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Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:30 AM PDT

Dear bigoted lady I work with:

by ElsieElsie

I was simultaneously disgusted and amused today to learn that you don't support marriage equality. Let me tell you why.

You're in your early 30s. You're white. You were a teenage mom. You came up poor and you're working your way to your college degree. You've married a good, kind, hard working guy who clearly loves you, and the two of you aspire to live the American dream. Not only that, you have a plan and you're working hard to get there.

I admire you. I just want you to know that. You remind me of my dad. He worked his way from no running water or electric to a six-figure salary and a fine home for which he could pay cash. 

You two have so much in common, but you could never stand one another.

You see, you married a black man. My dad can't handle that. He doesn't think it's right. He thinks it's bad for the children and just basically wrong. In fact, a lot of people agree with him - and they find plenty of justification in the bible for their views. You know they can't handle your marriage. It's 2013, but people still stare and you still feel uneasy, even in this deepest marine blue state. 

But it doesn't matter - you hold your head up high, and teach your beautiful (biracial) kids to hold their heads high. I admire that. A not insignificant part of the ability to hold your head high was a court case that was decided the year my dad married my mom. In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States told bigoted dicks like my dad that they were entitled to their opinions, but legally, they could shove it. That's a nice underpinning for facing the world proudly, holding the hand of the one you love.

So I know you know exactly what it's like to be denigrated for whom you love. I know you know what it's like to stand tall when people around you give you the stink eye, but you know what's in your heart is right. And to know you're backed up by the force of the law. It helps. You were born over a decade after Loving was decided - you get to take your righteousness for granted.

That's why your failure to support marriage equality, on the precise bases thrown at your very marriage, is such appalling hypocrisy. This doesn't just suggest an utter lack of self-awareness. It tells me that when you look at me, you don't see me as a full person; that you don't see my relationship as one built of love - just like yours. Just like my dad would look at you.

Here's the best part, though. You and I have one more thing in common, because we live in Washington State. Last fall, the voters of our fine state resoundingly supported marriage equality. So, like you before me, I can celebrate your right to have that opinion, while I jubilate in my right to not give a stinking rat's ass about it. I hope one day you'll change your mind, but until that day, I don't have to care if you do.

Bless your bigoted little heart.

Discuss

Civil rights issues like employment non-discrimination and marriage equality are what made me a political junkie. I was pretty apolitical for a long time, but 2004 opened my eyes - the nation lit up with anti-gay ballot initiatives, and we gay and lesbian folks and our allies were blamed by a lot of Democrats for 2004's losses while our civil rights were beaten senseless at the ballot box.

Eight years later, my goodness. How things have changed. Last night was a FABULOUS night for Democrats, and an amazing night to be LGBT in America. We won all over the freakin' place, in ways historic and stunning.

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Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:11 AM PDT

A Love Letter to Daily Kos

by ElsieElsie

Dear DKos Community:

In the time I've been a member of this site, I've been married and divorced. I've seen history happen in good ways and bad - often simultaneously, like the election of Barack Obama the same night Prop 8 passed. I've moved states multiple times. My life has changed a lot - I once lived in a state known for its redness (Texas), and now I live in one of the most pleasantly blue states in the Union (Washington). I've also watched some major changes occur in this country - and in this online community, too. In considering these things, I must thank you.

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...and that's a good thing.

2010 was a bad year for Team Blue – Republicans were in full bay over the Affordable Care Act, and Democratic voters were disillusioned with their elected leaders and not enthusiastic about voting. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was widely seen as an extremely vulnerable target – the economy was doing poorly, and the incumbent was not widely liked, very exposed due to his authority position, and from a swing state known to have some rabid conservatives and a tendency toward some rather erratic political behavior. Yet, on election night 2010, the Nevada Senate race was called for the incumbent less than an hour after the polls closed, and Senator Reid won re-election by a solid five-point margin after seemingly being behind in the polls for weeks.

