Stirring the pot, raising hell and rearing children in the Bay Area

Posts Tagged "prop 8"

Polar Opposites

Posted on Jan 12, 2011 in Featured, Politics and Rants |

Polar Opposites

I didn’t go to the rally to Restore Sanity, nor any Tea Party Express shindig. I don’t do politics outside my little world where I know I won’t get shot, yelled at or eyes rolled. I’m just not that much of a glutton for conflict.

I have more friends who are not Democrats than I do ones who are; and I like it that way. I have hard-core Republican friends (as in lawn signs and cocktail party fundraisers) for the likes of the most serious right-wing conservatives in our political circle today. I have several very close friends who are die-hard Libertarians. They are the gun-wielding, don’t tread on me type folks. I like my people. I like my world of scale and scope and perspective.

I like my world because we live in a mutually respectful environment of variety, opinion, banter and belief. I have a dear friend who met me on a street corner with a cup of coffee while I was holding a sign to protest Prop 8. He kept me company, chatted about our weekend with our respective twins and then left. He voted in favor of Prop 8. We had dinner the next weekend.

Another family — serious Palin fans — went to rally after rally in support of the first female vice-president. We had one thing in common: the advancement of women in politics. What we didn’t have in common was just whom should fill that tall order. When it didn’t pan out for them, I understood their disappointment. I was thrilled (dear goodness, don’t get me wrong), but respected their passion.

I have a Republican friend who voted for Obama in the past election (and contributed to his campaign). I watched him on election night as he cried in my livingroom watching history happen. Some things, I thought, are bigger than politics.

Polarizing politics are just that: polarizing. It takes a strong will, a stronger belief in the Good of people to really try our hand at civilized debate. Without polar opposites there is no middle ground — a sacred place where we can meet peacefully.

Take a clue, Washington. Most of us are out here living civilly, living together within the boundaries of passion, belief and over-riding respect.

Read More

Girl, You Got it All Wrong

Posted on Oct 22, 2010 in Featured, Politics and Rants |

Girl, You Got it All Wrong

I sat staring at the TV in complete shock last week as Deleware  Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell made a wicked, sad fool of herself. I wanted to leap through the television and shut her up — not for her clear lack of knowledge of law and current events or even for her politics — but moreover, for her gross embarrassment to me as a woman. For that dishonor alone,  I’m sure my high school Women’s Studies professor is cringing with distain.

I am a woman with a bias. I vote for women if I can. It’s just the way I roll. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s my history attending an extraordinarily feminist school; maybe it is me in the footsteps of my entrepreneur mother; maybe for my love of the underdog or the passion I have to raise my daughter with an equal balance of femininity and balls-out strength. My first inclination during election season is to seek out the female candidates and support them if I can. It might not be right, but it’s what I do. The only problem is, it’s hard to stand behind female candidates that are neither feminine nor brilliant. Christine, Meg, Carly, even you, Barbara: you are letting me down.

Somehow I expect that women will conduct themselves better in business and politics than men. I expect to see issues discussed cleanly, clearly and honestly. I expect a strong debate, filled with valid inflammatory topics and solid political banter. I want a good battle, an honest fight and die-hard representation of the things that make each candidate passionate about their role in the political theater. With the exception of being pro choice, I am willing to accept almost every political view, but I am not willing to accept unladylike conduct.

Meg Whitman, one of our local female CEOs has a wildly different position on politics than I do, but that’s not why I’m disappointed. It’s the wretched thievery of content, the nasty, dirty advertising smears, the red-faced head-shaking fury of a woman on the brink of leadership.  A leader doesn’t mistreat employees, whether they are execs at eBay or illegal house keepers. Leadership for women is the opposite of that — using the cortisol in our brains to our distinct advantage, not disadvantage to others. I don’t want PollyAnna for a politician, but at the same I’ve known insiders who say Whitman is a true witch — and not the good corporate kind that all of us female entrepreneurs secretly want to be. Oh Meg, you leave me no choice but to vote for the liberal, bald-headed Jerry Garcia wanna be. You let me down.

The national political stage for women has been set for this year’s election and it’s ugly. Our women in leadership seem to have lost their ability to woo an audience as women. Even Sarah Palin has lost her ladylike manner, replacing it with texting lingo “Pls” for “please”, making up words like ‘refudiate’ and finishing everything with an exclamation point or two!! Fading to the background are ladies in politics including the formidable Condoleezza Rice  whose grace never, ever tarnished, despite the trepidatious environment of international unrest, war and the endless hinting at being gay. I am not a fan of Rice’s politics, but female politicians can take note: Dress appropriately, behave like a lady, speak intelligently or do not speak, fight like hell for what you believe in.

What is a woman wanting to support women in politics to do? I will not spend my vote or even so much as slow down my Tivo fastforward on women who play dirty politics. I expect more from women. I expect civility, respect and, most of all, I expect you to represent me as both a woman, an executive and a voter with dignity.

I am left, sadly, candidateless this election term, reminded again of the great importance of The WhiteHouse Project and Girls Rock the House.

