Editor’s Note: David Mailloux is an LGBT activist and an organizer with Join the Impact Massachusetts. He was an organizer for the National Equality March in Washington D.C., and was also part of the coordinating committee for the Maine LGBT Civil Rights March. I’m proud to have co-founded The Great Nationwide Kiss-In with David, and could not have done it without him. David’s first guest post here was, “Dear Crate and Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest Coordinators: I Have A Dreamâ€¦“
I’ve been choking on the same couple of grains of rice since dinner, which was roughly an hour ago.
Mom and I decided on tempura vegetables and rice for dinner tonight, and we were watching CNN at the same time. Janice Langbehn – the Seattle woman who was forced to sit in the waiting room of a Miami hospital with her adopted children as her partner, and the children’s mother, lay dying in a nearby hospital room – was speaking about President Obama’s recent decision to allow all unmarried partners visitation rights in hospitals. Langbehn was recalling the pain of not being able to say goodbye to Lisa, the love of her life, and my mother was shaking her head with disgust. “That’s just not right,” she said. “There’s no reason that should have happened.”
Then, she turned the conversation around to something I had recently said in my Facebook, that I believed in some freedom in relationships, that I would allow for my partner (if I had one) to kiss another man if I knew he was still coming home to me, that the idea physically excited me sometimes. (And, yes, I sometimes forget that my often socially conservative mother is one of 936 Facebook friends and that she often pays close attention to everything I say on there.) That worried her. She supports full LGBT equality because it means her son and his friends will have a better life, but she worries that supporting marriage equality means supporting ideals in some relationships in which she may not believe.
I wanted to tell her that all marriages have quirks, and that a number of them involve different standards than what the right-wing or Christian-religious folks who support only “traditional” marriages between people of the opposite sex will accept. I wanted to remind her that love arrives in all different forms, that sexuality is a beautiful thing that we need to embrace. I wanted to tell her that supporting full LGBT equality didn’t mean she had to support those differences of opinion she might carry. She could support LGBT equality and love between non-related adults of any gender without supporting the differences. The bottom line was believing that my friends who were same-sex couples and who were partnered and wanted to marry had the right to marry.
Instead, I just choked on a couple of grains of rice that had decided to follow the wrong path to my stomach. I’m not terribly fond of aspirating rice, just so you’re aware, and my body is still telling me that as I write this.
The LGBT community is a microcosm of the rest of the world. We are – based on various studies you might read, from conservative “scientists” to Alfred Kinsey and beyond – anywhere from 10 to 30% of the population. We live a life not so different from everyone else. We are just people who were wired differently from birth. If you take a liberal Christian approach, we were all created by God and he made us this way. The conservative Christian approach suggests we are afflicted with a deviant hedonism that will lead to the downfall of humanity.
In my mind, we’re all just people. I wouldn’t dare jump into your dinnertime debates and challenge your ideals. Please don’t do the same to me. My philosophy, at the end of the day, can be summed up in just a few words: live and let live.
The lead editor of this extraordinary blog that I’ve been following for a year now is David Badash. In a phone conversation earlier this month, somewhere in between discussing boyfriends and love interests and whether or not I should buy an iPhone or a Blackberry (and David B loves his iPhone, so you know), he invited me to be part of this awesome world of his. And I accepted immediately, and he was truly excited. We’d known each other for nearly a year, when I had started my own blog, and we shared a mutual admiration for one another almost from the get-go.
But we’re very different people. He kept going with the blog, and I discussed the volume and occasional audacity of the grassroots. Neither of us has looked back, We press forward with the same passion we had since day one.
While I love him like a brother and we respect each other immensely, we both follow a different path when it comes to activism, the fight for full LGBT equality. His blog and his quiet socializing and strategizing with other brothers in the fight are how he works toward our common goal. Personally, I love to stand in the middle of the street with homemade signs and scream and chant and dance. I have plans to get arrested in the very near future, because I am loud and crass and angry.
