Polispeak: Archives

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July 8, 2011

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This? genre: Polispeak

For some time, I've been seeking the words to demonstrate the magnitude of the current push to redefine "entitlements" downward into the future. This afternoon, as I once again listened to the din of despair offered by those who have access to the proverbial pot of gold, it became obvious.

It's all about messaging...and the message being delivered by our elected (entitled would be more accurate) elites is this:

"The American Dream is no more...and we who have managed America's blood and treasure, and filled our coffers with its riches, no longer believe it can be made available to everyone...nor should it be. You everymen who have done everything that was asked of you - worked hard, raised families, contributed to your communities, fought our wars, paid your taxes, your unemployment insurance, your Social Security and Medicare withholdings, must accept that the American Dream is out of reach for you...even though you paid for it your entire life. Yes, you did so because your government espoused the promise of doing so...but your government has chosen to set a new course.

Unfortunately, we who have lived the dream, now choose to tell you it won't be what was promised...and you can't hold us accountable for breaking that promise. Now that we, and our benefactors, have squeezed all that could be extracted from the pot of gold, we must inform you that the pot is empty, and we won't be refilling it with the excesses we now hold.

It is time for you to accept that the expansive dream is now little more than a shrinking flower...and it is you who must sacrifice, you who must accept that your golden years will be a cliffhanger of calculations. As each year passes, and the holes in your safety net multiply and expand, you will sit at your table and wonder if the costs of survival will eclipse your means to do so. This shall be your sacrifice.

Let us be clear, this is not a moment for shared, temporary sacrifice. This is not akin to the many times in our storied history when momentary need was met by monumental sacrifice. We're not asking you to leave your homes and build bombs to defeat a defined enemy...we have either contracted that job to our corporate overlords or found fledgling fools on foreign soils to toil for less. We will, however, require you to buy our parlayed products at prices you can't afford...because you now realize that our long engagement to enterprise is a binding union of a different stripe.

You wont hear any of us promising to reverse these sacrifices if and when prosperity returns. You see, you wont be a part of prosperity...that window has been sealed off. Were the American Dream a board game, we have chosen to end that game midstream. You will take what you have...or haven't...at this moment in time...and so will we...and a new game with a new set of rules will begin. What you have contributed is irrelevant...there isn't enough left to go around. Your portion must come from a smaller pie. The fact that we baked it is also irrelevant. The fact that we have our own pies is none of your business.

Those of you who insist on noting the historical ebb and flow of prosperity...and positing that lean times will surely give way to bounty...must conquer your optimism. It is no longer an innate American trait. We will define your values and your value. Your task is to resolve yourself to the new order...and be thankful that the new less is not more less.

Don't recount America's interminable will to succeed to your children. Such folly will make future sacrifice less palatable...and we all agree that anarchy is anathema to our adjusted and austere aspirations. America must continue...albeit as a shell of its former self. So long as you do as instructed, it will.

It's a new day; it's a new dawn...awaken to the new America. The nightmare will soon be over, my fellow Americans. We assure you the American Dream will live on. Tomorrow, if you look in the windows, you too will see it."

I can't wait...can you?

Tagged as: American Dream, Economic Inequality, Elitism, Greed, Medicaid, Medicare, Politics, Social Security

Daniel DiRito | July 8, 2011 | 7:50 PM | link | Comments (0)
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February 23, 2009

The Absence Of Angels In America: An Argument For Anarchy? genre: Econ-Recon & Nouveau Thoughts & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Philosophers have long debated the question, "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?". In these moments of economic peril and in light of our advancing animosity, perhaps the question should be, "Are there any angels in America?". Better still, "Could today's anarchists be tomorrow's angels?".

At this unprecedented economic juncture, the inertia that accompanies our adherence to accepted, acrimonious, and antiquated algorithms has, by attrition, abrogated the principles of osmotic parity that have the potential to prevent our collapse...a collapse that would undoubtedly be defined by our dogmatic deification of unchecked political capitalism...a lecherous linking that history would likely depict as the opportunistic and incestuous appetite of the "ruling" class to copulate with corporate concubines in order to share in the symbiotic perks of prostitution that permeate the shameless pursuit of power and profit...absent a sufficient appreciation for the ameliorative aspects of altruistic governance and the shared success it should support.

