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Posted by on Mar 3, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Rants and Raves, What's Left | 1 comment

The Most Effective Weapons Against Islamic Terrorism: Beer and Ass

 

solving-terrorism

 

Any religion that forbids enjoying life is a straight jacket.  I mean — what kind of routine requires that you pray five times a day?  Why doesn’t someone in that faith jump up and say,“how come we’re praying more than anyone else on earth, and we’re still the poorest motherfuckers on the planet?”

  _____

 

Defeating the scourge of Islamic terrorism will take some creative thinking.

What we’ve been doing so far, isn’t working.

So, let’s all quit pretending we’ve got the tiger by the tail, because we don’t.  Drastic times call for drastic measures, and I’ve got what I believe is the perfect solution.

Open up a shitload of bars and nightclubs inside every Muslim country.  Carpet bomb them with liquor.  Do it.  Forget about dropping humanitarian leaflets and care packages and trying to reason with fanatics.  Instead, ship in bar stools, announce it’s happy hour, and let the free-pouring begin.  Then, crank up the music and make it loud.

Take a look at the faces of the terrorists.  Who are they?  They’re almost always young men in their late teens or early 20’s.  Given our biology and genetics, what do most young me in their late teens and early 20’s want?

Answer:  Beer and ass (not necessarily in that order).

Imagine what it must be like living inside a hard-core Muslim society.  It’s brutal.  They’re basically living inside giant prison camps.  You’d go mad.  Every sphere of daily life is suffocated by religion.  Since drinking alcohol is strictly forbidden by the Koran, most of these countries don’t have a single bar or nightclub where people can go and hang out.  Look at the nations which engage in terrorism, and you won’t find any bars.

That’s the problem.

So, what do these young people do instead?  They sit around in frustration and feel sorry for themselves.  They look around at the rest of the world and observe other young people having a blast.  Drinking.  Dancing.  Partying.  Fucking.  And some of these Muslim fundamentalists decide, “Well fuck that!  If we can’t have it, they can’t either.  So, let’s go blow their shit up!”

Pretty much sums up the situation, doesn’t it?

Think deeper.  The problem is far more serious than just the lack of booze.  Contemplate a society where young men can’t mix and mingle with young women, without supervision.  A culture where the simple act of a man talking to a woman openly on the street might lead to arrest.  Really, think about what a psychological cluster fuck that creates for a populace.  You really want to know why some of these radicals go bat shit crazy and decide to blow themselves up?  It’s because they aren’t getting any beer or ass.

Go ahead, think about that.  I’m right.

Look at the Muslim societies which produce the most terrorists.  Where are they?  Saudi Arabia.  Yemen.  Syria.  Libya.  The U.A.E.  Always the strictest societies.  Places where God’s crazy capos walk around with billy clubs and act as the morality police.  Places where there are no bars and the women don’t show any flesh.  Countries where women are forced to cover their faces.  Places where there’s no pornography.  Where adultery can get the offender the death penalty.  Do the simple math:  No beer + no ass = terrorism.

No, this isn’t just a Muslim thing.  Not at all, Contrast this with the Republic of Turkey, a modern secular democracy that’s 99 percent Muslim.  They have more bars than mosques in that country.  More bartenders than imams.  Nightclubs that rival what you would see in London or New York.  Check out Turkish newspapers — nude women plastered all over the pages.  In Turkey, they even have nude beaches.  Notice anything unusual about Turkey when contrasted with its neighbors?  No terrorists.  Except for the Kurds of course — but they don’t count since they’re fighting a separatist movement.  Besides, the Kurds aren’t getting any beer and ass either, so that pretty much makes my point.

So, we see that banning booze and shackling the shorts seriously mind fucks with people’s heads.  Even the terrorists responsible for the 9-11 attacks were so messed up psychologically by the time they finally made it to America that they tipped off what for them was the essential frustration of their lives.  What did they all do the nights leading up to committing suicide attacks and killing thousands?

That’s right.  They went to strip clubs and hired hookers.  In other words, they went all out for the beer and ass.

terrorist

Look at this miserable fuck.

