jaynells: oscar the grouch (Default)
I'd supported same-sex marriage since I was a teenager back in the '90s. Since before I identified as bi. The only arguments I'd heard against it were the usual bigoted froth.

Then I hit college and read The Trouble With Normal . It blew my mind wide open. It (along with That's Revolting!) exposed me to a critique of marriage equallity from the left. You probably know it already, but just to make sure we're all on the same page here, it goes something like this:

    Back in the '70s, gay activists were radical. They pushed back against heteronormativity, against the nuclear family structure. The basic idea: straight people act like we're abnormal and deviant. Instead of saying, "No we're not, we're just like you," what about saying, "Okay, what if we are different? If we are 'deviant', what are we deviating from?? Maybe the stuff we're deviating from is actually fucked up. Maybe it's constraining and harmful. Maybe there are other, equally valid, ways to live, to date, to have sex, to form families."

    Now our political fight has been co-opted. Now we're fighting hard to join existing institutions that are fucked up at their core. We're fighting to be part of the mainstream, to be seen as normal when it shouldn't matter whether we're normal or not. The quest to join in on marriage and the military -- two institutions that many leftists are deeply skeptical of -- is a betrayal of earlier, better, more radical aims.

    And this isn't an accident -- it's a direct function of our movement being run by the most privileged section of our community. Affluent white cis gay dudes nearly have it all and they want one last piece of the pie. In addition to betraying our radical queer foreparents and the hope of creating a viable counterculture, the quest for marriage (and the military) means we're shoving aside the priorities of queer folks who are much more vulnerable -- people of color, trans people, poor people -- and hogging valuable time, energy and money for a cause that doesn't affect them.

If you're someone who's critiqued the fight for marriage equality from the left, does that seem like a fair regurgitation of that argument? If not, hit me up in comments. I honestly don't want to act like an asshole. When I first read this critique, I found it provocative, fascinating, kind of... okay, "sexy" isn't the word, but I liked it.

I was sympathetic to it. I'm skeptical of marriage and the military, too, have been for a long time. I got a thrill from seeing a whole new way to look at things, from being forced to question a status quo that I didn't even realize could be questioned -- despite my skepticism, it was still this deeply ingrained norm, like wallpaper I'd passed all my life but never noticed until someone pointed it out.

But even though I was sympathetic, thrilled, etc., I also couldn't embrace it. Now that we're possibly, possibly on the cusp of having same-sex marriage being legalized by SCOTUS (DON'T LET ME DOWN, KENNEDY), here's why I argue that this entire thing hasn't been a waste of our time or a ~betrayal of our ~radical queerness. Or that maybe it has been a betrayal and that that's okay.

What I really can't argue with: we white affluent queer folks have long shoved aside the concerns of our more marginalized queer brothers and sisters. It's not okay. It's never been okay. It makes sense for people to be really, really mad about it. What I will argue: that the fight for same sex marriage, in and of itself, has aspects to it that go directly to the heart of our struggle as a community against homophobia, which means it's been a net good for our entire community, key word "entire."

How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love Dirty, Dirty Assimilation:

1. The one you've all heard before, or: I can't wait til the Revolution for my hospital visitation rights. There are people right now that need the benefits and privileges that go along with marriage.

2. It's not only affluent, white, cis GLB folk that want to get married. Enough said.

3. Not everyone is radical. And that's okay. more )
jaynells: oscar the grouch (Default)
Saw this at Lawyers, Guns & Money -- the current desperate legal strategy for Team Homophobe in CA:

WASHINGTON — Marriage should be limited to unions of a man and a woman because they alone can “produce unplanned and unintended offspring,” opponents of gay marriage have told the Supreme Court.

By contrast, when same-sex couples decide to have children, “substantial advance planning is required,” said Paul D. Clement, a lawyer for House Republicans.

This unusual defense of traditional marriage was set out last week in a pair of opening legal briefs in the two gay marriage cases to be decided by the Supreme Court this spring.

Gay marriage is wrong because it doesn't let us control women's bodies enough!

Apparently what Team Homophobe actually means, according to this LGM commenter:

The idea seems to be that we can trust same sex couples to plan a family appropriately, so they don’t need this marriage thing.

Whereas hetero couples may sprog at any moment, causing the downfall of society, cats and dogs living together and children out of wedlock. So they need marriage to corral them into stability for the good of the nation.

Marriage: a necessary evil for the heteros. Gay people are too good for it, and it would only sully them, which we’re too kind hearted to wish on them.

Another commenter:

I’m curious about the claim this is a novel or new argument. The “accidental procreation” or “responsible procreation” argument dates back at least to 2005 in Morrison v. Sadler (in Indiana). Dan Savage described it as the straight people falling down drunk and getting up pregnant argument.

