Filosofa Writes A Letter … Again

This is the letter I will be sending to my ‘representative’ in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Warren Davidson, later today …


Dear Mr. Davidson,

I would like to take a few moments to let you know why you do not represent me.  Yes, I realize you won the election fair and square, but you still do not represent me.  Why?  Because your values and mine appear to be 180° apart, because you do not make legislative decisions that are in the best interest of the people of this nation, or even the people of your district.

Here are the things I consider to be most important for this country, that I think should be top priorities in the House of Representatives:

  • Equality.  Women should have the same rights as men to make their own medical decisions, to be treated as equals in the workplace, and not to be dominated by men.  LGBTQ people deserve the exact same rights as straight people.  Black people, Hispanics, and Asians all deserve the same rights and privileges as white people.  And atheists, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews all deserve the exact same civil and human rights as Christians.  There should be no differences.  These are the rights that need to be codified into law and the law enforced rigidly.
  • Guns.  I do not believe that guns belong in the hands of civilians, period.  It is a Pandora’s Box.  That said, I realize I’m fighting a losing battle, but I am a student of Constitutional Law and I can tell you that there is nothing in the 2nd Amendment that guarantees the right of every man, woman and child in the U.S. to own an AR-15 assault weapon.  A Congress with a conscience would be working diligently to pass a permanent and irrevocable assault weapon ban.  Do you realize that in Cincinnati there were 29 shootings in just 10 days?
  • Voting rights. Every person age 18 or older in this country should have access to the ballot.    Gerrymandering and voter restriction laws like the one recently passed in Ohio deprive people, typically poor people, minorities, and young people, of their constitutional right.  Last year, Congress had the opportunity to pass two very important voting rights laws that would have overridden any restrictive state laws, and you fell down on the job.  Reinstate those bills and this time pass them!
  • Economic.  I do not view money as the most important consideration, but that said, I realize that it is necessary for life.  Every working person deserves a livable income, and $7.25 per hour (or less in the cases of tipped employees) does not constitute a living wage!  The federal minimum wage has been stagnant since 2009, despite a significant rise in the cost of living during that time.  Why?  Because Congress is more interested in helping the wealthy 1% than the rest of us.  I see no reason whatsoever for anybody to have millions or billions of dollars sitting around in investment accounts while people are struggling, some putting their children to bed hungry at night or living in cardboard boxes on the streets.

Certainly there are other important priorities such as education, healthcare, the environment, the war in Ukraine, etc., but the ones I listed are, in my book, the highest priorities that Congress should be focusing on instead of revenge investigations and petty bickering that will accomplish nothing.  I believe that if you sat down, one-to-one, with everyone in your district and asked them to talk about these priorities, you would find that at least 85% of them would be in agreement with me.  But are you?  Based on your actions, your votes, and your weekly newsletters, I would say that you and I do not share the same set of values and concerns, and therefore I must conclude that you do not represent me or the majority of people, and you seem to have no desire to do so.

Thank you for taking the time to listen.  A response will be welcomed.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison — citizen, voter, taxpayer


I’ll let you all know when/if I receive a response.  I usually do get one, but it’s typically a canned response written by an aide, or perhaps even by AI!

🏳️‍🌈 Celebrating PRIDE Month – Part I 🏳️‍🌈

I already had a different post on the schedule for this morning when I realized that today is June 1, the beginning of Pride Month!  Where have the first five months of this year gone???  Wasn’t it just Christmas a few weeks ago?  So, rather than starting out the day with this post, which is a repeat of last year’s Pride Month post with some updates and modifications, I shall post it this afternoon and Part II will be tomorrow morning.  I am deeply saddened by state legislatures across the United States that have been busily introducing and passing anti-LGBTQ bills this year.  Thus far, not even halfway into the year, some 417 such bills have been introduced, more than twice as many as the previous year.

This is, in part, why I think shining a light on Pride Month is so, so important.  We must remember that we are all the same in far more ways than we are different, that we are all in the fight for life together.  We all have feelings, stengths & weaknesses, and nobody is ‘superior’ by virtue of the gender or colour.

With all the brouhaha over such ridiculous things as Bud Light featuring a trans person on cans of beer, Target selling Pride merchandise, religious leaders and politicians shouting anti-LGBTQ rhetoric at every turn, I fear this year’s Pride Month may be marred by disappointment and violence against the LGBTQ community.  I hope I’m wrong.  But learning about people is always a way to find more things we have in common, and that’s why I will keep posting these every June in hopes of reminding people that beneath it all, we are all just people.


