skrapnel

Explosive Scraps and Thoughts by Chris Apollo Lynn

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

“We hold these truths to be self evident…”

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USA_declaration_of_independenceIt’s the Fourth of July, Independence Day in America.  On this date 233 years ago, our forefathers declared to the world their intent to fight for a new form of government, one instituted by its citizens to secure equality and liberty for all.

Before you get caught up in the blind patriotism of red, white and booze, take a second and reflect on two sentences from the Declaration of Independence [Read the full text here]:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

Over the last 6 months, our government has denied equal rights to gays, instituted measures to spy on its own citizens, decided to hold suspects at Guantanamo indefinitely, and withheld photos that reveal evidence of torture.

Our country was founded on the idea that ALL men are created equal, not just white heterosexual men.  It also says the government gets its powers from the CONSENT of the governed: you and me, not big corporations or lobbyists.

We can’t become complacent. We can’t sit idly by as our freedoms slowly disappear. We can’t allow inequality for any member of society.  We also can’t expect someone to save us.

No matter how much you may love a politician, don’t just listen to words, watch their actions. Stay independent this Independence Day.

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

July 4, 2009 at 5:12 PM

Maine Lets Equality Reign

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Maine signed another same-sex marriage. And that’s awesome. What was even more awesome, however, were these two passages in the New York Times article:

“It’s not the way I was raised and it’s not the way that I am,” the governor said in a telephone interview. “But at the same time I have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution. That’s my job, and you can’t allow discrimination to stand when it’s raised to your level.”

The House chamber in Augusta was thick with emotion on Tuesday as many legislators openly wept and revealed personal details. One told her colleagues for the first time that she has a lesbian daughter; another wept as he explained that he, as a white man, would not have been able to marry his wife of 25 years, who is black, if a law had not been changed. Other legislators spoke of sleepless nights debating how to vote.

via Maine Governor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill – NYTimes.com.

The first quote sums up my feelings EXACTLY as to why the gov needs to drop the BS and get rid of separate but equal — or even separate and nothing at all.

When I read the second passage, I envision this cathartic, almost religious confessional of all these secrets that people had been scared to reveal because they were afraid of being labeled or judged by their colleagues.  Instead of reinforcing the stereotypes and perpetuating fear, these brave men and women decided to open up, follow their hearts and allow love and equality to prevail.

For my generation–and those younger than me–the labels of gay, straight, black, white, man, woman don’t mean anything.  It’s time we let go of all of these labels and hang ups and start solving this country’s problems (poverty, education, etc.).  Will we be able to do it? Or are we headed for another 1960′s-like culture war?

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

May 7, 2009 at 2:26 AM

Old White Men: You’ve. Already. Lost.

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The two minute speech, below, from Iowa’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal made me cry.

Shortly after the unanimous decision by the Iowa Supreme Court, the Senate Minority Leader Paul McKinley asked Sen Gronstal to go in with him on  bill to change the constitution.  Gronstal denied it, quoting his daughter:

One of my daughters was in the workplace one day, and her particular workplace at that moment in time, there were a whole bunch of conservative, older men. And those guys were talking about gay marriage. They were talking about discussions going on across the country.

Any my daughter Kate, after listening for about 20 minutes, said to them: You guys dont understand. Youve already lost. My generation doesnt care.

To our generation, it doesn’t matter. We have grown up watching people of different races and sexual preferences on TV.  It might seem trite now, but shows like “The Real World” helped pave the way to a better understanding of one another. We really aren’t all that different.

We also understand that there are more important issues in the world than stopping two people from loving each other—-poverty in America and universal health care being two of them.  Let’s get past the culture wars and start bringing this country together instead of dividing it.

By granting equal rights for all, Gronstal thinks everyone wins:

As a matter of fact, last Friday night, I hugged my wife. You know Ive been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other.

Does denying marriage from a class of citizens strengthen the love of those already together? Or does denying that right sully the whole institution?

Here’s a video of the speech.  Full text follows below.  How does it make you feel?  Is it generational?

Transcript


One of my daughters was in the workplace one day, and her particular workplace at that moment in time, there were a whole bunch of conservative, older men. And those guys were talking about gay marriage. They were talking about discussions going on across the country.

Any my daughter Kate, after listening for about 20 minutes, said to them: You guys dont understand. Youve already lost. My generation doesnt care.

I think I learned something from my daughter that day, when she said that. And Ive talked with other people about it and thats what I see, Senator McKinley. I see a bunch of people that merely want to profess their love for each other, and want state law to recognize that.

Is that so wrong? I dont think thats so wrong. As a matter of fact, last Friday night, I hugged my wife. You know Ive been married for 37 years. I hugged my wife. I felt like our love was just a little more meaningful last Friday night because thousands of other Iowa citizens could hug each other and have the state recognize their love for each other.

No, Senator McKinley, I will not co-sponsor a leadership bill with you.

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

April 7, 2009 at 10:02 PM

The Reluctant Icon: Public Figure, Public Outcry

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The Washington Post had a great article discussing Michelle Obama’s reluctant ascent to fashion icon status.  A good discussion of celebrity and public canonization, it talks about her ardent defenders and how they actually stifle any discussion of reality.

To me, public perception creates a new identity in addition to that which actually exists–the identity of the “celebrity” vs the person herself.  But how does the celebrity mitigate these differences with the doting public?  Does she play up their image, or realizing she can’t be what they want, does she shut herself off?

