Hey kids! If any of you reading this live in the United States and haven't yet emailed your Senators to tell them to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, it would make me really happy if you did so. Especially if you live in Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, Alaska, Nebraska, Arkansas, North Dakota, or South Dakota. Tell your families and friends! I could rant and rant at great length ( but ) the real point is: read up on the FMA and think to yourself, Is this the kind of law I want in my country's Constitution along with good things like freedom of speech? Then try not to get too cynical about depressing stuff like the USA PATRIOT Act. "Grown-ups did that. Never forget that." Okay, time to shut up and eat cake and think happpy thoughts about going to the Oregon Country Fair tomorrow, to do happy hippie dances of the temporary autonomous zone persuasion, and generally pretend that the world is okay.( More articles on the subject as I find them, mostly for my reference. )
If y'all haven't read pants_of_doom's National Coming Out Week wish list, go do so now. It's good stuff. On a similar note, here's a link to the discussion that ensued when I posted grumbling about President Bush's announcement that federal government lawyers are working to legally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman (because apparently it's not enough that states keep passing laws that say the same thing, and the Defense of Marriage Act says it's okay for states to disregard each other's laws concerning same-sex marriage --- this has to be a federal issue, too... but I digress). It was a good discussion, I thought, but it made clear to me that a lot of people don't know very much about the legal issues surrounding marriage and domestic partnership and such. Since this is kind of a hot-button issue for me, I'm full of fun facts about it, and I figured hey, why not share? To start off, here's something I wrote to someone who thought I was common-law married because Peter and I are registered as domestic partners with his grad student union, so I can get cheaper health insurance.( Long story short, no, I'm not married, common-law or otherwise, and here's some facts about common-law marriage and domestic partnership. )
By the way, October 11 is National Coming Out Day, and this year the Human Rights Campaign is encouraging people to come out in favor of same-sex civil marriage rights (as distinct from religious marriage/commitment ceremonies, which are available to everyone, though not from all religious denominations, and either way don't confer legal benefits). I think this is a good idea, although it sort of misses the point that marriage as an institution has other problems besides the fact that it discriminates against same-sex couples. I'll post about that later, but for now this post is long enough.
Update, 18:36: Ok, it was long enough, but I want to remind myself that I also want to write about the Bush Administration's Marriage Protection Week bullshit (timed to coincide with National Coming Out Week, no less), and maybe post links to resources like the Alternatives to Marriage Project (probably my primary source of information on this issue), so anybody interested in learning more can do so. Am I forgetting anything important? If so, please leave a comment. coldtortuga, I remember you were curious about my personal views on marriage; these posts should help make them clearer but I could write something to address that point in particular...
This afternoon I came home from tutoring to read Peter two chapters of Howl's Moving Castle. Eventually we got out and visited the GTFF union office, where we filled out some paperwork that makes me eligible for health insurance as his domestic partner. Rock! Then Peter went off to his office on campus, and I stopped by an ATM for some cash and hit Mother Kali's Books for their CD sale. There I got Independence Meal by Alix Olson, The Righteous Ones by Toshi Reagon, and End of the Summer by Dar Williams, which makes my CD collection much more complete (really, it's amazing I didn't already have those, especially the Dar). Yay! Outside Mother Kali's, a friendly butch lady perusing the super-sale rack told me they were giving out free ice cream cones at Dairy Queen, so that was my next stop (it's a promotional dealy celebrating the 100th anniversary of ice cream). Then I stopped by the Glenwood to pick up my tips, and so now I have small bills with which to do laundry. Then I wandered around and thought about getting a haircut, but decided it was a little risky to do so while wearing my Weird Al "Bad Hair Day" t-shirt (tempting fate and whatnot). So I stopped by Mother Kali's again and signed up to volunteer during textbook rush next week, because if they're really going out of business that could be my last chance to hang out and help out there. Then I rode my bike home, enjoying the beautiful weather all the way. All told, a most satisfying afternoon. Tutoring this morning went okay, too. I still need a haircut and we still need groceries, but I'll be getting on that aforementioned laundry in just a bit, and overall life is good.
Update, 18:45: Okay, so I know this isn't one big paragraph anymore, but I wanted to note that I've been updating the above paragraph like every 15 minutes or something ridiculous like that, and I have no idea why.
Ok, so earlier today omega697 wrote somewhat sarcastically in his LiveJournal that he was going to wish for war, in the hopes that it would cause the people of the U.S. to "awaken" politically and in particular get out and vote. The entry is here, and it's clearly a reaction to the I wish for peace meme that started making the LiveJournal rounds yesterday. (The "add 'I wish for peace' to your LJ user interests" meme hasn't spread quite as quickly, but I digress.) He has since disallowed comments on the entry in question, but since I spent a long time this morning thinking about it in my (paper) journal, and later trying to edit the resultant five pages of not entirely related ramble into a well thought-out piece that fit in LJ's comment character limit, I'm going to post what I came up with here.( Bad news: Wishing for war, for any reason, sends a hateful message. Better to promote awareness that lots of people in the U.S. don't want war. Neutral news: Speaking of awareness, here's some thoughts about the personal causes and nature of social and political consciousness. Good news: rockin' the vote. )
Ok, wow, that was huge (so huge, I learned to use cut tags on it!) But I did manage to make it considerably more coherent than this morning's paper journal entries, which is good. Looking at it now, I'm definitely glad I gave this piece its own entry, instead of trying to shoehorn it into omega697's journal. Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Kurt!
