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May 9, 2012

Stepping up
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:15 PM * 139 comments

I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.
President Barack Obama, today
Comments on Stepping up:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:21 PM:

"The spine transplant seems to be working, doctor!"

#2 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:32 PM:

It's a delicate balance. I think it's an important step on his part, yes, but if it came down to him doing it and losing the November election or not doing it and winning, I'd choose the latter, and I'm a gay man who'd like to be married someday.

I think that with all the political pressure and jokes about his opinion "evolving" on this issue, it may finally have come to a wash, or at least to a situation where it was no longer possible to predict which way the issue would cut.

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:36 PM:

I reckon that he figures that the population of people who wouldn't vote for him if the alternative was Cthulhu turned Satanist handing out Little Red Books to Midwestern schoolchildren pretty well overlaps with the population of people who oppose marriage equality. And I think he's right; I doubt he'll lose that many votes over this.

Meanwhile, that whumping sound you hear is the base firing up.

#4 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:38 PM:

It's hard to see how anybody who was for him before today would reject him because of his now-fully-evolved position. Before the 2008 campaign, after all, he was for marriage equality, and people have been accusing him of hiding his true support.

It would have been nice if it had come before the NC vote, but I don't see how it would have affected the outcome in the least.

#5 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:40 PM:

PNH: "One could wish he looked a little less like he'd been forced into it."

TNH: "True, but it's very enjoyable that he was forced into it by a Catholic."

[OFFSTAGE: Sound of bishops exploding.]

#6 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:45 PM:

Hmm, abi, I hope you're right, and there's some evidence you are (attitudes have shifted dramatically in the past few years)...but I still keep remembering the stats from California in 2008 that showed that lots of people voted for both him and Prop h8.

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:50 PM:

*NH @5:

LOL

Also, this is quite an appropriate thread for you two to be so charming a duprass. Just sayin'.

#8 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 03:59 PM:

Patrick @ 5... Sound of bishops exploding

And now, for something completely different...
"The Bishop"!!!

That being said, yes, I expect he had his arm twisted before he finally said what probably was his own private opinion to begin with. The bottom line is that, no, Democrats are *not* the same as Republicans.

#9 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:01 PM:

"...at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm what I said I believed way back in 1996 but felt for political reasons I had to pretend not to believe in 2008."

#10 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:12 PM:

This is in fact part of how progress happens. Except on a personal level, it doesn't matter whether Barack Obama is a hypocrite, or whether LBJ was a hypocrite when he was voting against doomed civil rights legislation in 1953 or press-ganging Congress into passing it in 1964. What matters is what gets done.

#11 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:16 PM:

What matters is what gets done.

That.

#12 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:18 PM:

And hey, somebody get a broom. We've got bishop bits to sweep up.

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:20 PM:

It would, of course, be unworthy to suspect an American political figure of intending to affect the affairs of a religious organization. No matter how much said organization was trolling American politics.

Nosiree, nope.

#14 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:22 PM:

"What's the white stuff?"

"Ceiling tile particles. When a miter hits those they just go to pieces."

"Much like the Father here."

#15 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:27 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 14... Dustmite(r)s?

#16 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:33 PM:

Xopher, I see your point but I can't help thinking "ABOUT. DAMN. TIME."

And I have a married (in D.C.) lesbian niece and a lesbian daughter, so I do see the risks.

#17 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:34 PM:

Oh, hell yeah Lila, I'm with you on that!

#18 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:38 PM:

"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

#19 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 04:40 PM:

Words of power, Serge.

#20 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 05:19 PM:

PNH @10: What matters is what gets done.

Oh, I know. As a sign that Obama recognizes that appealing to social liberals is more important than trying to appease social conservatives, this is significant. And there are sure to be some same-sex couples in North Carolina who can use the cheering up right about now.

But I also notice that "The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own." (Look like all these statements come from an interview to be fully broadcast tomorrow, and we've only seen part so far.) So I don't know what's actually going to get done.

#21 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 05:21 PM:

Xopher, #2: You've also got Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is rapidly becoming a hero of the movement, and for good reason.

abi, #3: *gazes in awe* May I quote that line about Cthulhu elseNet? With the attribution of your choice, of course.

#22 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 05:29 PM:

Lee @31:

Of course. Feel free to quote and attribute.

#23 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 05:46 PM:

Unfortunately, there is a subset of fundamentalists who were so afraid of Mittens' religious preferences, that they were (and I'm afraid the past tense is correct) supporting Obama.

But gay marriage is a big line in the sand for them to cross.

I think these are the folks in Cali who voted for Prop 8 and Obama at the same time as Xopher said.

I live in Colorado where our legislature shut down early and flounced home late last night rather than vote on marriage equality. The governor (needless to say a Democrat) called them back since they left a lot of stuff undone as well.

And all because it looked like we had enough Republicans likely to support marriage equality and it might have passed.

#24 ::: s muhlberger ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 05:56 PM:

Eric Foner has written a recent book on Lincoln's evolution on the issue of slavery. His various turning points were always, always the product of a specific political situation.

Sorry, can't remember the title.

#25 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 06:11 PM:

Throwmearope@23: I admit I have no direct personal knowledge, but I can't help thinking that the number of those fundamentalists was very small. I expect most of them would in the end have held their noses and voted for the Mormon.

#26 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 06:17 PM:

This is going to be a fun election season, with values of fun that include lots of banging one's head against walls and twitching when one cannot avoid political ads.

#27 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 06:19 PM:

There was a basketball coach -- men's collegiate, I think -- who was known for lighting up a cigar when he knew his team had won. Sometimes he'd light up pretty early in the game, so I gather. I wonder if the President didn't just light his cigar. Anyway, good on him for coming out and saying it.

#28 ::: Throwmearope ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 06:46 PM:

@David Goldfarb #25

Since I am descended from a long line of rednecks, I seem to know a lot of fundies. I've been getting a lot of questions about whether or not the sitting President really is a Christian. Because if he really were a Christian, that would be better than a member of a cult.

The fundies don't know how to take me, since I'm a liberal Christian. But they like to have me around to ask these kinds of questions.

But gay marriage, I dunno if they can get their heads around that one.

#29 ::: Gerald Fnord ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 06:49 PM:

I think he figures that it won't hurt too much in the short run, and that in the long run (for his party's sake) it can only help, given that the young people just don't seem to care and tend to think those who do look at least a little ridiculous.

#30 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 06:53 PM:

Courage, profile in.

#31 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 06:57 PM:

I sent an e-mail at whitehouse.gov, thanking the President for supporting civil rights for gay Americans.

The hierarchy of my church is wrong. Civil marriage is a civil right, guys. The arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Eventually, you're going to lose this battle. I just hope it's in my lifetime. I want to be able to celebrate here, as well as hereafter.

I truly don't think Obama has lost any voters with this announcement. Those folks who are having difficulties with Romney's religion have equal difficulties, I suspect, with Obama's skin color, birthplace, party affiliation (OMG, he's a Democrat!) and whatever. (Reverend Wright! Saul Alinsky! Light bulbs! Acorn!) They were never going to vote for him. At best, they might have chosen to stay home. The Mighty Wurlitzer is humming at the moment; Obama's announcement will engage Fox and friends for a while. But I don't believe this event will change the course of history in November.

And while I wish the President had spoken sooner, I'm glad he spoke today. It makes me feel better about my own vote.

#32 ::: Amiable Dorsai ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:07 PM:

#30,Fragano Ledgister

Cowardice, profile in. Leaders are supposed to lead, dammit, not hoard their political capital in the mattress.

If the courts hadn't forced his hand, he'd still be dithering about Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

#33 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:10 PM:

Let me quote Andrew Sullivan here: "The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House. Obama's journey on this has been like that of many other Americans, when faced with the actual reality of gay lives and gay relationships."

I'd say that Sully nails it.

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:11 PM:

Amiable Dorsai #32: I disagree with you.

#35 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:13 PM:

Lizzy @31: The hierarchy of my church is wrong. Civil marriage is a civil right, guys. The arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Eventually, you're going to lose this battle. I just hope it's in my lifetime. I want to be able to celebrate here, as well as hereafter.

Amen.

#36 ::: Anticorium ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:16 PM:

If you're saying "too little, too late", remember the alternative is "nothing at all, not one scrap, not one mite, not one molecule or quark... but delivered right on time, every single day".

