Sunday, September 27, 2009

He takes a stand for marriage equality, now?

Former President Bill Clinton recently told Anderson Cooper in an interview on CNN that he has changed his mind on same-sex marriage. While he says he always opposed an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, he used to believe that "marriage" should be reserved only for a man and woman. Now he says that if same-sex couples want to make such a commitment that they should be allowed. He also stated that in spite of this he still believes that the issue is best decided by the states.

While his change of heart is appreciated, it comes a bit late, for one. It was, afterall, on his watch that the discriminatory 'Defense of Marriage Act' was passed. Of course, it would have also been nice had he been enlightened to this more tolerant perspective years ago. One wonders just why it took him so damn long.

Mr. Clinton claims that he was "hung up" on the word. That word being "marriage". Frankly I have to wonder if what changed for Clinton was not just an epiphany as to how unreasonable it is to deny the right of marriage to people based on their sexual-orientation, but rather that society is more approving now and therefore it is less a controversial stance.

Regardless, Mr. Clinton should go one step further toward an actual egalitarian attitude toward legal marriage and endorse making it legal at the national level. Afterall, if it's unfair in principle in one state then wouldn't it be everywhere else? When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down bigoted anti-miscegenation laws they didn't just apply it to Virginia. Would it have been just if the state of Virginia, as some other states (like California) had, simply permitted interracial marriages? Or should such discriminatory laws have been overturned entirely across the entire nation? I think so.

Marriage conditions based on race was grossly unfair and unconstitutional on its face. This was as true for the Lovings in Virginia, as it was for couples in Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee or Florida. The same is true today for conditions based on the gender of spouses. The most striking example is slavery. Some issues simply should
never be left to the states to decide.

In the end I can't imagine how much having Bill Clinton support same-sex marriage will actually help efforts toward equality for same-sex couples. Folks who are anywhere right-of-center seem to have little respect for the man. Given his failings in marriage, as they would be quick to point out, he's not really much of one to speak from a perspective of moral standing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Modern conformity

I found this article to be another case in point of the regression that civilization is (still) undergoing these days. The article discusses some of the new designs in clothing that allows Muslim women to be more physically active whilst conforming to Islamic "modesty" standards. While I can understand how Muslim women who are interested in conforming to patriarchal standards would prefer these designs over, say, more conventional burqas which are basically body-tents, still, I find it a tragedy that many are embracing conformism over rejecting draconian customs.

I most definitely find attempts to make it easier to adhere to draconian social standards a step back from progress. I think these women would be best served by refusing to adhere to backward, archaic religious mores that ultimately force them to be substandard. I'm concerned that rather than rejecting religious social extremism, there is a trend toward embracing it whilst attempting to reconcile this with modern society.

Part of what concerns me is that it isn't enough for Muslim societies to conform to Sharia law. Just like with the Danish Cartoons in Denmark, there seems to be a certain expectation of Westerners to embrace primitive religious codes over egalitarian jurisprudence. As someone who loves freedom and civil liberties I refuse to conform to the backward beliefs of others, especially those whose beliefs are contradictory to my own and to my nation's.

In countries that embrace freedom people are free to do what they want. If women want to wear "burqinis" then that is their business. But any attempt to require conformity from women (or men) who reject such nonsense in free countries should be met with stern.


I thought I'd add some "sacrilegious" images as my own personal protest against the extremist expectation of some to deny rights to freedom of speech and expression.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back

It's been about 9 months since I posted anything here. I've been less active on other blogs and forums over this time, as well, but no less interested or involved in politics. In fact, I've been even more involved than before. The election of Barack Obama has had a great deal to do with this.

One of the reasons I've often been sporadic about my posting on journals and blogs is because I have a tendency to go overboard. Lengthy posts, lots of detail... It's more effort than I find it is worth investing. And, unlike people who are paid for this sort of thing, I have a real job and real responsibilities that don't allow for a lot of free time.

So, I'm going to do things a bit differently from now on. Short and not so sweet. I'm going to keep things as direct and to the point as I can; similar to some prominent blogs that I've read. And, no doubt, I'll be as politically incorrect as ever. Hopefully my posts will become smaller than before, and more frequent.