Reid won because he followed a shrewd strategy that, while perhaps a little cynical for the idealists, works. It’s what we’ve watched Team Obama do essentially from “go” with this election, and it’s working again. Locals here in Nevada sometimes call this “the United States of Nevada” (because of a tendency toward bucking the law of the land, et cetera), but I think Nevada is a good microcosm of the USA in this case – broad swaths of very conservative, thinly populated rural areas, swingy suburban districts, and deep blue polka dots. The President’s campaign is wise to follow a similar strategy to that which led to Senator Reid’s win. It breaks down pretty simply:

1.       Pick the weakest opponent you can.
2.       Define your opponent before s/he can even get started, stay on message, and hammer the opponent relentlessly.
3.       Have a solid campaign finance operation/war chest.
4.       Have an exceptional ground game.

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Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:02 AM PDT

Entitlement to Public Health

by ElsieElsie

Let’s talk about public health. It’s one of those boring infrastructure things people don’t talk about very often and of which the general public is only fleetingly aware. It’s what I do, and it’s essential to a fluid, functioning economy. It’s also losing funding left and right, because the people most frequently served in public health settings are poor folks who rarely have health care anywhere else.

Public health is an important supporting component of a world-class economy. Without it, people have shorter, less healthy lifespans, and less of that lifespan is spent as productive members of the workforce. People have more and more expensive health conditions, and pass them on to younger generations, who either aren’t as functional or are too frequently ill themselves to focus on schooling. Because of ill relatives and parents, households are poorer, and children are often required to enter the workforce at younger ages just to support family. And because family planning services are often part of the public health picture, they start families at younger ages, too – leading to lower education levels for the population as a whole, especially women (and the most developed economies in the world all have highly educated women in their workforces). Essentially, goods and services don’t get produced and delivered when the population is sick, disabled, or dead.

Following are some examples of what public health workers do to prevent people from getting so sick they can’t work and can’t live well.

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My partner and I were recently Skyping with his dad and his stepmom, who previously lived in southern Missouri. They're good, fairly average Southern folks who are closing in on retirement. She's a contractor for the military and he was a small-holdings farmer before he retired and they moved to southern Alabama. Politically they come across on the conservative side of the middle.

As my partner's step-mom will tell you, "We had our time as holy rollers" -- they did not attend the commitment ceremony when my partner married his first husband 20 years ago, and they made it clear why they would not attend.

Over the years, their views on the matter have softened and changed, and the result was this conversation, which shocked us off our chairs.

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Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:14 PM PDT

I'm IN.

by ElsieElsie

I get and appreciate the idea of boycotting North Carolina. I'm going to, but only because I live 3 time zones away and I don't have to be there.

But I live in a state that already has a constitutional amendment, and is bordered only by other states that have such a constitutional amendment. And most of them have had such amendments for years.

So...I don't have any choices. I'm IN. I'm in because in 32 states there is no choice, and I still need somewhere to live, somewhere to work, and somewhere to call home. I've never lived anywhere where I had marriage equality, and I'm betting that it's unlikely I will for years yet.

So...I'm IN. I'm in to live, to work, to love, to be out to my friends, neighbors, family, and whoever notices. I'm IN - to stay and fight. I -- and millions of others like me -- have no choice.

Thank you to those of you who support us in word and in deed. For those who are ballot-bashed tonight in North Carolina, I am so very sorry. I know how it feels. Remember that living well is the best revenge. And for the large number in North Carolina that voted for this latest vicious bully bill - fuck you. You will regret it.

For everyone here in Nevada - and for California, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and, unfortunately, now North Carolina - I'm IN.

Discuss

I know what you're going through right now is very difficult. Why? Because I have suffered it. The haters robbed my marriage of any chance of a honeymoon phase with Prop 8. And I suffered through campaigns against me in other states prior to that. You have every right to feel scared, persecuted, hated: that's what these people want. They want to force you back into the closet so they don't have to deal with how icky it is that a guy might want to kiss another guy...or even (gasp)...marry him.

Lord knows, these campaigns have been documented to cause significant mental health concerns for the people they target.

But you and I, and millions of others, aren't going back in the closet. And this genie isn't going back in the bottle. My partner and I were talking just the other day about what amazing change this time represents in comparison to what we were living not even ten years ago, much less when we were your age. I hope our conversation gives you a little perspective and a little hope. It revived mine.

