Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I am deeply blessed, I believe, by being politically aware without being a political junkie. I don’t watch the news on TV, and in fact, don’t watch TV. I avoid political advertising like I avoid transphobic right-wing rednecks. I tend to not watch political debates, and instead go to the source, and read what candidates have to say about various issues. I also tend to believe what the candidates say about and for themselves before I believe what their opponents say about them; while at the same time, taking their own words with a grain of salt.

So when I read about Democrats smearing Hillary or Barak, I feel disappointed and sad.

For the record, here is one Obama supporter who has nothing but good to say about Hillary Clinton. I had a difficult choice in picking one over the other, and the balance came down on Obama’s side based hugely on two things: what I believe our nation needs right now to bring us out of this terrible rift of the Culture Wars and the havoc of the Bush mis-administration, and on what roles in which I believe the two candidates, based on their personalities and experiences, can be most effective . They are both good candidates, and I believe they would both make competent presidents. I’ll back Obama to the convention, if need be, and I’ll back the winner, whole-heartedly, all the way to November.

So here is my request to all members of the Democratic community, including the candidates themselves: We’re all on the same team. I’d like to think we can choose a captain without smearing each other. Believe me, the RSM will take care of that, without any help from us. Can we, please, just all get along? Can’t we leave the down-putting and smears to the GOP, and focus instead on supporting our candidates based on their own merits, and on the issues?

In fact, let’s not even smear John McCain. Let’s not concede any issue to him – certainly not national security – but let’s fight based on the issues, not on his personality or any corrupt choices he made in the past. At the same time, let’s defend, vigorously and proactively, against any smears the RSM throws at our candidates – and there will be plenty. Let’s concede nothing to the GOP except slime, and let’s forego slime altogether; let the GOP/RSM have a monopoly on it. Look at the speeches of FDR. He managed to turn attacks on their heads by calling them out, rebutting them, and going straight to the issues of his attackers. Instead of smearing John McCain, let’s point out that he is an honorable man and experienced patriot who just happens to be completely wrong and out-of-touch on national security, on the economy, on health care, on nearly every issue you can think of. Let’s attack his policies, not him. It’s the thing that disappoints me most about the Democratic party – that we feel we need to stoop to the lowness of the GOP, even though we’re right on most of the issues. If we run this campaign based on smears, we’re gonna lose – no way we can smear as well as the RSM. If we run on the issues, no way we can lose - as long as we don’t concede our strengths, such as national security, like Kerry did.

(No, Virginia, a bigger military engaged in more overseas conflicts does not make us more secure. Re-distributing vast quantities of the military budget – 75% or so – to convert our energy supplies from overseas oil to local, renewable sources (even, god forbid, domestic coal and nuclear power), will. If we cut the military budget that much, we’d still have the biggest, richest, best-trained and equipped military in the world – by far. More on that in a future post.)

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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz