How do you pronounce 2010?

Cross-posted to OnOneHand.

I was hoping that 2010 would be the first year we start pronouncing years the way they were pronounced every year of my life until 2000. That would be, 2010 is "twenty ten" rather than "two thousand and ten," the same way that 1999 was "nineteen ninety nine" instead of "one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine."

But if you follow YouTube and television - which are collectively the the pulse of American culture - it seems that less than a full day into the year we have already gotten on in the habit of pronouncing 2010 the same way we pronounced 2009. Maybe this won't be year it changes back to the more efficient pronunciation, and it's possible that a change won't become popular for a few more years until 2013; we've already gotten accustomed to saying "two thousand twelve" when we talk about the film 2012, and those habits stick. According to some, the last decade was full of "the two thousands" in part because of the pronunciation of the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey

Speaking of the last decade, the way we refer to 2000-2009 as a historic period might be an even more poignant issue of nomenclature, since everyone, even now, stumbles when describing the decade we just got through. The "two thousands" sounds extremely clumsy, and does not parallel "the sixties" or "the nineteen hundreds" the way "the twenty hundreds" would. (Some have suggested "the naughts" as a good way to say it, reflecting the zeros as well as the fact that we're leaving the decade on a sour note of lost productivity and political stalemates.)

In most Online polls, a majority of respondents preferred "two thousand and ten" to "twenty ten," and a few had some irritable or extremely angry comments directed at those who would pronounce 2010 in a new way. They'd be singing a different tune if newscasters switched their pronunciation and everyone had to follow in.

To me, "twenty-ten" sounds better and smoother, but whenever I mention the year the words that come out of my mouth are the same old "two thousand and ten," running just on instinct. Perhaps the naysayers are not being stubborn or moralistic about a petty issue so much as just being more honest than I am about what they're likely to do.


I just started two new blogs.

First, OnOneHand, for political commentary and sourced articles.

Second, PaperBeatsPaper, for fiction, prose and poetry.

They both still need a lot of work when it comes to design and layout, and I might buy domain names for them. In the mean time, I now have a professional-looking home base to link to when I write for other publications (where all they offer is a link), and an easy html to direct people to while networking.

I use this journal for the breeding ground for new material, posting it as private, friends-only or public based on how useful it is to the people I know - but if something is good I'll cross-post it to one of the others.

Comments and suggestions on the blogs are more than welcome!


X-posted to: Kos Diaries

The anger we are feeling over the healthcare reform process is, today, palpable. I am only 24 years old but I can tell you that this month I am cynical about politics for the first time in my life. The thought that the institutional barriers to genuine healthcare reform in America - reform that guarantees all citizens access at affordable rates and saves lives - are so powerful that they withstand the will of more than 60 percent of Americans and a powerful Democratic presence in every branch of the federal government, is sickening.

Now the idea that we will likely be forced to buy insurance from companies that live to screw us is the last straw. I refuse to accept that another generation will die before we see genuine and substantial healthcare reform in America.

This is the kind of moment when we need to get off of our computers and demonstrate our anger in a public way. We know there are more of us than there are teabaggers, and we can make a bigger statement than they have made in light of all the glory and attention the fringe Right got this year. This is the time when we need to be setting up permanent picket lines around insurance offices, hospitals and state capitol buildings.

This is the time when we need to be posting lists of people who died when their coverage was denied on the insurance companies' front doors to shame them.

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Thoughts on God

I think the course of my life has been to veer towards being increasingly agnostic. Whatever mechanism that people convince themselves that their own religions are "correct" doesn't work for me, nor does it make sense for someone to "choose to believe" a certain thing. To me, believing something isn't a statement that you like it or want to identify with it, it's a statement that you think it's true. But your own opinion has no influence on the greater universe. Can you say "I choose to believe there is sushi in the refrigerator" and by your belief have any influence over whether it's there or not? I say the same is true for religious doctrine.

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Fox News's Blatant Sexism

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gretchen Carlson Dumbs Down
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So, according to this video clip, it's clear that Gretchen Carlson dumbs down just about everything she says on Fox and Friends, which is a perennial critique of American media, particularly of Fox. That is, at least, the case Jon Stewart poignantly makes on the Daily Show. In Stewart's file footage, Carlson pretends she doesn't know what a "double-dip recession" is, and looks up "czar" in the dictionary and is just totally shocked that it means "king."

