Tag Archives: Michele Bachmann

The Problem With Movements

I was pondering the other day on the nature of sociopolitical movements.

They’re really weird, don’t you think? But amazingly so. They happen typically from some sort of organic collective of shared emotions, often caused by some inciting incident, and they can wreak all sorts of havoc on the status quo.

Movements today seem to lack that a bit.

Based on cursory knowledge of some of the more successful movements of modern history (the Civil Rights movement, Gandhi’s drive to free India, ending apartheid), here’s what I observed (and I’ll define successful during this):

1) There is a problem some person or group of people wish to fix.

2) They stir up fervor amongst the apathetic, ignorant and disorganized.

3) A leader grows out of the movement.

4) They hammer their disdain for the problem over and over again.

5) There is a martyr of the movement, usually being the leader.

6) They succeed in fixing the initial problem.

Now, I wish I could honestly say that No. 5 was optional, but when I thought about it… Martin Luther King Jr., killed. Gandhi, killed. Nelson Mandela, imprisoned. (Not all martyrs need be killed, after all… right? …Merriam-Webster’s second definition gives me wiggle room. I’ll take it.)

As for success, that’s No. 6. They resolve the problem they set out to resolve. For example, the Civil Rights movement had an extremely specific goal within their general manifesto of “Hey, can we please be treated like equals?”: Desegregate the nation. Now, other sects within the movement had some different goals added to that, but generally, that was the movement’s main goal. Gandhi got India free from the U.K.’s rule. Apartheid ended. These are successes.

So, let’s think of the movements we’ve seen in today’s day and age. The Tea Party movement. Feminism (third wave, I suppose). The gay rights movement.

While some have been working for years (gay rights) and some for, well, a couple of years (Tea Party), none have been extremely successful. Here’s a breakdown.

The Tea Party movement had the organic growth movements need. They’ve gotten number 2 solved (depending on your definition of ignorant). We’ll pretend they’ve even had number 3 nailed. And they’re certainly hammering their disdain for their interpretations of problems over and again. But they fail in a few places. First, they don’t really have any specific problems they want to hit. They do have several they’re upset about, though, so that’s not a huge issue. They certainly have no martyrs, though, no one willing to fully give themselves to the movement and lose everything. And, quite simply, they had too many people they considered leaders, like Rand Paul and Michele Bachmann. But more on that in a bit.

Third wave feminism (I specify third wave because first wave, based on my understanding of it, was a successful movement that afforded women the right to vote.) has yet to succeed because it currently holds too general a manifesto, firstly. Instead of systematically taking out issues one by one, the modern feminist movement rails against all the issues simultaneously. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s noble, and it’s right. But it’s inefficient and ultimately accomplishes little, unfortunately. Or not much very quickly, at least. And due to the lack of specification of goals, infighting has cropped up all over the place, people dictating who is and isn’t a “true feminist,” something I attempted to talk about before and failed miserably at. Fighting from within while trying to target every injustice simultaneously makes it difficult for a movement to truly grow. It stagnates before it can really achieve the third step of gaining a visible leader.

The gay rights movement definitely has the first part: Legalize same-sex marriage. Legalize same-sex adoption. Let gays donate blood. Criminalize harassment via sexuality. A few others, I’m sure, but those are the first few specific examples I can think of. The gay rights movement even had an inciting incident: The Stonewall Riots. Not every movement gets one of those. But the gay rights movement finds itself faltering with no leader and no highly visible martyr. In actuality, Matthew Shepard is that martyr, but with a lack of organization and leadership, that martyrdom has become something only the truly passionate in the movement remember with sadness. Some people that are pro-gay rights don’t even know who Shepard is. And as for leadership, perhaps the most visible leader of the movement is Dan Savage, who is too divisive and confrontational to be a truly effective leader of a movement. As opposed to supporting the movement, he often satisfies himself with lambasting the people in opposition of it, which isn’t how the successful movements found success.

Really, though, I think the Internet might be to blame, partially. When it comes to movements, it’s both a blessing and a curse. On the internet, there is a moment, a brief momentary spark, where your movement can catch fire. For many internet-driven movements, the damage doesn’t have to be massive. A few tens or hundreds of thousands of signatures, a mere drop in the bucket of human existence, on someone’s Change.org petition can get the job done. For movements that need a bigger support system, like the ones I’ve mentioned, the internet can be a bit more of a problem. See, thanks to the internet, things can move quickly. That’s how SOPA got stopped, after all. Things are also mercilessly recorded, allowing for more pointed pettiness and vicious tearing apart. And what’s worse: Everyone can be a leader on their own.

