The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Democratic Debate and Gay Marriage

I just saw the democratic debate, and Kerry and Edwards were both unable to justify their positions on gay marriage.

Q: "What is your position on gay marriage?"

A: "I'm for equal rights, but not for gay marriage"

Q: "If it has all the same rights and responsibilities, what's the difference?"

A: "I'm for equal rights, but not for gay marriage"

Q: "What if one of your daughters was gay and she wanted to get married?"

A: "I'm for equal rights, but not for gay marriage"

Just once, I would like a real leader.

I understand that they're playing the same game as Bush. By touting equal rights by disclaiming any support of gay marriage, Bush can't really attack them. But he can promote the hate and divert attention from other more pressing issues... Economy (I like the 2.6 million job estimate eff-up), Iraq, Unemployment, the fact that very few 'mericans can actually say that they are better off now than they were four years ago. But, they can blame it all on the gays, which I guess makes it okay in the Compassionate Conservatist's playbook.


-John Locke

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Biology trumps Law

Same Sex Marriage Watch

I'm breaking radio silence this morning just briefly (the class I'm teaching seems to be going well, but I haven't worked this hard since grad school!) for a quick reality check about the President's proposed "gay people are second class citizens" amendment.

Clearly the intent is to get small-minded people all worked up about how awful gay people are, and how awful it is that gay people would want to commit their lives to each other. And it may work to stir up bigoted feelings, but what else is new for these radicals?

I'm writing to assure everyone that this amendment would never, could never, be passed, and here is why: the amendment makes the federal legal definition of a marriage as a contract between one man and one woman only, which seems on the surface like a no-brainer.

But in order to write such an amendment, it would have to define what a "man" is, and what a "woman" is. And there, legality would break itself upon the rocks of nature. For nature is wild and varied and doesn't allow itself to be constrained by our mental constructs. There are women who have X and Y chromosomes - they are genetically male, but don't develop as men because of genetic variations that prevent expression, or detection, of testosterone, for example. Would people like that never be allowed to marry? Or would they be allowed to marry either gender? (And doesn't that present a special case for them?) Other chromosomal variants exist as well, for example, XXY men. Who could they marry? And what about transgender people? Would they be allowed to get married only before they had a sex-change operation? Or only after? And would their change of sex "invalidate" any pre-operative marriages? For that matter, would a person who had a sex-change operation be allowed to stay married to the same person? Would this "marriage protection" amendment force that couple to get divorced? There are also people who display hermaphroditic phenotypes - would they be barred from ever marrying? If not, could they marry anyone? (and if it is allowed for them, why not all people?)

The varied physical biology of the problem just scratches the surface, however, for our social definitions of "men" and "women" vary just as much. What about a person who has lived their whole life as a woman, but has the genotype and phenotype of a man? Are they allowed to marry? Whom? And vice versa - what about the cases of people like Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena, who are female, but dress and act as men. Can they, should they be stopped from marrying?

And obviously, the definition of men and women won't lead us into issues of being able to have children, for where does that leave all of the couples < who are childless, either by choice or through a vast range of infertility conditions?

Are they going to institute genetic testing and crotch inspections for every marriage license issued? Sure, the vast majority of people in the world can be put rather effortlessly into the categories of "men" and "women", based on normal physiological development and social norms. But there are huge numbers of people who can't be categorized so easily. Lawyers will be left like the Nazis who had to put themselves through enormously twisted hoops trying to legally define what a "Jew" is. But without such language, the amendment will hardly be a legal document that makes any sense - and it certainly would not hold up in court. The amendment would make it such that some people would not have the right to marry anyone - and that kind of discrimination would surely not hold up in any court following any kind of equal protection under the law.

The prohibitions that now remain against same sex marriages are vestigial, and only stand now because they haven't really come under any kind of scrutiny - but once this dialog begins, they will have to be swept away because clearly there are no definitions apart those bordering on the ridiculous which everyone could agree define a "man" and a "woman".

So, just a word of encouragement for people all over this country who share their love with each other, no matter where they fall in nature's wonderful spectrum - falling back on this hatred is a predictable move for this administration which has NOTHING else to run on. But even so, this effort will fail. Only a few years ago, marriages of mixed race were also illegal in many parts of the country.

Monday, February 23, 2004

John Locke Supports Gay Marriage

This Post is in response to Governor Schwartzenegger's recent claim on Meet the Press regarding the gay marriages in San Francisco.

During his interview, Mr. Schwartzenegger gave the following reason as why the City must stop issuing wedding licenses immediately. He stated that "all of a sudden, we see riots and we see protests and we see people clashing. The next thing we know is there are injured or there are dead people, and we don't want to have that. We don't want to get to that extent."

