We have more questions than answers about why gay rights is a recurring theme on stage in Cleveland this week. Is this a way to try to counter GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s unpopularity among minority groups? Are Republicans trying to expand their base after the Orlando shooting, which targeted the LGBT community? Is this another signal that cultural views about gay rights are shifting in conservative circles? Does this even resonate with an LGBT community that has spent the past year batting down Republican-led policies like a game of whack-a-mole?
What you need to understand about this, about Trump’s claim to be a protector of LGBT lives against Islamic violence and Newt Gingrich’s amen, and the sudden burst of convention talk about LGBT people, is they are not talking to LGBT people. This is not the republican party reaching out, finally, even in a small insignificant rhetorical way, to LGBT people. They said everything they wanted to say to us in the platform.
There’s nothing new about this. They are talking to heterosexuals, who might feel ashamed about voting republican, given the party’s hostility to LGBT people. Perhaps they have LGBT family members, or friends, or co-workers, who they love and respect. Perhaps they just don’t feel comfortable walking with bigots. What all this talk about LGBT people now is for is giving those people an excuse to vote for a man and a party that wants to take away every hard won civil right LGBT people have gained since Lawrence v. Texas. A party that, by its own enthusiastically endorsed platform would put us back into 1950s America of anti-gay witch hunts in government and the military, police raids on gay bars, censorship of gay books and newspapers, arrested for sodomy, or even just for dancing with a same-sex partner in public. On the stage last night, Trump gave them a way to vote for all of this, and still see themselves as decent people.
That’s what this is about. Trump and the republicans are giving them a way to hold onto their self respect, while putting a knife in the back of their LGBT neighbors. He’s giving them a way to look in a mirror and still see themselves as loving the LGBT people in their lives, not someone who sold them out in exchange for a strongman’s promises.
Guest Speaker At The Fascist Gathering…No, Not That One…The Other One…
The group’s founder and Thiel’s host is Hans Hermann-Hoppe, an anarcho-capitalist former professor at the University of Nevada. Hoppe sets the tone for these gatherings. In his book Democracy: The God That Failed, he envisions a stateless “libertarian order” that purges homosexuals and literally anyone who believes in democracy. “They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society,” Hoppe writes, referring to “advocates of parasitism, homosexuality, or communism,” among other undesirables…
And a gay man is his guest. And the GOP’s too, tonight. Arguably billionaire Thiel isn’t desperate for Right Wing welfare dollars.
Bear in mind that, as the article says, Thiel has been waging a proxy lawsuit war against Gawker for outing him. Something you see a lot of in this struggle is the homosexual male who compartmentalizes their sexuality so completely they are barely capable of acknowledging it even in bed. At the low end of the economic scale these are the ones who end up getting caught in vice squad stings, but in the rarefied heights that’s not a worry. And they positively hate the rest of us who settled with our inner nature and are fine with it and willing to do our part to make this a better world for all of us…So Openly.
But there is also this strange, creepy, unsettling place where fascism, which is rule by the strongmen, meets and shakes the hand of libertarianism, which assumes the invisible hand of the marketplace by definition produces morally just outcomes. As they used to say, the struggle is everything: nature rewards the strong, and eradicates the weak. There are many ways of dealing with self-hatred. Almost all of them involve taking it out on someone smaller and weaker.
I see the Roy Cohn branch of the family had its day at the GOP convention the other night…
Headlined by the guy who just got the boot from Twitter for his racist and misogynist attack on Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones, an achievement considering the open sewer Twitter has allowed itself to become, on the same order as being too disgusting even for an S. Clay Wilson comic. He’s also the guy behind the “Gamergate” attacks on women in the gaming community, and Twitter was his useful tool for that one too.
“Growing up gay wasn’t that f**king bad.” he declared from the podium, adding without any apparent irony, “…I still don’t see the reason why the left-wing press mollycoddles and panders to an ideology that wants me dead.” So he’s changed his tune a bit since a year ago when he declared “If I could choose, I wouldn’t be a homosexual.” If I could choose, you wouldn’t be one either guy. Perhaps you and Phil Robertson could have drinks together and ponder which abrahamic religions quote Leviticus with more style.
