Before we take the shiny bullet out of our pocket and shoot ourselves in the foot with it over issues like gay marriage or port contracts with a company in Dubai, let's just take a breather and watch another episode or two of Barney.

TV Land is having an Andy Griffith Show mini-marathon, tonight, in honor of Don Knotts. I'll be right there with Thelma Lou, and a great, big pan of cashew fudge.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

"Here I Stand, So Help Me God" or Why I Stand Here

I received a very interesting question from Little Izzie of the Lutheran Liberators (See her new blog at http://littleizzieandthelutheranliberators.blogspot.com), who asks to know about my journey as a Lutheran lesbian. This is worthy of a response.

My parents were not very religious. I actually had to "play church" most of the time, when I was a little girl, if I wanted to have any sort of Sunday worship experience at all. And I remember doing this frequently. I don't know why, but I have always had a strong and pretty insistent spiritual bent.

We went to church either at Easter or whenever Grandma Heine came to visit. As Grandma was a Norwegian who had married a German, of course the church we went to, on these rare occasions, was Lutheran. (On an earlier post, I mention the heartwarming but rather bizarre experience I had when I revisited this little congregation this New Year's Day.) I think my folks sort of hoped that Grandma would come some year for Easter -- so they could kill two birds with one stone and only have to go to church one Sunday -- but I don't remember whether she ever visited at Easter or not.

When I was a teenager, just because they felt it was the sort of thing parents ought to do for their kids, I was sent to catechism class at -- you guessed it -- the Lutheran church where we took Grandma and celebrated Easter. It opened up a whole new world of thought for me, and I was one of those students who asked a zillion questions and read every book the pastor mentioned. I also asked Pastor Overland some very deep questions about other books I happened to be reading. I particularly recall a book of ghost stories that left me puzzled as to how theology explained the paranormal. The pastor was very kind, and took the time to answer all my questions in a way that made sense of them.

At my confirmation, however, my parents assured me that I need never go to church again if I didn't want to. For quite a while, I took them up on that offer. When I became interested in attending church again, years later, I sometimes persuaded my mother to go with me -- though my dad never wanted any part of it. And when I decided to transfer from Arizona State University to Grand Canyon College (a Southern Baptist school), my dad thought I had lost my mind. "Do you really want to go to school with THOSE PEOPLE?" he asked ("those people" being his standard, derogatory name for religious people, few of whom he could stand). When I assured him that I did -- that I actually wanted a Christian education, because I felt called to a writing ministry of some sort -- he gritted his teeth and let me off with a stern warning not to imbibe too freely in "those nutty ideas."

Now, this was light years before I was ready to deal with my sexual orientation. I went to Grand Canyon (now University), got my B.A. in English with a minor in history, and went to work full-time. I dated men, and got engaged (three times in all), eventually chickening out on all three of them. Life sort of took over, and seemed to keep me distracted from writing. For a long time, I let it.

While renting a house in the colorful Sunnyslope area of North Phoenix, I started attending masses at a Catholic church just down the street. I'd also gone there a few times as a teenager, with some of my friends, who belonged to that parish. I liked the people in the parish, felt comfortable with the theology -- which was very similar to that of the Lutheran faith -- and, perhaps most of all, the idea of my becoming a Catholic made my father insane. So of course that was exactly what I did. That lasted until I was ready to deal with my sexual orientation and, at last, came out as a lesbian.

I realized that I wanted to get married and settle down, AND that I wanted to marry for love. My sister got to marry for love, and she and her husband have been together almost thirty years, now. They have one of the happiest marriages I know of. I knew I wanted that, too, and finally recognized that I would never find that sort of happiness with a man. The only way I ever could form a deep and lasting romantic and sexual attachment to another human being -- as I had learned by my mid-thirties -- was with another woman.

I didn't come out so I could cruise the bars for one-night stands, I didn't come out so I could attend wild orgies featuring swimming-pools full of nude women, I didn't come out so I could trade partners every other month -- I came out so I could do the same thing so many heterosexual women want. Those, that is, who are of good moral character and upright intention. I came out to marry for love. Even sex was only a secondary consideration. Those who suggest I came out as a lesbian because I am some sort of a pervert are demonstrating nothing but their own perverted thinking and twisted souls.

I never asked to be homosexual. I fought it valiantly for almost thirty-five years. Then I realized that all those gay and lesbian folks who say they didn't choose to be gay were absolutely right. It is not a choice. All I want is not to grow old all alone. That so many people hate me simply because of this is their problem, and they have no right to try and make it mine.

Why did I decide to come out at thirty-four and three-quarters? Because I finally discovered that there WERE, indeed, gay and lesbian Christians. That there were Christian churches that accepted us, and that we didn't have to give up our faith -- or even compromise it -- in order to live lives of honesty and integrity. For most of my life, I had lived a lie. I simply came to trust enough that God is real to believe that the God of reality is also the God of honesty.

For the better part of a decade, a searched around my home city for a welcoming church that would not water-down Christian teachings. The few I found were too fundamentalist to provide a good fit. I am still, in my heart-of-hearts, a Lutheran. I need the balance between Catholicism and evangelicalism that the Lutheran faith maintains. One day I found Faith Lutheran, which advertises in a local GLBT magazine, and I decided to take a chance one more time.

I happened to show up on the first week of new member's class. The pastor is a woman (as well as one of the finest pastors I have ever known), the service feels like home, and of course there was that new member's class to try out. It was for returning Lutherans, as well as new ones. I don't think it was any coincidence that I happened to try out Faith Lutheran on the very Sunday their new member's class began. Nor do I find it odd that many other pastors, on their Sundays off (including now-retired Pastor Overland) like to attend our church.

It has been over a year, now, since I joined the congregation. And it has been one of the most healing experiences of my life. I came, that first Sunday, feeling angry, frustrated and alienated from most of the rest of the Body of Christ. I thought that heterosexual Christians couldn't be trusted. I resented being expected to jettison all traditional Christian beliefs in order to feel accepted at a church that would accept me.

Now, I have been fully restored to the Body of Christ and reintegrated into the very heart of it. I had taught adult catechism for seven years as a Catholic, but came to realize I had to teach things I no longer believed. I am once again involved in adult education, and now when I stand before a class, I have the confidence of knowing I believe every word I say.