I feel that Mr. Schwartzenegger's statements are extremely misleading and that no matter where you stand on the gay marriage issue, it is important that you know the truth. First of all, there have been no riots and no people clashing. The only protests were done by a very small number of hateful people who tried to prevent other people from entering City Hall. The disruption lasted a grand total of only fifteen minutes of the last two weeks, and the people who tried to block City Hall were removed without incident.

There have been no injuries and there have been no killings. For the record, there haven't even been any fights.

As someone who lives and works near San Francisco, the only thing we have seen over the last few weeks is several thousand devoted couples sharing their love with each other and with society. Even with people waiting hours and even days outside in the rain, people have remained happy and upbeat. So, for the record, I believe that Mr. Schwartzenegger has misled the entire country (and I mean that in the nicest possible sense).

For a more accurate look at the happiness that people in and around San Francisco are feeling right now, please click on the link below:

I can't tell you which version of the "truth" you should believe, but I urge you to do your own research.

That being said, I also believe it important that you know where I stand on this issue. I do not believe that gay marriage will be the downfall of our civilization or that gay marriage will somehow cheapen or threaten my marriage. For the record, I support equal rights for all, and I fully and whole-heartedly support gay marriage.


John Locke

Sunday, February 22, 2004

A Many-Topic Rant

This is an email I sent to one of my Republican friends... She hasn't spoken to me since...

I agree with your take on Dean (sort-of: I actually love him). He was the first in the Democratic party to really challenge the president on the Iraq war. Without Dean, the election wouldn't even be close. I think the "liberal" media crucified him after Iowa. CNN now admits that they overplayed Dean's scream - 633 times or so in four days. I actually thought there was nothing wrong with getting your supporters excited and trying to boost their spirits.

The rest of this email is likely to get you really riled up, so I don't mind if you don't read it. But these are my opinions (not someone else's), so it might be worth it to you to find out where the left coast idealists are these days...

You should actually click on the link that I sent you. Sure, the music is "Tell me lies" which is inflammatory, but there are eight solid minutes of audio clips that are good reminders of how we went to war "trusting" that the president and his staff knew what they were doing. It seems to me that just about every justification for the war WAS incorrect (a lie, if you will pardon the expression). The entire world (with the exception of Tony Blair) seemed to know better. I must admit that I knew that the war was not about WMD, but I did expect to find SOME. I had heard far too many times from too many US officials that Iraq had WMD - it even convinced me - and I knew that Bush had an ulterior motive for going there. Even if you assume that Bush didn't have an ulterior motive, the intelligence failure of this administration is more than sufficient to justify an ouster. After all, we swore to the world that there were weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam could use them in just fifteen minutes. The rest of the world didn't believe us. The rest of the world (except Tony Blair) was right. Bush took all the good will and sympathy that the world gave us because of 9-11 and he squandered it. Imagine what he could have done had he used that sympathy and compassion for good! Instead he used it for evil. Now we have killed many more times the number of people in Iraq than we ever lost in 9-11.

Do I think that being wrong about something like this is important? Yes. Absolutely. We have killed over 10,000 Iraqis - many more than Saddam killed in the last 10 years when he was corralled. Sure, he killed even more than that when we was our ally under Reagan and Bush, but we didn't even sanction him for that.

Do I think that ousting Saddam makes the world "more safe". No - Absolutely not. Iraq is fast becoming a terrorist hotbed - we've actually created another failed nation. Sure, "bring 'em on" is fun to say, but it really is inflammatory to the rest of the world. No, I do not believe that Iraq is going to magically sort itself out in another four months and have peaceful, democratic elections. No way. I think Iraq will be engulfed in a civil war within a year.

Do I think that spending tax dollars to reroute an aircraft carrier so that the president can land on the deck with a flight suit on and a giant sign stating "Mission Accomplished" is a waste. Absolutely. Plus, it was clearly wrong - the mission is not "accomplished".

Do I think it was wrong for the President to try to mislead us, stating that the good servicemen and women of the ship had put up the sign? Yes. The sign was bought, paid for and organized by the White House. The fact that Mr. Bush didn't put up the sign himself was just a smokescreen. I believe we went to war without any viable plan on how to extricate ourselves from Iraq when it's all done. The fact that the only ministry that we prevented looting to was the Ministry of Oil points to that fact fairly well. We didn't protect the hospitals. We didn't protect the museums. We protected the Ministry of Oil. Only. It would appear to the rest of the world that the only important thing was the oil. Even if, somehow, that were not the case, it's a massive PR failure to allow this to happen.

The president has squandered the biggest surplus in history and turned it into the biggest deficit. The president, instead of worrying about how to fix the deficit, is worried about tax breaks. I know math, and you don't fix a deficit by increasing spending and cutting taxes.

