Enough Enough Enough

Today, a lot of my friends on Facebook circulated the video of Ellen’s monologue from her talk show condemning new discriminatory legislation in North Carolina and Mississippi.  At first, I didn’t watch the video.  I had already seen so many comments from my friends and from several activists.  I read the legislation and I know what it means for LGTBQ people in North Carolina and Mississippi. It means that they would be safer if they moved out of state. There’s a scene from the movie, Milk, that keeps playing over and over in my mind:

I love Ellen.  I love her show.  I admire her trailblazing.  I adore her for what she has done for women in comedy.  I will forever be grateful for her role in LGBTQ visibility and progress.  There is no doubt that she sacrificed her career and personal well-being when she came out publicly.  What she has done for LGBTQ people is nothing short of revolutionary.  I appreciate everything that she has historically put on the line for the LGBTQ movement.

That said, I thought her commentary about recent legislation in North Carolina and Mississippi was frivolous and insensitive.

We are past the point of cute jokes and ha-ha interludes. They belittle the argument about human rights. From the perspective of a queer person, from someone who has also experienced discrimination for being a lesbian, I thought that Ellen’s monologue was weak. Since North Carolina’s discriminatory law passed, at least two LGBTQ people have committed suicide, citing injustice and a lack of protection. We will see the same in Mississippi. Children and friends are dying, literally dying, because of these laws. There is no room for joking.

For some people within the LGBTQ community, it is easy to feel tired about the the fact that we are still fighting. On many days, I feel tired.  The privileged, passing, white, middle-class part of me, feels tired.  Because the privileged, passing, white, middle-class part of me can, for the most part, live in peace.

Recent legislation in the south is a stark indication that we are not yet out the weeds on the issue of human rights for LGBTQ people.  This is especially true when it comes to particular cross sections of the LGBTQ community–transgender people, people of color, young people, and poor members of our community.

It is not okay to make light of recent discriminatory laws enacted in North Carolina and Mississippi.  It’s not okay to use a mass media platform to joke about spelling or references to musical groups in the context of discrimination, suicide, and hate.

There are many of us in the LGBTQ community who have seen incredible progress in the last decade.  We have seen incredible victories.  Let us not forget that in more than half the states in the union it is completely legal to be fired from a job for no reason other than one’s sexual orientation. Essentially, in more than 27 states, it is perfectly legal to fire someone for being gay.  In many states, an LGBTQ orientation can lawfully get you kicked out of a restaurant or refused service from a retail store.

The elders of the LGBTQ community in the United States have worked loudly, smartly, and diligently for years to gain the equal rights and protections that so many of the LGBTQ community enjoy today.  There has been incredible progress.  But, to be fair, the LGBTQ community didn’t earn “equal rights” because our small percent of the population was loud enough to make it happen.  The LGBTQ community was granted marriage equality and a smattering of other equal protections because there were several communities, including privileged and straight allies, who came to the table and demanded equal protection. Marriage equality and other protections happened for the gay community, not because we were here and queer, but because we worked for it and because we had help.

our love

There are still many people in the LGBTQ community working and there are still many people within the community who need help.  Not all of us live in big cities.  Not all of us have financial resources.  Not all of us are white.  There are many people who live under the LGBTQ umbrella and who live in places with laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation. There are many people who face discrimination even when the law is supposed to protect them.

Right now North Carolina and Mississippi are the most glaring cases because they are current and have been in the news.  However, there are people all over our country living in fear.  Subtle discrimination can be just as dehumanizing as lawful and overt discrimination.

When a state passes legislation that puts an entire population of people at risk, it is no time for making jokes.  There is nothing light or funny about the lawful marginalization of people.  It is up to those of us who live in places of privilege, or who come from places of privilege, to stick our necks out for those who are hurting the most.  It is the only way that justice can be realized.

 

Dear Bernie and Hillary Supporters

I love you.  I love your fucking conviction.  I love your gumption.  I love your incredible badass, unapologetic approach to the 2016 election.  I love everything you stand for.  All of you.  (I’m having a hard time with your Facebook posts though.  Just sayin.)

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The Democratic Party has TWO incredible candidates this election season. TWO. Two trend-setting, status-quo-breaking, qualified, smart, incredible candidates. Two! The Democratic Party has two fucking unbelievable human beings who actually have the qualifications, the record, and the vision to help the middle and lower classes in this country to lessen the wage gap, create jobs, manage health care, and go forward with a living wage as a standard.  The Democratic Party is committed to reforming policies to help students, to reduce student loan debt, and to make college affordable.  Both Hillary and Bernie want to ensure benefits for people on Social Security now and into the future. Both Bernie and Hillary are working to foster relationships with others to set America and its allies on course for productive international relations.  Both Hillary and Bernie have a record of success and integrity.

