Tag Archives: Exposing hypocrisy

Hero of the Week: December 9, Hillary Clinton

9 Dec

Hero of the Week

Thanks to regular TSM commenter Jay for this week’s winning HWA nomination. What a pleasure to recognize Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her stirring speech to the United Nations as part of the week leading up to Human Rights Day. Secretary Clinton built on a White House memorandum that directs

all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.

From that wonderful platform, she spent 30 minutes clearly articulating the fact that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”  The full video is available here and a transcript is here. The following excerpt captures the spirit of her comments.

Today I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose Human Rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today. In many ways they are an invisible minority. They are arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed. Many are treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or too often even join in the abuse. They are denied opportunities to work and learn, driven from their homes and countries and forced to suppress or deny who they are to protect themselves from harm. I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity who have a right to claim that which is now one of the remaining Human Rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on Human Rights for gay people is far from perfect…

Now raising this issue I know is sensitive for many people and that the obstacles rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural and religious beliefs. [But] being gay is not a western invention. It is a human reality. And protecting the Human Rights of all people gay or straight is not something that only western governments do.

Thank you, Madame Secretary, and special thanks for recognizing how far our own country has to go. May your stirring words provide the sound foundation for full civil rights in foreign and domestic policy.

Stalwart Sanders Stands Strong

22 Jul

A Man of Wisdom and Courage

While there are a plethora of elected officials I have great disdain and even contempt for currently, I rejoice that Senator Bernie Sanders is one of those elected officials who makes me smile and take consolation that he is working for the American people. He is a true civil servant!  Of course, I feel the same way about John Lewis of Georgia. I will not mention the misogynistic, homophobic, bigots, like John Boehner, Michlele Bachmann, and Tim Pawlenty–no, I will not mention those who do not understand what it means to have courage and show leadership as a civil servant.  Don’t ask me to name them.  I simply won’t.

I would rather focus on Bernie Sanders and how this courageous and marvelous man has become an icon for the Champion of the American people. I love him for calling out bad behavior and exposing hypocrisy, for naming names!  Here is the voice of Sanders, a hero of the 21st century:

One of the long-term deficit reduction plans came from the so-called Gang of Six. We do not know all of the details of that proposal. In fact, we never will know because a lot of the decisions are booted to committees to work out the details.

It is fair to say, however, that Senators Coburn, Crapo and Chambliss deserve congratulations. Clearly, they have won this debate in a very significant way. My guess is that they will probably get 80 percent or 90 percent of what they wanted. In this town, that is quite an achievement, but they have stood firm in their desire to represent the wealthy and the powerful and multinational corporations. They have threatened. They have been smart. They have been determined. And at the end of the day, they will get almost all of what they want. That is their victory, and I congratulate them.

Unfortunately, their victory will be a disaster for working families in this country, for the elderly, for the sick, for the children and for low-income people.

Unfortunately, the “gang of 6” is not working in isolation.  This gang of super-rich white bullies, has the full support of the Fecal Five!   I implore you to share the message of Bernie Sanders!  We can save America.  Click here to see the full article.

Bigot of the Week Award: July 15

15 Jul

Bigot of the Week

As is typical on Thursday evenings, I find myself with an embarrassing number of candidates for the dubious honor of BWA.  Of course the one that stood out amongst all other bigots this week was Marcus Bachmann.  Bachmann tried to defend his Reparative therapy clinics in an interview with the Star Tribune and tried to justify some of the horrific language he has used in describing the LGBT community; all of this earns him this week’s BWA.

Just to be perfectly clear, both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association oppose any type of “reparative or conversion” therapy. One might wonder why Marcus Bachmann is consumed with thinking about homosexuality. He and Fred Phelps have a lot in common.  Perhaps Michele needs to be a little worried about how much time her husband thinks about gay sex.  Well, I’m sure there is nothing hiding in his closet and I will leave it at that. Click here to see the full article.

 

We Are All Connected

10 Jul

Rep. John Lewis

I want to thank my friend Sibel Alp, for inspiring this post.  Sibel is a beautifully strong and brilliant woman I met over 20 years ago and she is also someone who works to make the world a better place for all people.

I have been quite pensive and perhaps even a bit maudlin today, as I thought about what I wanted to write about for TSM. Perhaps I have also been a bit melancholy because of the loss of Betty Ford, and for me the symbolic loss of intelligent and remarkable Republicans.  I have some difficult stories coming up soon that will address the attacks on women, the poor, and the LGBT communities, so I wanted something uplifting for today.

I hope all that read TSM take away the message that we all have to be engaged in the work of eradicating racism, misogyny, poverty, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, ageism, and planetary sustainability. My hope is that as people read this blog, they become more aware of the interconnectedness of all forms of discrimination which requires us to be champions for all who are marginalized.  Taking up the banner of civil rights for all can only help all humans, which I believe will also help the planet.  I found this short video that I think helps to illustrate how connected we all are.  I chose to attach a picture of John Lewis to this story because he is a hero of mine and when I think of people who dedicate their lives to social justice, I think of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

Blake Mycoskie, Founder of TOMS: No Love For The Gays

9 Jul

In Bed With Focus on the Family

If you follow TSM, you know we are all about philanthropy and social justice.  How horribly sad that the homophobic Blake Mycoskie is in bed with Focus on the Family.

