Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Iraq continues to be a bloody quagmire. Check out HuffPo and Nico Pitney's live blogging there. Andrew Sullivan continues to bring updates also. I feel so sick inside watching the videos from Iraq. But seeing what real bravery and commitment to democracy looks like makes me want to support the Iraqi people even more. Especially the women that are leading this effort.
In the meantime, another Republican is added to the hypocrisy list. The guy who didn't want stimulus money, which, as Ana Marie Cox has pointed out, has a whole new meaning, apparently ran off to Argentina to do the tango mattress dance with his mistress. Here is a good little parody of his lies about where he was.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The rainbow flags are up on Market street. The excitement builds til next weekend with the patented Dyke March and Pink Saturday leading up to one of the most massive Pride parades on the face of the earth. This is fun for lots of people. Not so much for me.
It's not that I don't love a good parade. I revel in the tractor parade at the Santa Cruz Fair every year. The neighborhood Fourth of July is fun, too. But here's the problem for me, I am, in a politically correct sort of way, vertically challenged. Translation: I'm short, damn short.
So it becomes impossible to see much around all the very tall people there. They certainly do not see me and I have had way too much beer splashed on me over the years, followed by the "Oops, didn't see you" refrain. I don't drink alcohol so getting beer accidentally spilled on me isn't much fun.
But I noted that this week is Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin's wedding anniversary. They were married as the first couple in California in City Hall by the handsome mayor. The pack of people in the room was just filled with excitement at seeing this piece of our history in front of our eyes. It was even funny for us menopausal types trying to shed jackets as the room heated up from bodies dealing with hormones.
Outside, there were hundreds of people celebrating this moment. Additionally there were ugly, hateful signs decrying what was happening inside. I kept thinking, why this level of hate against two eighty year old women who just want their relationship recognized after 55 years. How does this hurt anyone?
Before all you biblically correct people start the bleating about different opinions and religious freedom, I dare you to tell me one thing these women did to hurt you? Yes, you personally so that you and your followers were so enraged that you had to run up the steps of City Hall as we walked in to scream hateful speech at us? Jewelle, you had the perfect response and then kept right on going to our date with history. Thank you.
I have my current issue of Us Weekly magazine here by my side. The cover is classic. Makes my point completely about all these fallacies about the sanctity of marriage. The four headlines on the cover :"Adam comes out gay." "Jon cheated on her birthday." "Heidi Pratt-Tears, Lies and Torture," and "Ashlee and Pete Marriage in Crisis." Guess who looks the happiest? Yep, Adam the gay guy from American Idol.
So next time you have the desire to do something that preserves the sanctity of marriage, here's some suggestions: Senator John Ensign, Senator Larry Craig, Congressman David Vitter and that towering testimony to hypocrisy and cheating, Newt Gingrich. Wait, I almost forgot Rush and his three wives. Go talk them. The rest of us want to just get on with our lives. Not to mention going back to the ballot box because that is our right. Whether you like it or not.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Many years ago, my friend Larry told me at a dance that he had just been diagnosed with AIDS. He was 27. WE sat and cried, held hands as we walked back to our hotel and promised each other we would fight this together. He died less than a year later.
My relationship with Larry was just the beginning of my time spent with people living with AIDS. I, too, have the long list of friends who are no longer here. I shared a Halloween birthday with Gary. His partner Chet with the wonderful, sparkling laugh always made me feel special. Jay, the very busy man who one day woke up and realized he didn't want to be so busy anymore so he quit everything, his job, his volunteer activities, all of it. He was dead less than a year later.
There were men, women, children, all struck down with this disease and living a very short time after their diagnosis. Their contributions were many, their lives lived preciously every day. The lessons they shared with us were many. I even remember Jay saying to me that he measured his problems based on one thing, "Will this matter a year from now?"
Now we have AIDS drugs. Protease inhibitors, cocktails to slow down the progression of the disease have caused a shift in many viewpoints on AIDS. People are living a long time now so this is now a chronic disease, not what was causing walking cadavers back in the day. My spouse's friend, Gary, held on so he could be Grand Marshal of the Santa Cruz Pride parade. Then he went home and died that night.
The only drugs available were the pain killing drugs. We became experts at administering morphine - two for you, one for me - in the singsong manner meant to cheer up the patient and the caregiver. No we weren't taking any, just playing a form of jump rope to alleviate their pain and the horrible deaths we were watching in front of our eyes.
California appears to be heading back to those horrible days of AIDS without life saving drugs. Millions are being cut from the state budget for the funding of these drugs and with those cuts are the federal funds that accompany these expenditures. Specifically California is cutting HIV/AIDS funding by $80 million. We will also lose $88 million in federal and an estimated $234 million in private matching funds.
There are lots of horrible cuts coming that could mean death for the poor, elderly and the sick. Education will surely suffer. I keep seeing letters to the editors repeating the message, we didn't vote no on the measures so that you could punish the most vulnerable.
Many years ago there was an often used saying: Silence=Death. I can no longer stand silently and not keep my promise to Jay, Chet and Gary. It is time for the governor, the legislature and citizens of this state to find a way to solve these problems and not on the backs of the ones we are charged with aiding.
My friends died long painful deaths, covered in cancer, gasping for every breath. But I promised them that I would always remember them and keep their memories. They lived, they were loved and their lives mattered. Just like all the people in California who depend on the state to get them their drugs, I wonder who will tell them their lives are no longer important enough and they are not loved enough to get the drugs they need to stay alive?
Figure it out folks, this is your job! Hopefully no one dies while you are silent.