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Out of Many, One 

By: Ann-Marie Giglio  
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

Is America back?

A local politician asked that question on the radio yesterday.  And it's a bloody good question.

Karen and I agreed that once the election was over, we'd move on.  But here I am, weeks later, still stewing.  Americans have beaten African-Americans with baseball bats because Obama won.  Americans have robbed gay Americans of the legal protections of marriage.  Americans have denied orphans a home with gay couples.  Who are these people?  Why are they acting like this?

I'd like to blame certain Republicans for their divisive doctrines.  But, no.  Really, Bush/Cheney own this.

Tell me, how far removed is this discrimination from their actions of the last eight years?  Like invading a nation of dark-skinned people as part of their oil-appropriation/Saudi assistance plan by lying to the people and to Congress about evidence and surveillance.  And then ignoring the long-term cost in lives, reputation, and dollars.  How about awarding wartime contracts to substandard vendors with inside connections.  Or spying on church groups and political protesters as part of a "homeland security" program so clearly illegal that the entire senior level of the Justice Department threatened to resign.  Or how about the time when they summarily dismissed the U.S. attorneys who attempted to investigate the 2004 election fraud.  Or their holding political prisoners for YEARS without so much as a hearing.  DOES ANYONE REMEMBER ANY OF THIS??  How about overextending our finances at a rate I cannot comprehend.  You think Wall Street was over-leveraged?  Has anyone looked at our Federal loan-on-demand habits?

And how did they accomplish all this?  By shredding the parts of the Constitution that have gotten in their way --- some inconvenient truths --- and replacing them with "signing statements." 

They have been, in a word:  lawless.   More precisely:  lawless bullies.

That lawlessness goes hand in hand with the freedom to hate and discriminate.  And it opened the door for the Wall Street fiasco.  When our leaders act with impunity, it sends a very clear message.
The Bush/Cheney administration has bullied us for years.  If they want it, they take it.  But don't challenge them.  Because, if you are not with them, clearly you are against them.  Right or wrong.  Good or Evil.  Ring a bell? 

Why can't it be both?  Why are we not mature enough as a species to see that life on this water planet is far more complicated than black or white?  Is it because holding those two thoughts in our heads at the same time is challenging?  Are we that lazy?  Come on.  I know plenty of folks who can spout conflicting stats about their favorite athlete, weigh the data, and draw a conclusion.

Take Barack.  He's black AND white.  But African-Americans have claimed Obama as their own, ignoring his white half.  Whites quietly lay claim to Obama's white half, trying to ignore his other half.  They don't go so far as to say they are proud of him.  That's too scary.  After all, he's half black.  But dammit, they want credit for his whiteness.  Despite the fact that his white mother broke the law in 26 states when she married his father...but his grandmother, he says, not his mama, made him who he is.  Is he of a lawless white?  Or a traditionalist?  See?  It's not so simple, is it?  Is he both?

And this ain't no melting pot, I'm talking about, either.  We've never melted anything.  At best, we're dozens of tribes rubbing shoulders, trying to share resources and striving to tolerate one another.  But we can't do that if we act like our European or African or Asian ancestors, suspicious of anyone from outside of our village --- us against "them."

It's the 21st century.  We live in a glorious land, muddy with genetic ancestry and customs, guided by a simple doctrine:  live and let live.   Let me repeat that.  It's live AND let live.  We stamp "E pluribus unum" right on our coins:  Out of many, one.  A union --- of separate states.  States of mind, states of grace, financial states, geographic states, religious states.  Get the idea?  We are red AND blue.  Gay AND straight.  Christian, Muslim, Jewish AND atheist.  And everything in between. 

Bingo.  That's what we represent.  That's what people come here for.  We are the opportunity to fit somewhere --- in between --- yet live with everyone else.  Find a tribe --- or start your own --- and squeeze in.

How do we get back to a nation of inclusion when we've spent the last eight years dividing to conquer and siphoning off every possible drop of profit and hope?  How do we come together when bullies have been telling us who we can have sex with, who we can vote for, who we'll buy our oil from or which fuels will be cheapest, who we'll sacrifice our children to?

How do we get there?  By speaking loudly for our union.  Silence the bullies.  Aim our efforts toward the country we should be.  Like the tens of thousands of supporters of equal marriage rights who marched in rallies around the country Saturday.  "It's not 'Yes, we can,' "said San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, in reference to President-elect Barack Obama's campaign slogan. "It's 'Yes, we will.'" 

Out of many, one.

Can Obama take us to this promised land?  I hope so.  I want America back.

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Tell us what you think....admin@onthegayhorizon.com .

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 Bail and Spend

By: Karen J. Allen
Co-Publisher, On the Gay Horizon

Several issues back, we talked about the $700 billion bailout and how we had a few doubts about it. Despite our misgivings, it was passed. Now, we seem to have moved into the phase of figuring out what to do with it. Should we save the producers of gas-guzzling, pollution-emitting vehicles? Bail out the financial institutions that appear to have greedily and recklessly pushed our economy to the brink of what many are calling the next Great Depression? Rescue individual homeowners who didn't have the good sense to know that when something sounds too easy, too good to be true, it almost always is?

It's not that we don't feel for the auto industry employees. Or, that we aren't concerned about the state of the economy. And, who wouldn't want a bigger, nicer home than you thought you could afford? But doesn't it strike you as just a bit curious that government practically came to a standstill because we had to immediately borrow $700 billion dollars and now we don't seem to know what to do with it? 

And another thing.....for as long as I can remember, we have been advised by every financial counselor on the planet to reduce our personal debt. Get out from under the credit card debt. Live within our means. Save instead of spend. So, now we are. Our elected/selected/appointed government officials may not know what to do with that $700 billion in the face of this economic crisis, but we've all figured out what we need to do with the little stack that's within our control. Stop spending.

Are we being commended for taking a step toward financial responsibility? Not hardly! Instead, we are now constantly bombarded with the message that we are undermining the economy because we aren't spending enough!

I don't claim to know how to fix this mess. I do know that when we were spending away, gas was costing me almost $4 a gallon. Now, we aren't spending, and I just paid $1.70. I'm thinking that if we bail out Detroit and they keep producing the same kinds of vehicles that get 12 to 15 miles per gallon, gas will probably hit $5 next time.

But I won't be holding my breath for anyone to ask my opinion about that or any of it.

What I will be doing, though, is the same thing I've been advocating since we started publishing this newsletter. Whether it's in the arena of GLBT rights or anything else that concerns our happiness or well-being, I strongly believe the answer is to find ways of taking care of ourselves. We may not know how to save the world but there are lots of things that we can do in our individual lives.

Since we've been talking about automobiles, and they always take a major bite out of most budgets, I came across a resource recently that I will share. Whether you're buying a new or used car, trying to keep the one you have running longer or just want to save money on gas, Cheap Car Tips and Tricks will show you lots of ways to save money.

Just don't tell the government I sent you there, okay?


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