Alibi V.13 No.46 • Nov 11-17, 2004 ››
An Open Letter to Those Who Voted to "Protect Marriage"
Whether you know it or not, I know that your agenda goes far beyond "protecting marriage." It was not long ago that gays could not teach, could not join the AMA, the Bar. They were forced to live on the fringes of society, ostracized, under the constant threat of blackmail, exposure, imprisonment and institutionalization.
If you had your way, once again, we would be forced out of the military, out of our churches, schools, jobs, relationships, families. And to make it easy to get rid of us you will try to marginalize us, make us the targets of ridicule and hate. Patronize us with your false Christianity and make us responsible for society's moral decay.
How can an honest, committed relationship between two adults be so disgusting and evil that its sanction and recognition by government would threaten to crumble the basis of Western society? Is our society that weak? Is your family that weak? And if we are truly responsible for moral decay, how do you want us to live? How will you get rid of us? Castro takes gays in Cuba and puts them in concentration camps. You think it can't happen here?
There is not a nation in the world, including our own United States, that has not had its confiscations, deportations, ethnic and moral cleansings, concentration and death camps. Europe, Africa, Asia, India, North and South America are littered with the graves of Jews, Gypsies, intellectuals, Hutu, Tutsis, Bosnians, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, heretics, Native Americans, Communists, Capitalists, an endless list. And each sub-human and each a threat to the moral fiber of society. Is this what you want our nation to become? What will be the "Final Solution to the Gay Problem"?
A greater sin has been committed here, and the moral fiber of our society is truly threatened. A group of people, American citizens, have been identified and targeted as being intrinsically evil, sub-human, not worthy of equality and rights, dignity and respect. Weekly we are vilified from pulpits across the country, daily on television and on the radio. Day by day the fears and prejudices of the ignorant and narrow-minded are being made into laws. The President played on those fears to win the election. He won by making the relationship between me and my partner the target of fear, hate and prejudice. He won by dividing the nation into a country of the moral straights vs. those immoral queers. What will he do now, where will he channel the hate he exploited and brought into focus? Me and people like me are in those cross hairs. Who will risk their lives and reputations to defend us? Where is the compromise in a situation like this?
Regardless of what you find it convenient to believe, I did not choose my sexuality. The only choice I had was between being myself or being a guilt-ridden, neurotic, drug-addicted, alcoholic, closet case. In spite of what you would rather I had chosen, I chose the harder path that promised ridicule and prejudice, but in the end gave me pride and dignity.
I will not be invisible. I refuse to be demonized, I will not be your scapegoat. I will not be your sub-human, not worthy the respect and rights granted any other person on the planet. Take this sin and all your other sins and carry them. I am not responsible for your pornography, your adulteries, your divorces, your child abuse, your wife beatings, your rapes, your prostitutes. I am not responsible for poverty and ignorance, slums and ghettos. I did not create conditions where fathers abandon families, where children are molested, where teens sell themselves on the street, where women see abortion as the only option. I did not create your wars and massacres and genocides. I did not create a world where there is no hope, no future. All of that is yours, ours, it won't go away when you get rid of me.
History repeats itself, progress isn't always forward, the Inquisition and the Renaissance were different sides of the same coin. I'll learn from the lessons of history. But this is my country and I will fight you until its sure I've lost, and then I'll leave you to your moral society. Mexico, Canada, Europe, somewhere civilized. Much as I love it, I will not stay in a country that hates me.
Get Up, Stand Up
In the weeks following the election, many of us are feeling more and more discouraged with this country's political system. Many of us see four long years of our basic rights being denied, hate crimes becoming more prevalent, the United States occupying other countries against their will and ours, alienating ourselves from our allies, taxes going up, morale going down and our dreams being crushed. While much of this is a reality we must face, our dreams are still our own: We must hold tightly to them and we must be even more steadfast in our convictions.