My posts are usually geared toward socio-political issues such as racism & bigotry, politics, the environment, etc., but every now and then there is something that takes precedence over all those things — they will still be here tomorrow, right?  This afternoon and tomorrow afternoon, I am dedicating Filosofa’s Word, as I have for the past three years, to Pride Month.  Quick question:  do you know what PRIDE stands for?  I’m ashamed to say that I did not know until a few years ago that it stands for Personal Rights In Defense and Education.  Makes perfect sense, don’t you think?  The fight to be recognized and accepted has been an ongoing battle for decades, perhaps longer, and while we were making progress for a time, lately we seem to be regressing, thanks in large part to certain homophobic governors whose names do not deserve mention on this post.  Check out the states that are pushing through new legislation this year against the LGBTQ community on the ACLU website.

The following is Part I of a post I wrote for PRIDE Month in 2019 and have reprised every year since.  I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, and frankly when I read over this post, except for a few minor adjustments, I didn’t think I could do any better if I started over.  Part II will be on the schedule for tomorrow.  Meanwhile, to all my friends in the LGBTQ community … I wish you a heartfelt Happy PRIDE Month!


Pride-month-3June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world.  I see Pride Month in much the same way I see February’s Black History Month.  It is a way to honour or commemorate those who rarely receive the recognition they deserve, and are often discriminated against, simply because they are LGBTQ, or Black, in the case of Black History Month.  A bit of history about the beginnings of Pride Month …

The Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was owned by the Genovese crime family, and in 1966, three members of the Genovese family invested $3,500 to turn the Stonewall Inn into a gay bar, after it had been a restaurant and a nightclub for heterosexuals. Once a week a police officer would collect envelopes of cash as a payoff, as the Stonewall Inn had no liquor license and thus was operating outside the law.  It was the only bar for gay men in New York City where dancing was allowed; dancing was its main draw since its re-opening as a gay club.

At 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen in dark suits, two patrol officers in uniform, and Detective Charles Smythe and Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine arrived at the Stonewall Inn’s double doors and announced “Police! We’re taking the place!”  Approximately 205 people were in the bar that night. Patrons who had never experienced a police raid were confused. A few who realized what was happening began to run for doors and windows in the bathrooms, but police barred the doors.

Standard procedure was to line up the patrons, check their identification, and have female police officers take customers dressed as women to the bathroom to verify their sex, upon which any men dressed as women would be arrested. Those dressed as women that night refused to go with the officers. Men in line began to refuse to produce their identification. The police decided to take everyone present to the police station, after separating those cross-dressing in a room in the back of the bar.

Long story short, a few patrons were released before the patrol wagons arrived to cart the rest off to jail, and those few stayed out front, attracted quite a large crowd, mostly LGBT people, and after an officer hit a woman over the head for saying her handcuffs were too tight, the crowd went into fight mode.  By this time, the police were outnumbered by some 600 people.  Garbage cans, garbage, bottles, rocks, and bricks were hurled at the building, breaking the windows.  The mob lit garbage on fire and stuffed it through the broken windows.  Police tried to use water hoses to disperse the crowd, but there was no water pressure.  Police pulled their weapons, but before they could fire them, the Tactical Patrol Force and firefighters arrived.  The crowd mocked and fought against the police, who began swinging their batons right and left, not much caring who they hit or where.

The crowd was cleared by 4:00 a.m., but the mood remained dark, and the next night, rioting resumed with thousands of people showing up at the Stonewall, blocking the streets.  Police responded, and again it was 4:00 a.m. before the mob was cleared.

There comes a point when people who are mistreated, abused, discriminated against, have had enough.  It is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, the treatment of people who were only out to enjoy the night, was that straw.  It was a history making night, not only for the LGBTQ community, but for the nation.pride-month-stonewall.jpgWithin six months of the Stonewall riots, activists started a citywide newspaper called Gay; they considered it necessary because the most liberal publication in the city—The Village Voice—refused to print the word “gay”.  Two other newspapers were initiated within a six-week period: Come Out! and Gay Power; the readership of these three periodicals quickly climbed to between 20,000 and 25,000.  Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was formed with a constitution that began …

“We as liberated homosexual activists demand the freedom for expression of our dignity and value as human beings.”