He was followed by Pam Geller who began with a joke: “A jihadi walks into a gay bar, and the bartender says, ‘What’ll you have?’ The jihadi says, ‘Shots for everyone!’”
Ha ha. And half that convention floor would have helped buy them for him Pam, and the other half would have paid for his defense lawyers. Especially after seeing the artwork on those walls there.
And that artwork…try to look past the fact that they’re all barely, if that, of an age of consent. Photos of comely young guys are just fine by me. Swell even. But I’m a photographer and I can’t avoid seeing these images on another level, and what leaps out at me immediately is the predatory gaze in all of them. These photos aren’t about young male beauty but about young male naivete. The photographer invites you to look upon them not as objects of beauty and desire but as prey. Easy pickings.
Which fits nicely into the convention vibe though doesn’t it? It’s a cliché that when you scratch a homophobe you find a misogynist and vice versa. So the gay republican who reviled in organizing gamergate attacks on women on Twitter, and immediately zeroed in on the most socially vulnerable of the actresses in the new Ghostbusters movie, the one black woman, has his party zone plastered with images of teenage boys as sexual junk food. Because as nearly, if not exactly one-hundred percent of that convention floor would tell you, homosexuals don’t love, they just have sex. And if you hate all those other homosexuals enough, you don’t have to know how much you hate yourself.
Gavin Newsom, former mayor of San Francisco, talks about what he saw at the 2016 Republican National Convention in a video. I’d embed it here but Facebook makes that tactically difficult. But visit the link if you can, it’s worth listening to his passionate disgust at what he saw. And there’s no mistaking it, the republicans, just slightly more than a year after the Supreme Court acknowledged our right to equality in the marriage laws of this land, have written the most homophobic platform in their history. It is a snarling, in your face growl of contempt toward sexual minorities. But then, taken in context with the rest of it…the racism, xenophobia, hatred of women, hatred toward the poor and handicapped, it is of a piece. This is a convention of the human gutter.
Newsome talks mostly about the conversion therapy plank, and you can argue that if any one of the anti-LGBT planks says it all it’s that one. I have a running thread of posts here on this blog about how reparative-conversion-exgay therapy was born in the blood of innocents. That’s not histrionics, it’s a plain statement of fact. The first exgay ministry was Love In Action, founded originally in San Francisco and later relocated to Memphis Tennessee. It’s first three clients included a young man named Jack McIntyre, who killed himself because the stress exgay therapy could only exacerbate within him became too much. That’s not conjecture, he left a suicide note that said in part:
To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.
What people need to understand is that lethal self loathing is the intention. Not necessarily that it kills, but that it is complete and overwhelming and crippling. It must be a ball and chain on our lives, on our souls. We have to hate ourselves. Because then we are good homosexuals. We hide, we apologise for existing, we don’t expect basic human dignity, let alone assert that our hearts are not there for them to scribble their graffiti on and our lives, our hopes and dreams are not their stepping stones to heaven. We have to bleed, so they can feel righteous.
To call forcing kids into it child abuse is imprecise. It is the rape of the soul. Adults and children alike. And in Cleveland now, these are its advocates. Unsurprisingly, they are also racists, xenophobes and misogynists, grifters, thieves and swindlers, sociopaths and paranoid cowards. Simply put, the human gutter. For generations, we have been dying for their sins because even the blood of Jesus Christ was not enough to get them clean.
Many signs have suggested that the Christian right has largely given up on pushing for ex-gay therapy. From the closing of Exodus International to the Southern Baptist Convention admonishing the harmful, ineffective treatment, it seems that those who reject homosexuality have embraced the idea of celibacy and singlehood instead.
But several news stories from the past week have suggested that many religious conservatives actually still want to see gays and lesbians wind up giving up their sexualities entirely to pursue different-sex marriages with kids.
And just never you mind what this may do to the innocent other halves of these marriage-as-cure marriages. If nothing else, that indifference to the lives of other people, usually heterosexual women, and their hopes and dreams of love and happiness, really shows how deep that sewer they keep mistaking for a conscience runs. Collateral damage, as one right wing terrorist once shrugged off responsibility for the children he killed.
