Why do I write?

Writing from the heart is what I’ve always done. Join me for my inaugural blog over at Women and Words for reflections on my writing and how life shapes the words I put on the page.

Women and Words

I don’t remember exactly when I started writing. I only know that I cannot remember not needing to write. Maybe it was because I was a shy kid who felt like she didn’t belong anywhere exactly. Books and reading were a great escape. My mother’s aunt nurtured that connection to books and I loved getting swept away in an epic story. Then one day she bought me a package of stationary and a beautiful pen. “Write,” she said. So I began, clumsily at first, filling the pages with bad poetry about adolescent angst. What was amazing about the experience was that once I began, I couldn’t stop. If reading was a source of comfort and happiness, then writing—putting my own words on the page—felt like mainlining a drug.images-1

The outside world had given me plenty of reasons to doubt myself. I struggled with a fledgling awareness of my differentness

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Culture Wars and Holiday Gatherings

Unless you’ve been on the Island of Misfit Toys the past week or so, you’ve no doubt seen the stories about Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame, who was interviewed by GQ magazine and volunteered a few comments about his biblical interpretations on the subject of lesbians and gays. Now, I wholeheartedly agree that Phil—or anyone else for that matter—has a right to his/her own opinions and beliefs. I also know as a responsible adult that exercising my free speech may have consequences. That’s a fact of life.

 So, what do you do when these culture wars invade your holiday gathering? Most of us want to get along with our family and friends, and edit our conversations accordingly for the sake of peace at the Christmas table. Knowing that there is an ultra-conservative religious wing to our family, Sandy and I talked about the possibility of the subject coming up and agreed to do our best to maintain peace. We had already heard a few of their “well, that’s what the bible says” types of comments in advance to understand the potential pitfalls of the day. We respect their beliefs, however narrow-minded and well, wrong, we believe them to be. Mostly, we coexist in a peaceful way, and we even believed that we’d made strides toward acceptance.

 But here’s where the story changes. A member of the family arrives at the gathering wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with Phil’s picture and proclaiming: “Phil is my hero”.  My problem with that is huge. First off, to know that you are coming to a family gathering where you will see relatives who are lesbians and choose to wear that shirt seems confrontational, at the least, and hateful at worst. It made me sad and angry simultaneously. Sad because the message was clear: A man who has recently proclaimed that I am a godless sinner and evil person, because I’m a lesbian is his hero. And here’s the way these things inevitably go: If I react, then I will be the one deemed to have ruined Christmas for the family. Right? Exactly.

This is an all too familiar scenario and it’s always heartbreaking when you think friends or family members really do accept you, only to be confronted with the undisputed truth in their [careless] actions. So, today, I’m pondering the relationship with my extended family and seeing things a little differently. People, here’s the deal: If you tell me that you love and accept me and then wear a shirt proclaiming your support for hateful words against me then, I’m sorry, you are a hypocrite. You can’t have it both ways. Hateful speech is just that. Hateful. Jesus had no tolerance for the religious bigots of his time. I’m challenging those of you who profess to be conservative Christians to stop hiding behind a twisted message of hate and start embracing what Jesus actually DID say and do. Start small. Try respecting the people in your family unit, then maybe branch out from there. I’m betting the world will be a much better place if we all gave it a try.

Peace,

LM

You can read Phil in his own words here:

Read More http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson#ixzz2oawJxTAg

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/when-you-defend-phil-robertson-heres-what-youre-really-defending-2013-12#ixzz2oatvAtkn

Equality lessons for the next generation

My good friend, Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida, wrote a piece last week on race and same sex marriage discrimination in her own lifetime. It’s a great look at the historical parallels of our current struggle for full equality regarding same sex marriage in this country. Like the issue of interracial marriage, these battles will now be waged state by state, until one day we are finally rid of the issue for good. But that’s going to take time.