I think that says it all, don’t you?  ‘Dignity and value as human beings’.  It is, in my book, a crying shame that our society needs to be reminded that we are all human beings, that we all have value and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street; with simultaneous Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago, these were the first Gay Pride marches in U.S. history. The next year, Gay Pride marches took place in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin, and Stockholm.  The Stonewall riots are considered the birth of the gay liberation movement and of gay pride on a massive scale.  The event has been likened to the Boston Tea Party, and Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus.  All of those were people’s way of saying, “We’ve had enough!”

2019 marked the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid and ensuing riots, and at long last, the New York City Police Department apologized to the LGBTQ community.  “The actions taken by the NYPD [at Stonewall] were wrong, plain and simple,” police commissioner James O’Neill said.  He also noted that the frequent harassment of LGBTQ men and women and laws that prohibited same-sex sexual relations are “discriminatory and oppressive” and apologized on behalf of the department.

President Bill Clinton first declared June to be National Pride Month in 1999, and again in 2000.  On June 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the White House would not formally recognize Pride Month.  Every year that President Barack Obama was in office, he declared June to be LGBT Pride Month.  Donald Trump ignored it in throughout his tenure and blocked the display of the Pride flag at all U.S. embassies.  Last year, President Biden recognized Pride Month, saying he “will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law.”

“During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically. In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America.”

And yesterday evening, he once again proclaimed June to be Pride Month and denouncing the anti-LGBTQ laws and book bannings that have been taking place in the states.

“During Pride Month, we honor a movement that has grown stronger, more vibrant, and more inclusive with every passing year. Pride is a celebration of generations of LGBTQI+ people who have fought bravely to live openly and authentically. And it is a reminder that we still have generational work to do to ensure that everyone enjoys the full promise of equity, dignity, protection, and freedom.”

Since this post turned into a history lesson, I wrote a second post to highlight some of the celebrations, the fun ways that people celebrate pride month, the people and organizations that are supporting Pride Month, and to honour the LGBTQ community, but I felt the history was important also, so … stay tuned for Part II later this afternoon!

Pride-month-4

Black History Month: John Lewis — The Last Of The True Heroes

On the night of July 17, 2020, a breaking news flash crossed my screen that took my breath, caused me to utter aloud, “NO!”, and broke my heart.  Congressman John Lewis had died.  Even today, reading about him, thinking about all that he stood for and all that he accomplished can bring a tear to my eye.  Today’s post is a reprise of the one I wrote on that night and published the following morning.  He was a man who I certainly think is deserving of being remembered for a very long time.

John-Lewis-quoteThere are few people alive today who deserve the title ‘hero’ in every sense of the word.  John Lewis was one such person.

When President Obama awarded John Lewis the Medal of Freedom in 2011, he said …

“Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind — an American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”

obama-lewis John Robert Lewis was born in Troy, Alabama, on Feb. 21, 1940, one of 10 children of Eddie and Willie Mae Lewis. According to “March,” his three-part autobiography in graphic novel form, he dreamed from a young age of being a preacher. He was in charge of taking care of his family’s chickens and would practice sermons on them: “I preached to my chickens just about every night.”  But life had other plans for young John Lewis.

John Lewis was the last of the most relevant civil rights leaders from the 1950s and 1960s.  In 1955, Lewis first heard Martin Luther King, Jr. on the radio, and, when the Montgomery Bus Boycott (led by King) began later that year, Lewis closely followed the news about it. Lewis would later meet Rosa Parks when he was 17 and met King for the first time when he was 18.  By the time he came of age, his path was chosen.

I could not possibly list all of Mr. Lewis’ accomplishments in this single post, but I would like to highlight a few.

As a student at American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, Lewis first became a part of the Civil Rights Movement, organizing sit-ins at segregated lunch counters that eventually led to the desegregation of Nashville’s lunch counters.

John-Lewis-lunch-counter-sit-in

Lewis was arrested and jailed many times in the nonviolent movement to desegregate the downtown area of the city. He was also instrumental in organizing bus boycotts and other nonviolent protests in the fight for voter and racial equality.

John-Lewis-early-arrest

In 1961, Lewis became one of the 13 original Freedom Riders. There were seven whites and six blacks who were determined to ride from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans in an integrated fashion. At that time, several states of the old Confederacy still enforced laws prohibiting black and white riders from sitting next to each other on public transportation.  The Freedom Ride was initiated to pressure the federal government to enforce the Supreme Court decision in Boynton v Virginia (1960) that declared segregated interstate bus travel to be unconstitutional.

