© gjc, 12/29/08
After Xmas and Hanukkah, During Kwanzaa, and Before New Year’s Eve
After Xmas When I Was Full of Comfort & Joy (and a Cornish Hen)
Although I boycotted CNN for a year after the news channel helped sell the Iraq War to the American people and was in the tank for George Bush in 2004, I recently have become a fan of two of the networks shows: Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull and Lou Dobbs Tonight.
Actually, I was a previous fan of “Mr. Independent” until he became obsessed with illegal immigration (guess I was an independent even before I quit the Democratic party after their failure to put a woman on the ticket at this year’s convention).
Now, when Lou starts his “protect our borders” rants, I justvswitch channels. However, I do listen to his unbiased and balanced discussions with various media pundits about the economic crisis and the incoming administration; same thing with Campbell Brown. Her show is the real deal: no bias, no bull.
Along with Morning Joe on MSNBC, these are the only news shows I watch daily. I also watch The Newshour with Jim Lehrer on PBS at least two or three times a week and the network’s Friday night lineup, as well as the Sunday morning news shows on the three major networks (I can’t stand their morning shows with all the “infotainment” drivel that passes for "news" their biased evening “news” broadcasts!)
I’m channeling my father, who was a newshound and could never watch enough news (I don’t share his love for television sportscasts, however). Watching all these news casts inspires me to write my own opinions in this column. My post-Xmas gift to you is these little “stocking stuffers” of tidbits about various news items. I know it’s not much, but…
First Larry Summers, Now Rick Warren – What is Our President-Elect Thinking?
I wasn’t surprised that our President-Elect appointed a misogynist to his cabinet. After all, he did call a woman “Sweetie” during the campaign and remember his remark about Senator’s Hillary Clinton’s experience?
"It wasn't too long ago that Barack Obama and his advisers were tripping over one another to tear down Hillary Rodham Clinton's foreign policy credentials. She was dismissed as a commander in chief wanna-be who did little more than sip tea and make small talk with foreign leaders during her days as first lady. 'What exactly is this foreign policy experience?' Obama said mockingly of the New York senator. 'Was she negotiating treaties? Was she handling crises? The answer is no'" (NANCY BENAC, Associated Press Writer Nancy Benac, Associated Press Writer – Sun Nov 30).
I'm also not surprised that he asked Pastor Rick Warren to participate in his inauguration. He did previously attend Rick Warren’s church, stirring up controversy for Warren among Evangelicals, when he and the mega-church pastor joined forces in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Besides, the President-Elect, who supports gay rights, has made it very clear that he does not support gay marriage. And it is Warren’s support of California’s recently-passed Proposition 8, reversing the state’s Constitutional Amendment legalizing same sex marriages that has the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community up in arms.
Does the GLBT electorate have the right to be upset that Warren is giving the invocation at the Inauguration next month, given their overwhelming support of our new President? What if, to foster diversity and inclusion, the President-Elect had asked Thomas Kroenke, the so-called "hastus primus" or spearhead of the World Church of the Creator (a white supremacist church) to give the invocation?
Would his African-American supporters have been offended? Of course they would have! So, we should not begrudge the GBLT community for taking offense to having a man who not only opposes same sex marriages, but compares their lifestyle to bestiality, incest, and pediophilia present at the event. While Warren’s beliefs reflects those of many in our society, including most likely many of the African-Americans and Hispanics who voted for Prop 8 in California, aren’t they biased?
And for those African-Americans who don’t get it, Warren’s statements about the GLBT lifestyle are equivalent to calling black women nappy-headed ho’s (which got Don Imus fired from MSNBC), saying blacks were bred to be strong (the comment that got Jimmy the Greek fired from his job as a commentator on CBS), or stereotypes such as the one that we eat a lot of fried chicken (when Fuzzy Zoeller said this, he lost a lot of money in endorsements).
It’s no longer o.k. to publicly express bias toward blacks (remember all the furor around the nooses hung in the tree on the school campus in Jena, Louisiana, as well as subsequent “nooses” found in various places around the country?), but it’s still perfectly all right to gay-bash using religion as the basis for writing off a whole segment of our citizenry.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, it’s not all right to publicly state that gay people are pedophiles. This is the kind of erroneous thinking that put my brother, James, in jail for 18 months and will put more gay people behind bars if we don’t stop promoting this nonsense! Remember how many black men were falsely accused of raping or intending to rape white women and were lynched in this country? Don’t we learn anything from history?
Personally, I like Rick Warren (he did write "A Purpose Driven Life") and feel that the President-Elect has the right to have anyone he wants involved in his administration and his inauguration. However, Obama was elected by a very diverse group of people and every single one of those groups wants him to remember its part in helping him get into office. I don’t believe African-Americans would stop supporting him if he included a white supremacist in the inaugural celebration and gay people probably won’t withdraw their support because of Rick Warren.
However, please try to understand why they’re upset. Even though African-Americans wouldn’t withdraw their support of Obama, they’d complain loud and long if he included someone in this celebration that many African-Americans will attend who makes them feel uncomfortable. That’s all the GBLT community is saying. They’ll be there in large numbers, too, and having Rick Warren there will make them feel uncomfortable. Get it?
Years ago, televangelist Frederick Kc Price did a 37-week long study of “Race, Racism, & Religion” on his weekly hour-long broadcast. It was comprehensive in researching the ways religion was used a century ago to justify the treatment of blacks in this country at the time. Dr. Price quoted books written by theologians of the time.
Some of the statements made by religious scholars were astounding and, although they seem ludicrous now, they were accepted as fact a hundred years ago. (Similar research has been compiled about how religion is being used against gays presently and I’m sure some day statements made by ministers about gays now will seem just as ludicrous!)
