Umm…Waiter, There’s a Hair in My Politics

OK…so far, I have stayed far away from the Taco Haven brouhaha because a lesbian taking this one on is real cliché.

Think about it. Let that joke sink in. Yes? And…go…

Here’s the deal: I love tacos.

(That’s what she said.)

But, seriously. I love them.

They encompass my major food groups: carbs and cheese. Boom. Right in a neat little package.

Give me a potato, egg, and cheese taco, and you will make me very, very happy.

Now, you may disagree with this. Your favorite taco may be potato, egg, and bacon. A. Because bacon is scrumptious, and B. because you’re lactose intolerant.

I, on the other hand, am a vegetarian, so bacon is not so much something that I eat.

But here’s the deal: there are more things we agree on in this taco – potatoes and eggs – than there are on which we disagree.

With me so far?

Now, let’s say we’re out for breakfast. You order your taco; I order mine. Inside mine, however, is a hair. Game over.

I mean, a hair…? In your taco…? That’s not OK.

And while you may offer me a bite of your taco…

(That’s what she said.)

I can’t eat it because of the stupid bacon.

And, really…I can’t stop thinking about the hair. Now, even you’re thinking about it. The whole restaurant is now abuzz with the fact that I had a hair in my taco. Everyone is looking at his or her taco and wondering if it has a hair in it, too.

See…a hair taints everything you eat. Could be the most magnificent taco EVER, but you find a hair in it, and the whole experience is overshadowed by that one single hair.

So, now, the leap…

The “men in girl’s bathrooms” argument is the hair.

Borrowed from San Antonio Express News.

Borrowed from San Antonio Express News.

We’re going along, having a perfectly legitimate conversation (read: taco), when BOOM…a hair.

We have a fundamental disagreement about bacon and cheese. You think the nondiscrimination ordinance somehow took away your religious freedoms, and I think your “religious” argument is based on prejudice. I won’t change your mind; you won’t change mine. You’re lactose intolerant, and I’m a vegetarian.

But you should be just as disappointed in the hair in our discussion as I am. It ruins the ENTIRE taco – the potatoes aren’t good anymore; the eggs aren’t good anymore; hell…even the brilliant tortilla is tainted.

Actually, this is the state of our politics today.

Hairs.

We don’t discuss the things we agree on anymore. We can’t even dialogue on that which we disagree because a small faction of our community dropped a hair into the conversation, and we keep talking about that.

  • Abortion Hair: 20-week abortions.
  • Gay Rights Hair: Pedophilia.
  • 2004 Election Hair: Swift boat.
  • 2008 Election Hair: Obama was born in Kenya.

There are more, but you get the idea. Hair.

It’s become the thing that everyone is talking about, and it shouldn’t have been in the taco in the first place.

So, let’s get the hair out of our tacos and go back to just having breakfast together – maybe not at Taco Haven ‘cause this is really more about their support of the hair – but somewhere else.

We live in San Antonio, for crying out loud. There are plenty of taco places. I know some great places to get a taco.

(Again…that’s what she said.)

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Meetings. Shoes. Newtown.

I hate meetings. It’s not news. Everyone I know knows that.

A meeting is typically an opportunity to waste my time. We’ll talk about nothing. We’ll leave with nothing. There will be no action steps.

But we’ll identify problems and “dialogue” about them.

And that is where my brain went directly following the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

newtown-newtitle

Here we go, again. We, as a country, are gonna have another meeting. Quite frankly, we’ve been in the same meeting since Columbine.

We’ll “dialogue” about gun control and mental health and about the glorification of the shooter. We’ll ask things like, “How can this happen?” “Where have we gone wrong?” “What can we do to stop this?”

The right will yell at the left for trying to “take away their guns.” The left will yell at the right for “being crazed gun lovers.”

The 2nd Amendment will be bandied about as though we’re all Constitutional Law professors. We’ll regurgitate the same arguments.

So, I say this with the most love I can muster: fuck your dialogue and fuck your political meeting.

There comes a moment when we have to move from problem identification to problem solution.

In 1999, after Columbine, we identified problems – video games, violence in movies, bullying, and accessibility to guns.

In 2007, after Virginia Tech, we identified problems – a history of unanswered disciplinary issues, mental illness, and accessibility to guns.

In 2009, after Fort Hood, we identified problems – mental illness, “terrorist sympathies,” and accessibility to guns.

Early this year, after Aurora, CO, we identified problems – violence in movies, mental illness, and accessibility to guns.

And now, after Newtown, CT, we are identifying problems – autism and accessibility to guns.

This is a short list. Here’s a timeline of mass shootings in the United States since Columbine.

Each time, we identified the problems. And each time, accessibility to guns is acknowledged.

***Disclaimer: I realize this is a simplistic argument. I know I’m leaving out legitimate arguments about mental health. I don’t care. I’m done “talking” – I want legitimate solutions.***

Now, let’s shift attention to Richard Reid. Remember that guy? He showed up on a plane in 2001 with a bomb in his shoe. Know what happened? You do if you’ve been to an airport since then. We take off our shoes, and they’re scanned. It’s a pain in the ass; I grumble every single time. But here’s where it’s ok for me…we identified a problem – shoes can now be made into bombs – and then we solved it – OK, everybody, take off your shoes.

