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In Honor of 9/11: Something to Remember While We Never Forget

(photo courtesy of Think Progress)

Islamic Fundamentalism is to Islam as  ________________  is to Christianity.

The answer?

The KKK.

If you’re a fan of West Wing, then you may remember the thought-provoking episode that aired shortly after the 9/11 attacks (portion embedded below my signature). In that particular episode, the character Josh Lyman explains to students that it is wrong to judge an entire religion based on a handful of lunatics that use their religion as an excuse for inhumane acts. We don’t think of the KKK as Christians and we don’t attribute the KKK’s actions to the Church.  So why would we attribute the horrific acts of Islamic fundamentalists to the entire Muslim religion? As a shell-shocked nation searching for blame, we needed to learn that lesson. Nine years later, many are still struggling with that task.

Between the debate over acceptable locations for a Muslim Community Center, physical violence against Muslims, and the burning of Quran’s, the persecution against Muslims seems to have only worsened.

When does it end?

Americans need to be careful to make sure that the freedom of which we boast  is a freedom consonant with American values, and not an America premised on euphemism, bumper sticker mentalities, and flat-out hypocrisy. Americans cannot claim to believe in and stand for American values — values that stand for pluralism, equality, tolerance, and coexistence — while demonizing an entire religious group. We claim to be better than repressive governments that are intolerant of difference. So let’s either be better or abandon the pretense.

Don’t fly the flag of tolerance while extolling bigotry. Don’t claim to believe in freedom of religion while protesting the construction of an Islamic Community Center.  If we’re really for freedom of religion, then any street in this country should be able to peacefully house Churches, Synagogues, and Mosques. (continues…)

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The Consumer Conscience

When I recently learned that the Target and Best Buy corporations donated large sums of money to the political group MN Forward, an organization that is supporting an extreme anti-gay political candidate, I included them in my growing list of businesses that no longer hear the ka-ching sound from my wallet. Despite the “apology” from Target CEO Greg Steinhafel, Target will not be getting any business from me until they make a contribution of an equal amount or greater to a pro-LGBT candidate or organization. Considering that Steinhafel and his wife have donated $5,000 each to Rep. Michele Bachmann, I have a feeling that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

I believe being a smart shopper goes beyond clipping coupons, looking for good deals, and avoiding paying full retail. A smart shopper also shops with their conscience. We all have our own ethical beliefs and values, neither of which should be compromised because of a good deal.

There are issues we all care about, whether it be equal rights for gays, environmental concerns, sweatshop and child labor, animal testing, war funding, white-collar crime, etc… I believe that giving money to a business that goes against our ethical values is like directly contributing to the very issues we object. We would never do that, so why do it when we shop or eat? As consumers, we’re a powerful group. We have our voice and we have our wallets. When we voice our objections to bad business practices and close our wallets, we’re making a powerful statement.

I’m not urging my readers to take up the same causes that I believe in, but I am urging everyone who reads this to listen to your conscience before you buy. Educate yourself about companies that you regularly buy from and how your purchases were manufactured or produced. Learn about their political contributions and donations. We’re not always going to be aware of bad business, but we should all be doing our best to know as much as possible. That’s what makes us a smart shopper.

Are there businesses you don’t support for one reason or another? Would love to hear about your own story.


Interested in knowing more about the businesses that I currently boycott? See below: (continues…)

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Introducing Your Kids To Democracy

voteToday is a big day in California. It’s the Primary Election.

I walked over to the polling station down the street from me with my toddler in tow. I didn’t have to take him with me. Grandma is coming over later to babysit and I could have waited until then. I also could have gone later today when the Dude returned from work. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to bring my 2 year old with me because I want him to be a part of this day, even if he’s 16 years away from casting his first vote.

It’s not the Monkey’s first election. He was first introduced to the election process at 2 weeks old. I remember strolling him down the street to our local firehouse in downtown San Francisco. Sure, he slept through all of it but I was glad he was there with me while I performed my civic duty. I hope he is always with me on these important days. (continues…)

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A Message To Mamas

Same-sex couples in Washington D.C. are now legally allowed to marry. For people around the world that support same-sex marriage, this day is a joyous day.

I, for one, am thrilled.

However, this day is also a bittersweet day. There are millions of people who are still not legally allowed to marry. Whether or not they even want to be married is not the point. The point is, they don’t even have the right. I want to see this changed within my lifetime, but I especially want to see this changed for our children.

So, in honor of:

  • the many couples celebrating their love today by legally recognizing their commitment to one another,
  • the many couples who do not yet have the right to marry, and
  • future generations of the LGBT community that will hopefully never have to endure prejudice, hate, and discrimination

I would like to re-post an article I wrote about this topic back in October. This message is for all the moms out there who may not agree with this issue. This message is for all moms out there who may agree, but do not take a stand.

I urge you to reconsider.

