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Archive for June, 2011

I Support Gay Love

Friday, June 17th, 2011

This past week has been a landmark one in the gay rights movements.  While some states came closer to allowing same sex marriage, prospective Obama-2012 voters lashed out at the President for his lack of support and failed campaign promises to the community.  The week was rounded up by a former football star commenting that allowing gay marriage to happen would create utter "anarchy".

In light of all this, I would like to re-post a portion of a post I wrote a couple of years ago, "Not Special, Just Equal", when I was dissenting with a fellow HuffPo commenter on whether or not gay rights mattered at all.

The end of the post goes to something I have been saying all along - this is not about sexual partners, but LOVE and who a person can and will love.  That seems to get forgotten by the anti-gay rights folks when they are spewing their often ignorant and bigoted hate.

I don't just support gay marriage or, even, all gay rights.  I support GAY LOVE (or, better, LGBT LOVE).

Here is the end of that post, reiterating this very stance:

What bothers me, too, is that in all the hubbub and din, all the people decrying "gay sex" as deviant and gay people as aberrant for engaging in it - just for larks, of course - is the idea of Love.  Being gay isn't just about - isn't really at all about - who you have sex with or want to have sex with.  It's about who you can and will Love.  Yes, homosexuals are sexually attracted to the same sex.  But do not forget, that attraction - just like with straight people - can and does lead to more than just meaningless sex.  It becomes relationships, it becomes lasting partnerships, and long-term affairs.  It becomes Love.

And that is what this battle is really about.  No one can choose who they fall in love with - not straight people, gay persons, bi individuals, or anything in between.  And, therefore, it is not a choice for the lesbian who falls in love with the woman who becomes her partner of 20 years or the gay man who falls head over heels for the person he knows is his soulmate, no more than it is a choice for the woman who marries her high school sweetheart or the man who rekindles a romance with the woman he never got over from college.  We don't choose who we love...love has it's own agenda.

The most beautiful thing about this is that Love always wins.  It will prevail; it always does.  And gay people will win their rights.  I guarantee it.

In the meantime, to all the naysayers, I say think long and hard about the reasons you are against homosexuals or gay rights/marriage.  Remember what this country stands for, and take some time to re-read the teachings of the man you base your religion on.  You have a "choice", now - and the choice is to choose acceptance, understanding, and compassion over denial, ignorance, and hatred.  You like to ask, "What would Jesus do?" and so I posit that to you now - what, indeed?

God, Save Me From Your Followers

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

I literally chunked my iPhone across the room when a local news-updater app came up telling me that, with no dissent ("unanimously and without debate"), the Louisiana House voted, to add a Ten Commandments monument to the Louisiana State Capitol.

Separation of church and state apparently doesn’t exist here.  Jefferson would be taking to his unique, personally-edited Bible and the other founding fathers would be shaking their heads in utter dismay.  State Representative Patrick Williams, D-Shreveport, who brought the proposal makes the entire thing all the more worse (if that can be imagined) by saying the monument is not about religious observance but is of historical note:

The significance is historical. Our laws are based on the Ten Commandments. In fact, without them, a lot of our laws would not exist.

I am unsure what history classes Rep. Williams attended, but I was unaware that the history of this nation was based on Christian doctrine.  In fact, it would seem that our founding fathers said something completely different:

[Our] principles [are] founded on the immovable basis of equal right and reason.

- Thomas Jefferson, to James Sullivan, 1797

Not founded on Christianity, but the simple concepts of equal rights and sound reason.

May it [the Declaration of Independence] be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day [July 4th] forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them....

- - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Roger C Weightman, June 24, 1826, Jefferson's last letter, declining, due to ill health, an invitation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of that document; Jefferson died ten days later, the very day ot the 50th anniversary of the Declaration's signing (John Adams died a few hours later, not knowing that Jefferson had also died)

Emphasis mine.

Rep. Williams claims the plaque will have an added mention of its historical context:

Context for acknowledging America's religious history.

I believe this is more a future legal loophole that Rep. Williams and his ilk hope they can use when this plaque is deemed unconstitutional - it's not religious, it's historical, they will say.

Whatever your beliefs, I assure you they are not everyone's and it is unfair to leave out others (in this case non-Christians) when erecting something like this in a state capitol.  The sad part is that this will be challenged and, at a time when the State of Louisiana is in dire economic strife, cost the state untold sums in litigation.  The state simply cannot afford such a pointless distraction at this time, and, therefore, I put this in the same realm as Rep. LaBruzzo's ridiculous proposal to make abortion illegal in Louisiana thereby bucking the federal government's ruling.

