Tag Archives: gay

Progressives…Time to Stop Playing

The signs are everywhere, from North Carolina to Indiana to the hallowed halls of Congress.

North Carolina votes NO to gay marriage

 

Those who want to take America back to the 19th century are girding their loins for the battle ahead. Their endgame is obvious, and has been for some time.

The question that remains is whether those who call themselves progressives are ready to put aside their differences and prepare to “throw hands” (metaphorically, you understand).

The stakes are as follows. If we want to have any hope that the more than 12 million Americans currently out of work will ever have decent jobs again in their lifetime, we’re going to have to play politics to win.

That won’t be easy for progressives.

We pride ourselves at being somehow better, more high minded than our opponents. We won’t engage in certain tactics that they take for granted to win elections. Maybe we don’t have to. But we do have to have a clear idea of what we want to accomplish this and every election cycle. And yes, we may have to be ruthless in order to get it done. For the sake of our kids, if ruthless is what it takes, so be it.

Our political aim should be threefold.

You may not think he’s done everything he should have, but electing Barack Obama to a second term is essential. So too is widening the margin of the Democratic majority in the Senate. The third priority is to turn just 25 Republican seats in the House to Democrats.

Why are these three goals important? The GOP minority in the Senate just killed (for now) a bill to freeze the interest rate on college student loans. In  Indiana, a decent, long serving Republican US Senator just got his head handed to him by a Tea Partry Neanderthal. In North Carolina, a referendum just passed defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

These are three recent reasons progressives must be ready to stand and fight this election cycle. Another will be evident to anyone who has passed over or under a bridge, an overpass, train trestle, whatever. Folks, our infrastructure is falling apart.

The same people who think corporations are people tell us we’re too broke to fix our roads. How many able bodied Americans could be trained and put to work creating the steel that upgrades these structures so central to our lives? Who will mix and lay the concrete that replaces the foundations that have rotted away from years of neglect?

Oh yeah, and before I forget. Right now the nation’s unemployment rate stands at 8.1%.

If it ever got back down to where it was when Bill Clinton was president (3.9%), we’d all breathe a sigh of relief. I want to go one better. I want every able bodied American who wants to work to have a job. Then those don’t will have to come up with a really good reason why they can’t work like the rest of us.

And while I’m at it, I want universal health care, quality education for all Americans, and the end of the mess that has become our immigration system.

The President dropped his “to do” list on Congress the other day.

You’ve just read mine, and what progressives need to do to reach these lofty goals.

What’s your “to do” list? Can progressives get it done?

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Is Apology Enough for Larry Johnson’s Gay Slur?

Larry Johnson is a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s 30 years old, which for an NFL running back is when your career is on the downside. All the more reason for him not to do what he did not once, but twice, starting Sunday night.

On his Twitter account, he questioned the credentials of his coach. Then, in an exchange with one of his Twitter followers, he used an anti gay slur. He did it again Monday, brushing off reporters when asked to comment.

A 30-year-old athlete ought to know better. Hell, a 15-year-old athlete ought to know better. He’s apologized as follows: “I regret my actions. The words were used by me in frustration, and they were not appropriate,” he said through a spokesman. “I did not intend to offend anyone, but that is no excuse for what I said.”

Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
Larry Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs

Notice he didn’t apologize to the gay community.

The sporting press has noticed this mea culpa sounds a lot like the one he issued last year when he pled guilty to two counts of disturbing the peace.

Two separate and distinct memories crossed my mind when I read this story.

The first involved a guy I worked with in the post office in Manhattan. It seemed that every other word out of his mouth was an anti gay slur. “Sissy, homo, f@#&t” he would spit out, and often acted like it was funny. Not that my co-workers were particularly enlightened, but they avoided this guy at every turn. One night (I worked the night shift) I asked one of my co-workers what was wrong with this guy, why he seemed so casually homophobic.

He looked at me like I had three heads. “You don’t know?”, he asked. I shook my head. He said the homophobe was gay himself. I was dumbfounded.

Ever since then, I’ve questioned the agenda of people who use hate slurs.

The other incident involved a friend of mine who lived openly gay. His name was Donzell, and he’s since passed away. He was an ex-Marine drill sergeant, but not everyone we hung out with knew this of his career history. One guy in particular used to constantly ride him about his sexual preference.

We were on a long bus ride, and finally, Donzell snapped. He called the guy out, told him if he thought he was such a f@#^%t, how about they settle it with their hands.

The bully hadn’t counted on that. He tried to back down telling Donzell he had only been kidding, but for Donzell it was too little too late. He humiliated this guy with a string of expletives I won’t use here, to the point that he cowered to his seat, sat down meekly, and we didn’t hear another word from him on that bus trip. Afterwords, Donzell said “watch who you’re calling a f@#^%T, ’cause that f%^&#t may kick your a%$”.

Back to Larry Johnson. He’s been told to stay away from the Kansas City Chiefs while this whole thing is being investigated.

Do you buy his apology? If not, what should be his punishment?

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Carrie Prejean's Still in the News. How Come?

You may remember Carrie Prejean as Miss California in the Miss USA pageant of a little while ago. In a moment of candor rare for a beauty pageant contestant, she answered a question about gay marriage by saying she wasn’t down.

Perez Hilton, the gossip monger who asked the question, then made her the most famous runner up in beauty pageant history.

Earlier this week we learned Ms. Prejean became the spokesmodel for a group called the National Organization for Marriage. Few people had heard about this group before Prejean raised its profile, which I guess is the point. It’s enough that she believes in the absurd proposition that allowing gays to marry somehow threatens straight marriage, or the institution of marriage, or whatever. Gay marriage opponents are never really clear about the nature of the threat.

Carrie Prejean’s recent tour of the talk show circuit yielded precious little in the way of enlightenment regarding her views. She did a phoner with Greta Van Susteren, only to  punt on issues like civil unions and adoptions. “I can’t answer that” seemed to be her most comfortable refrain. So be it. Somehow the lyrics “Don’t know much about history, don’t know much biology” drift through the mind.

Yet Carrie Prejean’s extension of her 15 minutes of fame tell us much not about her, but about the state of the religious right. They’ve seen a corn belt state, Iowa, legalize gay marriage. Now it’s one thing for “liberal” states like New York or California to legalize gay marriage (neither has, BTW). To see five states make it legal, and seeing new polls that say opposition is evaporating has them casting about  for a fresh approach. And along comes Carrie Prejean, following in the footsteps of another anti gay beauty queen, Anita Bryant. It must seem like manna from heaven.

We’ve said before that Carrie Prejean has every right to speak her mind, something that Perez Hilton ought to have known before her turned this young woman into a cause. She also has the right to have breast augmentation surgery in an ultimately futile attempt to win the Miss USA pageant. That surgery, mind you was paid for in part by the Miss California Pageant itself.

Pageant co-director Keith Lewis, irony of ironies, is gay. No word on whether he plans to marry.

Carrie Prejean’s breasts are her own, to do with as she pleases. Her implants hurt no one but possibly herself.

Who exactly gets hurt if gays are allowed to marry?

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