Saturday, August 29, 2009

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

If you've been seeing & hearing those things that I have these past few days from the many friends who obviously loved Ted Kennedy, you have to have noticed that not all of them were his political allies & they didn't necessarily share his political point of view. People like Pat Buchanan, Orrin Hatch, John McCain, George Bush (the younger and the elder) all spoke of a man with whom they had many political differences, but whom they cared for personally.

So many times since his death, I've heard about how--even in the last months of his life--he wanted to be there & wanted to help take care of his friends, even as his own health failed and as he needed assistance himself. Til the end, it seems, Senator Kennedy still believed that it wasn't all about was about those people who needed him & who loved him & who gave his life purpose. He was the youngest of his siblings who, through misfortune & unspeakable loss, grew to become the patriarch not simply of the family with whom he shared blood lines, but of a political family throughout the entire country with whom he shared common values.

One of the many stories I heard from one of his friends was about the time a reporter had asked Senator Kennedy how, with his near-aristocratic station in life, he spent so much time speaking about & seeking to help those much less privileged than he, and he asked the reporter, "Haven't you ever read the Bible?". The Kennedys never wanted for anything, thanks to his father, Joe Kennedy's financial prowess, but it was Rose Kennedy who instilled in all her children the idea that"to whom much is given, much is required". That early life lesson combined with the loss of his two older brothers who had sought public service through elected office--and both of whom gave their lives in the process--impressed upon Teddy the unique responsibility that was his as the last Kennedy brother. I cannot begin to imagine what a heavy burden that was for Teddy Kennedy.

I know that he was not a perfect man, and he was known for his raucous personal life & his own personal foibles & mistakes, but Teddy Kennedy believed in redemption, and he worked tirelessly--especially in the last half of his life--to earn it. Senator Kennedy fought valiantly to give voice to those--as Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia recently described them--"those whose needs exceed their political clout." He didn't win every fight & he still left this world with an unfinished agenda, but he was never petty or small about it. Teddy Kennedy kept the faith & fought on & stood for his values relentlessly & regardless of the prevailing political winds because he believed so deeply in what he wanted to do & what he wanted his country to be.

Franklin Roosevelt, before he was President, in nominating the former governor of New York, Alfred Smith, at the 1924 Democratic Party Convention, called him "The Happy Warrior" for his work at ending racial violence, and I think the same appellation would befit the former senior Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, except that Senator Kennedy never saw his work as a war...he saw it as a work of the heart, where there need not be any more casualties.

Senator Edward "Teddy" Moore Kennedy lived a good, long, satisfying life, and in the end, when the time came for him to leave this world, he was surrounded by a large, loving family in the home he loved, and by a country whose greatness was due--at least in part--to his personal dedication to help lift the lives of "the least of these." He was given the gift of years that his brothers never had, and--in my humble opinion--he used them well, and he inspired so many of his fellow citizens to demand more, not just of their government, but of themselves.

In hearing all these tributes to this true American legend, I was reminded of a verse in the Bible I learned back in Sunday School, from Proverbs 27:19:

As water reflects a face,
so a man's heart reflects the man.

In my mind, as life was finally leaving Teddy's body, I just know that his heart was the last part of his physical being to stop...but in every one of us inspired by this great man, his heart & his ideals & the dream about which he always spoke & for which he gave his last full measure will live on long after the temporal shell crumbles away.

After all, isn't the dream supposed to outlast the dreamer?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

America's Senator

I was in tears this morning when I heard about Senator Kennedy.

He became Senator in 1962—the year I was born.

Ted Kennedy is a big reason why I became a Democrat in the first place.

I feel a little sad for all the people in this world who will never get to see or know him as a larger-than-life contemporary figure in American politics & society. The kids coming up now will only know him as one of many historical figures that helped changed the world.

While I was thinking about all Senator Kennedy achieved in his life--not for himself, but for the country & world that he loved so much--and what still remains undone & what he said recently had become the passion of his life: national health care for every American, I couldn't help but think of the words that President Lincoln spoke in Gettysburg during the American Civil War. If I may be so bold as to paraphrase the President's words:

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what he did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which the senior Senator from Commonwealth of Massachusetts has thus far so nobly advanced.

Considering his tireless work on behalf of just about every underdog under the sun, Senator Kennedy deserves the honor of having a great health care bill named after him, and we who will benefit from it & who will hopefully be a healthier, more robust nation because of it deserve it, too.

I have never stepped a foot in Massachusetts, but, in my heart, Senator Kennedy has ALWAYS been MY Senator, and I will miss him & his fearlessness & his undying dedication to making the American dream real for ALL of us.

God bless you, Senator Kennedy!

