How I keep from going under

March 14, 2007

(You’ll have to excuse me–I was listening to an NPR bit on Grandmaster Flash.)

I’m a little frustrated lately. And I don’t make a good emotional debater. I learned this most coherently during my freshman year of college, when I tried (pretty unsuccessfully) to explain to one of my roommates and a mutual friend how I could possibly defend being a pacifist when the terrorists were all trying to kill us. Things mostly went downhill once the roommate explained she had a relative fighting in Iraq–this was one woman you did not keep arguing with once she was in tears. Regardless, I’m still a staunch pacifist (or, more precisely, someone who has yet to support my country’s reasons for being in a combat theater, although I firmly support my country’s soldiers and want them all home in one piece–my cousin was a reservist in Iraq, but he was lucky enough to be filling sandbags and taking pictures the whole time) even if I couldn’t eloquently explain it then.

Likewise, I’m still a staunch homosexual advocate (read: believes homosexuals can be moral beings, approves of equal rights and protections for homosexuals) even though I have difficulty elaborating on that to people whose rhetoric enrages me.

Luckily so far these people have all been fellow travelers on the intertubes, not, say, employers or family members or people on the street getting all up in my grill. I have a feeling I’d be even more incoherent and emotional in any of those instances, while there would simultaneously be much more at stake.

Regardless, here are a few of my least favorite arguments as of late (mostly summarized from Pandagon comments threads–I won’t link to them individually, but the site should be part of your daily reading, along with Feministe and Feministing):

1. It’s not homosexuals that are the problem–it’s homosexual acts. If the homos could just stop having sex, everything would be fine!

2. Homosexuality is immoral. I know this, because the Bible, compiled by a bunch of men during a historical period when the Jews were particularly persecuted and continuation of the race depended on procreation, says so. But don’t point out things like shellfish and shaving, because that’s just stupid.

3. I’m perfectly comfortable talking about how terrible homosexual sex in the military is, but for criminy’s sake, don’t mention military men raping women, because that’s totally not the issue. Oh, and it also doesn’t happen. But if the bitches can’t handle it, bitches shouldn’t be in the military.

I have to stop now. It’s just making me too mad.

Random thoughts roundup

November 14, 2006

I think I finally figured out what bothers me so much about Lieberman. It’s that he didn’t trust the voters of his own party to nominate the best candidate. Yes, yes, ultimately he won- but he lost the damn primary. He lost and said, you know what? I don’t think you Really know who you want to represent you, so I’m going to give you one more chance, and then insist you treat me like a democrat even though I didn’t treat you like informed voters.

On the subject of same-sex marriage, I’ve seen a couple of analogies that seem to equate civil unions with “separate but equal” treatment from the days of segregation. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m deeply grateful for the right to marry in my current state of residence, and I’m hopeful that our new governor will do something about Gov. Stupidface’s enforcement of that ridiculous 1913 law prohibiting out of state marriages if they’re not recognized in the other state. But I think people are getting awful hung up on the word “marriage.” If civil unions can come with the same legal status as traditional marriage, I’m all for them. The current pursuit of same sex marriage above all issues is political suicide for queer communities.

But as for recent ballot amendments–minority rights should never be up for majority votes, as long as the majority is still a bunch of idiots.

And, finally, on the topic of what the dems should be doing next: consensus seems to be getting our troops out of Iraq in some kind of timely fashion, which would be great. But I’d also really love it if someone could take a good hard look at No Child Left Behind and realize how much it sucks. What’s going to happen in 2014 when, oh, uhm, not every kid in the country passes state tests, not to mention federal standards?


November 10, 2006

From CNN:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Joe Lieberman, who won re-election as an independent, has a message for his Senate colleagues in the next Congress: Call me a Democrat.

Well, Joey boy, that’s a little bit confusing, isn’t it? I mean, you’re not a democrat, right? Because you lost the democratic primary, right? And then you won your senate seat as an independent, right? I mean, I’m not a Connecticut voter, but I’m assuming next to your name there was a little I instead of a D.

