Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Rumination: Time Makes the World Smaller

Here it is, Sunday, it's rainy out. These are definitely "spring showers," we have been seeing daffodils and robins all week, the mild winter we had has passed. Oh, it could get cold again, but there is a feeling when the first warm days come, in March, they have a smell and a look to them and you know you can't go back, the seasons will change inevitably. Time itself is pushing us back to warmth and sunshine, and that's one force of nature you won't put a dam across or put into a container and sell to people: time. Time is bringing us spring, and then summer, you can count on it.

Here in Montgomery County we have had more of the same, people resisting time. There was a time when people could live tribally, you had your customs and we had ours, and if we met we would engage in warfare. We would judge ourselves by our standards, you would judge yourselves by yours. But time has made the world smaller. Your tribe and mine now share territory, I sit next to you on the train, we have to finish a project together at work, you play in a band I like to dance to. You have to realize that I don't judge myself by your standards, and you will refuse to adopt mine for yourself. New expanded standards exist, which we understand apply to both of us.

Now in our county there is a small band of people who still live that way, tribally. Their adaptation to the shrinking of the world is to apply their tribe's standards to everyone. To them this makes perfect sense. Where I come from, Arizona, there are two tribes, the Navajo and Apache, who live near one another and speak a similar language and who use the same word for themselves: dineh, meaning "the people." To a Navajo, Navajos are people and other tribes are something else. To an Apache, Apaches are people. That's fine when there's a mountain range between you, you can pretend that "we" are the people and everything else is other and enemy. But here in our little county we all live together and we all consider ourselves dineh. The immigrants, the gay and transgender ones, the black ones, the white ones, all consider themselves to be real, actual people, and they expect to be treated as such no matter what some other group says.

Most people in our county get that. I go into Wheaton, there's Korean Korner, the Ethiopian restaurant, the West Indian food market, the Unique Bazaar where business is conducted in Spanish, I think that's cool. Now and then there is an issue, for instance I don't understand why some people think you should just wade into traffic and cross the street in the middle of the block with your baby in your arms, but it's not that hard to understand that somebody comes from a place where you do that, I try not to run over them, though I may say something rude in the privacy of my car. Time will bring an understanding, either our driving habit will change or they will learn to go to the corner and wait for the light. I don't know which thing will happen, but I know that in a hundred years nobody will have a thought about new Americans crossing in the middle of the block in traffic.

There is a small group of people in our county who think their view of sex and gender is the correct one. They do not understand that some small number of people walk around feeling they are a different gender from what they have been told they are. Well, it's a hard thing to understand, a weird thing that doesn't fit anybody's model of how people work. Most of the time, almost all of the time, somebody who looks like a boy is a boy, somebody who looks like a girl is a girl. You treat them differently, expect different things from them, and why? Nature, nurture, snips and snails, who knows? They're just different. It's a heuristic, a cognitive shortcut that lets you deal with ninety-nine percent of people you meet, ninety-nine point nine maybe.

Point-one percent of people don't fit the expectation, though. There are children designated as boys who grow up absolutely certain they are girls, so-called girls who are really boys. How does that happen? Sometimes there's no explanation for it, sometimes there is. Science is understanding it more and more, capturing brain events on their mysterious scopes, and it's a real thing. But you don't need to see it on a scope to prove it happens. People being what they are, you talk to someone who feels that way and they are utterly convincing, year after year after year, it isn't a game, something inside of them is really the way they describe, and there is no doubt.

There is one little tribe of Montgomery County residents who refuse to accept that. Their tribal standard is that men are men and women are women, and there are ways that men and women behave, and that's that. You look down in the bathtub and there's your explanation for everything. That's fine for them, if you were born into their tribe and failed to meet their expectation, at least in this big world you could leave the tribe and find happiness somewhere else. I'm sorry for the gay children, the transgender children of that community but there is a world out there they can escape to.

The problem is that this little tribe wants to force its values on all the rest of us. Right now we have the strangest situation.

Montgomery County is a place with a lot of kinds of people. It is estimated that there are about a thousand transgender people in our county. They tend to be treated badly, it's hard for them to land a job, people say things to them, we have seen a number of murders around the country in the past few months of people who failed to meet gender expectations. It might be a little uncomfortable encountering a person who is different from what you expect, whatever, it's not that hard to treat them decently.

