Thursday, November 6, 2008


The triumph of Barack Hussein Obama was remarkable for a number of reasons, not least the extent and ferocity of the coordinated Republican attempt to remove whole communities of voters from participation. The Republicans did their best to cover their crimes—they produced three persons in Tennessee who claimed that their votes had been flipped to Obama, but then those persons disappeared and it became obvious that they were frauds. There was the whole unjustified attack on ACORN community organizing, too, but after the truth came out, that ACORN had been perfectly responsible in its registration drives, that meme only worked up the god, guns, and gays base, and had no effect outside those pointy-headed borders.

The roll of election theft incidents is truly too large to address in this space.

This is the time and the opportunity to replace the US broken elections system with a nationwide, independent, internationally supervised election system. In civilized countries, like Canada and Australia, there are no problems with local yokels trying to disenfranchise voters by the thousands; everyone votes on a paper, with a big box next to each candidate or issue that you put a check in, yes or no, the ballots are hand-counted, and the results are ready that evening. It's not rocket science. There are no constantly-breaking-down secret-squirrel ES&S or Diebold machines—there never was a need for them. The need is for a commitment to actual citizen participation on an equal basis, and that is where our me-first video-game SUV-owning culture breaks down. But despite decades of indoctrination, you and I aren't consumers. That word should be viewed as the insult it is. We are citizens, and we should be fully vetted participants in society. We have a right to vote, therefore we have a right to free and accessible information and education. Education and information should never have been turned over to plutocrats, whose agenda is the domestication of the popular mind.

Measure 8 has passed in California, and the queer-bashing will begin anew.

As a queer with a 14-year relationship, I am infuriated at the vicious and underhanded attempts by religious bigots to undermine my marriage. My marriage is sacred—it's a joyous union of life partners, not a three-year consumerist breeding agreement punctuated by divorce. My marriage is as sacred as any other, because I'm a human being with human rights, and among those rights is equality. If you can get married, so can I. If you should get your partner's Social Security and pension after your partner's passing, so should my partner. Who would deny it to her? Who would go to my partner after my passing, and say "I'm sorry Ani, but since your partner changed gender, you are condemned to poverty?" Who among you would do this evil deed?

There are some who argue that their god demands that queers be punished by stoning to death, and I stand by their right to argue for that idiotic god. They just can't act on its recommendations. This is a secular society, and anyone who expects me to abide by the rules of their god must first bring their god along and show it to me. Let it impress me with its wisdom and power and the fact of its existence. Until then, the queer-hating god has no power over me. No fair shooting me or beating me to death with a baseball bat, and saying God told you to. Oh no. You trot that god out here right now and it can just explain its business right before my eyes. Nor can you open up a Bible or a Koran, I don't care what they have written down—people wrote those words, and they were wrong. So bring the god itself, or else admit that the whole anti-queer religious concept is your personal or cultural speculation, and nothing to do with reality nor science.

Likewise, I'd like to have someone explain to me how the Constitution or civil society countenances a procedure in which a referendum can be used to deny human rights to some segment—any segment—of the population. We the people developed these democratic instruments to expand human rights, not to restrict and deny them. The anti-queer movement is a pitiful thing, a puppet of neocons since the beginning, a successful effort to turn the working class against itself. The logical extension of its illogic is the ovens where Hitler burned a million genocided queers just prior to 1945. There is a monument in Amsterdam to that occurrence, and it serves to remind everyone of the logical end of queer-bashing. Queerness is obviously an evolutionary advantage for large mammaliam populations, and it won't go away, and even Hitler did not burn it out, because it's in our genetic code, thank goodness. The brain of Evolution is older and wiser than the brain of Hitler, thank goodness.

So I think we need a queer monument in this town, something big. But times are getting tight, so no need to spend a lot of money on it. We'll just rename Hawthorne Bridge. Right now it's named after the head of a bygone asylum for the insane, which of course included persons who were merely transgender or queer. So from now on it's the Queer Memorial Bridge, and I call on the City Council to provide a large bronze plaque giving the history of the Gay holocaust, and some buckets of pink paint. I'm serious. Who will go to the City Council with me? Hooray for the Queer Bridge! The Queer Bridge connects East and West with a cheerful pink lift span. All who travel it will affirm human rights for all. Celebrate the Queer Bridge!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Obama Acceptance Speech

Theme: UNITY

Boilerplate aside, this was an interesting speech. As the French horns lingered in cascading sixth chords, President Elect Obama stressed again and again the need for everyone to come together. In his litany of the types of Americans making up the whole, he included "gays and straights" along with everyone else—something unimaginable for a Bush or McCain Presidency. Of course he also set the furniture for a new Camelot, mentioning his wife Michelle and his children Sasha and Meliya, and a First Dog yet to be named. Young partiers whooped and stalked the streets in cities across the nation, as the new President urged Americans to abandon cynicism and embrace the idea that "change has come."

An acceptance speech may be viewed as the first act of a new Presidency, though the Inauguration will not come for a couple of months. Obama emphasized the two occupations, which he called the "two wars," as challenges for his new Administration, but he also pointed to the financial meltdown, and, encouragingly, mentioned "a planet in peril" in the same breath. As I listened to the list of agenda items that followed, I was pleased to note that this euphemism for climate change had come in the first tier. Following that primary category of challenges, the shovel-list continued: Healthcare, education, jobs—"putting our people back to work," as he said, which is a better formulation than the usual boilerplate indicating breaks for the rich that we've heard since Reagan—and then he acknowledged that he needed to "repair alliances" with the globe, and he then called for patience.

He will need a lot of patience, not least because his entire prospective treasury has already been robbed, in a maneuver of arrogance, cynicism and collaborationism that he also voted for. I believe that this is the time to lay the groundwork for a completely utilitarian and necessary maneuver, one that is unthinkable now but will become inevitable later, that is, that Obama will be unable to move forward without confiscating the wealth of the great corporations. Obama will need to nationalize Exxon, Mobil, and BP, and he will need a solid groundswell of support from all of us. So start talking about it, please!

Obama also departed from the toxic attitude of the Bush Administration by stating directly, though not in as many words, that he would be open to dissent. Dissent has been nearly criminalized under the neocon regime. What a breath of fresh air that is.

Citing the experience of a 106-year old African American voter, Obama pointed to what he called the genius of America—the ability to change. He had already stated that only here could he have such social mobility—a point easily challenged by anyone familiar with social mobility statistics in France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, of Finland, but a hopeful sentiment all the same.