When government is little more than the means to obtain or hold political power, it has become, by its very existence, the prevailing argument for the initiation of anarchy.

The aforementioned dysfunctional formulation of governmental "order" is antithetical to the symmetry oft associated with the social contract defined by our forefathers. As such, one can reasonably argue that our recent and rampant self-serving configuration of capitalism may well precipitate the initiation of anarchy as the means to destroy an unintended and unabated disease.

In this current conflation of chaos...a top of the pyramid chain letter economy powered by a Ponzi scheme psyche...perhaps anarchy (disorder) can actually be the means to "order"...an antidote that purges political prevarication...a virtual vaccine that seeks to supplant a systemic infection whose signature symptom is a seemingly endless urge to usurp utilitarianism.

The virulent nature of this virus leads many to seek the leverage that accompanies the disparate distribution of power and profit. It transforms those it touches into careless arsonists who peevishly persist in passing it on...thus acting as accelerants for an approaching anarchy.

Those in the media who promote political pettiness in order to insure the flow of dollars to the kingpins of corporate capitalism simply serve up the obnoxious oxygen that insures the ignition of inequity. Instead of enabling erudition, their lamentable locution does little more than circumvent any commitment to cerebral acuity or empathic expression.

In its final iteration, capitalism unchallenged becomes the hemlock of homage to the advancement of ad hominem histrionics that serve as a shortsighted and circuitous sheepskin shell designed to disguise the dogged drive for the lion's share of the spoils...despite the derivable certainty that such shenanigans assure the anarchy that an adherence to such an ideology will undoubtedly advance.

In the 1993 Broadway play, Angels in America, the perilous and poignant promise of Kushner's millennium is exemplified as a society of individual's who, despite their awareness of their ailments and the attendant adversity, come to celebrate diversity despite its innate complexity...embrace redemption and reconciliation regardless of their unequivocal elusiveness...and endure their ongoing agony in the hopes of occasional ecstasy. His notion of the future is predicated upon the simple theory that our destination emerges when our dances of deception are dutifully debunked.

Fate is the fallacy of fools. The maelstrom of the millennium no longer approaches...it has arrived. We must shape tomorrow or it will consume us. What began must end. The future is now...or it will never be. Choice is the wisdom and the wherewithal to adopt anarchy when the continuation of the status quo insures its inevitability.

Tagged as: Anarchy, Angels In America, Capitalism, Economics, Humanity, Politics, Tony Kushner

Daniel DiRito | February 23, 2009 | 9:21 PM | link | Comments (1)
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November 11, 2008

Keith Olbermann Special Comment On Proposition 8 genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Video-Philes

The following video is the latest special comment by Keith Olbermann. In it, he offers an impassioned rejection of the passage of Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage. We can only hope that more Americans will stand up to defend the rights of their fellow citizens.

Tagged as: Civil Rights, Equality, Gay Marriage, Keith Olbermann, LGBT, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | November 11, 2008 | 7:36 AM | link | Comments (1)
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November 5, 2008

The 2008 Wake - Waiting For The Sea To Change genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Many elections are bittersweet. 2008 was no exception. While celebrating Obama's historic election, California voters were dashing the dreams of LGBT children throughout the world. Today, they doubt voters will ever grant an LGBT candidate the same defining moment of acceptance.

When we're young, life is immeasurable and expansive. As we leave the coddled confines of our childhood, it is the equivalent of the snail emerging from its protective shell to explore all that exists in the grand garden of life...eager and idealistic...hopeful to a fault in the absence of unforeseen obstacles and disappointments...unaware of the protective nature of the domicile we depart.

My journey began in 1976 as I graduated from The Abbey School. Two years prior to my graduation, I made a decision I recall announcing in our kitchen to my mom, "I won't be the valedictorian of my class...that's not what's important to me...but I'm going to win the Sullivan Award". I can't even say exactly how she reacted though I believe it was part surprise and part puzzlement at such a specific pronouncement. Once she absorbed my statement, she observed that grades weren't everything and, by and large, left it at that.

