Monday, July 31, 2006


The World Is Ugly.

And The People Are Sad.

I cannot believe the sorry state of affairs around the world today. It is just sickening.

My uncle and his family live in Mumbai (Bombay to me), but thankfully none of them were harmed in the bombings. However, that train line was the line my uncle takes to work. Fortunately he did not have to go in that day.

The Middle East situation is just so terrible. I have friends from Lebanon, and I know they are just beside themselves with worry and concern for their friends and family. I imagine that there is much worry and concern on the part of those with friends and family in northern area of Israel that sits in harm's way of Hizbullah's attacks.

The Israeli-Arab conflict is one that inspires many conflicting feelings for me, but I think Billmon summed it all best when he wrote this:

I've felt many emotions about the Israelis before. I've admired them for their accomplishments -- building a flourishing state out of almost nothing. I've hated them for their systematic dispossession of the Palestinians -- even as they smugly congratulated themselves for being the Middle East's only "democracy." I've pitied them for the cruel fate history inflicted on the Jewish diaspora, respected them for their boldness and daring, honored them for their cultural and intellectual achievements . . . .

He goes on to describe how he now feels contempt. Now this was July 27th, 3 days before Qana II. I can only imagine how he feels today.

I'm not the expert he is on these matters (frankly, I'm not an expert at all), but I cannot watch what is going on without feeling despair. I never thought I would pine for the days of Bill Clinton's faux even-handedness, but that would be a WELCOME relief to President Frat Boy's bemused disengagement.

Since all this news is so depressing, I was going to end this with a picture of what I think Paradise looks like, but I can't get Blogger, or my computer or both to work properly. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday In The Park

Today is/was Saturday In The Park, a yearly GLBT festival held at Esther Short Park here in Vancouver. It was a very good event. My wife and her friend remarked that it was a lot bigger than last year, which is good. I honestly don't remember how big it was last year, but there definitely were a lot of people there.

State Representative Jim Moeller told us about how the state legislature had FINALLY outlawed discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. It was very moving to hear him describe how last year, after a similar bill had been defeated by 1 vote, he had stood before the Saturday In The Park crowd and told them "there will be another spring," and that we should not lose hope. I was so pleased to see him stand before us today and tell us how our hope and faith had been rewarded!!

I was particularly struck by his language in describing this new law. He spoke about how it provided "freedom" to the GLBT community. I found this interesting, and inspiring, because civil rights issues are normally discussed in the language of "fairness." I agree that civil rights is about fairness, but I think we have drifted away from the central idea that is and was the backbone of every civil rights struggle; freedom. Let us not forget that the early slogan of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was "Freedom Now!"

That's what we're talking about with anti-discrimination laws: that people should be free to operate in this world, obtain housing, employment, access public accommodations, without fear that something they have no control over will be used to deny them that opportunity. That is the essence of freedom, and we should never forget that.

P.S. The icing on the cake of this momentous victory was that Tim Eyman failed to gather enough signatures to challenge the Legislature's action through a referendum to the voters. The people of Washington have spoken loud and clearly in favor of freedom and fairness!