You think if this poor guy drank a couple of Budweisers every night after work and got some fresh ass on the weekends he’d mastermind blowing our shit up?  Sigmund Freud could have a field day with this guy’s mental charts.  He’s a fruitcake factory, all because he didn’t grow up like the rest of us.  He didn’t get smashed every now and then while in high school, or spend most of his youth hunting for shaggable tail.

Too bad he missed out.  He might been the life of the party.  Come to think of it, he does look a little bit like Ron Jeremy.

So I’m thinking the solution to the world’s terrorism problem goes something like this:

(1)  First, get them to ditch that bullshit religion of theirs.  Any religion that forbids enjoying life is a straight jacket.  I mean, what kind of routine requires that you pray five times a day?  Why doesn’t someone jump up and say, “how come we’re praying more than anyone else on earth, and we’re still the poorest motherfuckers on the planet?”  Wake up, people!

(2)  Lend them a shitload of IMF money with only one stipulation.  The loan must be used to build bars and nightclubs.  Not dams and roads and bridges.  Fuck that.  Bars.  Clubs.  Places where people can hang out and have fun.

(3)  Bombard them with Lady Gaga music or whatever else they might listen to that makes everyone take their clothes off and start fornicating.  Once they start the national bang fest, they won’t give a flying rats ass how to detonate a C-12 plastic explosive.  They’ll all be too busy screwing each others brains out to join ISIS.

(4)  Forget those failed advertising campaigns trying to sell “freedom” and “democracy” to the people.  Not working.  Instead, hammer them over the head with silly commercials and billboards of different kinds of beer, showing an oasis of ice cold brew in the hot desert.  Freedom doesn’t sell.  Fun sells.  Sin sells.

Here’s a final thought.  Let’s look at history.  Look at what worked in the past.

The Cold War wasn’t won with guns and bombs.  It was won with rock n’ roll and blue jeans.

The West never fired a single shot over the Berlin Wall.  We never had to.  We let the natural advantages and attributes of our society overwhelm our adversaries, until the time when they became just like us — wanting the exact same things.  Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy weren’t the heroes.  The Beatles and Levi Strauss were.  When everything came crashing down, the Soviets and Eastern Europeans weren’t quoting politicians.  They were singing to the music of Pink Floyd.

There’s a lesson to be learned here.  A generation ago it was popular music and cool clothes.  Now, it’s cold beer and ass.

That’s the solution to the global terrorism problem.

To borrow a line from Hendrix Marley O’Unzo, “happy people don’t want to die.”

 

Efes-Turkish-Beer

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Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 3 comments

Empty Words and False Promises: Dissecting President Trump’s State of the Union Address

 

 

Let’s begin with several positive things about President Trump’s first State of the Union address, which took place last night.

First, President Trump’s opening remarks condemning the alarming increase in hate crimes across America — including several antisemitic acts and deadly violence against immigrants — was both timely and decisive.  For the first time in 40 days of this new administration, we finally witnessed the actions of a President, instead of a circus clown.

President Trump’s speech also included a number of specific policy shifts many of us will support if implemented, including liberals like myself.  Some of these proposals include:

Disengaging from military and financial conflicts in the Middle East.  President Trump noted that the amount of money wasted on pointless wars (specifically in Afghanistan and Iraq) could have “rebuilt American infrastructure two times over.”  He’s absolutely correct.  So, let’s quit wasting more time, money, and brave American lives.  Let’s get the hell out of that region once and for all and let those people solve their own problems.  [Note:  Unfortunately, reducing involvement in that region won’t apply to America’s blind support for Israel, which the president tirelessly reiterated last night.]

President Trump is absolutely correct when it comes to the controversial issue of reducing cumbersome federal regulations which inhibit new drugs coming to market and experimental medical treatments which might save lives.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes many absurd restrictions on new treatments, including waiting times that usually take several years.  Here’s a guideline that will streamline things:  If a drug has already been cleared in other industrialized countries and appears to be working well, then fast-track its approval.  Cut out the red tape and allow it into the United States (of course, a federal bill to allow the importation of foreign drugs was shot down last month, with Republicans blocking this proposal in overwhelming numbers).  Moreover, let’s allow so-called “risky” drugs to be used on terminally-ill patients who have no other options and who will most certainly die without some kind of miracle cure.  President Trump insisted that he wants to reduce FDA regulations, and we should all get behind this strongly.  [Note:  He’s absolutely wrong on other FDA matters, such as food safety, which is may also receive lax treatment.  I’m speaking of experimental new drugs, not cutting all regulations across the board, which is the Republican position.] 