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther brought new life and liberation to the Christian faith. Today, the Lutheran Church struggles with the issue of homosexuality -- just as do so many others. But the Lutheran Church has, at the very bedrock of its heritage, a tradition of trusting God enough to search for truth even when it makes the Pharisees uncomfortable. My branch of the church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is going to be one of the first denominations to get this issue right. I know it will; I can feel it in my bones.

Martin Luther is one of my heroes. For all his faults (and he had many, but then again, so do I), he was a fighter. Feisty, earthy, compassionate and absolutely fearless in the face of oppression, Luther is the model I hope to follow in my own ministry -- however much more humble it might be. Just as the Gutenberg press appeared at just the right time for his Reformation, so, too, has the Internet appeared today. We need a new Reformation in the Church today, and I feel that God has called me to be a part of it.

There, Little Izzie, is the answer to your question. I am excited about the future of my ministry. And I wish you -- and all who have been called to serve -- the very best in yours.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dirty Words

Please do not laugh. I am seriously considering giving up cussing for Lent.

Why, do you ask? Well, why not? It doesn't sound very nice, especially coming from the lips of a Christian. There was a time -- in the wild-and-crazy years just after I came out -- when I hung around with a lot of really foul-mouthed people and picked up this crummy habit of expressing myself in stevedorese. (Yes, I just made up that word, which means "cussing like a stevedore," and you can feel free to use it anytime you want.)

I read back some of my posts on this blog, and my own language makes my virgin cheeks blush. Then I read it on other people's blogs, and the trashiness of that sort of expression becomes even more apparent. (It's always easier to recognize how bad something is when somebody else does it.) Most of the people who use that sort of language SIMPLY AREN'T VERY BRIGHT, and to be brutally frank, I don't want to be associated with them. The old saying that people think those who cuss are too stupid to express themselves like smart people has a lot of truth to it.

I have learned whole new cusswords since coming into the blogosphere. What, for example, is a "fucktard?" Could somebody please explain that one for me? I actually looked up "assclown," and have made it a part of my own vocabulary (I prefer not to use a word until I understand just what it means). I must say, however, that I have yet to see how the addition of "assclown" to my vocabulary has improved or enriched my life.

When you're through rolling on the floor and sobbing with laughter, get ahold of yourself. I am absolutely, one hundred percent sincere here. And I have officially decided. This year, I am giving up cussing for Lent.

No more "assclowns" will escape my lips. Nor will you ever hear me utter "fucktard" after this posting. But right here and now, just to get it out of my system, I will break my rule of not using words I don't understand and use the heck out of it, just to get all the cussing clean out of my system. So here goes:


Well, then! I really do feel SO much better! I will keep you all updated on my progress, and I expect you to keep me honest. If I drop a cussword on this blog, please spank me with a scathing comment. (And no, don't make anything out of that. I'm talking about a healthy, wholesome, apple-cheeked, strictly non-S&M kind of a spank.)

If it all goes well during Lent, and I don't miss it too terribly much, I may just decide to give up cussing for good.

But remember, Ash Wednesday isn't until March the 1st, assclowns.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Just for the Hell of it...

I like to check out some of the blogs that bill themselves as Christian. Even though this blog is primarily political, as I am a person of faith, it is inevitable that my perspective will frankly show this. And I like to keep track of what's out there in the blogosphere from others who claim to be people of faith.

A major topic in the Christian segment of the blogosphere is Hell. And the general consensus is either (from the conservatives) that nobody believes in Hell anymore or takes the concept sufficiently seriously or (from the liberals) that Hell is an outmoded concept in which only mean or ignorant people still believe.

To those who refuse to take the trouble of thinking, my views can be pretty mind-blowing. I am a lesbian who is also a Lutheran -- and, like most Lutherans, my theology is pretty traditional. I had to look long and hard to find a church that doesn't preach revisionist and politically-correct gobbledygook from the pulpit. Most churches that welcome gays seem afraid to take a traditional stand on anything.

There is absolutely NO necessary correlation between believing that the Bible does not condemn gay relationships and a wholesale rejection of traditional Christian theology. A great many of the gay churches that exist -- and there are several in almost every city of any size -- are very conservative and evangelical in their theology. When you think about it, this actually makes a great deal of sense. It's no longer very hard to find a liberal church that will welcome us, but a heartening number of those of us whose theology remains traditionalist refuse to compromise on the faith that we hold dear.

Do I believe there is a Hell? Of course I do. I believe it's just as horrible as the fundamentalists do, and I believe that it is eternal. I also think that a great many of those who persecute gays -- for all of their prattling on and on about the subject of Hell -- are actually the ones who will end up there.

As much as this would piss them off (methinks they are a good deal better at dishing this stuff out than they are at taking it), this is exactly what anti-gay Christians so desperately need to hear. But from most gay and gay-supportive Christians, all they hear is either mealy-mouthed, namby-pamby, sanitized baby-talk or -- from those who believe in Hell -- a cowed silence.

I'll tell you you're going to Hell right to your face -- and I'll kick your ass if you don't like it. Better to get your ass kicked now than for your un-kicked ass to spend eternity in Hell.

I don't tend to get insulted when people warn me they think I'm going to Hell, because they're only doing what they feel it is their Christian duty to do. I think a lot more kindly of folks who want to keep me from going to Hell than I do those who simply don't give a damn one way or the other. I will no more end up in Hell just because they say I will than they will because I say they will.

There's all sorts of debate these days about who is -- and who is not -- a "real" Christian. I prefer to let Jesus settle the issue. He said that those who belong to Him are the ones who do what He has told them to do. Those who end up in Hell will be those who do NOT do what He tells them to do -- which obviously includes a great number of those who evidently think they are immune from any danger of it.

My work involves bringing more people into the Kingdom of God, whereas the work of a great many so-called Christians involves chasing people as far away from it as possible. Anytime they want to debate me on the issue of whether a gay person can be a Christian, I'll be happy to thrash the living daylights out of 'em. I'll take 'em on anytime, and I'll win.

Of course the usual spinmeisters and obfuscators will claim that I'm saying people must "work their way to salvation," or that they must be "perfect." So let me set the record (in a manner of speaking) straight. Though perfection is God's standard, no one is ever going to meet it. We all -- both gay and straight -- must depend upon God's grace in Jesus Christ.

HOWEVER -- and it is a BIG however -- Jesus ALSO told us that we would be known by our fruits. Which means that if you go around trying to drive people out of the Church instead of bringing them into it, your fruits are pretty darned rotten.