Doug Mainwaring also chimed in Monday, insisting that gay people can happily stay in different-sex marriages — citing himself as an example. “A man who walks away from a marriage because of same-sex attraction is no different from a man who abdicates his role as husband and father for sex with other women,” he scolded. “We shouldn’t view Trey Pearson’s actions as heroically true-to-self, but as simply selfish.”
Mainwaring is the religious right’s current “attack gay”…a gay guy who is happy to shovel his fellow homosexuals into the maw of the religious right’s self hate machine. And also, and indifferently, all that collateral damage. No Doug, a gay man who struggles his way out of the self hatred you need him to live his entire life in so you can feel righteous, isn’t being selfish. If his hopes and dreams of honesty and love need to be your stepping stones to heaven, the selfish greedy blood sucking bastard here is you. If Jesus dying on the cross wasn’t enough to sponge away your cheapshit sins, if other gay people have to die for them too because Jesus on the cross just wasn’t enough, then selfish isn’t even the word for the likes of you. That word would be Predatory.
Once upon a time, one of the first ex-gay clients in the first ex-gay ministry, Love In Action, Jack McIntyre wrote the following just before he killed himself…
To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.
He killed himself Doug. So he wouldn’t make another promise to god he knew he could not keep. Because the human identity isn’t a blackboard anyone can just scribble their will on. Because he was a homosexual. Because you can’t pray that away anymore than you can pray away being left handed, or blue eyed. There was nothing wrong with him in the first place. The ex-gay movement was born in the blood of innocents. No stream rises higher than its source. He killed himself Doug. So louts like you could be righteous.
You live in the lap of righteous esteem Doug, the useful tool of gutter crawling runts who would rather see a gay man’s heart ripped to shreds, see him end his life, rather than know a single moment of honest love and desire in the arms of another man. The support network you enjoy is built on the ruins of other people’s lives. It is drenched with their blood. And you can’t afford to look can you. So many gay men who end up finding a tree to hang themselves from, or putting a gun to their heads, because louts like you are telling them they’re broken. And be honest here…ultimately, you’re fine with that. Because better they kill themselves than they accept themselves, as in that old Baptist hymn, just as I am.
Because if they can find that honest, truthful happiness…then what does that make you? But you know what you are.
“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now,” Romero said in his sermon. “And I’ll take it a step further, because I heard on the news today, that there are still several dozen of these queers in ICU and intensive care. And I will pray to God like I did this morning, I will do it tonight, I’ll pray that God will finish the job that that man started, and he will end their life, and by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell, just like the rest of them, so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children.”
My cartoon, for the next issue of my community newspaper, Baltimore OUTLoud…because somebody needs to say it..
by Bruce |
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June 13th, 2016
The Hate Excuser’s Song
This is par for the course, whenever an act of violence against gay people makes national, let alone international headlines. The pushback to erase the motivation of anti-gay hate from the crime, divert attention onto something else, real or fabricated, comes quickly after from all the usual suspects, and is forceful. And when challenged on it, they just dig their heels in. In a few months to a year there will be articles from right wing “think tanks”, and documentaries purporting to prove that homophobic animus had nothing to do with it at all, and that those of us who kept pointing it out are ourselves guilty of politicising a terrible tragedy to support the Gay Agenda. It is all so predictable. Because to acknowledge the hate that motivated it, might lead to questions about the climate of hate, and those who cultivated it for votes, and money.
And ratings. Perhaps in a few years ABC 20/20 will do a documentary explaining how it was all really a drug deal gone bad…
by Bruce |
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January 25th, 2016
Two Sides That Are Not As Far Apart As You Think
This came across my Facebook steam this morning, and managed to re-ignite an anger I try very hard to keep contained…
It was the following passage, right at the beginning of the linked article. I read stories like these and they make me really angry about what has been done to gay people…not only in the name of religion to be sure, but a certain sort of fundamentalist religion bears a lot of the blame…
On my first full-day at the Gay Christian Network annual conference, meeting in Houston, Texas, January 2016, I met a gay man, my age mate, who told me that for the past twenty years he has lived his gay Christian life committed to celibacy, but no more. Relatively recently, a pastor of a Southern Baptist church from his home state told him he could fully embrace his sexual orientation as a gift from God and enter into a same-sex marriage if he so desired. The man was, to use the expression, bursting with joy as he told me this…
…and I just want to go grab both sides A and B and yell in their faces while trying to shake some life back into them: get that goddamned cult leader off your back, whoever they are, however sincere they seem to be…Especially if they are sincere…You Do Not Need Third Party Permission To Be a Human Being!