Then Stewart uncovers that Carlson was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated with honors from Stanford University after designing her own degree there. She spent time studying in Oxford. Getting into Stanford is no cake walk, so either she got to where she was by grit and merit (an analysis I'm always willing to give the benefit of the doubt on), or it was unearned privilege from having wealthy parents. Either way she's not the airhead she pretends to be on TV.

I see in this something deeper, and more insidious, than what Jon Stewart saw, which is just a dumbing-down of rhetoric so that Joe the Plumber can get what you're saying. Fox isn't across-the-board turned-off by intelligence; they have Karl Rove and Neil Cavuto to appear as informed experts making the case for conservatism. On Fox and Friends, Carlson often plays the coy and curious muse of her two colleagues, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, who tell her what's up on a regular basis. The difference between Gretchen Carlson and the "smarter" Fox figures is that she's a woman.

Come to think of it, isn't this exactly what every high school cheerleader in America is expected to do? You gotta play dumb so the boys want you. They don't want blonde girls around for their witty banter, they want a pretty face and tits.

What John Stewart didn't touch was the blatantly sexist element of Fox's programming. Gretchen Carlson could thoroughly outclass the other two dunces on that program, but has to dumb herself down and let the boys lead the conversation because this is what conservative Fox viewers want; an intellectually submissive girl.

It's totally insulting. Can anyone imagine Norah O'Donnel or Rachael Maddow playing dumb perennially on a news program?

Actually, the feminist critique seems like a good way to pry off the fairly robust rhetorical advantage Fox News has with exurban America. Perhaps the station "speaks their language" and taps into a deep-seated (and justifiable) resentment of academia, and the economic privilege that it is wrought with, often serving simply to ensure that people who grew up in wealth are set up to look smart and continue being wealthy. But Middle America is still at least 50% female, and Fox and Friends is clearly demoralizing to women.

Conservatives made feminism legitimate when they attacked criticism of Sarah Palin as "sexist," particularly when they lamented how the McCain campaign "controlled" her to her image's detriment. How can they now defend the message they are sending another message to women, that they must be the followers, not the leaders (even when they are smart enough to reverse that role) on their popular morning program?

Have People Always Been This Crazy?

According to a recent poll, 52 percent of Republican voters believe that Barack Obama didn't actually win the landslide election that gave him the presidency last November 4, instead maintaining that ACORN and the Democratic Party conspired to steal votes and rig the election in their favor.

Meanwhile, 58 percent of Republicans doubt that President Obama was born in the U.S. or is a legitimate American citizen. In some Southern states the numbers of so-called "birthers" are much higher.

The polls are troubling for a number of reasons. George W. Bush lost the popular vote and achieved electoral victory amidst a controversy-ridden, incomplete recount in a state where his brother was governor - the election came down to as little as 500 votes, but was still considered legitimate. Why the hell is Barack Obama's 10 million vote victory seen as tenuous?

Meanwhile, if a wave of enthusiasm among change-hungry college-aged voters, urban voters and diverse populations sent Barack Obama to national office in a transformative election, who might a wave of highly-motivated tea-baggers and birthers bring to Washington in 2012 or 2016?

One of the reasons why we see such a high percentage of Republican party members leaning towards extreme far-Right opinions is that Republican numbers have dwindled; between 21 and 32 percent of Americans identify as Republican in the first place, most others claiming to be independents or Democrats. "Moderate" Republicans have funneled out of the party to consider themselves Independent, leaving the hard-Right behind. And since the Republican party lacks a clear vision of its own ("low taxes and strong military" might be what they want, but it was a disaster under Bush so they're reluctant to claim it), it's main emphasis is to be anti-Obama so the most anti-Obama Americans will cite themselves as such in polls. That means that the half of the Republican Party that thinks Barack Obama is a Kenyan Muslim is the Right-most 10 percent of Americans, and not such a scary number anymore.

There's a more insidious reason to suspect an apparent shift to the Right in America - the one that Glen Beck, Karl Rove and other GOP proponents insist has occurred. John Stewart hinted about it in his extended interview with Lou Dobbs this week. In one sense, Stewart points out, this is what happens whenever a Democrat is in the White House. (Remember the litany of allegations against the Bill Clinton in the 90s, which ranged from conspiracy, to rape, to murder.) In another sense (which Stewart leaves unspoken), the president's skin color may have a big thing to do about it; after all, what people seem most nervous about is "change," and a multicultural America is a significant break from the past that significantly challenges the racial privilege of white Americans.

