Thursday, March 14, 2013

This and that on the bigotry beat

That Muslim US Air Force vet from McAlester, Oklahoma who was told he was on the TSA no fly list has finally been allowed go home. First they wouldn't let him visit his ailing mother, then they finally let him come back to his own country, then they wouldn't let him return to his job and family in Qatar.The trip wasn't easy.

… he took a bus from Oklahoma City to Mexico, then boarded flights in three different countries to return to Qatar.

Apparently, according to our spooks, he is dangerous enough to harass, but they have no charges against Saadiq Long. So he can't fly to, within, or over the United States. But he can travel if he can find a way around these restrictions.

Should we forgive Bill Clinton for signing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996? That's the law that denies LGBT people access to many of the legal privileges heterosexual couples enjoy under federal law, even if we can marry in our home states? I'm very conscious of DOMA this time of year -- it immensely complicates my tax preparations! Clinton recently published an oped asking the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA as just "an excuse for discrimination." He is right of course; we'll see how far the judges go.

As for forgiving Bill Clinton, I have little trouble with that on this topic. Gay people then and now are on the rise and capable of pushing back. I don't forgive him for, in the same year, kicking poor women with kids who can't fight back. The "welfare reform" took the federal government out of the business of ensuring that no US child starves for want of a (very) few dollars. The consequences of this policy shift (just the sort of thing contemporary Republicans want to do to adult poor people, the sick and elders, by the way) have taken a long time to work their way through the population. Consider it one of the pillars of our current inequality. Now that's close to unforgivable.

I sure never thought I'd be the occasion of a lot of straight people realizing they've been bowing to the wrong shibboleths. But we do seem to be in that sort of moment in the long struggle to win full, equal rights for gay people. This former Republican law maker wants to apologize.
Unlike the poor women and kids Bill Clinton shafted, gay people enjoy the confidence that full legal equality is coming. It's time to extend the tent and greet new friends. Yea for Lynnne Ostermann.
I do have to mention that the Catholics just implanted a new pope. Pope Francis is the first to arrive from a country that has legalized gay marriage. He not only opposed the measure; he found the idea demonic.

This is not a mere legislative proposal (that's just it's form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God…

We can hope and pray that occupying the role of Bishop of Rome will broaden this man's perspective.

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