If you're rotten to the fruits, then your fruits are rotten. I'm sorry...I couldn't resist that.

The wheat and the tares must be allowed to grow together until the Day of Judgment. This is not a controversy that is ever going to be completely resolved, to everybody's satisfaction, before the Lord returns. A true Christian will wish to err -- if he or she must -- on the side of love.

Try actually LISTENING to a gay person for a change. If your faith was all that strong, you wouldn't be so peeing-in-your-pants-and-crying-home-to-Mama afraid to do that. And if you believe that the Bible cannot be squared with actual, matter-of-fact reality, then let me tell you something right here and now. Far from being strong, your faith is pitifully, punily, starving-baby-bird weak. The only difference between you and an atheist is that the atheist at least has the guts to stand up and tell the truth about what he is.

If you truly believe that Hell exists, then you will be AFRAID to go there yourself. You won't carry on like a bastardly, cussed excuse for a human being, making other people's lives as miserable as possible, all the while resting upon the blithe assurance that Heaven awaits you.

Yes, if you really are saved, then Heaven does, indeed, await you. But you know what? If that's true, you're gonna ACT LIKE IT.

That's the ticket...be a GOOD fruit. I, for one, intend to be the very best fruit that I can be.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

We're Not Pets

It astonishes people that I, a lifelong liberal Democrat, have fallen under the spell of libertarianism. They think I have lost my mind. Let me try, once again, to explain at least some of my reasons.

I am sick and tired of being treated, by liberal activists and politicians, as if I am one of their pets. Gays, lesbians, feminists, Hispanics, African-Americans, working people and all the rest of those whose votes professional liberals have so long taken for granted are NOT their pets. Not only have Democrats, in particular, proven they are willing to betray us every time it becomes politically convenient, but in my attempts to reason with conservatives, I find that -- more often than not -- their hostility against us is actually directed at liberals. They spray it at the liberals, in scattershot, Dick Cheney style, and because we're standing so close to the Left (as we have been made to feel we must), we get hit with it, too.

Human beings should not be made into pets. I am a thinking, reasoning person with dignity. If you are unwilling to earn my political support, then you don't deserve it.

Every damn time I try to engage a conservative in meaningful dialogue about the issues that matter most today, I get the usual, mindless audiotape. It's always "you liberals" this and "you liberals" that. I don't think much of most conservatives, at least not those of the Republican variety. God has given the majority of them pretty good brains, and they refuse to use them.

Stop telling me what Rush or Sean or Bill O'Really told you today. Stop letting Pat Robertson and James Dobson do your thinking for you. Are you a human being, or are you a sheep?

Some of the professional conservatives are so obvious, so totally over the top, that sometimes it seems they are trying to parody themselves. Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Michael Savage are probably the worst, but they have more and more company all the time. What has really begun to frighten me about this crowd is that so many of their followers ACTUALLY TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY.

Put your brains back into your skulls and stop playing with them. You're turning 'em into Silly Putty. Each and every human being has a God-given obligation to THINK. And that means FOR OURSELVES. It really isn't as hard as you're afraid it might be. Minds are like muscles; they just need to be exercised.

As that old ad for the United Negro College Fund put it, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." Or as that great, conservative sage, Dan Quayle said, "It's terrible to lose your mind."

The liberals have, in my humble opinion, become as lazy and sloppy in their thinking as are their arch-adversaries. Know what, folks? You are BORING. Very nearly all of you bore the living shit out of me. You need a good, swift slap upside the head to get your cylinders firing again. One of these days, the temptation will prove too enormous and I will take care of that little chore for you.

Fortunately, polls show a clear trend away from the zombie-brain-dead, old as dinosaur shit "Liberal versus Conservative" mental straitjacket. We are now in a new century. Thank the heavens above that a growing number of people actually realize that.

Gay rights should NOT be lumped together, in debate on the issues, with abortion. Nor should feminism be lumped together with gay rights, or abortion with feminism, or illegal immigration with terrorism, or whatever else with anything else. LEARN TO THINK, for crying out loud, while it is still legal.

One of these days, we'll wake up and find that because we didn't hold dearly our right to think, we traded it away for self-gratification, "safety" and the chance to do as much harm as possible to the people we hate. And once the right to think is gone, we will have lost far more than our human rights. We will have lost the right to be human.

Friday, February 17, 2006

More Miscellaneous Lunacies

Oh, it doesn't get any more entertaining than this. Out on my errands today, I spotted a big, green sign beside the entryway to my nearest branch of the public library. On that sign was a friendly and helpful wordless message -- one of those stick figures, reading a book.

A picture. Of a gender-nonspecific, politically-correct stick figure. Reading a book. To indicate the proximity of a library.

I have a question, if anybody wants to bother answering it. If you can't even read a damn sign with words on it, why the hell would you care about finding a library?

I'm sure this is the way the moonbats at some level of our friendly and helpful government have chosen to show their compassion toward the illiterate. If they weren't putting up warm and caring signs like these, they might have to ACTUALLY HELP PEOPLE LEARN TO READ.

On a totally unrelated note, the blogosphere is full of photographs of the angry young dickheads in the Middle East who continue their temper-tantrum against those Danish cartoons. You remember those cartoons -- the ones nobody outside Denmark would ever have seen, had not these losers in the game of life chosen to throw a hissy about them. Of course, the latest targets of their wrath (at least in a symbolic sense) are Colonel Sanders and Ronald McDonald.

This whole uproar is a testament to human stupidity. All those turbaned Drama Queens are doing is (A) proving that the Danish cartoonists were right and (B) making Americans laugh at them.

Flash bulletin to Islamofascist losers: YOU ARE MAKING TOTAL FOOLS OF YOURSELVES.
You probably aren't doing "The Prophet" any good, either.

The only spectacle more entertaining than watching overgrown toddlers beat up on Ronald McDonald is the bitter disappointment of the Democrats because Dick Cheney's buckshot buddy is going to live.

And on yet another note, I suppose you might consider these teeny-bopper, Snickers-bar-commercial Olympics entertaining, but only if you're too young to miss the class and professionalism of the old days. ABC and Jim McKay run circles around these numbskulls, even on archival videotape. I'll take the U.S. hockey team beating the Russians, even if I have seen it fifty times. You can keep snowboarding on the half-pipe, whatever in tarnation that is.