Hell, look at me on this blog. I’m constantly talking about things that I wish would change, things that need to be fixed. And I know there are others that agree with me. But I’m not the leader of any movements. I’m barely even an active member of any. At best, I’m often and intellectual supporter. And why is that? Because on the internet, it seems like that’s all you need. You can get so many like-minded people to swarm upon your opinion and lift you up that you feel like a leader. For years, I was generally considered to be one of the leaders of the gay rights movement… on the Gaia Online forum. And by years, I think I mean two, maybe three or four. The internet moves quickly and unsustained dialogues can be forgotten. For that period of time, my posts, my literature was reposted and debated all over the internet. I had several hundred vocal supporters, and more silent ones. People asked if they could print my posts off and hand them out in real life.

And while I’m not saying that didn’t necessarily help… It’s simply not enough. With the internet, too many people can be too vocal simultaneously. Before that, though, a single person’s voice could shine above the rest of the maddening crowd with clarity and charisma.

For making Progressive or Todd Akin look terrible, or spreading the word about Kony or Trayvon Martin, or getting people to love or hate Chick-fil-A… the internet is great. It’s fabulous for all that. The problems are somewhat general and don’t require much action to fix. Just a tweet, email or share. Some would call it armchair activism, or slacktivism. It can get results, even if the result is eliminating some ignorance, but it simply doesn’t require much.

Other movements need more support, more power behind them. To see women and the GLBT community treated as equals, it takes more than a tweet, email or share. It takes feet on the streets. It takes organization. It takes leadership. It takes vigilance, seeking to destroy the problems facing them one at a time.

…Tweet, email or share if you agree, I suppose.

EDIT: To add to this, someone pointed out that Gandhi and MLK died after the main crux of their movement’s goals were met. They were both still martyrs for their movement, MLK being jailed unjustly and Gandhi going on hunger strike. What their deaths accomplished, however, was permanency of acknowledgement. Now, any movements spawning from the original, or any goals the movements want to revisit, have a permanent figurehead and reminder, a permanent leader to refer back to. Not every movement needs their leader to die, of course. But consider how much stronger and longer lasting those movements have been over the years. Movements like… Well, Christianity.

Just some additional clarification and food for thought.

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Gay Bashing Needs To Stop Now

It’s quite a simple concept, yet many seem not to care. There have been people, sometimes disgustingly hateful, sometimes simply ignorant, who have participated in and perpetuated a rather toxic atmosphere for homosexuals, especially teenagers in that category.

And it needs to stop.

I remember reading a several page long story in Rolling Stone magazine, I believe. The story detailed the unfortunate trend of teenage homosexuals growing up in a small area in Minnesota, the area Michele Bachmann represents, who ultimately took their own lives. Nine in the span of less than a year, I believe. People who were forcing schools to ignore homosexual students and avoid the subject of sexuality entirely rejected the idea that they had any fault in the matter and continued to preach intolerance and societal segregation of anyone, anything and everything dealing with sexualities beyond heterosexuality, what they feel is “the norm.”

Recently, I read a letter written to the Dothan Eagle, a newspaper in my home state of Alabama. It’s not too terribly far from where I live, to be sure. And over the years, through interactions with many people, interactions at many different churches, I’ve noticed a trend amongst an unfortunate number of people. A trend of separation and disdain for anything and everything not straight.

The letter is written by a man who was, at one time, a member of that group. His daughter, Patti, grew up and eventually discovered that she was gay. There were words. Patti moved out. Four months later, Patti moved back in, weeping, crying “I don’t want to be gay” and wanting to be fixed. Made better.

No one could help her. Doctors all said there’s nothing to do. “You can’t help the way you are.”

But growing up in the environment she did, being preached at from the pulpit, told (though not necessarily directly) that her kind of people are hell-bound and the like… It became too much. With no support system, it would seem, she killed herself at age 23.

I wonder what my life would be like if I were gay. How would I feel? Would I have already taken my life?

I was teased and ridiculed a lot as a child. Many are. I was even called queer, though I’m not certain anyone knew what it meant back then in the 6th grade. When I went to the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science and was one of the original members of the Gay-Straight Alliance, posters we made were ripped from the walls and burned on the lawn. The administration forced the group to change their name to something less “inflammatory” and “provocative.” During the second year of the Mobile Gay Pride Parade, a parade the ASMS Allies group marched in, ASMS employees were standing on the fringes of the path with signs condemning homosexuality.

My freshman year of college, we were required to write a paper on a controversial subject for my freshman composition class. Only two people could share a subject. I picked homosexuality because I figured not too many people would write about it. When my mother found out, I got a cold shoulder, and she would whisper to relatives during that Thanksgiving dinner about how I was writing a paper on “homosexuals,” said in a whisper, like an unmentionable disease.

When a commercial with Ellen DeGeneres comes on, my mother’s face will visibly sour. She’ll say something like, “We don’t watch her show. She does questionable things.” When George Takei is mentioned, she’ll say something like, “Oh. I liked him,” knowing fully he’s still alive. And at one point in my life, I don’t remember how it happened, but my mother yelled at me in public, in a fast food restaurant, about how being gay is a choice.