My prayers are with his wife, Victoria, and all his loving family...and with our country.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Brad For Mayor!

I've had an on-going crush on Brad Pitt ever since I saw him shirtless in the movie, Thelma & Louise. I know his character was sort of a low-brow, thieving cowboy gigolo who had no problem using his nearly-perfect body as a means to get whatever he wanted & demonstrated no compunction whatsoever in taking advantage of a woman who was in desperate straits, but, with that sweet Southern twang in his voice, that spectacular smile & the aforementioned shirtlessness, I couldn't help but forget all the bad stuff whilst admiring his Adonis-y abs! :-)

Now, I've gone & completely forgotten what I was posting about in the first place...

Oh yeah, as you may or may not know, in real life, Brad Pitt--besides being a great actor (in my humble, biased opinion) is a loving father & life partner of the beautiful Angelina Jolie) has made a mission out of helping rebuild the areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Katrina through their organization, the Make It Right Foundation.

Brad, who--as you can probably imagine--is a pretty popular guy in New Orleans these days, was interviewed recently on the "Today" show & was asked the possibility of running for mayor of NOLA. In response he said, "I don't have a chance. I'm running on the gay marriage, no religion, legalization and taxation of marijuana platform."

As you can imagine, I'm so with him on the equal marriage rights (as a matter of fact, I simply adore Brad & Angelina for publicly announcing that until same-gender couples can be legally wed, they will not enter into legal matrimony, THAT'S what I call "walking the walk"!!), and (though I have never smoked anything in my life), and though I would never encourage anyone to smoke anything (even tobacco), I think I'd be OK with legalizing and HEAVILY taxing marijuana. I'm even OK with the "no religion" part, because I've personally learned to separate "Religion" from faith (two different creatures all together, in my book), which is what I hope he is talking about when he speaks about his (probably fictitious) campaign platform. As Jay Bakker says, "Religion Kills"; for me, faith sustains life (at least it has sustained mine).

All I want to know is where I get one of those "Brad Pitt for Mayor" t-shirts???

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy 48th Birthday, Mr. President!

I know you're supposed to get gifts on your birthday, but I want to thank you for giving your fellow citizens the gift of Hope, and for reminding us that we don't have to wait for someone else to make this a better world. Just like Dorothy with her ruby slippers in Oz, we've always had the power...we just needed to believe it first!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

"...Something Sick...About Break[ing] Into People's Bedrooms & Claim That God Sent You."

I had referenced Rev. Al Sharpton on one of my recent posts, and I included a link to his stance & work in overturning California's Proposition 8, which included a portion of a speech he had given at an Atlanta church. Below I have included a link to the entire article from the website for the newspaper, Southern Voice, which describes itself as the South's "most respected and most read gay and lesbian newspaper."

Below the link you'll find parts of Rev. Sharpton's speech earlier this year at Atlanta's Tabernacle Baptist Church. I know that he is a pretty controversial figure for a lot of people & I know that he probably has as many detractors as fans, but I really do love the way Sharpton can turn a phrase & how he can fire up the faithful!

Most of all, though, I love how fearless he is in speaking up for GLBTQI people & how willing he is to take this particular good fight to the fearmongers who--to paraphrase the line from the movie Saved!--delight in using the Bible as a weapon against our community.

Sharpton decries churches pushing Prop. 8

It amazes me when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when the they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being delegated into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners. There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people’s bedrooms and claim that God sent you.

I am tired of seeing ministers who will preach homophobia by day, and then after they’re preaching, when the lights are off they go cruising for trade.

We know you’re not preaching the Bible, because if you were preaching the Bible we would have heard from you. We would have heard from you when people were starving in California, when they deregulated the economy and crashed Wall Street you had nothing to say. When [alleged Ponzi schemer Bernie] Madoff made off with the money, you had nothing to say. When Bush took us to war chasing weapons of mass destruction that weren’t there you had nothing to say. … But all of a sudden when Proposition 8 came out you had so much to say, but since you stepped in the rain, we gonna step in the rain with you.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

We (me & my 2 beagles) finally moved into my our place, and all I have left to do now is to change an apartment full of boxes & bags & general stuff & junk into an actual living space. I'm sure it's easier said than done, but it's gotta be done, and I really can't expect much help from my pups in the way of lifting & carrying...but they are EXCELLENT at being cute & loving & loyal. What more could a girl want?!?!? ;-)

Anyway, I found a quote today that kinda lifted my spirits this morning & I wanted to share it. Maybe it will give someone else a needed lift, too (I hope so, anyway). It's a line from Anne Lamott, an American author probably best known for her book, Bird by Bird, her book on writing, and Operating Instructions, about her first year as a single mother, as well as various novels.

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."