I missed most of the Euro-insanity of the opening ceremonies. Caught a couple little snippets of it, watched each time as long as I could, and had to change the channel. What the hell WAS that? I couldn't help but think of those old Mike Meyers skits on Saturday Night Live, where he played Dieter. "Touch my monkey...please!"

Now izt de time on Sprockets ven ve dance...

One thing we can say about living in the post-9-11 era. The news is now more delightfully, wickedly entertaining than any sitcom or "reality" show ever made. And heck, we can even amuse ourselves reading the signs along the street.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why I'm Getting Less Liberal All the Time

I just happened to be looking through my NOW calendar (That's National Organization for Women, if you happen to have lived under a moon-rock all your life). It's full of pictures of people (mostly women, of course) protesting one injustice or another. Some of the picket-signs echo my sentiments entirely, while others do not. But some of them are just plain entertaining.

"STOP RACISM NOW" screams one. "STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN" is emblazoned on another.

Now of course I find both of these entirely worthy sentiments. I can add my own "ditto" to them both. But other than showing everybody what the bearers of these signs think, what on earth can they expect to accomplish with them?

How many racists are going to happen by, spot the admonition to "STOP RACISM NOW" and undergo an instant revelation on the issue? "Uh, okay," I can hear our racist say, as he goes on his way a racist no more.

Likewise, is it even remotely possible that a wife-beater will catch sight of the "STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN" placard and undergo a dramatic change of heart? "Honey, I'm sooooo sorry," he'll splutter when he gets home with a dozen red roses, "I'll never do it again!"

It would, admittedly, be very nice if it worked that way, but everybody who isn't totally tripped-out on acid knows that it doesn't. Putting something that "no, duh" on a picket-sign is nothing but gratuitous exhibitionism. "Look at me," its bearers tell the world. "I'm a good person because I don't like racism or violence against women!"

If you don't like racism, then work for a greater understanding between races. If you want to stop violence against women, then volunteer as a victim's advocate or at a shelter for battered women. Holding up stupid picket-signs is worse than doing nothing. It's doing nothing when you could, at least theoretically, be doing something. What could be more typically liberal?

Liberals think it's all about themselves, and about their feelings. Who cares whether you've ever actually set foot in a homeless shelter to serve as a volunteer? You want to "end homelessness" -- it says so on your bumper-sticker!

Ted Kennedy is one of your heroes. You wish he'd run for President again! Damn all those meanies who keep bringing up Chappaquiddick -- don't they realize Ted Kennedy is womens' best friend?

I don't think he was Mary Jo Kopechne's best friend. I doubt if her family thinks so, either.

It is utter hypocrisy to call for Dick Cheney's head on a pike because he got careless (and very possibly drunk) on a hunting trip and blasted birdshot into his friend. At least he didn't just walk away and leave him there to die. Ted Kennedy let a young woman drown without doing anything whatsoever to try and save her. If he were anybody BUT a Kennedy, he would have gone to prison. To react in annoyance when somebody mentions this is worse than stupid.

Many libertarians care about the same things liberals do. The only difference is that we believe that ACTUAL PEOPLE should ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

The Democrats in Congress are doing all they can to burden businesses with more and more legislation. So that more companies can go out of business, more jobs can be lost and more people can be poor. Then they'll bat their lashes at us and assure us, once again, that they FEEL THE PAIN of the poor. Bullshit. I'd like to show 'em what pain feels like. Is there a nice horsewhip handy?

Liberal politicians WANT there to be as many poor people as possible, because when times are tough economically, that's when they stand better than a snowball's chance in Hell of getting elected. As a matter of fact, those are just about the ONLY times.

Passing laws against nebulous bogeybears like "homelessness," "terrorism," "racism" or "drugs" does absolutely nothing to get rid of them. It's doing nothing when you could, at least theoretically, be doing something. Might as well stand around with a thumb up your ass and a picket-sign in your hand.

It used to be that liberals were the only ones guilty of such mummery. Now it's just as likely to come from the conservatives. Which is why, though I'm a lot less liberal than I used to be, I haven't really become much more conservative.

Thank the Lord, there is another option. I only wish it wasn't the best-kept secret in the land.

More Eight Hundred Pound Gorillas

We haven't had any of those big apes for a while, so here are a few more of 'em:

If you truly want to help someone, you ask how you may do so.
Here's the best way to tell whether people volunteering to help you really want to be of help, or are simply hoping to take advantage of you under the guise of helping. Do they ASK how they can be of assistance, or do they simply TELL you how they're going to do it?

We have our own ideas as to how we want to "help" the Iraqis. It doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference to very many of us whether they WANT the sort of help we're giving them, or whether we might better help them in other ways. When we refuse to give them the option of telling us how we can help them, we are merely PUSHING THEM AROUND -- and trying to hoodwink them and everybody else into believing we are helping them.

We're so indifferent to the will of the Iraqi people that we don't even bother to ask them how they want us to help them. This makes it more than obvious that when we claim we want to "give" them freedom and democracy, we are full of shit.

I have just inherited a pretty sizeable house. And let me tell you, there are a lot of things that need to be done around here. A friend of mine volunteered to help me. Or at least, I THOUGHT she was a friend.

It should have aroused my suspicion when she didn't ask me what sort of help I needed. She simply took it upon herself to determine that the first (and apparently the only) thing that needed doing was that my dad's bedroom closet had to be cleaned out. While she and her ladyfriend were in the process of "helping" with this chore, they managed to clean out every piece of clothing that fit them and relieve me of it. Merry Christmas, ladies! They made off with enough goodies for the entire decade of Christmases to come.

I have learned to regard more skeptically people's offers to help me. Of course I always do appreciate real help, but most of those whose help really IS helpful are the folks who actually bother to ask me how they can be of help. It works that way not only in relationships between individual people, but also in those involving entire nations. Human nature is human nature.

If you have no right to do it, you have no right to send somebody else to do it.
If I were to fly over to Iraq and shoot dead some random civilian, what would become of me? Well, I would be arrested and jailed -- and rightfully so. When an army goes over there and slaughters tens of thousands of civilians, what do we say about them? We tell ourselves that they are waging a legitimate war to defend the United States.

Excuse me, but what is the difference, morally, between those two examples?

If you hire a hit-man to rub somebody out, and the job comes off and he (and you) are caught, does the law do much to distinguish the part you played in the crime and his role in it? Of course not, because regardless of whether you pulled the trigger or paid him to, morally the principle is exactly the same.

It's exactly the same when civilians send an army overseas to do their murdering for them.

