Last month U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) reversed his stance on gay marriage, largely because his son is gay, and although I felt like I should have been happy about it, it left a bad taste in my mouth. Of course, I’m happy that there is another senator willing to support the civil rights of all U.S. citizens, but my knee-jerk reaction was, “Oh, you support gay marriage now because it directly affects your family? Well, guess what, Mr. Senator: The rest of our kids matter too.” I know that that thought was not generous, and I’m not proud of it, but my frustration is real, and the problem of homophobia is real, reports Huffington Post
“Then U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) made his own announcement. It turns out that he has a gay son too, but his opposition to marriage equality is not going to change. He also made a point to say that he loves his son. A few days later his son did an interview in which he spoke about how his father loves him and is incredibly tolerant. Now I wasn’t frustrated; I was furious. I was furious at this father for putting his politics before the rights of his kid, and I was furious that his child felt the need to defend his father when his father sure as hell isn’t defending him.
“But when I let my temper simmer down and took a step back, I saw that this is an issue that goes far beyond two GOP politicians and their kids.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to hear from gay kids all across the country. A lot of them don’t have supportive families, but some do. I cherish the good stories, but there’s often a moment in those good stories that makes my heart hurt: when they tell me how happy they are that their parents “still” love them — because all those kids knew that not loving them was an option. Continue reading ““Accept” and “tolerate” not good enough”
“Once, as a reporter, I covered wars, conflicts, civil wars, and even a genocide in places like Vietnam, Angola, Eritrea, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, keeping away from official briefings and listening to the people who were living the war,.” writes Victoria Brittain in a recent edition of Le Monde. “In the years since the Bush administration launched its Global War on Terror, I’ve done the same thing without ever leaving home.
“In the last decade, I didn’t travel to distant refugee camps in Pakistan or destroyed villages in Afghanistan, nor did I spend time in besieged cities like Iraq’s Fallujah or Libya’s Misrata. I stayed in Great Britain. There, my government, in close conjunction with Washington, was pursuing its own version of what, whether anyone cared to say it or not, was essentially a war against Islam. Somehow, by a series of chance events, I found myself inside it, spending time with families transformed into enemies. Continue reading “How one war on terror turned against women”
“Culture of poverty” and “cycle of dependency” theories have largely been discredited as biased and often ethnocentric. They also often don’t square well with popular American ideals of individual achievement and upward mobility.
But recent economic studies looking at the changing gender gap in education and income suggest new reasons for explaining the shrinking numbers of people living in what used to be called the “traditional” nuclear family, as discussed this week in the New York Times
“The economic struggles of male workers are both a cause and an effect of the breakdown of traditional households. Men who are less successful are less attractive as partners, so some women are choosing to raise children by themselves, in turn often producing sons who are less successful and attractive as partners. Continue reading “Male losers and the “traditional” family”
On this Veterens Day we can say that if recent U.S. involvements have taught us anything, it is that the no one comes back from war unchanged. Gone are the Vietnam days of heckling returnees or earlier beliefs that combat is just another job. Regardless of one’s political beliefs, the undeniable truth is that military service is a serious and often dangerous business––one that frequently takes an unacknowledged toll on those who serve and their families.
FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) is one of a number of notable efforts that have emerged from this new ethos. FOCUS provides resiliency training to military children and families. It teaches practical skills to meet the challenges of deployment and reintegration, to communicate and solve problems effectively, and to successfully set goals together and create a shared family story.
“Even for those of us who are well-versed in the war waged on women since long before 2011, the Republicans’ full-blown assault was far worse than we could have imagined. No less than 67 abortion bills were introduced in the last congressional session alone.” Writes Kaili Joy Gray in Daily Kos, adding “It wasn’t just an assault on reproductive rights, though. Oh, no. They also fought against the Paycheck Fairness Act, because while Republicans will give lip service to the idea of equal pay, they don’t really support it. Mitt Romney has said, during this election season, that women’s real concern is having more flex time so they can rush home to cook dinner for their families. Equal pay? Nah.” For more see, “Hey sluts and ladies and Vagina Americans, We’ve got a war to win.”
“Republicans fought against renewal of the Violence Against Women Act too. Why? Because they don’t believe violence against immigrants, lesbians and Native American women is a problem. Those women don’t deserve protection, according to Republicans. As with their shifting definitions of rape, some victims of domestic violence aren’t really victims, so screw ’em. Continue reading “The enormity of the war on women”