Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nothing Has Changed. No, I Take That Back, It Has Gotten Worse


I wrote the following in October 2014 -- almost two years ago and NOTHING HAS CHANGED. 

As a matter of fact too many more offenses by Republicans can be added to the list -- far too many for me to list. AND THEY WANT TO BE THE PARTY OF INCLUSION? THEY WANT WOMEN AND BLACKS AND LATINOS AND GAYS AND OTHERS WHO HAVE SUFFERED THEIR INSULTS AND HATRED TO JOIN THE GOP CULT?

Yes, CULT. For the republican party is no longer about political dialogue and compromise and fiscal conservatism. It has become a fanatical religious CULT. 


October 20, 2014

I’m sure there are a few well-meaning Republican candidates out there, BUT WELL-MEANING IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I cannot, in conscience, foresee casting my vote for any Republican. Here’s why:

Any political candidate who calls her/himself a Republican (and I’ve noticed over the past twenty years or so that that label on their mailings is usually in very small print, if it is there at all) – must implicitly approve of GOP views on marriage equality, unbridled campaign financing by big corporations, legislation that would institutionalize discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender individuals under the guise of religious liberty, regressive immigration legislation, the primacy of fundamentalist christian doctrine in legislation and government, “reparative” therapy for LGBT individuals, the right to bear assault weapons, and a whole litany of idiotic, insensitive and misogynistic pronouncements by a host of Republican wing-nuts including:

Glen Grothman, a Republican state senator: "I've interviewed over a dozen people who check out people who pay with food stamps, and all felt people on food stamps ate better — or at least more costly — than they did. [People] who work in food stores indicate that many people who use food stamps do not act as if they are genuinely poor."

Todd Kincannon, former executive director of the South Carolina GOP in a Tweet “I hope the dumb bitch who initiated physical violence with her NFL player fiancĂ© learned a good lesson when he justifiably beat her ass.”

Stacey Campfield a Republican Tennessee state lawmaker, who introduced a “Don’t say gay” bill in 2009 who also said "Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community. It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall." He also introduced a bill that would cut welfare benefits to parents whose children aren't doing well in school.

Renee Ellmers, a two-term Congresswoman from North Carolina. “Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level…We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level and with everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go.”

Arizona state representative Adam Kwasman, mistaking a bus full of America children on their way to YMCA camp for undocumented immigrant children: "I was actually able to see some of the children in the buses. The fear on their faces.... This is not compassion."

Rick Perry of Texas GOP which in June adopted their new platform that supports “reparative therapy” for The Gays: "Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."

Scott Esk, an aspiring candidate for the Oklahoma House of Representatives who when asked if he thinks The Gays should actually be put to death based on his religious beliefs, said: “I think we would totally be in the right to do it.”

Pam Bondi as Attorney General of Florida said about not wanting to recognize same-sex marriage: because those marriages would "impose significant public harm."

Representative Andy Gipson, a Republican legislator about the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act says the bill protects “Christians in the state from discrimination,” meaning people can use their religious beliefs to discriminate against anyone, most notably The Gays.

Republicans Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, introduced a bill that would allow adoption or foster care providers to refuse service on the basis of their own personal religious objections. (While aimed at gay and lesbian couples, the bill could be used by non-christian agencies to deny adoption of children by Christian couples!)

Arizona Republican Jim Brown said this on Facebook: “I want folks to think about something. I want folks to think about how slavery really works. Back in the day of slavery, slaves were kept in slavery by denying them education and opportunity while providing them with their basic needs. Not by beating them and starving them. (Although there were isolated cases if course) Basically slave owners took pretty good care of their slaves and livestock and this kept business rolling along.”

Anthony Culler, the GOP candidate fro South Carolina's 6th Congressional District, wrote on Facebook on Oct. 14. "Same-sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of marriage are not cute and cuddly but rather (for those of you that are old enough to remember the movie), Gremlins that will only destroy our way of life."

In his lengthy post, Culler also calls LGBT people "bullies" that lead an "alternative lifestyle" full of substance abuse, saying that the LGBT community is "self-destructive." and..."Same-sex 'marriage' is a pestilence that has descended on our society, against our will, by those in the courts and government that do not value the traditional family,"

Additionally, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has named 19 members of Congress, 18 of whom are Republicans, who “go out of their way to oppose any step toward equal protection under the law or to protect LGBT Americans from violence, discrimination and harassment. They proactively work to undermine existing legal protections and promote anti-LGBT discrimination.” These congresspersons sponsor or co-sponsor, in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Federal Marriage Amendment, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, and the State Marriage Defense Act; in the U.S. Senate, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, and the State Marriage Defense Act.