The U.S. must make a considerable investment in updating and improving our domestic infrastructure.  This is a longtime Democratic plan (pushed by liberals), dating back as far as the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), under Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Democrats have always supported what have been called “make work” projects providing millions of jobs and improving the nation’s roads, bridges, and other centers of transportation and commerce.  It’s nice to see President Trump finally acknowledge what we leftists have been preaching for a very long time — that infrastructure improvements must be a permanent fixture and responsibility of federal government.

_____

Unfortunately, while there were many positives in the speech, President Trump also continued to misrepresent facts and misstate what have clearly been the contradictory positions of his own party on matters of the utmost importance to this country.  Here are several examples from last night’s speech:

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) — All Republicans, President Trump foremost among them, have been screaming and scrambling to dismantle so-called “Obamacare” for the past six years.  Now we see that was nothing more than dog-whistle campaign rhetoric designed to make the Right-wing base wet their pants with excitement.  Now that they’re totally in charge, we’re still waiting for their “beautiful plan” (Trump’s words) to be revealed to the American people.  We continue to wait, and wait.  Fact is, Republicans have nothing to propose.  President Trump even admits publicly that he doesn’t know the first thing about a America’s complex health care system.  Yet, he did spend considerable time slamming the ACA last night, (falsely) saying it’s collapsing (no, it isn’t).  It sounded like just another red-meat campaign speech.  The bottom line is this:  Republicans have nothing on the table that will replace the ACA.  Not a thing.  Many Americans now realize this system needs to be improved, not scrapped.  President Trump is either a liar or ignorant on this topic — very likely both.

Backing NATO — President Trump has openly questioned the role of NATO for the past two years while running for office.  He’s said many times that traditional treaty organization may no longer be necessary.  That might be a debatable position and we should have that discussion.  Yet last night, President Trump completely reversed himself on this issue pledging to fully support U.S. involvement in NATO.  Moreover, he committed at least one laughable gaffe, stating that NATO helped to save the world from fascism during two world wars.  Uh, no it didn’t, Mr. President.  NATO wasn’t formed until 1949, four years after the end of World War II.  Apparently, your speechwriter Steve Bannon needs to take a world history class.

Increasing Defense Spending — What’s the looming global conflict that requires the U.S. go so far above and beyond the bloated all-time record high appropriations for so-called national defense?  We’re already spending more money on boots and bombs and military bases than the next dozen nations in the world — combined!  We’re winding down pointless unwinnable wars in the Middle East (if President Trump’s other pledge is to be believed).  We’re headed towards a more isolationist role in world affairs, by his own admission.  Why in the hell is President Trump proposing to increase military spending by nearly 10 percent?  This is insane, especially given the national debt and the dire need to spend money here are home improving our country, rather than trying to rebuild war zones in the Middle East.  This is madness.

Defeating ISIS — President Trump talks a good game about defeating the terror group ISIS.  On the campaign trail, he pledged to wipe out ISIS within the first 30 days of his new administration.  Well, it’s now Day 41.  What objective to that end has been accomplished?  Has ISIS been defeated yet?  President Trump did approve a disastrous military excursion into Yemen, which resulted in failure.  Just prior to his speech, the president tried to shift the blame to his predecessor (President Obama) and the military for the failure on his watch, which he approved.  What a shameful gutless display of leadership.

Protecting Clean Air and Water — Last night, President Trump pledged to protect clean air and water.  How nice.  Yet, while his mouth was saying one thing, he’s been doing quite another behind the scenes.  He’s vowed to gut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  He already signed an Executive Order which will dismantle the Clean Water Rule, which was instituted during the Obama Administration.  Trump’s deregulation will now allow companies to turn waterways into sewers.  Polluters rejoice!  President Trump is a fraud on this issue, and everyone knows it.