 

Riley Claude Prestenback

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Riley Claude Prestenback,
my grandfather, and the man I consider my 'father who raised me'...

Dec 9, 1926 - Jun 5, 2009

...I found this just this morning.  I must have written in shortly after his passing but it still expresses how I feel today.  I miss you so much....

I watched you take your last breath, I whispered encouragement and 'we love yous' as your spirit fled the confines of your broken body.

I was blessed to experience your transition with you; the palpable peace that filled the room connected you and I irrevocably and, for quite some time, all I knew was peace and contentment; it stayed with me for weeks afterward - a light weight in my heart, a buoyancy in my step. I was one with the Earth and everyone in it; I had experienced the peace of dying; of transitioning from one phase of eternal life to the next. I knew we lived on; and I knew, in the end, *everything* would be all right for everyone! I carried this in my heart as one might carry a treasured object in their pocket.

Slowly, it leeched out of me; reality rushing back in to chase out any remaining hope and joy; as it does. I remember it, but I cannot touch it - it is a dim memory that fades the closer I get to it. One isn't meant to live in a state of total bliss; not until their mind is ready for such, anyway. There is a life to live, reality to deal with, pain and suffering to mourn over.

None of this means a damn thing, when all I really wanted to say was that I miss you so much and I wish you were still here and that in some ways you totally are b/c it is NOT REAL to me yet that you are gone - it can't be. Goddamit, you were supposed to live forever! I thought we'd have you for decades yet, Pa-Pa! None of us were ready for you to go, and - though it has brought us closer - it has also killed something in all of us. You meant so much to so many people, so much to each of us in a special, unique way.

You left this world as a gentleman - who always knows when to leave - just as you lived your life. My Clark Gable-ish grandfather, as I read aloud at your funeral for your eulogy, and everyone smiled and nodded. There was no one else like you in the world and there never will be; you were made of special stuff and we were so so blessed to have been a part of that, a part of your family.

You were the best grandfather a girl could ever ask for, that is for sure! You taught me so much - how to dance, how to drive a car. I used to love going to work with you to the restaurant! I remember your reading to me when I was little, your voice so soft and your intoning just perfect for whatever passage you were reading. You loved to read - a noble trait you passed on to your daughter, who passed it on to all three of her children.

The last thing you said to me was correcting me when I joked - while you lay in the hospital bed with a blue cap on and a gown - that all you needed was your Elizabeth Taylor's "Passion" and you'd be ready to hit the town and visit all the old ladies.

"No," you corrected me, seriously but in a quiet, rasped voice because you were hurting and scared, "I'm wearing Polo Black now."

Just before that, when the doctors and nurses were crowded in that little room, detailing all kinds of crap to you and things you had to sign, you glanced around the doctor and met my eyes as I stood against the wall. You made that "I have no idea wth they're talking about" face and shrugged your shoulders. A total "screw it" expression with the shrug, and I laughed at you, like you wanted, and you smiled.

I was rushing to get to the hospital when they admitted you. They'd told me they were sending you straight to surgery and I couldn't see you. Thankfully, I had about 10 mins in the room with you and the family - I remember rushing in and relief flooding me just as panic swooped in - seeing you lying in a hospital bed; you were always so hale...this couldn't be happening. Mom says you smiled when I came in the room; I didn't see, but I don't doubt it. You knew your "Gypsy" would come, didn't you? Wouldn't have missed it for the world, Pa. It was the last time any of us saw you alive and conscious. I wish I could go back to that moment, to that room. I told you I loved you a few times, I joked with you to lighten the mood and even made you laugh a few times...I don't know what I'd do different if I'd known what would happen...if I'd known you'd have a stroke on the operating table and never wake back up. I just wish I had those few moments back.

I shouldn't be posting this, b/c Mom might see it - and she can't read anything like this about you right now; not yet. She wants to read the eulogy, she says she can remember bits of it but her mind was so jumbled she wants to actually sit and read it...someday. She isn't ready. Like me, I don't think she's ready to face the fact that you simply aren't here anymore. It doesn't fit, it doesn't seem right.

This is long and rambling, and I apologize to any that choose to read it. I just let the words come out, I needed to get them out - I hope you understand. I miss him so much.