And no, this isn’t about my being an atheist getting all holier than thou about religion. I have always had this reflex toward religiosity, or any politics for that matter, that is controlling. And that’s what this is all about; not denial of sex but denial of the heart within. There is no meaningful distance between I Give You Permission To Have That Intimate Heart-To-Heart Body And Soul Companionship and Permission Denied But Feel Free To Ache For It Until You Die Or Else God Won’t Love You And Neither Will We. None. Zero.
Listen to me, it isn’t Jesus you need to know better…it’s yourself. Love and desire are wonderful beautiful things. Finding it in another is one of this life’s perfect joys. The philosopher Lao Tzu said that being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Shame can only corrupt it, turn it against itself, lock you inside an insidious barbed wire fence. And the loveless soul soon becomes the empty shell for others to live vicariously in. If your faith isn’t a light within you, then it is a shroud someone’s wrapped you in. Unwrap yourself Lazarus, and go live life.
And love God if that’s where you are, or love an amazing and sublime godless cosmos if that’s where you find yourself, and especially find someone to share it all with and love each other wholeheartedly, and don’t ask Anyone’s permission!
by Bruce |
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January 5th, 2016
Yes, He’s A Kook…But What Do You Think That Means?
Just in case you’ve forgotten over the holidays how batshit crazy this man is, this clip from The Rachel Maddow Show is well worth watching. The clips of his news interviews over the birth certificate are instructive.
One hundred and four years of history is in the balance. If Trump is the Republican nominee in 2016, there might not be a conservative party in 2020 either.
But the suit and tie conservatives like Will, bellyaching that Trump might destroy the conservative movement, need to point their fingers in the mirror instead. Trump is what he is, because the kook pews are what they are, and the kook pews are what they are because the country club crowd found them useful enough to enable them. Will to this day idolizes Ronald Reagan, who began his successful campaign for the presidency in 1980 in a Mississippi city near where James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered for registering black voters, with a speech about state’s rights. He knew perfectly well what Reagan was doing that day. They all did.
Yes, Trump is nuts. What do you think that means? The moral judgement attaches to those who knew better, or could have known better had they wanted to, but took the belly flop into the gutter anyway. Morality is choice, and Trump just is what he is and his followers just are what they are. The judgement on bargains made with the devil attach to the bargainer. Donald Trump is the face in the conservative mirror.
by Bruce |
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November 24th, 2015
They Have Always Existed. But Where Did Decency Go?
This came across my Facebook stream the other day, from Jim Wright, who you should follow…
It’s not that these people exist… …it’s that you live in an America where they are cheered
That’s it. I mean…the gutter was always visible to us, but in the same way the grotesque carnival sideshow tents were always there to peek into. You could tune in the screaming pulpit thumpers on the radio dial if you knew where to look. There were phone numbers you could dial to get recorded messages from Birch Society crackpots and white supremacists. Every now and then you got a pamphlet handed to you by a man whose stare made you want to stay out of arm’s reach. There were late night talk show on the UHF band, like The Joe Pyne Show, that you might tune in to for a laugh, only to switch channels soon after because you felt like you were suffocating listening to so much hate, so off-handedly spoken into the camera.