Working-class rural Americans might not feel they have much going for them right now in our poor economy, so race becomes an especially poignant part of identity; to those who lean Right, they see Obama challenging their white privilege without reducing their economic un-privilege, leaving them with nothing. To add another layer, diversity is something you see in cities; rural areas tend to be homogeneous; so having a non-white president might be perceived as culturally challenging to exurban and rural lifestyles.

In fairness, we should also point out that there are wingnuts on the Left, too. A pretty hefty number of Americans thought 9/11 was a conspiracy when the Bush administration was in power; a good bunch of the so called "9/11 truthers" were Ron Paul-ites and some of the same anti-government extremists who dominate the healthcare forums today, but it's safe to assume that many of them are liberals who voted for Obama, or are too far to the Left to even vote (a significant number of non-voters refuse because they see both parties as slaves to corporate money).

But somehow the message that reached the general public was different in that case. Even pundits on Fox News want to argue that the anti-Obama conspiracy theorists are somehow different from the anti-Bush ones. Popular liberal pundits and columnists dismissed the worst accusations against George W. Bush; popular conservative pundits put the fringe Right on a platform and claim they're the new movement in American politics.

That's partially what the Obama Administration wants, because having political enemies that virtually everyone finds distasteful helps position yourself in the mainstream. The Republican Party is now purging itself of moderates, which means the Democratic party can only grow and absorb annoyed Independents and Republican castoffs, as it has done with Republicans Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chafee and may do with the likes of Dede Scozzafava and Charlie Christ.

If the Republican party is left to nominate Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin to national office, that's great for Democrats. But I don't think it's good for the country; most of our lives happen after election seasons, not during them. And in those months, debate and compromise have been replaced by bitterness and obstructionism - as the healthcare debate reveals. One of the most "moderate" and reasonable ideas in a clash between a public and private sector is a public option, letting people choose for themselves what to buy or support - but that has been a bitter fight supported by just one of 177 House Republicans. Republicans are off the radar for Democrats as far too far on the fringe to support any kind of reasoned compromise on big issues.

It's not because conservative ideas are without merit - they're not - it's because the views of those supporting them are increasingly disjointed and antagonistic, and misrepresentative of where most Americans - who are pragmatic and persuadable - really are. That's good for Democrats hoping to win office, who seem unpopular until they're juxtaposed with even more unpopular Republicans. Notice how even Hillary Clinton, who's likability had been below 50 for years, still won in about half of all polls against John McCain before the 2008 presidential election.

The unfortunate thing is, if centrist voters become discontent with the Democrats (over things that are hard to move, like the economy) and do decide that they'd rather take a risk than stay where they are, the far-right Republican party is the only thing they have to turn to. And that's reason for us all to worry.

Anti-harrassment politicies "discriminate" against harrasers?

This is the kind of stuff that LGBT people live with and face in the workplace every day.

It's also another example of what I meant when I complained a few weeks ago about the way LGBT people's lives are endlessly politicized in social interactions as well as on the national stage.

Peter Vidala, age 24, was fired from his job at a bookstore in Boston's Logan Airport for telling a regional manager that he didn't agree with her "so-called homosexual fiance," or more specifically, that she had one, and that she mentioned that she had one.

Vidala is a straight, conservative Christian man who felt that being fired was victimization on the basis of his religious belief. But Vidala's claim, unlike most claims of discrimination, was given an audience: Vidala got a chance to speak through the news to explain his whole plight to the country.

In Vidala's doesn't even pause to think that most people consider talking about their family a part of a normal conversation, instead arguing it was she, not he, who politicized the workplace.

"This woman repeatedly, and without any kind of provocation on my part, kept making references to this out-of-work homosexual behavior that she takes part in," Vidala explains, "by bringing up this so-called homosexual fiance that she has. And I don't believe that controversial issues like that have any place, especially in the Boston workplace, where, you know, it's such a hot-button issue, um... yeah."

So in other words, LGBT people have no right to talk about their personal lives, because their personal lives are so political.

It's comforting that even on Fox News the anchor clearly isn't really buying it.

His response: "If you were concerned about controversial issues in your Boston workplace, why did you, in turn, raise it with her, yourself?"

Vidala's response: "Peter, oh, Peter, I uh..."

This is the kind of stuff that people of any minority status: women, people of color, LGBT people, people with disabilities or religious minorities, have to deal with constantly. By joining conversations about personal lives with mention of our own, we are accused of "making people uncomfortable" or bringing up politics. By correcting homophobic, sexist or racist language, we are similarly accused of bringing politics in, this time to an even greater degree, even though the original language was clearly far more "political" than our own expression of nonparticipation in that language.