The 19 are: Senate: Ted Cruz, R-TX, Michael Enzi (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeff Sessions, (R-AL); House (14): Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Andy Harris (R-MD), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Walter Jones (R-NC), Mike Kelly (R- PA), Steve King (R-IA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Randy Weber (R-TX)

The people I mention ( and there are so many more) are not just loose cannons; they speak for their party and they espouse Republican ideology.

So to the obstructionist Republican congresspersons, Republican candidates, national or local, I say: If you belong to the club, to the Republican party, I must assume that you are more or less sympathetic to the beliefs and principles THAT ARE ANTITHETICAL TO MY OWN.

You will not have my support, nor in the case of the local ballot, my vote.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Clinton and Kaine Nail It!

Can't believe the vitriol on YouTube. My 2 cents:
Clinton and Kaine nailed it. They are, despite their mistakes, leaders who work for everyone's rights and best interests. Exposing Trump as an eminently UNQUALIFIED narcissist and charlatan who thinks ONLY HE "can fix it" when he's "fixed" absolutely NOTHING in his life - he's a taker, a manipulator, a crooked businessman, does anything for his own self-agrandizement and bank account who disposes of people like yesterday's trash when they no longer serve his whims, who is above the law and uses the law to sue those he calls his enemies into submission. I can't believe those who have drunk his Kool-aid can slough off his daily childish insults, lies and gaffs and ridiculous ideas. Too many to list. No political party is perfect, not is any candidate, but the bottom line is that the Democrats are the party of civil rights, work to better the lives of all through education and economic opportunities. So all you zombies, can stuff it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Still Relevant Afterword

Having mentioned my Memoir on Facebook a day or so ago, I am reminded that some thoughts I wrote in the AFTERWORD of the book are more than relevant today in view of recent developments in the conservative fringe movement that has hijacked the Republican Party. I am sharing that final chapter of my memoir here (forgive me -- I may have shared this some time back) in hope that 1) you will find it worthy of your time to read it; 2) that some of you might want to read the entire book which is not at all like the AFTERWORD - it is much more entertaining and I think even the serious chapters will hold your interest. Available on Amazon in print and Kindle.…/…/1619335573…
So here goes:
Peter M, the friend to whom I addressed the Preface, died from complications of AIDS, like too many other people I have known. I never finished composing that letter to him in 1987 and so it was never sent. Here, many years later, I include an Afterword, addressed to him.
* * * * *
May 2014
Dear Peter,

I’ve somehow survived to 2014. I am old—or pretty nearly old as life journeys go. In the grand scheme of things, I am nobody and my life is irrelevant. So why should my story, my experiences beginning more than half a century ago, matter to anyone? Why should I bother to write down these snippets of my life?

The answer to that last question: I had to write this account, even if no one ever reads it, because I was compelled to do so in the same way as I was compelled to come out; it was a matter of survival. And if I am to live any semblance of an authentic life, I must come out unreservedly and often; because coming out is never only an event: it is a continuous process and one that challenges me daily.

  • The woman who cuts my hair when I’m visiting in South Carolina insists on making small talk and asks about my wife. She has scissors. How do I respond?
  • At the auto repair shop, I tell the service tech, who I’ve just overheard making a homophobic comment, “If there’s a problem, call Lee, my, uh, friend? roommate? partner? significant other? husband?”
  • Leon and I are holding hands on a deserted beach at sunset as some college kids approach in the distance. Do I let go of his hand?
Ann Bancroft as Ma Beckoff scolded Harvey Fierstein’s Arnold in Torch Song Trilogy: “You haven’t spoken one sentence since I got here,” she says indignantly, “without the word gay in it.” How often do I check myself so as not to offend the likes of all the Ma Beckoffs in the world with constant gay references?

I am challenged daily to come out, again and again and again, because, even as things appear to be changing, there still exist subtle and pervasive societal and cultural norms that are intended to usher us back into our closets: the veiled but insidious beliefs, behaviors, words, and hatred that are still widely tolerated.

I am challenged to come out, again and again and again, because of the hate and vitriol and rage that seem to escalate in response to every equal rights victory and with every courageous individual who comes out and who refuses to remain silent and invisible.

I am challenged to come out, again and again and again, because too many gay kids still choose suicide as their only option to escape bullying and familial rejection; because some lawmakers still introduce bills that would take back our hard won rights and liberties; because some religions still wave signs declaring that “God hates fags” while others, less blatant, use more refined and educated language to condemn and vilify us.

My coming out was not only a matter
 of self-preservation; it was and continues to be a uniquely liberating, transformational, spiritual, and healing life experience. I do believe that coming out is the only antidote to the poison of societal oppression that tries to deceive us into believing that the closet is the safest place to be, that the closet will ultimately protect us from the world, from ourselves, and from eternal damnation.