Anyway, the County Council recently passed a new bill that added the term "gender identity" to the existing nondiscrimination law. They voted unanimously for it, and Ike Leggett, the County Executive, signed it without hesitation. This law makes it illegal to discriminate against transgender people in hiring, providing certain services, it's just the same as the old "race, religion, country of origin" kind of law that was in place before with a term added.

This one little band of people can't accept this. Their tribe has a strong tradition of conformity, it is more important to meet the group standard than to express your true self. And somebody who claims their subjective experience is different from the sex everyone observes is failing to conform in a big way. It is the worst offense, rejecting the group norm, and this little band of people cannot allow it to happen. Men must be men, women must be women, with all that implies. They cannot accept that our county lets transgender people have the same respect other people get.

But they have a problem. They are a small little tribe in a big county. Everybody else is okay with it, people may be confused or uncomfortable when they encounter a person who deviates from their expectations, but it's like walking in Wheaton and everybody is speaking Spanish and the smoke is wafting over the neighborhood from the pollo place -- it doesn't matter if you speak Spanish, it's all right, there are just different people here. Most of us accept that people are different, and we're fine with it, in fact it's one of the reasons we like living here.

This little band of people is having some trouble keeping transgender people "in their place." Oh, it's easy to ridicule them, jokes are easy, but this thing had gone too far, an actual law was passed and it was possible that one of them would be forced to treat a transgender person as a real person, maybe even hire one someday if they were qualified for a job. But to change a law you have to get the public to vote against it, and there's no way the fair people of Montgomery County are going to vote to re-legalize discrimination against transgender people. For one thing, it's just not an issue, there are so few of them that it doesn't really inconvenience anybody. For another thing, most of us here understand that there is a problem, and that there are people who need a little legal protection, because they encounter situations that the rest of us don't have to think about.

To get this law overturned they had to make up a story. The story had to be simple, it had to be vivid, it had to be something that everybody would feel the same way about. When I first heard their story, I laughed, like, nobody will buy that, but as we have seen in the Bush years, if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the equivalent of truth. Here's their story: the new law will allow men into the ladies room.

As far as I can tell, there are several variants of this story. One variant is that straight voyeurs will be able to go into the ladies room and claim to be "a woman on the inside," and they can leer at innocent women and nobody can stop them. Another variant is that male exhibitionists will be able to go into ladies rooms and expose themselves, claiming to be "a woman on the inside" and nobody can stop them. The usual telling is that pedophiles and/or predators will be able to go into ladies rooms, but it is not clear what they will do there, I think voyeurism and exhibitionism are the main activities, maybe they mean they will molest people, but still, all three of those things -- voyeurism, exhibitionism, molestation -- are against the law, whether you are "a woman on the inside" or not.

If you engage these people in a discussion you find out that the real case they are concerned about is this: a transitioning transgender woman, that is, a person who appears to be a woman but still has male genitalia, will use a ladies locker-room, and the women there will see the person's penis. Let me ask you: have you ever heard of that happening? Do you know how few people in that state there are out there? Can you explain to me what would be so traumatic about it, if that ever did happen?

It seems to me that there is an underlying belief that men are monsters. You will notice that nobody cares if a female-to-male transgender person uses the men's room, this is all about the purity of women and children. The underlying assumption seems to be that someone who can "become" a woman physically, through hormones and surgery and a change in their self-presentation, is still a man, with all the monsterishness that implies. "He" still has plans to violate your daughter's hymen, to seduce your wife, I don't know what they imagine, but there is no room for the idea that a transgender woman is actually a woman, and if she needs to pee she will go into the ladies room whether her genitalia have been modified or not.

My life has brought many excellent adventures to me. I have done things other people don't get to do, seen things, met people, I feel blessed in a million ways. In recent years I have had the privilege of meeting some people who have changed their sex, talked with them informally, feet on the table, drinking coffee, talking about the news of the day and gossiping. I can't say there is any particular characteristic these people share, of course they are braver than you and me and have had to face challenges we can never know, but all in all they turn out to be regular people with beliefs and a sense of humor and blind spots and all that the rest of us have. It might be a little unusual to hang with them, especially given our language's tendency to assign gender to everything and everyone, but it's no different than anybody else who's a little different from you.

What I'm trying to say is that the anti-transgender band's plan only works if you never meet these people. It requires stereotyping them, making assumptions about them that you can't maintain if you deal with them face to face. They will try to demonize them, use their male name for instance. They have been calling them "she-males" to emphasize their difference from other people and associate them with some pornographic stereotype. They will say things about "real men" in contrast to the transgender ones. They will make them seem as bizarre as they can, so people will find it easy to vote to allow discrimination against them.