I didn't have a camera at the Portland anti-war rally and march on Saturday (March 15), but I took pages of notes, mostly on the signs and slogans I saw around me. Now judging by the livejournal comments I've posted, emails I've sent out, and Everything2 homenode update I've posted today, I feel like writing more about the experience, so here's some preliminary thoughts, taken from the aforementioned email and LJ comment and E2 homenode post.
The bad news first: I was really disappointed by the number of signs and effigies making fun of George W. Bush. As much as I agreed with some of them, they mostly struck me as petty and counter-productive. I know he wasn't really elected, I know he comes across as an idiot (I can't stand to hear him on the radio, let alone watch him on TV) and most of all I know it's embarrassing he's the public face of the United States in entirely too many ways, but dangit, I for one was marching for something bigger than personal dislike of Dubya. Sigh.
Now for some happier news: One of the coolest things about the anti-war rally and march in Portland was that there were people of all ages there, not just teenagers and college students. It's not just rebellious kids who think the war is stupid, it's grandmothers. Which is just great. It's good to know that not everybody is hypnotized by the TV news. Also, I feel like there's much less of getting teargassed or shot by riot police when there's little old ladies in the crowd. Which is a good feeling as well.
According to the Sunday newspapers (including the New York Times), there were 20,000 to 30,000 people at the rally and march in Portland. I was glad it made the news. Even if the administration isn't listening, at least the media couldn't ignore it, and in turn that means people who didn't march got to see that there's plenty of people opposed to the war. Whether it will make them think is a different story, but it's a start. I wonder if the U.S. anti-war protests make the news in other countries. I hope they do, because one of my major reasons for getting involved is to try to show as many people as possible that not everyone in the U.S. is blindly supporting the administration's war plans.
That pretty much sums up everything I've been telling people about my experiences at the march and rally. I feel like I should have more to say, but I'm kind of drawing a blank right now. Oh well. At least I've gotten those thoughts down where I won't forget them too quickly.
Update, 13:43: Happy Saint Patrick's Day, all. And please keep sending me your book recommendations (for those of you who just tuned in, yesterday I asked for suggestions on good books about the history and theory of nonviolent social protest).
It's the dance sensation that's sweeping the nation! Or at least downtown Portland, Oregon this afternoon. What you do is this:
Take the bus from close to chocolatesmudge and nedthealpaca's house to Hawthorne Street and walk several blocks to flamingweasel and joyquality's house. Meet their housemate Jason on the way. Meet flamingweasel's sister and wait for qousqous to arrive. Be glad that the rain has stopped.
Walk downtown. Be impressed by the number of people assembling on the east side of the (Willamette) river, let alone Waterfront Park on the other side, which is where the rally is happening and the march is beginning. Get stuck in a big crowd on the Hawthorne Bridge as it is raised so a boat can go under it.
Get to the rally and start looking at the signs and banners and stuff people are carrying. (My favorite: "French is just another word for nothing left to lose.") Notice an SUV with riot cops hanging off of it. Worry a bit. Wander into the center of the rally and listen to a speaker or two. Applaud and cheer.
Start walking, very slowly, along the prescribed march route. Occasionally get your groove on to random drumming happening through the crowd. Notice that there are riot cops keeping people off the Morrison Bridge, but that they seem to be pushing people back in a relatively nonviolent and orderly way. End up under the bridge just in time to avoid a little rain.
Continue (did I mention very slowly?) along the parade route some more. Admire the "bellies not bombs" belly dancers. When the parade passes the Saturday Market, at which point the food will smell so good that you cannot resist its power. Stop for food.
After food, we split up into groups: the ones who continued marching, and the ones who went to various places to prepare for movie night fun. The first bus on the way back to chocolatesmudge and nedthealpaca's place was hugely packed, partly with people who'd been to the rally and march. One guy saw my "No War" button and asked if I thought I'd stopped the war today.
"No," I said, "but I feel like I sent a message to my fellow Americans and the rest of the world that not everybody in the U.S. supports what the administration is doing." And that's the truth. I think that if Bush & company are as determined to have this invasion as they seem to be, it'll happen no matter how many people rally, march, shout, and scream in opposition. I just want as many people as possible to know that just it's just the U.S. government that's determined to destroy its international credibility and piss on even the idea and spirit of international cooperation --- not the citizens of this country.
French is just another word for nothing left to lose, kids.