Nadine’s article brought to mind my youngest sister’s family. She is married to a fine man, who happens to be bi-racial, so my niece and nephew include African-American in their ethnic heritage. I was thinking today about how to talk to them about the historic Supreme Court decisions of this past week. I want them to have a sense of how truly important the rulings are to me, their aunts, personally, not in just some abstract “oh, that’s cool” kind of way. I will tell them that less than a generation ago, their own parent’s marriage would have been illegal in many states, just as mine is today.

 I won’t let this pass without the teaching lesson, because on a basic level, I want them to understand that matters of equality are always tremendously important. As Nelson Mandela stated, “I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.” In our current age, where history and civics are increasingly squeezed out in budget cuts, or simply re-written to fit the politics of the time, it has never been more important to understand the gravity of civil rights victories. We are always better as a country when the rights of all are protected equally.

I’ll share my experiences with the younger members in my family. The way it hurts me when people who say they are my friends—or even my own family—remain silent when laws are passed to take away my rights, whether as a woman or a lesbian. I want them to understand that nothing is more important than one’s own personal integrity. Standing up for the truth is right, even if it makes someone else uncomfortable, or you unpopular. One of my other friends, who is a lesbian, is fond of telling me that I shouldn’t “push” people. When it comes to our relationships, people can know, but they don’t necessarily want to know. She wonders why I can’t stay quiet and live my life. I guess that means using vague language and omission in an attempt to avoid making people uncomfortable. I don’t get that. I’m not getting in everyone’s face every day, but I feel it’s important to be authentic and own who I am openly.

Even though 37 states in this country still disrespect my marriage and deny my right to exist as a married person, I will still introduce Sandy as my wife—regardless of who asks me. It’s the truth. When the children in my family ask me if Sandy and I are married, of course I say yes. They need to see that truth and integrity, not waffling. To do anything less shames Sandy, me, our relationship, and sends a message to the outside world that I agree we’re not worthy. I don’t agree.

So, it’s my hope that all of our children will learn about the day the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as a pivotal moment in American history, as a lesson in equality and human dignity. And maybe my nieces and nephews will  remember the way we were able to talk openly about fairness and love. Most of all, I hope they’ll live in a world where this debate seems foreign and arcane, and love and commitments are celebrated always. But, as Nadine says, part of the conversation will always be, “That’s why Aunt Sandy and I were married in Massachusetts.”

Check out Nadine’s fabulous writing at the Grio or at Equality Florida.

Peace and Happy Pride~ LM

Planting Peace and Shocked Rants

Hi gang. I want to talk about a couple of news items that caught my eye yesterday.

In entertainment news, singer Michelle Schocked decided to end her musical set over the weekend with an anti-gay rant, according to those in attendance at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Ms. Schocked, an alternative/folk singer who had some success in the 80’s and 90’s, has previously danced on the edge of coming out. In 1990, she talked to Outlines, a Chicago gay newspaper, about having her first relationship with a woman.

By 2008, Shocked seemed to struggle with her identity, as quoted in the Dallas Voice: “According to my Bible, which I didn’t write, homosexuality is immoral. But homosexuality is no more less a sin than fornication. And I’m a fornicator with a capital F. I like the sound of being called an honorary lesbian and the comparisons to black disco divas. But right now, I’m a dug-in-the-heels fundamentalist who’s not too happy about it.” In 2012, Shocked has apparently decided to take up the banner of hatred in the name of fundamentalist religion. Over the weekend, she ranted at her show, reportedly telling the audience she feared gay marriage would “destroy the world”, and they could go on Twitter and say, “Michelle Shocked hates fags.” She mostly emptied out the club at that point. Shocked herself Tweeted later, “Truth is leading to painful confrontation.”

I wonder if she was talking about the crowd or her own internalized homophobia? I don’t personally care if she’s gay or straight, but can somebody tell me why every time one of these “converted” born-again Christians speaks, they have to launch into such vile and hateful language? Are they trying to convince themselves or everyone else? I’m going to Tweet to Michelle: Don’t hate yourself, God loves you either way.