I just remembered something. When one of my kids was young, maybe three, we were getting in the car at the mall and midget walked by. My kid pointed and laughed like it was a joke or something. I threw him into the car and got into the back seat with him and explained that that person had feelings and a life just like the rest of us, they hadn't decided to be a midget, that's just how life happened for them. It was a serious moment between a parent and a child. There may be jokes about midgets, but a small person is just a person and they deserve the same respect we deserve, maybe a little more for playing out a harder hand than we were dealt. In the same way, a transgender person may make you do a double-take, you may be uncertain what to say or how to act, okay, you're human, but it doesn't mean there is something wrong with them, that they don't deserve to be treated with respect.

Maybe it's a bad analogy, sorry, it just came into my head. Well, WPFW seems to be featuring jazz violinists this morning more than usual, the dog wants to go for a walk, and the paper is still out there on the sidewalk. I have a paper to write, bills to pay, here it is Sunday again, with spring coming.

47 Comments:

Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Thank you Jim, that was a nice read.

Sorry I haven't been posting much, I'm still recovering from a VERY nasty cold. However, I was out yesterday speaking to a group of social workers from the Maryland chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. I think it went pretty well. Interestingly, the only question that came to me in the restroom was "Are you in line?" (It was crowded.)

Peace,

Cynthia

March 16, 2008 12:57 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

First a correction to my last post... I was actually out talking at the NASW meeting on Friday. Most of yesterday was a blur -- I spent most of the day in bed quite ill.

On another note, there's an interesting article in the New York Times: "When Girls Will be Boys." http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/magazine/16students-t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

It talks about some of the issues around transmen attending some of the nation's top women's colleges.

Peace,

Cynthia

March 16, 2008 9:50 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

I seem to be having a bad case of deja vu: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/30/us/30calif.html?scp=6&sq=&st=nyt

Anyone know anything about how the California effort is progressing?

Cynthia

March 16, 2008 11:40 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Cynthia,

It failed; they didn't receive the requisite number of signatures. But the approach was similar to their attack on our law, with the same lies and misrepresentations. The ADF was involved there as well.

March 17, 2008 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

LOOK EVERYONE!! ANOTEHR LIE FROM ANOTHER BIGOT!


"Group has access to more funding than story implied"

The article, ‘‘Group raising cash to fight transgender rights opposition,” Feb. 27 Council News) failed to point out that Equality Maryland has an annual budget of almost $1 million, has a paid staff and offices, and has a lobbying firm on contract. It is hardly the beset upon organization the article implies.
__,_._,___

Plus it gets funding from the Human Rights Campaign, the Gill Foundation, Proteus Fund, Brother Help Thyself, and Unitarian Universalist Funding Program.
Citizens for a Responsible Government has none of the above. It definitely could use donations to help propel it to the next step, which is to reach the people of Montgomery County and educate them, not scare them, as the article implied, about a very bad bill.
The bill has no exemption for restrooms in public accommodations, no matter what County Council President Mike Knapp says. His assertion that the operators of these areas will be allowed to maintain their sex-segregated status is laughable. It is the Human Rights Commission, not the council that will make that decision and the commission has already stated its view that these areas should be open to transgenders.

Alberta Bertuzzi, Rockville

March 17, 2008 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alberta:
You simply do not understand the intent of the law: it is to protect the rights of transgender people, by amending the County's Human Rights laws and policies, to guarantee equal access to employment, housing and public accommodations, cable installation, and taxi cab service. Secondly I am perplexed by your mentioning Equality Maryland's meager support for the exiled law - ballot question but you fail to acknowledge CRG's sources of financing for this effort: Focus on the Family; the Liberty Council; PFOX; the Thomas More Law Center; and probably countless other covert sources of money.
Diogenes

March 17, 2008 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Diogenes-

I am not sure if Alberta reads this blog or not (perhaps she is AnonFreak?- who knows).

I recommend writing a letter to the editor in the Gazette's "Speak Out" section. That way the truth will be out...it's so sad how these people continue to lie.

I love how www.mcpscurriculum.com (CRC) states that tax payer dollars will be "wasted" fighting the fact that CRW went out and illegally collected signatures. Now, according to Dr. Weast, the CRC has wasted over a half-million dollars of taxpayer money so that theyw
could impose their Theocratic Agenda on our good-spirited and fair-minded student population.

