From the nearly universally accepted right of women to have access to effective hormonal birth control, to issues of law and justice the republican party now holds positions that would place their sainted Ronald Reagan in the shrinking and soon to be extinct liberal wing of the GOP.
They love to bat around the term RINO or Republican in Name Only, to describe the liberal wing as those not orthodox enough to be allowed the label of republican any more. However if you look at the republican party of Reagan, Nixon and Eisenhower, its this new breed of so called republicans who are misappropriating the brand. They are the detractors, the corrupters and the fakers.
Its the Arlen Specters, the Susan Collins and the Lisa Murkowskis who still espouse the somewhat sane centre right policies who are the real and true republicans.
There may be some fanatics at the republican base, but the fast majority of the US Red and Blue alike is sane, and its a world where topics like Birth Control have been closed and put in the archive for posterity, but now like Eric Cartman renacting the civil war, the new breed wants go to back and fight wars long since over.
Ask yourself, no matter how you feel about Reagan, would he be welcome in a party with Paul Ryan as the figurehead?
Back in the days before the current administration at the White House, the US refused to sign up to a declaration at the UN that gay people are people too. In the face of people being imprisoned and killed around the world simply because of who they loved, the US turned it’s head.
There’s always the argument that it is not for the US to impose it’s values on the rest of the world, but this was the self same administration that went to war with those very countries that take issue with the idea of gay people being people too -Those same dictatorial regimes that see gay people as infidels and in any other number of dehumanising ways.
The next administration corrected this. The next administration almost immediately said that it wanted to add America’s name to that declaration… and then did nothing. It did virtually nothing at home or abroad for a long time, until recently. We’ve seen the repeal of the unconstitutional, discriminatory DADT policy; We’ve seen protection in one of the fundamental aspects of US life -simply existing- in the form of the passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act; and most recently, the unconstitutionality of major aspects of the rights denying and indeed life destroying DOMA has been recognised at the highest levels. At last, the administration has begun to ‘walk the walk’ at home.
America has just gone that one step further at the UN in issuing a statement backed by more than 80 countries, calling for the United Nations’ top human rights body to combat discrimination against gays and lesbians around the world.
Let’s for a moment, forget which administration did what, and which president serves which party. The fact is, whichever president it is, and whichever party it is, American values are still American values. Too often, things are reduced to the politics of personality, the politics of parties, or the politics of causes. Let’s, for this moment, look at this in the context of America…
… Finally, the United States is standing up more consistently in not just talking the talk, but walking the walk, in defense of it’s values. The message this statement effectively gives out to the world is that, yes, the United States not only holds “… these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”, but is prepared to stand by this belief. It stands up for the protection of it’s citizens in their freedom to travel the world. It says that the US views gay people as human beings too, and thus deserving of human rights both at home and abroad.
This is perhaps one of the most positive, honest and virtuous messages the US could possibly be sending out to the world. It doesn’t always take military intervention or trade sanctions to lead the world – in fact, the most powerful message that can be sent is that of “we are virtuous in our values – that all men and women are created equal – and we are proud to stand up for them wherever we are present”.
It’s a message of true character, integrity and honesty, and by those that share your most virtuous values, America, you are deeply thanked for it. Let those of your citizens whom have forgotten America’s values and virtues be reminded of them.
This is an open letter to the ‘Land of the Free’, and indeed, all those living under the colourful tones (and yes, I mean colourful… I’m a Brit!) of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. This is a letter both to and about America and her people. This is a letter about liberty, democracy, equality, opportunity, merit, forgiveness and compassion. This is a letter about basic human decency.
Dear United States,
What the hell is going on with you? I grew up being taught of the many wonderful ideals that America held dear, and it once gave me some belief that there was a country in this world with the sense of fairness and decency to act out those ideals. Some of those ideals are supposedly the founding principles of your nation, and some of them simply ideals that America holds dear… ideas and ideals worth defending. Much of your country, after all, was founded with a population that grew from those that escaped the tyranny, persecution, and oppression they found in Britain, and even in Ireland. Yet more people have joined you since then from around the world, some of whom were slaves -OK, not a bright point in history, but at least Americans saw fit to eventually put an end to it – indeed, that Mr. Luther King was able to stand up as he did as a figurehead of the civil rights movement is just one example of how a man can supposedly start from humble beginnings and rise to greatness in America. Actually, I had grown up to think of you not just as a world leader, but one that leads by example.
Sadly, I no longer believe in that magical land of freedom I was taught about. It doesn’t seem to exist any more, and it’s a great loss to the world that it doesn’t exist. It is of course no great loss to LGBTQIA Americans, who have grown up with first hand experience of the flaws of your once great nation which serve to ensure that it is not free. All men (and women) under the American flag are not equal! Your levels of gun crime are truly shocking, and entitlement to healthcare was a shambles until recently, and is threatened to be so again by a Republican led congress determined to engage in culture war rather than concentrate on jobs, with jobs being the policy they were elected on. Britain is not perfect in this department either, but that excuses neither country and Britain isn’t the so-called ‘land of the free’.