Now the gutter is front and center in the national conversation. Only it’s not a conversation anymore because the gutter doesn’t do conversation. It just screams in your face, and then laughs when it sees that it can still shock you in a place you thought you weren’t shockable anymore…
by Bruce |
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November 14th, 2015
No…This Isn’t Asymmetrical Warfare…
This came across my Facebook stream just now…
The death cult chose its city well—Paris, secular capital of the world, as hospitable, diverse and charming a metropolis as was ever devised. And the death cult chose its targets in the city with ghoulish, self-damning accuracy—everything they loathed stood plainly before them on a happy Friday evening: men and women in easy association, wine, free-thinking, laughter, tolerance, music—wild and satirical rock and blues. The cultists came armed with savage nihilism and a hatred that lies beyond our understanding…
I appreciate the argument I’m hearing more vocally now, that there is more than just a little chickens coming home to roost element to this latest attack. Jim Wright writes that “We created this”, and he lays the blueprint of it out in meticulous and sickening detail. Yes. We created this. That is to say, we gave ammunition and delivered recruits to the culture of death McEwan speaks of.
But make no mistake, that culture of death seeks revenge against us not for the wrongs we have done to the people of the middle east, but for living, for embracing life, for embracing joy. It makes use of the desperate, the wounded, the broken, but it is not engaged in “asymmetrical warfare” as I’ve heard said. You want to see what asymmetrical warfare looks like, study how the Viet Cong waged war against the French and Americans. They killed American soldiers. Lots of them. And like the Viet Cong ISIS has also taken its war to the enemy, and chosen its targets accordingly. The gay men they’re throwing off rooftops. The women they’re stoning to death. The school children and their teachers they’re massacring. The historical artifacts they’re blowing up. The works of art they’re hacking to pieces. Compare and contrast and then consider who and what the enemy really is.
Revenge you say? Yes. Absolutely. Revenge against the living. Revenge against beauty, against intellect, against the human heart and soul for existing. Soft targets are they? Cowardly attacks on unarmed people who can’t shoot back. No. Just…no. They went after the same hated enemy in Paris that they’ve been murdering at home. Those were not soft targets but simply The targets.
Yes, we Did bring this on ourselves. As Wright says, “Terrorism grows like bacteria in warm agar, among the destruction and ruin of war. Terrorism grows in the gaps between civilization.”
“We could have rebuilt that civilization after the Soviet Union pulled out.” says Wright. “We could have made the Mujahedeen our friends. We could have. But it would have cost us money. Our money. Lots of money, vast, vast sums of it. It would have taken decades of sustained commitment. It would have taken effort. And so, instead we left. Fuck it. Not our problem.”
Well it was our problem. And it still is. We fed the beast. We need to stop doing that. We need to practice what we preach to the world about liberty and justice for all. The power of an idea is not in what it can destroy but in what it can build. If all we bring to bear on the Middle East, or anywhere else, is bombs and bullets, subversion and assassination then you have to forgive the world for thinking our ideals are no better than any tinpot dictator’s. Perhaps we stopped believing in the power of our ideals because those ideals require work, and bullets and bombs and covert operations are so much easier. Just press a button. Just pull a trigger. Just send someone else’s children off to war. Perhaps the chickens that came home to roost were the bills due on the ideals we preach but can’t be bothered to practice.
But don’t mistake the desperate wounded people the beast gives kalashnikovs and suicide jackets to for the hate that wages war on civilization vicariously through them. Doing everything Wright says we should have done would not have mollified it. It would have made it hate us all the more. But at least it wouldn’t have so many willing tools.
by Bruce |
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So soon is it after Veteran’s Day, so many are in a rush to go to war.
I know the feeling. We all do. We’re human. We bear in ourselves the ancient blood of the killer apes that walked upright on the African plains so long, long ago. We are not so far removed from them we don’t feel the pull of it. It is instinct. The hated Other challenges us, and we long to sink our teeth into them. To defend the Tribe. To protect our young. And because killing is an ancient pleasure handed down to us from the long ages of Earth. It’s the one that won’t admit that you should fear, because those ancient terrible lusts might one day take them by surprise. And in an instant, the human identity is shed.
We are more than that. The killer lives within us, but we are human, we are civilization builders, artists, and dreamers, and we don’t have to listen to the killer ape. Let us think before we act. Please.
There’s a poem…The Old Astronomer…I’m sure every astronomer knows it for these beautiful lines…
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
It’s in my will that my ashes are to be scattered in my beloved California, on a hill overlooking the Pacific near the Garrett family lands. So I will have no tombstone, but if I did I would want those words engraved on it.