In the South, Lewis and other nonviolent Freedom Riders were beaten by angry mobs, arrested at times and taken to jail. At 21 years old, Lewis was the first of the Freedom Riders to be assaulted while in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He tried to enter a whites-only waiting room and two white men attacked him, injuring his face and kicking him in the ribs. Nevertheless, only two weeks later Lewis joined a Freedom Ride that was bound for Jackson.

“We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back.”

Lewis was also imprisoned for forty days in the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Sunflower County, Mississippi, after participating in a Freedom Riders activity in that state.  But John Lewis was not a quitter.

In Birmingham, the Riders were mercilessly beaten, and in Montgomery, an angry mob met the bus, and Lewis was hit in the head with a wooden crate.

“It was very violent. I thought I was going to die. I was left lying at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery unconscious.”

In February 2009, forty-eight years after he had been bloodied in a Greyhound station during a Freedom Ride, Lewis received an apology on national television from a white southerner, former Klansman Elwin Wilson.

In 1963, Lewis was named one of the “Big Six” leaders who were organizing the March on Washington, the occasion of Dr. King’s celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech. Lewis also spoke at the March. Discussing the occasion, historian Howard Zinn wrote:

“At the great Washington March of 1963, the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), John Lewis, speaking to the same enormous crowd that heard Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, was prepared to ask the right question: ‘Which side is the federal government on?’ That sentence was eliminated from his speech by organizers of the March to avoid offending the Kennedy Administration. But Lewis and his fellow SNCC workers had experienced, again and again, the strange passivity of the national government in the face of Southern violence.”

John-Lewis-Edmund-Pettus-Bridge

John-Lewis-Edmund-Pettis-BridgeIn 1965, at age 25, Lewis marched with Dr. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery, and was on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, where he was beaten by police and knocked unconscious.  When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the demonstrators, beating them with night sticks. Lewis’s skull was fractured, but he escaped across the bridge to Brown Chapel, the movement’s headquarter church in Selma. Before Lewis could be taken to the hospital, he appeared before the television cameras calling on President Johnson to intervene in Alabama.  Lewis still bore the scars on his head from the incident.

John-Lewis-CongressIn 1986, John Lewis was elected to the House of Representatives from Georgia’s fifth district, a seat he would win and hold until his death last night.  He was reelected 16 times, dropping below 70 percent of the vote in the general election only once. In 1994, he defeated Republican Dale Dixon by a 38-point margin, 69%–31%. He ran unopposed in 1996, from 2004 to 2008, in 2014, and again in 2018.

Throughout his 34 years in Congress he fought for human rights, for civil rights … for your rights and mine … for our children’s and grandchildren’s.  He spoke out loud and clear in favour of LGBT rights, national health insurance, gun regulation, and has often been called “the conscience of Congress.”

“My overarching duty as I declared during that 1986 campaign and during every campaign since then, has been to uphold and apply to our entire society the principles which formed the foundation of the movement to which I have devoted my entire life.”

Coming from another, that might be considered just political rhetoric, but from John Lewis, truer words were never spoken.  He not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk for his entire life.  The world is a little darker place today without John Lewis in it.  RIP John Lewis … you are missed already.

A New U.S. Constitution

More than a few times in the past decade, I have opined that it may be time to update the U.S. Constitution, to bring it into the 21st century. The framers of the document fully intended it to be a living, breathing document, one that would grow as times changed, but due to a number of factors, it has failed to progress much. Two of my pet peeves are how the 1st and 2nd Amendments have been translated over time. Free speech seems to me to have gotten well out of hand when there is no accompanying responsibility, and the ‘right to bear arms’ has been taken far beyond what the framers could have ever imagined. Professor Taboo has just begun what will be a series of thoughts and suggestions about ways to update the Constitution, to bring it into the current century, make it the living, breathing document the founders imagined. What follows is the first in his series and I think the series will be well worth your time to read and ponder. Thank you, Prof!

