Saturday, November 15, 2008

Prop 8 protest: 5,000 in D.C.

The crosspost is at Daily Kos. Check out a lot more diaries from today here.

Occasionally, someone will ask me -- a straight, single male in my 30s and still in college -- why I care about GLBT rights. I care because it is personal for me.

I care because I want to see my aunt and her long-term partner happy. It is a travesty that they cannot have the same benefits that grandma and grandpa have enjoyed for many years.

I care because I have another aunt who likes girls better. Why does that make her a second class citizen?

I care because I have a lot of GLBT friends, including one couple who went through the commitment ceremony in New York State last year. (It was one of the most fun weddings I have ever been to.)

I care because my family, friends, and friends I have not met yet deserve the same rights as straight couples.

And after the Prop 8 ballots were counted and the results were announced, I was devastated. To use a college football analogy, it was like your favorite football team went 10-1 and the one loss was to Iowa (Penn State), or Mississippi (Florida), or Oregon State (USC). (Hee Hee. USC vs. Oregon State: Trojans vs. Beavers.)

Okay. Enough sophomoric humor. On to the point of this entry.

Those are the reasons why I pulled myself out of bed today and took the Metro ride downtown to participate in my first protest. The opponents of Prop 8 sent a message today and I am proud to say that we had our voices heard in the Nation's Capitol today.

Today was overcast, but not too cold. (Forgive me. I just moved here from Northern Pa. and I am still adjusting to the fact that it is the middle of November and I did not need a jacket.) The chants were: "What do we want? Equal Rights! When do we want them? Now!" My favorite, though was, "When we're screwed, we multiply."

Very true. I saw many allies like me on the National Mall joining the GLBT folks. After a while, we started to march to the White House. Admittedly, I dropped out when the rain started, but quite a lot of people continued on. I assume that Our Fearless Leader wasn't home as the G-20 Summit was going on across town. But it would have been funny to see the look on his face when the unexpected guests showed up.

Just one more thing before we get to the pictures. We didn't have any Fundie counter-protesters. On one hand, their glaring absence did serve to keep the atmosphere positive. On the other hand, I didn't have a chance to have fun at someone else's expense and not feel bad about it. Ah well. Here's the pictures:

Share this one all you like. I think it is sends a powerful message to our members of Congress:
Prop 8, Washington DC

The first poster reads, "I helped elect the first black president and all I got was this lousy marriage ban."

And just a few more:

Prop 8, Washington DC

Prop 8 protest Washington DC

Prop 8 protest Washington DC

Prop 8, Washington DC

Thanks for protesting today everyone. I had a great time, but we need to keep fighting.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I was on the news and I'm a Humanist (apparently)

So, I was on the local news today. I'm near the end and I am not the lady with the less than profound comment. Check it out:

Sorry about the ad. The local NBC affiliate has to pay the bills, too.

Here's the condensed story. The American Humanist Association bought ad space on the Metro buses that look like this:


The Humanist message is that one does not have to be religious to be a moral human. In fact, with so many Christians freaking out about gay marriage (in essence, hoping to keep gays and lesbians from attaining full equal rights), I tend to argue that humanists tend to be actually more moral than many supposedly "religious" people. The Humanist idea is that humans don't need religion to tell right from wrong; the idea should be intuitive. If not, read up on your Mill and Kant.

So this afternoon I was exiting the metro on my way to class today when a reporter from the local NBC affiliate approached me. The reporter asked me if I would be offended by something like this. Uhh... no. I respect all religious viewpoints, even if I don't agree with them. Moreover, Humanist have Freedom of Speech, too.

But according to the person in this video, I must be part of BillO's "War on Christmas." (Don't Panic. I did not link to Fox "News," so there is no danger of giving them more hits.) Apparently, it is just fine for me, a non-Christian, to be assaulted with Christmas from before Halloween until Twelfth night. Funny thing, though. The second something like this comes out, all of the Fundies get their panties in a bunch and are suddenly offended. Nativity scenes on the courthouse lawn? Fine (if Santa Claus is represented). An atheist organization buys ad space? Time to get offended!

I don't get it, either. Sounds like a teensy bit of a double standard there.