Anything that it would be immoral for you yourself to do, it is equally immoral for you to get somebody else to do in your place. I shudder to think of the future of this nation. We have the blood of innocents on our hands. We are under the Judgment of God.

So what do our moral loudmouths and busybodies do? Crusade against same-sex marriage and the Pill! La-deeeez and Gentlemen! Which shell is the pea under now?

The combined efforts of Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, "Dr." Laura and all the rest of those frauds couldn't lead this nation out of a paper bag.

Jesus gets misquoted in lots of different places, but the Bible isn't one of them.
The latest fad, for self-proclaimed "progressive" Christians, is a book called Misquoting Jesus.
I have little use, anymore, for the so-called "Christian Left" because most of what they do and say is so transparently reactionary. The Religious Right pisses them off, and they are dedicated to pissing off the Religious Right. It never ceases to amaze me how uncritically they will accept anything that seems to do that.

The biggest problem I have with Christian Lefties, however, is that they are, for the most part, so pitifully ill-informed about their own faith. Now, lots of people fail to understand lots of different things; there are plenty I fail to grasp, myself. The difference is that if I'm not sure I understand a particular belief, I at least take the trouble of asking somebody who DOES believe it precisely what they believe, and why. I have heard too many nitwit claims from ultraliberal Christians about what traditonal Christians believe to take seriously, anymore, very much of what they say.

I do make it a point to read many of the books that enthuse these people, though I must say that the effect they have on me is usually the exact opposite of the influence they wield over their fans. I generally come away from them more certain of the soundness of my faith than ever before. Every time I get through reading, for example, the claim of some gasbag professor from Harvard that the doctrine of the Atonement must be tossed out so people don't think God is a "child abuser," I send up another prayer to thank God for what Jesus has done for me.

God sent Jesus to us, determined to go the distance -- whatever distance we required of Him -- to show God's love for us. It wasn't God's idea for us to nail His Son to a Cross; it was ours. We are the ones who must choose where we stand -- whether at the foot of that Cross, where we can be washed in our Savior's blood, or with the mob who mocked and jeered at Him as He suffered.

There are, indeed, those who misquote Jesus, and they have chosen to stand amid the mockers. The odd thing about those who twist Christ's words is that most of them are conservative Christians. The liberals may get some pretty barmy notions about the traditional doctrines of the faith, but they seem to pay a great deal better attention to Jesus's actual words.

A while back, conservative Christians had a lot of fun with something called The Jesus Seminar. Get out your multi-colored markers, and highlight everything Jesus really "couldn't" have said! (Was it pink that was the "maybe," and yellow the "no way?") I never paid much attention to it, because without actually calling Jesus in and asking Him which quotes attributed to Him were really His and which ones weren't, it was an exercise in total silliness.

Liberal scholars have proven that sometime early on, scribes COULD have altered the quotes attributed in the Bible to Jesus. What people neglect to realize is that there may be a world of difference between COULD and DID. These scribes considered themselves to be performing a sacred duty. They believed that they were quoting the very words of God. Why on earth would they have deliberately altered so much as a letter of it?

Now, you Right-Wing Christians, I have a question for you. You know how nutty the liberals get when they take out their colored hi-liters and start playing games with those words in red. So how can you criticize them for not taking Jesus at His word when so many of you ignore almost everything He says?

You KNOW nobody misquoted Him. So what's YOUR excuse?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Too Young to Die

The whole soap opera surrounding the Cheney shooting becomes more bizarre by the minute.

Especially hilarious is all the emoting going on by the info-babes and info-studmuffins on the boob tube. They somberly inform the spokespeople hired to cover Cheney's butt that they "hope Mr. Whittington makes a full and speedy recovery."

What a load of utter horse-biscuits. They are positively salivating over the possibility that the old gentleman might die.

Harry Whittington is seventy-eight. My dad, who just passed away five months ago, was seventy-eight. Back when I was in high school, THIRTY seemed ancient to me. Now I am forty-three, and I think even seventy-eight is too young to die.

Their serious and somber thespian frowny-faces aside, I wonder if any of the dressed-up children who read the teleprompters on the TV news have any concept of the fact that the characters peopling their stories are ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS, with REAL LIVES.

Dick Cheney isn't going to spend one day in prison if his hunting buddy dies. Nor -- despite my tremendous disgust for the Veep -- do I believe he should.

This story isn't funny anymore. It stopped being funny when Mr. Whittington had a heart attack. It probably wasn't in very good taste to imagine it was funny in the first place.

The one I'm thinking of, other than the patient in his hospital bed, is Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary. I can sort of identify with Mary. Like me, she has a father whose political views (at least on some matters) she may not agree with. Thank the Good Lord, at the very least, that MY dad wasn't Vice President. I have been spared a "Dear Lori" website, and megatons of nagging email.

Excuse me, whiny GLBT leftists, but exactly what the hell did you really expect Mary Cheney to do? Don't any of you have parents, yourselves? How friggin' successful have YOU been in totally changing THEIR minds about everything? Do you chalk it up as a personal failing on your part if they -- like you -- continue having their own minds?

Dick Cheney came out in opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, at a time when it was near political suicide for him to have done so. He had a bad ticker, his political stock was plunging, many Republican bigwigs wanted Bush to replace him, in his run for a second term, with a younger and less-controversial running mate. But he spoke out against something his own President dared not oppose. Tell me he's an arrogant jerk, tell me he's a warmonger and a war profiteer, tell me he's an engineer of prison camp torture, and that he chickened out of Vietnam and all the rest of it and you're probably right -- but keep your nose the hell out of his family relationships. Some things ought to remain sacred, and that's one of them.

Every time our Veep goes to the cardiologist, the gleeful media death-watch begins anew. Well, I, for one, hope that he lives at least long enough to recognize the humanity of all those over whom he wields power. Mary Cheney's dad is definitely too young to die.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Charlie Foxtrot

Ah, what superb absurdity! So Dick Cheney shot one of his bigshot corporate buddies in the face while hunting! Can there be any further doubt that the Veep is the ultimate Cluster Fuck?

How glad we security-minded Americans all should be that he took five deferments to keep his ass out of Vietnam. The astonishing thing is that anybody is actually CRITICIZING him for it! The guy doesn't know what end the round comes out of, and we wanted him over there? C'mon, weren't enough guys killed in 'Nam by friendly fire?