Gay Rights: Why Mamas Need to Take a Stand Against Inequality

As a woman, I often think about the time before my birth and what my female ancestors had to endure.

For centuries, women have had to fight to establish equality in a very paternalistic society. Women had to band together to form the Suffrage Movement. Women fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement and created the Feminist Movement when society still treated them like second-class citizens. In the last 100 years, women have been incredibly successful in overturning anti-discriminatory laws and creating new laws to protect our rights. There is no doubt that the time we live in now is markedly different than the era of our mothers and grandmothers.

As women:

  • We lived without voting rights until 1920.
  • We lived without FDA-approved birth-control until 1960.
  • We lived without discrimination laws and equal opportunity in the workplace until 1964.
  • We lived with sex-segregated employment ads until 1968.
  • We lived without the Equal Pay Act until 1970.
  • We lived without Title IX until 1972.
  • We lived without reproductive rights until 1973.
  • We lived without the Pregnancy Discrimination Ban until 1978.
  • We lived without the Lily Ledbetter Act until 2009.

From our mothers to our great-great-great grandmothers, women have worked hard to ensure a better future for their daughters, and the women of today continue to take a stand against injustice and inequality. As women, we have lived with discrimination and intolerance. We have lived as second-class citizens. We have lived without laws to protect ourselves and our rights. So, I ask my mama-sisters, why aren’t we working harder to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren? Why aren’t we doing more to stand up to injustice and inequality?

I live in California where Prop 22 passed in 2000 with 61.4% of the vote. On May 15, 2008, Prop 22 was ruled unconstitutional and invalidated. The reaction was mixed, to say the least. Financed by powerful religious organizations and anti-gay organizations, Prop 8 passed just this last year with 52.2% of the vote. I have gay friends who were able to legally marry without problem between May 15th and November 4th. I have other gay friends who missed that small window and do not have that same right. Shortly after the election, I was talking with a few women about the outcome. One mom mentioned that she was tired of all the talk and didn’t want her child exposed to people discussing gay rights. She said, in so many words – it’s so hard for kids these days anyways, so why do we need to add one more thing? I thought about that and replied, yes, it is hard. So why don’t we work to make it easier for them.

Opponents of gay equality rights often cite the Bible as a source for their discrimination. I take issue with that, especially as woman. I am a woman of faith, but I do not take the Bible as a literal and valid source for establishing laws in our society. If that were the case, then equality laws and protections for women would never have been created.

Many of us look back to our history and think, wow, how did women live in a world without equal rights? Within 10 years, I want people to look back and think the same thing. Legal discrimination against gays is a major problem of today. So, I ask you, let’s work to make sure that it’s still not a problem in 10 years. Let’s make sure that future generations look back and think, wow, how did people ever think that discrimination against gays and gay rights was acceptable?

The best place to start making a difference is in the home. As the parents, we are the primary role models for our children. They look to us for guidance on how to navigate this world and how to interact with others. If we are intolerant, discriminatory, and judgmental of others, our children will learn to do the same. Teach your children well. Teach them by being a role model for tolerance, acceptance, and for what is right. It might be your child that needs legal protections and anti-discriminatory laws in the future. But, even more so, it might be your child that needs to know they are always loved and accepted by you…no matter who they love.

Learn more about what you can do for gay rights:

Human Rights Campaign
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Gay Rights

In California:
Courage Campaign
No on 8

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This Message Brought To You By Choice

I don’t care for professional football and I don’t enjoy commercials.

Yet I always love watching both on Superbowl Sunday.

Watching the Big Game is a tradition for most Americans and a recent survey pointed out that most people watch because of the commercials. Superbowl commercials are usually clever, fun, and entertaining. Talking babies, fighting parade balloons, frogs croaking out Buuud-Weiiiiiis-Eeeer. Those are the types of commercials I anticipate watching while kicking back a beer and munching on buffalo wings.  The last thing I want to interrupt the party mood of a good football game is the topic of abortion.

Where is that Doritos girl when you need her?

Thanks to CBS, college football superstar Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow, the University of Florida, and Focus on the Family, the topic of abortion will be introduced at some point during the game. I can just see it now: families and friends gathered around the HD flatscreen laughing and having fun when, out of nowhere, comes the record-scratching moment when Tim and Pam Tebow come across the screen. We’re all going to go from enjoying a fun game with light-hearted commercials to talking about the most hotly-debated and divisive topic ever known to this country.

What is the purpose of their message? Most adults know where they stand on the topic of abortion, which leads me to believe that CBS and Focus on the Family is trying to reach out to a different audience. Our children. How do you talk to your young kids about abortion, let alone in the middle of a fun afternoon watching football? There is a time and place to air commercials of this nature and the most popular televised sporting event of the year enjoyed by families all over the country is not it.

There is no doubt that the topic of abortion should be introduced to your children at some point, especially once they hit the pre-teen years. But how and when you approach it should be on your terms, not by the terms and values of CBS and Focus on the Family.

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