It's sick...and what is even more sick is the fact that some people actually believe them!

March 17, 2008 4:55 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

Thanks for your insightful ruminations. This is exactly the kind of down to earth, straightforward response that is needed to meet the lies and fearmongering of the opponents to Montgomery County's gender identity anti-discrimination statute.

Although I live in Arizona, not Maryland, as a transwoman, I am very concerned about the impact that the dispute in Montgomery County has had, and could continue to have, elsewhere. For example, the same lies about trans women threatening the safety of "real" women and children in restrooms and locker rooms is being used to oppose the proposed statewide anti-discrimination bill currently under consideration in Massachusetts. Responding in kind with our own hate and hyperbole will not win this battle. Common sense will.

March 17, 2008 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Alberta has been a staunch supporter of Michelle's agenda since the days of Recall the Montgomery County School board. The Gazette seems to love to publish their letters even though more common sense letters get rejected.

March 17, 2008 10:05 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

As much as I’ve enjoyed the recent respite from being conflated with perverts, pedophiles, and the mentally ill, I must say the relative quiet from the anti 23-07 crowd is unnerving. I am left wondering “what nefarious activities could these folks be up to now?” At least while they were posting here I knew at least part of their day was spent reading and responding to various arguments. It’s scary to think what they might be doing with all that extra time on their hands.

Peace,

Cynthia

March 18, 2008 9:17 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

It would be a fair guess that their attorneys from Arizona have placed them under a gag order, now that the lawsuit has been filed.

It is an interesting point, and it can be used against them. If the trolls on this site are CRG members, then their words here can be used to illustrate their true motives and illuminate their actions in the field. If they weren't CRG members, then they would be blogging away. Certainly any random citizen would not be subject to such an order.

March 18, 2008 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, you got to hand it to them, when Democrats do something, they go all the way.

First, there's Spitzer, who will pay $5K an hour for services that can be had for a fraction of the cost. Now, the former governor of New Jersey, who resigned over a gay affair with an aide, is saying he and his wife used to have threesomes with the chauffer.

Just wait until the fall, when the press starts looking into the details of the Machievellian marriage of the Democratic VP nominee. Woo boy! This is going to be entertaining.

March 18, 2008 10:29 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I am looking forward to it, too, but I expect the latest escapades, sexual and otherwise, of McCain, Dave Vitter, Larry Wide-Stance Craig and all those Republicans who are above resigning, will distract the nation from the Democrats' garden variety foibles.

March 18, 2008 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The latest polls, out today, now show McCain tied with both Obama and Clinton.

If Clinton is nominated, after all the sneaky racial attacks, the Democrats will lose the black vote forever.

If Obama is nominated, all the new revelations about his wife who hasn't been "proud" to be an American most of her life and his pastor "mentor" who has praised the anti-semitic Farrakan while making anti-American remarks will not sit well with the American voter. Oh well, he's not a Muslim, as far as Hillary knows.

I think the Republicans can count on the Democrats giving them whatever help they need.

"ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - With his predecessor's term doomed by a sex scandal, brand-new Gov. David Paterson tried to come clean about his own skeletons just hours after assuming office by acknowledging an affair.

Paterson told the newspaper that he maintained a relationship with another woman from 1999 until 2001.

Paterson and the other woman sometimes stayed at a Days Inn on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the governor said, adding that his Albany staff sometimes stayed there as well when they were in the city.

A spokesman for the governor did not immediately reply to requests for comment about Paterson's interview, which came hours after the governor assumed office with a message of unity."

March 18, 2008 11:03 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

And the moral of this story is, what? That men have a very hard time being monogamous? That's news? Check out Science Times today for a story about monogamy or the lack thereof in the animal kingdom.

March 18, 2008 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no problem, Dana. The point is that, despite TTF hee-hawing last year, Democrats are just as susceptible to this kind of behavior as Republicans.

It's back to the issues. Which is why McCain will win.

March 18, 2008 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous: You exemplify exactly what is wrong with folks of your political persuasion. Keep throwing those "red herrings" out there in order to divert attention from the horrendous shape this country is in due to your heroes' ineptitude and the selfishness of your party's elite money class. Why don't you focus on the real issues instead of mucking around in the mud you love to sling?
I suspect you will be indulging in the usual character assassinations
in November as you do here all of the time. "Holier than thou" hypocrites like you are the sickness of this country!