Helping Our Veterans — President Trump’s pledge to take care of America’s veterans is a farce.  Dismissing the fact he held a fundraiser for veterans during his presidential campaign last year, and then skipped out on writing the check to the charity, congressional Republicans have a dismal record when it comes to funding veterans issues.  [SOURCE HERE]

Crime — Once again, President Trump played fast and loose with the facts when it comes to crime.  All statistics reveal that crime has actually decreased over the past few decade.  Yet, from listening to President Trump’s speech one would think there’s lawlessness in the streets.  Violent crime certainly is a problem in many places and this must be addressed.  Yet, several overtures from urban mayors and leaders seeking a discussion with the new administration have been ignored.  Trump and Republicans love to talk a good game when it comes to crime.  But, they’ve proposed nothing in terms of solutions, other than building more for-profit prisons and criminalizing drugs (see new initiatives by the Department of Justice on recreational marijuana use).  President Trump also ignored what is probably the worst public health crisis of our time, which is Opioid abuse and addiction.  Not a single word about that topic was mentioned.  Shame.

_____

Indeed, President Trump’s speech was noteworthy for what wasn’t mentioned.  Despite rambling on for more than an hour, taking on wide ranging topics, climate change wasn’t brought up once.  Neither was America’s unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels.  The President did do plenty of cheer leading for the coal industry and oil companies, however.

Oh, and while America’s military commitments comprised a significant portion of the speech, there wasn’t a single mention of Russia.  Go figure.

There were also three specific moments during the president’s State of the Union address which left me and many other liberals gasping in disbelief:

— President Trump proposed creating a new federal agency supposedly to operate within the Department of Homeland Security.  This agency will be known as VOICE.  That stands for “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.”  This is an utterly appalling idea which brought audible gasps from the audience when it was first introduced in the speech.  Why would the federal government create a new agency that would discriminate based solely, not on the victim of the crime, but the perpetrator of the crime?  What next?  A federal agency designed to protect us only from criminals with brown hair?  What does this absurd proposal say to the hundreds of thousands of actual victims of crimes all across America?  The distinction made for victims of illegal immigrants (a number which is statistically decreasing, by the way) says to all those who were robbed, stabbed, shot, or murdered by anyone other than an illegal immigrant — screw you.  We’re only interested in your case if you were attacked by an illegal.  Otherwise, get lost.  This is a politicized agency based on hate and fear.  It is an appalling idea.

— President Trump’s line about limiting government corruption was absurd and obscene, particularly coming of an eight-year presidency with no scandals whatsoever.  He said, “we have placed a hiring freeze on nonmilitary and nonessential federal workers.  We have begun to drain the swamp of government corruption….”  Again, more laughter from the audience.  Draining the swamp of government corruption would actually mean not hiring Wall Street insiders, political flunkies, and billionaires, which is precisely what this administration has done since taking office.  President Trump continues to use his pups to enrich himself, runs from questions on his international business connections, and still steadfastly refuses to release his tax records.  To utter the words “drain(ing) the swamp of government corruption” is ludicrous.

“The time for trivial fights is behind us.”  President Trump actually said those shocking words with a straight face (which elicited laughter from the gallery).  Trouble was, he wasn’t joking.  He was serious.  This delusional one-man hate-machine, obsessed with tweeting attacks against actresses at 4 am has already lowered “trivial” to subterranean depths.  No politician in my lifetime has engaged in more trivial bullshit.  For this impostor to stand before the American people in the hallowed gallery of congress and preach to us — the American people — about “trivial” behavior is a disgrace.  He should have been laughed out of the Capitol Building for that remark.

_____

Finally, President Trump is either a liar (well, that’s already been established) or else he’s very bad at math.

The President is proposing to increase the size of the military by nearly 10 percent.  He’s proposing to increase funding for veterans.  He’s proposing to build a wall on the Mexican border, which will probably cost about $35 billion.  He’s proposing to spend $1 trillion (that’s with a T-as in trillion) on domestic infrastructure improvements.  He’s proposing not to touch government entitlement programs — including Medicaid and Social Security.  And now — get this — he’s going to cut taxes.