The Sullivan Award was given at graduation to the high school student who contributed the most to student life during their four years of attendance. While an esoteric achievement, it fully symbolized my sense of community and my unyielding belief in the promise of humanity. On a warm summer day in front of the towering monastery...as a member of the esteemed 50th graduating class...in the centennial year of Colorado's statehood and the bicentennial year of this nations existence...I received the Sullivan Award...and all was well in my idyllic world. My dreams had come true.

In a few short months, while attending college, I cast my first vote for Jimmy Carter and life was my oyster. Much to my dismay, little else would measure up for many years to come. Aware of my homosexuality, but determined to suppress it, I decided to quit college after three years and return home to work with my dad and his brother.

On the surface, the decision had the appearance of a considered choice, but in retrospect, it was motivated by my fear that should I remain in college, the opportunities to pursue my orientation would overwhelm my hesitations and preclude the remainder of my smoldering dreams...not the least of which was the political arena and the fanciful notion that the presidency was within the realm of possibilities.

In hindsight, my actions had little to do with choice and everything to do with being a Catholic raised in a small community where the thought of being gay struck my psyche as nothing more than a perceived and fully unacceptable pathology...the kind that not only precludes one from social acceptability...but most certainly eliminates any fanciful ideas of the presidency.

Yes, the little boy of five (who vividly remembered every detail of the assassination of John Kennedy...including the faces of those he encountered as he entered Safeway with is father after having heard the news on the radio)...and the boy of 10 (who watched every speech and every primary in the candidacy of Robert Kennedy...including anxiously getting up early in the morning to see if he had finally been declared the winner of the California primary...only to realize he was dead)...and the teenage boy (who watched the Watergate hearings with an intensity reserved for a member of the prosecution...up to and including the moment when Richard Nixon...the antithesis of his idealism...finally boarded a helicopter and released the presidency from the egregious grip of corruption)...had by the age of 21 found himself feeling as if fate had stripped him of his dreams.

Four years later, following countless hours of contemplation and with the realization that I had now lived a lie for a quarter of a century...I met a man and fell in love. Soon after, I allowed myself to accept my sexuality, announced it to my family, and on the spur of the moment...on a summer afternoon...with my relationship with my family in ruins and all that remained of my seemingly shattered life hastily tossed in a pickup truck...I moved to Denver.

Ever the idealist, abundantly naïve, and convinced that acceptance...or at least some simulation thereof...would undoubtedly come by affiliating with other homosexuals...I jumped headfirst into being gay. Unfortunately, doing so while attaching oneself to a lover is apt to end up being little more than an act of misguided transference. Should one be unlucky enough to choose, in haste, the wrong partner or the wrong affiliations, the process of separating oneself and completing the task of attaining a sound and self-sufficient identity can appear to be an insurmountable struggle.

In retrospect, it's terribly saddening that gays...during the coming out process...the moment they most need support...are often required to summon a strength they most likely lack in order to accept and understand the rejection they encounter from those they love. Toss in the abject scorn that much of society heaps upon homosexuals and you have a rather rancid recipe unlikely to bake an ebullient and unencumbered identity.

Not to belabor my bad choices or appear to be seeking sympathy, suffice it to say that I spent the next eight plus years attempting to grow into the 25 I had missed. Emboldened by a new job and an expanded support system, I ended my relationship and began the process of becoming myself.

Living in Denver under the newly received protections afforded to those of my orientation, the trajectory of my life seemed to be in sync with my dreams...all be they far more modest than majestic. Sadly, such synchronicity was short-lived. In November of 1992, pleased by the promise of a potential Democratic presidency, the arrow identified as Amendment Two sat waiting in its quiver, poised to puncture my improving peace.

As election night approached, Shangri-La seemed within my grasp. Bill Clinton appeared a certain victor and the polls suggested Amendment Two was headed for a handy defeat. Sitting in front of my television, the trajectory of my evening was torn into two...split apart...one half buoyed by the good returns in the presidential race; the other sinking fast in the realization that the good voters of Colorado had unleashed their coy attack upon my civil rights while cowered in the confines of the ballot box.