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

#37 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:56 PM:

*NH @ 5:

*peals of laughter*

elise @ 12

*more laughter*

#38 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 07:57 PM:

Charles Pierce has a good reaction over in Esquire. For me, the money quote there is:

"I have my differences with this president, god knows, but this is one thing of which I am certain: He does absolutely nothing by accident. He has spent his entire life learning how to take cautious, considered steps. He's damned good at it by now."

#39 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 08:03 PM:

I am really glad he's said that, and put his own personal honor up there for all to see. Having an administration where many individuals had come out for marriage equality while the Prez kept equivocating would have been a bad thing for the nation at least in the short term, going into the kind of meatgrinder this election is going to be.

That said, I'm somewhat soured by the thought that his hand was forced by the public notice given by some wealthy LGBT supporters of Obama that they would withhold donations because of his refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors

#40 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 08:07 PM:

Ulrika @ #27, that was Red Auerbach, coach of the professional Boston Celtics and later general manager of the same.

#41 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 08:15 PM:

On the gripping hand, the thought of exploding bishops cheers me up immensely. Maybe some of them will start listening to the nuns instead of yelling orders at them.

#42 ::: Amiable Dorsai ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 08:20 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #34: You have no idea how much I wish I could agree with you.

#43 ::: Xopher HalfTongue ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 09:04 PM:

Here's what Ellen had to say about this today. Brief clip. Not unexpected, but she has a nice big audience (obviously not a super-homophobic one, since those folks don't think she should be on TV at all).

#44 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 09:30 PM:

12
elise, are they good for mulch?

#45 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 09:40 PM:

Xopher, I do understand your concerns, but I've spent the last three years or so viewing every advance toward LGBT equality through the lens of "what will the backlash be". Challenging Prop 8 at the Supreme Court will result in a bad precedent. Marriage equality in various states will increase Republican turnout due to repeal measures. Etc. And I'm just tired of not being able to celebrate advances. The President of the United States has acknowledged that I ought to be treated like a human being, and I'm going to be happy about that.

Besides, the Democrats have a base too, and it's about time that the elected Dems start remembering that. Obama might lose a few of the Prop 8 crossover voters (though I think enough has changed since 2008 that that population would be a lot smaller now), but some of my young queer friends might now be bothered to actually get out and vote.

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 09:40 PM:

Equality of marriage is good for everyone. It's better to let people be married who want to be married, and have the recognized right and obligation to give each other love, help, and support in a long-term partnership.

You know what? Letting gays marry is infinitely better than those dreadful incompatible marriages, so common in some milieux, where one party has entered into the marriage thinking it will somehow cure their unacceptable impulses, and the other party either doesn't know there's a problem, or is uneasily aware that something's wrong, but hopes that somehow it'll all work out anyway.

Among the saddest, IMO, are the marriages where there's been so much self-sacrifice and so little happiness that neither party can bear to acknowledge that what they have is a stable failure, or think about how things might have been different. Instead, they become rigidly authoritarian and doctrinaire about the teachings that got them into this fix in the first place.

What they're saying -- over and over and over again, as often as necessary -- is that they had no other choice, and that things couldn't possibly have worked out any other way. Meanwhile, the longer it goes on, and the more they have to sacrifice to keep it going, the bigger the personal investment that they can't bear to lose.

I sometimes wonder whether this accounts for some of the hardline denominations' hostility toward anything that lets up on the pressure to stay in the closet -- and if it does, whether they're even aware of it.

#47 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:16 PM:

I'm afraid I've not been watching the news much the past week or so; which Catholic was Obama forced into (finally) making this announcement by?

#48 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:22 PM:

P J Evans @44: Well, they mitre be good for mulch; anything you can spread crosier garden to retain moisture and reduce erosion will help.

TNH @46: "A stable failure" is a chilling and accurate term. I think you've got something there about motivations and traps and stuff.

#49 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:37 PM:

Cally, that would be Vice President Biden, who recently made a public statement for marriage equality.

#50 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:41 PM:

Alan @49

Oh, of course. I should have thought of that. Thanks.

#51 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:47 PM:

I very much enjoyed this clip from Shep Smith on Fox News, where he asks, matter of factly, almost horserace-style, whether the Republicans have made a mistake by standing on the wrong side of history on gay marriage. Between this and "Politics is weird," I'm starting to wonder if Smith is taking an unexpected foray into consensual reality this presidential season.

#52 ::: Fox ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:48 PM:

Cally @47, that'd be VP Joe Biden, who over the weekend said something about how everyone ought to have equal marriage rights - which was almost immediately labeled a "gaffe", but only by the media, not by the administration.

#54 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 10:58 PM:

About time, Mr. President --

Now, do the next right thing:

Bring every last troop home, and give up being the world's police force. It can't be done, and it wastes lives that could have done better things.

Oh, and an executive order extending Medicare to all would certainly take the wind out of SCOTUS' sails...

#55 ::: Harlequin ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 11:32 PM:

Amiable Dorsai @32, I was somewhat with you earlier today, but Glenn Greenwald convinced me otherwise:

I've had zero tolerance over the last three years for people who pop up to justify all the horrible things Obama has done by claiming that he is forced to do them out of political necessity or in cowardly deference to public opinion; that's because horrible acts don’t become less horrible because they're prompted by some rational, self-interested political motive rather than conviction. That's equally true of positive acts: they don't become less commendable because they were the by-product of political pressure or self-preservation; when a politician takes the right course of action, as Obama did today, credit is merited, regardless of motive.

From here.

#56 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 11:46 PM:

Teresa, #46: You didn't use the phrase, but I'm sure you realize you're describing the sunk-cost fallacy there.

#57 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 11:50 PM:

You know, I don't fking care why he did it. He did it because he wanted campaign contributions to keep coming from gay donors; he did it because Axelrod said it would energize the base; he did it because his heart changed; he did it because Biden embarrassed him (no, I really don't think that); he did it because -- I don't care.

As PNH said, what matters is what gets done. The President of the United States said, "I think same sex couples should be able to get married."

Oh, and by the way, the last time NC amended its constitution specifically to address the issue of marriage, it banned interracial marriage in the state. Fk 'em.

#58 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2012, 11:51 PM:

"Marriage should be defined as an institution between one man and one woman at a time, until ignored or inconvenient."
Republican Party Platform Position

#59 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 12:36 AM:

In case you haven't read Obama's statement, here it is.

"I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

"But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

"What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

"Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

"So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry."

#60 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 01:19 AM:

Teresa @ 46:

I would be overjoyed if the concept of a "beard" ceased to have any meaning because it was no longer necessary for anyone to hide their true nature behind a false marriage.

#61 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 01:37 AM:

TNH #46:

It's my general observation that, as a rule, homophobic crusaders are deep-closeted gays. This is based on my own personal experience; before I "changed sides" I was quite the teenage homophobe.

Case in point: listen to the speeches of Rick Santorum. The guy is obsessed with gay sex; he can't think or talk about anything else. One suspects that he dreams about it. Nobody can have that level of obsession without it a sensual attraction. Just ask Freud.

#62 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 03:39 AM:

Y'know, I think this may just win him the election. I expect it will help. It's not going to cost him votes, I think--the people it might offend don't support Obama anyway--, it brings a sizable minority with many activists to his side, and it gives his advocates something to say to progressives.

K-k-k-k. I feel like a very cynical bird right now. Obama has so many failings. And now this wonderful thing.

#63 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 04:56 AM:

The idea of a suppressed gay tendency being behind homophobia is so tempting, isn't it. I wouldn't bring Freud into it: he was one of many flawed pioneers who flourished in the past, kick-started a field of thinking, and wasn't always right.

My own experience suggests a more general fuel for homophobia is ignorance. A culture that encourages the hiding of homosexuality, only showing it as something evil, is only going to encourage the fear and hatred. In my lifetime, I've seen British culture change from treating homosexuality as criminal, moving through mockery, to relative acceptance. Characters such as Gunner Beaumont were, in the Seventies, at least not threatening. Now we have Captain Jack Harkness in Torchwood, dangerous and flawed as a person, but one of the Good Guys.

Part of the problem, both here and in the USA, is that many of the vociferous are locked into long-past attitudes. I think we might have a few year's advantage over you, here in the UK, but we still have active politicians, and media "barons", who are some twenty years older than I am, and some of their rants feel horribly old-fashioned.

It's no more than a partial explanation, but they grew up at the wrong time. Rick Santorum was born in the same year I was, so the timing can't be the whole answer.