And the church I mostly grew up at, while not often, still lets slip in every once in a while some condemnation of homosexuality, or some statement like “That hurricane made the gays cancel their pride parade, thank God.”

It makes me wonder what my life would be like now with that environment, if I’d even still have one.

Now, my mother is a sweet, loving lady. But, for whatever reason, perhaps because of how she was raised, homosexuality sets her off. People look to the South as a bunch of racists raising their kids to be racist… Homophobia’s not much different. Some kids stick to it, others grow up and grow out of it. But sometimes that’s simply too late.

I don’t know how my dad reacts to homosexuality (though he apparently reads this blog all the time, so maybe he’ll tell me one day). Not as strongly as my mom from what I’ve seen. And he’s Catholic. The Catechism says that homosexuality isn’t a sin (though homosexual sex is). Maybe that’s the view he takes. If I or my two sisters had been gay, maybe he’d have been okay with it. And maybe my mother would have changed her mind.

Because we can’t keep having people perpetuate this hateful environment. We can’t keep accepting it and being okay with it and only realizing it’s wrong when someone dies. How many have to die, have to kill themselves, before people wake up? This goes beyond schoolyard bullying. This is a way of life for some people, an ingrained train of thought.

I can’t remember a time I’ve ever heard of a kid killing themselves because they couldn’t stand being straight. Because they felt wrong. Because they needed to be fixed.

So, maybe, think about the connection. Think about what you say. Think about the people around you.

And stop killing them with words and actions. Stop killing them with hate.

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The Honesty Gaffe

This political season has been rife with those wonderful things we call gaffes. Gaffes are errors in speech that tend to cause political negativity. Some gaffes can be utterly ruinous, like Howard Dean’s “Byaaaah!” Some gaffes don’t seem to make sense as gaffes, like Howard Dean’s “Byaaaah!” Some gaffes come from ignorance and misinformation, like Michele Bachmann’s claim that HPV vaccines caused mental retardation. Some gaffes are meant as harmless by the socially unaware person making the gaffe, like Mitt Romney’s $10k bet or his talking about how many cars he owns.

And then some gaffes are the truth.

These are, really, a subset of the gaffes that don’t seem to make sense as gaffes. These “gaffes” often come from a singular sentence taken grossly out of context due to that sentence by itself not being quite specific enough. The most recent case of this “gaffe” is President Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that” speech.

While I can’t, for some reason, find the entirety of the speech at the moment, “The Daily Show” actually has a pretty good coverage of the speech, as well as the accusatory coverage and fallout from the speech.

Basically, for those unaware, in a speech about business and individual efforts in America and the like, Obama, in the middle, used the sentence “You didn’t build that.” Jon Stewart makes the argument that, clearly, Obama was referring to the roads and other infrastructure used to benefit businesses. I interpret it a little more broadly. To me, he was saying that business owners, large and small, have benefited from the entire American machine one way or another. Somehow, other people have helped. Teachers giving you the information, roads to drive on, loans to start your business, tax breaks, maybe a public library, use of the internet… It goes on and on. These days, so much infrastructure has been laid out that it is pretty much entirely impossible not to have a business that benefits from it in one way or another. Some ways are clearly far more directly benefited. Others are a bit more fringe. But the benefits are there nonetheless.

Opponents and critics of Obama, however, have been taking that singular sentence, “You didn’t build that,” to attempt to paint Obama as anti-business, particularly anti-small business. Their argument is that Obama is besmirching the great individuality and personal drive of American entrepreneurs by daring to suggest that they can’t pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. If those are even still a thing.

However, I would like to counter such arguments, as dishonest as they may be. To argue so vehemently against Obama’s speech is to besmirch and spit upon the American nation. It is to laugh at the ideas of unity, of working together to accomplish great things. It mocks the possibility of American greatness. Instead, they head for the ego, telling Americans they can all be part of the 1% if they try. Telling Americans that greatness is achievable for everyone, and apart from anyone else.

It laughs at the very idea of “these UNITED states.”

The GOP has worked very hard to make the government look like the big bad in this election. A tactic I don’t quite understand, as they’re hoping you’ll pick them to run the big bad, but it seems to work alright. The problem I have with this is, while the government can in fact be a big bad, they’re part of America. The government, like Soylent Green, is people. And if that spoiled anything for you, I refuse to apologize. The American people work in both the private and public sectors. Teachers, police, even government officials are just as important to the country as investors, business owners and the average minimum wage worker.

America is all of us. All of us work together. Can’t we just agree on that simple fact?

And, maybe, just maybe, can we just pick something honest to complain about? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: We need to stop the political deceit. If you want to complain about someone, pick their actual stances. Don’t make stuff up.

