Isn’t it sad how Americans forget our own history?

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Most American over twenty years old were old enough to understand the fear and anxiety that followed the terror attacks on that Tuesday morning in September of 2011. I remember a feeling of unreal disconnect. I’ve written about the eerie silence of that day. The lack of air traffic overhead. People walking in stunned silence. The entire country in uncertain fear. Most reasonable Americans, though reeling with disbelief and shock, wanted justice not revenge. President Bush’s response wasn’t perfect, but it was strong and reassuring. When Mr Bush sent troops to Afghanistan, I was behind him. Our nation was behind him. Then, under suspicion of weapons of mass destruction, we invaded Iraq. It was a diversion from our original directive. Our leaders took advantage of the confusion and anger of the American people. We were duped.

This was the moment in American history when things changed. This was when the NSA was given carte blanche. This was when we traded our constitutional freedoms for the illusion of security. This was the shameful moment, the first time in American history, when the barbaric act of torture and revenge was seen as just another unfortunate fact of life, like the a sudden rainstorm catching you without an umbrella or getting mud on your new shoes. Sure, it’s unpleasant to think about but I’ve got troubles of my own. I forgot to set my TIVO to record Will and Grace! Stan died having sex with his mistress. Will Karen be left penniless?

To be fair, we lied to ourselves. We didn’t call it torture. We called it EIT, or Enhances Interrogation Techniques. Doesn’t sound so bad. If water boarding is simply an enhanced interrogation technique, why did we execute the Japanese for war crimes after WWII for doing it?

What’s Going On?

Four decades and Marvin Gaye’s classic is as relevant today, if not more so, as it was on it’s release in 1971.

What happened to the Hippies, the “Peace and Love” generation that was supposed to save the world? Oh, right. Hippies became Yuppies.

I’ll never forget that night. The air was electric with excitement! We had done it. We had achieved something that I never, in my lifetime, thought was achievable. The one image that sticks in my mind is the close up of Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes. It was what Oprah would have called my “Aha Moment”. It was an instant when suddenly everything clicked into place and I got it. I understood the idea of representation. Here were people who had worked all their lives just to have a seat at the table. Their moment had come. There was a feeling that things were about to change, that everything was possible. We were dancing in the streets!

How could I have been so naive?

If anything, things got worse. I might have guessed that the first black president of the United States would face some difficulty but never in my life did I expect such a deluge of hateful, un-American, bullshit! From Donald Trump’s “Show me your birth certificate” to Mitch McConnell’s famous, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” to Eric Cantor’s government shutdown, no president in the history of these United States has had to put up with the level of disrespect and outright condemnation as this one has.

But this post isn’t about politics. …well, maybe not.

You don’t know how many times I’ve sat down to write something about race in America. It’s been on my mind for a very long time. But what can I, a middle aged white male, add to the conversation that hasn’t already be said by people more intelligent and better qualified than me?

When Michael Brown was shot and killed I couldn’t believe it. Another one!? It seems every time I turn on the news I see a story of a black male being killed at the hands of a police officer or, as in Trayvon Martin’s case, a representative of a neighborhood watch organization. — Seriously, why is George Zimmerman still walking the streets? Every town watch I have ever been part of forbade us from carrying guns. AND… He was told not to follow Trayvon! What the hell, man?  When the shoplifting video came out I thought, so what? Even if Michael Brown was the shoplifter in the leaked surveillance video, he did not deserve to be shot and killed. At worse, Michael made the mistake of struggling with the officer, but that is NOT reason to shoot him to death!

Of course people are angry. I’m angry! But at least I have the luxury, the privilege if you will, to turn off the news and go about my boring life.

And don’t you dare whine to me about “Well… not ALL white people“! I hate that sentence. It’s a lie! Each and every one of us is to blame. We’ve so surrounded ourselves with like minded people that we’ve forgotten that this racist bullshit still runs rampant throughout our community.

So how do we prevent this from continuing?

First,  shut up and listen. And while you’re listening, try not to take everything personally. Us white folks need to remember that it’s not always about us. Just because someone is telling you their truth doesn’t mean they are tearing you down. Unless someone is addressing you directly, they aren’t necessarily blaming you. So brush the chip off your shoulder.

Next, When talking with family and friends, don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right. When someone says or does something offensive, tell them. Otherwise, how else are they gonna know what they’re doing is wrong?

If you still feel helpless, check out 12 Things White People Can Do Now Because Ferguson by Janee Woods

Personally, I don’t understand why people find it so difficult to treat others the way they wish to be treated. It’s such a simple concept. :\

RIP Lauren Bacall

 

I just heard that Lauren Bacall died today at age 89

In my mind, Bogart has been waiting patiently since 1957 to reunite with the love of his life, so when Betty (Lauren) showed up in Heaven it must have looked something like this scene from Dark Passage (1947).

I don’t understand the Christian obsession with homosexuality.