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The Democratic Party is fucking KILLING IT RIGHT NOW.  Hillary Clinton could be the first woman president and has a list of qualifications that make both FDR and Dwight Eisenhower look like amateurs.  That is fucking amazing.  Bernie Sanders has a democratic socialist agenda.  His policies are cutting-edge and completely legit.  That is fucking amazing too.

Neither Hillary nor Bernie have tweeted things like:

Or:

I’m voting based on record and I am voting based on policy.  I have thought long and hard about it.  I have researched the candidates and I am absolutely solid.  I cannot wait to cast my ballot. (Spoiler alert: I’m voting for either Hillary or Bernie!! I just fucking love those two!)

I don’t know about the rest of you but I am so FUCKING EXCITED TO VOTE!!!!!!  I cannot wait to go to the polls and mark my ballot for my chosen candidate.

AND COME NOVEMBER, IF I HAVE TO VOTE FOR THE OTHER CANDIDATE, THAT IS FUCKING AWESOME TOO!!!!!!!  WOOT!!!!!!!!!

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Democracy Is Possible. It Requires Participation.

I have not been following any articles or trending topics on Facebook.  I haven’t clicked through to quotes and I haven’t watched sound-bites from news clips. In an effort to mitigate the falsehoods and focus on the truth about presidential politics, I have made a commitment to read only thoughtful material from credible sources.

I have done a lot of reading lately.  As such, I thought I’d be prepared for an SNL skit about a recent endorsement.

Not even close.  I watched the below SNL skit about the Sarah Palin endorsement of Donald J. Trump for president before watching the actual coverage.  I felt confused about the comedic choices and felt as though Tina Fey and the SNL writers had gone too far making fun of Sarah Palin, venturing into a terrible genre of making fun of the developmentally disabled.

And then I watched the actual endorsement that had taken place days prior.

After seeing the original and completely bizarre press conference from Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, it is obvious to me that Tina Fey’s parody was hilarious.  To be fair, however, words like crazy and retarded are unprogressive and they marginalize people.  These words aren’t good choices for comedy. Still, the skit was amazing:

For an incredible monologue and for additional commentary, please see this clip from Stephen Colbert. (I think he and his writing team deserve an Emmy for this. They reference both Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in almost the same breath.)

But let’s be fair.  All of this is fun and games until someone gets hurt.  This country voted for George W. Bush TWICE.  We, as a nation, voted for George W. Bush after he sent us into war for a lie.  In 2004, this country voted for George w. Bush over John Kerry by 34 electoral votes and by 3 million popular (the people) votes.

If this seems a bit daunting, or if the rest of the world is wondering about America’s ability to care, the Stephen Colbert video I posted to this blog already has more than 5 million views on Youtube in less than one week.  Democracy is possible.  It just requires participation.

If you are an American citizen, please register to vote.  Please.

And then go vote.

 

I am a UC Davis alum. I am an Aggie. I am the 99%.

With regard to what happened on the UC Davis campus on Friday: I am a UC Davis alum. I stood on the very site that students were pepper sprayed. I stood there, in 2003, and fought for women’s rights. I stood on that spot and spoke out for social justice. I stood there and rattled against the Iraq war. To watch what happened there and see students sitting peacefully on the same spot, a place where I was allowed to experience free speech, and bare witness to my fellow Aggies battled against, pepper sprayed, by the UC Police, an agency paid for with student money, is not just an insult to my education and college experience, it is an unequivocal trespass on civil rights.

 

There are beautiful, intelligent students that attend school at UC Davis. The university has an incredible history. But instead that very wonderful fact making international news, what my alma mater is now known for is the war that the administration and UC Police waged on student protesters. All those responsible for the school’s new reputation need to resign or be removed. It is only fair to all of us who have worked so hard to make UC Davis a place of truthful and beautiful education.

 

I have supported the Occupy Wall Street Movement without a moment of hesitation. I have done so with my principles, my words and my actions. I understand the need for protest at this juncture in history. Regardless of the fact that we have, for too long, relied on infinite growth to prop up our lives, now that the last crumbs of civilization are being scooped up, the have-nots are seeing even more clearly the need for community, equality and sharing. When the poor and disenfranchised advocate for such things, and are met with violent opposition to maintain the status quo, all people, even those not sure about the future, need to be vigilant about the present.

 

People in this country who don’t feel like an involvement in the current protests could be helpful, I offer you this poem by Martin Neimoller, holocaust survivor:

 

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

 

Do not, for a moment, stand by. Do not acquiesce. Do not hesitate. We are the 99%.