Living the Change We Wish to See Happen

Yesterday I spoke up in support of the Judge who ordered SRS for the murderer.

Since then I have seen a number of posts written by sisters who sound like they have a framed picture of Sheriff Joe Arpiao on the wall over their bed.

All the talk about law and order and getting tough on criminals.

I’ve been on the receiving end of the nightstick.

I’ve been arrested on trumped up charges, charged with possession of drugs which the police brought with them.

I’m white and supposedly have white skin privilege, although a lot of that privilege vanishes when one is working class or poverty class, when one is a hippie or a trans-person.

It is hard for me to cheer the police/prison industrial complex when at times in my life  I have come way too close to being devoured by it.

Sometimes when I hear those who talk so freely about making the criminals really pay and how simple imprisonment is way too cushy I understand how the German people formed the mob that supported the genocide of six million Jews and as many millions of various other groups they were told to hate.

It is easy to go along with the mob.

I was bullied as a child, I still live with what is now called PTSD from that abuse.  It destroyed my education and erased opportunities from my life.  The scars are still there.

Along the way I discovered people who provided me with moral models of thought and behavior.

One of those people is Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

I was still drinking when the apartheid state in South Africa fell, I couldn’t appreciate their Council of Reconciliation, where participants in the apartheid regime confessed their crimes and were forgiven.

The expected blood bath never happened.

Since I quit drinking I’ve come to understand the power of letting go and forgiving others the way I too would wish for forgiveness.

It isn’t about religion.  It is about taking a role in creating the sort of world I wish to live in.

I dream of living in a world where people do not go to bed hungry, or want for a place to live.  A world where people’s medical needs are met.

I do not believe in condoning the abuse of animals including human beings.

If we incarcerate people for committing crimes, isn’t simply separating them from their freedom punishment enough. While giving them an environment to learn the error of their ways and encouragement to change and be come the sort of person who belongs in society would be a better form of treatment than abusing them..

I watch a television show, The Dog Whisper, with Cesar Millan.  He doesn’t beat or abuse dogs to end their viciousness he shows them how to get along.

Why do we treat people with abuse and then expect them to become better people.  It doesn’t work for dogs, why would anyone think it would work with people?

Today one of my Facebook friends wrote of being in a restaurant and listening to people make racist comments about the President.

He called them on it and publicly rebuked them.

Too often, as a white person I have listened to other white people make viciously racist comments about people of color.  Sometimes I have spoken up, sometimes I have said, “I do not share your feelings.” But sometimes I’ve said nothing.

By not speaking out I am giving tacit approval to those racist sentiments.

The same goes with homophobia and transphobia.

There was an old Black Panther Party slogan that arose when the party shifted from its revolutionary stance to its, “Serve the People” position.

You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.

We have seven billion people on this not so big blue marble, soon we will have ten.  We face extinction or at least a massive die off as a species unless we make major changes and stop living in the barbarism of the Dark Ages.

We have to find ways to end the wars and brutality, the exploitation of people and nature alike.  But people won’t change as long as we continue with racism and all the other isms of abuse.  We won’t change until we embrace the change within ourselves, until we start taking moral stands against bullying and abuse.

Trans Athlete Joins High School Football Team

From The Advocate:

A transgender man is playing varsity running back for his high school football team in Grosse Pointe, Mich.

BY Sunnivie Brydum
September 06 2012

A transgender man, a senior at Grosse Pointe South High School in Michigan, has joined his school’s varsity football team, according to the school newspaper’s website.

Seth Knop says he wanted to join the football team last year but was too afraid to try out. But this year he approached both varsity and junior varsity football coaches and was told that the school’s athletic policy permitted coed sports teams. Knop is a running back for Grosse Pointe’s varsity football team.

“The kids in my grade respect me a lot for it,” said Knop of his being an out transgender athlete. “They treat me just like everybody else, which is what I wanted.”

Knop said reaction has been largely supportive, even in his conservative town of 5,000. Knop’s family supports his gender identity and his desire to play football, he said.

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How Paul Ryan Helped Kill Employment Protections For Transgender Americans

From Think Progress:

By Josh Israel
on Sep 6, 2012

In 2007, Paul Ryan cast the lone pro-gay vote of his career, voting fora version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would have made it illegal to fire an employee just for being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. But he refused to support the bill if it included similar protections for transgender Americans.