Obviously Cheney can do the nation far more good via his shameless war profiteering than he ever could have in Southeast Asia back in the Sixties or Seventies.

We don't need any goat-ropers in combat. Not now, not ever. Send all the eighteen-year-old girls we have to over to do our fighting for us in Iraq. Chickenhawks need not apply -- what the hell good would they do us, anyhow?

Of course, the liberal blogosphere is already coming alive with new cries for gun control. You stupid, cretinous fools, how could you possibly confuse law-abiding, ordinary citizens owning firearms to protect themselves with our own Louis XIV -- Little Lord Fauntleroy -- who certainly wouldn't give up HIS guns, no matter how many peons had to? That's about as silly as thinking that Rosie O'Donnell would ever cough up her own, private arsenal, no matter how much guff she gives Tom Selleck.

Enough of rich cowards hiding behind fortified walls. We're gonna need our guns more than ever when the Fourth Reich decides it can make bold and free enough to take us.

How Bizarre. How Bizarre, How Bizarre...

I have just had a truly surreal experience. Yesterday, my mother had to be taken to the hospital because -- according to her caregivers at the elder-care facility where she lives -- she was "non-responsive." They take pretty good care of her there, and as her Alzheimer's has robbed her of the ability to communicate even the worst of discomforts, they must try and guess when she might be ailing. They don't dare take any chances, and I am glad of that.

Well, since they couldn't ask her how she was feeling or where she might be hurting, they had to take a battery of different tests. The prosthetic holding her shattered hip together is still in place, she seems to see okay, etc. After ascertaining that they could do nothing more for in at the hospital, they made ready to send her back home.

I ordered an ambulance from one of the services the hospital ordinarily uses. The guy I talked to didn't sound too swift, but as most of the customer service people I get on the phone generally don't, I didn't see it as a portent of trouble. After more than an hour of waiting, we learned that the ambulance company had lost my order and had no idea who my mother was.

Back to the drawing-board. I then called a second ambulance service and re-ordered a ride back to the facility for my mom. By this time, I didn't trust much of anybody. I had a date for the evening to watch the Olympics, but though the ER people were encouraging us to go ahead and take off, I felt I had to take one last precaution. "Do they know," I asked, "the address of the nursing home?"

This was a stupid question. They were nice, and reassured me that the ambulance company gets paid to know stuff like this, but after the fiasco with the first one, they seemed to understand why I would ask. Once again, before we left, I asked if the hospital had the address to my mom's facility, and they, too, said yes. I'm sure I sounded pretty anal retentive, but I have very little trust left in anybody's competence but my own.

A half hour or so later, as we sat in my living room watching the Olympics, we heard a big engine roar up to the front of the house. "I don't believe it," I said, as I got up and headed for the door. "I don't believe it," I murmured again, at the sight of the ambulance sitting at the curb. They were getting ready to unload Mom into my driveway.

"Oh, but she doesn't come here," I informed the standard-issue, hunky-tech dude who was about to wheel the gurney out the back of the ambulance. "She lives at (I named the facility)."

I should, at this point, not have been surprised at anything I saw or heard. But this pisswit actually ARGUED with me about it. As if I didn't know where my own mother lived, or whether she lived with me or not! As if I'd really be paying thirty-five hundred dollars a month to an elder-care facility so she could get the very best in advanced Alzheimer's dementia care, yet have the bad form to actually care whether they bothered to deliver her back there or not!

Un-friggin-believable. I spoiled his evening by expecting him to take her to the right place.

The guy's whole attitude was the typical, inner-twelve-year-old, whiny-poor-me sort of crap I get from young guys all the time. Now, I hate sexism -- have always hated it with a passion -- but the more I have to deal with young men in any sort of customer-service situation, the bigger a female chauvinist curmudgeon I become! While I have no way of knowing his schedule, the torrent of sighing self-pity I unleashed, simply by expecting him to DO HIS DAMN JOB THE RIGHT DAMN WAY, suggests that he must have had a hard day and been at the end of his shift.

Well, I had had a hard day, too. And I am at the end of my patience with infantile garbage like this.

Not that this was to be it for the evening. A short time later, I called the nursing home, trying to make certain my mom had arrived where she was supposed to and was properly being taken care of. Try as I might, I could not get a live human being (or even a dead one). Thirty-five hundred dollars a month, for a facility that can't even put a real person on the phone so residents' families can check on their well-being. How surreal. How surreal, how surreal.

Having, at that point, no other options, I called the emergency room again and tried to get somebody there to see if THEY could track Mom down. I got -- joy of joys -- another youthful male worshiper in the cult of self, who snapped at me because I dared to bother him. "Why ask ME?" he sniveled. "I just got here...I just started my shift. Why don't you call the nursing home?"

Now, my I.Q. is at least eighty points higher than this assclown's, so it scarcely surprises me that he would misdiagnose me as stupid. Stupid people frequently think that they are geniuses, and that everybody else is stupid. Masterfully keeping my temper in check, I informed this imbecile that I had already attempted to call the nursing home -- which was, quite obviously to anybody with active brain-waves, the very reason I was now calling him in the first place. He then, in a properly professionally-surly tone, told me he was going to get somebody else on the line.

Thank you, kind sir. As long as I don't have to put up with you anymore. I got a woman, which means, of course, that I got somebody who could do the job right. She called the facility, tried absolutely every extension she possibly could, and still couldn't get a human being. As she had done all she could (I thought), I thanked her and let her go.

Five minutes or so later, she called me back to say she had called the ambulance company and spoken with the driver. Who assured her that my mother was now safely tucked into her own, little bed at the nursing home. As busy as an emergency room in a large hospital can get on a Saturday night, this lady still made the effort to go above and beyond. Thank God there are still at least a few real customer service people left. Overworked and underpaid as they are, they are, indeed, the Atlases who hold up the earth and keep it turning.

Why do companies hire men to do customer service? (And yes, even an ambulance-hunk is in customer service, as is every employee who represents his or her company to the paying customers.) I spent quite a number of years in customer service, and I've got to tell you, I can count on the fingers of one hand the even-halfway-decent, minimally-competent men I ever worked with on the job.

I wish I had a dime for every time I heard a male coworker deliver an indignant lecture to a customer about the proper way to address him, the properly-respectful tone to use in speaking to him, the right words to address His Highness, etc. It's always personal, and it's always All About Him.

"I've had a bad day," or "You're the tenth angry person I've spoken with," or "Don't blame me...it's not my fault." Or -- most incredibly stupidly of all -- "Don't get mad about it."

