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True parity will not come until there is no need to make such announcements at all. That a person is gay will no longer be newsworthy. However, the extreme-right wing in this country has joined forces with the corporotocracy, who recognize that a population of TV-raised consumers with no critical thinking skills are much easier to subjugate and control than an educated, aware citizenry who can and do ask questions and speak truth to power. Thus, those such as the Koch brothers, the Walton family, and Wall $treet will continue to buy and oversee one entire political party in this country, and far too much of the other. Our corrupt campaign finance system, backed by a population that only cares that "Dancing with the Stars" and "Duck Dynasty" appear on their televisions at the proper time, ensures that those who get into powerful positions come into that power pre-bought and paid for. Thus, I fully expect that it is equally possible that America will become a theocracy in fact if not in name much sooner than our GLBT brothers and sisters achieve true equality.
There are only two true human emotions, love and fear. When a human being kills, at the bottom of the rage, hatred, or whatever it appears to be the motivation, underneath that is fear. Why is there so much more fear and it's manifestations of rage, anger, bigotry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and the rest of the negative 'causes' for murder than ever before? The question is complicated and the answer is even more complex. I'm only going to talk about the gang issue here, but it's hardly the only, or even the biggest, source of violence in our country. In the Walla Walla area, however, I think that it is the biggest source of violent crime.
Gang life is one that revolves around fear and revenge for slights, either real or imagined. First, we must end the gang takeover of our town, however that has to be done. The fact that drive-by shootings and gang fights in which people are stabbed or shot result in 30-day jail sentences where non-violent drug possession results in decades of incarceration is one way we show dramatically where our priorities lie. Violence toward another being, including animals, should result in prison-period. No plea bargaining it down to a few days in jail or a fine. And since violence is an indication of a troubled person, perhaps a mentally ill one, effective treatment for anger issues and the need for love that results in children joining gangs in the first place need to be in place both within the adult and juvenile prison systems, as well as in the community, when children might possibly be young enough to be turned from gang membership as a path to belonging.
Personally I'm as left-wing politically as one can be, but the right has the correct answer to the most fundamental problem that causes gang membership, fragmented families and young girls having babies without a father in the picture. It's too bad that everyone is so blinded by their political worldview that we can't work together to address this without attacking one another. Surely we can all agree that children need two stable parents and a functional family in which to raise healthy children, at least. We're going to disagree on how to implement that, but shouldn't we all agree on that much? Gangs form a surrogate family for children without a functional biological one, and without male role models and stable home lives, boys are going to continue to be attracted into gangs.
Great letter! Those of you like the first reply to this letter are so blinded by the lies and bigotry that spews out of right-wing hate media and your own obvious racism are going to be left behind in the dirt as the nation moves on. No American president in history has had to tolerate the abuse, insults, and obstruction of his policies that this one has. And why? Other, of course, than the fact that the media power-brokers such as faux and AM Hate Radio have become so powerful and so adept at propaganda and jingoism that they can't stand the fact that their favored candidate for president was defeated by a landslide. The only other reason is simple racism and xenophobia. Period. And the pool of citizens who are willing to be so blatant in their white supremacist beliefs is dying. Younger Americans could care less if our President is black, Hispanic, female, gay, or atheist. They simply want a government that works and one that hasn't already sold its' soul to the corporate entities that so desire to be the true rulers of what was once a democracy "by, for, and of the people."
ANYTHING coming from Breitbart needs fact-checking and correcting. If you are trying to convince anybody posting here that you have pertinent facts based in reality, sending us to Breitbart.com is not the way to do it!
Thank you for your wise letter! Science and spirit are NOT at odds with each other. In fact, the more that science shows us about the complexity and glory of the cosmos, the surer I am that we, and everything in that cosmos, are interconnected in a great consciousness that those of a religious bent refer to as "God." The science-deniers are using books written thousands of years ago by primitive goat-herders who understood absolutely nothing about the world they inhabited to confuse, terrorize, and manipulate the masses who look up to them into following their orders blindly. Unfortunately, too many Americans have been brainwashed by the media, religious and political "leaders" with their own agendas, and their own laziness about studying to find personal answers to their questions, into robotic followers of whomever attracts their attention for the moment. Becoming educated is hard, and it takes work. For many, it's easier just to let someone else "find" the answers to the difficult questions. Of course, in return they have to shut their own minds down and blindly follow those so-called "leaders" down a path that will end in the extinction of most life upon the only planet we have to support us.
