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Showing posts from July, 2006

The Tyranny of the Majority

Polls are indicating that the marriage amendment will pass.

I agree – and I’ll too bet that the amendment will pass.

The majority rules.

But there is something called “the tyranny of the majority”.

Jefferson, Washington, Patrick Henry, all lived in a time and social context and I doubt they would have voted against this amendment either. However, were these men living today and in today’s context, and with the intelligence, and enlightened points of view they possessed, I wonder that they wouldn’t support gay rights? I wonder that they wouldn’t support the reality and the science about our homosexual citizens? I wonder that they wouldn’t see the more basic concepts of liberty, freedom, equality, to be inclusive of this minority that exists within our midst?

And what now for our fellow citizens who are homosexual? Who have endured the years of discrimination, bias, and prejudice that were the result of ignorance and fear? Are they to disappear back into the anonymity of their closeted …

We Dance Round In A Ring And Suppose

When are conservatives going to spell out what common good is accomplished by prohibiting gay families from access to the same civil recognition, responsibilities, and benefits afforded to heterosexual citizens in the state?

“We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows”.

And the secret here is a rather dark and ugly one. It is the irrational fear of homosexuality and the refusal to accept the reality and science on the subject. Have any of the anti-gay marriage advocates read any peer reviewed material such as this amicus brief by the American Psychological Association? http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/briefs/05/11/amicus/052604_14b.pdf

And the secret here is that Christian zealots (not so much unlike Muslim zealots) have crossed the bright line between church and state and are intent on forcing their religious beliefs through legislation.

And the truth is that the Republican Party is beholden to the approximately 27 percent of the population who are dra…

Keep On Blogging Chesterfield

Again, I admit I’m a rather naive citizen, but it is my understanding that democracy should be from the bottom up and not from the top down. In a county (Chesterfield County) of about 300,000, I’d guess that 100 or less of the well connected, wealthy, powerful, control the county’s policy decisions and stand to benefit most from those decisions.

And I’m not condemning those 100 – most I’d imagine are men (and some women) of good will who work hard, are not especially mean spirited, and have a certain concern for the health of the county and the interests of its population. I am condemning the remaining 300,000 who find so little time in their 168-hour week or 365-day year to take seriously their responsibility of citizenship. Citizenship is more than going to work each day and shopping all evening. Citizenship is having some level of responsibility to stay informed, to participate, to volunteer, to speak up.

The recent Democratic primary is an example of this disinterest and apath…

You are a Republican if

You are a Republican if you believe that global warming is caused by flag burning.

You are a Republican if you think tax breaks should go to the one half of one percent of the wealthiest while Congress votes itself a pay raise and fails to raise a minimum wage that has been stuck at $5.15 for nine years.

You are a Republican if you believe that stem cell research is murder but don’t adopt any of the 400,000 frozen embryos that will be discarded.

You are a Republican if you believe that withholding basic human rights from homosexuals will save the heterosexual America family.

You are a Republican if you believe that 9/11 was caused by Saddam Hussein and Iraqis.

You are a Republican if you believe that the bright line between church and state is no longer a basic tenant of democracy.

You are a Republican if you believe that the federal executive should trump over the other two branches of government.

You are a Republican if you believe that millions of children and elderly should have no healt…

weekend without echoes - my contribution

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Equality Virginia Prepares To Fight

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Several hundred activists met at Virginia Commonwealth University today to train for the fight against the upcoming November ballot issue in Virginia to define “marriage” in the state’s bill of rights.

Candice Gingrich (the good Gingrich) was a featured speaker and told of her experience in telling her 60 year old parents about her sexual orientation. Understandably her parents told her that it would take awhile for them to adjust to the news, after all, they said, when they were growing up there were no gays.

Science does not agree. Our gay brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, neighbors and coworkers have been with us across time and space and it is only in the last few decades that this fact has been evident to the general population. A fact that is accepted by every credible scientific and medical organization, and which was recently reinforced by the American Pediatrics Association who report that children of gay parents are best served if they and their parents have equal c…

Chesterfield County, Inc.

In a ritual of county politics, seventeen self-promoting candidates to fill the recently vacant Midlothian district seat on Chesterfield County’s board of supervisors, each gave a five-minute plea to the remaining four supervisors last night in front of a “crowd” of about 65 county residents. That 65 includes the 17, however supervisor Dickie King lauded the large turnout – I suppose in a county with a population approaching 300,000, Mr. King may see this as genuine civic interest.

The board is now exclusively Republican as the sole Democrat on the board, Ed Barber, left in the wake of an embarrassing sex scandal.

For me, a neophyte in the politics of good ole boys, the night was an interesting but confusing drama. And I only relate it in this blog, as I’m not sure even Conaway Haskins (http://southofthejames.wordpress.com/) will take the time to chronicle what may be in actuality a non-event.