We are very different. He has my utmost respect, and I’m pretty certain I have his. I don’t attack him or concern myself with his approach. He doesn’t question me. We know that what we do, every day, still brings us that much closer to our dream.
Live. And let live.
My friends Jonathan and Gregory – two of the dearest people I know – have dinner with politically-minded professional activists from the land of Gay, Inc. (that’s what some of us grassroots folks call the professional organizations who choose dinner parties over getting their hands dirty). Yet, they also adore Robin McGehee, the gorgeous, soft-spoken Mississippi native and mother of two who recently got herself arrested in front of the White House while chaining Lt. Dan Choi to the Obama’s wrought iron fence. They – that’s Jon and Greg, by the way – support whatever it takes to make our equality happen. They believe in the battle, regardless of how we choose to fight. They like Joe Solomonese, the Director of the HRC, as much as they like Robin McGehee.
They believe that we must live and let live.
My mother may disagree with how I express my sexuality sometimes, and Jon & Greg might not ever join me in the middle of the street as I scream at the top of my lungs, and David B may never get arrested alongside me in our struggle, but we all have that love in our hearts and souls and we desperately want a beautiful conclusion to this war in which we’re – passively or actively or somewhere in between – fighting for our lives or the lives of those we love. We all carry a common mindset.
And I look at the conservative Christians who claim the bible tells them something it truly doesn’t, but I can’t tell them differently. And I try to look into the eyes of the politicians who know, deep in their hearts, that supporting us is the right thing to do, but fear the wrath of their constituents when the ballot boxes are looking to be stuffed with their realities in November. And I pray to the journalists and the talking heads on CNN and the political pundits who occupy low-backed chairs and whose makeup melts among the bright lights of a studio elsewhere in the mediasphere. I want to believe that those among the intelligentsia are all thinking the same thing, and that they somehow make those beliefs known to the millions of hungry consumers throughout our great country.
We can all respect one another, despite our differences. I don’t have to agree with you and you don’t have to agree with me. But all I’m asking, as the great Aretha once wailed in soulful and musical desperation, is for a little respect. I will respect you. I will always give you that which you believe. I just want you to let me live my life.
Let me live the way God created me, just as everyone has let you live the way God created you. There is enough room in this world for both conservative Christian beliefs, and fluid sexuality, not to mention everything in between. There is room for chicken piccata and Armani, as well as torn jeans and hoarse screams on street corners – and everything else in between.
I am not saying we all have to get along. I am asking that you just let me live. That’s all I want.
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GOP Congresswoman Saying She Would ‘Do Anything’ to Protect Her Grandchildren, Even ‘Shooting Them’ Sets Internet on Fire
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) in a speech denouncing a House bill on gun safety, appears to inadvertently have declared that to protect her five grandchildren, she would “do anything,” even shoot them.
“I rise in opposition to H.R. 2377,” Congresswoman Lesko says in the video. “I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to, to protect the lives of my grandchildren.”
NCRM has verified the video is accurate. Congresswoman Lesko made the remarks on June 9, according to C-SPAN, while she was opposing a red flag law.
The Congresswoman presumably meant she would as a last resort shoot someone threatening her grandchildren.
One Twitter user, Ryan Shead, posted the previously ignored video to Twitter, where it has gone viral and is trending.
Lesko, who some social media users note is running for re-election unopposed, went on to say: “Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren. they want to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their own children and grandchildren. and wives and brothers and sisters,” which is false.
“This bill takes away due process from law-abiding citizens. Can you imagine if you had a disgruntled ex or somebody who hates you because of your political views and they go to a judge and say, ‘oh, this person is dangerous,’ and that judge would take away your guns?”
Lesko’s hypothetical claims are false. Red flag laws are designed to protect both gun owners and those around them.
Allow me to introduce you to Congresswoman Debbie Lesko of Arizona, who is currently running for office unopposed in her district.
