Fantastic, spine-tingling news from the North Atlantic.
Marriage equality has come to yet another nation: Iceland! Yes, that Iceland: socially progressive, hammered by the last few years' economic turmoil, volcanic nemesis of European airspace.
The most tingleworthy aspect of this joyous news is the outcome of the vote to approve marriage equality in Iceland's parliament:
Damn those Europeans and their socialist volcano monitoring. Thanks to them, tens of thousands of travelers are trapped across Western Europe due to some minor ash explosion under some glacier in Iceland. Isn't that all they have there anyway? I mean, the place is CALLED "Iceland", not "Volcanoland".
It’s not like it’s a big deal – it’s just volcanic ash, and it’s not really a big eruption anyway. It just floats around in the air and doesn't hurt anyone.
I know a teabagger.
She’s actually a little afraid to come out to me as one, but I know she is. And she knows that I know that she knows that I know she is.
She says she’s a devout Christian. She strongly supports same-sex marriage, and is teaching her daughter to support and defend the rights of minorities. She swears up and down she’s not racist. She works for the government in public health, and helps some of the most judged and reviled people in our country try to live healthier lives. She also deeply admires men and women who join the military and commit to defending our country – she’s the child of a military family, and married a veteran.
What she lacks, it seems, are critical thinking skills. I’ve been trying to come to some idea of why.
The alarm went off at an ung_dly hour. That’s my sign, usually, that I’m going home, because going home always means taking odd-hour flights to get as much time there as possible. And that morning, for the first time in ages, I would go alone. I had already packed, making sure I had all the little things I knew would mean so much to me for the return. I didn’t want to miss anything, didn’t want to pass the right opportunity to release the hurt.
I kissed the cats, each curled in their favorite spots, on their sleepy furry heads, whispered that I loved them, and swept to the airport in the dark. Most travelers awaiting the flight looked sleepy. Our flight would take off well before the sun rose, but I was on high alert, nervous to be doing this alone for the first time in so long. I handed the ground attendant my boarding pass, checked my ring to make sure it was still there, and boarded the plane to San Francisco. I landed that morning in a place where I knew myself to be legally equal to every other person in that state. I checked my ring again as I deplaned, painfully conscious of its symbolic value.
It’s rare that one sees jubilant effects of a single law in someone’s life. So often, laws seem obscure – the effect of what the federal Congress does so often seems not so personal, but instead some seemingly mundane detail buried under so many layers of legal, financial, or bureaucratic sediment.
Just lately, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing blatant joy at the result of an act of Congress. It has restored a bit of my faith in our nation.
Meet my friend Miguel (not his real name, for confidentiality purposes). He’s about 40 years old, an intelligent, well-educated man, and is originally from Mexico. He immigrated to the United States over a decade ago for work, and was granted a residency visa and eventually a job at a respected technology company which is a worldwide name.
In the succeeding years, his paperwork and residency status somehow fell through the cracks. I don’t know how, but it did. Though he was still employed at the same company (and remains in the same job), his residency status ended.
And then, unexpectedly, he discovered he was infected with HIV.
Since coming out over a decade ago, I've celebrated, and also felt a lot of despair and frustration, for the LGBT rights movement. Change has ground slowly forward, and often for every step forward occurs an equal or greater step back. Even so, I've become more and more optimistic over the last several months.
That's not because of some political sea change (though some movement on LGBT issues in Congress and from the Obama administration is a pleasant surprise).
It's because of the generation behind me. It's because of young women and men like nationally-ranked (#3) U. of Maryland wrestler Hudson Taylor.
He's straight. He plays a testosterone-infused sport. And he thinks LGBT rights are a "pressing issue".
Please choose (appropriately/inappropriately) to complete your ANGRY LIB.
I'm a (long-time/brand new) reader and poster on Daily Kos, and darn it, I've been (on the rec list at some point/lurking since Jesus hit puberty).
My (disgust/disdain/outrage/fear/smoldering anger/apathy/publicly important shame) stems from ([rec listed diary here]/[poster we shouldn't call out by name but will imply heavily about]/[issue we shouldn't talk about being discussed]), and this should be heard. LOUDLY.