Someone please explain how anyone can propose to increase the federal budget by perhaps 20-25 percent while cutting taxes?

I’m still waiting.

Oddly enough, the press and public reaction to the speech was largely positive.  Afterward, he was described repeatedly as “presidential.” This is the depth of the dungeon which has come to define to appallingly low expectations of the Trump Administration.

The evidence is clear — this was a speech filled with empty words, false promises, and plenty of lies.  Why should anyone be surprised.  Lies and empty rhetoric is something this president has truly become an expert at.  In fact, he’s the best of all time.

 

Writer’s Note:  Technically, this was not a State of the Union address.  However, I’m using some literary latitude and categorizing it as precisely that based on the setting, content, and delivery. 

 

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Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

Revulsion for the Man vs. Respect for the Office

 

 

If someone you absolutely loath was elected President of the United States, if you were to meet that person, would you agree to shake hands?

 

Within a few minutes, President Donald Trump will make his first-ever address to a joint session of congress.

In response, some opposition legislators have announced their intentions to openly rebuke the 45th president.  Some Democrats won’t attend at all.  Others will stand silently in the House gallery and refuse to clap, which is the customary gesture of respect afforded to all chief executives both when they enter and depart the chamber.  At least one Democrat has stated that he will not shake President Trump’s hand, if it’s extended.

That’s what you call a rebuke.

No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, we can all agree on one thing.  American democracy entered unprecedented and uncharted political territory, and the ways things are now headed, the great continental divide may only get worse in coming months and years ahead.  In other words, pretty soon, this might get really, really ugly.

How did this happen?

President Trump has brought this level of ire entirely upon himself.  His outrageous behavior, insulting demeanor, repeated lies, petty bickering, and brazen unwillingness to work with members of the legislative branch (even those within his own party) has alienated representatives on both side of the aisle on Capital Hill.  He’s not exactly been Reaganesque when it comes to charm, either.  He is, to millions, actually billions — a repulsive figure.

This unparalleled rebuke isn’t really partisan.  Party lines don’t explain the intensity of repugnance.  Consider that President Bush was viciously slammed by Democrats, especially during the last two years of his administration, when two pointless wars raged on and the economy finally crumbled into the crapper.  Still, the Democrats always stood up and applauded President Bush at all official and ceremonial events.  He was always treated with respect.  Personal exchanges between partisans were even cordial on every occasion.  Indeed, for all his faults (and they were staggering), most of his political opponents personally liked President Bush — the man.  And so, he was afforded not just common courtesy, but respect because of the office he held and the gentleman he was (is).

During President Obama’s eight years in office, Republicans sometimes took off the gloves when it came to civility.  One attention-seeking Republican congressman even shouted at President Obama during a State of the Union address, eliciting audible gasps from both Republicans and Democrats.  Yet, while Republicans treated President Obama in a vile manner, within partisan circles and when riling up the base, they still afforded the 44th president all the standard courtesies.  They stood and applauded when he entered the House chamber.  They might not have been very congenial behind closed doors.  But at least Republicans acted civil in the presence of the President and in front of the American people.

However, President Trump is a different animal, entirely.  And frankly, I’m not even sure how to react to him.  Many on the Left are also having difficulty coming to terms with this new reality.  The question is — can we revile the man, but still respect the office?  

I don’t know.

Certainly, my personal and professional experience in Washington. D.C. culture strongly influences my view on this.  I’ve spend almost half my adult life living and working in the nation’s capital.  Those years not only enriched my life and afforded me an extraordinary world view, it also exposed me to all kinds of different people with a wide gambit of political ideas.  Throughout my experience in Washington, we were taught to respect those who were in office.  Congressmen were always addressed with the preamble, “The Honorable….”  Political appointees were always afforded some measure of deference.  And, the highest elected official in the land was always addressed as “Mr. President.”  There were no exceptions.  Ever.  Republican or Democrat — the office deserved dignity.  Always.