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The False Dichotomy Of American Politics

Earlier today, I was having a discussion with some friends and fellow actors (so, you know, Godless liberals all) about the 2012 presidential election and the potential vice presidential picks of one Mitt Romney. While we all generally agreed that Romney is trying to run further to the right now that he essentially has nailed down the nomination, but the real fun comes with his vice president. Will they go further to the right, a la last election season’s Sarah Palin, looking at a Rand Paul or an Allen West? Or will they try to stay more moderate, like with a Chris Christie?

Of course, then there was some discussion as to whether or not Christie could be considered moderate. I argued that, in comparison to many leading the GOP these days, the Michele Bachmanns and the Rick Santorums and the Rick Perrys, Christie is almost downright liberal.

And, since Olympia Snowe decided to retire, I struggle to think of any other Republicans in national politics I could point at and say, “Yes, they’re moderate.”

Speaking of moderate, remember how I mentioned Representative West as an example of right-sided politics, especially in comparison to Romney? Well, some people think he might be “too moderate.” Because he voted against spending cuts sometimes.

The false dichotomies in our political system are reaching a point of ridiculousness. What happened to the adage, “Everything in moderation”? How, then, could someone be too moderate? Moderation should be good. The extremes should be avoided. But in American politics, we’ve drawn lines.

You’re either capitalist or socialist.

You’re either liberal or conservative.

You’re either for abortion or against women’s rights.

You’re either for taxing the rich or for cutting spending.

You’re either a hard worker (rich) or you’re lazy (poor).

I will grant you that not everyone thinks in these dichotomies. But so many do. Including a frightening amount of people involved in the political system. People that believe compromise is going across the aisle and dragging people to their side of things. People that see others that disagree even slightly with what they say as villainous.

I can be for spending cuts in our Defense budget AND for taxing the rich.

I can be a moderate liberal, or socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

I can have stipulations about my support for abortion and still support it.

I can be hard working and poor.

I can agree with the need for social services from our government to supplement our capitalistic society.

I promise you, all of these things are possible. Some are perhaps more difficult or rarer than others, but they can exist. And we need to realize that, collectively. If we allow this rush to extremes to continue, we will fall apart as a nation. Nothing will ever be done because no one will ever work with anyone else in out government. All the time will be spent blaming the other party for some perceived wrong-doing, instead of taking time to work toward fixing things.

Let’s get out of this ridiculous notion and face reality: The world isn’t made of black and white. It’s filled with shades of grey.

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People (Especially Politicians) Need To Stop Saying Stupid Stuff

I napped most of the afternoon away… Unfortunate, because it means I’ll be awake all night… But I deserve some napping, I think. Probably do some more after this.

Anyway. Due to napping, it’s difficult for me to really think of anything deep or even remotely important to talk about. Especially since I’ve actually been spending a decent amount of my free time working on my play (both the one I’m writing and the one I’m acting in)… or watching “Psych.” But I love that show.

Anyway, there’s been this awkward trend for politicians this week. A trend of them saying really stupid things that, really, you would THINK they’d know better than to say.

Here’s some examples.

Here’s Michele Bachmann using the phrase “tar baby” to talk about President Barack Obama’s remarks on oil speculation. Now, maybe it’s because I’m from the South that I am more familiar with how terribly racist a phrase that is. But, even if that weren’t the case… why the hell did Bachmann use it? Seriously, what the hell does it mean in her mind if it’s not a racial thing? Who waves tar babies in the air? How is that a thing?

Here’s Mitt Romney deciding to heckle a beloved small business local bakery with some of his attempts at humor that, of course, always seem to come off as him just being a bit snobbish. Saying the cookies seem like they come from a local 7-11? How is that supposed to be funny? Not only does it seem snobbish, but it’s also kind of mean to say about a small business. You know, one of those things a presidential candidate should generally say he wants to protect. Jon Stewart may have originally given Romney the comedic edge over Obama before, but with this and his heckling NASCAR fans for their rain ponchos, I feel that’s something to be revisited. Romney’s humor seems to just be coming off as kind of mean. Not good in a presidential candidate.

Oh, here’s a favorite. West Virginia Republican Senatorial candidate John Raese decided to compare a cigarette ban to the Holocaust. Does no one seriously understand the whole stigma behind Adolf Hitler? At all? Remember how Bosephus got his Monday Night Football song canned? Hank Williams Jr. was just trying to point out how starkly opposite Obama and John Boehner are, politically speaking, but the mere mention of Hitler causes people to go slightly apoplectic. You just don’t compare people to Hitler, even if you’re not trying to call them evil. You don’t compare ANYTHING to Hitler in a public forum, ESPECIALLY if you’re a public figure. Everyone will tear you apart for it. Leave the Godwin’s Law stuff to the Internet comment sections and forums. Likely, you’ll get compared to Hitler for comparing other things to Hitler. It’s just stupid.

