Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On the Gay Thing

This isn't the usual post. I usually post about guns, cooking and various things that either thrill or peeve me - with the exception of the last, those are fun to write about and that last exception is good for me as it lets me vent, lowering my blood pressure.

This one? This is more a post about using small words for the hard of thinking.

When did you sit down and decide to be heterosexual? MMmmm...you can't remember?

If you can, you're one of those rare "bi" critters and can take this entire post and file it under "mmm, never mind."

But for most folks, gay or straight, there is about as much choice in the matter as there is about how tall we are, our natural eye or hair color, or whether we need glasses. It's neither good nor bad, it's simply the hand that we're dealt. For our merely human purposes, it really doesn't matter whether you subscribe to the notion of an uncaring universe filled with randomness or a more personal divine influence on such matters - in either case, or the many possibilities between - you get the hand you're dealt, and that is the hand you get to play as your life unfolds.

You have choices in how you're going to respond to this hand you've been dealt. You can go pout in the corner, jump up and down and cry about how unfair it all is, try and pretend it just isn't so (though this has a number of particularly ugly complications), do the last with bells on and try and *prove* it just isn't so (which usually involves doing things that allegedly "can't be done by gay folks", whether trying to become a SEAL or taking up gay-bashing as a hobby - or you can take a deep breath, and with greater or lesser drama, simply accept that you're a member of the LGBT community and get on with life.

In short, it's not a choice. It's not a lifestyle. A lifestyle is something like deciding you're going to join the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Society of Creative Anachronism or a Civil War Re-enactors group. You might take up Buddhism or Catholicism, or even become a Pastafarian. All of those are, to a greater or lesser extent, lifestyles.

Being a blonde or a brunette isn't a lifestyle. Neither is being short or tall, nor white/black/asian/etc. You might get some cultural baggage for falling into one of those groups, but that doesn't make any of them lifestyles. Same thing is true of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

What makes a lifestyle a "lifestyle" is that at some point you had a choice in the matter. LGBT folk have no more choice in the matter than hetero folks, or any of these other groups I mention. You either are or you aren't, and all you get is to decide how to react to whatever you are.

If we postulate God doesn't have a particularly sadistic and slapstick sense of humor, we're left with the notion that at least LGBT folks (and the list can get longer awfully quick) are some kind of horrible divine error OR that LGBT folks are here for some divine purpose beyond our comprehension.

At least in the faith I grew up in, fundamental precepts include that God doesn't make mistakes (kind of shooting down an entire range of logical possibility), that God is omnipotent (ruling out accident) and loving (ruling out "sadistic bastard with a lowbrow sense of humor"). This leaves us with God putting LGBT folks here for an as yet unknown divine reason.

With this in mind, we are not either doomed or blessed to any greater extent than the average hetero kid with the same general range of sins, foibles and virtues.

Like a lot of other groups with the misfortune of being different (i.e., "goat du jour") the LGBT community has gotten to put up with generous heaping helpings of bonus bulls**t over the years. Bashings, discriminatory laws, social opprobrium (look it up!), and generally an extra rough road.

Difference makes demonization (the politicians friend "THEY ARE DIFFERENT! AND SCARY! YOU NEED TO GIVE US POWER/MONEY/ADORATION TO PROTECT YOU FROM THEM! ESPECIALLY YOUR CHILDREN & WIMMINS!") a fair amount easier. It's HARDER to be scared of Joe Dungaree next door that looks just like you, believes the same thing, as far as you can tell does the same variety of things with his life, etc.

So those with detectable differences are easy targets for these twits to use in their quest for power - the only thing that changes is who gets to be the goat on a particular day.

And this is where Robertson's comments got folks in the LGBT community so riled up - the familiarity of the tone. An awful lot of the crud we've put up with over the years can be tracked right back to some holy type preaching to a crowd of knuckle-draggers a theme of "hate the sin, love the sinner" - knuckle-draggers that most frequently are too dim to understand the "love the sinner" bit and rush out to either "punish" the sinner (see assault/rape/murder or (possibly even more vile) to pummel the sinner into "virtue" for the "sinners own good."

I suspect, by now, all but the hardest of thinking might - just maybe - pick up now on why many in the LGBT community got a tad fired up.

I stick with my original theme ("Spankings for All!") in this matter, but will admit that this episode has both left me a bit more concerned about how much progress towards simple safety we've made based on some of the comments out there, and glad that I can carry tools to either ward off such nimrods or at least ensure that I have a decent sized honor guard.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A whole new kind of preemption....

A few thoughts - for those states that allow voters to modify their constitution, the below "amendment by initiative" might not only be fun, but constructive...an entire new level of preemption, with fangs even sharper than those of the Florida statute.
  1. Neither the legislature nor the people of < State > nor any political subdivision or agency of the State of < State > shall have any authority to regulate or enact any legislation regarding the possession, purchase, sale, method of storage or carry, or design or mechanism of function of any knife, dirk, dagger, sword, machete, martial arts weapon, nun-chuks, club, baton or firearm. Any statute or ordinance in force at the time of passage of this amendment shall be immediately null and void, and no person shall be prosecuted or suffer any liability from violating such ordinances or statutes.
  2. Neither the legislature nor the people of < State>  nor any political subdivision or agency of the State of < State>  shall have the authority to either mandate or forbid any sort of liability insurance for persons owning, purchasing, possessing, or selling any item described in Section 1.
  3. Nothing in Section One shall be interpreted to deny the Legislature or other bodies from enacting laws barring felons and those adjudicated as insane from the possession of arms. Neither shall the Legislature nor any subordinate elected body be barred from enacting laws that forbid objectively described specific acts of violence, so long as those laws address only the act of violence or injury resulting therefrom and the penalty therefore and not the implements of violence employed.
  4. Any citizen shall have standing to file a complaint of violation of this Article before any court of record in the State of < State> regardless of their county of residence. Should the court sustain a finding that the elected officers or body in question have by regulation or passage of law violated this article, the complainant shall be awarded not less than of ten ounces of gold or the equivalent value in common currency from each person who shall have voted to pass such law or regulation and from each person who shall have made executive approval and each person who shall have acted to enforce such ordinance, statute or regulation. No governmental funds may be utilized in paying such penalties.
  5. The provisions of this amendment supersede any other provisions of this constitution. Should the charter of any city or county be found in conflict with these provisions, such charter shall be null and void in its entirety and the chartered body considered dissolved with its assets sold at public auction and any monies surplus from such sale after payment of obligations distributed equally among such bodies former constituents. Should any provision of this amendment be found invalid or unconstitutional by any court, all remaining sections shall remain in operation.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