Meanwhile, a liberal minister summed it all up this way, for all who are offended by Rick Warren’s presence: “It’s two minutes. Get over it!” He has a good point. Why let a few moments of unpleasantness ruin the whole party? I’m sure there will be loud protests during Warren’s prayer and some present will view it as sacrilege and blasphemy.
So is comparing sex between two consenting adults to sex with animals, relatives, and children AND the numerous hate crimes against blacks, Jews, Hispanics, and gays that have taken place in this country. So, if you’re at the party and you see GBTL folks “acting up” while Warren is speaking, be tolerant. You’d “act up” too if someone who expressed similar views toward you showed up at the party and spoke, no matter how briefly!
After Hanukkah: My Jewish Bi-Racial Nephew, Who Has Converted to Mormonism, Supported McCain, His Father Supported Obama and The Two of Them Had a Great Time Campaigning and Arguing About Politics Election Day!
Is it me or does our new President seem to like conflict? His national defense team (which I like, of course, since it’s headed by a woman) is in opposition on his views on the war (remember, he kept reminding us that Senator Clinton voted for the war - along with the majority of the Senate and the support of most Americans, I might add). His treasury department (which I don’t like) includes one controversial figure and one of the participants in the economic crisis.
He also has people on opposite sides of the free-trade issue in his trade department and, as previously discussed, Evangelical minister Rick Warren is giving the invocation at his inauguration. Some in the media speculate that Obama is inviting healthy debate and fostering diversity with his choices, while others think he may be crating a contentious climate in the White House at a time when unity is desperately needed in this country.
At the risk of sounding like Nancy Reagan, I was born on the cusp between the zodiac signs Virgo and Libra, but I must be more Libra than Virgo because I crave balance (I really don't believe in astrology, however; I think it's a parlor game and prefer numerology which is odd since I'm mathematically challenged!). Therefore, healthy debate and diversity are my middle name (actually it’s ‘Joyce,’ hence the pen name ‘Geoyce,’ a blending of ‘Geneva’ & ‘Joyce’).
My favorite period of history is the 1960s through the 1970s when diversity was abundant and people were engaged in conflict, not because I like conflict (I hate war with a passion!), but because I think in a democracy, people should be able to disagree and discuss their differences with respect and tolerance.
Not that much of that happened “back in the day.” There was little tolerance for the views of dissenters then and there is little tolerance for dissent now. However, I applaud President-Elect Obama for bringing conflicting opinions to the White House so that, perhaps, his administration can show the rest of us how to enage amicable disagreement and dissent without being accused of being "godless" or unpatriotic".
Hopefully, that’s what will happen. Otherwise, as Bette Davis’ character said in one of my favorite movies, All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!” for the next four to eight years!
DuringKwanzaa I’m Compiling Research for a New Study on ‘Race’
I’m compiling my columns from the past three years into book form in 2009 and plan to lead off with a column I am currently researching that shows how the pro-Obama media manipulated African-Americans into giving up all grounds for racial grievance when they convinced the majority of them that a President they venerated and that some even crowned “America’s first black President” and his wife, who opposed the first viable African-American candidate for President were both racists and played the dreaded “race card” during the primary elections.
My study of how we lost the battle against racism this year won’t be as long as Dr. Price’s, but I hope it will be as comprehensive. It was inspired by assertions from several folks that "racism is over." First, an African-American member of the House made this statement after the election on a television news program.
Then, recently, a young African-American woman in her thirties made the same statment. Well, racism is not over, but these two people from different generations may be right about one thing: our protestations about race may fall of deaf ears after African-Americans lost credability this year denouncing as racists the Clintons, who many once revered in much the same way they now revere Obama.
Before the New Year: “Should Old Acquaintances Be Forgot & Never Brought to Mind,” a Euphemism for Cutting Old Ties, Starting Anew
I had a very eventful year in 2008. I retired from working for nearly seventeen years at an agency doing work I loved and that was becoming more stressful than I realized until I stopped doing it. I’ve also had to come to terms with my mortality and frailty as arthritis seems to take over my joints and change the way I do things and well as the amount of things I do.
Although retirement has not brought me less activity (I’m actually busier now!), it has definitely brought me less stress. The greatest thing it brought me was the opportunity to do the things that I had been waiting until retirement to do: write plays, novels, & books, and start my own business. Well, I’ve re-written a play (I’m still working on it!), a short novel, and a curriculum guide for day habs for people with developmental disabilities, and am about to start that business.
Next year, I’ll be assisting someone else to write a novel, writing another curriculum guide, finish re-writing that play, write a book of short stories which will end with the novella (short novel) I wrote this year, compile my one-act plays into a book, and complete the research for the title piece for a compilation of my columns into book form. I may even finish that historical novel I started eighteen years ago and actually type the rest of the MOSES AT GETHSEMANE Trilogy that blended together form a 90-minute drama.
I am also going to publish my short mystical exercise, “The Nine Cards,” for those of you who like spiritual works and try to get my children’s story “The Slave Princess,” illustrated and published. I have big plans for 2009, and because I’m retired, only working 20 hours or less per week, I have time to do it all!
I enjoyed a moment of pure bliss this past week, sitting alone in my hotel room, when I realized I’m doing exactly what I want to do and just how blessed I am to have the life I want to have, to be at peace, and to have time to do the things I’ve waited over thirty years to do. I knew more joy in that moment than I have ever experienced from being “in love,” getting a job I wanted and doing it well, receiving honors and accolades, or even from my many friendships.
All of the above come and go, but the joy I experienced and which is coming over me as I write this, like the family that I love more and more each day, is mine to keep. I thank God for my family, for joy, for peace, and for giving me the time to embrace all three.