Like an unhealed wound, the announcement that Amendment Two was projected to pass tore it open and left me in anguish, alone on the floor...bleeding tears. How could it be that I'd found myself again at that oh so familiar juncture...lulled into a sense of safety and security...clinging to my trust in the decency of the human spirit...only to be clobbered by that brazen beast I'd come to know as bigoted bias.

As I pondered the sudden sense that my good job and the comfort of my support system were seemingly insufficient, the television announced that it was cutting away to the Democratic Party's election watching headquarters where a group of gays had stormed the stage to protest the lack of support that had allowed Amendment Two to succeed. Soon word came that the police had been summoned...then word that prior to entering the venue to escort the intruders out, the police officers had stopped to don latex gloves...inferring their fear that the unruly crowd would most certainly be infected with the hideous HIV virus.

In short order, more and more gays arrived and the uncertainty of the moment escalated and the protest grew. In an instant, I grabbed my coat and ran out the door to join my brothers and sisters. With nothing to lose, I knew there would be comfort in the kinship I would find. By the time I arrived, the crowd had grown even larger. Soon word came that Mayor Webb had been notified and summoned to calm the crowd.

Not long after, the mayor arrived and spoke to the crowd...offering words of consolation and expressing his willingness to explore the options afforded to the city of Denver to fight the Amendment. In order to defuse the moment, he asked the protesters to follow him to the State Capital Building where we could continue to voice our anger. We did...but there was little relief to be found that night.

The battle to defeat Amendment Two ensued...culminating four years later when the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down. In truth, it took us four year to fully reclaim the ground we'd obtained in prior years. The victory was sweet, but the time was gone and the scars would fade, but never disappear.

Life moved forward and the plight of gays improved, though we've remained the object of derision for many...especially those on the religious right. In 2003, as we approached another election and the prospect of Supreme Court appointments that could well preclude the rights of gays for another generation, I grew weary of my career.

The passage of years served to remind me of the pace of progress...or the lack, thereof. Unsatisfied and unfulfilled, I began unwinding a 14-year career without a plan for the future. Instead of accepting the certainty of what was, I chose the uncertainty of what could be...though I had no idea what it was or where to find it. You see, try as one might, the absence of something is always known...no matter how full the cup.

Something told me it was time to look again. I informed my boss that I would be leaving the company once my house sold. Fate would have it that my departure would coincide with the 2004 election. I sold my house and the bulk of my belongings in late September...having decided to embark on a trip around the world. I scheduled my departure for November 5th, three days after the election.

At the time, I was guardedly hopeful that America would turn away from the politics of division and the scapegoating of gays. It turns out I was wrong, but I still felt invigorated by the prospects of the unknown. Absent any long-term plan, I packed my bags and left the shores of the United States. All I knew for certain was that my journey was limited to one year as a stipulation of the round the world ticket I'd purchased.

What I learned in my nearly four month trek was that the image of the United States had become increasingly tarnished and the reelection of George Bush had cast a doubt in the minds of many that his troubling presidency might well be indicative of the disquieting mindset of the average American...a development few of those I met wanted to conclude though they felt it seemed far more plausible given the November second results.

When I returned, the only thought that kept repeating in my head was that I had something to say and I needed to find the means to say it. Against the backdrop of fear for our future under GOP domination, the further faltering of this nation should that happen, and the festering fury being directed towards gays, I decided to launch a blog.

From my little corner of the world, I've disseminated my fair share of missives; ever hopeful I could exert some measure of influence in redirecting this country. All the while, I've had a sense that America was on the precipice of a pendulum swing away from the partisanship of "compassionate conservatism" (code words for the politics of theology) and ready to embrace the kind of real compassion that engenders moderation.

I had no idea that the man who spoke truth to me during the 2004 Democratic Convention would be the one to carry this torch of hope into the 2008 election. At the same time, I had no way of knowing that the 2008 California ballot would include a measure designed to remove the right of gays to marry (Proposition 8).

Last night, like clockwork, my next succinctly timed sixteen-year squall struck with little notice. While celebrating the fact that Barack Obama was elected president, an amendment was being passed in California to deny my gay brethren equality. From 1976 to 1992 to 2008, the vignettes of my life have brought both symmetry and sadness. In 1976, I celebrated my membership in the fiftieth class to graduate from The Abbey. In 2008, I celebrated my fiftieth birthday. At each juncture, my prevailing pursuit has been the unconditional acceptance of my identity as a homosexual. At each juncture, it has been denied.