The Professor's Convatorium

Roy Young – President/CEO, James Madison’s Montpelier

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

What exactly no longer works in our 18th century Constitution? For many Americans today that would be a shocking, disturbing question. Some would be appalled that it was even suggested. While on the other hand, for many other Americans the question would illicit just the opposite reaction, frustration perhaps, but not shock. Yet, today the chasm of heated emotions within our split and splitting, polarized politics is quite real. It is undeniable by any foreign observer. Like it or not, in today’s U.S. of A., the battle-lines are rapidly drawn and battle-cries shouted “you’re either with us or against us” as President George W. Bush once proclaimed to the world in the wake of 9/11. Only today, that line drawn in the sand describes acutely our current prognosis of U.S…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons

I’m only a day or two late re-blogging TokyoSand’s excellent collection of political cartoons from last week!  Predictably, the topics were women’s rights, human rights, mass shootings, and Boris Johnson’s resignation.  Be sure to follow the link at the end to see the rest of the ‘toons over at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!  Thank you, TS!

See all the ‘toons at Political Charge!!!

🏳️‍🌈 Celebrating PRIDE Month – Part I 🏳️‍🌈

This is a repeat of last year’s Pride Month post with only slight modifications.  Today, with so many states attempting to push the LGBTQ community into obscurity,  think it is more important than ever that we remember the fight for LGBTQ rights which I often compare to the fight for Black rights in this country.  There is a reason we have Black History Month and Pride Month … to remember that we are all the same in far more ways than we are different, that we are all in the fight for life together.  We all have feelings, stengths & weaknesses, and nobody is ‘superior’ by virtue of the gender or colour.


My posts are usually geared toward socio-political issues such as racism & bigotry, politics, the environment, etc., but every now and then there is something that takes precedence over all those things — they will still be here tomorrow, right?  Today, I am dedicating Filosofa’s Word, as I have for the past three years, to Pride Month.  Quick question:  do you know what PRIDE stands for?  I’m ashamed to say that I did not know until a few years ago that it stands for Personal Rights In Defense and Education.  Makes perfect sense, don’t you think?  The fight to be recognized and accepted has been an ongoing battle for decades, perhaps longer, and while we have made progress, today there are states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and others that have either passed or are preparing bills that would legalize discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

The following is Part I of a post I wrote for PRIDE Month in 2019 and reprised in 2020.  I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, and frankly when I read over this post, except for a few minor adjustments, I didn’t think I could do any better if I started over.  Part II will be on the schedule for later this afternoon.  Meanwhile, to all my friends in the LGBTQ community … I wish you a heartfelt Happy PRIDE Month!


Pride-month-3June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world.  I see Pride Month in much the same way I see February’s Black History Month.  It is a way to honour or commemorate those who rarely receive the recognition they deserve, and are often discriminated against, simply because they are LGBTQ, or Black, in the case of Black History Month.  A bit of history …

The Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was owned by the Genovese crime family, and in 1966, three members of the Genovese family invested $3,500 to turn the Stonewall Inn into a gay bar, after it had been a restaurant and a nightclub for heterosexuals. Once a week a police officer would collect envelopes of cash as a payoff, as the Stonewall Inn had no liquor license and thus was operating outside the law.  It was the only bar for gay men in New York City where dancing was allowed; dancing was its main draw since its re-opening as a gay club.

At 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen in dark suits, two patrol officers in uniform, and Detective Charles Smythe and Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine arrived at the Stonewall Inn’s double doors and announced “Police! We’re taking the place!”  Approximately 205 people were in the bar that night. Patrons who had never experienced a police raid were confused. A few who realized what was happening began to run for doors and windows in the bathrooms, but police barred the doors.

Standard procedure was to line up the patrons, check their identification, and have female police officers take customers dressed as women to the bathroom to verify their sex, upon which any men dressed as women would be arrested. Those dressed as women that night refused to go with the officers. Men in line began to refuse to produce their identification. The police decided to take everyone present to the police station, after separating those cross-dressing in a room in the back of the bar.

Long story short, a few patrons were released before the patrol wagons arrived to cart the rest off to jail, and those few stayed out front, attracted quite a large crowd, mostly LGBT people, and after an officer hit a woman over the head for saying her handcuffs were too tight, the crowd went into fight mode.  By this time, the police were outnumbered by some 600 people.  Garbage cans, garbage, bottles, rocks, and bricks were hurled at the building, breaking the windows.  The mob lit garbage on fire and stuffed it through the broken windows.  Police tried to use water hoses to disperse the crowd, but there was no water pressure.  Police pulled their weapons, but before they could fire them, the Tactical Patrol Force and firefighters arrived.  The crowd mocked and fought against the police, who began swinging their batons right and left, not much caring who they hit or where.