A flash bulletin to guys in customer service: most people don't call you unless they're having a problem of some sort. The happy folks are the ones who do not need to call. They don't know who you are from Adam, it isn't about YOU in the first place, and all they want you to do is provide them with a reason to keep sending money to your employer, instead of taking their business (and your job) elsewhere. You are probably the only human being your company enables them to reach, they almost certainly had to hold on for an hour and a half before they were even able to get you, and if you are that totally lacking in basic common sense, nobody should be paying you to do anything but maybe sweep floors and scrub toilets.

Now, we all get ticked-off from time to time. Customer service ain't beanbag, and it can be trying. There have certainly been occasions when I wished I could climb through the telephone wire and give the bozo at the other end an on-the-spot tutorial in good manners. But because my employer could just as easily hired somebody else to do my job instead of me, I resisted the temptation.

Last night, I seriously considered taking a little trip down to the hospital and paying the rude little jerk behind the ER desk a visit. I knew his name, and I damned sure knew just where to find him. As he himself had told me his shift was just beginning, I had plenty of time. But I decided not to, and I had one very good reason why.

I have been in his seat. I have done -- lots of times, and for many long years -- what he has to do.

Sitting alongside other customer service reps, you learn some very interesting things about them. For example, the same young men who felt it was their duty to lecture customers about proper telephone etiquette -- the very ones whose noses got so pushed out-of-joint by the rudeness of some of the callers they had to deal with -- were themselves among the rudest customers whose calls I have ever had the misfortune of overhearing. You couldn't miss them, on their lunch hour or their breaks, making their own calls -- to their banks, to their insurance companies or you-name-it wherever else. It was always difficult to keep from smiling. I couldn't help but wonder at the outraged lectures they would have given themselves.

It's a good thing we gals do most of the heavy lifting in this world, in terms of jobs requiring social interation (i.e. giving a tinker's damn about somebody other than ourselves). The guys seem to be better at bossing us around, making the big decisions, and then cowering in some back office while we take the responsibility for what they have done.

I have not met too many genuinely sexist men. To be fair to them -- and all sterotypes aside -- most men seem to be less sexist than women. And, it seems to me, women seem to be getting more sexist all the time. I wish I could claim, in all cheerful and wide-eyed innocence, that I didn't understand why.

If you insist upon being a whiny, lazy, cowardly, selfish little self-absorbed shit, all the Mens' Movements in the world aren't gonna be enough to cover your ass.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Most-Misused Word in the Dictionary

My friends, I present to you today not another Great-Big Vocabulary Word, but the Most-Misused Word, without question, in the dictionary today. What is this word? It is tolerance.

Some organization keeps sending me stickers in the mail that say "Teach Tolerance." Neither the folks who send them, nor the vast majority of those who receive them, even bother to think twice about what that actually means. You can't teach something until you understand it yourself. And given the way the word is so frequently misapplied, I have grave doubts that one American in ten understands it.

Now please don't jump to the conclusion that I am intolerant, or that I have something against tolerance. I fully support tolerance -- or at least, the genuine kind. I simply UNDERSTAND WHAT THE WORD REALLY MEANS, which makes me impatient when I hear it garbled by others. Again, you can't teach anything you don't understand yourself.

"Tolerance" means the acceptance -- however grudging and hostile -- of something or someone you find hateful. When you "tolerate" them, you simply refrain from jailing or killing them. You TOLERATE their continued and unfettered existence on the same planet, much the same way you would tolerate the threat of natural disaster, or of some genetic illness no one knew how to cure.

Why are we being led to believe this is a virtue? It is no virtue to learn that you must deal with other people -- it's a natural and inevitable part of growing up. When you truly tolerate someone or something, that doesn't mean you have to LIKE the existence of him, her or it, it merely means you must accept the fact of it, and not try to eliminate it from the face of the earth.

What many are trying to CHANGE the word "tolerance" to mean is "full acceptance" -- meaning that you HAVE, indeed, come to like it. But when you look at the opposite of this word, "intolerance," you learn the truth. Both tolerance and intolerance deal with things we do not like; the only difference is that "tolerable" people and things are those with which we've learned to live, whereas "intolerable" ones are those with which we feel we canNOT live.

Now, conservatives hate the very word "tolerance." They don't want to tolerate much of anything outside their narrow little sphere of comfort. So the word makes them angry no matter how it is used, whether rightly or wrongly. Liberals, on the other hand, have no clue what the word actually means, so they mangle the language to make it mean what they want it to mean. Only libertarians both (A) understand what the word means and (B) think that the concept is worth practicing.

Truth be told, we can't make other people like us. None of us can. We're either going to live in a society in which we practice a philosphy of mutual "live and let live" -- meaning that we TOLERATE others, whether we like them or not -- or else we're going to have one in which we regard anybody different from ourselves as intolerable. The former is civilization, the latter barbarism.

I have to tolerate all sort of folks I just don't like, practically every day of my life. I wonder how many of the pompous jackasses who bloviate, in my presence, about how kind they are to be "tolerant" of me realize how much luckier they are that I tolerate THEM. Aren't they just so SPECIAL that everyone else should thank them for the benevolence of being tolerated? Indeed, they heard it from Mommy back when they were three, and they've never found any need to question it since.

It is no easier, for example, for gays and lesbians to tolerate straight people than it is for the heteros to tolerate them. The difference is that there are far more of the latter than there are of the former. There is considerable strength in numbers, therefore those who are more numerous have the power to tyrannize others. Tyranny is the cradle of all human baseness: cowardice, selfishness, ignorance, cruelty, and just about every other little gremlin in Pandora's Box. Tyranny is the gateway to barbarism; it is the first big shove down the slippery slope back down into the primordial muck.

Some societies are basically incompatible with others, which is why, to repeat a maxim quoted earlier on this Blog, "Good fences make good neighbors." Americans have no more business running Middle Eastern Muslim countries than Middle Eastern Muslims do coming over here and running ours. Bigoted rednecks who hate gays have no business moving to progressive, cosmopolitan cities (like Phoenix) and trying to run gays out of it. If gays and lesbians want to move to some podunky little town out in the sticks and make it gay-friendly, they may find the natives understandably hostile. Sometimes it's actually better to put a comfortable distance between ourselves and those with whom we share a mutual dislike.