My guess is that Vidala's publicly-stated opinion on the matter is not so much a product of his own values and upbringing as his attempt to appropriate anti-discrimination language to his own benefit, and failing. I doubt he so much felt oppressed "as a Christian" by his coworker's comments as he saw an opportunity to preach his own values, and brought up his own oppression after he got fired.

Still, dominant majority groups with the most power often claim to be oppressed by minority groups trying to make room for themselves, as is the case when conservatives say that legalizing same-sex marriage "shoves it down our throats" or that public acceptance of LGBT people is discrimination against Christians.

In a previous interview with Fox, Vidala told reporters that "In general, I believe people don't want to hear about controversial issues like that in the workplace. They shouldn't have to," referencing his own right to not hear that his coworker has a fiance of the same sex. This is tantamount to saying that people of minority status aren't allowed to talk about themselves while everyone else is allowed to. This is Vidala's definition of "nondiscrimination," which is, in essence, discrimination.

Luckily this is a battle the LGBT people seem to have won, though Vidala won too by getting national attention. But in everyday battles, all across the world, where we are accused of making people uncomfortable by virtue of our existence, the outcomes are more subtle, and often much less favorable.

2012: Colonialism Revisited?

Few would see a movie like 2012 expecting a heartrending story line or touching lesson in human nature. From the onset the purpose of the film is clear: we're going to blow this place up.

That was certainly the reason I rushed to see it on opening night, after the trailer laid it out for us in telling sneak peeks: Acres of city blocks slide like clods of dirt into the Pacific Ocean. A Buddhist monk rings a sacred bell as a tidal wave the size of a continent washes over the desolate Himalayas, killing him. 2012 boasts itself with scenes that are as awe-strickening as they are disturbingly beautiful.

As far as that goes, the only criticism I can offer is that the film pivots, about a quarter of the way in, from going too slow to suddenly going way too fast. A few mild tremors shake Los Angeles in the first part of the film - during a painfully tedious exposition to let characters reveal their cliche family backstories - and then without warning, Southern California splits itself apart in an abyss as deep as the Marianas Trench. The next thing we know, Yellowstone Caldera is erupting as a supervolcano in a bang so powerful it sends out shockwaves and a mushroom cloud akin to a Hydrogen bomb. (True to action movie form, the explosion rips over the hills at thousands of miles per hour until it approaches our protagonists fleeing in a lumbering motor home, and slows to their pace for their nail-biting escape. The explosion seems to pause or even retreat for several minutes as they scramble out of the vehicle into a parked airplane, but quickly re-accelerates to barely kiss the tail of their plane as it speeds away, churning with black smoke, glowing rocks and lava all the while.)

By the time Yellowstone has erupted, the world is basically over. The skies darken. Subsequent scenes of destruction are posed as an afterthought. "Oh, by the way," the President's Chief of Staff explains to aides in Washington, "Rio de Janiero was just destroyed by an earthquake" (cue footage of Christ Redeemer crumbling off its perch), then in a similarly decontextualized scene, we watch St. Peter's Basilica collapse and kill the entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church along with prayerful masses (we see nothing of the rest of Rome, though). When our protagonists get their airplane to Las Vegas, most of its hotels and casinos have already anticlimactically collapsed into the core of the Earth in a giant earthquake, and we witness the ruins of Las Vegas astride a seemingly infinite abyss. Washington D.C. is next to go, at a pace that is almost too fast to comprehend; an earthquake takes down the Washington Monument, then a gigantic, yawning tidal wave rises out of the Atlantic and looms over the city (which is covered by volcanic ash from Yellowstone), but the film cuts away just as the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, an aircraft carrier, lands on top of the White House.

Scenes such as this will continue through the rest of the film, revealing impending disasters but ending before the actual destruction ensues. Tidal ways loom up, but we cut away before the waves strike, and we assume that the characters who stood watching it are killed. Earthquakes begin but leave the scene before they reach their full strength. In other cases, we happen upon a ruined city that has already been destroyed, as happens with Honolulu, covered by lava. Most often we get even less than this: a military commander tells a diplomat that "Tokyo has been destroyed by an earthquake. Singapore has been wiped out by a wave." The most dramatic disaster scene of the film remains the drawn-out Los Angeles earthquake from the beginning.