And is there some dark secret of Freudian psychology in the mix? Or just some dark secrets of Freud himself?

#64 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 05:22 AM:

Dave Bell @63:

The real temptation to avoid, I think, is the desire to attribute homophobia to any one cause.

I think that there are people who don't (realize that they) know any gay people, and are therefore more prone to believe bad things about them than good ones. Because the strange and the other are always frightening.

But there are also people who are, shall we say, revealing more about themselves than about homosexuality as a whole when they talk about the intense and dreadful power of same-sex attraction. That's why so many of them turn up at the airport with rent boys pushing the luggage carts, or reap the rewards of their wide stance in the gents'. That's why they proclaim that children must be protected from ever knowing about this stuff, or from hearing that it's OK, lest they leap right into the "lifestyle".

These two populations feed off of one another. The fearful-of-other are ready to agree with the fearful-of-self, and the fearful-of-self see that loathing and have even more reason to dread.

#65 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 05:28 AM:

Regarding Biden's "gaffe": I doubt very much that it was one. I think it was a calculated move to keep Biden viable for 2016.

Not that I have any idea how likely it is that Biden will go for 2016. (He'll be 70.) It's just that, at this stage of the game, keeping viable is what you do. Biden is smart; certainly smart enough to sense that the consensus within the Democratic party has shifted on same-sex marriage -- it's gone from being a controversial issue that had to fight for any attention at all, to something that practically the entire party agrees on and supports. When even Harry Reid, a Mormon, is in favor of marriage equality under law, Joe Biden can't afford do be dragged down by Obama's need to stay on the fence.

I don't say any of this to belittle Biden or anybody else. This is how politics works. Advocates of SSM have been very reality-based. They've done what needs doing: assembled the money, maintained the pressure, and made the case. They've also made good use of that double-edged sword, the tool known as "being right." Every happy wedding photo of a same-sex union in a place where it's fully legal has worked on their behalf, and they know it.

Instead of worrying about whether Biden or Obama or any other politician is personally sincere, people who care about the issue should be glad that their cause now has enough support that smart politicians feel they need to cater to them.

#66 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 05:41 AM:

PNH @65:

I'm with the set who think Biden's "gaffe" was a trial balloon. Having a shoot-from-the-lip guy on your team allows you to see what the reception of iffy statements is likely to be before you commit yourself.

I'm willing to believe that Obama was always in favor of, or not against, marriage equality. But he's like the Millennium Falcon -- he's only got a limited number of deflectors, and if he angles them to deal with attacks from one direction, he leaves another flank exposed.

Is that the only way to play the role he's inhabited? Of course not; I'm sure Clinton would have taken the role in a completely different direction, making different trade-offs. But the guy we have in place right now said the thing he said. And I agree that this is how politics works. This is how things get done at this point in our national life.

(Whether we can/should/want to change the game is a completely different discussion.)

#67 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 05:47 AM:

I think another blend in the mix when comes to homophobia is just rampant misogyny. Like someone put it.

Homophobia: The fear that other men will treat you the same way you treat women.

It's a pithy line but it definitely rings true in some cases.

Anyway yay for Obama doing the right thing in this instance. These things matter. I'm Icelandic and while we had support for civil partnerships etc. for ages we only relatively recently got full countrywide legal gay marriage (none of that separate but equal stuff).

The actual biggest driver there, I think? Our prime minister is a lesbian and she and her wife were the first ones to get married when the laws came through.

#68 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 05:47 AM:

Lori Coulson, #54: "About time, Mr. President -- Now, do the next right thing: Bring every last troop home, and give up being the world's police force. It can't be done, and it wastes lives that could have done better things.

Not gonna happen. Obama is a hawk, and the Democratic party is dominated by hawks. Saner hawks, by and large, than the ones who would be ascendant in a Romney administration--but the distinction is like the one between Jonathan Schwartz's sane and insane billionaires. "Our" hawks are still icily comfortable with remotely blowing up as many children as it takes to accomplish imperial goals.

Many Americans have an inchoate sense that this is all very wrong, but for generations we've failed to organize ourselves as well as the advocates of marriage equality have done. So unlike the SSM folks, we don't really have a seat at the table, and are reduced to fantasies in which the guy we voted for dramatically repudiates everything he's ever said on the subject.

Again: it's not about politicians who do or don't "do the right thing." It's about power. Those who want to change the world need to learn about it, get it, and use it.

#69 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 05:55 AM:

Lizzy L, #57: "Oh, and by the way, the last time NC amended its constitution specifically to address the issue of marriage, it banned interracial marriage in the state. Fk 'em."

Okay, but let's not forget that North Carolina is also home to thousands of people who worked their hearts out against the odious Amendment 1 -- and over 800,000 people who went to the polls on an off-election day to vote against it.

It can be a little lonely being in a minority in a state, a country, or a centuries-old global religious organization. As I suspect you agree.

#70 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 06:13 AM:

Is it worth distinguishing between homophobes who are just prejudiced (such may cause a good bit of damage) and those who have hating gays as a major part of their lives?

#71 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 06:27 AM:

54: Now, do the next right thing:

Bring every last troop home, and give up being the world's police force.


I wish I could remember who wrote, about 2004 or so, "I wouldn't mind America being the world's policeman so much if it could be a bit more Eliot Ness and a bit less Dudley Smith".

#72 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 06:29 AM:

Oh, and:

68: "Not gonna happen."

It is happening. US combat troops are out of Iraq; they're withdrawing from Afghanistan right now and will be gone by 2014.

#73 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 09:58 AM:

Patrick @68:

"...you can say I'm a dreamer -- but I'm not the only one..."

You're right -- but someone has to keep saying this. I have to hope that the citizens of the US will tire of paying for wars that accomplish nothing, and that eventually the desire to care for our own people first might sway them.

I was raised by New Deal Democrats, and I remember when there were times that I agreed with some Republican platforms, and I resent the lack of sanity that now bends both sides to its will.

#74 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 09:59 AM:

"War is God's way of teaching Americans geography."
- Ambrose Bierce

#75 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 10:06 AM:

ajay @72:
It is happening. US combat troops are out of Iraq; they're withdrawing from Afghanistan right now and will be gone by 2014.

But will they all then go to Iran?

#76 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 10:10 AM:

Guantanamo. Clean it out like the infected wound it is. Repudiate extreme rendition and irregular rendition. Stop calling torture "enhanced interrogation techniques," and never use it again.

Not gonna happen. But same-sex marriage? That's good. I'll take it.

#77 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 10:53 AM:

Lori Coulson @54:

an executive order extending Medicare to all would certainly take the wind out of SCOTUS' sails...

The president simply does not have the constitutional power to do that sort of thing by executive order. Congress would have to pass a statute, and right now, Congress is a lot more likely to sprout wings and flap off to Mars.

#78 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 11:19 AM:

abi, #64: That's pretty much what I was going to say. It's really hard not to conclude that at least some gay-bashing is camouflage for hidden attraction, given the frequency with which the sort of incidents you cite occurs -- but not necessarily all of it. For example, I don't think you can explain Matthew Shepherd by the "secret attraction" hypothesis; that was fear-of-other and the Culture Of Bullying heterodyning off each other. Rick Santorum, though? Oh, yeah.

And a huge chunk of the problem is not just the non-acceptance of homosexuality, it's the non-acceptance of bisexuality. The acknowledgment that it's okay to be attracted to people of both genders would probably solve a lot of problems for at least some of those toe-tapping politicians.

And then there's the still-small-but-increasing number of men who describe themselves as "mostly straight"...

#79 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 11:51 AM:

"The idea of a suppressed gay tendency being behind homophobia is so tempting, isn't it."

It's been studied, though I'm being a lazy bird this morning, and I don't want dig up the cites, but, yes, sometimes it is.

And states rights. Well...civil marriage is, by centuries-old law and custom, the domain of the states, but I wish Obama hadn't emphasized this.

There are indications that Obama is under intense pressure of the "Nice political career you have there" sort, or perhaps the "We made you and we can break you" sort. Any president would come under that pressure. To respond to that effectively electoral reform, campaign finance reform (now apparently requiring a constitutional amendment, thank you working on being the worst Court since Taney), and legislative reforms. That is to say, constitutional amendments and reforms on the scale of the post-Civil War period.

Anyhow, I'm still glad he did this.

#80 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 12:21 PM:

I'm very glad Obama came out on marriage equality; the battle's not over yet, but his support will be a a big push. It could easily make a difference of some years in the struggle to get equal rights across the entire country.