I admit I am a bit perplexed as to the process – as it seems that candidates are only to fi…

The End Of Democracy In Virginia

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It’s been observed that populations recently freed and given their first opportunity at democratic voting, they vote in very high percentages. As people start to take their democracy – and thus their freedoms and liberties for granted – their participation decreases. And coincidentally, special interest groups who can influence policy by money, or have an easier job of energizing a base of special interest voters, quickly fill that void.

If states were graded on their civic participation, based on the statistics on the left (click on them for a larger size if you can't read them), Virginia would be failing. In a state with perhaps two thirds of the voters leaning Republican, still that would mean only about 10% of the Democrats turned out for the last primary.

National elections draw a higher percentage, and surely this November Virginia will see a substantially higher turnout, even though it isn’t a presidential election year. Still, as “all politics are local”, one begins to w…

Wake Up People

What times we live in! This threat to our democracy – a threat that is not communists, or socialists, or fascists, but is fundamental religious zealots. Zealots, who in a power grab, overrun that bright line, that firewall, that separates church and state – and leads those who will follow the rest of the crowd. We have seen those crowds before - all through history - do I need to list them out for you? Good people who do bad things caught up behind the seemingly God inspired leaders.

No, I’m not speaking of Hezbollah, or Hamas, or the Islamic Jihad, or even Al-Qaida.

I’m talking about Southern Baptists. Baptists, who not too many years ago were relatively independent and loosely associated Protestant churches, that have now been overtaken and strictly organized by an aging but fanatical, and inerrantly believing their word-by-word interpretation of the King James Version of the Christian Bible, group of zealots -- who believe they alone have God’s personal blessing.

They hate the di…

Richmond Epigraph

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I’ve done no research and have an admittedly jaundiced point of view, but as it is mine and I’m honest about it, it is at least one valid point of view about Richmond, Virginia. And it is probably not too far off from a description of many American cities of this relative size - especially in the southeast and Middle Atlantic States. Just as the discovery of reverberating microwaves from outer space helped confirm the Big Bang; reverberations from two historic events reverberate throughout the dynamic fabric of life in Richmond: the Civil War and forced busing in the sixties to achieve racial integration. Both were utter disasters for Richmond, both carry a legacy from the past into the present. Richmond is a city of two peoples who live in time space dimensions that only intersect at the work place. Black/white, Richmond is more segregated in many ways than it was in the fifties when I grew up in a blue-collar community in South Richmond. There the streets were laid out alphabe…

Open Letter to Senator Warner

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I am moved as I am watching the C-Span series on “the Capitol”, and am moved, not just by the history, but also by the standard of behavior of great senators. And I am wondering if your eventual contribution will be as great as your potential. I admit a cautious respect for your performance as our senator. Cautious in that I don’t know you well, but the glimpses I see of you on talk TV and C-Span from the floor of Congress, give me the sense of your wisdom, intelligence, patience, humility, good nature, and judgment – if not a little political savvy.

And I wonder if you also have the courage, and are as enlightened, relative to our forebears – to that of Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Whom I can imagine today would take a stand against the real and present, state-prescribed, discrimination of homosexuals. This, long years after every reputable expert has agreed that homosexuality is not a moral choice, but is a condition of being.

After slavery was abolished, most people came to real…

Who Was Our Greatest President?

Today on our nation’s birthday, Independence Day, it seems a good time to reflect on our leadership over the recent past. I thought it might be interesting to see how readers of this blog would rate the last ten presidents of the United States and which president we think history will view as the “greatest” president among this list.

Below are our last ten presidents – just vote by placing your choice as a comment.

34 Dwight D. Eisenhower
35 John F. Kennedy
36 Lyndon B. Johnson
37 Richard M. Nixon
38 Gerald R. Ford
39 Jimmy Carter
40 Ronald W. Reagan
41 George Herbert Walker Bush
42 William J. Clinton
43 Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney

Do We Really Want To Keep Senator Allen?

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Virginia deserves better – the problems require better.

Divisive partisan politics are preventing the country from coming to grips with critical issues facing our nation. From the fight against radical extremist terrorists to global warming to the weakening of the middle class to our burgeoning debt and failing social security system – there are major, major problems which have all worsened over the last five years. We need, in fact require, the type of common sense, pragmatic, integrity of people like Jim Webb. People who have a broad and experienced vision, with fresh ideas, and a willingness to roll up their sleeves and get to work at bringing about constructive change.

What we don’t need is the arrogance of back room politicians who see their hold on power as some sort of legitimate birthright or who pander to the lower common denominator of the political sentiment of the moment.

Given the opportunity to get to know the character of Jim Webb – and the opportunity to really see h…