Archive for May, 2009

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Words from the United States’ declaration of independence, wonderful sentiments, a great creed for a nation to aspire to, a bar by which the US set itself, at its inception, to be measured, and the creed by which I measure the US.

This creed is a dream. It is a dream that Martin Luther King Junior alluded to in his famous 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech. It is a bar that the US has never reached, but from time to time it does something to show the world that it is aware that that bar is still there. The most recent example of this is the election of Barack Obama. At all other times, the US appears to me, to be at war with what it stands for.

The United States’ ongoing war with its own creed, while frustrating in its outcomes, is highly entertaining to watch.

The California Supreme Court today has guaranteed another series of episodes of this war, specifically the battles surrounding the right to marry, by validating both Proposition 8 (which banned same sex marriage), and those same sex marriages that were legal at the time they were performed. It has guaranteed such a sequel by delivering a decision that gives each side of the issue, both heart, and a direct cause to fight again for their point of view. Conservatives would have been heartened by the court’s validation of prop 8 but not the validation of the 18, 000 marriages. Progressives would have been heartened by the court’s validation of the marriages, but not the validation of prop 8.

Let me set the scene for this inevitable sequel. Same sex marriage is illegal in California as per the legally validated Proposition 8… BUT, the 18,000 same sex marriages that were performed before Prop 8 was voted on have been declared valid. 18, 000 couples are in essence legal precedents. In a state where only straight people can be legally married, these couples are in effect  ‘honorary straights‘ in relation to marriage law.

As I understnand it, and in my opinion, the situation that the California Supreme Court has presented, is not only contradictory, it is untenable and will be resolved in one of two ways.

Firstly ballot initiatives. Opponents of prop 8 will raise signatures to place a question removing prop 8 law from the California Constitution onto the 2010 Ballot; and proponents of prop 8  will also raise signatures to place a question to invalidate the 18,000 marriages onto the same ballot. I cannot wait to read about and follow those battles.

Secondly, the issue will be taken to the US Supreme Court. This is where the whole issue of same sex marriage in the US may eventually have to be resolved anyway, as was the issue of mixed-race marriage resolved there in 1967.

So, coming soon to a news servise or blogsphere near you, a gripping saga with a 2010 release date, PROPOSITION 8 – THE SEQUEL, when the US is once again at war with what it stands for.

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If the denial to gay and lesbian people of the right to marry is based upon a PERCEIVED threat to children – it must then stand to reason that those people who are ACTUALLY a threat to children, or who have who have been found GUILTY of ACTUAL child abuse, ought have their right to marry revoked.

In my opinion, if you take the Christian right’s arguments against marriage equality to their logical conclusion, then the right to marriage can be revoked on many levels. For example, a couple of old chestnuts… Claim – Marriage is about procreation. Logical conclusion – non-productive consummation of marriage is grounds for annulment of that marriage, as they have done damage to the institution as a conduit for procreation… another… Claim – The love between a man and a woman is special/sacred and must be treated as such. Logical Conclusion – Those found guilty of spousal abuse ought have their right to marry revoked, as they have done damage to the institution as a special/sacred loving union.

Religious rightists railing against marriage equality between hetero and homosexual people are not really interested in protecting’ marriage, nor are they really interested in protecting children, nor are they really interested in protecting the wellbeing of those in marriage. They are by their words, coupled by their lack of action in actually doing what they say they are defending, are simply protecting and defending their own ideology and positions of power.

The institution of marriage, of itself, does not create nor protect children, it does not protect those in a marriage from each other, nor does it elevate one class of couple’s love above another’s – for love simply is… The quality of, relevance of, protectiveness of, and the loving and nurturing nature of the institution of marriage can only be generated in the hearts and minds of those involved in such relationships. Such virtues are not the sole preserve of one class of person or couple, are not found in greater or lesser quantities in straight, gay, bi, or asexual people – but are intrinsic to individuals, and are amplified when coupled through love.

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It is again May, and the radio and television is full of Mother’s Day this and Mother’s Day that… “Buy this for your mother to show her you love her”…

Do people love their mothers, or are able to express love for their mother, only on the second Sunday in May?

My mother died when I was young, and I have very little memory of her, so my view of Mother’s day is somewhat jaundiced; but even so, can’t people tell their mother they love them on days other than Mother’s day… can’t we tell those we love that we love them without a special day for it?

In today’s personally organised, deadline driven, time-is-money lifestyle, is our capacity to love dependent on what day it is?

“When do I need to tell my mother/father/partner/child/anyone else that I love them?… I’ll put it into my PDA/Mobile Phone/Laptop computer.”

Do we need to be reminded to love? Do we need Mother’s day to remind us of love (or gratitude) we may have for our mother? Do we need Father’s day to remind us of love (or gratitude) we may have for our father? Do we need St. Valentine’s Day to remind us of love we have for those closest to us? Do we need Christmas to remind us of the love we ought to have for each other?

Are we so bereft of love that we need to be reminded of it?

Then, there are some who (seemingly needing to be reminded of their own capacity to love)  judge some people’s love to be wrong, saying it should be shunned or hidden (i.e. the love of gays and lesbians).

Why do people not tell those they love that they love them? is it some kind of secret? is there some level of embarrassment to saying they love them? and if embarrassing…why?

In a love-starved world; witholding your love for another, is akin to witholding food from a starving person. Your words may be that thing that person needs to go on through that day/week/month/life…

If you feel it…say it

To those who judge love and decide what it is, who can experience it, and who can not – I say that you twist love into knots of contrivance. You reduce it to a conditional priviledge, possibly even into a commodity of trade – in that, if you love someone that person must love you in return.

No, love is not something to trade, or something to be bartered – love is

Your love is something that only you can feel – love is

Your love is reflected by another’s love – love is

Love with expectations is trade, love without expectations is love.

Love is not X Y or Z

Love is

Love is

Love simply is

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Obama says that he will not prosecute people who practised the actual hands-on torture (enhanced interogation techniques), arguing that those people were carrying out orders and committing acts that they were lead to believed were legal… They were ordered to do something they were told was legal at that time by their county’s powers that be…. they were just following orders… The Nuremberg defence!!!

If torture techniques are important and successful ways of obtaining information for the Americans… wouldn’t torture techniques have been seen as important and successful ways of obtaining information for the Nazis, Japanese, the Chinese, etc.?? and the Americans prosecuted some of those people and some were sentenced to death because of their acts of torture…. But when it is Americans who are accused and implicated in perpetrating torture how thick and fast the excuses flow…I cannot believe that Americans can justify what has gone on through the Bush administration – especially with what is emerging from torture memoranda and discussions.

The logical conclusion to the arguments supporting the “enhanced interrogation techniques” is that the ends justify the means; that is to say that if lives were saved, it doesn’t matter HOW they were saved… it doesn’t matter HOW information was obtained to potentially save those lives, it doesn’t matter HOW the people who threatened those lives were treated – ANY behaviour, ANY policy, ANY technique  can be justified if the desired ends are achieved… If Americans believe that, then America (the idea of what America once claimed itself to be. The dream of what America stood for – as articulated in its Declaration of independence) as a moral leader in the world is dead, and George W Bush killed it… I hope Obama will not be the undertaker but the resuscitator.

I understand that by international law and by treaty, waterboarding is defined as torture. The US is a signatory to such laws and treaty and as such is duty bound to act against those who prepared and perpetrated such torture… all else is hypocrisy.

Prosecute the guilty without fear or favour

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