It may also be that the movement on LGBT rights coupled with the Republicans renewed attacks on women's rights will restart the movement for the ERA, maybe beefed up to assert rights for all genders and gender identities.

As for the wars ... no, I think Patrick is quite right. Obama is a hawk, and the Democratic Party is composed largely of hawks. The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans on this issue isn't even about which wars to fight, it's how to fight them. The Democrats want to move more and more to using drones and covert ops: methods that don't require large numbers of military boots on the ground to result in large numbers of American casualties that draw attention and resistance from the American people. The Republicans want more traditional military operations, because those are the ones that a) put money in the hands of military suppliers and b) bring glory, martial values, and parades back for them to bask in.

ajay @ 72:

I wouldn't mind half as much if the USA was in fact policing the world. Any reasonable police force would make a priority of stopping the wars and atrocities in the Sudan region, or breaking up the violence in Syria. No, it's still all about economic imperialism and acting as corporatism's advanceman. The good news is that we can't sustain that sort of military activity much longer the way we're screwing up our economy; the bad news (for us, anyway) is that we're screwing up our economy and our biome.

I think we can all agree that the Obama administration, like most governments, is being reactive rather than proactive about the issues that most concern us. So, given that the equal rights movement just got pushed over a big hump, and we may be able to spare some energy and activism for other battles now, what issues should we push harder on? There are things like the wars and the assault on constitutional guarantees that just aren't going to be budged until the generations that were so traumatized by 9/11 are no longer as politically powerful as they are now, if then. But there's a whole cluster of other issues around the economy, the bad behavior of the financial sect(or), and the assault on their investors and customers by the banks that needs as much energy as we can give. I think that's a good place to put it.

#81 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 01:17 PM:

Bruce Cohen, #80: "what issues should we push harder on?"

The crucial structural issues are campaign finance reform (now with constitutional amendment), voting rights, and media consolidation. It is through the failure of law in this area that the USA has become a corporate-dominated authoritarian state.

In terms of significant policy issues jobs, jobs, jobs has to be the top, probably followed by environment, environment, environment. However, the policy issues are unlikely to be accessible until the structural issues are addressed.

#82 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 01:26 PM:

I'd like to put a vote in here for re-emphasizing transparency and due process of law.

Also, a pony. Sigh.

But marriage equality is a good thing. A very good thing, and I hope that this aids the cause.

#83 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 01:57 PM:

First they elected a Black man, and I cheered, though I am not Black.

Then he publicly announced his support for same-sex marriage, and I cheered, though I am not gay.

Because it is progress, of a sort.

(Also: Obama's views have evolved, vs. his opponents' which seem to have been Created.)

#84 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 02:21 PM:

In addition to sending a congratulatory e-mail to the POTUS last night, I also sent the campaign some bucks, finally.

I wonder what the response of my local bishop is going to be to this. My pastor has not, ever, AFAIK, presented a homily against same sex marriage. But our bishop has a reputation as being quite strongly anti-gay marriage: I wonder if we can expect a letter from the diocese, which my pastor will be required to read. Hope not.

#85 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 02:41 PM:

Hmm, may the specters of Hillel and Shammai in their decades of arguments (think Churchill versus Lady Astor) haunt Fux and all those preachers and talk show mouths, until they stop -judging- other people and bullying them to live as the bullies demand (recall that some of them were imposers of what was effectively slavery in the textile factors in the Marianas...)

"Do not do unto others as you do not want done unto you," -- Hillel

#23 Throwmearope
I'm hoping the recidivists are so angry they neither send in absentee ballots nor go to the polls on election day, but instead sit out the election. Pres. Obama is FINALLY doing pro-active things to get the people who helped vote him into office, to NOT sit out the election in protest at his appeasements to the forces of intolerance and ruthlessness and inequality.

#31 Lizzy
Mr Romney is soft-pedalling away, saying he supports rights for same gender couples for some things.... That is a viewpoint which if broadly publicized won't play well with the fersure hardliners (as opposed to the willing-to-placate-hardliners-by-tapdancing-and-such-to-hardliner music....

#32 Amiable
Pres. Obama however DID, finally, yield to the demands of people who were key to his winning in 2008, however reluctantly. Non-negative is a whole lot better than the agenda of the robber baron religion-ranting Republicans.

#46 Teresa
One of the arguments for the booting out of homosexuals from the military when I was in the military was they were susceptible to blackmail by e.g. foreign agents, regarding being outed. With DADT and the even less tolerance before it -gone-, that is no longer an issue.

The cover-up marriages are also no longer important--that is, people married not for "curing" "their unacceptable impulses," but married for protective coloration, with the other partner usually aware of the situation, that it was a marriage of both convenience AND protection/ass-covering. "Homosexual? Me? But I've got a spouse, see!"

#54 Lori
The USA helped break Afghanistan in the Soviet invasion and withdrawal days, having armed shitloads of male adolescents "fighters" with machine guns and rifles and anti-aircraft weapons, and then abandoned Afghanistan to the armed full-of-themselves young males, who promptly acted like the hoodlums young males in US slums, continuing to use their guns and ammo to impose a reign of terror on everyone else and carry out largescale gang warfare, and treat women and girls like shit. The difference is that law enforcement in the USA mostly works in the most of the country, but in Afghanistans the armed militants took over.

HAD the Bush I misadministration BOTHERED to gather up the weapons and send in the Peace Corp to rebuild the water distribution system and provide aid and assistance to get the Afghan economy back up and running [see Jim Macdonald's posts here years ago about how the USA assisted in ending the conditions which had fomented the guerrilla wars in Central America...], the Taliban and Al Aqaeda would never/could never have taken over, and 9/11 would never have happened.... The world would have been a kinder, gentler, more properous and happier place.

The USA helped break Afgahnistan, and then broke Iraq. "You break it, you own it"...

Regarding Fux, the UK has decreed him unfit to head up media companies, WHEN will the FCC apply the same types of laws which exist HERE, and strip him of the broadcast licenses and take away his malevolent toys....??

=================
The mainstream of SF/F romance online, has a LOT of m/m and m/f/m and m/m/f foci... the writers mostly use pseudonyms, the reasons include the reaction of the neighbors were they to find out that the authors write explicit sex scenes with any of all of BSDM and homosexuality. There are multiple publishers which are exclusively m/m content--the descendants of Kirk/Spock in a lot of ways--and the principle market is female and most of the writers of it--but not all, I believe that e.g. Josh Lanyon for example is male--are female.

One thing that did astonish me was finding out that Ellora's Cave, the 400 pound gorilla of erotic online publishing, has an SF/F romance line which is NON-smutty! (E.g., Danger on X-Y One by Vicky Burkholdt.

My point is that there is a lot of tacit tolerance and approval for same gender marriage and rights in mainstream USA which goes unnoticed by the mass media, which has a tradition disinclination to respect fiction aimed aimed at the mass public of women in the first place.... Fifty Shades of Gray somehow broke out of the ignored market category and landed on the giant bestseller promoted list, but it's not as if that market were nonexistent without that book...

And the the readers probably are a lot larger fraction of the US general populace, that the religiosity ranters and the Tea Party foamers-at-the-mouth and the Fux hierarchy, the Church of Latter Day Saints ministry, the SOuther Baptist ministry, and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church recognize or want to recognize--after all, those readers mainly are women and women are barred by the very fact of being female, from authority in those institutions.... and marginalized and directed into being submissive and subervient to the male leadership and told to obey orders....

#86 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 02:45 PM:

The news media has been quoting Catholic bishops and other detractors of same gender marriage, but NOT asking the opinions of Unitarian Univeralist ministers or Episcopalian priests who've presided over same gender marriages, or Reform rabbis, all of whom belong to religious groups which celebrate same gender marriage....

#87 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 02:52 PM:

The House just passed a funding amendment to keep the Dept of Justice from from using taxpayer funds to actively oppose DOMA. It passed 245-171. That Politico story says that 16 Democrats voted for it, and 7 Republicans against, but doesn't say who they are.

Here's the vote tally on Thomas.
The 16 Democratic Ayes: Barrow, Bishop (GA), Boren, Chandler, Costello, Critz, Cuellar, Holden, Kissell, Lipinski, Matheson, McIntyre, Peterson, Rahall, Ross (AR), and Shuler.
The 7 Republican Noes: Bono Mack, Hanna, Hayworth, LaTourette, Lewis (CA), Ros-Lehtinen, and Terry.

