Why I’m Glad Obama Is Not Gay

Obama Pride

by Julie Hall at ProgressiveKid

Thank god almighty we are free at last from white-president gridlock. In America now you can be black (technically biracial) and become president. This spanking new reality is genuine progress. It is progress for civil rights, for black Americans, for white Americans, for all Americans, and for world citizens everywhere. It is a gigantic symbol that race is losing currency as a reason for bigotry, and that is something to smile about.

But although bigotry took a hard kick to the gut on November 4, 2008, it caught its breath quickly and assuredly in America that day when voters banned gay marriage in California, Florida, and Arizona and banned adoptions and foster parenting by unmarried couples in Arkansas. So, while I’m glad Obama happens to be black, I’m grateful he is not gay because he would not be our President (-elect) if he were. Continue reading

Clean Coal’s Dirty Little Secret

By Sarah at ProgressiveKid

Both President-Elect Obama and his former opponent John McCain endorsed “clean coal” as an important element of their energy plans. But “clean coal” is a fairy tale with a very bad ending, as in the Big Bad Wolf eats and digests Little Red Riding Hood and belches out a black cloud afterward. Continue reading

What Comes First

Reflections on Freedom and Responsibility

by Sarah Lane at ProgressiveKid

During the Republican National Convention we’ve been hearing a lot about two key themes: personal freedom and personal responsibility. I am a big fan of both. I value and cherish my freedom and feel great empathy for people who live in places where they are severely restricted in their ability to speak their minds, to move about freely, or even to wear what they want to wear. As a corollary I also feel great responsibility: to value and protect those freedoms, to care for the place where I live and the people who live here, to pull my weight and make a worthwhile contribution to my community.

I wondered what examples candidate McCain and his running mate Palin would give in their exploration of these two themes. I wondered if there would be discussion of our important Bill of Rights and how we must defend it. I wondered if there would be talk about our responsibility to protect the land where we live, the air we breathe, and the water we drink and to care for one another.

This is what I heard: Continue reading

Declaration of Independence

American flagby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

Two hundred and thirty-two years ago today, our forefathers, supported and counseled by our wise and steadfast foremothers, declared in a moving and revolutionary document their independence from the tyranny of a colonial rule without representation and began the effort to design a radically new type of government founded on the principle that all men, and regretfully only men and not quite all of them, are created equal and that government should be of, by, and for the people. Since that time, our most wise and courageous ancestors, including among numerous others Chief Sealth, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King Jr., César Chavez, and Rachel Carson, have with equal elegance asserted additional essential truths about the value of people of all colors and races and both genders, about our brother and sister animals, and about the forests and mountains and rivers of our nation. But today, we, the descendants of these people of vision and principle, have lost our way and stoop on the edge of moral decay, spiritual ignorance, and self-destruction. Continue reading

SarChasm

Grand Canyonby Sarah at ProgressiveKid

Today I was lucky enough to have a lesson about sarcasm, and I’m not saying that at all sarcastically. Earlier in the day I confess that I might have emphasized my words differently. But I’ve since had an epiphany.

Because of our articles on artificial turf, among other things, on a ledge is linked to and cited in a number of turf-specific locations on the Internet, including the site of one well-known periodical with what I had believed to be (and may indeed be, with a few exceptions) a following of crunchy greenies and back-to-the-earth types. The link was part of a Q&A page featuring a question about the safety of using rubber tire planters.

Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when the Q&A received a comment from a woman who succinctly and in no uncertain terms ravaged my article purely on the grounds that I am a fiction writer: Continue reading

Guns ‘n’ Bread ‘n’ Roses

GunBy Sarah at ProgressiveKid

This is a call to arms. The kind that are attached to hands and often linked via shoulder and neck to heads with brains, eyes, ears, and mouths.

After Seung-Hui Cho killed 33 people last Monday and President Bush responded in part to the massacre by reaffirming his commitment to guns, I was reminded of my friend Victor. I knew Victor about 20 years ago when I worked for a teacher-training program in Chicago. We met at an Act-Up meeting. Victor, an intelligent, soft-spoken, powerful, opinionated, gay carpenter, was the guy we called in to help train our future teachers on how to work best with gay students.

One day, during one of his presentations to our students, Victor mentioned—I can’t remember the context—that he was a firm supporter of the unfettered right to bear arms. Continue reading

Pinkish Green

construction paper scrapsBy Sarah at ProgressiveKid

I’ve been called many things in my life, including “leftie,” “bleeding heart liberal,” and a personal favorite, “animal lover.” I never minded being called any of these things and never understood, frankly, why the person saying them seemed to think they were insults, which has on occasion led to my replying, “Thank you,” followed by a silence mildly uncomfortable for all parties involved.

Just recently, however, the name calling occurred again with a different result: I was surprised. It was not that the names themselves were unfamiliar. To the contrary, they were some of the old, recognizable, and not altogether unwelcome names leveled on many prior occasions. What was surprising this time was the context of the name calling. Continue reading