Of course, not all the people on this list are conservatives. We have Vice President Joe Biden recently making a really awkward analogy. This one isn’t quite in the same flavor as the others, and Biden is well known for being a gaffe machine. But, as opposed to Romney’s “I’m rich, suck it” gaffes, Biden’s come off more like a slightly tipsy uncle’s word vomit. This one, comparing controversial legislature passed by Obama to “legalizing rattlesnakes in the lobbies of hotels in Arizona” is… well, really confusing. It’s not a stupid thing to say the same way these others have been. It’s just… weird. What does it even mean? I mean, really?

There is, of course, the unfortunate phrasing of Hilary Rosen I could bring back up… Because I’ve been having trouble finding liberals saying silly things recently. Not that liberals don’t. They’re just as capable of foot-in-mouth as anyone. Just this week has been very conservative heavy.

Which reminds me of our good friend Geraldo Rivera. You’d think that, after his Trayvon Martin hoodie comments, he’d not, y’know, talk about hoodies and stereotypes again… but, of course, he did. And it’s pretty unfortunate, too, because if people do get upset at Rivera for this, they’ll likely ignore the first 99% of his conversation, which was surprisingly insightful and well thought out. But that’s what saying that one stupid thing tends to do: swallow anything important you had to say in a mucky mire of gunk.

Don’t politicians have people that are supposed to talk to them about avoiding these things? That’s what “The West Wing” seemed to teach me.

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Please Stop The Political Deceit

So, despite all the other discussions that have fairly important subtext the majority of people seem to be ignoring, there is still a GOP primary race going on. And boy, is it a party burner.

With Newt Gingrich finally admitting he can’t win before the delegation, deciding to scale back his campaign in hopes of ruining Mitt Romney’s chances of being the delegate, and Romney being wholly and completely unable to stop being an idiot about how rich he is (which makes me wonder if he could ever, y’know, do anything to help his constituency with his complete inability to learn from mistakes), things have been rather ridiculous for the GOP candidates.

But, for some reason, as people are oft wont to do, it’s never enough to hit the people of opposing ideologies where it hurts, as in the things they actually say that are ridiculous and awful, or even hit them with a simple “I disagree” when they say nothing awful. Instead, we have to make stuff up.

No, I’m not talking about the recent, ridiculously moronic wrath taken against President Barack Obama’s statement of solidarity and empathy toward the family of the deceased Trayvon Martin. Not this time, at least.

Instead, I’m talking about a certain photo that has been making the rounds on Facebook. In the last one I talked about, some college kid erroneously attributed himself as not being a member of the lower 99% of the economy simply because he’s lucky enough to soon be debt free. In this one, the target is a specific candidate, Rick Santorum.

Here’s what the photo quotes him as saying:

“While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration. I will ban all pornography. Especially gay pornography. Gay pornography is the reason people choose the gay lifestyle or what I call the deathstyle. If we got rid of that, homosexuality would be gone within a matter of months. This is one of only a few things I see eye to eye on with the Taliban.”

Now, it certainly sounds almost like something Santorum would say. He did say something along the lines of Obama seeming to favor pornographers over families. And it sounds like something he’d think. He’s quite well known for his anti-homosexuality stances. But it all kind of falls apart when you read that last line. Y’know, the one where he says he agrees with the Taliban.

Santorum would never ever say anything like that. Even if he did, you can bet that his political opponents would jump on that like a dog jumps on the only piece of meat he’s seen in weeks. Santorum would be painted as someone who agrees with terrorists and hates Americans, a radical extremist wrong for this country. You can check out Snopes and see what they say on the issue.

Look. Santorum is not a good candidate for America. He is extremist on every single social issue. I have talked about him over and over and again. His politics are terrible. He has said stupid things, made moronic stances, insulted the majority of Americans at one point or another.

Does anyone else remember Santorum and Michele Bachmann signing that “Marriage Vow” that stated enslaved black families lived better lives than black families living under the Obama administration?

THAT is a horrendous thing to do. An awful thing to sign, and by doing so, agree with. It was awful. And that’s not even in the five links I just posted earlier about Santorum’s views. Heck, those five links just happen to be the five articles I’ve written that have his name in the title. I’ve written several others.

There are a billion and a half things to take offense to when it comes to Dickish Rick. It’s easy enough to get terribly boring after a while, and to start being disappointed in humanity. Particularly the American bits.

So why make things up? To what point and purpose is there? It merely weakens the faith people have in you and your position should you be found out. It makes you and your beliefs seem faulty and deceitful. Don’t lie to hurt your opponent, or to set up your own beliefs. Be honest, and let people make decisions informed by reality. Maybe something good will come of it.

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If Your Convictions Are Strong, Why Aren’t You Sharing?

Perhaps you’ve heard that former “Britain’s Got Talent” and “America’s Got Talent” judge Piers Morgan has gone and gotten himself a gig as the new, British Larry King. He now hosts a late night CNN television show that features, by and large from what I’ve seen, one on one interviews with different people. Very often, Morgan is very much willing to go straight to the controversy and ask questions related to hot-button topics the interviewee has been outspoken about in the past.