#88 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 03:00 PM:

Lizzy L @ 84: Here's hoping for a good response from your bishop.

I know my mom had it up to here with her diocese and parish, between the anti-gay-marriage homilies, the parishioners who gave standing ovations to the anti-gay-marriage homilies (SERIOUSLY), the required-reading anti-gay-marriage letters, and the active, specific campaigning for the amendment. (She contacted the state board of elections about the campaigning; apparently churches are allowed to actively campaign for or against ballot initiatives, just not for or against particular candidates.)

Being a liberal Catholic means your heart gets broken a lot. I speak from experience.

Also, re your #57 and PNH's #69: As one of the 40% in NC, I read your "Fk 'em" as addressed to those who proposed this amendment and those who voted for it. I didn't take it personally, in other words. I'm pretty frustrated with a majority of my state right now, too.

#89 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 03:23 PM:

Abi @ #64
Lee @ #78

I'll add that there are cultural expectations driving some of the homophobia. Some people react badly when others don't follow the unwritten rules of how things work. Cosmology is a huge part of it, too. As is the nature of the person dealing with the homophobia.

My best example of this is time one of my sisters moved in with a gay male during college, Dad went ballistic and Mom went contemplative. Both of my parents were raised in the same community by people of similar ideals, education, financial outlook etc. Both devout Catholics.

Dad followed his usual MO... anger, outrage, and ranting followed by a grudgeful shunning of my sister. Mom also followed her usual MO... thought, prayer, more thought, more prayer, a visit to the priest, even more prayer and finally, getting to know the person in question. Dad died before he could change his mind. Mom made a friend.

#90 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 04:22 PM:

Caroline at 88: thank you. I meant it even as you describe it. I know not everyone in NC voted for Amendment One: hell, my state passed Proposition 8. I suspect that some of my neighbors, folks I sit next to in church -- that I pray with, and for -- voted for it.

I was angry last night.

Dona nobis pacem.

#91 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 09:04 PM:

abi @64 (being the conversation I wanted to jump into first thing this morning, but was running late) --

The real temptation to avoid, I think, is the desire to attribute homophobia to any one cause.

I think that there are people who don't (realize that they) know any gay people, and are therefore more prone to believe bad things about them than good ones. Because the strange and the other are always frightening.

This. This is true, even of generally agreeable and well-intentioned people, on whatever measure separates the known Us from the unknown Them.

I have a little quasi-confessional story that came to mind when I read this conversation and it still seems worth repeating. I came from a tiny little pocket of liberalism in a fairly conservative and rigid social structure (suburban southern US) and while I was taught in theory that All Sorts Of People Were Okay I didn't have much exposure to diversities beyond race (which came in two colors: Black and White.) By the time I got into my mid-teens I'd been come out to enough times that gay or lesbian didn't startle me anymore, and by the time I was out of college I was used to "people who like boys AND girls" and "women who used to be men" and none of these variations seemed scary or other or threatening.

There is, of course, a glaring omission in my list. "Men who used to be women" was an idea I just didn't quite know what to do with. I avoided thinking about that.

It was many years later, in an internet community surprisingly similar to this one, when in the course of conversation someone with whom I was casually acquainted and generally friendly came out as a transguy.

I really had to think about that. I'm glad he did, because after consideration it occurred to me that if this otherwise ordinary net.nerd was a transguy and not Scary And Different And Other, then transguys probably weren't, as a class, any more scary and different and other than any other group of net.nerds.

So in a sense the "OMG DON'T LET OUR CHILDREN SEE THAT" people have a sense of the truth: if their kids get used to glorious humanity in all our polymorphous diversity, the kids won't be nearly as fussed about these things as their parents are, and THAT is what the parents are afraid of.

#92 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 10:16 PM:

Lizzy L @84 and Caroline @88 ... I am dreading mass on Sunday. Our pastor already had a bee in his bonnet on the subject of same-sex marriage anyway and a penchant for political-related rants in his homilies (He says he is addressing moral issues, not politics. I strongly disagree. I could tolerate disagreeing with him on the issues. I'm visiting my Texas relatives in June, and I'm going to disagree with them on all the issues, and that's okay. But I can't tolerate his contempt for people who don't agree with him.) Anyway, there will be a marriage initiative on the ballot in Maryland in November and the parish has been having petition drives and so forth already, and there's no way this will pass by. I am scheduled to lector at the mass the pastor is celebrating or I'd finesse the issue by attending a different one. I have resigned as lector beginning in June because of this very issue but I'm stuck with this one and another in two weeks, and I can't tell you how tempted I am to manufacture a case of laryngitis.

Sigh.

I told an online Catholic friend that the most recent rant had the backhanded virtue of inciting some of the most fervent prayer I've had in church: "God, please don't let me be driven out of the church over this."

#93 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 10:56 PM:

abi @ 64: ... But there are also people who are, shall we say, revealing more about themselves than about homosexuality as a whole when they talk about the intense and dreadful power of same-sex attraction.

I had a letter to the editor published about 20 years ago, opposing an anti-gay ballot initiative*. I came home from work to an answering machine message. It was a man's voice, telling me earnestly that I just didn't understand what Those People did. He went on to graphically describe a variety of sexual activities. I found his interest in the details quite amusing — and thought if funny that all of the activities he mentioned were also feasible for heterosexual couples. I wondered if he gave any thought that there might be children in the house who got home from school to an answering machine with a blinking light before mom or dad did.** I felt that he had far more of a kink going on that I did.


*The ballot initiative was defeated! It was to prevent the state from "promoting homosexuality, bestiality, and necrophilia." We have made some progress.

**There were no children in the house. This was just a hypothetical. For the young'uns reading this, a house used to have a "land line" with an "answering machine". Residents of the house checked the same voice mail!

#94 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2012, 11:42 PM:

OtterB at 92, I am so sorry. You are facing what I have been fearing.

I've thought it through. If the bishop sends a letter which must be read, I will sit through it, unless what he says is utterly intolerable, in which case I will walk out, but I will not leave my church or my parish because of the bishop. I don't expect my pastor to suddenly start to sermonize on this issue, but if he does, and he says something I truly cannot bear, I will walk out rather than continue to sit and seem to assent to his words by my presence, but I will not leave the parish over one sermon. I don't want to leave my parish; I like the pastor, (though he is more authoritarian than I am comfortable with) and I have been part of this faith community for 11 years. But if I have to go, there are other nearby Catholic churches I can join.

If your pastor is the issue, can you go elsewhere? Have you considered it? Would it help?

#95 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 12:45 AM:

Thena, #91: I grew up in a VERY white suburb -- as in, I think there was one black family, and their kids were several years younger than I was, so I never got a chance to know them. When we moved to Nashville, there were black kids in my classes for the first time, and I remember being a bit apprehensive about what they'd be like. It took me exactly one day to shed that completely. They were high-school kids, just like me. Big whoop.

#96 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 07:36 AM:

The Raven @81: Bruce Cohen, #80: "what issues should we push harder on?"

The crucial structural issues are campaign finance reform (now with constitutional amendment), voting rights, and media consolidation. It is through the failure of law in this area that the USA has become a corporate-dominated authoritarian state.

Speaking as a foreigner and an outsider, I think you missed a really huge structural issue in the shape of the entire criminal justice system. Which is broken. So broken that rich people can pretty much get away with murder while poor people can be shot to death in their own homes by police officers. So broken that it looks from the outside as if anyone with enough money can pay to incorporate their own city and set up their own police force. And so broken that there's a huge industry supplying the brute squads with everything they need, up to and including military armoured fighting vehicles. The TSA is just a recent offshoot of the prison-industrial complex and the police industry. And the fact that the proportion of the US population in jails or under probation exceeds the proportion of the USSR during the worst years of the Gulag archipelago also deserves flagging up.

Campaign finance reform, voting rights, media consolidation: these are all worthy causes. Fixing them may even help with the Gulag 2.0 problem. But Gulag 2.0 is directly ruining millions of lives, and spreads a choking low-level miasma of fear throughout your entire society, and frightened people live (and vote) defensively and conservatively.

#97 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:23 AM:

This seems like an appropriate conversation in which to post this, though I completely understand if the mods or others think it should not be brought up.

As many of you know, I am presently civilizing a teenager. She's pretty darn civil, actually.

Here's the thing: like many young people growing up in a major urban area, gay people are no big deal to her. At least gay people her own age. She's had friends who have been out since middle school and many more in high school (especially since she goes to an arts-oriented high school which probably has a higher-than-normal percentage of homosexual students overall).