In more uplifting news, did you see that the Westboro community in Topeka Kansas has a new Equality House? That’s right, and it’s located right across the street from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, run by the fundamentalist homophobe Fred Phelps. Planting Peace is a diverse charity organization with projects ranging from environmental causes to opening orphanages worldwide that rescue children from the street. Planting Peace has now opened the Equality House in Phelp’s own neighborhood.

Aaron Jackson, one of the group’s founders, said, “I read a story about Josef Miles, a 10-year-old kid who counter-protested the Westboro Baptist Church by holding the sign that says ‘God Hates No One,'” Jackson told The Huffington Post “I didn’t know anything about the church or where they were located, but that story kept popping up. And one night I wondered, Where is this church? I got on Google Earth, and I was ‘walking down the road,’ and I did a 360 view. And I saw a ‘For Sale’ sign sitting in the front yard of a house. Right away it hit me, Oh my gosh, I could buy a house in front of the WBC! And immediately I thought: And I’m going to paint that thing the color of the pride flag.”

Today, volunteers are painting the Equality House in rainbow colors. Yes, the sound you hear is the crowd going wild. Phelps is in the business of intimidation and bullying. In my experience the only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them. Let’s see how Phelps and his hate-mongering followers handle a neighbor who isn’t going to cower in their presence, or worse, ignore them in the hopes they’ll go away. The sign hanging on the Westboro Baptist Church states the same message Michelle Shocked proclaimed: God Hates Fags.

No. God hates hate. Clearly, these adults are not smarter than a fifth grader.

We shouldn’t be shocked by either of these stories. There will always be people like Phelps who use religion to justify their bigotry and hate, and sadly, their will always be those like Shocked who internalize the twisted message and lash out as a bizarre defense mechanism. I feel sorry for them because hate only breeds hate and what you give always comes back to you. Be the change you wish to see, right? Planting peace. What a concept.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading~
LM

Why is this so hard to believe?

Many of us were saddened by the news of the passing of CW2 Charlie Morgan. It’s a tragic end to a story about a woman who lived a life of service in the shadows, during the years when DADT was the policy of the US military. Like so many other lesbian and gay service members, Charlie served her country at a huge personal cost. After the repeal of DADT, while many others still feared repercussions with DOMA still on the books, Charlie had the courage to tell her story.

Charlie served proudly in the New Hampshire National Guard for seventeen years. More than ten years ago, she and her wife, Karen, entered into a civil union in Vermont, and last year wed in their home state. They have a daughter who is eligible for healthcare and survivor benefits, but her wife is not. Charlie simply wanted to take care of her family, just like any other responsible spouse.

Charlie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. She underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. When she was said to be cancer-free, she was deployed to Kuwait for a year’s tour. But last September, she was told the cancer had returned and was in her lymph nodes. The cancer was now incurable. So, like any other dedicated spouse, Charlie felt a renewed urgency to fight for a change in the law because that was the only way to secure the benefits that her family deserved. The benefits she earned during her years of service to this country.

And Charlie knew first hand how much those benefits meant. Her father had been killed in an accident while on active duty when she was three, and his survivor benefits were her mother’s source of support. But with DOMA still on the books, her wife would not receive those same benefits. So, Charlie wrote to the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Her requests for a meeting were ignored at first. Finally, when a news organization got involved, a meeting was granted, but after she made the trip to DC, the Speaker sent an aide to meet with Charlie. She told her story, told him her time was short, and that her family needed their help. The aide listened and then told her the Speaker would continue to defend DOMA.

When Charlie’s wife, Karen, was asked about what a repeal of DOMA and full recognition as a military dependent would mean, it is said that she stated it would be great to be able to go to the commissary to shop for her family. The simplicity of a request to perform such a normal task is heartbreaking in its significance.

Charlie’s letter to the Speaker said, “Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Active Guard, I laid my life on the line for my country, and now I need my country to protect and care for my family. My wife and daughter face an uncertain future, unable to receive the same family support services as our counterparts who render the same service, take the same risks, and make the same sacrifices.” For those who serve in our military and sacrifice so much for our freedoms, that doesn’t seem like such a huge request.

