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Entries in Politics (11)


Digesting the State of the Union

Tonight saw President Obama’s first state of the union address, which was followed ten minutes later by the GOP rebuttal from Virginia governor Bob McDonnell.  By the time many of you read this you may already have heard pundits breaking down what was said and what was done during Obama’s speech.  I know this because Rachel Maddow and I had the same observations.  Namely that on the Republican side the seats were warm while on the Democratic side the seats were cold.  Warm, because the Republicans hardly ever stood up.

As President Obama discussed things like getting the money that taxpayers gave to banks to bail them out, the Republicans sat.  As President Obama said we need to reform health care because the cost of health care in this country is stifling economic growth and recovery.  I did however notice that Republicans left their seats when Obama said that he did not want the United States to come in 2nd.

It is almost beyond belief to me that Republicans would sit like statues in their seats while the president put forth a plan to get money back from banks.  Money that average Americans worked hard to gain and banks are frivolously throwing away on big bonuses.  Finally as one of the uninsured, unemployed Americans in this country I was left with a bad taste in my mouth that not one Republican stood for health care reform.  No matter who you are you know that the price we pay for health care is too high.  My brother who suffers from a pre-existing condition just got his latest letter from the insurance company telling him that his premium had been raised to more than $400.00 a month.

I would for a moment like to address 35 seconds of the president’s speech roughly.  It was when President Obama spoke about repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  We in the gay community have been hearing this since Obama was on the campaign trail, and I am getting a bit tired of hearing him prattle on about this while nothing is done.  Obama has now had a year in office to settle in and it is time that he put some of the issues of the LGBT community on the top of the pile.  If this policy is not repealed by the legislator I hope he is prepared to work in other ways to repeal a policy that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars and discredited the hard work of Lesbian and Gay soldiers over the past 17 years.

Immediately following the Obama’s speech John McCain released the following statement:

"In his State of the Union address, President Obama asked Congress to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy.  I am immensely proud of, and thankful for, every American who wears the uniform of our country, especially at a time of war, and I believe it would be a mistake to repeal the policy.

This successful policy has been in effect for over fifteen years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels.  We have the best trained, best equipped, and most professional force in the history of our country, and the men and women in uniform are performing heroically in two wars.  At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy."

To Mr. McCain I have this to stay: This policy is flawed and you are out of touch with the country that you are trying to govern.  Because of this policy the United States armed forces have dismissed from duty highly skilled soldiers including Arabic translators.  I cannot think of a time when we needed Arabic translators more than we do today.

Senator McCain also showed up on the Sean Hannity Show on Fox News almost immediately after the GOP response (yes I took a deep breath and watched Fox News).  Hannity opened his show reminding his viewers that we had just heard from “The Anointed One.”  From there he introduced McCain where they discussed among other things how Obama is still playing the blame game leading McCain to coining the acronym BIOB Blame It On Bush.  Well, I think Obama was just giving credit where credit was due Mr. McCain.  It is hard to argue with history, and Obama was simply pointing out that while he has spent $1 trillion that the country doesn’t have, the previous administration had spent much more and lost the country a surplus left behind by Clinton.

Hannity also went after Obama’s claim that he had saved two million jobs.  Saying that he couldn’t see where they were.  I think one of the hardest things to see is something that was never missing, and that may be one of the hardest things for people to see.  Unless you know someone whose job was saved by the stimulus package it is hard to see the saved jobs.

Finally I was glad to see the President grow a pair.  The Democrats have the second largest majority in the history of the United States and yet they are having a hard time getting things done.  This irrational fear of the filibuster has stopped them dead in their tracks.  It was great to see Obama stand up before the legislative body and remind them that they are there for the people and that it is time to stop running away from the fight and dive in.

Overall I thought it was a good speech with many concrete ideas and roads to follow for the next year.  So there are first thoughts on his speech, let's see how it moves forward.  What do you think? Share your thoughts below.


Links of Interest:

Transcript and video of the Speech

Notes on the Speech from the White House

Bob McDonnell Rebuttal


A busy week and its only Tuesday!

What a week it has been and it is only Tuesday!  Here is a brief recap of some of the things that we here at whatisyourgay.com are keeping track of.