In the last few years, she's gotten to know a number of gay adults as well, which is a good thing too--not just gay kids, not just gay celebrities, but gay people of the "people are people" variety.

There are a few areas she's struggling with. One is developing a good understanding of bisexuality. It is still a bit confusing to her that people can be attracted to people of both sexes (hey, she's only 16). One of her lesbian friends is very dismissive of bisexuality; apparently she was badly burned by another young woman. Another young woman my teen knows has claimed to be bisexual for years but has only dated and had sex with males; my teen wonders how someone can be bisexual yet only date, have sex with, and talk about your attraction to the "opposite" sex.

The other sticking point is transsexuality. The only trans people she knows of are celebs/gossip-worthy folks. This isn't the image of transpeople I want her to have. But at the same time, it's not my place to go to her and say, "this person whom you know slightly irl used to be a person of the other gender." I don't want her to look at those people oddly the next time she runs into them, or ask them personal questions that are really none of her business.

Is it enough to say, "I know some transpeople and they are people like everyone else" and wait for her life to bring her in touch with transpeople? Consider that I'm laying the groundwork here as I have with so much other stuff and trust that she'll be fine?

Or is there something else I should be doing so that she doesn't think of transpeople as "other"?

#98 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:43 AM:

Melissa Singer @97: I don't know your daughter (though I've admired her internet work), but if you need a specimen 'transperson known to (mom)' to mention to her, or if at any point she expresses interest in asking specific questions of such a person, I'm perfectly willing to volunteer to correspond with her.

#99 ::: Fox ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 10:08 AM:

@OtterB 92, Lizzy L 94 -

I feel a measure of your pain. I am not Catholic myself, but I have a good gig as a section leader in a choir at a church (relatively) nearby, and I tell you what. The first week I was there, the announcements included details about bus transport to the March for Life. Then I was away for a bit and the next time I was there they (had to) read a letter from the bishops on the subject of zOMG Fascist Obamacare Contraception. On the basis of those two Sundays, I decided to tithe: ten percent of what I earn singing at Mass goes straight to Planned Parenthood.

This weekend there's bound to be a lot of extra mention of "true marriage". I'd call out, but I'm the soloist (and plus, if I don't go then their money doesn't become my money and I can't make as hefty a donation to their opponents). It can get tough up there in the loft, though (side note: last week I noticed that during the intercessory prayers our tenor lead, who *is* Catholic, said the "hear our prayer" response *only* to the call for the safety of the armed forces); I can only imagine how tough it must be in the congregation, where your investment is emotional and (presumably something approaching) lifelong. You have my sympathy.

#100 ::: David Wald ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 11:19 AM:

Fox@99: there's bound to be a lot of extra mention of "true marriage"

Would it help you get through the day if you imagine it being said the voice of the bishop from The Princess Bride?

#101 ::: Fox ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 11:46 AM:

David @100: It might! :-D

#102 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 11:48 AM:

I consider myself fortunate to be in my current parish, and not the one up the road. If the bishop wants a letter to go out to the parishioners, it will be read from the pulpit, a copy included in the bulletin, and the text placed on the parish website. And it will be made very clear that this is a letter from the bishop, and it is being widely distributed at the bishop's request. Unsaid but implied: this thing isn't our idea.

I went to one Mass at the parish up the road while the bishops were ranting about the prescription coverage issue. I believe the pastor there made his entire sermon about it. I can't accurately say what any of the details of the sermon were, because I figured if he could rant about politics during the sermon, then I could calculate Fibonacci numbers during the sermon. Much less stressful that way.

#103 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 11:49 AM:

Melissa Singer @97: There are a few areas she's struggling with. One is developing a good understanding of bisexuality. It is still a bit confusing to her that people can be attracted to people of both sexes (hey, she's only 16). One of her lesbian friends is very dismissive of bisexuality; apparently she was badly burned by another young woman. Another young woman my teen knows has claimed to be bisexual for years but has only dated and had sex with males; my teen wonders how someone can be bisexual yet only date, have sex with, and talk about your attraction to the "opposite" sex.

Bisexuals (of which I am one) aren't required to have a 50/50 split of attraction to men/women. For some folks, it's more like 90/10 or vice-versa; for some folks the proportion (if there even is* a proportion) changes during their lives.

If she's close enough to that person to ask in the context of mutual respect, she might want to ask if they'd be willing to talk about it with her, and then ask her, "How does that work for you?" However, not everybody's got stuff figured out in words, or wants to talk about it, or feels safe talking about it. (There's a lot of history in this country about making bisexuals invisible by declaring that only 50/50 bisexuals are "real bisexuals" and that therefore everybody else is a confused lesbian** or confused straight person.)

The unfortunate tradition of lesbians being dismissive of bisexuality is a complicated thing. It can range from dismissiveness to much worse. We had a hate crime some years back here where a lesbian threatened immediate bodily harm against a bisexual woman who was coming to the same discussion group she was in, the University Lesbians. The threat was something on the order of "push you down this stairway and break all your bones." There have been women forced out of living situations and out of activist groups because they came out as bisexual rather than lesbian. It's better than it used to be... in some places. And some places it's not. If your teenager has a passion for fairness and justice, telling her that some bisexuals get treated badly when they are out about being bisexual might put the issue into a different focus for her -- because we don't necessarily have to understand someone to believe that they have a right to fair treatment and freedom from harrassment and shunning.


* Some people identify as bisexual because gender isn't among the top ten things that attracts them to somebody or rules out an attraction to somebody.

** or gay man

#104 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 12:32 PM:

Yesterday, David Gerrold suggested that Obama spoke in favor of same-sex marriage because Gerrold once said that he'd never accept anyone on his FaceBook list who is opposed to same-sex marriage, and Obama IS a Trekkie after all so, if he ever wants to read Gerrold's FB posts...

#105 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 12:35 PM:

#96 ::: Charlie Stross :

I agree with you that the prison/industrial complex and uncontrolled police are a huge problem in the US, probably the biggest. I'm calling it the velociraptor in the room.

I'll add that a justice system which is too expensive for the average person to use is another aspect of the problem.

I get most of my information on the subject from The Agitator. What's your source?

#106 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 12:51 PM:

elise @103: Yeah, I've tried to explain the whole "spectrum of attraction" thing, but she's not quite getting it yet. otoh, she is only just 16. When I was 16, I barely understood what homosexuality was and no one I know had come out yet.

The person in question is definitely NOT someone my teen can talk to. They were friends for a while but it fell badly apart several months ago and the break appears irreparable. I'm not broken up by this as the young person in question was Not a Good Influence, but I feel bad for her; she's not having a good life at the moment.

"If your teenager has a passion for fairness and justice, telling her that some bisexuals get treated badly when they are out about being bisexual might put the issue into a different focus for her -- because we don't necessarily have to understand someone to believe that they have a right to fair treatment and freedom from harrassment and shunning." -- good point, and one she already has an understanding of from watching gay rights struggles. I will look for opportunities to make this point, as well as the lesbian rejection issue.

#107 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 02:19 PM:

Melissa Singer @106: Oh! The Not A Good Influence person falls under the "Yeah, all different kinds of people can be ________, so it's not safe to generalize from a tiny sample." (Otherwise known as, "Dang, I'd like things to get to a point where Difficult Person isn't taken as representative of the rest of us." There's a certain wince factor when someone sharing an Emphasized Status with one screws up or does something notably icky, because one is going to have to deal with a lot of people's perceptions that You People Are All Like That.)

And now I should stop writing, since I've used up my allotment of capital letters for the day.

#108 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:03 PM:

Charlie Stross @ 96:

Yes, I agree. According to the figures I have, there were over 2 million people in prisons in the US in 2011. This amounts to more than 1/2 of 1% of the total population. Considering that a significant percentage (the exact number is heavily disputed) of them are mentally ill and there are no treatment options for them, and another large percentage are there for essentially victimless drug offenses or for breathing while black or brown, we clearly have a severe problem that demonstrates a lack of moral and ethical probity that is completely unacceptable in a democratic society.