On November 5, 2008, my dreams have been dashed and my hopes have been passed to another man of color. In 1992, Wellington Webb took my hand and led me towards inclusion on a cold and dark night...carrying a No On Two placard...carrying the weight of sixteen years of exclusion. In 2008, Barack Obama has been handed the torch as well as thirty-two years of my exclusion.

In the passage of this last sixteen years, those carrying my torch have succeeded in transforming the dreams of their fellow African Americans from the possibility of being the mayor of a major city to the reality of being elected to the presidency of the United States. Many times Barack Obama has spoken about the meaning and the message that would be imparted to black children should this nation see fit to elect an African American president.

It's too late for me to dream so big for myself...but it's not too late for those who may be sixteen or thirty-two years behind me. Today, I dream of the day when my gay brothers and sisters can place their hope in a gay candidate...one who carries the torch for them and speaks of the meaning and message that would be imparted to LGBT children should this nation see fit to elect a LGBT president.

As I await the next storm to appear upon the sea of my sixteen year horizon, I'm still waiting...I'm still seeking...I'm still hoping...I'm still dreaming...I'm still dying. On November 5th, 2008, in the wake of another election, I'm still on the outside looking in.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Bill Clinton, California, Gay Marriage, Homophobia, Jimmy Carter, LGBT, Proposition 8, Racism, Same-Sex Marriage, The Abbey School

Daniel DiRito | November 5, 2008 | 6:00 PM | link | Comments (1)
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November 4, 2008

2008 Election - Live Blogging genre: Polispeak

Tagged as: 2008 Election

Daniel DiRito | November 4, 2008 | 1:00 PM | link | Comments (0)
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November 3, 2008

Craig Ferguson: How About That John McCain, Huh...Huh? genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

When John McCain first commented on Sarah Palin's debate performance, I found his manner of speech rather annoying (you'll see it for yourself in the video). When I saw what Craig Ferguson did with that speech, I was rolling on the floor.

While we wait on pins and needles for Election Day, I thought we could all use a little laughter. Besides, it tickles me to see John McCain lampooned.

Tagged as: Craig Ferguson, Humor, John McCain, Sarah Palin, The Penguin

Daniel DiRito | November 3, 2008 | 4:30 PM | link | Comments (0)
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2008 Election: Jerry Springer Isn't Just Another Village Idiot genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

By now, we've all heard countless talking points on the issues and the significance of the 2008 election. Unfortunately, in a country where political surrogates are kept on script, there is little opportunity to hear alternate explanations of the issues at hand.

In the following video, Jerry Springer, former mayor of Cincinnati, provides another perspective on the role of government and how it relates to the oft heard labels that are indiscriminately attached to parties and their candidates.

I realize that the mere mention of Jerry Springer can invoke thoughts of the village idiot...but I've always found him to be a well-spoken and very insightful individual with a keen understanding of human nature. Frankly, his gift is his ability to understand the village idiot. In a country with 300 million inhabitants and a world with a population approaching 7 billion, an ability to make such discriminations and discern essence from ignorance seems like a valuable asset.

Watch the video and I'm certain you'll have a newfound appreciation for Springer as well as an expanded understanding of the appropriate role of government...with the righteous and rigid rhetoric removed.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Jerry Springer, Progressive

Daniel DiRito | November 3, 2008 | 10:47 AM | link | Comments (3)
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An Ode To The Undecided Voter? genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Have you ever wondered who in the hell can remain undecided with the election less than 24 hours away? I'm not sure if it speaks to a need for attention or if it might be a sign of diminished capacity. Whatever it is, David Sedaris isn't buying it.

From The New Yorker:

I don't know that it was always this way, but, for as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters. "Who are they?" the news anchors ask. "And how might they determine the outcome of this election?"

