Sunday, November 5, 2006

My Parrot Ate My Watch and Now "Polly Ticks"

Warning: Psychotic Political Rambling Ahead

I'm sick of seeing the word "Liberal" used as an insult. There's a commercial on TV right now where the announcer says something like, "Bob Corker doesn't share the liberal views of his opponents." The announcer spits out the word "liberal" as if it were a stinkbug stuck in her teeth. By her tone of voice, there's no doubt that she believes word "liberal" means "drug-addicted puppy-kicking child-molestor", and the commercial also assumes that the viewer feels the same way.

There's an old saying, often misattributed to Winston Churchill, "Show me a young conservative and I'll show you someone without a heart. Show me an old liberal and I'll show you someone without a brain." I fall somewhere in between, as most real people probably do. Very few people are so polarized in their beliefs that they're 100% "Left" or "Right", and the few freaks who are usually end up being radio talk show hosts or mass murderers. But I probably lean a little more towards Liberal than Conservative, and apparently that puts me in the minority.

And speaking of Bob Corker, there's another commercial out right now, that for me achieves exactly the opposite of what it intends. No, it's not the racist one, where it plays African jungle drums in the background when his opponent Harld Ford is mentioned. No, in this one, the announcer goes to great lengths to explain why Corker is a more loyal Tennessean than his opponent. According to the spot, while Corker's opponents were out and about in Washington learning how to be better politicians, Corker was rotting here in Tennessee. ...And it tries to USE that as a reason to vote for him! I've heard of Tennessee Pride, but I can't believe people here are so proud of this state that they want all their politicians to be 100% Tennesseans who never set a foot outside this state. Why not just phrase the ad, "Bob Corker is a true Tennessean: that is, an uneducated redneck hick." Honestly, if Southerners were smart enough to realize how dumb they are, they'd import their politicians from all over the northern half of this country. I can't believe there's so many "Vote for Corker" signs on my street. Wait, yes I can, this is the South. We reward stupidity here.

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a bit biased. I was born in Tennessee, and I've been a Southerner all my life. But I've really never connected with the place, and if it's ever convenient, I'll probably move farther north. The downside is that I'll go from always being the smartest person in the room, to always being the dumbest.

Well, I can't vote this election anyway. I registered too late. Actually, I registered on time, but the people I registered with turned the cards in too late. A few weeks ago I was in Centennial Park with some friends, during some sort of art fair. I saw a couple of people walking around with a clipboard, wearing T-shirts with the "Vote No on 1" logo.

Note - For you non-Tennesseans, "No. 1" is a proposed amendment to Tennessee's constitution, intended to forever take away the right for same-sex couples to marry. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Tenneessee, so if "No. 1" loses, nothing will change. Which also makes "No. 1" a bit pointless. However, if it passes, it will make it much harder legalize same-sex marriage in the future. Basically, the point of "No. 1" is to insure that future generations are just as bigoted as this one. Personally, I can't understand why anyone is against same-sex marriage. If you're not gay, then the law doesn't affect you. Either you should be for it, or just not care one way or the other. How does other people's relationships hurt yours? If you don't like it, then don't marry someone of your sex. But telling other people what to do just makes you an asshole.

But back to my story. Since I'm a big fan of "Vote No on 1", I approached them and asked if they had a petition I could sign. No, they told me, they were registering people to vote. Well, I've never voted before. *gasp!* The fact is, I've never felt strongly enough about any particular issue, to make voting worth my time. KJ would say it's because I'm a Libra, but on many issues, I'm a lot more "middle-of-the-road" than most people. And to be fair, I'm somewhat divided on the same-sex marriage issue as well... Yes, I think gay people should have the same rights as straight people, but sometimes I wonder why the government recognizes marriage at all, when it's considered by many to be a religious union. But I am definitely against this "No. 1" amendment. It's made specifically written to keep gays from having the same rights as straights.

But, uh, back to my story. Again. The "Vote No on 1" people told me that it was the last day I could register to vote. It was like fate - I happened to be in Centennial Park (which is pretty rare), and I happened to run into these people on the day it mattered. So I filled out a registration card, and gave it to them. A few weeks later, I went to an early voting center, and found out that my registration hadn't gone through. Apparently my card was turned in late. I asked if there was anything I could do, and was told to register earlier next year. Gee, thanks.

Needless to say, I was annoyed. It's not just that I wasn't able to vote, I'm looking at the bigger picture. Was my registration card alone? Probably not. And since it was the "Vote No on 1" people collecting these cards, then that means that all the lost votes would have been from people who agreed with me. This issue has been running pretty close in the polls I've seen, what if it only loses by a handful of votes?

There is a bright side, sort of. When I was filling out the registration card, the "Vote No on 1" people mentioned that they hadn't been having much luck that day. So maybe it wasn't that many lost votes after all.

I really can't see why this issue is cutting so close. When I first started hearing about "No. 1", I was pleased to discover that some of my neighbors had "Vote No on 1" signs in their yard. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw my first "Vote Yes on 1 (Protect Marriage!)" sign, in front of a house on my street. A couple of days later, the next house had a similar sign. And a couple of days after that, their next neighbor had one of those signs. It was kind of creepy, like a virus that was spreading.

I firmly believe that everyone has a right to free speech. I shouldn't be angry with these people for their personal beliefs. But I seriously want to knock on one of their doors and ask, "Why, why WHY? How does it hurt you? Why can't you just let other people be? Why must you go out of your way to tell everyone that you're a bigot? You wouldn't put up a sign supporting the KKK, so why is it okay to tell people you hate homosexuals?"

...And they're likely to reply that homosexuality is "immoral". Okay, I could argue with them on that one for weeks, but it's beside the point. Even if it homosexuality was a question of morality, what does that have to do with the law? If laws were meant to be based on popular morality, then it would be illegal to curse, drink, have unmarried sex, lie, or write this blog. And everyone's ideas of morality are different. Should we arbitrarily pick somebody and go by their morals? No. There is a huge difference between immoral and illegal, or at least there should be. Laws should be limited to things like property and personal injury. People should not be allowed to harm or steal from other people. Beyond that, let them do what they want.

I'm a huge believer in the seperation of church and state, and it always surprises me when I find people who believe otherwise. As I mentioned in a previous blog, would God rather have followers who worship from their hearts, or followers who never had a choice? But I do know some people who would like this country to be a total Christian nation, and who want to make anything not approved by the Bible to be made illegal. Yikes.

Anyway, lest I lose any more cohesion, I'm going to close with an oldie but goodie. You've probably seen this one before, but for those who haven't:

10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Forward this if you believe love makes a marriage!

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