voting

civic duty
“civic duty”

For someone who votes every year the polls are open, presidential election years always feel like everyone has discovered my favorite bar and now I can’t be assured of finding a seat when I show up on weekday evening. There are lines, and they can be quite long leading up to the opening of the polls at 6am. But any other year I can walk in, give them my ID, and go immediately to a voting booth.

All things considered, though, I wish everyone voted every time. If you’re not sure where to go, here’s a resource that will tell you where your polling place is, and who’s on the ballot. It doesn’t include anything more than the candidates, though, so do your research on any local measures.

milk

I went out with some friends tonight to see the new movie Milk at a nifty old (yet well preserved) theater near work. The film depicts the elements of Harvey Milk‘s personal and public life that lead him to become a political leader in San Francisco and activist in the gay rights movement of the 1970s. I had heard of Milk and knew that he was important, but I am sadly lacking in my queer history knowledge, so prior to watching the film, I did not know very much about anything that happened in it.

I was surprised at both how much things have improved for non-heterosexual Americans over the past three decades, and also by how many more barriers to true equality have been erected by those who fear it. The movement to defeat California’s Proposition 6 in 1978 was dealing with much more overt hatred and fear than those fighting Proposition 8 this year, and yet they managed to win against all odds. Those of us who do not remember or were not a part of the anti-Prop 6 movement need to sit down and figure out how they did what they did and where the anti-Prop 8 movement went wrong if we are going to find a way to gain back the hard-fought equal rights that were taken away from families in California this fall.

When I first began coming out to friends and colleagues, I was more afraid of their disapproval or being shunned than of any fear of my life. However, after having the violence that was perpetrated against gays and lesbians in the 1970s so vividly depicted before my eyes, I realized that I am lucky that I don’t have to live in fear of my life because of who I am. And yet, the fear and hatred and violence that is still perpetuated against my queer brothers and sisters in this country makes me hesitate. Am I really as safe as I think I am? What are the odds that I will cross paths with someone who will hate me and wish to harm me because of who I love?

I don’t have the strength to devote my life to fighting for equal rights like Milk did, but I can stand up and speak my mind. I am a citizen of this country. I have every right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as you do. You are free to do as you wish, believe what you will, as long as it does not hinder my rights, and I the same. Love it or leave it — that is what it means to be a Citizen of the United States of America.

gas boycott on tuesday — what’s the point?

Go ahead and don’t buy gas on Tuesday, but it’s not going to lower the price per gallon.

It appears that the perennial gas boycott has reared its ugly head again, this time setting next Tuesday, May 15th as the day to not fill up your vehicle’s gas tank. This time around it is protesting the recent price per gallon increases to an average above $3, but will it be effective? Probably not.

This has been tried before over the past decade or more, with no visible effect on gas prices. Usually, folks who participate in the protest simply buy their gas on other days. In no way do most reduce the amount of gas they use, so as far as the filling stations are concerned, it’s simply a small blip in daily sales.

What will really send a message is to drastically reduce your gas use. Walk or bike instead of driving, or use public transportation or a carpool if you have those options. Do all of these things every day, and not just on next Tuesday. Of course, these things may not lower the pump prices in the short run, but they certainly will have less of an impact on your wallet.

Gas prices are on the rise, and we would be foolish to think that oil companies are going to lower them for any reason since there hasn’t been a real backlash against them. Americans are still buying big gas guzzling vehicles, and even if we feel the squeeze at the pump, we are willing to pay for it. Oil companies have us over the barrel, and they know it.

culture of lesbianism

I’ve been reading the Blog of a Bookslut for a few months now, and aside from getting news and brief commentary on book-related things, I am also greatly amused by Jessica’s and Michael’s slightly snarky take on it all. Here is Michael’s response to an interview with Edward Klein, the author of “The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President“:

“The culture of lesbianism”? Is Klein afraid that a President Hillary Clinton would name the Indigo Girls to the Supreme Court, or replace the tee ball games on the White House lawn with field hockey? Shit, I’d welcome a president from the “culture of lesbianism.” You could get away with wearing hiking boots to even the most formal of events.