March 18, 2008 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous:
Two of your looney observations beg for some sane explanation:
You said: "I think the Republicans can count on the Democrats giving them whatever help they need." What you are really saying here is that the Republicans, unwilling or embarrassed to run on their record of seven years of destruction, obviously can't come up with their own salvation.
And " Just wait until the fall, when the press starts looking into the details of the Machievellian marriage of the Democratic VP nominee." Whatever that means...I guess you are prescient and know, unlike the Democratic Party, who its VP nominee will be. Aren't you the same Anonymous who predicted that your party would be headed by the crack-pot Huckabee just a few months ago?
R.T.

March 18, 2008 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

Oh, AnonFreak.

I highly doubt McCain will get the black vote. Republicans have a deep history of being bigoted, right-winged and anti-minority. So,that's most certainly not going to happen.

This is why MoCo does not elect Republicans...becuase MoCo does not believe in hate and racism.

March 18, 2008 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I highly doubt McCain will get the black vote."

Democrats have taken the black vote for granted for too long. Democrats have a paternalistic attitude toward blacks that is essentially racist. The remarks of Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferarro demonstrate this perfectly. Blacks know that they can thrive without the condescending guidance of rich white liberals. Democrats will let blacks work for them. Republicans will name them to the Supreme Court and as Secretary of State.

"Republicans have a deep history of being bigoted, right-winged and anti-minority."

The party of Lincoln?

Give me a break.

"This is why MoCo does not elect Republicans..."

We'll see what happens to MC in the fall. Thanks to TTF, a whole new type of motivated voter will show up to vote their support for the owners of facilities in MC. They'll probably fill out the rest of the ballot too.

March 18, 2008 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

And do you honest thing current-day Republicans carry the same values as they did during the time of president Lincoln? NOT AT ALL!!

One speculation for Lincoln abolishing slavery may be the very fact that he was a minority himself: gay. While this may not be proven, there sure is a lot of information about there about Lincoln being gay.

The Republicans today only want power over the lives of other people to financial gains. They don't actually want to help anyone. Democrats represent the Middle Class, which is MOST of the USA.

Republicans represent the rich and the hateful--- which MOST of the USA ISN'T.

March 18, 2008 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What you are really saying here is that the Republicans, unwilling or embarrassed to run on their record of seven years of destruction,"

RT, for the last 40 years, the Democrats have been in the White House for 12 years. During that time, the U.S. has become the undisputed economic, political and military power in the world. Oh, there's always a challenger about two decades away from equalling us, if you believe the hype, but the identity of the challenger keeps changing. What does that tell you?

The Democrat administrations, brief as they were,were disastrous. Jimmy Carter lost the Panama Canal and Iran. Bill Clinton laughed while Osama Bin Laden declared war on us and committed several horrific terrorist attacks on us. Clinton couldn't find Bin Laden while reporters worldwide could- or he didn't try.

"I guess you are prescient and know, unlike the Democratic Party, who its VP nominee will be."

Well, she could be the presidential nominee, which would be even better because that would mean her "good-old-boy" super-delegate network blocked the first viable black presidential candidate and black voters would flock to the John McCain-Condeleeza Rice ticket.

March 18, 2008 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Republicans represent the rich and the hateful--- which MOST of the USA ISN'T."

Got news for you, Derrick-freak, Americans don't resent the successful. We're aspirational rather than envious.

Move to Europe. They think like you over there.

"And do you honest thing current-day Republicans carry the same values as they did during the time of president Lincoln?"

You're the one that brought up "deep history". If you want to to be current, we can talk about how Republicans usually appoint more minorities to positions of authority than Democrats do.

"One speculation for Lincoln abolishing slavery may be the very fact that he was a minority himself: gay. While this may not be proven, there sure is a lot of information about there about Lincoln being gay."

Oh, I'm sure he was. Historians now tell us virtually all the major characters in history were secretly gay.

I read the book about Lincoln. The evidence was that he shared a bed with a man a few times, which was not uncommon in those times, and that he once referred to someone in a letter as a "dear fellow".

Hey, what more proof do we need?

March 18, 2008 2:36 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, your predictions are good for a laugh but not much else. Just before the 2006 elections you were assuring us the Republicans would clean up. Then it was "president Huckabee's going to do this" and "president Huckabee's going to do that" and then it was "Mcain's going to pick Huckabee for his running mate" and now laughably you've dropped that dream and you're talking about Mccain/Rice as though its a sure thing.

