Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thought Experiment for my Straight Friends

Imagine that you grew up in a world dominated by gays, where straight people were called "fags" and teased mercilessly at school. Imagine that movies and television focussed almost exclusively on same-sex relationships, and that any straight characters who did appear were portrayed as stereo-typed weirdos. Imagine that the only straight people you ever actually saw were treated as outcasts by the rest of society, and that you attended a Church where the minister told you that a relationship with a person of the opposite sex was a sin in the eyes of God, punishable by spending all eternity in hell. Imagine that marriage between a man and a woman was illegal.

How do you imagine this kind of upbringing would have impacted you? Specifically, how do you think this would effect your ability to form and maintain a meaningful relationship with someone of the opposite sex, even assuming that you could find someone with the courage to have such a relationship with you? How would your life be different? How would you be different?

There is no question that the treatment of gays has improved tremendously over the past 20 years. Back then, gay marriage was not on anyone's radar. But then again, neither was a Black president of the United States. So things have changed, and it seems that the tide is moving inexorably in the right direction.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Republican Treason

Rick Perry, the leading Republican candidate, recently referred to social security as a "Ponzi scheme." He further stated that telling young people that they will receive benefits when they retire is a "monstrous lie."

It is Perry, and the rest of the Republicans, who are the scam artists. Perry knows that what he is saying is, at best, a gross overstatement. His goal is not to inform, but rather to misinform. He knows that if he can convince people that they cannot rely on social security, they will support reducing or eliminating the entire program, a key element in the Republican agenda.

Playing fast and loose with the truth is not treason, but other Republican tactics are. The Republicans are presently engaged in a war on our own economy, knowing that Obama's chances of reelection are far lower if we are still in a recession come Fall of 2012. The Republicans are willing to damage their own country to achieve the key item on their agenda: making sure that Obama is a one-term president. That is treason.

And these treasonous tactics are nothing new. The Republican party regularly sabotages government institutions -- ranging from public schools, to FEMA, to the EPA -- by shackling them with absurd regulations such as "No Child Left Behind" that are designed to cause failure. Similarly, the Republicans appoint incompetent or willfully negligent individuals to leadership positions within those institutions. The Republicans then point to the institutional failure they have caused and demand that the institutions be shut down.

Willfully causing our a government institution to fail to advance one's own agenda is treason, even if that institution is not the armed forces.