I know, in the wake of this election/disaster, it is hard to see the hope in having beliefs, it is hard to understand why we worked so hard for a change—why we even voted at all. The change we wanted was not made. We fought the good fight and suffered a hit but we must remember: we have not lost. The war is not over; the battle has just begun.
The next four years will bring many events and changes to our country and to the world as we know it. Many of our laws will be under scrutiny and in danger of being over-turned. With Bush in charge again, look for conservatives to replace our three to four retiring Supreme Court Justices. The draft, abortion, affirmative action, gay rights are just a few of the issues that will cross the table of the Senate, House and Supreme Court. Although we cannot change who replaces the Justices, we can take a stand and make the country listen to us.
Take a stand! Make some noise! Protest! Write your congress-people! Get involved! Stay on top of changing laws and current events! Please be aware of your county, city and state laws and proceedings. Education is our best defense; making a statement is the second step to success. Remember: The war is not over—it has just begun. Work together and we will, one day, begin the journey back to the liberal beliefs this country is based on. One day, we will wake up from our dreams to see they have become reality.
No Vote Left Uncounted
I'm writing in support of Santa Fe students who marched to the Capitol protesting the election. They deserve to be heard. And they are speaking for more than themselves; we were all grief-struck, saddened and in shock at Kerry's swift concession.
Every vote was not counted. Taos had one precinct of 550 voters where one third of the votes were lost. 7,000 votes in New Mexico are known to be lost; there may be more. It is disrespectful to voters not to count every vote before declaring a winner. At least acknowledge the disenfranchised, the lost, the overseas soldiers votes and especially the electronic error potential. Many of us feel that this election could have been stolen, smooth as silk, a little here and there. At least, run the numbers, check all the results; then make a case for a "moral victory".
We may not be able to change results at this point, and we don't want to promote the polarity of people. The media orchestrated a carefully crafted campaign; we won't blame individual voters. But if the reason for Bush's popularity is "morality", please let's get together and talk about morals. If you're against abortion, then you must also be against killing in Iraq. Children are the main casualties of war. Let's discover our common values. We have morals too. They include honesty, truth, fairness and justice for all.
If Republicans are so sure of their moral stance and election numbers, then they should be willing to have every vote counted, and to agree in the future to paper ballots or electronic machines with a paper receipt. Accountability is something Bush liked to talk about in promoting "No child left behind". We need accountability in "no vote left uncounted".
We're With You
I am emerging from the stupor that came over me last night. When I arrived at the Sheraton Hotel, I expected to celebrate a Kerry/Edwards victory with many of the volunteers I had been working with for the past weeks. The information being broadcast on the screens in front of me threw me into the beginnings of the stupor. I wandered home, stunned, numb and speechless. By ten o'clock, I could see something was very, very wrong. I climbed into bed feeling devastated.
The next morning when I found out that neither candidate had won Ohio, I had a brief sense of hope. But then I tuned into the media, and again, the stupor set in. That's how I passed much of the day as I listened to Kerry and Edwards concede the election and Bush and Cheney claim a mandate. As I regain my wits, I realize something is very, very wrong. The election results do not make sense. Here is why.
The race was too close to call even as the polls opened on 2 November. The exit polls showed the Kerry/Edwards ticket up by as much as four percent in some swing states. These two pieces of data suggest there is no way Bush could win the popular vote by the margin he claims. In addition, I volunteered for the Kerry campaign and had first hand experience of the crowds of people supporting him. I saw the signs throughout Albuquerque supporting Kerry; bumper stickers, yard signs, signs in windows. I do not believe the race between Kerry and Bush is as close as is being reported in Bernalillo County. And further more, the Bush campaign did everything in their power to erase the voting record and deny people the right to vote. When I put these things together, it suggests all is not well in the land of the free.
Here's what I'm going to do and what I encourage you to do. I'm calling the County Clerk and asking how my vote was recorded. I'm going to talk to everyone I see and present my case. I'm going to attend meetings where we dialogue about what just happened. I think something is very wrong and encourage everyone to shake off the shock and move! My pre-election prediction was that if Bush won, the revolution would start sooner. Are you with me?
