Living Liberally Blog

Living Liberally Blog

The New New York Times

This morning, a bunch of people got punked, receiving forwarded articles pronouncing: "Ex-Secretary Apologized for WMD Scare."

Following a day in which Bush expressed regret over "Mission Accomplished" and "Dead or Alive," it seemed plausible that Condi Rice was trying to protect her legacy too.

But when, on my way into the subway, I get handed a paper copy of the New York Times declaring "Iraq War Ends," I knew it was a prank.

A prank...except that wasn't really tricking anybody (we generally knew the war wasn't over, universal healthcare hadn't yet happened and Bush wasn't standing trial for war crimes).

A satire...except it wasn't really funny. The reactions on the subway weren't laughter.

It was a parody...that elicited hope.

This project, which seemed to be dropped on the unsuspecting public by the Yes Men, got us know, the war could be over in and troops could start coming home in 6 months...CEO wages could be capped (especially as part of the bailout)...NYC bike lanes could be widened...and The Times editorial page could properly apologize for their complicity in the great Iraq deception.

Unlike the Onion which pokes at the truth with absurd headlines, this parody wasn't so far-fetched. The articles suggest a world that hasn't come yet, and maybe isn't immediately within reach, but is a few steps away...if we keep progressive pressure on this administration.

I saw people reading this fake paper -- not because they were tricked, nor entertained...but because it invited them to dream of the world they would wanted to see.

And who doesn't like to imagine?

The New Gulf War Syndrome

Reading Liberally Page Turner
by Nora Eisenberg

(We're honored that Nora Eisenberg, longtime friend of Living Liberally, award-winning novelist, and author of the soon to be published When You Come Home (Curbstone Press), the first American novel about the 1991 Gulf War and Gulf War illness, has allowed us to publish this special Veteran's Day post.)

What does a war injury look like? In the case of Iraq, we tend to picture veterans bravely getting on with their lives with the help of steel legs or computerised limbs. Trauma injuries are certainly the most visible of health problems – the ones that grab our attention. A campaign ad for congressman Tom Udall featured an Iraq war veteran who had survived a shot to his head. Speaking through the computer that now substitutes for his voice, Sergeant Erik Schei extols the top-notch care that saved his life.

As politicians argue about healthcare for veterans, it is generally people like Sgt Schei that they have in mind, men and women torn apart by a bullet or bomb. And of course, these Iraq war veterans must receive the best care available for such complex and catastrophic injuries.

What's Your Favorite Progressive Business?

With the election over, the discussion turns to how to keep progressive momentum going outside of the campaign. We need to do this to move a liberal agenda in DC; to keep newly-energized activists engaged; and to overall shift the debate in this country.

Pushing progressive values with your vote is one step; funding those values with your wallet is another. And with the holiday season coming up, it seems like this is a good opportunity to promote -- and support -- progressive businesses.

What's your favorite progressive business? Your fair-trade coffee provider, or your bar that hosts political events? Your local alternative performance venue, or an environmentally-conscious gift shop?

Let us know in the comments thread. At Living Liberally, we're working on a project called The Liberal Card that, as among other goals, aims to promote these businesses. We remember what a good resource Buy Blue was after the last election, directing us to businesses that leaned our way and warning us against those that didn't (and are happy that Advomatic will be reviving that program in the future). What was a good idea in '04 is an even better idea now. So suggest a few businesses to us (or offer yourself up if you are one) -- as we get ready to buy blue this holidays season.

End of Bush - But Not the End of Politics

The election is over. Bad guys lost. And Bush's time is at last coming to an end.

So we can rest, right?

Yes, we can celebrate -- and we've earned it. The end of the Bush administration and the start of a hopeful new chapter in America deserves to be marked, to be shared with friends and with your progressive community. And our good friends at CREDO are willing to pay for it. That's right, they'll fund 1,000 "End of Bush" parties over the next 10 days -- just sign up now (or attend one being thrown by your local Drinking Liberally).

But don't think of these as farewell parties. A progressive agenda still needs us: to support an administration that needs our advocacy, and to push the administration when it doesn't live up to our ideals. Too often, after Election Day, campaign offices close, grassroots groups go into hibernation and "fired up and ready to go" activists are left without a political anchor.

That's where Drinking Liberally comes in. By meeting regularly year-round, we serve a more important role between elections, creating continuity for your political energy, supporting a community that doesn't ebb and flow with campaigns.

CREDO gets it. They are an organization in it for the long haul; they've moved $60 million to progressive groups over the years, and they've invested heavily in infrastructure to register voters, get out the vote and protect voter rights. They have been an ally and an inspiration. And now, they are throwing these keep us fired up (and fed and tipsy and happy) for the battles to come.

Drunk on Democracy...with Drinking Liberally

Yes, we can.

Elect a new President, from a new generation,
with new vision, language, spirit,
& an American story unlike any past President
but increasingly like the story of America.

Yes, we can.

Start imagining solutions, not just problems,
as this moment of election already begins the work
of reviving our national spirit
& restoring admiration for America around the world.

Yes, we can.

Say no to fear & smears, slanders & panders,
no to callous, corporate, corrupt, cronyism,
say "No More" to war, torture & to utter disregard
for our earth, our neighbors & the least among us.

And now we need to keep up the fight:
to hold a new President & Congress accountable,
to create equal rights & protections for all,
to engage the public in governing, not just campaigning.

This week we got tipsy sipping the drink of democracy.
...but there's nothing wrong with being a democraholic.
Let's keep Drinking Liberally.

