Senator Marco Rubio

I get it. People are allowed to have “personal convictions” and opinions. God knows I have some – OK, MANY. But, I put mine out via this blog, or Facebook or in conversations among friends (and sometimes enemies). What I do NOT do is abuse the power of my position, as does a certain Senator who is currently on MY personal “Least Liked List.”

Senator Marco Rubio is, in my opinion, blurring the line between being a public servant and using the power and position afforded him by his office by forcing his personal beliefs and convictions onto America.

Every time I read another Rubio sound bite, I want to stick a fork in my ear…

Rubio

Among his other sterling qualities, Senator Rubio is a giant homophobe in denial. And his recent and very public proclamation that including LGBT provisions in the proposed immigration reform package would KILL the entire momentum of the piece still has me stewing.

What a bigoted LGBT “hater…”

I could write an entire blog about Rubio and his history with “The Gays” but it has already been brilliantly and succinctly written by LGBTQ Nation columnist Barbara Weicksel – please view Barbara’s brilliant column by clicking here. Or here:

lgbtq-logo-main

Special thanks to LGBTQ Nation and Barbara Weicksel for shedding a light on this bigot masquerading as a Senator. I’m not sure exactly why this phrase is in my head today – “Stupid is as stupid does” – I mean, really, it makes no sense unless you apply it to Senator Marco Rubio… IMHO

Let The Circus Begin!

Very soon, Senate hearings begin on the proposed immigration reform bill submitted by the “bi-partisan” Gang of Eight (what a joke!). This is what I imagine those proceedings will look like in the Senate Chamber:

Under The Big TopThe immigration reform package is HARDLY perfect – and far, FAR, FAR from comprehensive (my previous unhappiness with the provisions for binational same-sex couples being withdrawn in the final hours has been publicly-aired in previous posts). That said, the bill as it stands now is a starting point and will – perhaps – begin the long-overdue and undoubtedly tedious process of overhauling America’s antiquated, unjust and just plain discriminatory immigration system.

I try to be optimistic. However, when these are the “learned politicians” working towards the goal of immigration reform –

Clown Faces…it is definitely a little hard to believe anything good will come from this endeavor. I just read a post about the recent passing of a Democratic Senator (that means he died) and now the Senate Democrat “odd-makers” were scrambling to replace his assumed supportive vote with someone else’s. In the vernacular of my Dad, what kinda’ friggin’ BS is that anyway? I mean, when politicians begin acting like bookies, running numbers and quoting odds, something is wrong with the measure being considered. Or our political system. Or BOTH!

Side Show Barker

I have to admit, I have a whole “List of Dis-es” generated as a result of these proceedings. I am: disappointed, disillusioned, disenchanted, disheartened, disenfranchised, discombobulated. I often joke with close friends that, if I ran MY business the same way politicians run our country – delivering poor customer service, ignoring client wants/needs, demanding salaries far above the level of work performed – I’d be out of a job…

Maybe America should put Washington “out of work.” I think it is time. Don’t misunderstand me – there are a few fine men and women who do SERVE their constituency, that PERFORM the duties required and put CITIZEN rights before their own self-serving interests. But, sadly? Those men and women are rare…

I think we need a whole government re-set, from The President on down. I don’t know – maybe I’d let President Obama stay. He seems to be trying. But OMG – I’d do some house cleaning in the House and Senate for sure. Who knows? Once they leave office, hopefully they will be able to find jobs better suited for their unique skill sets:

Circus vendors

Politicians seem to be able to “sell” anything when they set their minds to it, am I right?

 

 

No Go, No Dough

I am encouraged by recent reports streaming across the internet. It seems that, FINALLY, America’s gay and lesbians are tired of the BS that Washington has been feeding us all, especially binational same-sex couples, and we have/are deciding to make a statement.

Our emerging new mantra seems to be, “NO GO, NO DOUGH.”