The president is also worried about gay marriages. I know that the single thing that most threatens my marriage to my wife is gay marriage. The president is so worried about me and my wife that he is willing to support an Amendment that actually writes discrimination into the Constitution. Now that's real compassion. The full faith and credit clause regarding states' laws will apply to everything except gay marriage. That's real love.

The fact that the Republicans are actually standing up to be counted as the party that supports writing discrimination into the U.S. Constitution is abhorrent to me. The phrase "Wall of separation between church and state" appears to have no meaning to Tom DeLay and Mr. Bush. It took until 1967 until the Supreme Court struck down all laws banning interracial marriages. I wonder if Mr. Bush and Mr. DeLay still support the ban on interracial marriages? Did they rant and rave in 1967 about how radical judges were going to destroy the moral fabric America?

If they had been alive when the women's suffrage movement was alive and well, would Bush and DeLay have also been against that, I wonder?

How about slavery? Would they have been for preserving the white man's RIGHT to own slaves? I would guess that yes, as devout, conservative Republicans, they would have.

I must tell you that I see zero compassion in the eyes of Bush and DeLay when they talk about "Compassionate Conservatism". None. I see more similarity between Bush and the KKK than compassion. In a few weeks or months, Bush is going to announce that he supports a full Constitutional Amendment that might be as simple as "Marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman". The thought makes me retch.

If you've never met a gay person and really listened to them, I can see how discriminating against them could make sense. After all, they're DIFFERENT. However, if you've ever met a gay person and listened to them, really listened, you would find that all they really want is to be accepted by society. To feel that they have the same rights, privileges, and protections as all Americans. My gay and lesbian friends do not feel that they are equal citizens -- for the simple reason that they are not.

If you've seen photos of the gay marriages being held in San Francisco (a court fight that I do believe is a no-brainer, since our state Constitution outright prohibits discrimination against any one set or group of people and precludes laws that provide rights, privileges, or protections to one set of people while precluding another group from the same set of rights, privileges, or protections), you will have seen happy, well-balanced people affirming their love for each other.

Recently, you will have seen protestors from the Religous Right, waving hateful signs like "Burn in Hell" and "God Hates Fags" and "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve". You will have seen them screaming obscenities at the people getting married. You will have seen them trying to block access to the City Hall (even though the courts ruled that no irreparable harm was occurring that would merit an injunction). I ask you, who is more godlike -- the people affirming their love for each other or the people who wave hateful signs and scream obscenities during what should be a joyous celebration?

As far as I can tell, the Republican Party is all about that hate. The Republican Party is loving this right now, because they can cater to the hate that ignorant people feel towards people who are different than them. This will be a central issue in the Presidential race, and Bush will be on the wrong side.

Some Democrats and Republicans argue that while they are against gay marriage, they support civil unions. That is bullsh#t, no matter which party is talking. Civil unions are not equal. They are separate AND unequal. Period. Civil unions do not afford the same protections and priviges and responsiblities as marriage.

Republicans and the Religious Right blatantly and I think deliberately confuse the idea of religious marriage and civil marriage. Civil marriage is the responsibility of the government and the principle of separation of church and state must allow two devoted people to get married - it will confer all the rights, privileges and responsibilities on the couple, but it will not be a religious marriage.

Religious marriage is the responsibility of religion. Any religion (including the Catholic church) can do whatever they want, be as hateful as they want, and discriminate as much as they want, since that is the very definition of religious freedom. The Catholic Church lost me long ago, and I will never ever return to that hateful, backwards organization. But they are more than welcome to campaign against gays, just like the KKK campaigns against blacks and gays and Catholics and Jews. Whatever. Their bile and hate is their own business. What makes it my business is when they try to impinge on MY civil liberties and the civil liberties of my friends. And that is what they are doing.

So, in summary, I disagree with Bush on just about everything - from the Iraq war, to drilling for oil in Alaskan wildlife refuges, to gay rights, to abortion rights, to how to keep a budget surplus and now how to get rid of a deficit. I haven't seen even a single a shred of compassion that he promised. I think he lied about Iraq. I think his administration knew exactly what the rest of the world knew - that Saddam was not an imminent threat -- and that he and his administration deliberately stretched the truth and in the end lied in order to get the war that they wanted, severely damaging the UN and NATO in the process.

Hope that you are still alive and have not had an embolism while reading the above!

-John Locke

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Lying Liars

For those of you who are interested in listening to an excellent example of lies and the lying liars who occupy the White House, this clip is dedicated to you:

As you can hear, we were lied to so very many times that each lie just sort of got enmeshed with all the other lies, until America believed the lies and it became "truth". It is interesting to note that the barrage of lies did not deceive the rest of the world, who now look upon us as a bunch of STUPID lying liars and who must not be as dumb as we Americans seem to think they are).

-John Locke