Fact is the American economy is in terrible shape and its getting worse. The global reputation of the States is battered due to Bush's foolishness and won't be rehabilitated for a long time to come. Basic freedoms have been taken away by Bush and the tools of justice destroyed. The Republicans are going down for a long time.

March 18, 2008 2:37 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, Lincoln being gay is a much more compelling idea than Hitler being gay. You have no problem accepting the latter so you should have no problem accepting the former. Hitler didn't share a bed with another man and talk about how he was in love with him.

March 18, 2008 2:39 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 18, 2008 3:04 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Contrary to Red Baron's trivializing of Lincoln's relationship with men, he shared a bed with both Billy Greene and Joshua Speed. Greene talked longingly of Lincoln's physique: ''His thighs were as perfect as a human being could be.'' Everyone saw that Lincoln was tall and strong, but this seems rather gushing.

John G. Nicolay and John Hay, two early biographers, called Speed ''the only -- as he was certainly the last -- intimate friend that Lincoln ever had.'' Lincoln and Speed shared a double bed in Speed's store for four years. More important than the sleeping arrangements was the tone of their friendship. Lincoln's letters to Speed before and after Speed's wedding in 1842 are as fretful as those of a general before a dubious engagement. Several of them are signed ''Yours forever.''. By contrast, Lincoln's relations with women are either problematic or distant.

Two relations with men from Lincoln's presidency further demonstrate his gayness. Col. Elmer Ellsworth was a flashy young drillmaster, ''the greatest little man I ever met,'' as Lincoln put it. Lincoln recruited him to his Springfield law office, made him part of his presidential campaign and gave him a high military post as war loomed. A few weeks after the fall of Fort Sumter, Ellsworth was killed hauling a rebel flag down from a hotel in Alexandria, Va. Lincoln was shattered.

For nearly eight months in 1862-3, Capt. David Derickson led the brigade that guarded Lincoln at the Soldiers' Home in the District of Columbia, the Camp David of the day. Derickson, in the words of his regiment's history, published three decades later, ''advanced so far in the president's confidence and esteem that in Mrs. Lincoln's absence he frequently spent the night at his cottage, sleeping in the same bed with him, and -- it is said -- making use of his Excellency's night shirt!''

Further, when he was twenty Lincoln penned a poem about a boy marrying a boy. Lincoln's stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, commented that he "never took much interest in the girls". Unlike the case with Hitler, Lincoln's gayness is compelling and well established.

March 18, 2008 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Fact is the American economy is in terrible shape and its getting worse."

It's been worse. The biggest problem right now is that it's been good for so long due to Reagan's re-organizing of the tax code that people have forgotten what a recession is like.

It's gong to be hard to convince voters that raising taxes will solve everything. McCain, a courageous fighter against pork barrel spending for years will win that debate.

"The global reputation of the States is battered due to Bush's foolishness and won't be rehabilitated for a long time to come."

Not really. Your self-centeredness is getting the best of you again. Outside of western Europe, Canada and the Mid-East Arab countries, we're as popular as ever. Go to sub-Saharan Africa, Japan, India, Eastern Europe- they all love us. Don't let racist tendencies get the best of you.

"Basic freedoms have been taken away by Bush and the tools of justice destroyed."

I agree there have been some things that are a little questionable. Still, this statement is way off base.

"The Republicans are going down for a long time."

At this point before the 2000 and 2004 elections, things looked worse for the Republicans and we all know what happened. McCain is currently tied in the polls, with the momentum.

"Unlike the case with Hitler, Lincoln's gayness is compelling and well established."

Hey, I'm not arguing with you. The whole "share the bed" thing is compelling. Man, the stories those bedbugs could tell!

March 18, 2008 3:55 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron said " Outside of western Europe, Canada and the Mid-East Arab countries, we're as popular as ever. Go to sub-Saharan Africa, Japan, India, Eastern Europe- they all love us.".

LOL! That's Hilarious! The U.S. is one of the most loathed nations on earth and your delusions to the contrary merely highlight your foolishness. Go on, keep hiding from reality, keep telling yourself you're loved, when reality bites you in the behind I'm sure that'll be a great comfort.

March 18, 2008 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

I needed a good laugh, AnonFreak!

Thanks!! ;-)

March 18, 2008 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll give you guys another chuckle. Every Western European leader who opposes us doesn't stay in power long. The leaders of France and Germany who opposed our liberation of Iraq have now been discarded by the voters of those countries and replaced by pro-American administrations.

