Thursday, May 29, 2003

Gay Families

After reading an article where a same-sex couple was denied adoption rights (after progressing down the adoption path to some extent), I was struck with a sudden understanding of the Right Wing Whacko's point of view on the subject.

I hate that. Don't you?

RWW's want to keep gays from becoming parents (or teachers, or politicians for that matter) because they are afraid "gay cooties" might rub off.

Well. They will, so no wonder RWW's spaz at the thought of some poor defenseless child being raised by one of Them! (Or, two of Them, more likely.)

Gay Cooties, is, of course, a euphemism for acceptance of what's generally referred to as "the gay lifestyle", another euphemism designed to get the point across of "being gay" without having a squick-inducing (or worse for an RWW, arousing) visual float behind your eyes.

Because, see, if a child is raised by gay parents, they are going to have to work very hard, one hopes, to hate them for being gay, regardless of any loud idiotic assertions made around puberty, especially if they're followed by statements like "You Don't Understand" and the slamming of any nearby doors. Gay parents, will, in fact, inculcate their children with the devastating-to-RWW's yet entirely reasonable idea that GAY=OK.

Now, what this means to RWWs is that it is better for a child to have no parents at all, than to have parents who might raise them with "The Wrong Ideas".

[Note, if you take this concept to its utmost extreme, one could be surprised by the fact that RWWs don't agitate to remove children from the homes, of, say....Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, internet programmers, or people who watch public television on a regular basis, in order to ensure that the ideological purity -- er, safety -- of these children is maintained.]

So, let me reiterate, of the gazillion children desperately in need of loving homes, caring parents, and stable home lives, RWWs would rather those children suffer than receive their just due, if the alternative is to have them raised by people who might teach them tolerance.

And Right Wing Whackos claim to be pro-family-values.

RWW -- the incredibly apt term coined by Medley.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

WMDs in Iraq, or the lack thereof

I just love this. Buried after a rather tongue-in-cheek start, The Guardian today quoted Donald Rumsfeld regarding the lack of any weapons of mass destruction found thus far in Iraq.

In an effort to explain why no chemical or biological weapons had been found in Iraq, the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said yesterday the regime may have destroyed them before the war.

Like. They. Were. Supposed. To.

Speaking to the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations thinktank, he [Rumsfeld - Sid.] said the speed of U.S. advance may have caught Iraq by surprise, but added: "It is also possible that they decided that they would destroy them prior to a conflict."

So, the reason we're not finding any WMDs is because they were destroyed. Oh, yes, I love it. We invade another nation, justifying the action in part with claims that they

1. have WMDs that might be used against us!
2. refuse to hand over information on these alleged WMDs that they are supposed to destroy/to have destroyed that might be used against us! In violation of UN directives!

But in the shortest conflict in the history of humankind (with the exception of Cain v. Abel, sudden death in less than three rounds), Iraq had time to "decide" to destroy all those pesky weapons.

Oh, oh, yes. It all makes sense if you have the IQ of head cheese.

Only One Thing Bugs Me

Remarkable interview with Sidney Blumenthal (tip from Medley) about his book, The Clinton Wars, among other things.

There's one, and only one thing, that bothers me, and I'm suddenly reminded of various characters in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged when I think this. I can't believe in my heart that what he's describing is true, because I can't understand why someone would prefer a crippled nation over a self-reliant one. And that's a perspective articulated more than once in AS, how can anyone prefer the darkness when they can shine?

Because looking at the Clinton and Bush administrations, everything Blumenthal says makes sense. It hangs together. But I can't grasp the key element.

Method, yes. Opportunity, sure. But motive.

The only motives for deliberate destruction that I can name off the top of my head are jealousy, hate, and greed. Those are so personal, I have difficulty ascribing them to the socio-economic policies of a political party and President. It just doesn't make sense.

And yet, what Blumenthal describes,

They want to starve the public sector. That’s part of their overall strategy.
That’s what they’re doing through their budget, through their creation of these deficits.
They’re very clear in calculating, in my view, of how they’re using the deficits to crush the social gains and social progress and programs that were built up, not only during the Clinton Administration, but all the way back to Roosevelt.