To the people who planned and instigated this killing…to the people now rejoicing in it, calling for war and more war…war against the infidel, war against the hated Other, war just for the pure pleasure of war…all I can say is, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry you’ve lost your memory of what it is to be human. I’m sorry the killer ape has taken your soul away from you. I’m sorry that hate has emptied everything from within you that could have been decent and kind and noble. There are worse things that can happen to a person than to die. I see them in you now. I wish you could see them too, but you have fallen into a pit I’ve seen very few claw their way back out of. I’m sorry you are lost.
But you need to understand something. We have seen the Pillars of Creation. We have watched the stars being born, and dying, and hurling their flesh back into the universe to began the dance all over again. We have seen the horizons of other worlds. We have harvested light from the first galaxies. And we are not fearful of the night.
Would You Like The Knife Served With Or Without Love?
Oh look…the same damn thing I’ve heard a zillion times already…
No. There is absolutely nothing new about this. It’s the same old, same old. True there were lots of ex-gay outfits that claimed they could turn gay into straight. But there were always those who simply offered counseling and support for celibacy. Back in the 1980s, before the internet opened to commercial use, a user on the gay BBS I did volunteer work for, David Morrison, dived into a very rigidly conservative form of Catholicism, renounced his former gay activism, and signed on with their “Courage” (sic) ex-gay group which since 1980 has been counseling gay people against having sex. Eventually he wrote a book, “Beyond Gay”, where he argued among other things, against what he was calling “cheap sex” before he left G.L.I.B.. (He later wrote a column for the New York Post, titled “What Crime Of Hate And Anger?” in which he argued that Matthew Shepard had it coming, because he had a history of risky sexual flirting with strangers. Loving The Sinner. The right wing site Eutopia reprinted it, along with a deftly edited portion of my letter to the Post challenging it so they could wag their fingers at those of us who value our “certitude of experience” over their “certitude of Truth”…)
The neat thing about the anti-gay industrial complex is its convenient fluidity. Don’t like all that vitriolic gay bashing rhetoric? Well just walk right over here where we don’t do that. We =Love= the sinner. No, really! Think all that love the homosexual stuff is a lot of pussyfooting around what god plainly condemns? Well right over here we have all the fire and brimstone your cold little heart desires! God Hates Fags and so do We!
We can stick the knife into your gay neighbor’s heart any way that makes you comfortable…with or without love.
by Bruce |
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December 10th, 2014
Staring Into The Pit…
I link to Andrew Sullivan reluctantly, Very reluctantly, but I have to give credit where it’s due too. This livestreaming he did on the torture report is very good, the outrage in it genuine and worth sharing. You should feel that outrage too.
“The barbarism was the very opposite from a few bad apples at the bottom of the pile, as they tried to persuade us at Abu Ghraib. The bad apples were at the very top of the chain of command, rotting this country’s reputation and honor from the top down. And those begin with Bush and Cheney and Tenet. They are now wanted men. And they will go abroad again – at their legal peril. And so America becomes a legal sanctuary for war criminals. As long as they are our war criminals.”
Like a lot of Americans, I believe in that liberty and justice for all stuff, and government of the people, by the people and for the people, and I want so much to be proud of the way my country embodies those principles. Civilization stands or falls on them. But it is not always so. Just ask the native Americans, just ask the sons and daughters of the slaves, just ask the peaceful protestors of any decade who felt the club and the boot. Mary Renault, at the end of her novel about the poet Simonides, wrote “In all men evil is sleeping; the good man is he who will not awaken it, in himself or in other men.” That sense we often feel among us, of American exceptionalism, ought rightly to impart a sense of obligation, as something every generation is called to live up to, because we are human after all, and with the potential for great good comes the potential for great evil. But too often powerful evil people manage to turn that sense of ourselves and our purpose into cheap bar stool nationalism, an excuse to congratulate ourselves as we look the other way at the evil done in our name, in the name of our country. They need to be held accountable. Or history will hold us accountable, and laugh at all the times we waved our flag as if it stood for anything more than a place on a map.
by Bruce |
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