Thursday, September 02, 2004

So Long to our Right to Protest.....

The media has (not surprisingly) dropped the ball once again. Protestors have flooded New York, as they did in Boston, and the mainstream media haven't blinked an eye.

They're sitting and waiting, hoping for violence to break out and blood to shed, before they will agree to get out and do some real reporting. For those that traveled to first Boston and now New York to express their dissenting views, they were welcomed by an all out police state that quickly escorted them to the nearest cage (or 'free speech zone').

The August 26, 2004 New York Daily News headline read:
ANARCHY, INC. The message is quite representative of the way the media has tried to frame protestors at the DNC and RNC as belonging to an out of control, criminal cult. In times of war, this sort of thing is to be expected. The anti-war movement is painted by the media as being unstable, irrational, and uncompromising. These depictions inevitably further the disconnect between those showing unwavering support to Bush's agenda, versus those who see opposition to it as the only way to bring Americans home from overseas.

The only 'coverage' of these protest demonstrations that we do see occurs when police target a
small group of "unruly" protestors. The estimates of the crowd that we were given at the beginning of the week were proven to largely a fabrication. Police on the ground threw out numbers like 90-100,000, while 'unofficial' estimates said 200-400,000 was a more accurate number.

The protests, along with the record amounts of donations to the Bush and Kerry campaigns, are the two biggest stories (Iraq withstanding) of this election. These things are buried in the underground media, while big media turns their attention towards analysis of Jenna and Barbara Bush's address to the delegates and the next juicy book to be published from a Capitol Hill intern.

Republicans Oppose Moore's Presence with Schoolyard Bullying Tactics

Michael Moore is being called a lot of things this week as he attends the RNC as a guest columnist for USA Today. Republicans say the filmmaker is a traitor, a liar, and even...fat?

Chants of
'fat pig' have greeted Moore on the floor of Madison Square Garden, reminding us all too well that it is still acceptable to use such slurs in public against those they disdain.

The Republicans are behaving exactly like the schoolyard bullies they are by falling back on socially acceptable slurs that once tormented them and their fellow classmates. Kudos to the GOP for always raising the level of discourse in the country (currently it rests at a notch above Andrew Dice Clay, but about two below Pauly Shore).

It's All About the Benjamins Bay-Bee!

CNN had a very interesting link posted on their site earlier this week. Now, I'm kicking myself for losing it. The chart illustrated who was donating what to each candidate. It gave a good sense of how companies like Time Warner are sure to play both sides of the field by handing out big sums to Kerry and Bush. Enron remains Bush's number one supporter, while candidates like Al Sharpton relied on...I kid you not...Don King Enterprises to fund their fledgling campaigns. God, I wish I hadn't lost this link.

Phil Kline and the Anti-Gay Agenda in Topeka

Phil Kline is starting to become a local celebrity. Pitch Weekly did a huge feature recently on his tenure as Kansas Attorney General. The recent library incident in Lawrence is what people really took notice of (deservedly so), but the really remarkable thing Kline has managed to do involves keeping gay people in prison for.....being gay. Yes, Kline has managed to remind us that he does not condone homosexuality at every turn of the job.

Under Kansas law, sex involving someone under 16 is illegal. The state's "Romeo and Juliet" statute lessens penalties if one partner is under 19 and the other is within four years of that age. Knowing that the statute, as written, applies to heterosexual couples only, Kline has utilized it to keep gay men like Matthew Limon jailed. Kline makes it seem as though Limon poses a threat to the institution of marriage. When the ACLU got involved with the case, Kline revealed to the Lawrence Journal World their real motives as being to protect "...all people, no matter their sexual orientation...from discrimination" (A shocking revelation that only government officials can usually provide).

Not only does the ACLU echo this sentiment, but we read these little references about equality sprinkled into other documents you might have heard of...The Bill of Rights? Ring a bell? The U.S. Constitution? That one also makes a small mention of this concept.

Kline said that freeing Limon and allowing him to lead a homosexual life (away from the prison) would then lead to the legalization of gay marriages (stay with me)-- as well as marriages with multiple partners, incestuous marriages, bestiality, pedophilia, and much more.

What this case really represents is the state's last gasp to incarcerate young gay and lesbian people for living a life that they see as being morally inconsistent with the views of the establishment.

Even the Vice-President showed us that we all can acknowledge (just once in a while!) the need for equal protection under the law. The Vice President's words speak clearly to the kind of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that you are determined to deny to people you disdain:

"With respect to the question of relationships my general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone. People . . . ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to."

Would Phil Kline have prosecuted Mary Cheney (daughter of Dick and Lynne) if he had knowledge that she (at the age of 18) was having (in the words of her father) 'any kind of relationship [that she wanted] to' have with a younger female? Thank goodness for a few of these 'activist judges', who for all of their above the law-type behavior at least have the decency to protect our privacy in our bedroom, despite the desire government to keep their eyes on all of us.

People in Kansas that find themselves in Mary Cheney's circumstance will never be able to marry the person they love thanks to these policies. At the very least, Cheney's recent admission gives us hope that he and others in similar positions of power might see the light. I am mailing Kline these questions and eagerly awaiting for the day when his office in Topeka sends me on of those wonderful standard responses that our tax dollars pay for. If I'm lucky, someone from his staffer will write me back with an explanation about why exactly we lock these people up.

The following is a copy of the letter I mailed to Kline's offices (I will post his response at a later date):

Mr. Kline:

Vice President Cheney acknowledged last week that he hopes to see us view his daughter, Mary, just as we see our other friends, neighbors, and co-workers: equally. Mr. Cheney painted quite a clear picture of the kind of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that he hopes to extend to every American. He articulated why this must be an unalienable right, and not just a token gesture of courtesy.

"With respect to the question of relationships my general view is that freedom means freedom for everyone. People . . . ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to."

The concept and ideas behind those words ring just as true today as they did when the founding fathers incorporated them into the Bill of Rights and in our Constitution. Clearly, our Vice President expects his daughter (as well as other men and women like her that are involved in same sex relationships) to have the same laws and standards that heterosexuals are judged by applied to her as well.

Unfortunately, people in Mary Cheney’s situation seem more likely to end up in a court of law, facing legal woes, rather than be recognized as a fellow American who is capable of making significant contributions to our society. Her only crime appears to be one of attempting to pursue a life of liberty and happiness, not unlike the very principles that have defined our union throughout its existence.

As we move forward, it is my hope that our great state will continue to be recognized by the ways in which we provide all of our fellow citizens with the liberties and freedoms that constitute who we are as one nation, and make it the greatest country on earth.


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