Then you'll see this man or woman-- someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. "Well, Charlie," they say, "I've gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can't seem to make up my mind!" Some insist that there's very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they're with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

Be sure to follow the above link to read the full article. If you like what you read, the following video is an added bonus since it ads some catchy lyrics to Sedaris' sentiments and some much needed prodding to our undecided friends.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, David Sedaris, Elections, Humor, Voting

Daniel DiRito | November 3, 2008 | 10:21 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Mo Rocca: 2008 Election Recap...2012 Preview? genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

In the following video, Mo laments our seeming obsession with all things political and he offers some closing thoughts on the 2008...as well as a preview of the 2012 election. After all, it's never too early to think ahead, eh? How does Palin & The Plumber sound to you?

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Humor, Joe The Plumber, Mo Rocca, Politics, Sarah Palin

Daniel DiRito | November 3, 2008 | 10:08 AM | link | Comments (1)
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November 2, 2008

Politics, A Park, And A Proposition genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak

I've found myself puzzled by my own silence for the last few days...wondering if I'm paralyzed by the anxiety that comes with an important election or if something larger were at play. Then I watched the following video and the answer began to emerge.

This isn't a new video. I remember seeing it when the San Diego mayor first offered his support for gay marriage in 2007. However, watching it on the eve of the presidential election brought a clarity that comes when the promise of hope nears the moment when it achieves its historical affirmation.

Let me attempt an explanation. Last Sunday, at the last minute, I decided to attend the Obama rally in Civic Center Park in downtown Denver. Fortunately for me, the path I traveled to the venue put me at an entrance that placed me in the middle of a crowd estimated to be well over 100,000. In that location, I was at the back of the first wave of onlookers...just in front of a security walkway. A sea of faces stood lined up on the other side of the portable fence used to create it.

As I pondered the notion of thousands taking the time to listen to a speech they had likely heard before, on a beautiful fall Sunday, I wondered why they came. Standing there, waiting to see and hear Barack Obama...I found myself facing away from the stage...mesmerized by the sea of faces lined up behind me...and all of a sudden an answer emerged.

In those peaceful and diverse faces, I saw a hunger and a hope for a new direction...a belief that real and meaningful change could be more than an ethereal dream...a growing certainty that this potential might well be embodied in the unlikely candidacy of an African American.

The fact that thousands more stood behind them simply served to reinforce a shared assumption. The realization that a black man could succeed in bringing such a diverse crowd of Americans to the same conclusion underscored the collective spirit of this nation and the persistence of its humanity.

The sheer weight of that awareness put a lump in my throat. The subsequent sound of U2's song, Beautiful Day, blaring from the massive loudspeakers, led me to tears. In that instance, it was clear that we still possess the power to alter the future if we summon the will to embrace the transformational opportunities presented by such rare moments of magnitude.

A full week has now passed since I attended the Obama rally. With each day has come a sense of destiny accompanied by an abundance of anxious trepidation. It's akin to awaiting the brief instance at which one's reality intersects and aligns with one's dreams...providing a wondrous window through which one can jump...leaving the shackles of the past behind...taking that first certain step towards a friendlier future.

That brings me back to the above video. In watching the mayor of San Diego risk the ire of his constituents, in order to stand up for the rights of gays to marry, my weeklong journey had come full circle.

You see, it reminded me of the significance of Civic Center Park. For many years, this park has also played host to the annual LGBT Pride Day festivities. Each June, on a summer Sunday, it is filled with hopeful faces...faces that are also hungry for the moment when the windows align and they're able to jump away from the limitations of the past and towards the promise of a more accepting future.

As I wiped away my tears, I understood the connections between the faces I'd seen in Civic Center Park this past Sunday and the ones I encounter on those Sundays, each year, in June. Nonetheless, our faces are unable to reveal the entirety of our stories...or the unique complexities confronted by each constituent group and each individual.

While all of our journeys share a similar destination, some segments of our society are at different points along the path. For as long as I can remember, I've felt a kinship with those whose paths have been cluttered with unwarranted and excessive obstacles. My empathy for those forced to confront these added challenges continued to expand as I discovered and embraced my own homosexuality. On consecutive Sundays, the divergent distances yet to be traveled by some of these groups could not be missed.