The closet’s false security is ultimately suffocating and fatal to one’s emotional and psychological integrity, if not to one’s physical existence. The closet is built on fear and guilt, but more so on societal and religious disapprobation and condemnation — a formula for what is called internalized homophobia. The closet derives power from this internalized homophobia, from our internal conflicts and fears, the artificial conflict between some bogus good and fake evil: the fear of rejection, reprisals, and violence, and the terror of a mythologized Last Judgment and ungodly wrath.

Despite all of that, we persist in our coming out as if our lives depended on it — because they do.

Coming out is so vital to our integrity that the impulse to acknowledge and be true to ourselves is, in many respects, not unlike our innate survival instinct.

The fact that the event that we call coming out is virtually universal to the contemporary homosexual experience suggests that it is not an inconsequential phenomenon.

Think about that. Coming out has a reality beyond our individual experience.

It is both a unique and a shared experience—one that unites us in some fundamental way.

Our sexuality, our gayness, is mostly invisible to others. Coming out and being out involves being visible—both when we look in the mirror and when others see us.

Sometimes, in order to be visible to others, we have to be “in their face.” Sometimes we need to tell our stories, each of us, story after story, after story, until they “get it.”

Because “they” are still trying to define “us,” tell us who they think we are, tell us that we are objectively disordered or immoral or sinful or worse.
Who are “they” and who do they think they are?

Unfortunately “they” are not only the ignorant and bigoted, but often otherwise intelligent and sometimes even well-meaning individuals.

Why do “they” think they know more about our sexuality, or us, than we do?

More to the point, why do they care?

Certainly “they” outnumber “us” and we’ve always been an easy target. Does their inability to save our souls or change us, or to limit our freedom somehow make them inadequate or fearful?

What is in it for “them” that they so persist?

It amazes and frustrates me that our stories—the actual lived experience of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals—are so summarily ignored, discounted, and dismissed.

It baffles me that many vocal and influential individuals persist in holding to and disseminating absurd, erroneous, and irrelevant opinions about us.

This is unacceptable and can no longer be tolerated.

“They” can only make their own positions tenable by repeating questionable scriptures, fabricated “studies,” pseudo-science, and outright lies—and repeating them over and over as they wholly disregard us and our voices.

I can only pose a few questions for others to try to answer:

What is it about homosexuality and sexual and gender non-conformity that makes it such a lightning rod?

What is so unique about it that religious factions condemn it, regressive governments ban it, entire cultures punish it, and ordinary people are moved to hatred and violence by it?

Why are millions of dollars spent to fight us and to deny us equal protections under the law?

These questions underlie the need to tell my story. As for the first question—whether my story or experiences will matter to the readers or not—is for each of them to decide. But I do know that this is my voice and my truth, for what it’s worth.

For me the value in telling my story here, beyond the healing, is to preserve a tiny slice of collective history—to document what it was to be gay and to come out in a particular time and place. I want to remember all the others who were there along with me, creating our lives together and defining our sexuality as we went along.

My hope is that others find some value in that as well.

With Fondness and Love,

Friday, July 15, 2016

Terror in France

Horrible tragic terrorist attack in Nice, France.

Will flags ever fly at full mast?

The world needs a solution to the scourge of violence and I'm certain that no one political leader, no one political party, or sovereign country, or any one religion or religious leader has the solution or the power to end the violence.

It is time for people of peace to come together and not just re-act to violence with prayers, moments of silence and vigils; nor to re-act with more violence and hard-line tactics that further incite terrorists.

There needs to be rational, intelligent, carefully parsed responses at every level of the problem: political, economic, racial, ideological, mental health, sociological, cultural, educational and police/military.

And meanwhile, here in the US, we seem more hung up over bathroom laws and denying loving couples their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Monday, July 11, 2016

My Political Rant for July

 FOR ANYONE WHO THINKS Republicans are friends of the LGBT Community, think again.

The Republican Party is no longer a viable option for anyone committed to LGBT rights, human rights, or any legitimate social issue. 

Never my party of choice, but until the Reagan era, I considered the GOP as able to debate and compromise and work toward the common good. NO LONGER! 

The party has been hijacked by religious extremists, ideologues and outright wackos. How anyone of reason would want to be associated with this NEW, UNRECOGNIZABLE GOP is beyond me. 

It no longer has to do primarily with conservative values or conservative economics - its values are way beyond conservative. 