And it appears that Washington might finally, actually be hearing us…  No DoughWho woudda’ thunk that, when we FINALLY threatened to let the well run dry, all of a sudden, NOW politicians are starting to sit up and listen. It seems maybe The Hill is finally on the brink of a huge WTF? moment. It makes me sad to realize that politicians are a lot like children – when children misbehave and lose their allowance, they “try harder.” When well-heeled, politically-involved gay and lesbian philanthropists “call out” elected officials and announce they will be withholding their donations, well I’m guessing like a dozen pages, a few aides and a handful of spin doctors run up to Senator whomever, or Congressman what’s-her-name or dare I say – The President – and say, “Look, we have a HUGE PR problem brewing, not to mention the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.”

And I say, “Hell yeah – FINALLY.”

I think Miama-based philanthropist Jonathan Lewis best summed it up when he said, “Now is the time to stop investing in Democratic cowardice and stand proud by withholding donations until we see our  friends’ actions and deeds align with their rhetoric,” as well as “Pretty words about fairness and equality under the law from the president and Democrats in Congress do not absolve them from their moral duty to act.” (view the original Huffington Post piece here.)

From the same article, “The issue of marriage is a fundamental right,” said Juan Ahonen-Jover, a Florida-based entrepreneur and philanthropist who spends his time promoting equal rights for the LGBT community. “Even prisoners on death row have the right to marry.” (view the original Huffington Post piece here.)

EVEN PRISONERS ON DEATH ROW HAVE THE RIGHT TO MARRY.

Think about that for a minute then you’ll understand why “the gays” have finally had it with Washington.

Gay and lesbian citizens in binational, same-sex relationships are especially fed up. The carrot of The Uniting American Families Act – legislation that would allow gay and lesbian citizens the right to sponsor their foreign permanent partners for immigration purposes – has been dangled in their faces for almost a generation. Within the past few weeks, that dangling carrot was “jerked away” again when amendments with UAFA provisions were removed in the eleventh hour from the immigration reform proposal crafted by the infamous Senate Gang of Eight. Binational couple are now starting to paraphrase Peter Finch from the iconic film, Network – “I’m a human being, goddammit, and my life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna’ take this any more!” (view the original Network clip here.)

By withholding our dollars, maybe we can FINALLY get Washington to “make good” on all the years and years of promises they have made – and subsequently broken – to get our money and our votes. Rachel B. Tiven, Executive Director of Immigration Equality, …insists real damage has been done. “Very, very, very large donors to the Democratic Party have told me how angry they are, how much they feel politicians lied to them,” she said. (view the original New Republic piece here.)

For years I have always wished that our leaders in Washington – one leader in particular – would “grow a pair.” Now I see that wish was misdirected. It is the gay and lesbian community at large, and binational same-sex couples in particular, that have needed to do “the growing.”

I’m glad I realized that and have started chanting, “No Go, No Dough.” I hope my brothers and sisters join the chorus, and soon. We need all the voices we can get for our song to be heard.

beLIEf

Lately I have become a little disenchanted with Washington, politicians and the “democratic process” in general, especially as those three things intersect with the proposed immigration reform bill being considered on the hill. Recently, amendments that would have FINALLY created an avenue for America’s gay and lesbian citizens in binational relationships to sponsor their foreign partners for immigration were withdrawn in the eleventh hour. Binational same-sex couples were thrown under the bus AGAIN, for the umpteenth time now. It was, to borrow the wording of a very large, national immigration reform organization, “dispiriting” to say the least…

The thing is, the groups protesting/squawking the loudest, demanding that these amendments be removed were the Catholic, Baptist and Evangelical coalitions – you know, the “Christian faiths” with all their alleged piety and respect for all of mankind. That makes me puke. This action – denying two people that love one another the very basic and fundamental right to just be together, physically –  is reprehensible and, in my opinion, morally-corrupt. I myself was raised in the Catholic faith and many of the things that are “good” about me are a result of that upbringing. I no longer observe the faith, more out of respect for it than animosity towards it – but that might be changing. I mean, I don’t know that I was ever the best, most devout Catholic but I do know this – the God I served, and the God you all profess to honor and worship, is ashamed at how you are behaving now.