On Sunday Morning, I read a post by twowisegals titled, Jesus Christ’s Super Star? … #CarlLentz … #HipsterPastor about this new hip pastor from NYC and his apparent waffling on the subject of homosexuality. It stuck in my craw. Seriously. Why is the first question asked of a religious leader always about homosexuality?

Here is my question to all Christians. It’s been nagging at me for decades and I’d really like an answer.

Why are Christians obsessed with homosexuals? Truly there must be things more worthy of your attention. Hunger, poverty, and war, are just the first three that come to mind.

Christians quote scripture from Leviticus, and they love Sodom and Gomorrah, as examples of God’s distaste of homosexuals. The trouble, besides faulty interpretation, is that these passages come from the Old Testament which is essentially the Hebrew Bible, The Torah, if you will.
Anyone who has read the New Testament knows that Peter and Paul spent a great deal of energy convincing the masses that there is a new way, essentially separating the new Christianity from the Hebrew, or Jewish, faith.
So the question arises. Why are Christians following the Hebrew text instead of the teachings of Christ?

The Christian obsession with homosexuality borders on mania. It’s almost entertaining until you realize the damage they are doing all around the world. Thanks to American Evangelicals, Homosexuality is punishable by death in much of Africa. The Reverends Scott Lively and Rick Warren are directly responsible for Uganda’s new “Kill The Gays” law.
Is this the kind of thing Christians want? The genocide of homosexuals worldwide? Was one Holocaust not enough? — It’s not much of a stretch to say that Putin’s use of homosexuals as scapegoats reminds me of a German madman who did something similar almost century ago.
The fact that Christians are obsessing over sex, instead of protesting the terrorization and murder of fellow human beings, is shameful!
I don’t think Jesus Christ would approve.

~ end rant ~

Now, get your butts over to the twowisegals and see what they’re all about. Their blog is interesting and entertaining and worth your time. 🙂

Harvey Milk – “Hope”

In honor of Pride Month and the issuance of the Harvey Milk US Postage Stamp, here’s a short clip from the award winning 1984 documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk

This short yet inspiring speech is something everyone should hear. Milk asserts that LGBT Rights, Civil rights, Women’s Rights are all connected. We need each other to succeed. Together we are strong.

Milk insists that we not forget the LGBT youth who are struggling with their identity. Give them hope for a better tomorrow.

“Without hope, life is not worth living.” – Harvey Milk

Dear LGBTQIA…BCDEFG Community,

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex… I’m confused. Is the A for Ally or Asexual?

Can we please do something about this ever expanding alphabet soup of an acronym that we have come to embrace? It’s getting a little confusing and frankly, a little ridiculous. Seriously, every time I turn around it seems like we’ve tacked on another letter! I understand that it’s all part of the inclusiveness that our community is supposed to be embracing — and that’s a beautiful thing — but all it really does is confuse everyone except for those whose letter is represented.

How about choosing one all-inclusive word to encompass everyone? I liked gay but it’s become synonymous with homosexual men. So, it isn’t really all-inclusive anymore.

“Sexual minority” is all encompassing, though probably a little too clinical. You could maybe shorten it to the “SM” community but apparently, there already is an SM community.

Way back in the 1990s, some of the kids reclaimed “queer” but that word still holds negative connotations to me. It’s just as bad as that six letter F word. No, we need something optimistic, something bright, something trendy and cool. Like… The Rainbow Community!” …No? You don’t like it? To be honest, neither do I. It brings to mind Rainbow Brite, My Little Pony, or worse… the Smurfs! Come to think of it, Papa Smurf does have that ‘daddy bear’ vibe. He’d probably fit right in at your friendly neighborhood leather bar.

The thing is, members of the LGBTQIA community come from all walks of life. Every ethnicity and socioeconomic background is represented within our community. We are a microcosm of the world! As such, each subgroup needs to be represented so that young LGBTQIA people don’t feel isolated within their own communities. It’s simpler than it sounds. Growing up gay, lesbian, or trans* can be a very lonely thing. Isolation leads to depression. Depression often leads to suicide. When you recognize the importance of representation, suddenly the alphabet soup doesn’t seem so bad.

So, I guess I can live with the ever expanding, all inclusive, acronym that has come to represent our equally varied and colorful community.

parada gay

 

They say variety is the spice of life.

It certainly makes life more interesting.

Happy Pride Month Everybody!

James Baldwin Debates William F. Buckley (1965)

“Historic debate between James Baldwin v. William F. Buckley Jr. at Cambridge University on the question: “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?” – The Riverbends Channel

James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant minds of our time. He was unapologetic about his blackness and his sexuality. Rightfully so, as there was nothing he could (or should) have done to change either.

I’ve been thinking about writing a piece on racism for quite a while now. But so much has already been said on the subject by people far better qualified than myself. One of whom is the incredibly brilliant James Baldwin.

Note: This video runs about an hour. It’s worth your attention, if for no other reason than to get a glimpse of American history through the eyes of non-US citizens. So if you don’t have the time to watch it now please bookmark it and save it for a future time when you can.

Thanks.