Methinks They Doth Protest Too Much…

July 18, 2006

The House of Representatives today voted on the Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Since the Senate had already voted down the measure the vote meant nothing from a legislative standpoint. Of course, from a political angle it was very important to shoring up the GOP base. (See post from 7/14 under News and Politics)

But beyond the mere smokescreen of internal party pandering, what still confuses me on this issue is the reasoning at its core. Who the hell cares who marries whom and, if you do care, for the sake of all that’s holy, why?

I live in Massachusetts or, as the radical conservatives call it, Satan’s Playground, and you may have heard we are way ahead of the curve on the Gay Marriage issue. We let gay people get married. And don’t be mistaken. Eventually gay marriage will be legal. Time is on the side of the Gay community. 30 years ago an openly gay character on TV would never be tolerated, but I bet Aunt Millie in Iowa just loved the last episode of Will and Grace this past spring.

Not only do I live in a place that allows same-sex marriage but I am in a heterosexual marriage in the same state. According to the logic of the opponents, the sanctity of the instiution that my wife and I enjoy is in immediate danger! Right this second! Why, if I look out my window I bet I’ll see a married gay couple about to storm into my home and sully our sanctity!

Let’s see. Nope. Nobody there.

What are people afraid of? How can two men or two women in love and having a ceremony to commit to each other be harmful? Is the reasoning that gay marriage will seem so appealing that my spouse and I will decide to divorce and find new same-sex partners?

Or is it more of a fiscal objection? Married people can get tax breaks, have an easier time getting loans, and have access to companies health insurance. Is the money going to run out if these people get these benefits? Is that why a minimum wage hike never passes and universal healthcare isn’t going to happen anytime soon? Because we now have a huge deficit? That doesn’t seem to stop defense spending or Congressional pay hikes.

Then there is the “slippery slope” argument that goes like this: “If gay people are allowed to marry, what is to stop someone from marrying a sheep, or a pig or a tree?” Here is my answer: Consent. Two consenting adults who want to get married is a beautiful, righteous and (should be) legal thing. Someone who forces a ewe or a sow or a sycamore into a marriage they can’t possibly understand is a whack job. (And shame on you for thinking of it, Sen. Santorum!)

That leaves religion and (as Groucho might say) Thank you I think I will.

Is it because God (or least the people that profess to work for him) say its wrong? Fine. Don’t have gay marriage ceremonies in your church. Don’t invite gay couples to your Bible reading or pot luck dinner. I’m guessing they don’t want to be there anyway.

But don’t use your religious beliefs to promote discrimination of a group of people or deny them the rights that you enjoy in our free, SECULAR society. Despite the actions of the current administration and its supporters, our government is still for ALL of the citizens. And besides, it doesn’t seem like a very, well, Christian, thing to do.

We as a people have already had to put  amendments on our constitution reminding us that ALL people are created equal, not just white men. Lets not have to do it again. All people are created equal. That’s worth repeating. All people are created equal.

This is America. You don’t have to like everybody here, but everybody gets the right to be here. Eventually the rest of the you will catch up to us here in Mass. I’ll be waiting  with my new friends and newlyweds Adam and Steve. I’m sorry. Adam and Stephen.

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New Pages

July 18, 2006

787px-ubuxerox.jpgI’ve added two new pages to the site. The More Music page has information and links about artists that I enjoy and may be a bit out of the mainstream or lost to time.

The Comedy and Improv page gives a quick history of the origins of American Improv and links to books and sites that expand on the subject.nichols-may.jpg

I’ll be adding to both pages as the mood strikes. Feel free to comment on them in the blog section.


It’s all so disheartening….

July 14, 2006

I made the mistake again today of paying attention to the news. Especially the political news. I can’t help it, I’m a junkie for the pundits and the intrigue. While my wife quite rightfully states what a waste of time it is to read or watch a bunch of people going on about politics when, for the most part, they aren’t even in a position to do anything about it, (think the Sunday morning shows on all 3 major networks), I eat it up like Homer at an all you can eat seafood restaurant.

But it also depresses me. Congress votes themselves a pay-raise and shoots down a minimum wage increase. Arlen Specter makes a shady deal with the White House to “investigate” the NSA domestic wiretapping program that won’t bring anything to light. Valerie Plame has to SUE the Vice-President of the United States just to keep any press coverage on her leak case because the Senate and the House refuse to look into it.

And Fox News. Oh, boy, Fox News. Way too many people are getting their information from this biased propaganda arm of the White House. And they are believing it. I saw a bumper sticker recently that read “If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Listening”. I say, “If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Watching Fox News”. Or, “If You Watch Sean Hannity and You Are Outraged, It’s For The Wrong Reasons”. 

For examples of this, check out www.newshounds.us. These poor people watch Fox all of the time so they can point out discrepancies, omissions and outright lies from the Fair and Balanced News network.

I am a liberal, and proud of it. I am a registered Democrat and torn in my feelings about that. I want to see a Democratic Congress in the fall. I want to see a Democratic President in 2008. I do believe that those things will go a long way to righting the wrongs of the past 6 years and, I have no doubt, those to come. But I’m not convinced that will happen.

First of all, the Democrats just can’t seem to out-evil the republicans when it comes to campaign strategy. I mean, you have to admire them. Bush is President. Twice. And he never really won even once. With an accomplishment like that under their belts, the GOP machine will take a lowly mid-term election in their sleep.

But the biggest problem is the Democrats themselves. Not for all the reason the GOP talking points say about them being fragmented and having no platform or solutions, although I fear that may be true. The real reason is that Democrats aren’t all that different from Republicans in that they are all politicians and therefore beholden to the people that gave them money that put them where they are. The problem is not one of parties, but of the system itself.

Our goverment is corrupt. It is owned by special interests and corporations on both sides of the aisle and they care little about the majority of us. Just look at the Republicans in Congress. In this election year they are holding symbolic votes on issues that have no chance of passing just to shore up the base and get them voting. My favorite was the Flag Burning Amendment to the Constitution. The Constitution!! Change it for that? Let’s save it for the big things like abolishing slavery, giving everyone the vote and repealing the temperance laws. The best statistic given during the debate was that reported incidents of flag burning went up 33% last year. 33%!!! They went from 3 to 4.

And yes, the democrats are calling them out on this, but don’t you think they would do the same thing with their base issues if they controlled Congress in an election year?

Anyway, I’m just ranting because I feel powerless. But I’m not. I can still vote. And hope nobody steals it this time.


Rock and Roll Daughter

July 14, 2006

This is my rockin’ little girl, Morgan, complete with foot on Fender amp, holding her Wiggles guitar, giving the Ronnie James Dio heavy metal sign and wearing a Polygraph Lounge shirt.

 rock-and-roll-1.jpg (click for larger picture)

For those who don’t know Polygraph Lounge, they are the wild, funny and extremely talented duo of Mark Stewart and Rob Schwimmer. Mark is member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and his day job is as Paul Simon’s guitar player and bandleader. He also spends lots of time creating new instruments out of everyday objects.

Rob is a virtuoso theramin player, pianist, composer, etc. who has played with Laurie Anderson, John Cale, Paul Simon, Muddy Waters, Vernon Reid and the list goes on.

You can give them at look at http://www.polygraphlounge.com/.