So anyway, I know I have shared with you all before that I will sometimes scan BING images, looking for inspiration for my blog posts. And today, in an effort to come out of my funk, I typed in “believe” and hit search. This image appeared:

Belief (Lie) I must confess, I took its appearance as an actual moment of Divine intervention. In one, graphic moment, it succinctly expresses the conflict I am feeling inside about so many things – an all-loving, all-embracing God, served on earth by the largest group of haters ever; the pack of two-faced politicians I helped elect to office – the ones that lie right to your face to make you a believer/get your vote then kick your ass to the curb the minute they feel a little heat from the “Christians;” the hollow hope that within my lifetime America will FINALLY live up to the ideals and tenets it professes but falls so miserably short of attaining. These are three of the battles raging in my heart/soul at the moment, and this image pretty much sums up where I am at presently in resolving those conflicts…

I hate liars. I hate people that promise one thing and do the other. Maybe someone should invent a machine with the display above that floats over the head of every clergyman and every politician in America, so that whenever they speak, we can immediately see if they are speaking the truth from their heart (belief) or lying (LIE) to our face. THAT is an invention whose time has definitely come…

Separation of Church and State

At the risk of alienating some readers, I feel I must state my feelings on the topic of separation of Church and State – I am 100%, totally for it. Religion has no place in government and government has no place in religion. Period. End of story.

What has my hackles up today? A group of Southern Baptists, talking out against proposed legislation that would allow gay and lesbian Americans – U.S. CITIZENS – the privilege of sponsoring their foreign spouses for immigration. Today it is Southern Baptists but on any given day it could just have easily been the United States Council of Catholic Bishops or any number of televangelists. I mean – and excuse my language – who give a flying F*CK what they think anyway? What gives them the right to weigh in publicly on ANY political issue? Was our country not founded on the premise of a separation of Church and State, for the benefit of both?

disagreement(click on image above to enlarge)

Please do not misunderstand my anger – I do not “hate” religion, organized or otherwise. I just feel they have no right commenting on issues that are of no concern to them, especially given the preferential treatment our government affords them, tax-wise. When a church begins paying taxes like all the rest of us Joe Schmoes, THEN they can shoot their collective mouth off in public about an issue. Till then, shut the F*CK up!

I think most people forget – or choose to ignore – that most organized religions are businesses at their core. They have political influence and “lobby” DC and our elected officials as hard as any other business or organization. Yet, we all just let them go on about their sneaky way, undermining the advancement of our society in the pursuit of their own interests. It has to stop…

Separation 2(click on image above to enlarge)

Now, before any one suggests I am a God-less heathen, or some soul-less sodomite, let me state publicly that I was raised Catholic and feel that many of the “good things that make me me” are a result of that upbringing. I no longer observe the faith, not out of hate or resentment but out of respect for those Catholics that are observant. At least for now, I cannot reconcile my life with the teachings of The Church – not the teachings of God, but the teachings of the Church – so I am no longer a Catholic.

I leave The Church alone. And I want The Church to leave me alone, too…

I remember reading recently that America is one of the “least faithful” countries on the planet – something like fewer than 30% of American families attend a faith-based gathering once a week. That kinda’ makes me sad but that is the stuff of another post. For this one, that less than 30% of America figure makes me wonder just why in the heck any politician even bothers to listen to organized religious organizations anyway. Seems like they represent a very small, albeit super vocal, voter base.

As I said, I do not “hate God” or churchgoers but for now, please – organized religions, et al? Ask your national organizations, conferences and assemblies to get the heck out of politics, leave me alone and mind their own business.

 

So sorry but…

day offSorry friends – today has been a big news day, politically-speaking, and my eyes are fried out from reading so many things online. I mean, it is kinda’ hard for me to even type this – so, a “nothing post” for today (sorry).

I promise to be back tomorrow full of witty bon mots and such. Ciao!

 

Discouraged

The older I get, the more discouraged and disillusioned I become with America in general and the “American political system” in particular. To say that I am discouraged with recent events and announcements would be a slight understatement…

Discouraged

Discourage – To deprive of confidence, hope or spirit.