Let’s call this shoe control.

Where was the outrage of the footwear lobbyists? You can’t control my shoes! You’ll have to pry my chucks out of my cold, dead hands!

Oh…there was no outrage: A) Because shoe lobbyists don’t have NRA money; and B) Because if a shoe can be made into a bomb, why not just make everybody take off their shoes?!?

So, I ask you, “Why? Why the hell are we still having this same ‘meeting’?”

Accessibility to guns is a problem – it’s been identified each and every time a mass shooting takes place. When Liviu Librescu was shot, we lamented the gun use. When Jessica Ghawi was shot, we bemoaned the gun use. When Olivia Engel was shot, we protested the gun use.

And yet, we can’t get everyone to just take off their shoes.

If accessibility to guns is the problem, then let’s make them less accessible. I’m not going to come pry it out of your cold, dead hands – that’s silly. You’re not gonna shoot me if you’re dead and it’s just in your hand. I want them while you’re still alive. I want them when you could snap. You know, after legally buying one, and spending time at the shooting range, then realizing you’ve got nothing left to live for, so why not take a few people out with you – that’s when I want your gun.

The meeting is wrapping up, and I’ll end it the way I end every meeting I run…with the following question: “What is the action step?”

Seems to me it’s to get everyone to take off their shoes, but I’m not a lawmaker. Hell, I’m not even a gun owner.

So, gun peeps – and you know who you are – stop telling me you have a 2nd Amendment right. No. Seriously. I get it. Help us fix this problem, you law abiding gun collector/enthusiast/hunter.

Stop the “meeting.” The “dialogue” is over. Take off your shoes.

It’s Personal.

So, Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and current media personality, has declared today a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. Why?

“The goal is simple: Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1. Too often, those on the left make corporate statements to show support for same sex marriage, abortion, or profanity, but if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant.” (http://www.mikehuckabee.com/supportchickfila)

As a reminder, during an interview with the Baptist Press, this is what Dan Cathy, Chick-Fil-A President, said after being asked to address his franchise’s support of the traditional family:

“Well, guilty as charged.”

He went on to say:

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that…we know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

Then, in an appearance on The Ken Coleman Show, Cathy took his comments slightly further:

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/17/dan-cathy-chick-fil-a-president-anti-gay_n_1680984.html)

After these comments, I made a YouTube video. You can see it here.

Today, more than 600,000 people have said that they will support Chick-Fil-A.

I have had numerous discussions with many people recently about this topic – both religious and political. Apparently, you post your thoughts on YouTube and people tend to wanna talk to you about them. Who knew? I welcome these conversations because if nothing else, I’m putting a face on this issue with the people who know me…or semi-know me…or know someone who knows me.

And I will continue to make it personal. It’s hard to be anti-anyone who occupies time in your life. In your space.

Look, I am clear that we live in a very divisive world. It’s the one we have created. “You are different than I am.” “You think differently than I do.” You are “other” than me.”

We use these differences as a means to separate the “right” from “wrong.” If someone is “other” than you, it’s easier to make him/her “bad,” while you remain “good.” These differences help create “normal” or “traditional” versus “different” and “scary.”

Let’s be clear…

Supporting Chick-Fil-A today (or any other day for that matter) is a direct slap in my face. Not because I don’t support free speech – I made a YouTube video for cryin’ out loud ‘cause I’m all for the freedom to express your opinion – but because this is wrapped up in so much more than free speech and the support of the “traditional family” or “Godly values.”

By saying you support “traditional family,” you’re telling me that the family I create will never be “normal” or “good” or “right.” Why use the word “traditional” if not to show how anything else is abnormal?

This is about so much more than marriage equality or chicken. It’s about looking someone –  a fellow human being – in the face and telling her, “You are not the same as me and, therefore, don’t deserve the same.”

Buying a chicken sandwich or those amazing waffle fries (dammit.) today isn’t supporting free speech. You know that. Don’t try to convince me differently. You know that today is not about supporting free speech or Godly values. Today’s “Appreciation Day” is about supporting a business over a person. A person that you have deemed “other” and, therefore, wrong or bad or different or scary.

I share these faces with you.

They are just a handful of teenagers who killed themselves rather than face a world where they felt they were too different to ever fit in.

They are just teenagers.

Not wrong or bad or different or scary. Just kids.

 

I share this face with you. It’s mine.

I love to laugh. In fact, I laugh too loudly when something happens that I find enjoyable. Music feeds my soul. Going to the theatre is the thing I could spend the majority of my money on. Over the course of the last year, I have given and/or helped raise over $20,000 for organizations that help make our world a better place. I have too many dogs, but love each of them. I own my own house and my own business. I drink a lot of coffee, and I love cheese. I have a hard time saying “no” to my friends and end up overextending myself on a daily basis. Daily, I try to make a difference in our world.

These are just some of the things that make up me. These are the things for which I will hopefully be remembered. Note that “being gay” isn’t one of those things.

Enjoy your waffle fries. Or better yet…don’t.

This is personal. I won’t let you forget that.