There is another problem that effects even more people: high rates of home mortgage foreclosures, and very high rates of fraudulent foreclosure with collusion by banks, lawyers, and courts. The foreclosure industry (it galls me that there should be such a thing) own figures show that since the beginning of 2007, more than 11 million foreclosures have been filed in the US. With the current average household size in the US at 2.6, this means that foreclosure has affected more than 28 million people in that time. That's 9% of the total population. And while not all of these foreclosures are fraudulent, a large number of them are (particularly in states like Florida where they've set up assembly lines to process as many fraudulent foreclosures as quickly as possible. And the programs that were established to assist homeowners forced into foreclosure by the economic meltdown have been stalled into uselessness by the banks.

#109 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:26 PM:

elise, #107: Yeah. Childfree people and feminists get a lot of that, too. All you can do is push back where you can.

#110 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:44 PM:

Bruce Cohen @41 -- Maybe some of [the bishops] will start listening to the nuns instead of yelling orders at them.
You know the expression "When Messiah comes"?


Xopher @43
My own It's-All-Over-But-The-Shouting [loud, shrill, excessively prolonged shouting] moment was when I saw Ellen in an American Express ad. If as calculated an advertiser as Amex decides that this will help ingratiate them with their target demographic, we've won.


The Raven @79
The only ones who can truly say "We made you and we can break you" are the "FIRE" interests.


It is stunning to me that I hadn't known Biden is (for some definition of "is", per several personal accounts) Catholic until this. I just remember the Kennedy-Nixon election (I was in eighth grade) and the conversations around Kennedy's Catholocism. And here we are where someone reasonably well informed doesn't recall ever encountering a reference to the Vice President's religion.


"one cause"
With the provisional exception of the Big Bang, I don't believe there is any such thing. I remain stubbornly skeptical that "homosexuality" is even "one thing". The relatively recent notion that a socially defined cluster of desires and inclinations constitutes a personality type is pretty dubious.
As simple an activity as eating may be engaged in in many ways, in many circumstances, for many reasons, pursuing a variety of potential gratifications. If you want to convince me that sex is really a whole lot simpler, you have a WHOLE LOT of convincing to do!

#111 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 03:59 PM:

elise @107: I'm a Single Mother by Choice. Generalizations and I are old company: SMCs are lesbians, man-haters, frigid, ugly, stupid, a drain on society, a corrupting influence on Our Young People, etc.

A couple of weeks ago I lectured a couple of young men on the subway who were complaining about a person begging for money while wearing an luxurious tracksuit and a pair of very expensive sunglasses. Now, it's very possible that the supposedly homeless person was not actually homeless, otoh, I took the opportunity to remind the young men (older teenagers) that _anyone_ can become homeless and that not all homeless people are dressed in rags, drunk/high, dirty, etc. That some homeless people go to great lengths _not_ to look like that.

The Not a Good Influence part had nothing to do with that young person's sexuality but with behaviors I consider dangerous in persons only 15 years old. I don't want to say more because it's so personal and about someone who is not here to speak on her own behalf.

#112 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 04:09 PM:

elise @107:
"Dang, I'd like things to get to a point where Difficult Person isn't taken as representative of the rest of us."

Lee @109:
Childfree people and feminists get a lot of that, too.

Along with conservatives, gun owners, evangelicals, megachurch attendees, Roman Catholics, atheists...pretty much every large population has its headdesky outliers, whom its opponents love to paint as mainstream-representative.

#113 ::: Manny ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 06:45 PM:

elise @107: "Dang, I'd like things to get to a point where Difficult Person isn't taken as representative of the rest of us."

I call them the "jump-in-fronters", the ones leaping up and down saying "ME ME LOOK AT ME!" while the regular and sensible members of the group get stuck behind them facepalming.

#114 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 07:17 PM:

Melissa, you might want to recommend Scarleteen.com and/or this book: http://www.amazon.com/S-E-X-All-You-Need-To-Know-Progressive-Sexuality-Through/dp/1600940102/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

#115 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 07:24 PM:

HelenS - that book may be exactly what one needs, but the URL is ... wrong, somehow.

Yes, I do know that it's Amazon's misconstruction, not yours.

#116 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 07:44 PM:

I'll note that looking at the Huey Newton sidebar... that guy wasn't pulling any punches!

#117 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:18 PM:

Charlie Stross, #96: "I think you missed a really huge structural issue in the shape of the entire criminal justice system. Which is broken."

The reason I chose the list of the structural issues I did is that, if we are expecting to get anything through the legislature, we need reform in those areas.

I would tend to put police and justice abuses, which I agree are major, as process or ethical issues; I left those out in my remarks, which was a huge oversight.

For the record, here's the summation of issues from everyone's comments I managed to see:

Structural--

  • campaign finance reform (now with constitutional amendment)
  • voting rights
  • media consolidation

Policy--

  • jobs, jobs, jobs
  • environment, environment, environment

Process--

  • Guantanamo. Clean it out like the infected wound it is.
  • Repudiate extreme rendition and irregular rendition.
  • Stop calling torture "enhanced interrogation techniques," and never use it again.
  • the entire criminal justice system. Which is broken.

#118 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 08:48 PM:

Lizzy L @94 if he does, and he says something I truly cannot bear, I will walk out rather than continue to sit and seem to assent to his words by my presence

This is the largest part of what has led me to resign as lector, the not wishing to appear to support his interpretation.

If your pastor is the issue, can you go elsewhere? Have you considered it? Would it help?

It might come to that. If it were just me it might have already. My husband and my older daughter don't like it but aren't bothered as much as I am. My younger daughter, who has special needs, doesn't like change. We all have a certain attachment to the parish; older daughter went to the parish school for grades 3-8, younger daughter made her first communion and confirmation there (and was warmly and inclusively dealt with). There's the convenience factor - it's 5 minutes from home. (Although we are fortunate that there are many other parishes within a reasonable distance.) Since the parish bulletin publishes which priests are saying which masses, and none of the others are nearly as bad, I can just avoid him, except for these last two lectoring gigs.

My husband says, in jest but part of me really wants to see it, that he wants either a t-shirt or a bumper sticker that says "Another straight Catholic for gay marriage."

#119 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 09:26 PM:

OtterB: Catholics for Marriage Equality

Straight Christian for Gay Marriage t-shirt (Couldn't find a Catholic one, but they're probably out there.)

Also, DeLaSalle High School kids have words with the archdiocese over same-sex marriage, single parents, and adopted children. (For the people from the archdiocese to imply that adopted children and children of single parents are somehow less than OK was a bad move. So was what they said about same-sex couples. The kids spoke up in disagreement. Good for them.)

#120 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2012, 10:13 PM:

Manny @113, that doesn't seem like an entirely fair characterization; the more flamboyant members of a community generally aren't asking to be taken as representative (and even that situation doesn't seem to be what's going on with Melissa's daughter's acquaintance). The men in jockstraps at a Gay Pride parade, or the people in full Klingon regalia at an SF convention, may want to be noticed but they certainly aren't claiming or asking to be representative of their respective communities. It's outsiders to the community that misrepresent them as typical.

#121 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 12:25 AM:

elise #103:

The unfortunate tradition of lesbians being dismissive of bisexuality is a complicated thing. It can range from dismissiveness to much worse.

This also happens with gay men and gay male bisexuals, probably going from threats to violence even more frequently.

However, in an environment of discrimination, it's common for any persecuted group to dislike (or even hate) anyone who can "pass" for a member of the majority. It's happened with white-appearing African-Americans and with blond blue-eyed Jews in Nazi Germany. If you live in fear of discovery, injustice or abuse, then meeting someone who is one of your group but doesn't live with that fear makes you want to share the fear with them.

Not that it's right, but it *is* understandable (I speak as a bisexual man). You'll also notice that as persecution of a given group fades, their acceptance of diversity within their own ranks increases. In California, for example, I've seen substantially improved of bisexuals, transgendereds, polyamorous folk, non-white gays and others by "mainstream" gays now that those gays no longer fear harassment.

#122 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 12:57 AM:

Josh Berkus @121: If you live in fear of discovery, injustice or abuse, then meeting someone who is one of your group but doesn't live with that fear makes you want to share the fear with them.

I agree with you that that's the belief many lesbians and gays have about bisexuals, but the reality is different: bashers didn't stop to ask me whether I was lesbian or bisexual, and they didn't offer to only beat half of me up.

#123 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 03:58 AM:

I can't claim to know the President's mind, and as someone who grew up in an extremely conservative area and takes these things somewhat... well, conservatively, I wasn't expecting him to follow Mr. Biden, and, frankly, I'm a little worried about the consequences of such a ballsy move. That said, I think such a ballsy move deserves respect, so I made a small donation to his campaign, and I encourage others to do the same.