I mean, I often joke that if I did MY job as poorly as most of our elected officials, or if I blatantly disregarded the wishes and requests of my clients like politicians dismiss mine/ours, I’d be unemployed and living under a bridge. The just general paralysis happening in Washington, combined by the fact that too few politicians have any sort of compassion, or moral compass, is crushing to me. Our country has become one of many, manipulated by a few. And that sucks…

I won’t “soapbox” here about the one issue in particular that has me steaming at the moment – more on that in a future blog. But, I will say, America still does not treat EVERY citizen equally. The BS and buck-pushing that has happened, and continues to happen, is so repulsive to me that I often wonder if a solution is achievable. When polls and surveys show that more than 50% of American citizens are in favor of this or that, WHO THE HELL are politicians or Supreme Court Justices to decide otherwise? I am calling bullshit on that, right here, right now.

The only thing WORSE is to alternately offer some promise of a solution or remedy to the grievous and long-standing civil rights violations here in America, but to make those remedies so convoluted and complicated, so labyrinthine that it renders the mechanism almost useless. I do not know why some of the proposed legislative proposals are not collectively called the Catch-22 clauses.

I am finding it increasingly difficult to continue to hold out hope that America will live up to its promise and the ideal that we are ALL equal. Yet, as I was searching for the image above for this blog, I also came across this meme:

never-give-up

Winston Churchill – widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century.

Now I am no Winston Churchill fanatic, nor do I even really like history in general. That said, I did find these five simple words pretty inspiring and renewing, at least for today. It would seem that surrender would be fairly dismal – I just wish we had a few more victories along the way…

I also think it might be time to start takin’ names and kickin’ some ass outta’ DC.

 

Reverse Application

Lately I have been more than a bit discouraged by the “behavior” of America. I guess that, as a gay man, I am tired of being treated like a second-class citizen in so many areas – marriage equality, immigration law, employment protections – the list goes on and on. I mean, it is a fairly well-known fact that by being denied marriage equality in America, my partner and I are denied 1,138 rights and protections “the straights” get. Listen, I love my straight friends but you all have to kick it in and get me the same treatment that you all get. Please…

So, as a “Plan B,” I would like someone with some mad Adobe or Photo Shop skills to modify this generic application for me:

ApplicationWhat I would like is an application that countries submit to ME, “applying” for me to move there with my partner. I mean, here’s the package they are competing for – two committed, dedicated partners, both well-educated (one a Master’s Degree, one with almost four decades of business acumen, with several “lumps” of college thrown in for good measure), one a small business owner, both with strong entrepreneurial skills, no criminal records, above average health, above average IQ’s and a strong desire to “belong” to a culture and country that both recognizes us as a couple/appreciates us as individuals.

Minimum qualifications for countries “applying” for our immigration: We want no special rights or privileges but demand each and every one be applied to us the same as all other citizens. Politicians actually working FOR the populace would be ideal. Oh, and a nice, temperate climate is preferred but negotiable.

America? I have always done my best to fulfill my end of the bargain; I have been a contributing, compassionate and loyal member of society all my life. Now I need you to fulfill YOUR end, and give me – and tens of thousands of other CITIZENS just like me – the fair and equal treatment you promise…

Otherwise, I will forced to begin accepting applications. CYlater

 

WARNING: Not Happy Here

Today I am NOT happy; in fact, I am PISSED OFF and ANGRY!

Angry Face

I talked about it with my beloved SBF today – I feel like a child that has been lied to OVER and OVER and OVER again. Specifically, I am talking about the “comprehensive” immigration outline that was released that made NO MENTION WHATSOEVER about an avenue for gay and lesbian American citizens to sponsor their foreign-born permanent partners for immigration. None. Nada. 

How many times can a group of American citizens get thrown under the bus before someone FINALLY says, “THIS SITUATION HAS TO STOP/CHANGE?”

O4I

(Out4Immigration is a not-for-profit group that lobbies tirelessly for gay and lesbian inclusive immigration reform – they are rock stars!)

Viewed through a “larger lens,” quite honestly I am tired of politicians lying and kissing ass to get elected then forgetting everything they promised. I am tired of living in a country that professes to be the greatest country on the planet yet we still are jerking around with the question of marriage equality. Huh? WTF?