In her closing paragraph, the author of the piece, Robin Givhan, asks similar questions:

Being an icon is not for the faint of heart. How unnerving it must be to know that your actions have disappointed some stranger. How odd to have anonymous citizens rising up in your defense over something that has caused you no upset. And even more frustrating: How do you show your gratitude or tell your defenders to back off?

via Robin Givhan on Culture: You Gotta Love the First Lady. No, Really, You Have No Choice. – washingtonpost.com.

Sad that we have a whole industry devoted to telling us how celebrities are just like us.  By so doing, they actually perpetuate the public myth.

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

February 15, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Prop 8 Supporters Denied Special Protection, Must Disclose Donations

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prop8_logo_reviseProp 8 supporters wanted a judge to overturn the mandatory public disclosure of political donations because it led to harassment and unfair treatment of supporters.  Funny, I would say that taking away marriage rights might also be considered harassment.

Prop 8 supporters have also suggested that the courts can’t overturn the will of the people.  Interestingly enough, the disclosure requirement was adopted by California voters.  Hypocritical anyone?

Thankfully, a U.S. District Judge refused to provide special protection for the Prop 8 supporters.

>> Read more about the judge’s decision via the SF Chronicle >>

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

January 29, 2009 at 9:27 PM

Posted in Civil Rights, Politics

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Obama Becomes First Prez With Email; Bursts White House Bubble

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Looks like President Obama can add one more first under his belt: first president to use email while in office.  This will help him break through the White House Bubble and not rely so much on the insulation of the staff around him.

This is why I like the man:

“It’s not just the flow of information,” Obama said in a recent interview with CNBC. “I mean, I can get somebody to print out clips for me, and I can read newspapers. What it has to do with is having mechanisms where you are interacting with people who are outside of the White House in a meaningful way. And I’ve got to look for every opportunity to do that–ways that aren’t scripted, ways that aren’t controlled, ways where, you know, people aren’t just complimenting you or standing up when you enter into a room, ways of staying grounded.”

via First e-mailing prez: Obama keeps his BlackBerry | Politics and Law – CNET News.

We knew it would have to come eventually.  I wonder if his staff will get to use Facebook?  Or is that a barrier for a future president to knock down?

Read more about the compromise made with the White House Counsel at CNET

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

January 22, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Posted in Politics, Technology

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High Taxes, High Budgets, High Five Inauguration High-larity

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Funny or Die does it again with this kick-a video of their visit to DC for the inauguration.  Catchy tune, kitschy poses–it’s like playing “Where’s Waldo” with celebrities.  I especially love how they got everyone from Usher and Sarah Silverman to Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan to participate.

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

January 22, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Posted in Humor, Politics, Video

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Obama Brings New Vision of Family to TV

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I’ve been reading a lot about how Obama’s presidency will not just challenge the political landscape, but will also shift the way society (aka TV) views the black family.

First Family on Inauguration Day[During the inauguration] Obama didn’t shout at his wife, Michelle, to shut up. The first lady didn’t roll her eyes and tell Obama to act like a man. No laugh track kicked in, no one danced, and no police sirens wailed in the background.

“They are not here to entertain us,” says Young, a New York Press columnist. “Michelle Obama is not sitting around with her girlfriends saying, ‘My man ain’t no good.’ You’re not seeing this over -sexualized, crazy black family that, every time a Marvin Gaye song comes on, someone stands up and says, ‘Oh girl, that’s my jam.’”

America has often viewed the black family through the prism of its pathologies: single-family homes, absentee fathers, out of wedlock children, they say. Or they’ve turned to the black family for comic relief in television shows such as “Good Times” in the ’70s or today’s “House of Payne.”

But a black first family changes that script, some say. A global audience will now be fed images of a highly educated, loving and photogenic black family living in the White House for the next four years — and it can’t be taken off the air like “The Cosby Show.”

via Black first family ‘changes everything’ – CNN.com.

Black families on TV or in movies were never anything like my friends’ or my mom’s friends’ families.  That’s why it’s great that, instead of the stereotypes, the Obamas allow whites and blacks to see an image of a strong, intelligent black man who is completely loving of his equally strong and intelligent wife.  But this new image of family, to me, also goes beyond race to show that any man can be sensitive, intimate and romantic with his partner and still be strong.

What other stereotypes do the Obamas break? Do you think Hollywood will catch up?

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

January 21, 2009 at 9:27 AM

Beyonce Serenades the Obamas at the Neighborhood Ball

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Watching this video of Barack and Michelle dancing their first dance at the Neighborhood Ball gives me chills.  I don’t know whether it’s a combination of Beyonce’s voice and the amazing song, the First couple smiling and dancing cause they’re actually in love, Beyonce humbly crying at the end, or the crowd chanting “O-BA-MA.”

Beautiful song. Beautiful couple.  Beautiful moment.  Enjoy!

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

January 21, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Bush Street Now Obama Street in San Francisco

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This photo on Flickr totes made me LOL.  This street in downtown San Francisco is normally called “Bush Street.”  Looks like change has come to SF.

Hat tip to Mager for pointing this out.

Written by Chris Apollo Lynn

January 20, 2009 at 11:08 AM

Posted in Humor, Photographs, Politics, San Francisco

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