Read More

Is Boyscouts Morally Wrong for Us?

Posted on Mar 23, 2010 in Family and Friends, Featured, Rants |

Is Boyscouts Morally Wrong for Us?

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found out that my kid would not be welcome as a Boy Scout.

I knew that there would be places and people along the way that could pose issues for my child from having been born to same-sex parents. I had done my homework. It was only after a lot of research, thought, prayer, self-torture that I decided to have children by an anonymous sperm donor. As my children began growing up,  I prepared myself and them for the day that we might be ostracized.  And now, at the ripe age of 6 1/2, the day is here: My son wants to be a BoyScout.

I knew before I had children that being in the Boy Scouts was a likely no-go because of their (shockingly legal) stand on gay people.  What I didn’t account for was that my son would want to be a Boy Scout so badly that I’d have to consider foregoing my own moral standards, and consider my son’s desire to be part of an organization that discriminates against his parents.

If you don’t know the back-story, here’s the brief recap: In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled (Boy Scouts of America vs. Dale) that The Boy Scouts of America was a private organization and could set whatever criteria they wanted for their membership. Today, the organization legally prohibits Atheists, Agnostics and Gay people. The organization fought to uphold the right to ban and refuse membership to any of the above. The ruling stands today.

My son is the grandchild of two Eagle Scouts who, by all accounts with the exception of faith,  follow the Boy Scout creed and, indeed, are two of the most moral people I have ever known. To follow in their footsteps would be a great honor and my son believes with all of his heart that he will grow up to be like his granddads and obtain the very special honor of Eagle Scout. My first question was to my step dad who told me that the national organization had little to do with the local troops — it was all about the scout master and not about the politics. He might be right.

When I contacted our local troop leader, she replied with the following:

” Pack *** is a family centered group, our focus and concern is with the child and welcome any boy wanting to participate in scouting.  Our Pack does not discriminates against anyone due to their color, race, or religious practices.  We encourage active participation of all  family members regardless of what makes up a scouts family.  We do not address private, personal, or political issues at the pack level.  That is not our focus, again, the scout is our focus and concern.  I hope to see your son there and look forward to meeting you.”

This gave me great hope, and I planned a date to take my son to his first meeting. That was until I was sent the 2010 Boy Scouts of America Bylaws, which states:

“We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed and homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.”

With that creed in-tow, a two-mom family’s son was kicked out of boy scouts in Vermont in 2009. It was followed by a deep decline in membership and loss of sponsorship including the United Way, director and Eagle Scout Steven Spielberg, Levi Strauss, Chase Bank and CVS. Entire states withdrew annual contributions. Religious organizations including the United Church of Christ, the Secular Coalition of America, and the Unitarian Universalists all issued statements indicating that any form of discrimination was against the teachings of Christ.

Despite all of this support, I remain confused about our decision about whether or not to allow our son to participate in Boy Scouts. I never want my child deprived of anything because of my personal choices. My partner and I talked about what to do. Do we want to roll the dice and allow him to participate, knowing that he could get kicked out? Should we  try and divert efforts to something like Adventure Guides, the YMCA version of Boy Scouts? I have friends who have refused to be a part of Boy Scouts because it discriminates openly; are we hypocritical if we don’t follow suit?

Last week we sat down with our boy and explained to him the basic facts as cleanly and with as little opinion as we could muster.  After he told us that he would karate chop anybody that didn’t like his two moms, he told us simply, “I want to go for it anyway. I know they could kick me out.”

The decision is here, yet  I’m unable to make it without reservation. The Boy Scout law states that: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”  Oh, the hypocrisy — if only the Boy Scout organization acted with the same vigor of their Law, then my son could have the chance to follow in the footsteps of their granddads and be an Eagle.

Read More

Sketchy at Best… My Letter to Secretary of State

Posted on Nov 16, 2008 in Politics and Rants |

Hello Secretary of State:

There is a question that has been strongly discussed in our community this week.

In short, without bias:

1. The Baptist Church of Willow Glen (in San Jose) has been vocal and strong advocates of pro-Prop 8. That is the church’s prerogative, of course.

2.However, this same church was an official POLLING LOCATION for the county.

3. This weekend, the church, which donated funds to the Yes on Prop 8 initiative, gave a strong sermon on why Prop 8 should be upheld. (and lectured on the benefits of opposing same-sex-marriage).

My concern, and those of the community around us, is that the Willow Glen Baptist Church acts as a legal California voting location, yet financially and, more importantly, socially, strongly and verbally support Prop 8.

Although we do not allow demonstrators withing 100 feet, I believe, of a polling location, this church, Willow Glen Baptist Church, preaches strongly on political issues, then acts as a legal and official polling location for residents. I find this not only abhorrent, but unjust. And beyond unjust, it is frightening for those who are selected to vote at this location.

Thank you.

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Stolen Post from Let California Ring

Posted on Nov 12, 2008 in Family, Friends, Rants and Raves, La Gringa, Politics and Rants |

I read this today on Let California Ring. I thought it was very well written.