The thing that is notably missing from the film is discussion of the Mayan prophesy (or rather, rumor) of destruction in 2012 that is its impetus and namesake. If the film had the spiritualistic or supernatural overtone, then maybe the rapid succession of perfect coincidences that destroy the Earth's cities would have a haunting poignancy. Instead, we are left only with science to explain what is going on, and the science falls flat. (According to 2012, solar flares make the lower Earth's crust melt and the continents slide around through the ocean like leaves on a pond.) We learn that the planets line up in such a way as to lead to these events every 650,000 years, even though there has certainly never been an event like this in Earth's history, which has been through almost 7 thousand 650,000 year periods in its 4.5 billion years. As exposited in the film, the geophysical anomalies leading to the Earth's destruction cause the continents to shift thousands of miles in the blink of an eye - something that requires them to move at tens of thousands of miles per hour, yet nobody on the ground is flung into space as would realistically happen if that occurred. This all happens magically on the ground without so much as cough of disturbance in the atmosphere, as observers in airplanes don't figure out that land masses have moved until suddenly what they thought should be Guam turns out to be Tibet.

It is the end of the film that really gets me, though (Spoiler Alert). Beyond all the drama of survivors taking refuge in gigantic futuristic arks (tickets cost a billion Euro, so it is the world's richest people who survive - our middle-class protagonists are stowaways) that the world's governments had been building all along for mankind's survival, the last scene in the movie tells us where humanity will go to rebuild: Africa.

According to the final scenes of 2012, in all the earthquakes and tectonic shifting, Africa has risen in elevation so much that it avoided being washed over by tidal waves that obliterated the rest of the planet. The Cape of Good Hope is now the highest point on Earth, which is, confusingly, where the world's governments decide to set up humanity again, on the peaks of what will likely turn out to be glaciated mountains (sounds like paradise, right?). Our protagonist tells his children, who mourn the loss of their Southern California home, that they will find new homes where they are going.

But - uh - don't people already live in Africa? Mayans were the first ethnic group be written out of 2012, Latinos are strikingly absent from the casting, and now the narrative suggests that native Africans are absent from the Earth. Forgive me for my politics, but it seems that having the world's billionaires land on a dark-skinned continent to "re-build humanity," as the story explains, is just a tad colonialist. There is no reference to the African governments, which were evidently not even part of the international ark-building program to begin with. I'm confused if the film's writers see all Africans simply as tribal nomatic peoples, or as so militaristically primitive that it just doesn't matter whether or not they already own the land you want to take. Perhaps the pending television series will elucidate this further.

I would say that 2012 has the basic structure of a great disaster movie, with awe-inspiring computer-generated explosions akin to Armageddon and Independence Day. But it tries too hard to be something else; if its all about the disasters, then the disasters should follow the same natural arc that any good story line does: subtle at first, but introduced to witnesses (in this case, the world's population) through a gradual process of discovery, first with small bad news, then in steps to full awareness. In 2012, everyone outside a secretive government agency finds out that the world is ending after it is already well under way. There is no great "pending doom" scenes as occur in the latter parts of The Knowing where the horizon glows red with what is to come. There is no gradual escalation of events like the way small volcanic eruptions and gas emissions precede the big climactic pyroclastic explosion in Dante's Peak. For the full effect, panic needs to slowly build through political wrangling, small cities taken down, riots, disasters following realistic trajectories, looting and then outright terror before the world's ultimate demise rather than mundane obliviousness until suddenly your home and city is swallowed by the Earth.

Finally, the end of the movie leaves out bits of information that nerds like me are interested in most. What is the state of natural flora in preserved Africa, or in the rest of the world? The closing scene zooms out to show us a remodeled Africa (with drastically altered coastlines), the lone continent that has not been stripped bare by waves, and its central parts are still green. But what about the rest of the Earth? Does Florida border Argentina now? Is Antarctica to turn into a tropical paradise? The producers were either too lazy or just didn't think audiences would care enough to want to see what has changed. In a movie that utterly lacks a decent human story, there is too much emphasis on the human story when those of us who did like the film liked it for one reason alone: the awe-inspiring natural world.

A moral thought experiment...

The Scenario:

For this thought experiment, step into Christian or Roman Catholic theology saying that a fertilized egg is an act of creation that generates a human soul.

You are an employee of an egg/sperm bank and the power goes out, meaning that all the eggs and sperm in the cooler are going to thaw out and be destroyed. You are the only person present in the building when the power goes out.