The crowd was cleared by 4:00 a.m., but the mood remained dark, and the next night, rioting resumed with thousands of people showing up at the Stonewall, blocking the streets.  Police responded, and again it was 4:00 a.m. before the mob was cleared.

There comes a point when people who are mistreated, abused, discriminated against, have had enough.  It is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, the treatment of people who were only out to enjoy the night, was that straw.  It was a history making night, not only for the LGBTQ community, but for the nation.pride-month-stonewall.jpgWithin six months of the Stonewall riots, activists started a citywide newspaper called Gay; they considered it necessary because the most liberal publication in the city—The Village Voice—refused to print the word “gay”.  Two other newspapers were initiated within a six-week period: Come Out! and Gay Power; the readership of these three periodicals quickly climbed to between 20,000 and 25,000.  Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was formed with a constitution that began …

“We as liberated homosexual activists demand the freedom for expression of our dignity and value as human beings.”

I think that says it all, don’t you?  ‘Dignity and value as human beings’.  It is, in my book, a crying shame that our society needs to be reminded that we are all human beings, that we all have value and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street; with simultaneous Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago, these were the first Gay Pride marches in U.S. history. The next year, Gay Pride marches took place in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin, and Stockholm.  The Stonewall riots are considered the birth of the gay liberation movement and of gay pride on a massive scale.  The event has been likened to the Boston Tea Party, and Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus.  All of those were people’s way of saying, “We’ve had enough!”

2019 marked the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid and ensuing riots, and at long last, the New York City Police Department apologized to the LGBTQ community.  “The actions taken by the NYPD [at Stonewall] were wrong, plain and simple,” police commissioner James O’Neill said.  He also noted that the frequent harassment of LGBTQ men and women and laws that prohibited same-sex sexual relations are “discriminatory and oppressive” and apologized on behalf of the department.

President Bill Clinton first declared June to be National Pride Month in 1999, and again in 2000.  On June 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the White House would not formally recognize Pride Month.  Every year that President Barack Obama was in office, he declared June to be LGBT Pride Month.  Donald Trump ignored it in throughout his tenure and blocked the display of the Pride flag at all U.S. embassies.  This year, President Biden recognized Pride Month, saying he “will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law.”

“”During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically. In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America.”

Since this post turned into a history lesson, I wrote a second post to highlight some of the celebrations, the fun ways that people celebrate pride month, the people and organizations that are supporting Pride Month, and to honour the LGBTQ community, but I felt the history was important also, so … stay tuned for Part II later this afternoon!

Pride-month-4

Wednesday wanderings in mid-May

As always, our friend Keith puts into words what many of us are thinking and feeling. Please pay special attention to his final paragraph, for these are the questions we need to be asking, and the issues on which we need to hold our elected representatives accountable. As always, thank you Keith!!!

musingsofanoldfart

We should have another warm day here, so walking may make us “glisten,” a word my wife uses for perspiration. So, as we glisten on our walk about, let me share a few of my wandering thoughts.

The votes from yesterday’s mid-term primaries are being tallied, so I will save commentary for another day, with two exceptions. With almost 100% of the votes counted, it looks like Rep. Madison Cawthorn will be unseated in his first election as an incumbent. His failure to: realize on three occasions a driver needs a driver license, understand he cannot carry a weapon onto a plane on two occasions, appreciate claiming your Republican colleagues are having orgies and coke parties is not the way to make friends, and recognize that not doing much of anything other than abet the former president’s Big Lie and insurrection of Congress is not conducive to good governance. It…

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I Thought We Were Better …

In countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and many others, one man or group of men (it’s always men, never women) control the people, their actions & behaviours.  But in a democracy, a true democracy, it is the voice of the majority that determines the laws of the land.  The United States was founded as a Democratic Republic, which is somewhat different than a pure democracy.  In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected. In a democratic republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority as well as those of the majority.

Today in the United States, it is the will of the minority that is trampling all over the rights of the majority.  The majority of people (60%) in the U.S. are for stricter gun regulations, yet there is no movement in this direction.  The majority of people (54%, with only 28% wishing to overturn it, with 18% who don’t care one way or the other) are in favour of maintaining Roe v Wade, supporting women’s rights, yet the Supreme Court is fully poised to overturn Roe.  The majority of the people (66%) in this country support Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ program to help people who were financially affected by the pandemic, yet Congress trashed it.  70% of all voters were in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last year, yet Congress also trashed both of those.  So … we can only conclude that the minority is dominating the majority and that is NOT in keeping with ANY form of democratic principles!

