I love this NYT photo of Sun Wenlin and Hu Mingliang. They have summoned the same simple courage as countless other gay folk all over the world in standing up for their love. They inspire others, and the struggle grows and spreads.
CNN reports on the months-long diplomatic effort that led to today's release of WaPo reporter Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian Americans who were held by Iran. This is another diplomatic success for the Obama administration, though the president's detractors will never admit this.
But as inevitably as the night follows the day, Sen. Marco Rubio and Donald Trump quickly condemned the deal. They could not even wait until the released prisoners had cleared Iranian airspace before politicizing it.
The thing is, a lot of folks on the right are less interested in resolving conflicts than in having conflicts. They want to swagger and talk big and send other people's children into battle and see if they can make the sand glow in the dark. they do not care how much harm they do. We need to understand that everyone does not share the same values and goals. Everyone certainly does not agree about what America stands for or ought to stand for. If they did, don't you think they would agree that voting should be made easier, not harder?
As a group of young Iranians jubilantly chanted in Tehran last summer after the nuclear deal was announced, "Death to no one!"
Leaders of the 80-million-member Anglican Communion decided Thursday to suspend its U.S. affiliate, the Episcopal Church, for a three-year period in response to a decision last year allowing priests to marry same-sex couples.
There can be no true communion with people if you have to abandon your conscience to preserve it. There is a de facto schism already. Our friend Bob Witeck writes:
America's Episcopal leaders are listening to their "better angels." They understand that people of faith alleviate pain, rather than add more to the world.
The president soared last night, a fact that was all the more clear as Republicans, trapped in their refusal to give him credit or respect for anything ever, sat on their hands. He outclassed his detractors by so far it was embarrassing, and showed he was the grownup in the room. Here are excerpts.
"Will we respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, and turning against each other as a people? Or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can do together?"
"Some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package, for 30 years, are sitting in this chamber."
"Food Stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did."
"Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon."
My year-in-review column went online today at the Blade. My summary blurb is "Historic progress met the usual backlash." Here's an excerpt:
"Set the motherfucker on fire!" That recent call by a Donald Trump rally goer concerning a black protester, with another attendee yelling "Sieg heil," illustrates the viciousness fueling Trump's presidential campaign. If you take this lightly, Google "lynching." It is not just that what happened in Europe in the last century could happen here; what happened here could happen again. Trump's incitements, and those of his rivals, do not just pander to intolerance, they spray gasoline on the fire.
Hate-spewing demagogues were not the year's only newsmakers, but they produced its most dangerous legacy. The demons they unleashed cannot easily be tamed. But the haters cannot win the general election unless the rest of us allow it. Before we head back into battle, let us review some positive developments of 2015, though with cautionary notes.
The landmark victory for nationwide marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, which President Obama celebrated by lighting the White House north front in rainbow colors, inspired opponents to switch tactics by pushing "religious freedom" laws (better dubbed "religious supremacy") to continue their anti-gay attacks. The Equality Act represented a new approach to LGBT anti-discrimination legislation, but stood no chance in a Republican-controlled Congress. Openly gay Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson and several colleagues launched the smart, well-designed Campaign Zero policy website.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shows not only arriving Syrian families, but Canada and the world, what a civilized and decent country looks like. Bravo.
Lovely ad from Nordstrom featuring a gay couple.
The White House writes:
President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia, and Sasha volunteer at Friendship place, a local organization in Washington, DC that serves the local homeless population. November 25, 2015.
Former DC Mayor Marion Barry's hagiographers were at it again yesterday on the anniversary of his death, and I am calling them on their bullshit.
When Marion was still with us I always maintained cordial dealings with him, because he was still an elected official. No good would have been served by burning that bridge, though he himself burned many. But that is behind us. We are strong enough, all of us, to confront the truth.
Marion was a smart and politically gifted man. But his utter lack of personal discipline brought discredit to the District and gave comfort to those bent on denying us self-determination. He saddled us with the Financial Control Board. He made racist statements about Asian shop owners. He so abused earmarks to reward his friends that the Council abolished them. He was the most piggish womanizer. He led an anti-gay chant at a rally organized by Bishop Harry Jackson. Just 28 months ago, this was the headline: "Marion Barry Fined And Censured By D.C.'s Ethics Board Over Gifts From Contractors."
He set himself up for a fourth "comeback" term as mayor by running against his most loyal ally on the Council, Mrs. Rolark. After his years as Ward 8 councilmember, it remains the poorest ward; but not a tiny shred of that is ever put on him by his hagiographers. That was his way--treating every bit of every failure as entirely other people's fault. If that is true, what did he keep running for? He used people.
He has been gone a year. Yet some people cling to fantasy nonsense about his greatness, largely based on things he did in the late 1970s and early 1980s and refusing to confront how he went off the rails. The denial is pathological. The pandering by others is pathetic. It is time to stop this nonsense. Marion did some good things. But the Mayor-for-Life glorification requires a highly selective memory. Who is helped by this? Nobody, certainly not his troubled son who was exploited by people who wanted to create a Barry dynasty. It is time to move on for the sake of all of the city, including and especially its most downtrodden.
D.C. Council backs domestic partner ‘termination’ bill https://t.co/VVkvLhYljW— Washington Blade (@WashBlade) November 6, 2015
One of our last bits of cleanup. Thanks to the DC Council members, in particular Judiciary chairman McDuffie and the other committee members. And thanks to GLAA Secretary Saul Cruz for his work on this bill.