Once upon a time, there was a man-an “exceptional” man born into an “exceptional ” Western country. Over the course of his life, this man was a businessman, a television entertainer, an author, and an investor. His various occupations enabled the man to accrue great wealth, and to many, he was viewed as a celebrity. But wealth and prestige was not enough for this man. He sought more-he sought to be the leader of this Western country. Fueled by ignorance, backed by more wealth than any person truly needs, and armed with a Grand Canyon-sized ego, this mendacious media mogul recently announced his candidacy for presidency of the United States.
Who is Donald Trump?
Donald Trump is still being raked over the coals for his recent racist comments (interestingly enough, the media has been very slow-like a tortoise-to refer to those comments as racist). Had the man’s ego been the size of most humans, perhaps he would have chosen not to make a name for himself as “the candidate with racist opinions of Mexicans“. After all, the United States has a sizable population of Mexican immigrants-both documented and undocumented (the latter being the preferred term over “illegal“)-so a savvy politician would have kept their racist opinions to themselves (and a decent politician would not have held such racist opinions to begin with). But the Donald? This man is not known for his political savvy (nor is he known for being a decent man). Of course, does he need to be savvy when he was merely telling the truth?
There I stood in sheer disbelief.
I was floored.
I almost wanted him to repeat what he said.
But no, I’d heard his words.
“You should run for mayor. I’d vote for you.” he said.
Early last year, at one of my previous bartending jobs, I had the pleasure of engaging in an extended conversation with a guest (call him J). His wife was out of town, and thus he was dining alone and it was a slow night so I was able to chat with him for some time. IIRC (If I Recall Correctly), this was around the time of the Sochi Winter Olympics (J’s wife was involved in some sort of security detail related to the Olympics). Anyway, we discussed a host of topics, from the possible danger his wife might face to the rumors of an increase in sex trafficking with the massive influx of people going to the Olympics. From there we branched off and discussed sexual assault statistics, Rape Culture, and more. I began to notice that J was more interested in learning about me, which was evident by the fact that he kept posing questions; questions that seemed quite genuine. I never got the impression that he was feigning interest or trying to lead our conversation in any particular direction. Over time, we came to discuss my worldview. J asked me what my religious beliefs were. I was hesitant to answer his question. After all, I live in the South, which is deeeeeeply religious. And there I was, a bartender, dependent upon the good graces of guests to make a living. If I said anything untoward or potentially offensive to a guest, I could risk losing a tip (or worse, since the state of Florida allows employees to be fired for anything).
I’m growing increasingly frustrated by the historical ignorance on the part of many Southerners. In the wake of the June 17 act of racial terrorism that took the lives of 9 African-American churchgoers in Charleston, SC, a debate has reignited over the Confederate flag (which has flown over the South Carolina state capitol since 2000). On one side of the debate are those who argue that the flag represents white supremacy, slavery, and treason. On the other side are those who think the flag is a symbol of Southern heritage and freedom from tyranny. The supporters of the flag are attempting to revise history with proclamations such as “The Civil War was fought over states’ rights”, “The Confederate flag represents bravery, valor, and heroism”, and “The Civil War wasn’t just fought over slavery”. The only proper response to the previous claims are (IMO) “no, it wasn’t”, “no the fuck it doesn’t”, and “hell yes it was”. While I’m sure that many people are genuinely ignorant of the causes of the Civil War and the symbolism of the Confederate flag (owing to deliberate attempts to paint the Southern states in a positive light in the wake of the Civil War), I have no doubt that many other people know full well what they argue for. Whatever the case may be, it disgusts me that whether intentional or not, people are defending the indefensible. To understand the reasons why supporters of the Confederate flag are deeply wrong, a little history lesson is in order. The following is a broad overview of the causes behind the Civil War.
Enjoy some texts from superheroes! Yes, I know Deadpool is in there. Yes, I know he’s not a superhero-I didn’t come up with the name of that blog. Believe me I can’t stand the guy. He was interesting for a while, but now he’s gone the way of 90s Wolverine, Cable, Ghost Rider, and Punisher–appearing everywhere, even when it makes not a lick of sense.
The high of yesterday has settled in, and while it hasn’t worn off, I’m reminded that there are still a significant number of problems to overcome in the pursuit of equality. Here are some of the many issues facing the LGBT community:
Congregants honor the nine people murdered last week at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. They were slain in a terrorist attack by a white supremacist attempting to incite a race war.