And if that was the calculation Mr. Obama was making, well, it worked, and I hope that it continues to work for him, because it says something powerful about the change afoot in our society, and it portends good things for me personally and for us as a country.

I am coming increasingly to not just hope but believe that my generation (I'm 26) will be the last generation to grow up with this bullshit, and, in forty years I will find myself saying, like Neil from Chicago @110, "I just remember the [beginnings of the gay marriage thing (I was in high school)]. And here we are where someone reasonably well informed doesn't recall ever encountering a reference to the Vice President's [sexual orientation]."

I'm looking forward to that day. It's coming so much faster than I ever dared to hope.

#124 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 05:42 AM:

Kevin@123: Have you read this Onion article? Future U.S. History Students: 'It's Pretty Embarrassing How Long You Guys Took To Legalize Gay Marriage' Right on the mark, if you ask me.

#125 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 09:38 AM:

abi @112, loran @120, et alia: I once blew a mind further open* by pointing out that there are at least as many ways to be gay as there are ways to be Christian. He was very aware of all of the Christian cases of "Oh please, I hope they're not judging ME by THEM …" and suddenly he made connections.


I knew longtime, active Marine casually on an online site. He knew I was a guy. I mentioned my kid (he's a dad too; we bonded on toddler stuff). Then, much later, my husband came up in conversation. He said something to the effect of, "Um, just so I know how to take this, um, not that there's anything WRONG with that, but, um, you're a guy … married to a guy?" I confirmed this, and he then spent twenty minutes processing at me over the fact that this dude in his unit that he's known for years ("He's a great shot, loves football …") recently came out to him as gay. He was almost comically clearly in the midst of suddenly realizing he knew gay people, with all his stereotypical beliefs earthquaking.

#126 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 11:48 AM:

Josh @121:

Yes, there is passing privilege. That's part of why I make a point of being out as bisexual, because it would be easy for people to see that I'm married to a man and assume that I'm straight.

Pushing bisexuals who have opposite-sex partners away from queer communities or activities doesn't reduce passing privilege. If anything, discouraging people from being out makes it more likely that straight people will assume that everyone they know is straight, and that isolated lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, especially teens, will think that they're alone.

I see the resentment, but I think denying that bisexuals exist, or that we can be trusted in relationships, is a counterproductive way of dealing with it.

#127 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 02:56 PM:

I'm glad President Obama made this statement, but I don't especially admire him for doing it.

First: Yeah, he seems ridiculously young (as most people do to me, at age 83 -- I'm fully convinced that the guy who discharged me from the Cardiac Catheterization ward recently was just a high-school student. rather than a genuine MD) but I'm sure anyone who has become President of The United States is plenty old enough to have figured out, long ago, what is fair and morally right in this area, and if he were a Statesman he'd have acted on this long ago. So yeah, he's not a Statesman, he's merely a Politician ... and probably a very good one, at that ... who has decided that this is a profitable and judicious postition to take at the present moment.

Second: I think I'll withhold my vigorous cheers, however, until after something substantive has been done by the IRS, Social Security, Medicare, and the Military to actually put these ideas into practical effect. Once President Obama starts twisting arms, and issuing Presidential Orders, I may begin feeling more respect for him and his sense of Integrity. (And yeah, I'm willing to put much on Hold until after he is (Please, God) re-elected.)

#128 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 03:37 PM:

127
i have the feeling that he'd still be talking about his views 'evolving' if Biden and Duncan hadn't said they favor it. (I keep reminding people that Obama is really a Reagan Republican at heart, and not a liberal Democrat, no matter what they're being told by CNN and Fox.)

#129 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 04:17 PM:

elise @119 thanks for the links

#130 ::: Manny ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 08:12 PM:

lorax @120

In my experience, it doesn't matter what the jump-in-fronters say or what the people behind them say: they're the ones that a lot of people believe are representative.

#131 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 09:54 PM:

I happen to be married to a wonderful man who is not threatened by all our gay friends who wish they could be married to him. Or at least dating. We all enjoy their company, he takes their attentions in the light it is being offered and going, 'no, sorry. not my way.'

The longest couple we personally know are to gay men who have been pretty much together since we met them in the late 70s. Before we got married.

I my house we are three, a f-m-f triad; We have a good attorney and he prepared all our paperwork, told us how to do stuff, etc. to make sure our families can't screw us if someone gets really ill. When Roh got breast cancer in 2008, our local hospital didn't bat an eye that Jim was giving some direction, even though he is NOT her legal husband. They did not ask.

(We all have durable powers of attorney forms for each other, if hospitals or other such give us shit we show them, and if it gets to it, we call our lawyer. Has NEVER happened here in KC. But our other families don't care to be involved either, which helps.)

#132 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2012, 10:04 PM:

Don Fitch @127:
So yeah, he's not a Statesman, he's merely a Politician ... and probably a very good one, at that ... who has decided that this is a profitable and judicious postition to take at the present moment.

On the other hand, this means we live in a world where the President of the United States, who is a very good politician, feels that supporting same-sex marriage is a profitable and judicious position to take at the present moment. This is a definite sign of progress.

#133 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 06:50 AM:

OtterB #118: Here's most of that: "Another straight Christian for gay marriage".

#134 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 10:11 PM:

I'm 43 and I had one of those moments where I wanted to yell at someone how much I was in favor of gay marriage *.

I couldn't think of anyone I know who wouldn't go "Well, duh."

* every time I think about someone not letting me get married because, e.g. we're atheists, or we're childless... I'm not a violent guy, so I hope I'd pick up the skills real quick.

#135 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2012, 10:12 PM:

I'm 43 and I had one of those moments where I wanted to yell at someone how much I was in favor of gay marriage *.

I couldn't think of anyone I know who wouldn't go "Well, duh."

* every time I think about someone not letting me get married because, e.g. we're atheists, or we're childless... I'm not a violent guy, so I hope I'd pick up the skills real quick.

#136 ::: Fox ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 10:30 AM:

Update: interestingly, not a single word about "true marriage" at Mass yesterday, in the homily nor in the intercessory prayers. Not to say it won't come up if and when the bishops send a letter that Must Be Read, but for now, the church where I sing appears to have heard the president's statement and gone absolutely quietly about their business. Good for them?

#137 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 10:55 AM:

Fox @136 There wasn't much direct mention of it at my parish, either. The homily was on the church as our loving mother - but how that doesn't mean letting us do whatever we want. I didn't agree with swaths of it - my lines of what "mom" should and should not let us get away with are quite different from his - but I didn't find it nearly as toxic as some of his past homilies have been.

#138 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2012, 11:04 AM:

#120 Lorax
Demagogues and the mass mediocrity "space salemen" media apply reality distortion infotaintment content filtering, playing up the outre and marginalizing otherwise--a tiny percent of people at the Worldcon wear Big Funny Hats etc., but who ordinally get shown on TV media show clips? There was a "tea party" on Boston Commmon going on when a rally with Srh Pln was speaking on the Common, the Media did not report on the people serving tea from teapots showing civility by example and implicit disaffection for Pln and her messages.


#123 Kevin
Things can change recidivistically very quickly--before the USSR invaded Afghnistan, Afghanistan had women who were judges, professors, MDs... women had social and legal rights and economic self-determination and perquisites and law enforcement and governmental backup for self-determination. After Bush II failed to follow-up the US support for arming the anti-Soviet fighters with sending in foreign aid to rebuild the shattered economy and the water distribution system to rebuild agriculture and turn the fighters' orientation from maiming, murder, and mayhem as methods of engagement with people they had disagreements with to peace and cooperating and co-prosperity and win-win cooperative negotiation and production rather than warfare, the armed adolescents proceeded to strip the women of all self-determination, not only ban women from participation in anything of public life but ban teaching literacy to females with the punishment for that transgression public execution. Women went from educated and in high social and legal positions, to being chattel kept locked up and illiterate, and it happened quickly. The old women are education, the ones under 35. not, and the one who were children when purdah was imposed, partially literate...

#139 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2012, 01:15 PM:

David Goldfarb @124: As usual, the Onion nails it.

Paula Lieberman @138: It's very true that things could get worse again in a hurry, and part of why I donated to the President's re-election fund was to forestall that from happening. As Mr. Nielsen Hayden has said here before, "If 'the arc of history bends toward justice,' it’s only because people got up off their behinds and started bending it for themselves." But seeing so much positive movement in so short a time gives me hope that, if we just keep pushing, eventually it will yield.

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