Sunday, November 21, 2004

Now that the horror of gay marriage is out of the way 

...radical right-wingers are setting their sights on new targets. I came across a supremely frightening article today in the Kansas City Star. It's registration-required, so I'll excerpt the scary bits:
"Protection of marriage" is now the watchword for many activists fighting to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying. Some conservatives, however, say marriage in America began unraveling long before the latest gay-rights push and are pleading for a fresh, soul-searching look at the institution.

"When you talk about protecting marriage, you need to talk about divorce," said Bryce Christensen, a Southern Utah University professor who writes frequently about family issues.
"If those initiatives are part of a broader effort to reaffirm lifetime fidelity in marriage, they're worthwhile," he said. "If they're isolated - if we don't address cohabitation and casual divorce and deliberate childlessness - then I think they're futile and will be brushed aside."
Yep, you read that right. Cohabitation, "casual" divorce, and deliberate childlessness are next up on the rightwing agenda. So I guess I'm going to be near the top of the list when they start naming Handmaids, since I'm "living in sin" and I'm not interested in reproducing.

Incubators. That's all they think women are. They don't care about the precious fetuses - all they care about is ways to make us breed, preferably while keeping us as quiet and obedient as possible.


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Ted Stevens (R-AK) could be reading your tax return RIGHT NOW! 

Congress passed a huge omnibus spending bill (3300 pages!) today that, among other things, contains a provision allowing the chairmen of the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate, or their staffers, to obtain the tax records of anyone in America, with zero penalties for improper use or release of that information.

In other words, if you want to speak out against this administration, if you are an elected Democrat, if you've ever even looked at Tom DeLay cross-eyed - well, you'd better hope you didn't make any mistakes when you filed that 1040, and you'd better be OK with the entire world knowing the intimate details of your personal and professional finances.

When Sen. Conrad (D-ND) brought the details of this provision to light, Ted Stevens of Alaska (the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the man who would be gifted with this lovely new power) claimed it was all a terrible mistake, that the provision slipped in there by accident (I suppose the words just snuck into Congress in the middle of the night and inserted themselves into the bill), and that he wanted more than anyone to see the provision removed from the bill. Then, when Sen. Conrad moved to strike the provision, Sen. Stevens objected, killing the motion. Because it was all a terrible mistake, you see, and he really doesn't want to have this power, and he has no intention of using it, under any circumstances, ever.

What really just blows my mind about the Republicans currently in power isn't the new and innovative ways they find to abuse their control of all three branches of government. Oh, I'm outraged by it, and I find it appalling, but all too understandable in a bunch of power-mad ideologues bent on imposing their morality on everyone around except for themselves. No, what really throws me for a loop is the way they have no regard for the future.

Sometimes I think this can sum up the current mindset of the Republican party in a single phrase. Giant deficits, ballooning national debt? No regard for the future. Gutting environmental protections, polluting the air and water and killing off endangered species? No regard for the future. Destroying world opinion about America, weakening decades and centuries-old alliances? No regard for the future. Skimping on education and vocational programs? No regard for the future.

Seizing unprecedented amounts of power to go after your political opponents, excluding the minority party from as much of the business of governance as possible, lowering the bar on cloture to take even more power away from the minority party, thus setting the precedent for them to do the same to you someday when you are in the minority (and enshrining their power to do so in law, in many cases)? Well, I think you get the picture.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

...and I'm back. 

I prudently scheduled a trip to Los Angeles immediately following what shall henceforth be forever known as the Godawful Debacle so that whatever happened, I'd be surrounded by friends and friendly people and floating in alcohol, and no one would have to put up with the gloating or black depression that was sure to follow Nov. 2.

So I've spent the past week hanging out with my best friend in the entire world, who I've known since I was thirteen years old, along with a couple of her siblings and various other roommates, associates and compatriots of hers. We drank a lot, and rented movies and watched them, and I got to see her sketch comedy show for the first time, which was fabulous. And we got our eyebrows waxed and went shopping for bras and I bought two pairs of new shoes that I couldn't really afford.

It's really a bit odd relating to her siblings as adults. I mean, I've been doing it for a while now, but her brother is - I think - four years older than me, and used to pick us up from the mall when we were freshmen in high school, so I'm still a little intimidated by him, and her younger sister was a freshman when we were seniors in HS, so it's still strange to think of her as old enough to drink and in grad school (the lucky bitch).

On the plane coming back to Portland, I had one of the purest 'OCD moments' I've ever had in my life. See, I met this chick while I was waiting for my delayed flight to LA to board (she was waiting for her delayed flight to Vegas) and we decided to get a beer, and she told me how her first flight that day had been canceled because of a crack in the plane's wing. So on the flight home, whenever we hit turbulence, I started to freak out that the wing was going to break off. And then, after I worried at that thought for a minute, it would occur to me that if I didn't stop thinking about it, my thoughts would make the wing fall off. Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't get up from my seat, fall to my knees and start tracing the little tube-o-lights they put along the aisle with my nose or something right there, because don't think of a polar bear! Don't think about it, right now!

But I did manage to stop thinking about it, and the wing didn't fall off, and honestly, that proves I was right, doesn't it?


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Consider me one angry Democrat. 

Not angry at the Republicans - well, yes, I've been angry at them for years, and I'm still angry - but today I'm mostly angry at the DNC.

