Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I carried two flags today

November 11, 2009

On my lapel, actually. One was the standard U.S. flag lapel pin, and the other a large, round, glossy button with a Rainbow Flag motif. I marched in Walla Walla’s Veteran’s Day Parade today, with the Walla Walla chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG.

Walla Walla is not an especially friendly place for LGBT people. Referendum 71, Washington’s “everything but marriage law,” received about 6,000 votes for and 9,000 votes against here. For that reason, it was with some trepidation that I marched holding one side of the Walla Walla PFLAG banner.

Some, but not much. I firmly believe that equal rights for LGBT people is one of the great civil rights causes of our time, and I was prepared to face any kind of opposition in standing up for it. I held one corner of the banner in one hand, and a smaller sign reading “Don’t ask, who cares?” in the other. I smiled and waved good morning at everyone we passed on the way, whether the answer was a stony-faced silence or a warm-hearted wave in return.

When our group was announced at the center of the parade, a small but vocal smattering of spectators raised raucous applause. Certainly many of them, if not all, were a part of the 6000 I mentioned earlier. For this reason, the smile I wore through the march lasted long after, even as my rain-soaked clothes continued to dry.

I carried two flags today, representing two entities in which I believe absolutely. One is participatory democracy, in which any group of people, if their cause is just and their will resolute, can bring about change. The other is equal rights for all, and no rights withheld from any minority provided they do not clash with the rights of others. Both causes were represented in force today on Walla Walla’s Main Street. May that ever be so.


Who cares if he’s black?

November 4, 2008

Election day fever has me in its throes! As I write this, Obama is projected to have won 207 electoral votes, and John McCain 138. At this point, if Obama continues to win all the states that John Kerry picked up in 2004, he will be the next President of the United States. As a big fan of science, health care, and rationality in general, this is fantastic news! I’ve also never voted for a successful presidential candidtate in all my 26 years, so it would be nice to break the trend early. (Knock on wood.)

Anyway, the Internet has election coverage up the wazoo, so I’m not going to add to it. I’m going to discuss the historic nature of this election, and how it relates to a rather touchy topic: Senator Obama’s race.

The obvious reaction is to be excited. Barack Obama stands very likely to be the USA’s first black President. (And it only took 222 years!) For a lot of Americans, this development captures perfectly the American dream: that anyone, regardless of race, creed, or sex can aspire to the nation’s highest office. The feeling was just as potent during the primaries, when it became clear that, should the Democrats win the White House, we would either see the first black man or the first woman to take the Oval Office.

The other side of it is a bit less excited, and a bit more rational. Race does not matter an iota. It is a non-issue. It signifies nothing more than the color of one’s skin and some minor points of bone structure in one’s face. It has no impact at all on one’s ability to fill an office, and a voter’s choice should not take it into consideration for a moment. I certainly didn’t when I filled out my absentee ballot. If Obama had run on McCain’s platform and vice versa, I would have checked McCain’s box without hesitation. The historicity of Obama’s campaign has not entered my decision, and I think that’s true of most other Americans as well.

In the end, however, and acknowleding fully that a candidate’s race is wholly immaterial, I have to admit to being excited. My country is showing that it has grown beyond petty discrimination based on superficialities. My country is showing that it can choose a commander in chief based on the issues that matter.

Forgive the plug, but that’s change I can believe in.

FYI: GOP VP pick is pro-ID

September 4, 2008

This will be very old news by the time this post is automatically published, but I’m frightened enough not to care. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s pick for running mate, is vocally supportive of teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools.

This issue is unlikely to concern most Americans; Palin’s stance on energy policy and abortion will probably get a lot more press. Be that as it may, if you needed another reason not to vote for John McCain, this is it. Palin favors injecting religion into science class. She favors the manufacturing of scientific controversy where none exists. By the logic with which she defends her position on creationism, we could just as easily teach astrology and flat earth theory (as the article linked above points out.) In short, her position is in direct opposition to good science, whether she realizes it or not.

Like my mother before me, I have never voted for a successful presidential candidate. I hope the curse will be lifted this time. Obama’s my man, and not just because McCain isn’t; his position on science is very positive, and very much what we need.

Have you voted yet?

June 3, 2008

Primary season is nearly over.  The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, and soon we will all breathe the free air, feel the sunlight on our faces, and stretch our weary limbs, before we dive into the long, dark tunnel of campaigning before November.

Of course, that holds only if you’re not registered in Montana or South Dakota.

The last primary elections of the season take place today in these two states. If you live in either one of them, and you haven’t voted yet, what are you waiting for? I just got back myself, and everyone at the polling station was at least thirty years my elder. That ain’t right. Get out there and exercise your civic muscles!

I do have to confess a minor electoral sin, however. I had focused so much of my attention on the presidential race that I had neglected to inform myself on local issues. I stood in the ballot box, confidently filling in little ovals, until I was faced with something I did not foresee: four candidates for Montana Superintedent of Public Instruction. I gasped. I did not recognize a single name. What to do?

I’m ashamed to admit that I voted for the first name in the list. I checked her website once I returned home, and thankfully she wasn’t in favor of tattooing kids with barcodes or teaching creationism or anything. The point, however, is that you never know, so please inform yourself of the issues before voting. Don’t make the mistake I made!

Happy voting!