Charlie Morgan lost her battle with cancer on Sunday. Charlie, like every other lesbian or gay service member—or indeed, every lesbian and gay citizen—wanted exactly what you want, America. The chance to live freely and receive the same benefits for hard work as any other citizen in this country.

That’s all we want. Why is this so hard to believe?

Peace~LM

It’s those damned homosexuals again!

Science? Bah! It’s those damned homosexuals again!

Have you seen the latest ultra-conservative preacher’s assertion that the current storm on record—Hurricane Sandy—is our fault? The LGBT community that is. You know the story. These preachers can’t help themselves, every time there is a devastating weather event, it’s because of the gays and lesbians. Now, hurricane Sandy has already plowed through the Caribbean, causing untold damage, and sadly, the deaths of some 69 souls and is bearing down on the east coast of the US. Rather than mobilizing their religious brethren in community efforts for rescue or other assistance to those in harms way, these “men of the cloth” instead use the tragedy once again to stir up their sinister brand of hatred for the LGBT community.

Of course, there is a long history of this false prophecy fear mongering among the hardliners of the religious right. John McTernan is only one of a sad list of so-called Christian leaders who regularly employ such tactics to get attention. There’s Pat Robertson, who has famously asserted that the LGBT community is responsible for Hurricane Katrina. 9/11, according to Jerry Falwell, is the evildoing of our community as well. Fred Phelps has his own special niche blaming the deaths of US service members on our country’s “acceptance” of homosexuality. Presumably, if we were all imprisoned or worse, all casualties of war and every natural disaster would cease. Our military would be invincible, impervious to every bullet or bomb, and never again would we see a hurricane, earthquake, or tornado, I guess. Wow.

What about science, you say? Hogwash! Scientific theories regarding climate change and evolution get in the way of the fire and brimstone scare tactics. Better to relegate groups of citizens to the realm of godless heathens, responsible for every ill of humanity than to accept reasoning or scientific theory. These same types of preachers once used race to demonize and blame, but now that’s passé, and besides they can get a lot more fundamentalist churches on their side on the issue of homosexuality. Ahh, now here’s common ground for biblical ultra-fundamentalists, regardless of race.

I realize that these types of preachers have always tried to use images of “vile” human behaviors to justify what they warn is God’s wrath, and many times the message strays into the demonization of a particular group. Jews, blacks, Asians, communists, Muslims, Catholics, gays, and lesbians, have all been targets of the same ideology at different points in history. Of course, forces of nature that we cannot control are events most easily exploited to summon the images of the wrath of a vengeful god, and who better to blame for terrible misfortune than some “other” group? Sadly, it’s a recurring pattern for those who supposedly are God’s messengers to the world, regardless of religious affiliation. I’d like to suggest to these folks that they would better serve their fellow citizens by demonstrating consistent charity and love. Tell your flock how to unite for the good of humanity, especially in times of hardship or natural disaster. If all of these preachers tried it, imagine the good they might actually accomplish.

Thanks for reading~LM

L-Chief to the rescue!

This past week while the GOP held their convention in Tampa, something truly amazing happened—well, didn’t happen.  The massive protests and violence that were predicted, based upon the angry mood of the country, Occupy demonstrations and encampments nationwide, and of course, past history of senseless violence seen at previous conventions, just didn’t happen in here in Tampa. Folks are already scratching their heads and theories are likely to abound regarding underlying causations, statistical data, and every manner of analytical scrutiny.

Yes, Hurricane Isaac skirted the Florida coast and gave the city and RNC planners a big scare, prompting the cancellation of day one. Yes, we had thousands of officers from all over Florida, along with federal law enforcement, and even National Guard Troops, patrolling our city. Yes, we were prepared.

But.

I submit to you that Tampa had a secret weapon, more powerful than any well-armed force, ultra rich conservatives, or devious anarchist hell bent on destruction and violence to incite the masses. Tampa has L-Chief. (Yes, L, just like the L Word) Who knew prior to this convention, that protestors could be handled with dignity and compassion? Dropping off water at a protest encampment? Allowing “minor” violations to go on without heavy-handed responses? Permitting unscripted protests to continue, when clearly the police could easily shut them down? What kind of commie ideas are these? I’ll tell you. They are smart policing ideas, L-Chief style.