Obviously, these assholes are just grasping at straws and jumping from one ridiculous argument to another 'cause they've got nothing. I don't think the "BUT WE NEED TO CONTROL THOSE WHORES" thing is intentional but man, it really kinda jumps out at you.
jaynells: oscar the grouch (Default)
So, Republicans? The party of tax cuts? Really wanted super-low taxes on the rich? This was kind of their whole thing during the fiscal cliff negotiations?

You'd kind of think that this would mean that they'd also want to keep the payroll tax holiday. Since that would mean workers were. Y'know. Paying lower taxes. Getting less taxes taken out of their paycheck. That kinda thing.

But instead, the expiration of the payroll tax holiday was a concession (or "concession," depending on which theory about the negotiations you're partial to) from the Democrats.

I mean, we all know the Republicans don't give a fuck about poor people. Or even middle class people. But aren't they supposed to at least have a fig leaf? What with all the Joe The Plumber/champion of small business/Sarah Palin-cutting-the-g-off-all-words-to-sound-folksy b.s.?

You could argue, I guess, that since those taxes go to Social Security and Medicare, Republicans just want to starve the beast! Evil entitlements! Except it's the Tea Partiers that were all, "Get your government hands off my Medicare," and as, um, confused as that statement is, it at least shows that they value Medicare, which implies that Republicans... shouldn't starve the beast? Then again, their constituents won't blame them for it, since they're idiots (see: "Get your government hands off," etc.). So maybe it's us greedy "takers" that aren't paying our "fair share" for those programs? But, again, if you truly want to Starve The Beast, it would be great for less people to pay for it, right? Let it die and privatize that fucker! Right? Neither provides a good explanation.

So I did some Googling. First: even Ross Douthat likes the payroll tax holiday.

Second, according to Media Matters:

Rep. Michele Bachmann: Payroll Tax Holiday "Hasn't Helped To Turn The Economy Around."


[Senator John Kyl, R-AZ]: The payroll tax holiday has not stimulated job creation.

Sen. Orrin Hatch: Payroll Tax Holiday "Proven To Be Ineffective" At "Stimulating Economic Growth."


Rep. Paul Ryan: Payroll Tax Has "Already Proven To Fail."

Oh. Okay. But all those corporate giveaways, those totally create jobs. Yeah.

During a June 26, 2011, appearance on CNN's State of the Union, Moody's Analytics economist Mark Zandi stated: "On the other side of that, there are a few things I think that can be done that would make a difference in the very short term if we need it. So extending the payroll tax holiday for another year seems like a reasonable thing to do. I think that can get done politically. Without that payroll tax cut this year, I think we'd be skirting recession now because of the higher energy prices." (CNN's State of the Union, 6/26/11, emphasis added [by Media Matters])

[...] Moody's Analytics estimates that every $1 reduction in federal tax revenue resulting from an employee-side payroll tax cut expands the economy by $1.27. (CBPP.org, 9/7/11, emphasis added, internal citation removed [by MM])


CBO estimates that reducing employees' payroll taxes would raise output cumulatively between 2010 and 2015 by $0.30 to $0.90 per dollar of total budgetary cost. CBO also estimates that the policy would add 3 to 9 cumulative years of full-time-equivalent employment in 2010 and 2011 per million dollars of total budgetary cost. (Elmendorf Testimony, 2/23/10, emphasis added [by MM], via CBO.gov)

So, now those of us who don't make much money (*raises hand*) are getting a larger chunk taken out of their paycheck and it's the Republicans who wanted it. And it's basically just a blatant, "We won't give you higher tax rates on the rich unless you hurt some poor people." I mean, seriously. What the fuck.

[tumblr.com profile] mylittlepinko x-post
jaynells: bill, from bill and ted, looks scared while holding a phone. (freaked out bill)
The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless has put together a call-in which is going on RIGHT NOW, from 9:00am - 12:00pm. They're calling on DC residents to call (or email) their council members and ask them not to balance DC's 2012 budget on the backs of the poor. 60% of the budget cuts, as of now, come from human services that aid the District's neediest residents.

We urge you to raise your voice and call upon the DC Council to increase FY 2012 spending for homeless services by $20.5 million, so all shelter programs stay open. Let the council know that our community will not stand by to watch those few remaining threads of the District’s safety net be shredded.

Sample email and council member email addresses & phone numbers under the cut )

Sorry for the super-last-minute notice.

For more information on Mayor Gray's budget shenanigans, check out The DC Fiscal Policy Institute.
jaynells: oscar the grouch (Default)
So, I just started working with ONE DC, an organization dedicated to promoting economic and racial justice in Washington, D.C., with a focus on low-income communities. Our recent campaign looks at the proposed 2012 D.C. budget. Mayor Gray's planning $187 million in cuts, and 60% of those cuts are to human services -- programs for D.C.'s most vulnerable residents.

So here's a video we shot about the situation:

I don't have that many people friended/subscribed/following me/etc., so if you can boost this signal, I'd greatly appreciate it. Especially if you're from the District, or have friends or family there. But if you're not anywhere near DC, please, still feel free to repost!
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