Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Bliss

The two little boys making faces at each other, sounding noises through their rears and noses while sitting at the breakfast table are really two grown men.

That's love for ya.

They also have a hard time "demagnetizing" in the morning and getting out of bed. They make a point of snuggling at least once during the day and can't understand people who don't snuggle at all. And they each bless the day they found each other.

It was several days after my 65th birthday (June 15th, 2012) that I met Chris. He thought I came on too strong, but when I said "I never promise anything, but I'm a great snuggler," he was hooked.

We didn't say the "L" word until Christmas. We lived "in the present" for what seemed like an eternity at the time. 45 weekend visits from Sacramento and 5 parking tickets after meeting, Chris moved in with me.

We got married last March 28 at San Francisco City Hall. This Christmas is our first as a truly married couple.

True Married Bliss - Acceptance

Chris says "hubby" a lot when we snuggle. Oh, there's "Daddy" and "Lover" but "Hubby"is stressed more. "Hubby" is an expression of mutual love ... and acceptance.

Chris' mother, Janice, has accepted me as  part of the family - her new son-in-law. All I can say at this point is that the sense of family that marriage brings is immense: a loving, welcoming family can make all the difference in a relationship. There is no finer show of respect than simple acceptance.

My very first lover's parents accepted me as an in-law back in the days before same-sex marriage became an idea. No one has any idea of how that made a newly out gay man feel back in 1975. My new mother-in-law has helped to make me the happiest man alive. 

Love. Acceptance. Snuggling. ... and making faces at each other. Everyone should be as blessed this Christmas.

Have Yourself A Married Little Christmas Everybody!

For many of the global LGBT community, this Dec. 25th is their first married Christmas. How many? 50,000? 100,000? The  numbers keep pouring in, changing, but the fact remains: this Christmas will be joyous for many more gays and lesbians than ever before. From poor gays in rural America to celebrities in Europe, same-sex marriage has helped make this Christmas very, very special.

LONDON - Entertainer Elton John and longtime mate David Furnish officially married Sunday on the ninth anniversary of the day they entered into a civil partnership.
Joining the real world

To a gay person, "lover", "partner", even "soulmate" doesn't begin to match the term "husband", "wife" or even "spouse". "Lover" is sexual, "partner" is legal-sounding, and "soulmate" is almost too ethereal. "Husband", "Wife", "Spouse" on the other hand, connote reality ... total commitment, you see, is reality.

Of course, there are those who have never actually needed specific terms to define their relationship, but they might have the luxury of living in a community that has accepted them without those terms. They are indeed very lucky, because we are in a world of defining labels, labels which have been in our cultures for literally thousands of generations, labels which can accept or reject a person in an instant ... and forever.  

And joining the real world is all about acceptance. 

Yes, same-sex marriage is about acceptance. And that's why so many right-wing Christians won't feel the same joy we feel this Christmas: the courts have ruled for acceptance in too many states for them to feel too much joy. Acceptance is anathema. It is an abomination. It is condoning "sin." It is the object of unstable hedonists* who wish to destroy traditional values! The subject of same-sex marriage brings out the old saw about people who obsessively focus on others' sin cannot be truly happy themselves.

Marriage In The Spirit Of Christmas

I've often said that the Spirit of Christmas has transcended the traditional. It has become inclusive to the LGBT community in such a way that same-sex marriage holds a place in Christmas. It is perhaps the ultimate in love and acceptance - "good will towards men" - and overcomes many of the world's tribulations to achieve its goals. It never looks to man's "sinful nature" and destruction. For those imbued with the Spirit of Christmas, destruction of man and this world seem very far away.  

This Christmas, there will be those praying for things to change ... back to the way they were when discrimination was the order of the day. They will pray for the sanctity of their own marriages as if some outside force is dooming them. They will pray that their renewed vision of (their own) persecution will sway a righteous public away from social issues like same-sex marriage. They will pretend to pray for us, while desperately praying for themselves. This is a sad Christmas for those souls.

They certainly won't know our joy - the joy of couples whose love has sought acceptance for years - or the hope, that in other states and countries, the human right to love and make a commitment to each other will be honored with acceptance and dignity.

And while they pray, let us pray for the Spirit of Christmas to open up their hearts to experience the joy we feel in marriage, in being ourselves.

* As to the "Harm Factor" of same-sex marriage, the latest figures show that America's divorce rate has declined (the first time in decades), so women aren't divorcing their husbands to become lesbians (ala Pat Robertson) nor are men divorcing their wives for those hirsute hotties. Don't tell that to twice-divorced Attorney General Pam Bondi**, who insists that gays have extremely unstable relationships.
**BTW: Bondi's latest marriage to a gentleman 23 years her senior was "performed" in the Cayman Islands and is speculated to be a tax dodge.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Racial Morality Of Today's Police: Embattled Cleveland Force Sued by White Cops For Discrimination

Think Progress:
Less than a week after twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot by Cleveland police officers who thought Rice’s toy gun was real, nine other members of the Cleveland Police Department filed a lawsuit that accuses the department of discriminating against non-African American officers who used deadly force.
Yes, it's another "reverse discrimination" meme, which white members of police forces around the country have used for years. But the timing is impeccable.

The Tamir Rice tragedy has gained momentum due to the Brown and Garner police brutality incidents. Rice's mother spoke to George Stephanopoulos about Tamir and the fact that police not only let her son die, but tackled her daughter, handcuffed her and put her in the police car, only to see her brother lying on the ground without help.

Involved in the shooting of Tamir was police officer Timothy Loman who was discharged from another police force in 2012 for issues relating to his mental stability. 