Raise a glass, a toast & a barbaric yawp
as we celebrate, embrace, hope & imagine
over liberal libations with like-minded left-leaners
at your local progressive social club.

Find - or start - a chapter near you.

This Week In Blackness - Election Night Edition

This momentous occasion deserves celebration, and with that is laughter. How many of us laughed out loud through the course of last night out of pure joy? Laughed as we embraced our friends?

Well, Laughing Liberally's Elon James White stayed up all night to cut a video to keep us laughing: the 12th episode of This Week in Blackness.

Katie Halper Does It Again

Jews for McCain. 'Nuf said.

Vote '08

The above note hangs on the wall of the Norristown, PA Obama office where my sister has been working. A grandkid's here's mine:

Need it be said? Go out there and vote.

Bring a child to watch you vote.
Bring a friend and double your vote.
Bring an umbrella, a book, a sound system -- make it a party, as Color of Change recommended to its list, to keep people engaged, keep them entertained and (most importantly) keep them in line.

Wear a button.
Smile at people who are wearing buttons.
Start conversations about your button.
High five strangers -- it's awesome.

If you're in NY, make your vote count more by voting for the Working Families Party line.

You've donated, you've blogged, you've swayed your friends. If you have any hours today, do more than vote -- we need you in the field or on the phone, every hour you have.

Then - join friends afterward as we watch the results.

Where Do I Go On Election Night? (.com, of course)

Election Day is almost upon us...and after that, election night.

Where will you be?

An increasing number of articles have detailed the desire to share the evening with others...suggesting that like the moon landing, a world series game, or a season finale, this is the type of moment -- profound or absurd -- you want to remember.

And in each city, like here in New York, I'm sure there are listings telling you what's going on.

So we decided to make it easier for you?

If the question is: Where Do I Go On Election Night?
The Answer is:

Because the evening will be better in the company of friends.

Gay Marriage and Proposition 8: A Personal Perspective

by Andrew J. Bernoff, Professor of Mathematics, Harvey Mudd College

(The following was sent to us by Greg Rae, a member of the Living Liberally leadership team, who is in California working on the No On 8 campaign to defeat the referendum against marriage equality.)

February 18th, 2004 was the happiest day of life.

On that day I married my husband, Tom, for the first time at San Francisco city hall. It was a day I never thought I would see. It was act of passion, an act of political activism, and a small step on a road toward equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, even if the marriage was eventually declared a legal nullity.

On May 15th this year the California Supreme Court affirmed that our actions in San Francisco were not only justified, but mandated by the idea of equal protection in the state constitution. Separate but equal is inherently inequitable or to quote the court:

"In view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples."

I married Tom for a second time on July 2nd , hoping that finally we would be viewed equally in the eyes of the state. Proposition 8 threatens to invalidate our marriage.

As a gay man, I'm tired of being treated like a second-class citizen. I have been spat on, badly beaten, and had beer bottles thrown at me. Even in Claremont, I have had eggs thrown at me from a moving car whose occupants yelled that omni-present epithet 'faggot' at me. As a gay couple, Tom and I are also tired of being treated as somehow inferior to our straight counterparts. We've spent hundreds of dollars getting legal documents such as wills and durable powers of attorney, just to try and protect ourselves and our futures. When it comes to benefits afforded to married couples, we have been discriminated against by insurance companies, academic institutions, hotels, and car rental companies, not to mention federal and state taxes. Sometimes these hurdles are low ("You are domestic partners? OK, fill out these forms in triplicate and get them notarized and we will let you . . . .") and sometimes they are impenetrable (Tom is on my HMC health insurance policy, which is taxed federally and has cost us literally thousands of dollars).

By voting "No on 8," you can help put an end to this.

Change is painful. It took nearly a century for this country to abolish slavery, and another century for the Civil Rights Act to codify equality on the basis of race. It took until 1920 for women in this country to be able to vote, and another half-century for them to gain the legal protections of Equal Rights that has heralded their progress toward equality in the workplace and the world. In retrospect discrimination on the basis of race or gender seems repugnant to most all of us; I have enormous personal conviction that eventually we will have similar societal attitudes toward gays and lesbians.

With change comes fear of the unknown. Most all the arguments for Proposition 8 revolve upon fear of what will be taught in schools about gay marriage and how it will affect faith-based organizations. First of all, Prop. 8 says nothing about schools or religious institutions. It amends the constitution to say "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," and most legal scholars agree that it will eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.

To those who support Proposition 8 I have some questions: Have you so little faith in your sons and daughters that my marriage will some how corrupt their view of the world? Have you so little faith in our societal protection of religious freedom that my marriage will somehow affect how you practice your faiths and beliefs? Endorsing Proposition 8 sends the message that legislating discrimination and taking people's rights away is OK. Are these the values you wish to embrace and teach to your children?

It breaks my heart that some of my students, former students and colleagues support Proposition 8. I have committed my life to your education, given you counsel and consolation, written you letters, nominated you for prizes, given money to the causes you support and helped your children in times of difficulty. If you truly respect me as an individual, can't you support our government extending me the same rights that you would any of your straight colleagues? Why are you so threatened by the fact that I love my partner and want to build a life and a future with him?

But when it comes right down to it, don't vote against Proposition 8 for me. Do it for the children of gay and lesbian couples to let them know that their families are viewed with equal rights in the eyes of the law. Do it for your gay classmates and friends, to let them know that you don't see them as second-class citizens. Do it for your children so they understand that discrimination is wrong. Do it because you want to live in a country where indeed "All men [and women] are created equal."