Requiem for a Party
Well, it's Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2004. And it's all over but the crying, because the Democrats are dying. This once great and noble party is now the sham of shams and has earned its place amongst the dead and damned. Add me to the tally of those who will no longer rally. For the party I knew and loved and thought was the last best hope of America. No longer does she have the voice she had and deservedly so, and that's too bad.
This letter is being written literally minutes before I begin a pilgrimage that will change my life forever. I am walking downtown to the clerk's office and I am changing my party from Democrat to Independent. This is my protest against the blatantly bad leadership of the Democratic party. For too long now, the Republicans have been allowed to steam roll this state into submission. For too long now, the lies have been allowed. Our jobs, our streets, our homes and our way of life have been jeopardized because of political expediency and the fear of stepping on toes.
A liar should be called a liar. A thief should be called a thief. The President should not be a King. All hail King George: We, the damned and defeated, salute and despise you, but not as much as we despise our selves and our so-called leaders.
Perhaps, one day there will be an uprising in America that answers the challenge posed by our divided nation. It did not come yesterday, and I wonder if I will ever see it.
What Would Jesus Do?
As a Lutheran minister, I wish to respond to the distortion of "morality" as it was used by the Bush push, prior to November's election.
Morality includes a huge agenda and should be on the table now and leading up to the presidential election of 2008. For Christians, not just the far right ones, Jesus' words talk about "putting away the sword" (Matthew 26:52) and "God loved the world" (John 3:16). The list is long.
I grieve the fact that Bush left out these bigger issues from the morality discussion. The Vietnam-like War in Iraq is a morality issue. Jesus never condoned killing and war. He asked us to love our neighbors, to do to others as we want them to do to us, to pray for one's enemies, to turn the cheek when persecuted, to be forgiving. Did anyone hear about these bigger issues from Bush or Kerry?
God loves all God's children: Those innocent Iraqi women, children and elderly who have lost more lives by the thousands, far more than the so-called terrorists and soldiers. We need to put bumper stickers on all Democrats and Republicans, which read: "God Bless the World and all its Peoples."
Jesus wants us to share with each other in equitable ways, not stealing from the poor and giving big million dollar tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, as Bush did. This is an obvious moral issue, but it was left out of the morality dialog. Let's put it in there, please.
Christians must share with our children and grandchildren, not put the financial screws to them with a debt/deficit bigger than any other president has ever hit us with. How many people teach their kids to go out and spend with their credit cards and tell them to have their offspring pay the bill, years down the line? Pity those who do this.
Jesus would give us what-for if he came back in person and saw the huge number of human beings Bush had killed while governor in Texas and now in our country, given our death penalty—something most of our allies do not do. Have we forgotten the old commandment, "Do Not Kill"—or is it okay to manipulate this and say it only refers to the fetus group? Do Iraqi human beings count less than fetuses in the United States of America?
In the New Testament, Jesus talks about telling the truth—something most of us parents have taught our children. How can we not see how our main TV news media (owned by corporate biggies who mainly push the Republican agenda) manipulate the truth? How can the United States vets not insist on our seeing the flag-covered dead soldiers (1100 and counting) on our TV screens, as we did in the Vietnam War era? The truth is meant to hurt us, and hopefully help us realize that war and destruction must stop. Who out there believes this in not a moral issue?
Look at www.VoteProtect.org and see how many non-truthful things were done at Ohio polling places. Is not the foundation of our democracy at stake when the election is stolen and distorted? Here in New Mexico, some people voted twice—something admitted to by officials at one site. The truth was sacrificed!
A young man from Clovis told me his wife, who is leaving for Iraq, says we cannot leave Iraq before the battle is "won" by us. Why? Because we would lose face! What ever happened to the words of Jesus? How dare we call ourselves a Christian nation (something Jews, Muslims, atheists and agnostics would not say)and delude ourselves into thinking that our Iraq War and military industries are blessed by God?