I'm (leaving the community behind/demanding change/just not posting anymore) as a result, and I think you should all (do the same/ignore aforementioned poster or diary/go f**k yourselves/be ashamed and do penance Monty-Python-style). You're going to (miss me/regret going down this road/destroy the country/destroy the community) if you don't.
It looks like we’re sending a bunch more folks to Afghanistan to get more deeply involved in a land war in Asia (life imitates art?!). One of the tenets of that appears to be pushing the Afghan government to stamp out local corruption. Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, with whom I don’t always agree (and whose daughter I mostly abhor), hits the nail squarely on the head. For me, he ties our health care reform mire right to Afghanistan in a single, neat paragraph.
"Who are we to seriously be preaching [such] a crusade?" he asked. "We have a financial sector that is voraciously greedy and exploitative, to put it mildly. We have a Congress which is not immune to special interests. And we have an electoral system that is based largely on private donations which precipitate expectations of rewards. The notion of us going to the Afghans and preaching purity is comical.
And it IS comical. The Republicans aren’t the party of "NO". They’re the party of "YES" – to institutionalized corruption. And the Democrats are at best marginally better.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, the second one we’ve celebrated since we got married. I’m already sick to death of his birthday gift from voters being yet another in the long line of statewide decisions that we’re just not human.
Look at Maine. Compare it with California; see a far more competent, sensitive, well-run, well-organized, on-message campaign in a state many see as reasonable. Yet Question 1 succeeds with nearly the same proportion of voters in Maine as Prop 8 in California. Our side did a far better job – but to what effect? It feels like zero. There’s no arguing belief. In spite of all our work, fact-free is fine -- there are no hearts and minds to win. Either people like us, or we’re just too disgusting to deserve to be treated like human beings.
I have journaled here about LGBT civil rights. I registered my UID to do exactly that. I felt I had to add my voice to this din, like that was worth it – since, like it or not, DKos is no echo chamber on LGBT rights. A fair number of Democrats still see gay folks as repugnant, indiscriminately slutty child-molesting perverts.
My conclusion: I’m not convincing anyone. Few of us are; we are having no effect. The only thing to do is to wait this out.
Some of us are outcasts from "go". I was one of those children. Everybody knew I was different, even me. I didn’t seek out other kids to play with. I didn’t want to. We lived in the middle of nowhere when I was little, and I was happiest deep in the woods alone. That was probably a relief for my mother, who had no idea how to protect me from other kids. I had no friends. I was intelligent, but socially awkward. I didn’t have a clue how to relate to people. I was ugly. I was effeminate. I liked flowers and plants and the powers of nature. I read books and drew pictures of horses and irises and giant trees.
I had no interest in sports or cars or any of the things little boys were supposed to like. I gravitated toward little girls and found them less intimidating and more likely to like the same things I did. They thought I was icky. I probably was.
One winter, I taught myself to crochet. I took a skein of my mother’s leftover yarn, and crocheted a sweater-vest for a Cabbage Patch Doll my grandmother had given me for Christmas. (Grandma had provided my cash-strapped parents the money to purchase it when I wanted nothing else.) It just so happened that the yarn was rainbow yarn. (Uh-oh, you're thinking.)
Arlen Specter is as purely political an animal as I have seen in my short political life. His expressed viewpoints on legislation swing wildly depending on what he calculates he needs to do to stay in power. He switched to the Republicans in ’80, and switched back recently to the Democrats – so he can be re-elected, and so he can run with whoever the American people seem to think are the cool kids right now. That’s all he wants – to keep his seat, and hold onto power as long as his ancient hands can grip it.
It was interesting to see him declare, recently, in the Huffington Post that he thinks it’s time to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT); it interests me that he makes the call so public for these bills to be passed.
I know Senator Specter has already survived a challenge from the right as a Republican. Now he wants to survive a challenge from the left, by Rep. Joe Sestak, and it’s pushing him left. There are two things about this that are exciting to me and to my very observant husband.
I'm always the first to say it: I am a bit of a Luddite. Several years ago, my friends were astounded when I acquired a television (my first one!), computer, mobile phone, DVD player, and a microwave (also a first), all in approximately a week. My life suddenly lurched forward into the late 20th century...a few years after the century had ended. There I stayed, happily -- proudly, even -- behind the times.
Then, one fateful month a couple years ago, I took one cautious step into early adopterhood. It has revolutionized my life.