So will he count as a Democrat or an independent who caucuses with the majority Democrats? In an e-mail message late Thursday, Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein said the senator will begin his new term as a Democrat.

With the Democratic takeover of the Senate, Lieberman is in line to become chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In a post-election news conference, Lieberman said he was reassured by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that he would retain his seniority when the new Senate convenes.

Oh, thank goodness. Because we wouldn’t want you to lose your precious seniority. I mean, it’d be a real shame if you had to wait any longer to become chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

Here’s my prediction for Joe’s big plan for homeland security: keep fighting the war in Iraq, cause it’s totally swell!

He hit me first!

November 7, 2006

I’m usually a big Pandagon fan, but I really gotta disagree with Amanda at the moment. In more than one comments thread just today, she’s tried to exculpate war-supporting dems. I’m sorry, but there’s no excuse for that. Her argument to BenA and now karpad has basically been that dems didn’t write bills like the Patriot Act or come up with the war in Iraq, and thus are less to blame. (I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt by saying “less to blame;” nothing she’s said in comments indicates to me that she blames war-supporting dems at all.)

Let’s say my buddy Al decides to rob a bank. He comes up with an elaborate scheme and enlists the help of his buddy Ted. They hold the bank up together. Is Ted any less guilty then Al just because he didn’t come up with the plan in the first place? Or make it a more extreme crime–let’s say premeditated murder. Aren’t they both guilty of murder? Sure, if only one of them actually fires shots or uses a knife, then you may say one is a murderer, while one is an accessory to murder. But if they’re both firing shots, they’re both murderers.

Amanda’s argument seems to be (based on her analogy of how ridiculous it would be to call social security bipartisan) that dems who support unconscionable repub agendas aren’t to blame because they wouldn’t have thought them up on their own; they’re just supporting bills and acts that the repubs put on the table. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. The amount of early and continued support by dems for the war in Iraq tells me that they easily could have come up with it on their own. If we haven’t already invaded Iran well before then, do you think if we elected Hillary in 2008 she would hesitate to go to war?

The situation in Israel.

July 6, 2006

I’m a little sad about the current goings-on. Granted, I don’t know very much at all about the strife-filled history of Israel and Palestine, but it’s clear to me that the current state of affairs is pretty terrible. Palestinian militants kidnap a young Israeli soldier? (Almost a reduncancy, as I understand it; those mentioned in the news are almost invariably young, their names accompanied by “eighteen year old” or “nineteen year old.”) Fantastic–let’s bomb lots of Palestinian buildings and move in the troops!

One of the things that bothers me the most is how clearly our media is villifying the Palestinians and taking great pains to make the Israeli army look like a bunch of swell guys. Every report I’ve heard (except on NPR, of course) makes sure we know that the Israeli army is hitting empty targets at night, taking care not to “unneccessarily kill cilivians.” Naturally this makes me wonder what would qualify as necessarily killing civilians, but I don’t suppose that report will be forthcoming.

Frustrated and wishing I knew more, I asked my sig fig why the US continues to support Israel without question. One part of her answer was that Israel has been a traditional “stronghold of democracy in the middle east,” which the US feels an obligation to support it. I suppose this makes sense–if we’re going to run around “nation-building” and “liberating” and all, supposedly fostering democracy and bringing light to previously dark dictatorships, we can hardly leave our democratic buddies hanging, much less criticize anything they do. So instead we sit back, make vague comments about how Palestine should really try some diplomacy, and generally do nothing.

Here’s my problem with this: the current state of Israel cannot be considered a stronghold for democracy. Not under the traditional definition, anyway, which as I understand it includes equality as a major tenent. (Ignore, for now, that democratic political structures and capitalist economic structures aren’t meant to coexist, since one promotes theoretical equality while the other relies on unequal distrubution of wealth.) The occupation of Palestinian land does not make Israelis and Palestinians equal citizens. That would be like saying Iraqis and Americans are equals.

Oh, but I shouldn’t make that comparison. After all, the clearly wronged Israeli army is bombing empty targets, while American soldiers like to rape and murder Iraqi civilians. Totally different situation.