Friday, October 31, 2008
I want to feel that way for gay and lesbian youths too.
As we take one big step forward with this foot - we can possibly be taking a big step backward with the other foot if the voters in California pass Proposition 8 (which would outlaw same sex couples from marrying). I came across an open letter that Huey Newton (from Black Panther fame) wrote in 1970 to the black community in an attempt to unite the Gay Liberation Front and the Women's Liberation Movement with the Black Power Movement in "a revolutionary fashion." In it he says, "homosexuals might be the most oppressed people in our society." Yep, that's the leader of the Black Panthers claiming homosexuals are more oppressed than blacks in America (and that's saying something!).
Some parts of the letter are hilarious in its backhanded way of finding tolerance for the Women's Movement ("we want to hit the woman or shut her up because we're afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with"). Even still, the point of Newton's letter was to encourage acceptance of homosexuals in the civil rights movement.
Even though he said that he didn't entirely understand "what made them homosexual," Newton warned against using disparaging language (i.e "faggot"). It was an effort to unite the movements without alienating himself from his own community or making his own sexuality suspect.
His letter ends: "Homosexuals are not enemies of the people."
And here we are, almost 40 years later about to elect our first Black President. Damn, I'm proud and white.
And yet we're still debating about who can love whom and how and what they should do within that love. Damn, I'm straight and ashamed.
I am so curious what Huey Newton would say today if he were alive. I think it might be something along the lines of:
"We are are our own worst enemies."
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Seeing problems at a polling place? Having trouble voting?
call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
VOTE EARLY. VOTE ONCE.
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We are the leaders that we've been waiting for.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Are you like me? Are you obsessed with this election? It feels more like an addiction than a healthy civic concern. I’m already planning for the withdrawal to begin the morning of November 5. I must. Well, may be November 6. But I’ve made a commitment, to my friends, family, and most importantly to myself. I have to get back to my life.
Speaking of civic commitments, let’s talk about the Rock Stars of Election Day: Poll workers. Those are the people who will have completed a 3 hour class with the County, watched a 2 GB Instructional Video at home, and will have arrived at a polling place near you at 6:00 AM to prepare for the most important day in our nation, they are on the frontlines of our democratic system at work. It wouldn’t work without them. As someone put it, “Poll workers are the foundation upon which democracy rests.”
But if you are really like me, you’ve been voting by mail for a couple of years now. These ballots are counted early in
I decided to make November 4 "Poll workers are Rock Stars” Day. I’ll pick a few precincts where I know they had a shortage of local poll workers and someone had to travel from outside the area to help with the local civic responsibilities. LA County, for instance, had difficulty getting poll workers on the west side and in the north county. I guess the work isn’t good enough. Anyway, I’m on a mission to thank the poll workers – bring treats, water, whatever. Can’t be distracting to the process and I know enough to arrange this before hand and call ahead of time. But I think it can be done – besides I need something to do with all this nervous energy.
My point is: Remember to say thank you to your poll workers. If you think that things are screwed up now, just imagine…