Take, for example, his recent interview with former “Growing Pains” star and current evangelical Christian notable Kirk Cameron. Cameron is very well known for his conservative Christian social values, to the point where when he converted to Christianity, he started condemning fellow “Growing Pains” cast members and convicting them of sin, as well as forcing changed on the scripts should the material conflict with his views of what was appropriate.

Well, the interview with Cameron has created quite the stir. In it, Morgan asked for his views on homosexuality, always a hot-button topic. Cameron said of it, “I think its unnatural, I think it’s detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many foundations of civilization.”

Which are definitely harsh words, to be sure.

Then, tonight, Morgan had former GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann on the show. That’s someone we all know has had some rather strong views on homosexuality, saying “If you are involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement and that’s why this is so dangerous.”

Truth be told, I’m not even sure what the heck that’s supposed to even mean. But it definitely says it’s dangerous, and it definitely sounds highly negative. So, it’s safe to assume that Bachmann doesn’t have the highest views of homosexuality in the world.

Considering the interview with Cameron caused such a stir on his own show, it rather makes sense that Morgan would take some time out of the interview to ask a fellow high profile social conservative on her opinions on Cameron’s statements.

What’s strange in the interview with Bachmann is her initial shying away from even wanting to touch the subject, something that she’s never really had a problem with before, and, in less than 6 minutes, she was quick to call the issue dead and spin straight toward the economy. Even Cameron, when Morgan first posed the question of gay marriage to him, seemed a bit nervous about breaching the subject.

What gives?

These are people that have never before seemed to have a problem talking about their controversial views on the subject, a subject that they have a rather strong opinion on. So why shy away?

Perhaps it’s like Bachmann said: people in favor of “traditional marriage” (as redefined as recently as the 1980s) are more prone to attacks. Take a look at Cameron being beaten up, she said. People attack the socially conservative and call them bigoted.

I’m not going to be an idiot and say she doesn’t have a point, because she does. When someone talks about homosexuality in a highly negative way, or uses something like “gay” as a negative slur in a high profile fashion, the response is often immediate and, amongst the general, internet using populous, vicious.

What I will do, however, is point out that playing the victim card is a load of tosh, since it happens to strong proponents of homosexuality and homosexual marriage, too. And, while the response from some members of the homosexual community and its allies has not always been very adult (Glitterbombing? Really?), I can’t recall the last time I heard of someone hating on homosexuality being beaten to death. There are far too many stories of members and allies of the GLBT (Or is it QUILTBAG now?) community being viciously physically attacked.

Sure, you may suffer verbal, political and even economic backlash for your outlandish statements, like Rush Limbaugh is now seeing happen, but when has that ever stopped you before?

It’d be great if what was stopping people was a sense of decency. If people were stopping and saying, “Hey. Calling a woman an oversexed slut and prostitute for wanting to express her views on birth control is inappropriate. Calling a female politician a c— is bombastic and unnecessary. Saying homosexuals destroy communities and civilizations in a public forum as though it were fact is not something I need to do.”

But I don’t think that’s what’s happening.

No, for Limbaugh, I think it was regret once consequences were seen and members of his own conservative base were disapproving of his statements.

For Bachmann, I think it’s political season and she doesn’t want the issues the GOP would rather focus on being clouded by unpopular statements that could lose crucial votes for their party come November.

For Cameron… he probably just doesn’t want to be remembered as “that guy that hates gays.” Does he hate gays? Probably not. But that swift vicious response is certainly willing to paint him that way. So, for him, the nervousness about answering is understandable.

But, still… some beliefs should stay personal. You simply need to think, “Hm. If I replaced this description of a group of humans with a description matching a group of humans of which I’m a member, would I be upset by the statement? If yes, I should shut up.”

…of course, maybe the general opinion really is turning against this kind of sentiment and they all just don’t want to be unpopular.

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When Will We Stop Putting “Morality” Over What’s Right?

This post was originally intended to be a lengthier one, with a focus on the recent Susan G. Komen vs. Planned Parenthood debacle. I’ll see if I can talk about that stuff at a later date.

Instead of that, though…

A friend of mine posted a Rolling Stone magazine article on his Facebook. If you’ve never read a Rolling Stone article… they tend to be long. But thorough and well written, often.

This one made me livid.

I’ve talked about bullying before. I’ve talked about the dangers of apathy and shifting responsibility. I’ve talked about the essential legalization of harassment in the name of “morality.” I’ve talked about how not to mix the Bible and public policy.

And now I’d like to let Sabrina Ruben Erdely talk to you about all of these things happening in one town.

Please click the above link, if nothing else. Please read that article. Please read about the area of Anoka, Minnesota, represented by Michele Bachmann, an area that saw the suicides of nine teens in two years, several of which could be linked to anti-homosexual bullying. Please read about a town so ravaged by despair that “700 students were evaluated for serious mental-health issues, including hospitalizations for depression and suicide attempts.”