The GOP led house has just voted to remove funding for Title X provisions; provisions which any civilised society should provide to anybody that needs them. Unfortunately those that cannot afford to pay for it can no longer gain access to…
pelvic exams and Pap tests, important for early detection of cervical cancer;
breast exams and instruction on breast self-examination
testing for high blood pressure, anemia, and diabetes;
screening and appropriate treatment for sexually transmitted infections; and
basic infertility screening.
… and how are those unable to access these things supposed to have a choice over their own health, let alone their own lifestyle? Is this is an ill informed attack on women in an attempt to keep them fidelitous and stop them having sex? Why? Is it because a bunch of so-called Christians in your country feel that only God’s way is the right way, and so do all they can to bend and shape your nation into their theocratic image? I mean, what’s the difference between a theocratic society and laws based on theocratic ideas anyway? How is such theocratic rule supposed to be any better than that of any other theocratic state… like, for example, Iran? Of what value is separation of Church and State if the secular laws of the land are created by those who wish to enshrine their religious beliefs into legislation intended to enforce the moral code of their favoured deity and holy book?
Why, in this enlightened age, are abortion doctors murdered by those who profess to be ‘pro-life’?.. and on what planet is the murder of an abortion doctor ‘justifiable homicide’, as recently proposed by Republican Representative Phil Jensen in South Dakota? Why are transgender people in the US denied treatment known to be successful for their condition, and why are they so often denied the right to ammend their documentation appropriately… even reported by names they were no longer known by after their deaths and mistreated at the hands of public servants.
What about marriage equality… why? Why is it that an LGBTQIA person can serve their country in any number of patriotic ways, and yet be denied the right to be married? Why is it that when Proposition 8 passed (dubiously) in California, it was hailed as a show of the democratic will of the people, but it doesn’t work that way around when opponents of marriage equality fail to impress with their bigotry. Instead, in a state like New Hampshire where most people support already existing marriage equality, Republicans try to pass bills to repeal it… and when that fails, people like Republican Representative David Bates suggest that a consitutional amendment could serve the same purpose if the bill is defeated… Where’s the democracy in that, in a state with 29% against marriage equality, 9% neutral, and 62% in favour of it? This isn’t representing the people! This is using the people as pawns to get into government in order to use their position in an effort to force through THEIR views, not the people’s!.. and it’s happened on both a state and federal scale!
Making it worse, what’s happening about an immigration policy that not only has no policy for gay people, but specifically refuses to recognise the marriages of those who ARE in a state where their marriages are recognised. Where is the American dream or the freedom, liberty, fairness and compassion in throwing someone out of the country or refusing to let them in, just because they happen to be gay, where a straight person in the same circumstances would be welcomed?
Oh America! How can you go to war on false pretences of WMD’s that don’t exist with a claim of “spreading democracy and freedom around the world”, when such monumental democratic failings, culture wars, and illiberty permeate your once great nation?
Much of the western world has woken up to the bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and illiberty of the past. Many countries now recognise transsexual men and women for who they really are, and even allow them to get married accordingly. Many countries in the western world allow same sex marriage, and many of those that don’t offer a non-marriage civil union which is not enough, but at least something. America doesn’t even reliably offer a civil union, and it’s benefits are limited where it IS available! America, are you really willing to be left behind and stand there as a pariah state of intolerance, hatred and bigotry in not affording these people recognition of their relationships on your soil, for immigration purposes or otherwise?
I used to look up to the United States as a country of freedom, fairness and opportunity. Now, the United States is simply a disappointment. Would the real United States please catch up?
The winter solstice, which goes by many names, is represented by a beautiful phrase “Half Way Out of the Dark” as spoken by the Doctor.
Things feel pretty dark right now, the conservative right wing has just practiced a purge on its more moderate types, and now has gotten into the majority of the House of Representatives.
Barack Obama, while being a good centrist leader, is not the progressive president we’d hoped for, were ENDA implementation and DOMA repeal high priorities, you’d hope they would have been pushed through or least brought up during this Congress.
Uganda is still going ahead with their gay genocide bill, and the Christian Right is looking at their situation practically salivating at the possibilities. Look at the Tea Party caucus coalescing around Jim DeMint and his hatred.
The extraordinary thing about the winter solstice is that at the same time as being the shortest, darkest, most miserable day of the year, with a progression of it getting darker and shorter its the first day it starts getting brighter and sunnier.
There is a large grouping of intolerant people on the right, often formed around religious groups, that wants to roll back the progress. They are afraid of us, and out of fear and hatred they bring up voices like Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller and Sharon Angle.
However our allies are growing, a large majority of Americans recognizing the fact that gay discrimination is wrong, and its only a matter of time before those people realize that they need to support full equality. We help that every day that we are true to ourselves, not ashamed, not in the closet, and not quiet.
If you are hiding in the closet at work, its time to stop, its time to stand up. Maybe in your church you hide yourself for a quiet life, its time to stop, its time to stand up. Thankfully now my gay brothers and lesbian sisters will soon be able to stand up for themselves in the military. We are not a quiet passive minority, we are an army of repressed, brilliant, wonderful, shining people, and now is the time to not wait for the light, but create it.
We shouldn’t be waiting, we have to stand up, today we should have equality, so waiting for tomorrow is too late.
I’m Gemma, I’m a lesbian identified, occasionally guy dating, transgender woman, and I’m standing up for today being the day we get equality.