Say that you realize that there are 100,000 viable eggs, and about a billion viable sperm in a frozen state.

It suddenly occurs to you that you can mix the eggs and the sperm, which represents, in Christian theology, 100,000 acts of creation as each individual egg becomes fertilized embryo and has a human soul.

You realize that the eggs will die shortly after being fertilized since there is nowhere to put them and they will thaw, but because you are Christian, you know that you could say a few words to dedicate them to God (a baptism) and they would all die in a few hours being committed to Heaven. Upon doing so, you would send 100,000 new souls to heaven to spend eternity in bliss.

On the other hand, by NOT fertilizing the eggs, they will die without ever having existed as souls, and the beings who now exist in thought and potential (in your mind) will never exist.

Since the government does not recognize fertilized eggs as humans, there are no legal ramifications, and anyway nobody would find out about it. You could just say you had to throw away the contents of the cooler, which is protocol in this situation, and nobody would fault you.

The Choices:

So what do you do? Say that in either situation, you are unhappy with your choice; you would prefer to allow the eggs to be implanted and become citizens. But you have the choice nonetheless. Is it...

...1) Worse to not fertilize the eggs, meaning that 100,000 potential beings will theoretically "die" in the universal sense because they do not exist.

...2) Worse to fertilize the eggs, meaning that 100,000 human beings will die in the literal sense but be immediately transferred to heaven, and spend eternity there? You are, in sense, "saving" 100,000 souls which is in some way a huge victory for God.

Remember to consider:

1) Assuming that a fertilized egg represents the creation of a human soul, does the person have moral value WHEN

a) the thought and potential for their to be a human being is there (which you definitely have in the cooler)

b) when the human being actually exists and is created

c) when the human being is born and able to choose between good and evil?

2) God's Biblical commandment is to "be fruitful and multiply" to add to God's creation on the Earth. You believe that being married and not having children is a selfish decision because it precludes the creation of life and offends God, and you understand that the general tone of the Bible is positive towards the creation of new life, especially the creation of life that is "saved" and will go to Heaven.

A second question:

With a (theoretical) time machine you could go back in time and stop a human being from being conceived. Is it worse to kill a person by altering time and causing him/her to not be born, or worse to kill a person after birth? Say that you don't have to kill him/her but could, rather, withold medical treatment that would almost certainly end in death?

We lost Maine...

...and Thomas Peters, commentator on The Corner, a section of the National Review Online, sums up the Right-wing's mind on this issue:

Guilty confession: My favorite part of last night’s election coverage was watching Rachel Maddow’s demeanor go from exuberant, to smug, to infuriated over the results of the marriage referendum in Maine.

Yeah, it's just hilarious to watch a woman whose relationship with her partner has been stingingly critiqued by a pack of bullies process the fact that a popular vote just torpedoed civil rights. Again.

Hahahahaaaaaaaa, Rachael Maddow! this commentary seems to laugh, you just lost and everybody hates youuuuuuuu.

Excuse my bitterness on this point, but I want to know if Thomas Peters also sits outside of hospital emergency wards and masturbates to doctors giving devastated family members the news that their father has died?

Fights over LGBT rights, and all over civil rights, change the nature of civil discourse. To personally inject yourself into the family and bedroom of countless other citizens and offer an unsolicited rebuke of their marriage is, by its very nature, uncivil.

To exercise the perverse power our government gives people to enforce their collective opinions on same-sex relationships is, similarly, by its very nature, uncivil.

What onlookers consistently fail to realize is that our lives are being put on the chopping block for others to critique. For most people in politics, it is just a job, and straight people can go home to their heterosexual marriages and children to get away from all that. Gay people do not have that privilege. My very existence, according to the Right Wing, is a political issue. If I walk into a shopping mall holding hands with my boyfriend, I am being political, according to them, by "flaunting" my sexuality, and similarly, having my relationship bound by marriage is an election issue. Adopting kids is an election issue. Hate crimes protection is an election issue.

There is no "home" to go to, because even inheritance, hospital visitation, health benefits, adoption and child-rearing are subject to political cycles and whims.

This is part of the reason why my political disagreements with the Right often take on a deeply personal tone. Politics are personal when your life is consistently voted on. Whatever criticism those on the Right levy on the way LGBT people go about pursuing their rights, the truth is that there's nothing we could possibly do that is more perverse or unreasonable than breaking up other people's marriages and getting sick pleasure out of it.