As we approach the end of the 2008 election, one group appears poised to make the jump...and I couldn't be happier. As I've pondered the possibility that America will elect its first African American president, I've allowed myself to imagine the joy that will undoubtedly accompany such an amazing affirmation. The mere thought of it brings tears to my eyes.

It also brings clarity to my sense that this election is about something much larger. This is the moment at which the eloquent words of Martin Luther King, recited in his "I Have A Dream" speech, navigate a necessary journey. Through the willful act of an enlightened electorate, his hopes will no longer exist as unfulfilled abstractions. Instead, the essence of his dream, adopted by the acclamation of millions, will be reinforced and history will mark this as a defining moment in the affirmation of African Americans.

At the same time, the next step in the affirmation of my LGBT brothers and sisters is in the hands of the California electorate. The opposition, in the form of a proposition to ban same-sex marriage, is intense and the prospects of victory remain in doubt. Despite my disappointment with the potential for defeat, come Election Day I will steel myself for either outcome.

Should we win, I'll know that the LGBT community has taken another step in our long journey towards affirmation. Should we lose, I hope to be able to take consolation in the election of an African American president. If that happens, I'll be encouraged that Barack Obama's message of hope and change may bring us closer to that moment when a majority of Americans will look back and reach through the narrow window, grasp our hands, pull us through, and speak the words we long to hear, "Welcome, my fellow Americans...the journey's over...you've reached your destination."

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, California, Civic Center Park, Gay Marriage, Homophobia, LGBT, Proposition 8, Racism, Same-Sex Marriage

Daniel DiRito | November 2, 2008 | 11:38 PM | link | Comments (1)
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November 1, 2008

Sarah Palin Gets Punked! genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek

Ambition is an interesting thing...and it can easily lead to embarrassing moments. It appears that Sarah Palin, John McCain's upstart sidekick, has found herself the victim of a prank phone call from a Canadian comedy duo with a history of "punking" well-known figures.

In the following audio clip, the Alaska governor sounds thrilled to be speaking with a man she believes to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy. From the outset, the off-color comments and questions should have been a clue that she might not be actually be talking with him...but it appears that her naive sense of self-importance gets the best of her.

It only gets better (or worse) from there...especially in the final moments when she is told the call is a prank. Note how she initially tries to roll with the gag...asking for the radio station call letters. Before the answer can be given, we hear other voices in the background while the phone is being shuffled and muzzled.

In short order, it sounds like Sarah and her handlers realize the magnitude of the moment...scrambling to decide what to do next. In a matter of seconds, we hear a staff member announce that the call is over...while it sounds like someone in the background is saying, "hang up...hang up". Ouch! But hey, vetting doesn't seem to be a priority in the McCain campaign...they're far to "mavericky" for that!

I could be wrong, but for me, the fact that a candidate for the vice presidency of the United States can be so easily duped doesn't engender an abundance of confidence. One would think that at some point she would have caught on and questioned the validity of the call...but she didn't. So much for good judgment and all of that "executive" experience, eh?

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Humor, John McCain, Marc-Antoine Audette, Masked Avengers, Nicolas Sarkozy, Quebec, Sarah Palin, Sebastien Trudel

Daniel DiRito | November 1, 2008 | 2:46 PM | link | Comments (0)
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October 30, 2008

"Where's Joe?" - Did The Plumber Just Flush McCain? genre: Polispeak

So much for Joe the Plumber! Now that Joe is busy turning his fifteen minutes of fame into a book deal or a country music recording contract...or some other means to capitalize on his notoriety so he can actually earn the 250K he told Barack Obama he planned to make when he bought his fictional plumbing business...he's suddenly missing in action at John McCain's rally in Ohio. Watch McCain ask Joe to stand up at his rally this morning; only to realize that Joe is no where to be found.

Yep, just like their honorable leader, Joe and Sarah put country first, eh? Apparently NOT...Joe has taken the same route as Sarah Palin...the one where it's every man or woman for themselves (maybe Sarah and Joe can be paired up on the GOP ticket in 2012?). It's also consistent with the McBush economic philosophy...the one they like to call "The Ownership Society"...the one that Barack Obama appropriately described as the "you're on your own" philosophy.