March 18, 2008 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea not anon
I do not support Spitzer at all- and I think his wife should have slugged him in the middle of his speech. The same for all the wives-Republican and Democrat. what they decide to do about their marriages may be different for each one but I think the " I'm sorry" or "I didn't do it(oh, yeah, they did)" speeches should be made without the virtual requirement in public life that the woman you cheated on has to stand beside you.

It also sounds like eliot would do well to watch the condom video. Number 9 , Eliot- Number 9!

March 18, 2008 6:30 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, the leader in Britain who supported you didn't stay in power either.

March 18, 2008 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This one's for Andrea:

"Pundits continue to speculate on the question of why the women who are married to these scoundrels inevitably "stand by their man." This was true of Bill Clinton's wife, Jim McGreevey's wife, Larry Craig's wife, and now Eliot Spitzer's wife. At first glance these appear to be Stepford wives, somehow lobotomized to the degree that they lose moral autonomy, so that they are reduced to pain-stricken, supportive extensions of their husband's careers.

I don't think the charge of Stepford subservience is fair. In fact, I think it gives too much credit to Hillary Clinton. Clinton has benefited politically from the image of the long-suffering wife, enduring Bill Clinton's infidelities while struggling nobly to hold her family together. All the evidence is that Hillary doesn't seem to care what Bill Clinton does as long as it doesn't get in the way of their joint political aspirations. Theirs seems to be a kind of Machiavellian pact, in which Hillary covers for Bill in exchange for Bill working to get her into the Oval Office. This arrangement is far more sordid than the picture of a loving wife coping heroically with a wayward husband.

McGreevey's wife's behavior seems to me totally incomprehensible. In her book Dina McGreevey said that she had no choice. Political etiquette dictates that the betrayed woman put on her game face and support her disgraced husband. But here is a case where there was no hope of repairing the marriage. How can you do that when your husband has publicly come out of the closet? Moreover, where is this Stepford behavior written in the rule-book? Wouldn't it be great if one of these wives, having agreed to appear at the press conference, just "lost it" and started beating the hell out of their lying husbands? I suspect that this would bring a national outpouring of support and launch an independent political career.

Silda Spitzer cannot be compared with Hillary Clinton. While it's impossible to know what the Spitzer marriage was like, she seems like a poised, highly-educated woman who stood by her husband on the podium in order to preserve the dignity of their family. Protecting what self-pride the daughters have left: this is a rational motive for Silda's seemingly subservient behavior.

While Silda Spitzer's behavior can be understood as an attempt to preserve family values, Hillary's behavior can be understood as an attempt to politically capitalize on family values while actually scorning them. As this woman comes closer to the Oval Office, I hope that her marital cynicism gets increased media exposure. Yes, I am talking about such questions as Bill Clinton's post-presidential sex life and how Hillary has been managing that dicey situation. Has she joined Bill's harem or does she have her own arrangements that we haven't heard about? If the New York Times gives front-page attention to "concerns" in the McCain camp that he has been spending too much time with a female lobbyist, how about some equivalent attention to Hillary's nocturnal interests?

Normally there is no reason to investigate the marital arrangements of public figures, but this woman is seeking to become president of the United States."

March 18, 2008 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the leader in Britain who supported you didn't stay in power either"

You're a riot of ignorance, Priya. Blair's party is still in power. He stepped down after 10 years in power but his second in command took over. It would be like Cheney taking over for Bush. Hardly a repudiation.

He is currently serving as a special Mid-east envoy for the United Nations. He is also the favored candidate to become the first president of Europe, a position created by the European Union, to commence in 2009. He is backed for that position by both his successor and the Sarkozy, the president of France.

Sounds like he backed the right horse, eh?

March 18, 2008 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blair changed his tune and backed a pull out of British troops from Iraq last year. That's the political move he had to make to get Gordon Brown elected because the British do not support this war that has taken over 1,000,000 Iraqi civilian lives in five years. Britain already pulled some troops out of Basra last September and was to pull out about half of their remaining 4,000 troops next month, but since the surge has failed to stabilize Iraq and rocket attacks in Basra have been increasing, the Brown just decided that British troops will have to stay in Iraq until the end of the year, breaking his promise. Of course the end of the year is much more palatable than McCain's idea that US troops can stay in Iraq for another 100 years and that's fine by him.

March 19, 2008 7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But unlike the parties of the leaders of France and Germany who opposed the liberation of Iraq, Blair's party remains in power and Blair's career is ascendant.