Hey, remember this promise, Dems/Mr. President? I mean, I know you made it almost seven months ago…

Dems Marriage equality

Those LGBT issues aside, I guess what I am REALLY tired of is the inhumanity and lack of compassion mankind displays almost daily, as well as the general apathy and lethargy consuming our society. It SUCKS and I am frankly tired of trying to change it.

Boston-Marathon-explosions-graphic-jpg

I totally acknowledge that by giving up the fight I am allowing the “bad guys” to win but, today? I think I will indulge myself in a long-overdue pity party and (hopefully) tomorrow I will be re-energized and re-inspired.

Hopefully…

Why are days only twenty-four hours long?

I find I am constantly challenged by time, and time management  It is a daily struggle for me, and I think I have finally figured out why – every day is too “short.”

I mean, who decided days should only be twenty-four hours long? At the end of every day, I find myself wondering what I could have done differently to have made the day more “productive” – how could I have been more efficient? Then I got to thinking and actually analyzing the whole “day” thing and came to the realization/conclusion that it’s not me, it is the length of the day itself – it’s just too short!!! Let me elaborate…

Image

Every day is twenty-four hours long (twenty-four hours and a few minutes, I think, technically). Anyway, if I do “everything I should” and try to “be my personal best,” every day should look something like this for me:

Sleep – Dr. Oz says we all need at least seven (7) hours of sleep every day. Minus seven…

Exercise – Dr. H of The Biggest Loser fame says we should all “be active” (exercise) at least sixty minutes a day, or one hour. That makes eight hours of every day gone already…

Work – I typically work between seven and nine hours a day, when one factors in blogging, Facebook-ing and and managing the business I co-own. Let’s use eight (8) hours as an average. Sixteen hours have been allocated; now I am left with only eight hours a day.

Travel – On the days I work, I have approximately a 30 minute commute each way. That deducts another hour from my day. Now I am down to seven.

Personal Hygiene – Without going into any details, I figure I spend about an hour a day with “bathroom-related” activities. Bathing, other stuff – I know, but it’s true… Only six hours left.

Eating – If I eat the way I should according to Weight Watchers, I need to budget about 30 minutes per meal for planning, tracking, preparing and actually consuming my food. That’s another 90 minutes gone. I am down to only four and half hours left…

Mental Wellness and Spirituality – According to my therapist Jessie, I should try and spend about some time every day “…being with myself, alone in my thoughts.” It helps me lead a spiritually-balanced and mentally-healthy life. I try and schedule about an hour a day, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes before bedtime. Three and a half hours left.

Family – I call my Dad every night before bedtime. This is a routine I have followed since my Mom passed away a few years ago. Most nights, the call averages about ten minutes (we talk a lot about the weather) but sometimes my Dad gets an a jag about gun reform or medicare reform or penal reform (he is big to discussing reform) and he can go for maybe thirty minutes. I’ll budget a quarter hour here. Three hours and fifteen minutes left.

Activism – I am involved with a few political and social causes, but immigration reform is one area I am particularly involved in. To make it easy, let’s say I just average fifteen minutes a day in this category. Three hours left per day…

Now, in the three hours I have left every day, I need to schedule in paying bills, doing laundry, buying groceries, stopping for gas, my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-ins/meetings (every Saturday at 8AM for thirty minutes!) and maybe catching a movie  or watching some TV. By the time I factor in all the wild card variables, every day I am in the red… Then I think about Martin.

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Martin. My beloved partner, the man that makes every day worth getting up for. Martin, who never asks me for any time; in fact, he is watching TV quietly in another room while I am hammering out this blog post. He never says “I feel ignored” or “I wish you would pay more attention to me.” He is happy when we spend three or four hours together, taking down the Christmas tree or doing laundry and housework (some dates, huh?)

Martin supports all I do, sweetly and completely, and is honestly and unquestionably the best person I have ever known. I am lucky to have him in my life.

I know there is little I can do to make days longer but, in the future, I think I shall try and use each day to its best advantage. And I know that for sure, the best way to make every day worthwhile and memorable is to be sure to “budget” more time with my SBF, Martin…