Last week, 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof drove two hours from his home in Columbia, South Carolina to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. After being welcomed in with open arms by the African-American churchgoers, Roof sat. And sat. And sat. A little over an hour after he arrived, he jumped back into his car and sped away, leaving behind the bodies of 9 people he shot to death in a horrific act of racial terrorism that has justifiably outraged the nation. Thanks to a perceptive florist, the 14+ hour manhunt for the killer ended in Shelby, North Carolina, more than 245 miles from Charleston. Following his arrest, he has been charged with 9 counts of murder and possession of a firearm. His bond is set at $1 million. The shock and bewilderment felt by many USAmericans upon first hearing of his deadly crime largely centered around “why would someone do this”. The answer to that was made apparent less than 24 hours after his shooting rampage:
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of marriage equality!
“The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.”
There it is, the ruling that gay-marriage advocates and opponents have been waiting for since April when the Court took up the case—but really, for years long before that. There is now a constitutional right for people of the same sex to get married in the United States.
In the Court’s opinion—authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic who has long been seen as the possible swing vote on gay marriage, joined by JusticesStephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, and with four separate dissents authored and joined by combinations of Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas—lists four major reasons for its decision in Obergefell. First, Kennedy writes that “decisions about marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make.” Allowing LGBT people to marry is a matter of personal choice and autonomy, just as it was in the Court’s 1967 in the case Loving v. Virginia, which outlawed bans on interracial marriage.
Second, Kennedy writes, marriage is a distinctive institution: “It supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals.” Here, he points to the Court’s opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut, which affirmed the right of married couples to use birth control. “Same-sex couples have the same right as opposite-sex couples to enjoy intimate association.”
But then, the decision takes an interesting turn: The Court seems to flip the oft-used reasoning of same-sex marriage opponents, who claim that gay marriage is harmful to children and families, and disruptive to the longstanding order of American society. In the oral arguments for Obergefell, several justices raised this very question—even Breyer, who joined in the decision, said that marriage between a man and a woman “has been the law everywhere for thousands of years. Suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require states to change [this configuration].” But on Friday, Breyer joined four of his colleagues to do exactly that.
“Protecting the right to marry is that it safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education,” Kennedy writes. Not all straight married couples have children, and they’re certainly not required to do so by law, he reasons; the same rule should apply to gay married couples. But more importantly, for those gay couples that do want to have kids—including the many, many couples who adopt or have children using the genetic material of one parent—seeing their unions as less than marriage under the law creates a “more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue thus harm and humiliate the children.”
Finally, Kennedy affirms that marriage is “a keystone of the Nation’s social order.” It is the institution at the center of the United States’ legal and educational structures, and because of this, “it is demeaning to lock same-sex couples out of a central institution of the Nation’s society, for they too may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage.”
“Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations,” Kennedy writes. This is, perhaps, the most striking argument of all, for it is an argument about the nature, significance, and dignity of marriage itself. “The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society,” Kennedy writes, but the “institution—even as confined to opposite-sex relations—has evolved over time.”
I really have nothing to say other than I feel almost blissfully, joyously happy. Not just for myself (really, I don’t have anyone in my life, so marriage remains theoretical for me), but for so many other people out there. There are who knows how many people who have wanted to marry, but were prevented from doing so bc they were lesbian, gay, or bisexual. And it comes during Pride month! This is one step closer to being treated as full human beings in the eyes of the law. Thank you SCOTUS. Thank you for doing the right thing!
Born on this day in 1963, Michael Lance “Mike” Wieringo (often referred to as ‘Ringo) was a USAmerican comic book artist. He broke into the comic book industry in 1992, with an issue of Justice League Quarterly. From there, he worked on other DC titles including the Flash (where he co-created Bart Allen, aka Impulse, with writer Mark Waid) and Robin, as well as several Marvel Comics titles, including Sensational Spider-Man, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and perhaps his best known work for the company, Fantastic Four (where he was paired with his former Flash writer, Mark Waid). Along with writer Todd Dezago, ‘Ringo created the popular creator-owned fantasy series Tellos for Image Comics. Sadly, Mike Wieringo passed away on August 12, 2007 of a sudden heart attack. He would have been 52 years old today.
Yep, it’s that time of year again-LGBT Pride Month. What is Pride? Who celebrates it? Who hates it? What groups don’t need to celebrate Pride? When did it begin? Let’s fire up my first ever Shoop FAQ for the answers! To the Shoop-mobile!