hour of heartbreaking stories is sometimes just too much for this old
soul. Every day, I hope and pray that the news tomorrow will be
different. I tell myself it will get better. After all, it seems like
things have hit rock bottom. There's nowhere but up from here.
evidence suggesting that things have reached an all-time low is
significant: the violent acts of a mad man in Arizona killing innocent
bystanders; political institutions seemingly unable and unwilling to
conduct public business; people, especially youth, bullied into
silence-feeling unwelcome in their communities because of one and
sometimes many aspects of their identity-thinking they having nowhere
to turn. I could go on and on.
How have we come to the
point where so many feel excluded and disenfranchised from society and
our institutions that they turn to drastic measures? Media across the
political spectrum has been quick to blame any tragedy on political
extremism. To me, politicizing these tragedies is both irresponsible
and avoidant of the real problems that exist in our culture.
little that is right in our world is political. The same can be said
for that which goes wrong. We cannot legislate treatment for the
mentally unstable to prevent senseless gun violence. No legislation
will bring true leadership and civility to our governing bodies. And as
know all too well, we cannot legislate acceptance and understanding
into the hearts of the masses.
All we can do is give more
of ourselves, hoping that our actions, however small, will be enough to
turn the tide and make the news of tomorrow better than that of today.
is so much that I don’t understand about what is going on in towns and
cities like ours across the country. I don't know the thoughts that
fill peoples minds and the pain that fills their hearts and drives them
to desperation. The truth is that anyone who claims to have all the
answers to our problems is either lying or running for elected office.
don’t have the answers. Maybe I can’t fully conceptualize the problem.
But I don’t think that, collectively, we are living up to our full
potential. While I spend my nights hoping for a better tomorrow, far
too many of us live needing a better today.
We can all do better. We can all be better.
Better teachers and better students. Better parents, better children. Better listeners. Better friends.
Only then can we say with any credibility that it will, indeed, get better tomorrow.
are willing to acknowledge them. This weekend, as the Senate was
debating the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", I learned a life lesson
of my own: sometimes when you try to protect yourself, you end up
hurting someone else. Thankfully I came to my senses and apologized
for my wrongdoings. Luckily, my apology was graciously accepted. Not
all human relationships are a zero-sum game. Others don't have to lose
for me to win.
While I was learning my lesson, it seemed that the good Senator from
Arizona, John McCain, was forgetting the same one. Senator McCain
previously stated that he would support repealing DADT if military
leaders were able to say with confidence that changing the law would
not affect military readiness.
After countless hours of testimony and an expensive Pentagon review of
the policy, the leaders have spoken nearly unanimously in favor of
repeal. Yet Senator McCain continued to move the goal post, pulling
the possibility of open service further and further out of grasp.
I understand that politics, unlike friendships and dating, is a
zero-sum game. Finite resources ensure someone will lose when another
Senator McCain, the election is over. There is no need to continue
this expensive, discriminatory policy. You already won. LGBTQ service
members don't need to lose.
Public opinion is moving at a fascinating pace regarding LGBTQ
equality. There still exists in my mind a sliver of hope that Senator
McCain and others opposing the repeal of DADT will have a change of
Maybe they will make an apology to the LGBTQ community saying, "Please,
forgive us.". If the mea culpa comes with cupcakes and flowers, I'd be
even more inclined to accept.
This scenario is probably nothing but a pipe dream. But is it asking
too much to hold our political leaders to the same level of humility
and honesty that we demand from our personal relationships?
Maybe. Maybe not. But a boy's got to dream.
Tonight, the Illinois House of Representatives passed SB1716 which, upon approval by the Senate and signing by the Governor, will make civil unions for same-sex couples legal in our state.
Tonight I won't engage in any conversation of civil unions vs. marriage equality. Nor will I express any frustration towards the 52 members of the House that voted nay.
Watching the House debate the bill online tonight, I couldn't help but be proud. Sometimes I get the feeling that the LGBTQ community is in this fight on our own. But, lo and behold, 59 straight allies stood with us tonight.
And to those that think bi-partisanship in America is something of the past, I'm happy to point you towards the six Republicans that supported this bill tonight not only with their votes, but with their words of support during the debate.
Representative Bill Black (R) said it best tonight, "I'd rather be right than consistent." Adherence to ideology isn't always the recipe for the best public policy. I'm proud of everyone who worked tirelessly to make this victory possible. I'm proud of the two Republicans who broke with their party to support equality.
Our democracy sure isn't consistent. But I think, more often than not, we eventually get it right. That in itself is something to be proud of.
The holiday season is officially in full swing. If you had any doubts, just make a quick stop at Target or Macy's. You'll need sunglasses to protect your eyes from all the festive glitter.
Speaking of glitter...
I went to see Burlesque on Friday night. Let me tell you- that was a life experience. I'm sure that in normal places, the theaters were full of adoring Cher and Xtina fans. But in rural Minnesota it was just me and my friend Britta. We took advantage of the empty theater by yelling "get it!" and "work!" every time the leading ladies did something awesome- basically the entire movie.
My favorite song was definitely I Am A Good Girl. I tried to link it here but it doesn't seem to be working. Check it out, it's awesome. It kind of reminds me of Maria Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" mixed with "Santa Baby".
Yes. I recognize it's not even a Christmas song. But nothing screams "baby Jesus in a manger" like hot dancing, sparkling lights, shiny mirrors and talented ladies getting it on the stage.
If this is what Christmas is going to feel like all season, I think more than a few gay boys are going to be finding religion.
I spent 10 hours today making the long trek home to Minnesota. It shouldn't have taken so long but I made a stop in Minneapolis to have Happy Hour with one of my best friends, Andrea.
Life Lesson #1:The best way to avoid rush hour is by enjoying great conversation over a sensible cocktail.
I digress. Stay tuned for digressions thrice.
Thanksgiving comes at such a convenient time every year. We're all tired. The weather is more unstable than Liza Minnelli in the mid-90s. But the good ol' government gives us a national holiday every year to remember that things aren't so bad. In fact, they're pretty great.
I was sitting on my couch on Sunday, enjoying my daily episode of The West Wing and reflecting on my weekend. What did said weekend consist of, you ask?
Quick rundown, in order of occurence: 1)Being an awkward duck on Trevor's radio show 2)IIT Slumber Party 3)Brunch @ Bongo Room 4)Cancer is Colorblind "Gala" (open the damn bar if you want to raise money, please and thank you) 5)Birthday party/Chicago's pizza fiasco 6)Toast Brunch
I have amazing friends. I have a new job I love. My family is supportive.
How I got this lucky, I don't know. But my happiness doesn't exist in a vacuum. I am so thankful for everyone in my life. Having that one specific moment when you become aware of your own happiness is an experience I don't think I can put into words.
I'm not even going to try.
But I hope you all get to experience that feeling. Live it. Love it.
After you're done throwing portion control to the wind on Thursday, I'd appreciate if one of y'all would fill me in on the real history of Thanksgiving. Unless we actually are being thankful that George Washington chopped down that cherry tree to make the paper for Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence on....
Peace and Blessings