March 19, 2008 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's right, now that Blair and his party have corrected their misguided path and are no longer marching in lockstep alongside feckless Bush but want to pull troops out of Iraq, they are on the rise. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said "This will be a new government with new priorities, meeting the concerns and aspirations of the whole country. Let the work of change begin," said Brown as he arrived at 10 Downing Street following an audience with Queen Elizabeth II in which he was asked to form a new government.

Run Cheney for President in 2008 and see if he can get the entire 19% of Americans who support him to vote for him.

March 19, 2008 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh brother!

The point is that the United States is not "loathed" in Britain as Priya suggests.

Blair's support for us hasn't set him back. Those who opposed us are not in power in other European countries. Britain still has troops in Iraq.

Oh, there is some disagreement with us in Western Europe among the liberal-socialist set but it doesn't seem to have any impact at the voting booth.

"this war that has taken over 1,000,000 Iraqi civilian lives in five years"

Who was the clown who wrote this?

It's really a wonder how some people can claim to be all about the welfare of the Iraqi people and then support American withdrawal.

What hypocrisy!

Can you imagine the death toll if we were to desert these people without insuring a security apparatus?

March 19, 2008 11:39 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, if you think the United
States is loved anywhere in the world other than the United States you're severely deluded. Britain may have provided some support to U.S. war in Iraq initially but don't confuse that for love. As has been pointed out to you Blair had to step down because of anti-war feelings and Brown has had to commit to pulling out as well. The U.S. is loathed around the world.

March 19, 2008 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As has been pointed out to you Blair had to step down because of anti-war feelings and Brown has had to commit to pulling out as well. The U.S. is loathed around the world."

A desire to end involvement in Iraq hardly constitutes "loathing". More likely, it could be called self-centeredness. They just prefer to have us take all the risks. They woud like to see a democratic and prosperous Iraq too. They just would rather that we bear all the burden.

Moreover, we are the focus of the world. Our system is well understood and people worldwide distinguish between the government and its people. If George Bush is as unpopular in the rest of the world as he is here, that just shows their solidarity with us. A new president will have a clean slate. People worldwide understand that our leader is, in a very real sense, their leader too.

March 19, 2008 3:53 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron said "Moreover, we are the focus of the world. Our system is well understood and people worldwide distinguish between the government and its people. If George Bush is as unpopular in the rest of the world as he is here, that just shows their solidarity with us. A new president will have a clean slate. People worldwide understand that our leader is, in a very real sense, their leader too."


This is precisely the sort of attitude that makes Americans like you loathed around the world. You're not the focus of the world, your leader has no jurisdiction over any place other than the U.S.
Your wild delusions are the source of much of the antipathy the world has towards you. You long to be loved but you will never be as long as you maintain the attitude of a global bully.

March 19, 2008 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delusions don't beget antipathy, poor Priya, reality does. And what you call "antipathy" is actually resentment and not nearly as widespread as your type claims.

Where's the evidence of this worldwide loathing? Millions are trying to sneak in annually. Our culture floods the world. Our charities are the first and largest responder to every tragedy. Our government is the model that all others try to emulate.

I already mentioned several areas of the world where we are loved yesterday. In the few places where we are supposedly resented the most, leaders who disagree with us don't last long.

The one place, the larger Middle East, where we are not well thought of, the main problem has nothing to do with Iraq. It is that we have protected a nation of long persecuted people who they would like to destroy. We're not going anti-semitic to curry their favor.

March 19, 2008 5:05 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, that's hilarious - you americans are living in terror for fear of being attacked, but the world loves you, that's a good one.

You mentioned how loved you are in sub-saharan Africa, that'd be news to those in Somalia, Darfur, Rwanda, and no doubt the vast majority of African countries.

Your delusions are getting more and more hilarious - "they don't hate us because of Iraq", keep up the stupidity, its fun watching you be fatuous.

March 19, 2008 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Priya, you've yet to show forth even a shred of evidence to back up your theory that the world loathes the U.S..

March 19, 2008 6:58 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Step out of your own country for once Red Baron, Go visit another country, tell them you're an
American and see how you are received. You live in a very small world, you think the world ends at the U.S. borders.

March 20, 2008 2:18 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron, there's a company in the States that offers Americans planning on travelling to other countries a package that includes Canadian flags and tells them how to pretend to be Canadians so they'll be treated well there. There's a reason for that.

March 20, 2008 2:41 PM  

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