Oh well. It will be a nice change of pace from the usual ads I see every day. In fact, if you look out the train windows at just the right time between Judiciary Square and Gallery Place-Chinatown, you can see what looks like an animated ad for Nestle Quik. That one's actually pretty cool. (Come to think of it, I should hit up Nestle for a few bucks for product placement.)

As for the lady at the end of the video, I wonder if she has a more nuanced reason for being offended other than she believes in Jesus.


Update: We had some fun and interesting discussions about this on the cross-post at Daily Kos.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Random post-election Thoughts

On Guy Fawkes Day (no one blew up any parliaments or capitols to my knowledge), I have some random and disjointed observations on this historic election.

Good gods, did anyone catch any Fox "News" coverage last night? Brit Hume looked like he was reading an obituary when he announced that Ohio went to Obama. He was positively giddy in that spot compared to when he had to announce that California's polls closed, sealing the election. I, on the other hand, cracked open the good hooch when Ohio was called:

The victory and concession speeches were a study in contrasts. Not the candidates; they both said what they were supposed to say. The audiences could not have been different. Obama's crowd was excited and positive. McCain's crowd was still shouting the tired old campaign attack slogans. Real classy, folks.

Prop 8 passed in California. This is a sad day for equal rights because it bans same-sex marriage after it had been legal since June. The losing side has already filed the legal challenge. Incidentally, the "Yes" crowd was organized largely by the Mormon Church in Utah. In response, I did my part by donating a few bucks to the "No" campaign.

After I voted, I spent a couple of hours calling people in Iowa to remind them to vote. The volunteer center was full of positive energy and wonderful people.

We won't have McCain to kick around anymore. :-(

My four-year-old niece nailed it perfectly. She told my sister (a first time voter) to vote for Obama because McCain doesn't smile enough. Actually, Zoey, McCain does smile, but the smile is a bit creepy and might give you nightmares.

Speaking of nightmares, our long national nightmare is over Jan. 20, 2009. What a great birthday gift.

Lee Greenwood was just appointed to the National Arts Council for a six year term by (god lord is he still) President George W. Bush. Thanks for the update, Rachel.

Is it possible that Sarah Palin was unaware that Africa is a continent, not a country? You betcha.

Joe Biden won his race for U.S. Senate. He also won some other election. What was it again?

Also in the Senate, it looks like indicted Senator Ted "Tubes" Stevens won reelection. WTF? Well, he and his Incredible Hulk tie should be gone soon enough. There are three other close Senate races still out there: Minnesota, Oregon, and Georgia. That filibuster-proof margin is looking unlikely. It was always a pipe dream, though. Joe Lieberman (DINO-Conn.) will probably be stripped of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee for his blatant support of McCain. That may send him to the GOP Caucus.

I voted in DC yesterday. There were horror stories about long lines. DKos came up with a new acronym: SITFL. "Stay in the F*cking Line." While I was walking home I passed a young lady who asked me if I had just come from voting, which I had. She looked down the street and saw a bunch of people milling about. "Is that the line?" I was happy to tell her it was only the electioneering folks and that there was not much of a line. I think this lady would have given up if there was a line.

North Carolina still has not been called, but Obama still has a narrow lead.

Finally, Nate Silver and Sean Quinn have jobs forever if they want them. Their website, predicted the popular vote would go 52.4-46.3 in favor of Obama. Actual results? 52.3-46.3. Do you think this is bragging just a little bit?

I just have to type this: President elect Barack Obama and Vice President elect Joe Biden. Soon to be first lady Michelle Obama and soon to be second lady Jill Biden.

That felt good.


Help me Obi Wan Obama; you're my only HOPE

Thoughts on the election coming soon. In the interim: Yes We Did! I spent the afternoon calling people in Iowa and reminding them to vote.

Now comes the hard part: actually governing a country on the verge of bankruptcy.

In the meantime, here is a fun video via Slate. I got most of my news tonight from MSNBC and I checked out Fox "News" to see how they were handling things (I have been to funerals that were more fun than those jokers this evenings).

However, it seems CNN got themselves a new toy. Check it out:

I want one of those things.