Tag Archives: Newark

Hero of the Week Award, August 30: Cory Booker

30 Aug
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

Newark Mayor and New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker has a longstanding reputation as a politician who understands his power and uses it to truly improve lives. He is very engaged with the people he serves and makes a practice of walking his talk — including a week spent on a food stamp budget and other practical demonstrations.

Booker is also an outspoken ally of the LGBT community. Although empowered as Mayor to perform marriages, he refuses to do so until all the citizens of his state have equal access to marriage. He has discussed his homophobia as a youth as an example of how people can grow.

As a lifelong bachelor with no visible social life, Booker is often the subject of speculation regarding his sexual orientation. Since he began his campaign for this October’s special Senate election. gay rumors have been swirling like mad in the media and online. Booker’s response?

And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.

Even more impressive is that the level of risk for Booker, as a multiracial man, supporting LGBT equality says volumes about his character and  his ability to lead. Sadly, Booker’s opponent, Steve Lonegan, chose to denigrate Booker for his wonderful attitude. Calling Booker “weird,” he said he “likes being a guy” and used Booker’s fondness for manicures as a sign of weak masculinity. Booker wasted no time in reinforcing his solidarity with the LGBT community.

It’s just disheartening to hear somebody, in this day and age, in the United States of America, say basically … that gay men are not men, they’re not guys. It’s shocking to one’s conscience in this country, where we believe that the content of one’s character, the courage in one’s heart, the strength of one’s sense of purpose, the love that one has for others and their service is what defines them.

During this week of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, how sad that people like Lonegan are on the wrong side of history.  Lonegan, like other folks who behave in homophobic or racist ways strip, not only others of their dignity, but strip away their own dignity. Thank you, Mayor Booker. We’re looking forward to your long and productive tenure in the Senate.

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Bigot of the Week Award: September 28: Archbishop John Myers of Newark

28 Sep

Bigot of the Week

Oh what bounty! Sadly, there were many choices yet again this week. We won’t pick on the Romney / Ryan ticket for their serial lies, hypocrisy, racism, classism, bigotry, and oppression since everyone else has been kind enough to do that for us. Instead, the BWA goes to (brace yourselves) yet another Catholic Archbishop. John J. Myers, Archbishop of the Diocese of Newark, decided to wade into election season and instruct his flock (enjoying that tax exempt status, Archbishop).

Archbishop Myers released a “sweeping pastoral statement” this week. Feeling that many Catholics were “at odds with church teaching” he decided to apply his privilege and abuse his power. “No one has said things clearly to them for years,” he said. Well he took care of that. When looking at candidates, he said that true Catholics should examine the full spectrum of each candidate, including how they stand on abortion and a “proper backing of marriage.” He clarified why opposition to marriage equality is valid by using this old false equivalency:

Even those who propose radically altering the definition of marriage would not advocate allowing two brothers or sisters or an uncle and his nephew to marry.

Not content to spew his misogyny and homophobia, he went on to take an extremist position even for the Catholic church, saying that people who disagree with his guidance or who might vote for candidates who take different stands should “refrain from receiving Holy Communion.” That’s right, folks, vote my way or no eternal salvation for you! How very christian (in my best Church Lady (Dana Carvey) voice).

Dishonorable mention this week goes to Sen. Scott Brown (R – Mass. of Bigotry); he only came in second because of his previous win last July. Infamous for pretending to be a moderate Republican while marching in lockstep with the worst of their obstructionist behavior, the Senator managed to become even more odious this week. As part of a series of attacks on his opponent, the wonderful Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Brown has latched on to her Native American heritage. Defying the truth and common decency, he has accused her of trying to “cash in” on that heritage, something she has demonstrably not done.

As a result of these attacks, his campaign staff got a bit out of hand at a rally, shouting down Warren supporters with war whoops and tomahawk chops. The Senator (after a delay of days) finally said that this behavior wasn’t very nice, although the whole thing was Warren’s fault for not being white enough. Anyone wondering where they got the idea, however, should look to Sen. Brown’s words during the recent debate.

Professor Warren claimed that she was a Native American, a person of color, and as you can see, she’s not.

REALLY? What should a Native American look like, Senator? Just to round out his GOP credentials, when he was interviewed about his comments, plainly recorded and available for public consumption, he said, “I never made that suggestion at all.” It looks like he’s hoping for a place in a Romney Administration…

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