You see, while John McCain has been busy selling us on the notion that Joe the Plumber and the rest of us hard working Americans will be the victims of Barack Obama's "socialist" agenda, he and his hypocritical minions have been busy looking for the means to snatch power and line their own pockets.

Yes, John McCain believes in change...the kind that puts the big bucks in the hands of the wealthy...the kind that leaves the rest of us checking our pockets for enough change to feed our families.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, George Bush, Joe the Plumber, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Socialism

Daniel DiRito | October 30, 2008 | 10:23 AM | link | Comments (0)
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The Colbert Report: The Word - I Endorse Barack Obama? genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Stephen Colbert isn't going to be left on the outside looking in. Colbert, "angered" by the seeming rush of prominent Republicans to endorse Barack Obama, decides it may be time for him to toss his hat in with the rest of 'em.

In this segment of "The Word", Colbert provides the startling rationale for switching his endorsement to none other than Barack Obama - Stephen's not getting enough attention and he doesn't like it. There is one caveat...Colbert tells us an endorsement isn't the same as a vote.

In a puzzling afterthought, Colbert suggests that John McCain can still win this election...if he'll simply do what Stephen is doing and endorse Barack Obama...like the rest of the "mavericks" in the GOP.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Colbert Report, Colin Powell, Humor, John McCain, Stephen Colbert, William Weld

Daniel DiRito | October 30, 2008 | 9:59 AM | link | Comments (0)
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October 29, 2008

Election 2008: Contrast - The Past & The Future genre: Polispeak & Video-Philes

While it's difficult to measure the meaning of any single election, there is reason to believe that the 2008 election has the potential to be a transformational one...not just in terms of political affiliations but with regards to the tenor of political discourse, the importance of the middle class, and the latent racism that has continued to percolate in the background for many years.

I've been looking for the means to depict the significance and the importance of this election is simple terms...and I think I've found two videos that achieve that goal. In the first video, we witness a few McCain supporters exposing their racial animus towards Barack Obama...blatant in some instances and cloaked in code words with others. What is clear is that race will be the deciding factor for some segment of voters in 2008.

When that happens, the real issues that should determine one's vote are ignored and rational debate and dialogue have little, if any, influence. When this exists, it provides an opportunity for those politicos who would rather win elections than advance the issues necessary to benefit the nation. Hence, the politics of division (the past)...which has been the hallmark of the GOP for a number of years...is seemingly on trial in this election.

In the second video, "Generation WE" stakes its claim to the future. They argue that the size of the "Millennials" (those 95 million Americans born between 1978 and 2000) will make them the largest generation in this country since the "Baby Boomers"...and therefore grants them the power to remake this nation.

While it's impossible to generalize the make-up and mindset of any generation, there is reason to believe that this generation will be a counterbalancing reaction to the excesses of those that preceded them...making it more tolerant, more environmentally conscious, more engaged, and more interested in putting an end to the politics of division.

Returning to the significance of this election, one could argue that the election of Barack Obama may be their first salvo in securing their vision of the future. If they succeed in making that happen, the course of this country could be forever altered. Given the troubling tenor and tone of those who continue to cling to the past, we must not only hope that change is coming...WE must vote to bring it.

The Past - McCain Rally In Pennsylvania

The Future - Generation WE

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Bigotry, Racism, We Generation

Daniel DiRito | October 29, 2008 | 12:02 AM | link | Comments (0)
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October 27, 2008

The Onion: Cindy McCain - First Lady Or First Alien? genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

I don't have enough information to discern if Cindy McCain is as strange as she seems on the campaign trail or simply uncomfortable in such settings. Needless to say, she seems to be a rather strange duck. The Onion's recent spoof offers an even less favorable take on Mrs. McCain...suggesting she's a rather strange alien...with a hard "outer shell".

In the following video, The Onion gives us a matter of fact look at the potential first lady, inserting some rather "out there" statements. There's an image of Cindy McCain at 1:27 of the video that will leave you wondering if The Onion is offering something more than good satire and a few laughs.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Cindy McCain, Humor, Spoof, The Onion

Daniel DiRito | October 27, 2008 | 1:54 PM | link | Comments (0)
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