MAIG & Moms Demand Attention to merge?

From TTAG, a rumor that MAIG and MDA will merge. I await confirming sources of information.


With confirmation, I will simply point out:

Sock Puppet + Sock Puppet = Sock Puppet.

Re MDA? Astroturf isn't grass roots.

Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson & Tolerance

Until now, I've been something of a fan of the Duck Dynasty show and its' down home goodness - a family struggling, occasionally to a script, with the issues of daily life and the complications of mixing up wealth, humble origins and a self-proclaimed redneck view on life - all with a dollop of evangelical Christianity very delicately scattered throughout the background.

You can't help but see it when you read the Robertsons family members books - whether Miss Kay, Phil, Uncle Si or Willie is behind the pen a deep and abiding faith resonates from every chapter - a faith that seems to have comforted and strengthened them through good times and bad.

Thus it pains me to read the recent GQ article featuring Phil Robertson and spotlighting his rather...harsh...

“It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man’s anus," Robertson says in the January issue of the men's magazine. "That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
 “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
 “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

views on those of us in the LGBT community, comparing us to terrorists and worse.

While balanced by the language in the third quote, the viewpoint is far from comforting to someone who has had friends bashed and has a more than passing familiarity with the history of the LGBT community - and is enough to fire up memories of Fred Phelps and his vile band.

Since the GQ story broke A&E Networks placed Robertson on "indefinite suspension" and many conservative and conservative-christian commenters have decried the action as the response of a "gay mafia," "viewpoint discrimination" and violation of Robertsons right to free speech.

Robertson also made the following public statement after the article impacted the rotary oscillator:

"My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together," he said. "However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."

To those decrying how horribly and unfairly Robertson is being mistreated? Poppycock.

First, to properly violate freedom of speech as state and federal constitutions define it - you need to be a governmental body or agent. There is absolutely no guarantee that employers, printers, broadcasters, critics or the general populace will not find your comments so execrable that they take action to either not hear them or distance themselves from them.

You have a right to say (broadly) what you will without getting sent to jail for it. You do not have the right not to be fired, evicted, harshly criticized, repudiated, ridiculed or generally told to take a flying leap. If the conservative movement is supposed to be the home of logic and fact - fundamental constitutional literacy might be a good first step for those engaging in this particular rant.

An example on the left who also got substantially less than a warm welcome to his comments would be Alec Baldwin - though I find it easier to believe that Robertson, at least, has redeeming virtues.

As far as the whole "gay mafia" accusation - I would suggest that nothing that organized is in play. Instead, over the last forty years or so the LGBT community has shifted viewpoints from "won't you pretty please not kick us in the teeth" as our activist branch to a view better described as "we've had quite enough crap, thank you. You can stop NOW. And by the way - we're not going back."

Next, it's not viewpoint discrimination to speak out when you observe someone busily engaging (for whatever reason) in an attack upon your community.

Now, to move right along to the hyper-ventilating kids over at GLAAD. Let's be very clear. I am not excusing Robertsons comments - at best, they are deeply regrettable and his later statement released by A&E (which, to my ear, sounds distinctly un-Phil-like and a lot more "PR Specialist") does not make them magically go away.

But come on! GLAAD's statement "some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people in a mainstream publication" seems a little over the top - and if Robertson is ignorant about LGBT folks? Color me unsurprised. Let us consider the mans context before we hyperventilate.

Robertsons comments are deeply regrettable and demonstrate a deep ignorance of folks in the LGBT community and of that area of reality. He is not, however, trying to the best of my knowledge trying to inflict his judgement on the community or enact them into law.

So. A little balance might be called for here.

On the part of A&E, a public repudiation of Robertsons statement would likely have been enough. I tend towards the view that the "indefinite suspension," while well within the rights of A&E (hey, it's THEIR network, after all) might just be a bit over-enthusiastic for a first offense.

Conversely, this is (or was) an opportunity for GLAAD to educate rather than hyperventilate. I cannot say that I consider this their best-considered and wisest response to an incident - I'm actually rather disappointed.

As for Robertson? I continue to believe he is a good man with good intentions -  capable of learning, but with blind spots, occasional misinformation, and like all of us - occasionally, just plain wrong.

What I've seen of him (admittedly in an artificial environment of the series and various PR appearances) he seems a rough-hewn and painfully honest sort - and in this case, suffering from a bad case of diplomacy fail.

I, not surprisingly, believe him in error in his comments and that those comments were needlessly hurtful. On the other hand, I'm not cheer-leading for a witch-hunt or looking for tar and feathers.

He's been publicly spanked. Let's move on.