10 Ways to Start Conversations About The Freedom To Marry

1. Think about it—what if you were told that you couldn’t marry the person you loved? How would that make you feel, or change your relationship, your future plans and your life?

2. Two people in a committed, trusting and loving relationship deserve the dignity and support that come with marriage.

3. People can have different beliefs and still treat everyone fairly.

4. It is a joy to see my son/daughter and his/her partner together and a part of our family.

5. Discrimination is wrong no matter who it affects. We must work together to fight against discrimination, wherever it appears.

6. Tradition is important in our family. That’s why we’ve invited our son/daughter’s partner to be a part of our family traditions and celebrations.

7. It is not for me to judge other people. Just because I disapprove of something does not mean that it’s wrong.

8. Many couples stay together for years and not only face discrimination, but
many other challenges. In spite of these challenges, these couples remain courageous in the face of opposition and deeply committed to building happy lives together.

9. When gay and lesbian couples get married, they may finally be recognized as being part of the extended family.

10. Domestic partnerships don’t provide the same security as marriage. They exclude people from marriage and create an unfair system that often does not work in emergency situations when people need it most.

…for the record, La Gringa and I have no plans to marry until the unions are federally recognized because only then does the tax break make sense for us (thank god for great CPAs who ran the numbers for us on the options of DP, marriage, single status). By the way, might we change our minds? Maybe. ;)

Bookmark and Share

Read More

My Prop 8

Posted on Nov 5, 2008 in Family, Friends, Rants and Raves, Politics and Rants, Rants |

Last night we as Californians gave more rights to animals and fewer to same-sex couples. It’s mind-baffling.

I have never believed in the idea of gay marriage — mostly for the icky visual. @LaGringa and I fighting over who had the better dress, nudging our way down the aisle, who would walk first? We’ve laughed about what a wedding to us would look like, and for both of us, it wouldn’t look like anything. We’ve got our families, the bling, the house and, almost weekly, get the giggles after 11 years of friendship.

But what I’ve learned through this process is that I *do* believe in gay marriage for one single reason: I believe in the civil rights afforded to every person, irregardless of who they go to bed with at night. On Sunday night, I started to panic — what if Prop 8 passes and we didn’t do anything to help? Are we hypocrites? Are we failing a community we’ve so deliberately shied away from? Would people I know ever vote to take away my basic civil rights they themselves are afforded?

On Monday I Twittered about where to dig up a ‘No on Prop 8’ sign and I was directed to the Democratic HQ in San Jose. As I walked in, a group of people were leaving to go hold signs at the main train station. I grabbed two signs and ran home to change clothes. If I was going to stand up publicly, I wanted to look as girly as possible.

At the train station I was surrounded by other No on Prop 8 sign holders. Many of them were from my town, several had their kids in tow. These folks weren’t some radical freaks, they were moms and dads giving an hour of their own time. An hour to a parent is so precious. Not even one person I demonstrated with was in a same-sex relationship. NOT ONE. These were parents of young children, smart, educated, friendly, kind people who stood by me on a rainy Monday night to fight for MY rights, not theirs. I have rarely been so humbled.

I carried my sign around all day on Tuesday, stopping at random places where Yes on Prop 8 folks gathered. I did not speak (and you know for me, that’s a feat), instead, I smiled. I held my little sign that said, “Equality for All” on major street corners in San Jose and Campbell. I got waves and honks and smiles and thumbs up. Once I got a “boo!” and twice someone screaming out their car, “Yes on 8!”, but hey, I was good a good target. A buddy of mine saw me and pulled over, came to the median to chat with me while I held my sign. He’s a die-hard Republican. He told me not to worry, that all his Red friends were voting No on 8. His words, “Everyone knows that that’s ridiculous.”

Somewhere in the middle of this, I started to think about Portia and Ellen deGeneres. Were they freaking out? Calling their lawyers? Standing on street corners like me? I decided to txt @laGringa and call our tax accountant. If we were going to get enough of a tax break, that would be reason enough to head down to the courthouse. We agreed to go, made an appointment for 4 p.m. when a mass marriage was being held for folks that had the same idea we did. I drove to the courthouse and… well, that’s as far as we got. I chickened out.

As the polls unfolded last night, @laGringa and I were profoundly sad. Were we such bad people that we should give more rights to animals and less to us? How do we explain that to our children?

Today, we have gotten condolence calls, hugs, txts, voicemails and emails. I sat on a bench rewinding the last few days and came away with this: I live in a community that stands by me, for me and grieves with me. I live where I am free, treated with respect and dignity. There is not one same-sex couple on my street, yet there are multiple “No on 8” lawn signs up and down the little suburban nook I live in. I am blessed.

Indeed, we lost basic civil rights last night. It is serious and grotesque and it’s not over yet. But that was last night. The fallout for me has been profound: I gained a reminder of how lucky I am, how honored we are to live amongst such an extraordinary community. And further reminded how deeply I adore and respect my spouse.

Bookmark and Share

Read More