I seriously pray for you and me, for our children and grandchildren, for all the people of Iraq, for those we call the "terrorits" while we do our own war/terror, for those politicians who think they can get by with distorting Jesus' full intent for us and the world.
It is God's will for us all and for the entire world to look in the mirror and see the sins inside ourselves. It is time to truly inform ourselves with all of Jesus' lifesaving words—not just with those the politicians pick and choose so they can manipulate us.
As Senator Kerry said, it is time to heal. To do this, we must first confess our shortcomings, and then move on to embrace God's Amazing Grace, before it's too late!
An Open Letter to Mayor Chavez and the City Council
One year ago, an historic bond issue was placed on the ballot, calling for the issuance of bonds for general street repair, maintenance and upgrades. However, this bond issue also contained moneys for the extension of Paseo del Norte west to Unser Boulevard, which would force it to pass through the Petroglyph National Monument, widely viewed by Native Americans as a holy site.
This extension of Paseo del Norte was, naturally, very controversial, and due to laudable campaigning efforts by men and women like Eric Griego, the public was made aware of its presence, hidden within a nondescript, seemingly harmless bond issue. The public trusts the mayor and the city council to provide for the best interests of the city when proposing these bond issues, and generally bond issues pass with little concern.
Last year, the people stated clearly that the extension of Paseo del Norte was important enough to them for them to abandon their street maintenance, upgrades and repair for the time being to let you know that we didn't want this controversial expansion hidden within the rest of our street bonds. Whether or not it is true that the Paseo expansion will relieve traffic congestion, as the single most expensive item within the bonds, it deserves greater public scrutiny.
Despite the clarity of the people of Albuquerque, the bond issue was proposed again this year, with the Paseo extension included once more. We wanted to have the opportunity to judge that great fiscal expenditure on its own merits, rather than having it ride the coattails of much-needed maintenance and upgrades in our urban transportation infrastructure. Despite our clear message, you chose to ignore us, and put the issues together again.
In a year in which there is a presidential election, especially one as controversial and divisive as this year's was, turnout was certain to be high. Higher turnout leads to passage of bond issues, because citizens inherently trust the city council and the mayor to look out for our best interests. So yes, naturally, the bond issue passed this year. Eric Griego told the local media that this was a grave mistake for the city of Albuquerque, and that we really let down the Native American community.
While I do not necessarily support the extension of Paseo, I feel that it is the height of hypocrisy for one of our elected officials, who are ostensibly responsible for the wording and organization of the bond issues, to try to lay the blame on the people of Albuquerque. We did our job, Mr. Griego, a year ago when we said no. Some would argue in favor of putting the Paseo extension into the main bond issue because it is a street issue also, which is perfectly fair, but the loudest argument I've heard for including it is that the issue wouldn't pass otherwise.
Now I ask you, Mr. Griego, Mr. Chavez and the rest of the city council to consider this. Consdering the fact that bond issues generally pass, if the Paseo extension wasn't strong enough to pass on its own merits, where is the wisdom of doing it at all? I hold you, Mr. Chavez, and the city council responsible for the message we've sent to the Native American community. If they feel wronged, as they have every right to feel, they were wronged by you, our leaders, who forced us to choose between our principles and badly needed street repairs.
Crestfallen in Corrales
I had looked forward to Nov. 3 with hope for a change from the arrogant military and corporate policies which have placed our country in opposition to the global good—respect for human rights instead of unbridled greed, a healthy planet instead of its unsustainable exploitation, religious tolerance and freedom instead of judgmental self-righteousness and diplomacy respecting all nations instead of selfish nationalistic dominance.
With the election of President Bush after campaigns which were financial windfalls for the advertising media and never really told the full truth (half-truths, insinuations, misquotes, etc.), my hope for help from the top has been dashed.
I must continue, as I hope all citizens do, to make my voice heard, in spite of self-serving lobbying interests which bankroll the slick, often sick, advertising.