And read how the people that forced legislation that required apathy from teachers, the people that opened the door for this type of youth torture to be conducted freely without resistance from faculty, blame this on those that disagree with them. Blame this on sin. On immorality. On the victims. Read how these people stand high on their moral ground, disdaining any who would dare say they are culpable.

Please read. And please get upset. And PLEASE.


If you EVER hear about something like this happening near you, DO NOT be apathetic. You can post it on your Facebook, or your Twitter, or your blog. You can write to your representative. You can take to the streets. You can start protests, raise awareness.

But this needs to stop.

There is something wrong when people blind themselves with “morality” from doing the right thing. And it needs to stop. Now. Can we stop it fully? No. But we should damn well try.

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From The Inkwell – “Welcome To Hollywood” Part 4

Okay. So, tonight, there was a GOP debate, minus one Michele Bachmann. While I did look up some of what was said, I don’t feel like going into a huge rant about it all today. Besides, there were no major gaffes to laugh about this time (well, besides some of the candidates’ policies). So, I’ll just save that discussion for a later time, like tomorrow.

In the meantime, I continue my (amateurish and slightly ignorant high school) short story (that I will SO update one day). Parts 1, 2, and 3 here. This one is a bit short… and lacking the details of the film and writing process I hope to include one day. Hopefully, you will enjoy.

Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, months to years. After about two years of tedious studio work, Jake and I perfected the movie to fit the visions we both had. Jake worked especially hard on the project, as it was to be his legacy. If it went poorly, not only would he fail to deliver his message, but he would also look like a complete idiot. So he poured his very soul into making sure that the movie went flawlessly. Finally, it was finished and due to be released. We were waiting at the theater to get the first tickets in. You would assume that the scriptwriter and producer would get a discount or something for their own movie. Unfortunately, we still had to pay full price.

Jake tapped my shoulder. “Would you look at this, Trent? Seems those commercials we had did well.”

I nodded in agreement. I was pleasantly surprised, and Jake was as well, no doubt, by the number of people that had come to the debut of the movie. There were well over three hundred people at this screen alone, about three hundred fifty. Though three hundred fifty people at one screen doesn’t sound like much for the debut or limited release of a movie in Los Angeles, it was pretty good for a B movie. Taking into account that this was not the only theater in America showing our movie, I was willing to guess that it was having a decent turnout for its debut night. Nothing blockbuster, but definitely a big hit for one of our movies.

Jake had smuggled in some snacks and drinks for us. It’s all we could do, what with not getting a discount on the tickets. Have you seen the prices of candy at a theater? They’re outrageous! Maybe that was what our next movie could be about… if we were still around. Unfortunately, if Jake got what he wanted, that definitely wouldn’t happen.

Jake elbowed me in the ribs. “Hey, buddy. How many shocked looks and ‘Oh, my God!’s do you think we’ll have at the end of this?”

I nudged him back, and turned to look at him. “Shh! Don’t spoil anything for the common people!” I grinned. The lights dimmed in the theater, and the traditional messages telling us not to litter and to drink Pepsi came on.

I turned away from him to look at the screen. As the theater darkened further, I wondered how the movie turned out. Despite Jake’s wishes, I secretly hoped for a successful film. But I suspected, as the movie started, that would be too much to ask for…

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Obama V. The Current GOP Lineup

Well, the first votes for the GOP presidential nominee have come and gone, and you’ve likely heard about the results. Mitt Romney squeaked past a last second Santorum surge from behind (eeeeeeeeew, gross) with an 8 vote win. Or a 29 vote win. Or a 12 vote loss. Whatever. Ron Paul gave a rather impressive showing as well, gathering 21.4% of the votes, only 3.1% less than both Rick Santorum and Romney. Newt Gingrich pulled off only 13.3%, but is not to be counted out as John McCain placed fourth in Iowa in 2008, as I recall. Rick Perry grabbed only 10.3% of the votes despite spending the most money in the state, and former Iowa straw poll winner Michele Bachmann grabbed a pitiful 5%, forcing her to pull out of the race.

And so, we are now left with 6 candidates people have heard of plus Buddy Roemer, since Jon Huntsman didn’t participate in the Iowa caucus and has been focusing fully on New Hampshire. And as the votes continue to crawl on, we’ll have fewer and fewer, until there is only one.

But who is it to be? People like Jon Stewart think that, despite the GOP’s almost adamant refusal to get fully behind Romney, that’s who they’ll end up with. Yet high up members of the Tea Party movement, who still hold a heavy grip, especially in the southern states like South Carolina, think Romney sucks a whole heck of a lot. Yet so many people think Romney has the best chance to beat Barack Obama in the general election. Allow me to break down the way I see things now, not in who will get the GOP vote, but in who will be best against Obama.