The people of Haiti continue to pull bodies from collapsed buildings as international aid groups doubled the estimated number of casualties to 200,000.  The United States has also come under fire for its management of the single runway airport in Port-au-Prince even as the United States Navy works to deliver some 200,000 gallons of water a day into the crippled city.  I am the first to admit that the United States is not a perfect country, but I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I hear critics slamming the US government for a poor response.  For all of the faults of the United States they have done an admirable job responding to this disaster.  I-as many have-would call for the international community to stop bickering and focus on the work that needs to be done.  Additionally I would like to remind everyone that this recovery will be years in the making and while your money is valuable now, your time and money will most likely be needed in the future. I highly encourage you to keep your eye on organizations like Habitat for Humanity if you wish to volunteer.

Changing gears to some news for the LGBT community, last week the Courage Campaign that has been running the Prop 8 trial tracker was served with a cease and desist order from the lawyers of Protectmarriage.com (the defendants in the Prop 8 trial).  The letter stated that the Courage Campaign logo for the Prop 8 tracker was infringing on Protectmarriage.com’s trademarked logo.  This is perhaps the best part of the letter from the lawyers from protectmarriage.com “…In evidence of that, Courage
Campaign has altered the logo above, changing the male figure on the left to that of a female,
wearing a dress.  Such alteration is not readily viewed by the casual observer.”  If you want to read into this, what the lawyer for Protectmarriage.com and the Courage Campaign staff themselves point out is that you can’t distinguish between a happy family with heterosexual parents and a happy family with homosexual parents.  For more about this particular story or to read the cease and desist order in its entirety and the Courage Campaign response click here.

Today is a very important day in Massachusetts and National politics.  Voters took to the polls in Massachusetts to vote in a special election on who will fill Ted Kennedy’s seat.  With a final vote on healthcare due very soon, a loss for the Democrats would be a bitter pill to swallow.  The seat held by Ted Kennedy for 46 years is in a state that has perhaps one of the most progressive health care policies in the nation.  Living in neighboring New Hampshire I have gotten to see all of the lovely campaign commercials, and campaign coverage for both the Democratic and Republican candidates, and I have to say neither of them have swept me off my feet.  However, the Democrats and President Obama have a lot riding on this election, and from all of us here at whatisyourgay.com we wish the best to Martha Coakley as she tries to defeat her Republican rival Scott Brown.  For those interested John Stewart did a great job summing up this unusual campaign and what a loss for the Democrats could mean for President Obama (see the clip below).

Finally, yesterday the nation celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  For some people that meant a day off and for many others it meant a day of volunteering.  What did you do to mark MLK day?  Leave us a comment and let us know.


The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mass Backwards
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis


The Danger of the Single Story

A lot has happened this week.  As we noted, December began, World AIDS Day was on Tuesday, gay Marriage was defeated in New York, and rights were given to gay couples in Washington.  But that is only a taste of what has happened in my life, in this week, in this country.  What about all that has happened around the world in the lives of the almost 7 billion people that inhabit this planet?

From time to time I watch TED talks.  For those unfamiliar, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design.  It is a small not for profit organization that believes in spreading information that is useful around the world.  Tonight I found a talk that I felt was worth sharing here.  There are many talks that are worth sharing, but for the purposes of this site, this talk stood out from all the others.

When I conceived this site, my idea was to create a place where every member of the LGBT community could share their story in their own words with their own voice.  I have shared mine, and so far I am the only one.  I have asked friends to share theirs and as an extension have asked anyone from the LGBT community who visits this site to share theirs as well.  The response I always receive is “what am I supposed to say?”  “I am not unique, I don’t have a compelling story” to which I always reply “that is exactly the point.”  Your story is about you.  It is about you and through your story we see that there are similarities between all people, and there are differences.

Very often people are defined by their differences, but what if for a moment we defined each other by our similarities.  If we could take the time to look at the old gay or straight woman or man down the street who lives a solitary life and realize that they in fact have a beautiful garden.  I love to garden, and all of a sudden we have something in common.  What if the rest of the country or the world could stop and get to know a member of the LGBT community, but better yet get to know many.  That is the power of this site!

If I only come to know that one older member of the community, my ideas will be shaped by this encounter alone.  But, there are other people out there who don’t garden, instead they have grandchildren, they play the piano, they translate books from Arabic into English, they were a fighter pilot or a nurse in the Military.  Knowing only one story is dangerous no matter what the case.