Listen, I’ve been a cop for a couple of decades, and fully understand use of force. There are truly bad people in our society, but all good cops know that there must be a balance. Police officers see so much negative information about the evil protesters who are coming to attack them with all manner of weapons (including super soakers filled with AIDS tainted-body fluids), and who seek to obliterate the very fabric of everything we hold dear as Americans. All of the truly bad people I spoke of above concentrated in a protest bloc.

So, it’s no wonder we cops get all amped up for battle. Who wouldn’t? But, our chief maintained that citizens would be allowed to protest as long as they didn’t cross the line into unlawful behavior. That was a great plan, and often such ideas are difficult to put into practice. Many times crowd control situations get out of hand when a couple of troublemakers bait law enforcement into an unnecessary response. Then chaos ensues. L-Chief didn’t let that happen, and the measure of success was the empty Hillsborough County Jail that had been set aside for dealing with RNC arrests.

Back to the debate that has no doubt already begun regarding all the reasons the RNC in Tampa was so uneventful, protest-wise. All of the factors will be examined, and when they dissect every component, I hope they don’t overlook one subtle, but powerful fact: L-Chief was everywhere. She welcomed GOP delegates and big-name politicians, held court at press conferences, hung out with protestors, and grinned all the while. “If you treat people with dignity and respect, that’s what you’re going to get in return,” Castor said. Heck, the chief even won over reporters. Sue Carlton of the Tampa Bay Times wrote, “But this week protesters have regularly approached Tampa police Chief Jane Castor — presumably a symbol of Authority, the Oppressor, head of the very police state they rail against — and asked to take a photo with her. And except for one person dressed as a very graphic lady part, the chief has obliged — a rock star even in a city providing a stage to an America divided.”

Chief Castor laughs with Planned Parenthood activists

Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, being a woman and a lesbian was the intangible difference that calmed the masses? The L-Chief is always gracious in giving credit to the hard work of the officers under her command, and will likely shrug off the significance of the L in L-chief. That’s fine. But, I don’t care what anyone says, I’m sticking to my theory, L-Chief cast a spell of calm on all sides of this RNC, and once again, the LGBT community has a shining star. This one wears a badge.

Thanks for reading~LM

Amazing Times

Hi gang! Hope you all are well this week. Whew! We’re halfway through August already, and what a busy month it’s been. The Olympics have wrapped up, and they were brilliant! So, I thought today we’d chat about some of the important LGBT news I’ve seen over the past week or so. I see these smaller victories as hope for the future of our LGBT community and all Americans.

We’ll lead off with military news, since most of you know I’m a veteran of the US Army. Last week the Army announced the first openly lesbian woman was appointed to the rank of Brigadier General. Hoo-ya! Who would have ever thought that would possible so soon after the fall of DADT? Then, I read an article in the September issue of Curve Magazine, with an interview of a lesbian Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC. Sergeant Patterson is quick to point out that “…the military is still not exactly a gay-friendly environment.” And, “Anti-gay slurs are pretty constant…” Also, we’ll note that the end of DADT has nothing to do with Equal Opportunity Policy in the military, which still doesn’t include discrimination based upon sexual orientation. Sadly, even the general still isn’t fully protected. But the fact that she’s a lesbian didn’t prevent her promotion, and that, my friends, is progress.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about big corporations on either side of the equality divide, and praised Amazon and General Mills for their pro-equality stances. Well, I’ve been hearing a lot about KFC and McDonald’s coming out in support of the Chick-Fil-A position. Well, it turns out that the “proof” of those corporations solidarity with anti-equality are highly exaggerated; in fact, they are false. The marquee signs in question were fabricated on a website called Fast Food Sign Generator. Turns out KFC and McDonalds like equality just fine. And the newest edition to the growing corporate voice for equality list is REI. REI’s CEO, Sally Jewell, released her pro-equality stance on the company’s blog this month. My favorite toy store loves me back! Sweet!