President Trump makes continuing these proud traditions most difficult.  A man who by all accounts appears mentally unbalanced, who is utterly obsessed with himself, who has displayed unwarranted hostility towards a majority of American citizens, and who is attacking basic rights, protections, and institutions does NOT deserve my respect.  That view is shared by a lot of people, it seems.

I tried hard to give President Trump the benefit of the doubt, at least for awhile.  Like many Leftists, I was initially appalled by the 2016 election results.  But, I accepted them and was fully prepared to move on and make the best of things, presuming Donald Trump the bombastic con-man would somehow grow into the office and come to portend some measure of dignity within the office once held by Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.

So far, that has not happened.  Until it does, I see no reason to respect either the man, or the office.

For me, as a political traditionalist, what some might even called old-fashioned, as someone with dozens of friends and associates who have been and remain Trump supporters, this isn’t a decision I take lightly.  I do want to believe my elected officials.  I do want to respect them, even those I’m opposed to politically.  I do want to give them the courtesies they would normally be entitled to.

Sorry.  But I cannot give that respect to this man who will walk into the House of Representatives tonight and address the nation.  My respect isn’t a rubber stamp.  It’s not given lightly, nor automatically.  He was given a chance to earn my respect.  So far, all he’s earned is my revulsion.

 

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Posted by on Feb 27, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

Insurance Company Loansharking

 

 

Um, no it’s not, you lying-ass stooge!

U.S. health insurance companies are not, according to this early-morning tweet by President Trump, “provid(ing) great healthcare to the American people.”

Insurance companies are, in fact, undermining health care in America.  They’re doing whatever they can to deny coverage to as many Americans as possible, at the highest possible margins to ensure massive company profits — to the exclusive benefit of shareholders and bonus-whoring company executives.

Yes indeed, great healthcare *is* being provided by some extraordinarily dedicated people in this country.   Allow me to mention them now.

They are called doctors.

They are called nurses.

They are called medical technicians.

They are called caregivers.

They are also called researchers and educators.

These are the genuine heroes of American medicine — not an Oval Office crammed with insurance executives, you morally-bankrupt, dim-witted, anti-intellectual prick!

Add up all the hefty salaries ending in lots of zeroes and the expense accounts paid out just to the 13 insurance industry loan sharks who visited to President Trump this Monday morning.  Their average salary rings in at about $14 million, not including all the bonuses and stock options to be paid out.  Then, there’s all the dirty PAC money spent to keep this corrupt for-profit, milk-the-American public system fully in tact.  These cretins are President Trump’s heroes of healthcare, greedy bastards much like himself with no real objective in life other than to cream their sweet margins off the top at the terrible expense of everyone else struggling to keep up.

Meanwhile, all the medical professionals who actually make the sacrifices for their patients — the doctors and nurses — get stuck with massive student loan debt.  They suffer disproportionate levels of family breakups, including divorces.  They endure considerably more stress than virtually every other occupation, working all hours of the day and night to keep us as healthy as possible.

A Tweet from President Trump thanking the real heroes of medicine would have been nice.  A thought or two acknowledging the dedication of those who willingly chose the medical profession would be a noble gesture.

But instead, the self-absorbed clueless rube sitting at his desk in the most powerful office in the land choose to make an absurd statement that it’s insurance companies which “provide great healthcare to the American people.”

The only thing insurance companies provide is higher costs to all Americans and obscene payouts to their executives.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  Nothing else.

 

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Posted by on Feb 21, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

The Tipping Point on Gay Rights

 

 

Last night, I attended a monthly meeting at the Clark County Democratic Party headquarters, here in Las Vegas.

As is regularly the custom, speakers from various organizations show up at these meetings to inform and educate those of us in the audience on important issues of the day.

James Healey was the latest guest speaker.  He’s a progressive activist who also works full time as a casino executive for MGM-Mirage corporation.  Healey previously served as a legislator in the Nevada State Assembly.  He also happens to be gay.

I normally wouldn’t mention that, because it’s no more relevant than if he has blue eyes or brown eyes.  But since our nightly topic of discussion was gay rights, which are now under serious threat by the Trump Administration (and many state legislatures and localities — which lean Republican), his presentation was accompanied by both an added sense of passion and urgency.