I highly encourage you to watch the video below by a wonderful woman named Chimamanda Adichie.  Adichie is a novelist who comes from Nigeria and shares some of her experiences traveling to the US, and Mexico.  Adichie shares how her roommate in the US who only knew one story about the continent of Africa had preconceived notions about how life in Africa must be.  She also recounts a time that she herself was sucked into allowing a single story dictate her view of an entire country’s population.  It is 18 minutes long and worth every second.

Watch Chimamanda Adichie and then share your story with the world.  Help create multiple stories that will, in the end, break through stereotypes formed by a single story, a single viewpoint.  Let us break out of “group think” and engage in enlightened individual thought.


Links of Interest

Chimamanda Adichie


Farafina Trust

Other TED Talks I enjoyed (some of them get a bit technical, just stick with them)

Architecture that Repairs Itself

A Trip to Saturn

A Leap From the Edge of Space

J.J. Abrams




They Fight for Freedom at Home and Abroad

Today as many of you may know is Veterans Day.  While the media shows images of troops serving our country, and President Obama honoring them with a wreath, I would like to take time to thank them as well.

To start I would like to thank all Veterans, of which there are many in my own family, but I would like to give a special thank you to the gay men and women who serve our country.  These individuals serve a country that is happy to use them when it is convenient and then throw them away when they are no longer needed.  These veterans of which there are now one million (according to the Urban Institute) fight for freedom on the battlefield and are rewarded with an equally tough fight when they return home.

What kind of message are the people of this country sending to our service men and women when we don’t allow them to marry?  When we kick them out of the armed forces at a time when we need them most, what does that say about our government?

Polls have shown that the majority of voters both Democrat and Republican favor lifting Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and as of 2006 73% of all military personnel reported being comfortable serving with openly gay soldiers.  Yet the majority of American’s do not support the rights of gay people.  The message is, we can die for our country but we do not have the right to marry, to be with our partner, husband, or wife when they are sick in the hospital.

You have all heard the numbers and seen the data about today’s military.  Gays serve openly in other countries and their militaries have not fallen apart.  In fact one of the greatest armies in history was comprised entirely of gay men. The Sacred Band of Thebes was one of the most feared Greek armies, comprised entirely of gay couples.

The point of all of this is that I would like to say thank you.  Thank you to our LGBT troops who serve a country that shuns them.  Thank you for fighting for the freedom of the very people that take your freedom away when you get home.  Thank you for risking your life for your fellow man, and for being part of the LGBT community.  To the 65,000 active duty soldiers and the one million veterans who proudly serve or have served our country, thank you.

Links of Interest:

Straight Guys Tell

Knights Out

Sacred Band of Thebes

Service Members Legal Defense Network

Homosexuality and Civilization (A recommended read for all)


Is President Obama to blame?

In the wake of the vote in Maine, blogs full of outrage have exploded.  Some have been so bold as to claim that gay marriage was not upheld because President Obama did not make remarks in support of gay marriage.

Now, I know that many people will say he is very busy, look what is on his plate, how could he make comments in support of this state initiative.  To this I say, he found the time to campaign for Jon Corzine in New Jersey.  If the President of the United States can fly to New Jersey to campaign, he could definitely have taken a moment to say a few words.  I don’t even care if he said them.  Why didn’t President Obama have his press secretary issue a statement?

I am by no means blaming President Obama for the success of the passage of Proposition 1.  All I am saying is that if he is going to campaign saying that he supports the LGBT community then he better stand by it. Since he isn’t, I think it needs to be noted and pressure needs to be applied.  As John Stewart suggested if his plate is full perhaps he needs a bigger plate.

With Maine’s vote to get rid of gay marriage, proponents have now set their sites on other states feeling more confident than ever.  There are some conservatives in New Hampshire that are now looking at ways to repeal gay marriage there.

What it comes down to is that the rights of people in the United States should never be put to a popular vote.  If a popular vote had been used to abolish slavery or give mixed race couples the right to marry, we would still have slavery in some states and mixed race marriages would still be illegal.  Just last week Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Louisiana denied a couple a marriage license because they were different races.

Today on Capitol Hill demonstrators against the healthcare bill protested stating that the bill would take away their freedom if enacted.  I am sorry, but a bill that is trying to GIVE you healthcare at an affordable price can’t even hold a candle to what you are doing to those in the LGBT community.  If you want to talk about having your freedom taken away I would be glad to sit down and have a conversation with you.  Denying someone happiness is taking away their freedom.  Creating a better healthcare system under which all American’s can access affordable healthcare is not removing freedoms.  I should know, I am gay and I don’t have healthcare.