LGBT youth scored a victory in Marion County, FL. Last May a couple of students at Vanguard High School requested permission to form a Gay-Straight Alliance Club. The principal denied the students request, saying he “wasn’t comfortable with a club based on sexual orientation on his campus.” On Thursday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of the teens, citing violation of the Equal Access Act, as well as the students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. It’s a shame that once again a lawsuit has to be filed in order for kids to form a school club. The good news is that the school board relented on Monday, and the kids can have their GSA. Awesome. Check it out, if you want.

In political news, there were significant gains for LGBT candidates. How’s this for a headline from the Advocate.com: “Gay Candidate Wins Where Anita Bryant Once Roamed”. That’s right, voters in Miami Beach elected their first-ever openly gay candidate for state legislature, David Richardson. Also, here in Florida, Orlando elected an openly gay representative, Joe Saunders. In Wisconsin, Democrats chose openly gay Rep. Mark Pocan to succeed Rep. Tammy Baldwin (also an out lesbian), who is running for Senate this November. If elected, Rep. Baldwin will become the first openly lesbian US Senator. Go, Tammy!

While we still have work to do, all of these stories are more proof that momentum is building, and the march of equality is unstoppable. We have to keep the message alive in whatever way we can. All of theses stories above have underlying political consequences and it truly matters what choices we make at the ballot box. As Rep. Baldwin tells us, “If you’re not in a room, the conversation is about you. If you’re in the room, the conversation is with you.”

Let’s all join in the conversation. It matters.

Thanks for reading ~LM

Unchecked Hate Has a Price

After the disturbing news of several more hate crimes against lesbians and gays recently, my friend, Barrett wrote eloquently on her blog about this disturbing hateful trend that seems to be growing in our society. Check out her outstanding words.

I, too, have been deeply impacted by these crimes and it has made me wonder what’s happening. Barrett had a couple of ideas spot on: We should be able to disagree without violence and the hypocrisy and the hatred has to stop. One of the best ways we can do that is to take a stand against hateful rhetoric, wherever we hear it. But too often, our society turns a blind eye when hate and intolerance are broadcast via the airwaves or simply uttered in our presence.

Consider the popular comedian, Daniel Tosh, of Comedy Central. Last month he joked about rape in a standup show. When a woman in the audience objected, was Tosh apologetic? No. He doubled down. He followed with, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?”

Seriously, Daniel? Yes, I know, he offered a half-assed Twitter apology. Whatever. Here’s the thing. Daniel’s rape subject matter has a history. Here’s another example of his twisted humor, using his sister in one of his rape jokes. I’m only including his video because you have to hear it to believe it. This guy has issues. Worse, he has a following.

But the thing that makes my blood run cold is that, even with his propensity for this type of cringe-inducing stand-up, he is wildly popular. He should be a pariah, but he’s not. At least he hasn’t been until this last over-the-top rant. The fact that there has been at least some backlash is encouraging, but it’s not nearly enough.

Kids are getting bullied and committing suicide because of their perceived homosexuality or disability. In story after story, not only did other kids join in, but parents, and in some cases teachers, said nothing—or worse fueled the taunting behaviors, through tacit, even active encouragement. Popular pastors are preaching intolerance and hatred. Rush Limbaugh resurrects the old “Feminazi” label and calls a college student a whore for speaking about reproductive rights. Citizens at a political debate boo a gay service member currently serving in Afghanistan. All in plain sight and without any real consequence to the haters. Oh, but the consequence is very real, my friends.

I talk often about the power of touching one person at a time in my life. It’s the best way for me to fight the overwhelming feeling of helplessness that can so easily take over, because it seems so hopeless sometimes. The simplest part is also the hardest because human nature is usually to avoid conflict, and we mostly try to get along with our family and friends. But I suggest to you that we have to speak up. No, not make speeches or wear a t-shirt emblazoned with: I’m a Lesbian! (If you want to, that’s cool, though.) What I’m talking about is refusing to be silent in the face of this misogynist, homophobic, racist intolerance that too often goes unchecked. There are many moments in our daily lives that give us the opportunity to make statements large and small, and every one of them is huge when we do. Whether we boycott companies that bankroll anti-gay measures, calmly tell a male co-worker that his sexist remark is unacceptable, or explain to a child in our life why a cruel joke isn’t funny. It matters.