Starting with the least likely:

Rick Perry – Before you ask, I actually am including Roemer on this list. I think Perry has the worst chance of any candidate to win against Obama. Why? He has shown a complete lack of ability to harness the excitement his own party had for him, has become the king of gaffes the way Joe Biden could only have ever dreamed, and can’t seem to choose between the image of serious man and drunk frat guy. With Bachmann dropping out and Cain gone, Perry is the most caricatured ridiculous GOP candidate still on the list.

Buddy Roemer – Unfortunately, I have to put Roemer here due to the simple fact that he is complete obscure. Even if he did manage to gather enough last second (like, seriously last second) popularity amongst the GOP to get the nomination, he’s been too obscure to get the general election excited about him. I think he’d actually debate really well against Obama. But he has a lot of liberal tendencies that I don’t think would allow enough of the GOP to want to vote for him.

Newt Gingrich – Okay. This guy is kind of a giant jerk. And a bit of a clown. He may have sustained a surge that granted him some spotlight, but he wasn’t really gracious about it. Not to mention, the ideas he wants to institute are, frankly, crazyballs. Even many in the GOP thought his best two out of three application of Constitutionality was insane. And liberals want to keep him far away from the White House, which would gather up a powerful amount of votes against him.

Now, these three are actually far behind. The next four are much closer to each other than these three and depend on several factors.

Rick Santorum – Not a candidate anyone took seriously before… well, this week, he is kind of like a Rick Perry that doesn’t gaffe like a crazy man. He’s got the social conservative values the GOP adores so much and is willing to apply them with extreme prejudice. Now, he’s on the bottom of this because, again, liberals want him far and away from the White House. No one with a liberal leaning wants a Santorum presidency. If you’re disappointed in Obama for not doing more, Santorum would be like anti-what-Obama-promised. He’d make sure EVERY liberal ideal was scorch earthed, or die trying.

Mitt Romney – Let’s face it. This guy is the 2012 GOP John Kerry. He’s boring and says absolutely NOTHING of value. Even all the hate the GOP has for a second Obama term would not garner enough excitement in Romney being president. Romney has said exactly everything that he thinks any voter pretty much ever may possibly want to hear at some point. The only thing I know for sure about a Romney presidency is that the Occupy Wall Street movement would probably grow like crazy, because Romney would make the 1% so far away from everyone else, it’s really quite sad. Very pro-Wall Street, this guy, but that’s really the only thing I know about him.

Jon Huntsman – Yeah. I’m putting Huntsman above Romney. People can actually get a bit excited about Huntsman. Plus, with Huntsman’s slightly larger amount of open-mindedness, he could more easily court a slightly more liberal vote. This is something the GOP seems to fail to realize as a whole: Liberals are fair game for them. While his approval is getting a last second surge as unemployment drops and he stands up to a rather annoying Congress, Obama has still disappointed many liberals by being a bit too friendly with Wall Street and a bit too lacking in the chutzpa when standing up to a belligerent Congress. There are liberals that could be talked away from the Democratic vote. Why do you think Democrats have blue dogs? There are fewer slightly liberal GOP members than slightly conservative Democrats, from what I’ve seen, especially evident during the health care battle. Further, Huntsman has been pretty consistent with his message, while Romney has yet to have one that isn’t “Beat Obama.”

Ron Paul – Those keeping score knew he’d be up here. Yes, I feel Ron Paul actually has the best chance of beating Obama. Why? Because he courts the liberal vote like crazy. Because he’s a libertarian. He is consistently, 100% for an actual small government, one that stays out of citizens’ personal lives as well as the market, making him very much for many of the things most GOP voters claim to be for. Sure, some of that small government stuff means they lose a bit of their moral institutionalization, like by seeing an end to the war on drugs, but Ron Paul has the easiest time grabbing both GOP and Democrat votes. He has a lot of the same pull on young voters that candidate Obama had, and they were a big help in winning Obama the election. Sure, some people think his ideas are a bit crazy, but he could be tempered by Congress and the courts. Sure, it’d mean Congress will have to DO things, but the voters might like that idea.

What it all boils down to is this: Can GOP voters rally behind someone who is closer to center than they would perhaps like, someone who appeals to the disenchanted liberals and the angry conservatives alike? And can Obama remind people that, while his presidency hasn’t been perfect, he has scored some big victories that would likely be immediately lost with pretty much any of the GOP candidates, and any good (from a liberal’s perspective) gained in the last 4 years would be completely lost with a GOP presidency?

The beginnings of socialized healthcare, the repeal of DADT, the removal of troops from Iraq… versus the recent law of indefinite detention, the bailouts and the drones.

Obama’s had his disappointing moments, and still does… but I think, if we re-elect a better Congress, Obama will have a better showing in a second term than in his first. Now that he has a better idea of what he’s doing.

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