A few weeks ago, I reblogged Brosephus’ post titled America Is Dead.  At the time, I qualified my view of it, saying that I still had hope for this nation to rebound and that I would continue fighting with renewed resolve to restore the rights and will of the people – the majority of the people.  But yet again, I am discouraged, for it seems that the people in this nation today are so divided that there is no longer a UNITED States of America, but that we should change the name to the DIVIDED States of America.  In truth, it is almost as if there are two completely separate sub-species of humans living here.  We laud Abraham Lincoln for ending the Civil War, for bringing the nation back under one umbrella, but today we are as divided as we were in the 19th century.

Our friend Keith, who is among the most reasonable men I know, suggests we do more to open the lines of communications between the two sides, initiating dialogue, calmly asking those with opinions different from our own why they think as they do, and finding common ground, areas where we can compromise.  I agree with Keith’s premise, but is there so much as a square inch of common ground remaining these days?  It seems to me that the common ground was the first casualty of the great divide.  My concern is that there will be many more casualties of that great divide in the future.

Every day it seems that more and more schools and communities are banning certain books, even classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, or To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  WHY?  I first heard the claim that such books made white children ‘feel bad’ about how Blacks were treated back in the day, but of late, it is said that the books are being banned because they make Black children feel bad about themselves.  Either one is naught but an excuse for the reality which is that white supremacists do not want the next generation to be taught about the racism that has been a part of this country since before its founding.  Do they honestly think the children won’t learn about it anyway?  Isn’t it far better to have a compassionate teacher explain what happened, why it was wrong, and how we have worked throughout the past century to rectify it?  How can you simply cut a piece of history out of the history books?  How will they explain what Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Malcom X and others were fighting for when those who are children today reach high school and college?  So, I argue that books cannot be banned in schools and libraries, except perhaps books like Fifty Shades of Grey.

But my voice is not heard, more books are being banned daily, and if I were independently wealthy, I would mail a copy of Maus by Art Spiegelman to every child under the age of 12 in the nation.  Maus is a nonfiction graphic novel that depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor, yet the book is banned in a number of places.  Are we also, in addition to trying to erase our racist past, trying to erase the Holocaust, or anti-Semitism, or even World War II???  Are people really so narrow-minded that they believe our children won’t learn these things, one way or another.  And even more to the point, do they seek a return to those things such as extreme racial hatred, anti-Semitism, and violence against any who don’t fit into their own views?  For that is exactly where we are headed if we hide the reality of the past from the next generation.  It’s almost as if some have looked at the steps forward of the past 50-70 years and decided it was too much, that they wanted a ‘reset’ button to take them … take us all … back to the 1950s, the days of Happy Days television show, the days of segregated diners, segregated schools, and school prayer forced upon every child.

America’s claim to fame has been that it was a nation of immigrants, a diverse nation, but today it seems we want to erase that, to become a homogeneous country where everyone thinks, looks, and acts exactly the same.  How terrible, how boring, and how surreal that would be.

Those who wish for more, rather than fewer civil rights, who wish to keep Roe, Obergefell, Brown, and other Court rulings that have given rights to those who were once without, are not trying to force their way on others.  For example, and I’ve said this many times, if you don’t believe that abortion is right, then you are free not to have an abortion!  If you do not like same-sex marriage, then marry someone of the opposite sex!  Nobody, but nobody is forcing anyone to have an abortion or marry someone of their same gender.  But it is those with narrow minds and shallow views who would force the rest of us into their very small, dark box.  I don’t wish to live in that small, dark, terrible box, nor would I wish it on anyone else.

I thought we were better than this.  Obviously, I was wrong.

Saturday in the park – miscellaneous musings on March 12

With a high temp of 25° and snow on the ground here, I won’t be spending my “Saturday In The Park”, but our friend Keith did, and the thoughts that accompanied his time in the park are worthy of being shared. He covers a lot of ground here … all important topics. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

In deference to the band Chicago, let me metaphorically meander this “Saturday in Park” with a few miscellaneous musings. In no particular order:

-one of the Republican primary opponents for a NC US Senator seat is running a commercial against the positions of the last GOP governor who is also running. The ad focuses on what the governor said in criticism of Donald Trump to show that the governor is not Republican enough. The irony is every word the former governor said in criticism is true about the former president and my wife and I both nodded our heads yes.