The vice-presidential nominee was one of 35 Republicans in the House to vote for the bill (after voting to kill the measure moments before in a procedural vote), but did so only after transgender protections had been removed from the measure. According to a 2010 Roll Call article, Ryan pushed the bill’s sponsor — Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) — to exclude protections based on gender identity and expression:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) also said he would likely vote against the legislation with transgender protections, and he said he’s told Frank as much.
“It makes it something you can’t vote for,” Ryan said. “I think ENDA’s the right thing to do,” but transgender language “changes the equation.
Ryan declined to detail his objections, saying he wanted to read the final package.

According to a Task Force survey, 90 percent of transgender Americans have experienced “harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it.” The same survey showed 47 percent had been fired, not hired, denied a promotion, or experienced a similar adverse job outcome based on their gender identiy or expression. At present, 34 states offer no legal protection for transgender citizens who experience workplace discrimination.

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Gotta Vote – Obama for America

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Finally, the Democrats Learn How to Fight

From Huffington Post:

Posted: 09/04/2012

So, the 2012 presidential campaign has turned “nasty” (see here, here, here, here, and here). Both teams scream foul, the commentariat and the Sunday talk shows replay “a-nasty-campaign-gets-nastier” theme, the September cover of The Atlantic features Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as boxers — heavy-weight, from the look of it — slugging it out, with sweat flying.

Finally! I thought we’d never get here.

Not that I want a nasty fight. I just want a fight — a decent defense of the Democratic agenda. And now we have it — finally — at the 11th hour: President Obama and Congressional Democrats are returning fire, pretty effectively.

But is it too late?

For way too long, defense was not happening. Early on after his inauguration, President Obama lost control of the narrative, going for bipartisan cooperation — a campaign promise — while Republicans made clear early on their rejection of such cooperation, instead forming their Wall of No. Only because Democrats controlled both houses of Congress could Mr. Obama get his healthcare bill passed — another campaign promise. In the 2010 midterms the GOP exploited the unpopularity of “Obamacare” to take back the House and turn even more obstructionist, threatening to cause the U.S. to default on its full faith and credit in the 2011 debt ceiling fiasco.

Meanwhile, even more obstructionist and meeting even less pushback, the Tea Party emerged, screaming (literally) their anti-government screed. I still regret not standing up at a local town hall they commandeered, to point out that “all those bailouts” of the banks were initiated by their guy, George W. Bush; that the “out-of-control government spending” was Mr. Obama’s effort to repair the damage done by the financial crash that erupted on their guy’s watch; and, by the way, where were they with their concerns about spending when Mr. Bush took us from a budget surplus he inherited from Mr. Clinton and flung us deep into deficit and debt — talk about a wind-in-the-hair ride! — with one of the costliest and unnecessary (and thus wasteful) items being the Iraq war? Yet I also recall the fear of many in the hall that these screamers might be armed, so we sat silent.

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Not Just Obama: 70% Of Constitutional Law Professors Call DOMA Unconstitutional

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
on September 8, 2012

President Barack Obama in February, 2011, put his official, long-time belief into practice, repeating that not only did he think the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but, now, so did Attorney General Eric Holder, and together they had decided to no longer defend the law in federal court. Barack Obama, who served as a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, is not alone in his DOMA position.

Dale Carpenter, who blogs at the popular, ultra-conservative/libertarian law blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, writes:

“Eighty-seven percent of constitutional law professors back marriage for same-sex couples, and 7 out of 10 believe the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but only a slight majority of 54% think the federal Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages. That’s the result of a survey of 485 constitutional law professors that I conducted this summer…”

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In looming federalism fight, three states say feds can’t ‘unmarry’ gay couples

From Raw Story:

By The Christian Science Monitor
Saturday, September 8, 2012

Three states where members of the clergy and justices of the peace today marry gay couples argued on Friday that it’s a violation of states’ rights for the federal government to then “unmarry” those people under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In an amicus brief to a New York case involving a lesbian widow, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York argue that the federal government had no right, despite the federal designation of marriage as being between a man and a woman, to demand $350,000 in estate taxes when Edie Windsor’s partner died. That would not have happened under a marital tax deduction that lets other married couples pass their assets to their spouse without penalty.

The three states who filed amicus briefs argue that states regulate marriage and family relationships and that Congress doesn’t have constitutional authority to interfere with that license at any level.

Several federal and state judges have struck down parts of DOMA, but it was only earlier this year that a federal appeals court in Boston, called it discriminatory regarding partner benefits, saying the law “fails the test” when looking at its “disparate impact on minority interests and federalism concerns.”

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