Divide and conquer

Two stores in the New York Times today on Gay marriage.

The first is a new article about how Bush won’t reference the Marriage Amendment again, because, according to the article, he was really pressured into this by the conservative groups. In actuality, he’s really a good friend to gays all over.

This after a State of the Union speech denouncing gay marriage. This after weeks of being disturbed by the events in San Francisco. Bush not only wants to have his cake and eat it, he wants yours and my slice, too, sent to him in appreciation because he’s really a nice guy who has gay friends.

As breathlessly duplicitous as this is (though politically shrewd) it’s not as disturbing as an earlier story about the attempt to divide the black community about gays and gay marriage by courting black churches.

The family values folk hope by doing this, and then by putting Bush firmly on the side against gay marriage with the Marriage Amendment, the’ll be able to split the black vote by distracting them from Bush’s active fight against affirmative action, as well as his cuts in health care, education, and a dismal employment picture.

More than that, they’re working to pit one minority, the blacks, against another minority, the gays. As one radical black minister even went so far as to say, if the K.K.K. opposes gay marriage, I would ride with them.

The other side supporting full gay rights is playing a catch up game, because they weren’t expecting to have to fight this battle until the first marriages starting taking place in Massachusetts. San Francisco caught them by surprise.

Neither side is having an easy time of it. According to the article:

The fact that many black Christians are both politically liberal and socially conservative makes them frustratingly difficult to pigeonhole in a political environment in which, many pundits contend, voters are cleanly split along ideological lines. Many blacks opposed to gay marriage, for example, support equal benefits for gays as a matter of economic justice.

What we’re seeing is that the term civil rights has more problematical connotations than even gay marriage, and this is a disturbing trend:

At the heart of the conflict, for many, is not merely theology, but the mantle of civil rights.

“There has always been this undercurrent, from the women’s movement through other movements, that the history of black people and their struggle was being opportunistically appropriated by an assortment of groups when it was convenient,” said the Rev. Gene Rivers, president of the National Ten-Point Leadership Foundation, a church-based violence-prevention program. “This movement is particularly offensive because it hits at the Book, the Bible, and the painful history of black people all at once.”

It’s sad and ironic that to defend the actions of Mayor Newsom, we’ve referenced acts of civil disobedience in the past to establish a precedence for this type of activity when it comes to civil rights. However, in doing so, we’re now seen as being opportunistic, literally riding on the coat tails of those who have battled for rights for the blacks in the past.

I am aware of the pain blacks have suffered. I am aware every time I go into the back country of Missouri to hike, how much more dangerous this could be if I were black. This is never far from my mind. I should take a lesson, and do as those in the article suggest, reframe the discussion to one of discrimination, not civil rights.

But I can’t. The fight for equality for all people regardless of color, sex, race, religion, and yes even sexual orientation is a fight for civil rights. I am not going to following in Bush’s deceptive footsteps, mouthing a hypocrisy for the sake of the vote.


Joel at APress and offshoring

I’m not a regular reader of Joel on Software, but he’s started a new “Ask Joel” forum that’s been generating some interesting conversations.

One is on Offshoring and features the usual offshoring is evil discussion, and a bit too much sucking up to Joel, but it also has some additions from people who work within the offshore companies, as well as other discussions about programming being a commodity, and globalization.

I particularly like the idea of bringing together developers from countries that have lost jobs with developers in countries who have gained jobs due to globalization – would be an interesting chat, wouldn’t it?

The second thread that interested me personally was Joel talking about his new book with Apress . Book branding is one topic in the thread, and both Tim O’Reilly and Gary Cornell from Apress add comments. What caught my attention, though, was a statement Joel made:

Whenever I’ve had any kind of issue no matter how tiny Gary always laid down the law: the author is always right 😉

The …author is always right. I’ll have to remember that.

I imagine that the forums will degenerate quickly, as these things do, but I found the discussion today of interest.

UpdateGina Trapani wrote at about being told to ‘lighten up’ in the comment thread she was in at Joel’s new forum. She has valid points, but I don’t think she’ll get a hearing. From all indications, this new forum is going to be another boy’s only club.

No comments, though, attached to Gina’s post. So guess there’s no forum for the girls to talk, either.


Walk in Tangle woods in high wind

It may not be the best of ideas to walk in a tangle wood forest before the trees have had a chance to green and during strong winds. Before my walk was over I was hit in the back and on the shoulder with light branches, and scrapped in the neck and along one arm with bark chips scrapped off the trees and blown in the wind.

But it was lovely standing there in the sun, feeling the warmth, listening to the wind and staring up at the blue sky with trees swaying all around you.

I don’t care what the calendar says, it’s Spring. And I have a feeling it’s going to be a nice one followed by a long, long summer this year.

No photos, though, the camera is staying home for now. I’m getting tired of hauling around the cameras and looking for scenes, and hassling with exposure settings, and looking through the shots when I get home, or dropping off film at the lab.

Sometimes you get so busy trying to capture the world around you for people, that you forget to enjoy it yourself.