Simply put, I feel the public was not served by the campaign moneys raised while the intelligent governance of the country was dismissed.
Do the Math
Probability is a science, it's mathematics, not abracadabra or spinning. You can take it to the bank.
Let's say you wanted to know the probability of getting a head with a coin so you toss it a thousand times and count the heads. If you get 490 heads out of 1000 tosses, then the probability of getting a head with that coin would be 490/1000, or 49 percent.
So how mathematically probable would it be for 55 percent of the next ten million tosses of that coin to be heads? If you said zip, zilch, no way, you'd be right, because it would be a "statistical impossibility".
And exactly the same thing is true for what just happened during our last presidential election. The Florida results, the Ohio results and the country in general results were "statistically impossible" in the light of the most recent pre election polls, and more specifically, the exit polls during the election.
Here's the evidence. In the states that had EVoting without paper trails, George Bush had an unexplained advantage of around 5 percent when compared to the exit polls, but in the states that had EVoting with paper audits, the exit poll results matched the actual results with the margin of error. This is the tip of a very large iceburg.
What does this mean? Yes, it could mean all the exit polls were wrong, but since exit polls have consistently been one of our MOST reliable measures for election results, why would they so universally fail us in this election? Clearly this is the wrong interpretation.
The self evident conclusion is that this election was criminally fraudulent. So who's responsible? Well, since Diebold machines can be hacked into by grade school students, there's lots of possibilities. And oh yes, the Diebold company is based in Ohio.
A Postcard from Winnepeg
I am embarrassed and ashamed to live in a state and country where one half of the population is homophobic religiously fanatic. I used to have faith in people and that was shattered this morning. Guess it's time to move to Canada.
Fifty States and a Donkey
Get off your asses and get back on that Donkey! We have work to do! Yes. I, like you, donated my time, my hard earned money, my sweat and my tears to the Democrat Party and to their effort to elect a dedicated, righteous and honorable man to become the next president of the United States. Our opponents out maneuvered us, out strategized us, out recruited us, in running the most successful deceptive campaign in United States history. The majority of Americans were deceived into believing that the opposing candidate and its opposing party were "un-American", "un-patriotic", and "out of touch" with the needs and desires that all of us intuitively believe in as citizens of this great country.
Yes, wake up and smell that rose again, the Democrat Party has always represented what is right and just for all Americans and that should have never been questioned in this election. In the past, the Republican Party has time and time again unknowingly divided America because of their strict ideology and their lack of tolerance. I have constantly struggled to understand the Republican Party's alignment with "the end justifies the means" banner that it now waves with pride. Now a new neo-conservative Republican Party has embraced that banner and mastered the art of winning elections against opponents by attacking their integrity and undermining their good name with un-ethical media manipulation.
As a lifelong Democrat, I have aligned myself with this party because of its open arms to everyone in this country and its unequaled pursuit to ensure that America plays fair. Through the political events of the last few years, these political ideologies have been re-established, and my loyalty and conviction to the Democrat Party has been affirmed.
Let's admit it. We have fallen asleep at the wheel. By our unique nature, we have let the cancer which afflicts the Democrat Party return to haunt us and drive us to ineptitude. A Democrat by nature is apathetic. The Democrat believes in the human spirit and they believe that that human spirit would never allow another human to take advantage of us.
Well guess what happened this last election day. America was taken advantage of as the whole world watched and prayed that it would not happen. The Democrat Party did not take advantage of its sleeping army which was ready to serve. That sleeping army contains hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of unique individuals that have a heart of gold and intuitively know the difference of what is right and wrong. Those individuals exist in every community throughout our great and beautiful land, not in just our urban cities. As we urbanites relished in our new political enthusiasm, which existed only in our glass bubble, we didn't realize that the voters in rural communities were being relentlessly pursued by the Republican Party. Shame on us Democrats for being so politically naive to this fact and not realizing that we are being divided into two countries! Our rural citizens were led into thinking that our urban citizens are out of touch with American values. Our American political system has woken up today with a huge black eye, punched by a fist that is connected to its very same body.