I've decided to give the Democrats one more chance - but if they run to the right and keep listening to the puling DLC-ers, that's it. Reading lefty blogs today sickened me - the number of people who were willing to just give up on various issues, just to win. I don't want to be a part of a party that's only interested in winning - if I did, I'd reregister as a Republican.

I may keep working for Dem candidates on the local level. Here in Oregon, we just managed to get control of our state legislature, and we solidly retained all four of our Dem Reps who were up (the single Republican is from Eastern OR, which is a single, and solidly red district - Eastern OR is basically Western Idaho) and our Dem Senator - so I think there are some real possibilities for progressive change here (not to mention finally getting something done - we've basically had deadlock for years now).

Ironically, J, who hates the Dems only marginally less than he hates the GOP, and who voted a straight Libertarian ticket except for President, was ranting about how many seats "we" lost last night while I was bitching about the spineless Democrats. (On the other hand, on previewing this post, I realized that I'm back to "we", at least on a local level, so maybe I'm rebounding)

I switched from being an inertia-Dem (grew up Hawaii, which is a massively-Democratic machine state) to a strong, loyal Dem this year. I poured my whole damn self into this election. I swallowed every bit of dislike I had for Kerry (and did I ever despise him last spring) in order to win this damn election. I went from just voting, to giving money, to volunteering hundreds upon hundreds of hours for this damn campaign. I even have an honest-to-god, personal note from Terry McAuliffe thanking me for my work.

And I'm about to just say "fuck it". Because not only did we get served, but now the Dems are looking to elect Harry Reid, another conservative Dem from a red state, as minority leader. And I have no doubt that Frist can scare up five turncoats to prevent a filibuster of judicial nominations, and Rehnquist has cancer. Say hello to Chief Justice Scalia, and Justice Gonzalez, who thinks the President has the power to set aside the law!

Argh. I'm angry right now, and I might change my mind about a lot of this after I've had a while to mull it over. But I am real damn angry - at the Democrats, at the electorate - well, really at just about everything.

I guess democracy really does mean that people get what they want good and hard, and I guess I feel pretty lucky that my mom made sure to apply for Canadian citizenship for me when I was born. I'll always have somewhere to run to, although it'll just kill me to leave behind everyone I'd have to leave.

And that is my rant. Longer than I expected, but I have a lot of anger to vent today. I bought into the idea of 'electability' and fell in line, and now I feel like I was sold a bill of goods.


Monday, November 01, 2004

I think you might be plotting to kill me. 

I've tried so many times to describe on this blog what it's like to live inside my head. Every time I end up saving the post as a draft or deleting it because it doesn't fully capture it, or because it describes one aspect of living with - whatever it is - while ignoring the others. I think I'm going to end up with a series of posts, each describing a part of living with OCD.

I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder in 2002. My doctor immediately started me on a combination of high doses of Prozac and therapy. It's worked amazingly for me, to the extent that I've been off the medication and out of therapy for over a year now. I've had some recurrent problems in the last few months, but I've been able to recognize them for what they are and ignore them, at least some of the time.

It's so hard to describe what it's like to live with OCD. There are far too many facets to my problem to describe them in one post - social anxiety, physical fear, lack of trust in others - I'll probably end up making a series of posts about it. I'm what's called "pure-obsessional", meaning I don't wash my hands over and over or drive home from work to make sure I turned the stove off. All of my obsessions and compulsions take place inside my head - I repeat thoughts over and over instead of actions, and I'm marginally better than full-spectrum obsessive-compulsives at hiding my disorder and leading a more-or-less normal life, because people don't see me indulging in comforting repetitions.

I guess the first thing to say is that I'm afraid of everything. Everything. Seriously. I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of power tools, to the extent that I had hysterics once when my dad tried to help me put a desk together with an electric screwdriver. I'm afraid of knives and guns and the bathroom and my closet. I'm afraid of hammers. And screwdrivers. And basically anything that can be used as a weapon (or anything something scary could come out of), which means, like I said, everything.

Say you look at a kitchen knife. The odds are that you see it as a tool, something to cut food with. I see it as a potentially deadly weapon. On bad days, I can't look at it without being subjected to images of and urges to use it to stab someone with. Now, I'm pretty sure I won't actually do that (people with OCD are actually less likely to commit violence than others) - but what's to tell me that you won't? Instinctually, I assume that if you pick up the knife you'll see the same images I do. How do I know you won't carry them out?

Standing on a cliff brings with it an urge to jump, or to push someone off. A protractor brings the urge to stab myself in the eye, or to stab someone else. Then I worry that I might actually do the things that my brain tells me to do, which adds to my anxiety. On top of that, I have to worry that the rest of you might give in to what I see as completely natural urges and commit these crimes upon me. Suddenly every person I pass on the street, every driver next to me at a stop light, has a gun and intends to kill me. The world becomes a very dangerous place.

Today I was sitting and drinking coffee at a coffee shop, smoking a cigarette and reading a book. A guy walked out of the coffee shop, muttering "I'm just going to have to kill him". I assume (having more or less no reference to normal) that normal people would have dismissed this as rhetoric. I dogeared my book and hightailed it out of there. Suburban strip mall or not, I wasn't taking any chances.


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Marriage is love.