Tolerance is, as a matter of fact, the key to peace. The practice of tolerance requires that we respect even those we do not like, and that we give each other enough room to peacefully coexist. It is not so much a virtue as it is a necessity. If we do not remember how to practice tolerance very soon, we will end up destroying the world.

Liberals want everybody to live together, and everybody to get along. Sorry, but human nature being what it is, this simply isn't going to happen. The problem is that so pathetically few in our society see this Left-Wing fairy tale for the dangerous delusion it really is.

If we truly do want tolerance, not only must we understand what it really is (and isn't), but we must also be willing to do what we can to help it survive and thrive.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Death to "Fargo!!!"

I'm getting ready to watch one of my favorite movies on cable: Fargo. The first time I saw it, I was puzzled. These people talk just like the vast majority of my relatives!

"Yah, you betcha" is funny?! At least nobody says "Yumpin' Yiminy!"

But you know what? After all is said and done, I think I'm offended. Insulted. Yah, you betcha!

Should we injured American Norskies issue a fatwa on filmmakers who make fun of us? What about that Garrison Keillor guy over on NPR? Where's the Lutheran outrage?

Heavens to Betsy, I dunno how this country has managed to survive all these years...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Spoke Too Soon...

Well, here I am with egg all over my face! No sooner do I get through praising the backbone of those who stood up to the Islamist thugs than I find out they backed down. Their spines are made of spaghetti.

The French paper that published the "offending" cartoons has now apologized and fired its managing editor. See the story at www.guardian.co.uk/religion/story/0, 1700224, 00.html.
(Thanks to Cathy Young at The Y Files for that link.)

I must ask a very politically-incorrect question. How good an idea was it to open the floodgates and let in a torrent of immigrants hostile to everything about your way of life?

I have no problem with immigration per se. My family came to this country as immigrants. I have lived in Arizona all my life, surrounded by Hispanic neighbors, and I have a deep and abiding affection for them. We need to do something about immigration so that people can come over from South of the Border legally, and earn a good living without fear of deportation (I actually found myself agreeing with the President on that point last night).

But Hispanic immigrants DO share our basic values. They are now a part of us. They ARE us. A great many of them (almost certainly a number disproportionate to that of the Anglos) are now over in the Middle East, fighting for their country. How shameful that so many reactionary politicians try to lump them in together with the sociopaths and psychotics who form terrorist cells!

Being non-racist, however, does not mean being idiotic. Different people come to the United States for dramatically different reasons. Some come to make a decent living for themselves and their families, some to escape despotism and persecution, and others to kill Americans. We need to begin to at least TRY to use our heads about who we let in, and why.

Americans have their heads up their asses. They don't even know how to make sense of the information before them. Last night, the President stood up there and pulled a real number on this country. He'd say something not only demonstrably, but urgently true, follow that up with a bald-faced lie, say something else true, tell another lie, etc., all the way through his speech. No govermnent has done this so adeptly -- this intermingling of lies with truth -- since the Third Reich.

Not surprisingly, people in this country cannot tell the difference between lies and the truth. Polls consistently show that most of the people in this country realize how dangerous Islamofascism really is -- and that we have absolutely no clue what to do about it. (Making even more terrorism can hardly be said to be an intelligent solution.)

Here's a hint: We should stay over here, and we should keep them over there. We need to stop invading their countries and making war on their people, AND we (and by "we" here, I mean us and our allies) need to stop inviting them into our countries.

There's a lot, indeed, to be said for that old maxim, "Good fences make good neighbors."

I guess the best rule of thumb for determining whether immigrants should be allowed into this country or whether they should not is how we would answer this question: "Will they help to build this country up, or will they tear it down?" If they are coming here because they love the United States and want to contribute to what makes it great, then they should be welcomed with open arms. But if they hate us and want to make our society like their own, oppressive and chaotic land, then we have not only the right but the duty to keep them out.

If we don't start using our heads about this whole issue very soon, we may just lose them.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Camel's Nose Under the Tent

Well, first of all, I must say we might want to re-think our opinion, here in America, of the French as "cheese eating surrender monkeys." It seems they are growing a backbone.

Not only did my favorite tennis player recently declare her willingness to die on the court if necessary to win the Aussie Open (Amelie Mauresmo won by default because of Justine Henin-Hardenne's tummyache, though the reason for her victory -- for which I have have been waiting since, it seems like, the Ice Age, is neither here nor there), but the French media is standing up to the Islamist thugs. They are going ahead and printing the supposedly-offensive Danish cartoons!

See www.aftenposten.no/english/world/article 1211981.ece.

The Norwegians have also run them, which, I guess, explains why they, too have made the Jihadists' shit-list. See www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article 1211932.ece.

Eivind Smith, Professor of Public Law at the University of Oslo, "believes it is important that any future tightening of the law favors human rights rather than religion." He sums it all up by saying that it's insults against humans he thinks the State should guard against, and not God, who can defend Himself.

I hate to tell these good people, but the proverbial camel's nose got under the tent when they started trying to protect every thin-skinned person in Norway from getting their feelings hurt. The fact that I actually agree with the Islamist thugs that it is infinitely worse to insult God than to insult other people is strictly beside the point here.

There is simply no accounting for what might piss EVERYBODY off. Which means that only certain, specially-handpicked groups get to have their complaints heard, while everybody else must simply lump it. We cannot be bothered with complaints from a good many folks, including white, heterosexual males and Christians.

I don't merely want MY rights to be trampled, I don't want ANYBODY'S rights to be trampled. Which is why, other than treating absolutely everybody exactly the same under the law, the State ought to get itself the hell out of the business of playing mommy-kissy-poo to each and every poor soul who ever feels bruised by a simple interaction with other people.


I don't have time for a real post today, but as the blogosphere is abuzz about the Islamofascist attempt to blackmail the Danes, I feel I must weigh in.

I will have more in the future about this. As someone of predominantly Norwegian descent, this really pisses me off. As a libertarian, it pisses me off. As an American, and a Christian, and a woman, and a gay person, and in just about every other context possible, it pisses me off.
Even though the Danish papers have yanked the cartoons that so offended the subhuman rabble now declaring jihad against every Dane (AND Norwegian) in the world, and have apologized repeatedly and profusely, the temper-tantrum continues.
Time to send these worthless pieces of shit the message that WE. HAVE. HAD. ENOUGH.
Fuck political correctness. Counter the Jihadists' petty little boycott by stocking up on all the Tuborg and Havarti you can.