The Discrimination Case Of The Century!

The lawsuit against the Cleveland Police force by nine police officers for an incident  in 2012

"The City of Cleveland, through the other named defendants, and the other named defendants in their individual capacities, have a history of treating non-African American officers involved in the shootings of African Americans substantially harsher than African American officers," reads the lawsuit, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The officers in question (13) got involved in a car chase with two unarmed African Americans who they killed after firing 137 shots. Their "demeaning" treatment was exactly three days of administrative leave (with pay) and 45 days of  "cooling off period" during which they performed light office duties. (see  Young Turks account below).

Nine officers were indicted, but they all received a verdict of "not guilty" at the trial.

A Matter Of Race - Duh!

The insolence of white officers who killed unarmed African Americans with undue force is astounding to be sure, but America still has to come to the realization that a great many white police officers are racist - brought up on the sanctity and supremacy of the white police officer. 

Talk show host and activist Montel Williams put it bluntly to Fox "outnumbered" pundits:

“You’re saying money is the problem, let’s talk race. Race is the problem!” Williams added. “In this country, right now today, there are certain cities in this country where, you know, blacks stand a chance of being incarcerated at 100 times more than any other race. Let’s have the discussion.” (Note: notice how the FOX hosts tried surreptitiously to pin the situation on Obama).
In Virginia, an autistic African American male has been sitting in solitary confinement for four years - not because he is autistic, but because he is African American and autistic. His first crime, you see, was wearing a hoodie while waiting for the public library to open.*

Back in Cleveland, the video of Tamir's killing has been released, showing that Tamir was shot within several seconds of the police car stopping. Had a white youngster been seen with what looked like a gun, the matter would have been different: police actions might have been slower. 

The Racist Connections: "Rigid Standards And Adherence To A Strict Moral Code"
The Imperial Wizard of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is guarded about discussing his organization's membership.
But this much Cole Thornton openly shares: Florida cops belong to his Klan group because he said they like its rigid standards and its adherence to a strict moral code.
Ties to hate groups like the KKK and militia groups overshadow white police forces across America, especially the ones in predominantly African  American neighborhoods where many police attribute crime solely to the very citizens they were sworn to protect. True, it may be difficult to separate crime from African Americans in an inner-city culture setting, but white police forces show a particularly subjective attitude - hence Montel Williams' point. 

And as Williams also pointed out: "It's time for a discussion."

*The altercation that ensued left a policeman injured and the youth on the road to more altercations with the law. Reginald Latson has an IQ of 69 and his mother is currently trying to get him placed out of solitary confinement. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Road To A Francis Christmas: Compassion vs. Capitalism or Compassion vs Koch?

With Pope Francis I dedicating much of his reign to compassion to the poor, it's no wonder that much of America's Right have balked. Paul Ryan called Francis' concept of capitalism "naive" and Rush Limbaugh has denigrated the Vatican and its attack on "unfettered capitalism." John Stossel once held a symposium of sorts on the "good" of greed, in which he gave the analogy of a cake with only a small part cut for the lower classes - "why not just make another cake?" But Francis countered:

Now the Koch brothers have entered the fray, with one Washington Post OpEd piece (John and Carol Saeman) insisting that the Koch brothers love the poor as much as Francis (!!):

Patricia Miller, Religion Dispatches:

It’s through their association with Freedom Partners that the Saemans have become aware of the Koch brothers’ “deep concern for the least fortunate,” which they express by supporting organizations that “bear the common mission of advancing free enterprise and free societies.” The Saemans write that “promoting limited government alongside the Kochs is an important part of heeding Pope Francis’s call to love and serve the poor.” This despite Francis’ unequivocal statements almost exactly a year ago in opposition to the “free enterprise” ideology.

Of course, the Saemans resurrect the "tough love"/"bootstraps" kind of ideology as the REAL compassion, while scrapping all safety nets and welfare programs.

How very, very compassionate.

And how very, very wrong. The Saemans, it's worth noting, are financial contributors to the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce:

Freedom Partners gave grants worth a total of $236 million to conservative organizations including Tea Party groups like the Tea Party Patriotsand organizations which opposed the Affordable Care Act prior to the 2012 election. A majority of Freedom Partners board is made up of long time employees of the Koch brothers.[6][7][8] In 2012, Freedom Partners made a grant of $115 million to the Center to Protect Patient Rights.

Getting Compassion Right

The truest form of compassion was given in the parable of the Good Samaritan: he did not judge the battered Jew, nor did he tell him that he, and not big government, was the answer. The Good Samaritan just did what was necessary for the Jew to live - to survive. Had he been passing by a Jewish beggar in the road, he would have seen to his food, shelter and clothing. He would not have told him to go out and get a job. 

Francis is scaring people like the Koch brothers simply because he is getting compassion right and people are beginning to question the Koch ideology. And along with the Koch ideology comes the "prosperity gospel" preachers, Christian Right churches assailing "social justice" and a horde of Paul Ryans, Rush Limbaughs, John Stossels, Sean Hannitys, Ann Coulters who praise capitalism as the savior of mankind. 

When will the message hit?

Of course, Francis’ message of compassion will take time: although Black Friday wasn’t as “black” as usual, that doesn’t mean that the American public has chosen to put more of its wealth into worthy causes. Ads for the “perfect” gift will still blare until late Christmas Eve and the kettles of Salvation Army will not see any jump in donations. 

But the Koch pitch of "just as compassionate as Francis" is showing some serious re-branding which may trickle down to some worthwhile agencies. Not the way Francis would like, but progress just the same.

The road to Christmas is going to be very interesting this year.