This is an area where state law trumps federal law. States are not compelled by federal law to include gender orientation as a protected class, and some don't. Washington, in my opinion fortunately, has made that decision, and while I do have some mixed feelings about a florist and a wedding not being the same as a lunch counter, I agree with the law.
I think the person who called Hewitt's office had a very good question: What about rural areas where, without a law requiring service to gays and lesbians, there quite literally might not be anywhere they could eat, shop, rent an apartment, buy a home, or get a job? Walla Walla's not quite that intolerant, but I've lived in slightly more rural parts of eastern Washington, and most of northern Idaho, where that is absolutely a possibility. In very small towns, like perhaps Pomeroy and places north of Clarkston, all community life revolves around the churches, most of which are extremely fundamentalist. Even if people wanted to say, offer a job to someone openly gay---or just that they perceived as gay---the rest of the community would approach that person or business and tell them something to the effect: "We really don't want "those people" here, and if you give them a job, let them open a bank account, (fill in the blank) then they might stay. So better just not to." Usually part of the spiel includes "I'm not prejudiced but..." and then the name of jay-sus is brought into the picture as well as a warning that allowing "one of them" will open the floodgates to an uncontrollable horde.
For those of you who didn't live in this area a generation ago, or haven't had to cod freeze-out that a rural area can give to a person who belongs to a "group" they don't like, this was quite common that long ago, not just to gays and lesbians, but to non-whites, non-Anglos, and non-christians. Would that all have changed without the discrimination laws? Maybe eventually, but it would have taken much longer, and there would still be little towns in parts of the state where gay people feared for their life, as they still do in many parts of the south, Texas, and other places where religion is used to justify far worse things than refusing to do flowers for a gay wedding.
It's the camel and tent phenomenon: Giving someone permission to refuse to do business with a selected group, especially adding religiosity into the mix is the camel's nose, and hanging people on fences to die is his tail.
Hatred and bigotry dressed up in religious clothing, including the Pope's funny hats, is still hatred and bigotry. As Jon Stewart so elegantly stated on one of his shows, not having everything continue to go the way you want it to is not the same thing as bigotry against christianity, even against the narrow-minded, judgmental brand of religion that the republican party has allied itself with, and that faux "news" keeps trying to claim there is a "war" against. The teachings of Christ included absolutely zero mention of homosexuality; to find bible quotes that support the hatred so apparent in the Westboro "Baptist Church" and the rantings of Pat Robertson and James Dobson, you have to go back to quite early in the Old Testament and pull it out of Deuteronomy. Where you will also find instructions for the size of rocks required to stone unruly teen-agers and "fallen women," calls for the death penalty for the eating of shellfish and the wearing of different fabrics at the same time.
Nothing was said by Christ regarding a woman's right to control her own fertility, either. Catholic proscriptions against birth control and termination of pregnancy came to be long, long after the days of Christ. As a matter of fact, Christ's teachings were that we should give away our wealth and follow him---something I don't see much of in the republican wing of the christian religion---that we should take care of the poorest among us, and that judgment of one another was the job of God himself, not earthly preachers and certainly not political pundits.
President Obama has tried mightily to create unity, but he has been stymied over and over by the republicans. And yes, they are old white men who see their position of power fading as the rest of the population---non-whites, non-christians, gays and lesbians, and most of all, free and independent women---step up to claim their equality and economic and political power. The more people who are equal, the less power each member of that group has. White males have had it great for centuries by keeping everyone else in thrall to them, especially women, who are more than half of the population. The republican party and their allies the right-wing media, are doing everything in their power to keep the rest of us down and powerless, mostly by controlling the engines of wealth, but it can only work for so long. We are claiming our position as equal leaders of this country, and will not be subservient any more. If those in power look at our determination and see hatred, they are simply mirroring their own feelings. We don't hate anyone, but we are no longer going to allow ourselves to be kicked to the curb and lick the boots of our "masters" any more.
A friend and mentor to many has gone to his reward. Kudos to everyone who is supporting Wanda through this difficult time.
When it makes it to national media, and even though nobody in this town but me probably reads HuffPo, since it's "liberal", it still is considered national media, the local media (U-B) has an obligation to respond. IMO, anyway.
I'd like to know if that's the case as well. Hope someone follows up on this.
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