-the malevolent and untruthful acting autocratic leader of Russia is accusing the US of plotting with Ukraine a bio-chemical attack against Russia. This is vintage narcissistic behavior – brand others with the accusations being made at you. The aforementioned former president uses this narcissistic defense mechanism often, so we should…

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Say WHAT???

If you have lived your life believing that you are, by definition of your gender and skin colour, one of the superior beings on earth, I imagine it’s rather difficult to accept reality when it hits you in the face.  White males have dominated much of our political and societal ‘norms’ since the beginning of this nation.  Until the year 2008 when we elected Barack Obama, a Black man, to be our president, every president had been white.  And male.  We have yet to elect a woman to the highest office in the land, and in fact relatively few women hold seats in Congress.  And yet … a portion of those white males are now claiming that they are “victims of racism.”  SERIOUSLY???

Women fought long and hard just to get the right to vote … it took them until August 1920!  Men generally did not want women to vote, just as today they do not want women to have senior positions in our government.  A few facts …

  • In 1839 Mississippi was the first state to allow women to own property in their own names
  • In 1848, the Married Woman’s Property Act was passed in New York and used as a template for other states in later years. This Act allowed women to enter into contracts on her own, transact business and file a lawsuit in her own name.  By 1900, all other states had passed similar laws
  • In 1862, the U.S. Homestead Act made it easier for single, widowed and divorced women to claim land in their own names.
  • In 1872 Illinois granted freedom of occupational choice to both men and women. But when Myra Colby Bradwell, who studied as her husband’s law apprentice to pass the Illinois bar, tried to practice as a lawyer, the US supreme court ruled in 1873 that the state doesn’t have to grant a law license to a married woman. Say WHAT???
  • In 1963, the US passed the first legislation requiring equal pay for equal work, but it needed to be expanded in 1972 to include salespeople, executives, administrators, etc.
  • In 1970 a federal appeals court decision makes it illegal for a company to change a job’s title so that they could pay women who held the position less than male workers. 1970, people … think about it … just over 50 years ago!

Remember that Virginia Slims television commercial (from back when cigarette companies were still allowed to advertise on television) that said, “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!”  Indeed, women in most western countries including the U.S. have come a long way, but look how long it has taken, and the reality is that in the U.S. today, women are still considered by too many to be second-class citizens.

Even worse, Black people in this country have had to fight for every teeny tiny step of progress they have made and far too many lives … BLACK LIVES … have been lost in that never-ending battle.  Even in this, the 21st century, Black people are losing their lives to white supremacists for no reason other than the colour of their skin!  Remember the story of Emmett Till who was killed by white men in 1955 because he was a young Black boy and had a conversation with a white store clerk.  Even our police, the very people who are sworn to uphold the law of the land, are often the perpetrators of hate crimes against Black people!  Remember Breonna Taylor?  SAY HER NAME!  Remember Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, George Floyd and so very many others???  SAY THEIR NAMES, DAMMIT! Remember them … always.

My point?  Those white entitled men who claim they are victims of racism are so full of sh*t that I can smell them five miles away!  Last week, the former guy claimed that he is a victim of racial discrimination because … wait for it … the prosecutors in Georgia, New York, and Washington who are investigating Trump and his business organization are all Black.  Oh the irony, for I have never known anybody more racist and misogynist than Donald Trump!

But alas, Trump isn’t the only one riding this fake victim train!  The infamous Ted Cruz, senator from Texas, claimed that President Biden’s decision to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court was “offensive” and excludes most “Americans”.  Bullshit, Teddy!!!  Most “Americans” are excluded by nature of the fact that most of us do not qualify, do not have law degrees and previous experience as a judge!  Roger Wicker, a senator from Mississippi said that limiting the pool to Black women is “affirmative racial discrimination.”

I’m tired, my friends.  I’m sick and damn tired of the people whose voices are the loudest in this nation twisting and turning words, upholding bigotry in all its forms, and hastening to destroy life on this planet.  I’m sick and tired of the people who are against anything and everything that makes sense, such as mask and vaccine mandates, protecting and repairing the environment, equality for ALL, whether male or female, Black or white, gay or straight.  There’s an old saying that, “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”  So true, and today there are so many who are choosing to be part of the problem and keeping the rest from finding the solutions to what is wrong in this world.  For Christmas, my daughter bought me this t-shirt … 

Pretty damn accurate, I’d say.