Rather it now fosters repression, divisiveness, obstructionism, and theocracy as preached by illegitimate christianists and white supremacists; it fosters fear of anything different from white, male-dominated cultural "norms" like shopping at Walmart in sweatpants, drinking beer by the 12 pack and watching football while supporting the rhetoric of lowering taxes on the wealthy and privatizing social security, letting the poor and the sick die off, refusing to bake cakes for the gays, making laws about who can use what restroom and who can refuse to issue a marriage license because of Jesus. 


UPDATE: Here’s the apparent final draft version of the section on marriage of the GOP Platform 2016 via the New York Times:

“The data and the facts lead to an inescapable conclusion: that every child deserves a married mom and dad. The reality remains that millions of American families do not have the advantages that come with that structure. We honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the burdens of parenting alone and embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with dignity and respect. But respect is not enough. Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society. For that reason, as explained elsewhere in the platform, we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to states.”

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Post for Russ

OK, Russ, this is for you!

The trouble with Facebook is that it sucks you in…and it is so easy to post photos and tidbits without much thought or time or effort.Which is why you don't get to see my posts. If you like you can go to Facebook HERE. But if you don't have an account, you may not see anything.

Yes, Leon is a Park Ranger at Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. He is employed by the Pueblo de Cochiti under auspices of Bureau of Land Management, US Department of the Interior.

(We don't do dress-up! It's for real! and that makes it so much sexier, don't you think?)

It is a temporary position but he is well liked and his supervisor has practically guaranteed him a permanent position with BLM provided he can pass the grade. 

He loves it. He has to hike the trail 3-4 times per week. 70 stories up and 4 miles round trip . You can see a fairly good video of the park, the rock formations and hiking trail here: Tent Rocks
Leon fixing the pulley on the flag pole at
Veteran's Memorial Overlook, Tent Rocks
OL of Guadalupe in Santa Fe
Benni waiting for Rattlesnake Training
Wild Horses in Cochiti
Dogs Running on the Dome Road
View From Our Front Yard
My Tiny Garden
Wild Flowers of Unknown 
Century Plant

Cholla Flower
Sugarite Canyon Lake, Raton, NM
"Green, Like Vermont!"
Benni Looking at Cochiti Lake
from the Ridge off Koorani Street 
Our New Sweat-equity Walkway
From the Courtyard

Bonanza Creek Ranch Movie Set
Our Dining Room with
Three of Dad's Paintings
Gate to the Courtyard
My First In-the-Wild Rattlesanke
Hopefully my Last

Saturday, July 2, 2016

One Take on New Mexico

Occasionally people ask if I like New Mexico and I usually answer "Yes, pretty much."

Then they might ask what I like about New Mexico. The first thing that comes to mind is not the scenery or the weather, I usually reply, "The people are so friendly."

Now, New Mexicans, and I mean New Mexican Native Americans, New Mexicans of Spanish descent, New Mexicans of mixed ethnicity, New Mexicans who are newbies from other parts of the country and the world, they all pretty much seem to be friendly - but in a most sincere sort of way. And it is contagious.

They are not friendly like "polite" friendly. Like those people who act all friendly but who reserve the right to hate you if they find out you do not believe what they believe or if you don't share their prejudices or their religion or are too poor or from a different part of the country or are gay.

No, most New Mexicans seem to be not only "live and let live" but beyond that have a sincerity that is both uplifting and contagious. They have no reservations about saying good morning or hello; they don't "size you up" before offering a greeting; they seem always ready to engage in light conversation and give you their full attention...not in a hurry to cut it short because there are so many things to do and places to go.

You're a man with a husband? Cool. You're from Connecticut? Cool. You like it here? Cool.

At the dog park a gentleman who looks native American, (though they do often say Indian here with no disrespect) engages in some talk about the weather and where you're from and you mention that you saw your first rattlesnake the other day and he laughs and says not to worry about snakes in the dog park but over by the culvert, they've been spotted now and then and he says his name is Charlie and his dog's name is Stormy and you introduce yourself and your dog...

Even at the grocery store, the produce clerk will walk you to where the horseradish is because "that's so hard to find, let me show you where..."

And when your carriage almost collides with someone going around the corner you find yourself apologizing, "Sorry, I know I was speeding!" and the person whose carriage you almost hit just smiles back and says, pointing at the little girl pushing the carriage, "My little one here drives too fast too!"

And when the lady bagging your groceries in the recycle bags you provided says, "I put all the frozen things in the cooler bag for you." and she stacks your bags neatly in the mini-carriage so you just can't help saying, "You did a great job." and she is proud of her work and says "Thank you, have a nice day!"

...and you feel something like endorphins in your brain because something just has happened like ten time this morning that used to happen only rarely in your previous life...but in New Mexico it is just seems to be
the way people treat one another...

Speaking of honey in his new shorts Boy Scout...uh...Ranger uniform.


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