Bill Clinton was in the line of great progressive presidents who faced the realities in his own time and applied innovative solutions to problems.
And they worked.
And those are the markers. That history. To apply against Bush. They work. Bush's programs are not working.
22 million new jobs under President Clinton. 3 million lost under Bush.
The greatest surplus in our history versus the greatest deficit.
Money to spend on education and health care and new and innovative proposals.
Under Bush, cuts. The worst fiscal crises of the states. And destruction of education programs and health care institutions throughout the country, as a result of his programs.
Which are not simply misguided but deliberate. They intend to do this. The Democrats need to say that.

Makes perfect sense.

But I still don't get why they intend to do this, and now that I think about it, that's going to be a major stumbling block for the Democrats. How to communicate a motive for dismantling America.

And the more I think about it, the obvious answer - which still doesn't really make sense, can be summed up in one word: power.

Not misguided civic duty. Not poor decisions. Not an economy that 'just happens'. Certainly not principles. Power.

But what underlies that thirst for control, for power, over me, over my fellow citizens?


Fear of change. Fear of the future. Fear of what others might do with their self-determination. Other people, other nations. Fear of being wrong.

Suddenly this all makes far more sense than I'd like.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Hope Yours Was A Good Weekend, Too

If not, better luck next time.

I did something this Memorial Day weekend raging extroverts can't comprehend -- stayed at home, worked on one long-standing project, finished another, baked from scratch, and locked the entire rest of the world on the opposite side of my front door, dammit. I did not speak to another human being, for two whole days, Taco Bell drive-thru [sp] and one small phone call notwithstanding.

That's what we introverts like to call...relaxing.

If you're one of us, you'll get it, if you're not, learn to deal. Besides, I got to eat homemade sugar cookies in the bargain. And they were good.

Mwa ha ha ha.
Madama Butterfly

I went to see Madama Butterfly (y'know, the opera) with a friend from work on May 18th.

As a complete aside, the fun thing about going to a matinee is

1. I drop the average age there to about 72.
2. It's the same crowd, everytime. I actually said hello to the lady in the elevator, because, darn it, I'd been in the same elevator with her twice before.

The opera itself was visually stunning, like the other 3 productions I've seen at the SD Opera. Marvelous singing, marvelous body language, and a tale full of allegory about the united states' tendency to assume our way is best. Destiny, as in manifest, friends and neighbors.

The story: Pinkerton rents a house, it comes with Butterfly, a geisha wife. She converts to Christianity, he leaves her high and dry after a while and goes back to America. Gets married 'for real'. Comes back a few years later, takes his previously-unknown son away from Butterfly. She has held steadfastly to the belief that he'll return and they'll be a family again. Doesn't work out that way, she kills herself.

Beautiful opera. I'm a japanophile, so it's a perfect opera for me.

The evident theme I found to be strongest in the performance is not the one that those who know I'm feminist (*) might expect, that this woman kills herself over a man. Firstly, Butterfly is Japanese and it is and was much more acceptable to suicide. If you cannot live with honor, you can at least die with it. Secondly, and I just realized this, by turning her back on her birth religion, Butterfly hooked her wagon to Pinkerton's star irrevocably. His abandoning her is truly devastating. She can't go back to her family. Lastly, the theme -- maybe it's just the current political scene -- of Pinkerton, the Yankee, not taking seriously what he was doing, thinking if it 'didn't matter' to him, since it's off in a foreign land, it must not matter to Butterfly. There is some repentance on his part, at the end, as if he suddenly realizes, as nations so rarely do, that he was playing around with people's lives. And people's lives do matter, especially to them.

[*] What woman isn't? Seriously.
Do you want a good life? For yourself? For your children? Want them happy? Or do you want yourself and your offspring trapped in a rigid world where they are only allowed to be one thing: A man, or a wife. No other options.