She would like America to know she loves her grandchildren so much she would shoot them if necessary. 😳
But liberals are the problem, right? 😏 pic.twitter.com/qk5BT9FDLw
— Ryan Shead (@RyanShead) July 5, 2022
Some social media users noted that Congresswoman Lesko reportedly “attended meetings about overturning the election,” while others are having fun with the Arizona Republican’s remarks:
Anybody check on Debbie Lesko’s grandkids?
— Sam Youngman (@samyoungman) July 6, 2022
Or maybe one of Debbie Lesko’s grandchildren gets rabies and she has to put it down before it attacks the other four! All sorts of things can happen.
— Ron Hogan (@RonHogan) July 6, 2022
The most probable interpretation is that @DebbieLesko meant she would shoot someone to PROTECT her grandchildren and garbled it. However, it’s the GOP, and it’s 2022. So . . . /1 https://t.co/KVWir9t8te
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
/3 Anyway, bottom line, good luck and best wishes to Debbie Lesko’s (for now) five grandchildren.
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
/4 But seriously it’s VERY unlikely that a GOP member of Congress was casually advocating shooting her grandchildren. I mean they’re white.
— CyborgSlavesOfPopehat (@Popehat) July 6, 2022
Since Debbie Lesko is trending for threatening to ::checks notes:: shoot her grandkids, now is the perfect time to revisit this recent thread/story on her very shady past. https://t.co/90xkhzrWny
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) July 6, 2022
Lauren Boebert is crazy and unqualified
Louie Gohmert is an idiot and unqualified
Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerous and unqualified
Trump is mentally ill and unqualified
Debbie Lesko = hold my beer
— Jimmy (@JimmyStreich) July 6, 2022
This is the same Debbie Lesko who would shoot her grandchildren to own the libs. 😬
Arizona has better to offer. 💯 https://t.co/oXd9o3ucbo
— Ryan Shead (@RyanShead) July 6, 2022
I don’t think she meant the thing she said. I think she’s just dumb. She was trying to make some overblown dramatic point and she screwed up the script. https://t.co/aKzzocabim
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) July 7, 2022
Watch Congresswoman Lesko’s remarks above or at this link.
Separation of Church and State Is a ‘Fabrication’ Says Far Right Activist Charlie Kirk: They Should Be ‘Mixed Together’
Far-right religious activist, conspiracy theorist, and founder of the right-wing organization Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk has falsely declared that separation of church and state, a bedrock principle on which American society is based, is a “fabrication” not in the Constitution.
Kirk is a member of the secretive theocratic Council for National Policy., a close friend of Donald Trump, Jr., and spent years promoting President Trump – even interviewing him at one point. Turning Point USA has had repeated challenges. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer in 2017 write a piece about TPUSA titled, “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity.”
Former TPUSA communications director Candace Owens has praised Hitler, saying “the problem” with him was that he wanted to “globalize.”
On Wednesday Kirk declared, “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists.”
The claim separation of church and state is not in the Constitution is a religious right belief that has been debunked by countless legal experts.
“Of course we should have church and state mixed together,” Kirk continued. “Our Founding Fathers believed in that. We can go through the detail of that. They established – literally – a church in Congress.”
That too is false.
“It’s a good thing Charlie Kirk doesn’t go to Wheaton because he would fail my Constitutional Law class,” writes Dr. Miranda Yaver, PhD, a Wheaton College professor.
As most public school students know, Kirk’s claims are belied by the First Amendment to the U.S., Constitution, which states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
It’s the Establishment Clause, legal experts say, that debunks Kirk’s falsehood.
In reviewing the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Reuters last month noted: “It was President Thomas Jefferson who famously said in an 1802 letter that the establishment clause should represent a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. The provision prevents the government from establishing a state religion and prohibits it from favoring one faith over another.”
Jefferson is also considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
Watch Charlie Kirk below or at this link.
Charlie Kirk: “There is no separation of church and state. It’s a fabrication. It’s a fiction. It’s not in the Constitution. It’s made up by secular humanists” pic.twitter.com/R4dkUSxGwI
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 6, 2022
Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert
Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.
Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.
“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”
“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”
As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”
See the discussion below.
Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.
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