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I'm a longtime former resident of central Texas (Austin area), and I couldn't help but notice that it seems virtually nowhere in the news that major natural disaster is unfolding in my former state of residence today. This diary focuses on my former area of residence, which includes Travis County (Austin) and its surrounding metro area (Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, Caldwell, etc. counties), but the whole damned state is on fire this weekend and it seems like no one knows.

A number of my close friends who live in and around Austin have been evacuated due to fires ranging in size from a few acres in size to the massive 16000+ acre fire burning out of control in Bastrop County which has already burned over 300 homes and is completely uncontained, headed southwest toward neighboring counties. That fire front is 16 miles long and four miles wide.

Other fires around Austin are burning and have claimed at least 25 other homes west of the city near Lake Travis. Many more are threatened on the Travis/Hays county line, and other fires have broken out in Williamson County (Round Rock, Cedar Park, and other suburban Austin metro) to the north.

Folks, this just doesn't really happen in and around Austin very often. Austin, and Texas, are in the midst of their worst ever drought in over 150 years of records. Today was Austin's record 80th day of 100 degree heat this year. The previous record was 69 days from 1925, and in 2009, 68 days were recorded. The 30-year average for days of triple-digit heat in Austin is 12. 80...compared with 12. Worse, the region has had exceptionally rare rain in the past several months. This is their hottest summer of record, and it's the second "hottest summer" recorded in just the last 3 years (last record was only set in 2009).

Wanna scream about climate change? Here it is, bold face letters, right in Rick Perry's back yard. Increasingly hot and dry summers, almost year after year after year, over a decade running. That's a lengthening record of change, and it's ugly, and now if you refer to this map fire is raging across many counties of the state. This should be pointed out, and LOUDLY, to Governor GoodHair and his climate change denial team. This governor's action on climate amounts to praying for rain...and Texas has a rain of fire to deal with. Please trumpet that in other diaries.

The important thing right now, though, is that people in Texas, especially central Texas, need help. Please, please, please, if you are in Texas, stay safe, but if you're local to these fires please help these folks. Many are holed up in shelters, there's trouble finding places to hold people's pets, and a lot of folks are out of contact or not sure where to go. This is not an area that is accustomed to wildfires. I don't recall this kind of calamity in the decade and a half I lived in Texas.

Please use this post as a clearinghouse for additional news, where people can go to donate or volunteer to help, and any other helpful information. I'm just still shocked and trying to attend to people I know who are floored to be having to evacuate their homes because of wildfire.

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Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:35 AM PDT

How Very Christian

by ElsieElsie

Let me tell you about a man I once knew.

He was kind. He was generous. He welcomed me into his home and into his family. He shared with me all manner of time, consideration, kindness, good foods, good companionship, safety, and guidance.

How very christian.

He was the epitome of "Minnesota nice", and he and his lovely wife had the accent to go along with. They were very, very conservative christians - of the kind all christians should aspire to be. They were true christians who aspired not to go to war for Jesus, but to live in a way that is Christ-like.

I was so fortunate to have known them for a time.

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A rec-listed diary connects our most recent tornado outbreak to climate change and implies its severity must be related to climate change, because a warmer Gulf of Mexico means more water vapor, or something. This diary fails to recognize that climate is a long-term measurement of atmpospheric conditions and behavior. A single severe tornado outbreak does not climate change make, nor can we measure climate change from one such single event. That doesn't mean it's not horrifying, and that doesn't mean climate change is not occurring -- but if we are going to beat science deniers on the merits of science, we have to be right on the science.

Climate is measured in decades and centuries. To declare it changed requires an accumulation of a lengthy data record. This is something that climate scientists have done through meticulous data collection during recent decades as well as research into sediment and ice cores in lakes, oceans, glaciers, and ice caps. These lengthy data records help us understand what is happening in the LONG term - again, decades, centuries - and it very strongly suggests major climate change.

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It's been noted that post-Citizens United, unlimited money would be spent to put corporate-approved candidates in power.

Well, that's happened. And there were skirmishes at the state level, too. The corporate machine has succeeeded.

There was only one house of the federal government that wasn't corporate-controlled; and now, as of January, that little bug has been fixed.

Poll

Are you ready for corporate governance?

5%9 votes
5%9 votes
59%100 votes
21%36 votes
7%13 votes

| 167 votes | Vote | Results

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