Let’s be clear.  To our credit as a nation, American public opinion has evolved rather quickly on the once-controversial topic of gay rights.  Virtually everyone now knows someone who’s openly gay.  Popular television shows and movies feature gay characters, who are usually portrayed in a positive way.  Young people overwhelming see a person’s sexual orientation as a total non-issue.  The stats don’t lie — For the first time ever, a majority of the country believes gay people are entitled to equal rights and protections, including marriage equality.

That’s all a good thing.

After I heard the talk, while driving home, I pondered my own mental and emotional “evolution” on the subject of gay rights.  I’m not proud of this, but as a teenager, I used to engage in the typical pranks of philistine adolescence, which — sorry to say — included making derogatory remarks about those who were suspected to be homosexual.  I used insensitive slurs, including “faggot” and other mean words on regular occasion.  That didn’t make me a bad person.  Those actions were however, a reflection of my ignorance, and to a greater extent — a lack of exposure to the full diversity that makes up the American Experience.

I’m not sure there was any single moment that qualifies as a “tipping point” for me on gay rights.  That is to say, I don’t remember any specific incident that transformed me from the typical brutish-acting macho straight guy into someone far more empathetic and compassionate for people who on other times would have been inviting targets.  Perhaps it was attending college and simply being exposed to new ideas.  Maybe it was getting older and wiser.  Probably, it was working long hours in bars and restaurants, a trade where I regularly encountered people who were openly gay.  That was way back in the early 1980’s, an era that wasn’t nearly as tolerant about alternative lifestyles, as today.  There was also the terrible AIDS scare happening at the time, which certainly didn’t help straight culture to better understand gay culture.

Maturity, I believe, is incremental.  It’s all a gradual process.  Over time, I came to understand that gay rights was to our time as the civil rights struggle was to the generation which proceeded us.  And today, there are other noble causes, and there will me more things to fight for in the future.  The struggle for justice never ends.  There’s always a voice in the dark needing aid and comfort from torment.  Freedoms are an obligation to be protected by all, whether we agree or not with those whom need our support.

What I wonder is this — what made most of us (who are straight) to come around on the subject of gay rights?  Was it watching Will and Grace?  Was it finding out that a friend or loved one was gay?  Was it a personal experience that changed your mind?  What was it?

I think this is a critical question to ask because it provides a list of formulas that are proven to be effective.  If many of us who used to sling cruel derogatory slurs could evolve and ultimately become outspoken advocates of gay rights (which includes many reading these words right now), then we should try to employ those same tactics and with others who haven’t caught on yet in the future.  My belief is this — nearly everyone is capable of being swayed on this issue, dare I say — even conservatives and religious people.  I do believe many conservatives and religious people are good people who want to do the right thing.  Perhaps those who continue to strongly oppose justice and equality for all simply haven’t been approached yet….in the right way.  Our mission must be to find ways to reach them.

To be clear, there is a vocal contingent within the gay activist movement which vociferously rejects the notion of gaining “acceptance” from mainstream society.  Rightfully, their belief is that human rights and legal protections aren’t souvenirs to be handed out by the majority as though they’re providing favors.  In other words, they don’t give a damn whether you approve of them, or not.

Good for them.  Defiance can indeed be courageous.

However, since the potential rollback on gay rights is now very real in this country (and certainly continues to be a monumental problem in many foreign cultures), it would be advisable for those of us who are engaged in the fight to try and better understand on what works, versus what doesn’t.

And so, I ask those of you who wish to contribute to our understanding of this issue:  What, if anything, was the major turning point that transformed you from either opposition or indifference, to being a supporter of gay rights?

Obviously, this question is geared to those who have successfully evolved on this issue.

To those of you who haven’t yet, we’ll get back at you later.

 

[To join the discussion on Facebook, please CLICK HERE.]

 

A final thought:  I would be remiss were I not to point out Mr. Healey’s observation that Nevada, while progressive on many other issues, doesn’t have much to brag about on this issue.  Yet, strangely enough, within the poker culture, gay rights enjoys widespread support.  Many top poker pros who are openly gay, which makes poker way ahead of other competitive enterprises.  That’s something to be proud of.

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