Mycoskie’s company TOMS, donates a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes purchased.  I could so easily support this and get behind this type of philanthropy, save that Mycoskie and his company TOMS supports one of the quintessential hate groups, Focus on the Family, which was named as a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  I am now calling for a full Boycott of TOMS Shoes!  Mr. Mycoskie, if you would like to chime in here, please do. I’m curious how you will justify funding and partnering with a well recognized Hate Group.  Click here to see the full article.

Update: 2:43 pm PST July 9, 2011: Here is the “Apology” issues by Mycoskie.  Sorry! I just don’t believe you!  Really? You had no idea about Focus on the Family?  You are a liar and a whore.  Does this mean you will discontinue the partnership with them to sell shoes in Africa?

Millennial Generation: Interview with Zach Wahls

2 Jun

Zach Wahls

Many of you may remember the name Zach Wahls; he earned a Hero of the Week Award on the TSM.  Seeing the courage of this 19 year old in Iowa made me want to interview him for the Millennial Generation Series.  I have to say that, had my husband and I had children, Zach is the type of son I would be so proud to have.  His parents, Jackie and Terry must be kvelling!  Than you, Zach.  We look forward to your many more contributions to making the world a better place for all.

Zach is 19 years old and studying in college.  He has a younger sister.  He identifies as “a lifelong Unitarian Universalist.”

Politics

I’m a registered Democrat, but am not opposed to voting for intellectually honest Republicans. My biggest frustration with politicians is not about specific policies, usually, but about whether or not the politicians are being honest about what those policies will do, why they are presenting those policies, etc. Way too much of our policy making is about emotionally-charged and intellectually dishonest claims instead of realworld problem solving. Any politician with the courage to put forward solutions–that actually solve problems, even if they’re unpopular–is worth consideration in my book.

LGBT Issues

As important as marriage equality is, I think the bigger challenge facing the LGBTQ movement is the quiet, presumed homophobia of our social interactions. The casual use of the words “faggot” “queer” and “gay” in derogatory contexts is what fuels the culture of discrimination. Once we have, as a society, gotten to the point where we’re unwilling to permit such slander, I think most of the other challenges facing the movement will resolve themselves. This isn’t to say that we don’t have to do anything–quite the contrary. Getting to that point will take a *lot* of work.

Frame of Reference

Growing up, certainly 9/11 was a defining moment, politically, for most of my generation. I also vividly remember watching keynote speeches at the 2004 GOP National Convention that viciously attacked my family and me–something you hope never to hear from your elected officials, the people who are supposed to be protecting you and representing your interests.

I’ll also never forget the day that the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that same-sex couples had the constitutionally-protected right to enter civil marriage. I don’t listen to a lot of U2, but I listened to their song, “Beautiful Day” literally all day. Restored my faith in our government.

Biggest Anxiety

People have expected big things from me my whole life, and I’ve come to expect big things from myself as well. From whence these high expectations came, I’m not entirely sure, but they’re persistent–at time frustratingly so. My biggest fear is of waking up one morning, realizing I’m 40 years old and having made no significant contribution to my community–be it local, state, national or global. I often find myself walking a fine line between “Don’t try too hard,” and “Work like you’ve got a gun to your head.” I guess this is related to the previous question as well, but I look at the world and I see lots and lots of suffering. One billion people on this planet wake up every morning without a secure source of safe, clean water. One out of six. Young gay people are about eight times more likely to commit suicide than a young straight person. This is terrifying stuff. But then I look around and see so much happiness and so many people enjoying life, and I think to myself that this is what life needs to be.

Biggest Dream

Haha, I’m not one for dreams. I’m more about what we can actually do. I did really like *Inception*, though.

What do you want to be known for—your indelible mark?

I’d rather make a significant contribution to something that actually mattered without recognition than canonized for doing something that didn’t matter.

What do you want your generation to be known for?

Well, I think my generation is uniquely situated. I have more technological power in my cell phone than NASA had when they put a human being on the surface of the moon. I am–and if you’re reading this on a computer, you are too–a walking, breathing technological superpower. Not only that, but we grew up with this technology in such a way that it’s really second nature to us. We’ve got the capacity to advance the average human condition on this planet in immeasurable ways. Huge potential. The question is whether or not we’ll deliver. And that remains to be seen.

Women’s History: May 1

1 May

Happy Birthday, Mother Jones

First, I would like to acknowledge that on May 1, 1889, International Workers’ Congress declared May 1 as a public holiday, also known as May Day.  Mary Harris Jones, a.k.a. Mother Jones, was actually born on August 1.  However, Mother Jones later claimed May Day as her birthday to show solidarity to all workers around the world.

Mother Jones is known as the “Mother of Agitators,” having co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World.  After losing her husband and four children to yellow fever, Jones moved from Memphis, Tennessee to Chicago, Illinois where she became a dressmaker. Unfortunately, in 1871, Jones lost both her shop and home to the Great Chicago Fire started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.

By the time Jones reached her late 50s, she became a fierce ally for workers’ rights and became known as Mother Jones, a white-haired radical labor organizer.  Jones focused a great deal of energy in advocating for miner’s rights.  By 1902 she was called the “most dangerous woman in America” for the success she achieved in organizing miners against the mine owners.

In 1970, what I would call a civil rights publication, Mother Jones magazine started and was named after Mary Harris Jones. Click here to take a look at the bi-monthly publication. Happy May Day and Happy Birthday to Mother Jones. Workers of the World Unite!

Quote of the day:

My address is like my shoes. It travels with me. I abide where there is a fight against wrong.–Mother Jones

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