“Us versus them” is destroying us. Girls are being gang raped, a young lesbian couple is shot, a gay couple savagely beaten, and there was yet another mass shooting last night at a religious temple in Milwaukee. The tragic list goes on, chipping away at our collective spirit. It’s all about the different, the weaker, the other. Somewhere along the way, those who spew intolerance have gained a perverse acceptance, and those who speak for the different have been marginalized, as though they are saying something wrong. That is what we must change. I may be hopelessly naïve, but I believe it’s possible. Hate breeds in ignorance and division from one another enables hate to spread. Divide and conquer is the tactic. Demonize the different. The problem is, that fracturing of our collective whole is what’s taking us all down. Each of us has a role in stopping it.

There’s a saying: We become what we think about. What our society needs is a lot more thinking about our common humanity and a lot less looking for reasons to hate.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Peace.

~LM

Money changes everything…

Let that Cyndi Lauper musical anthem play in your head for this offering.

 

So, here we go again. The rabid religious right (or the RRR as I like to call them) is all flapped up and riled that corporations are donating to causes supporting diversity and gay marriage initiatives. Social conservatives are outraged—indignant I tell you—that corporations would sink money into this social issue. The conservative crowd is upset by the announcement that Amazon CEO Jeffery Bezos donated $2.5 million to help pass a same-sex marriage referendum in Washington State. And in June, General Mills came out publicly against a same sex marriage ban in Minnesota. The nerve!

Wasn’t it just last week that Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A, reaffirmed his moral position against gay marriage by stating that our country is “inviting the wrath of God” for our tolerance? That’s the same Dan Cathy who has donated nearly $2million dollars to organizations opposing gay marriage in 2010 alone (Source: equality matters.org) What happened then? Why, the conservatives were gleefully praising the chicken giant, and calling for a dine-in for support. Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee were the standard bearers for the cause to defend the moral high ground, exhorting their followers to rush to buy chicken sandwiches and extra large waffle fries!

Help me to understand. I know Republicans believe in less government, and the less government, the better. Keep government away from my guns, my healthcare, my religion (only straight, intolerant Christian denominations here), fire all the lazy SOB’s with government jobs… the list goes on. That’s always their position. Government is bad. Right? Corporations should have unlimited ability to make political contributions without regulations. Regulation is another way for government to interfere. Right? Oh, wait, unless… GASP… a corporation gets behind causes benefiting women or lesbians and gays…

<That’s the sound of the needle skipping across the record>

Praise the corporations who funnel billions into certain causes, but supporting marriage equality for LGBT citizens? Nuh-uh. And when we respond by rightly saying we’ll spend our lesbian money somewhere else? Well, we’re just being…umm…reverse bigots! Yeah, that’s it! But if you’re cause is on the right, boycott or buycott as often as you can. So, I think our LGBT dollars should speak just as loudly for companies that support equality. And thankfully more corporations are realizing that a stance for equality is the way to go. We buy stuff, too! Wow, it feels good to know that my next lesbian ebook purchase will matter even more. Thanks, Amazon.

I read a newspaper article the other day that quoted a woman in MN lamenting that she is running out of places to shop because of all of those sinful businesses supporting gay and lesbian causes. She says they’re destroying thousands of years of tradition (read suppression) and the final indignity is that she’s had to take Cheerios off of her shopping list, presumably because of the General Mills stance on equality. I think that’s perfectly fine that she spends her dollars in accordance with her beliefs. She’s entitled to her buying decisions.

Tell ya what? With the money we save avoiding Chick-Fil-A, my wife and I will buy an extra box of Cheerios next week.

Thanks for reading,

~LM