So as we Democrats lick our wounds and struggle with whether our party was saying the right things, taking the correct path, or selected the right candidate; let me assure them that the answer is a definitive and undeniable, Yes! Can we do better? No doubt about it. If we recruit our sleeping army, you bet we can! I am so proud of my party, we had everything going against us and yet we pulled together and worked faithfully to correct something that was so wrong. Who am I? My name is Brian Alden and I am a software engineer who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a state that turned Red in November of 2004.
The Day the Music Died
Around 9 a.m. this morning, I heard rumors that the president-elect had been shot. The media was reporting John Kerry had called President Bush to offer his election concession. A part of me died at that moment. A friend left a message on my answering machine later in the day. She said she had suffered through an "incredibly shitty" day. I believe we all did. In 1963, the world witnessed the death of a young president, a liberal senator from Massachusetts. His assassination ended an ideal, a spirit of Camelot in Washington.
In 2004, the world witnessed the ideological death of another liberal senator from Massachusetts. John Forbes Kerry carried the banner for a new Camelot in the world. The senator was assassinated not by a bullet, rather by smears, distortions and media manipulations. The world has been cheated of a new beginning.
The right of quality health care for all Americans was defeated by false rhetoric about socialized medicine. Only the wealthy will now have access to life-sustaining services. The opportunity for lower prescription drugs was defeated by unwarranted threats about security. Insurance companies and large pharmaceutical companies face no restraints now. The hopes for breakthroughs in medical science were shattered by demagoguery and fundamental extremists who want a return to the Dark Ages. Faith replaces scientific methodology in healing.
The promotion of increased tolerance and empathy for those who may not be just like us was crushed under a groundswell of bigotry and ignorance. Our prayers for a new era of global cooperation remain unanswered, while an militaristic faction in Washington increased their calloused grip on power. Is this how people in Nazi Germany felt in 1933?
We will never know what might have been, yet I am now aware that we cannot stop what will be. There has never been such a concentration of power in the United States of America, and Dick Cheney now claims thi regime has a mandate. God Help Us! Reflect for a moment about their radical agenda during the last term without one...
We are in a state of mourning. These political wounds run deep. I have no illusions they will be easily healed. I am not confident about unification, and will neither forgive nor forget. Barach, you were wrong. There are two Americas!
I believe in honest competition. I value sportsmanship and ethics. Yet the victors in this election exhibited none of these qualities. Don't ever forget that the Sinclair Broadcasting Group aired a "news" program about the evil John Kerry, anti-war protestor, the man who single-handily secured victory for the North Vietnamese, a.k.a. the Godless Communists, in Ohio just days before the election. This is the penalty we suffer for failing to block the concentration of media power.
In election 2000, Al Gore warned us about the growing corporate domination of American politics. They move offshore to avoid paying taxes in the land they claim to love; they seek overseas labor to increase their bottom line; they pay top executives 500 times the salary of you and me; and, they never die!
Ron Suskind recently wrote how the Bush administration creates their own reality. This was not a referendum on the facts. John Kerry won all three debates, yet Karl Rove engineered the greatest deception in American history. Millions of people actually voted against their best interests.
I thank each of you who worked so hard to stop this distortion. We have formed a bond that will endure. We lost this election, but we will not lose the war. And, I suggest to you that we have less to fear from foreign "terrorists," and a great deal more to fear from those who occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Society didn't have an opportunity to digest the words of Usama bin Laden late last week. These fighters seek one goal—freedom. Ironically, we now have more in common with UBL than we comprehend. They work to be freed from the oppressive policies by the United States government in their homeland, and now, so do we. Please read his address at http://www.abq4kerry.com.
As a final suggestion, spend the rest of this week in mourning as we remember the death of this paradigm—a package of ideals and objectives that would have championed the common man, woman, family and small business. On Monday, let's begin again. It is a moral imperative. Remember, "We Shall Overcome."
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