Deja Vu with a View

It has happened again: another white police officer shooting an unarmed black man under deeply questionable circumstances.  These occurrences happen so frequently, they’re almost predictable.

However, the most recent police shooting (or, at least, the most recent one that is garnering national attention) has even some of the most ardent and loyal supporters of police decrying the law enforcement officer’s side of the story.  This would not be the case were it not for the video of the actual shooting, which surfaced yesterday via The New York Times.

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Argentina Bests U.S., 2-0

While politicians in the U.S. are still busy squabbling about women’s health issues that sane people believed to have been settled decades ago, Argentina has now passed a law making sure that gender identity rights are protected.  Sex-change surgery or hormone therapy are now required to be provided by both public and private health insurance.

Same-sex marriage was made legal in that country a couple of years back.

“We’re number one.” Yeah. Right. It rings kinda hollow.

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On the heels of the nasty results of last night’s vote in North Carolina that approved a straights-only marriage amendment, President Obama has come out publicly for the first time (in his Presidential career, at least) in favor of marriage equality.

This is a resounding victory for human rights, not only in the United States but also around the world because of our position of leadership internationally.

I know there are those who have criticized Obama for not having done this sooner. But I perceive this President as playing the long game with most initiatives. Whatever the strategy, the net result is a good one.

Predictably, Romney reaffirmed his own opposition to marriage equality.  Let’s hope that this and any further backlash that Obama receives will merely reveal the extremism and fundamental lack of fairness of the opposition.

North Carolina’s True Colors

Every now and then, I meet someone from North Carolina or one of the other Southern states who is sheepish or contrite about their state’s reputation.  They seem to go out of their way to change the perception that folks from other parts of the country have about them.

Their countenance is akin to the embarrassed or apologetic attitude that many Americans displayed when traveling abroad during the Bush presidency. “We’re not all like that,” people would feel obligated to say when presenting an American passport.

Tonight’s resounding passage of the anti-gay Amendment 1 to North Carolina’s state constitution (with a 20% margin) is just another example of those things that reasonable people end up apologizing for.

I try to have empathy for those well-meaning folks in those places that perhaps aren’t collectively so well-meaning. But it’s difficult for the rest of us to comprehend when we witness things like:

  • “Religious” leaders who advocate violence against a child if the child is perceived to be gay or lesbian
  • Videos of a redneck shooting at his neighbor’s Amendment 1 lawn sign
  • Continued defense of Confederacy, along with unapologetic display of the Confederate flag

And now:

  • Enthusiastic passage of a constitutional amendment not only to ensure that an already exclusionary law can’t be rescinded but also to take away more rights previously provided to some of its citizens

The bottom line is that if people in the South don’t want to be stereotyped as peckerwoods, hillbillies, hicks, or rednecks, they have to stop acting like peckerwoods, hillbillies, hicks, and rednecks.

The good people of the South need to marginalize the folks who believe and behave like this.  Places like North Carolina can’t be changed by outsiders.  They can only be changed from within.  Only by the well-meaning people in these places speaking up, taking action, and educating their fellow citizens can the narrow-minded legacy of the Jesse Helms era be erased.  And until critical mass is achieved, the rest of the nation (and the world) is going to continue thinking of those places where you live as being backwards.  Because, by the standards of the rest of the world, they are.

Worse Than It Looks

NPR did some reporting this morning (as part of the authors’ book tour for It’s Even Worse Than It Looks) about an issue that I drew attention to in an earlier post.

Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein have crossed a partisan divide and jointly published an admission that the gridlock and hyperpartisanship that our government (and consequently our society) have been plagued with over the last several years is almost exclusively the responsibility of the Republican Party.

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Romney’s Solid Anti-Pro-Choice-Life Position

It’s not often that I have any agreement with the pro-life crowd, but they posted a YouTube video about Romney’s flip-flop on the abortion issue that’s oh so relevant today.

I guess we can say this for ol’ Mitt.  Since pretty much everyone at all points on the political continuum acknowledges him as a flip-flopper on just about every issue, we can say definitively that he’s a uniter, not a divider.