Let’s Talk Persecution…

“You should watch the Republican debates and town halls,” my wife told me yesterday. “I know you don’t like the candidates, but you should know your enemy.”

I DO know my enemy. I’ve been following gay and lesbian politics and activism since I was 17 years old. I knew who people like Ben Carson and Ted Cruz were long before they broke onto the national stage—and I knew them because of the malicious, cruel things they were saying and doing to hurt me, my family, and my friends.

But still, I watched bits of the GOP town hall last night. Ben Carson talked quietly, as usual. As he’s not doing well in the polls, I didn’t pay much attention and spent that time finishing up some work.

Ted Cruz Official
By United States Senate – Office of Senator Ted Cruz, Public Domain

I did watch Ted Cruz, however, and he absolutely terrified me. The feeling of dread and anxiety he left me with is exactly why I don’t watch Republican debates. It was like listening to a “call-and-donate-and-I’ll-heal-ya” televangelist. He was obsequious and slimy.

He was absolutely adamant in his promise to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage—the one that brought so much joy (as well as much-needed family protection) to so many people last summer. He spoke of Christians who are being persecuted (by not being allowed to practice their anti-gay beliefs at their jobs was the subtext)…all this while throughout the country, my transgender friends are facing jail time simply for using the correct restroom, gay people can be fired from their jobs if their bosses find out they have a same-sex spouse, and thousands of gay couples and families are watching this presidential race in absolute horror, knowing that their status as a family unit hangs in the balance based on the outcome of this election.

Don’t tell ME about persecution. When I came out, the religion in which I was raised labeled me as one of the worst kinds of sinners and I was told that I’d be destroyed as soon as the ever-looming End of the World arrived (thank you, Jehovah’s Witnesses). I was deemed a “biological error” by a beloved conservative talk show host when I was seventeen (thank you, Dr. Laura). As the years went on and gay people got tired of being beaten up, fired from their jobs, treated like strangers from the person with which they chose to spend their lives, and denied guardianship of their children, I watched conservative groups and politicians rally in order to make us into a threat to (of all things) family and marriage. We were the threat to these things while all we wanted to do was be safe, go to work, take care of our families and be able to take responsibility for our spouses. They painted us as the outcasts; the enemies to conservatism and the all-American way of life. 

I’m so very weary. It’s frustrating having to filter your life on a social level and its downright anxiety-inducing to not be able to count on normal, everyday protections and respect on a legal level. I’m tired of feeling this worry; tired of gearing up for this fight over and over again. But don’t tell me about persecution, please. Experiencing these sorts of things make it easy for you to pick out the real persecutors very quickly.

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Amazon’s 180

Apparently, Amazon is planning to open hundreds of brick-and-mortar bookstores.

I don’t understand the point of this.

I know that Amazon selling books and e-books has been upsetting to people who adore spending time in a bookstore or who won’t read anything that’s not printed on paper, but let’s hold off on the Amazon-is-evil-and-paper-books-forever debate for a minute and look at why Amazon has been successful in the book selling arena. The whole appeal of buying books on Amazon (or skipping paper books altogether and getting them on a Kindle, as I do for most of my books, nowadays) is that you don’t have to drive to a physical store, can find whatever you want without wondering if it will be in stock, and you get instant gratification—either by downloading your book in seconds or by finding and ordering it with the click of a mouse.

The last time I went to a bookstore to find a specific book (a vegetarian cookbook by Paul McCartney and family, as a matter of fact. I still have yet to kick my meat addiction and actually use this cookbook, but I digress…), I drove to the store, hunted forever to find the one (battered, despite being brand-new) copy of the book in stock and paid five dollars more than the Amazon price. I love wandering the aisles of a bookstore, but if I’m looking for something specific, such experiences leave me frustrated. 

 

book shelves

 

(I feel the need to acknowledge the stance of the paper book people with the disclaimer that I, too, adore paper books. They make me feel happy when I have them around. I don’t feel that our home is complete without my collection of books in it. However, after several moves and a downsize into a smaller living space, I’ve realized that my wife and I don’t have the muscle to keep moving boxes and boxes of paper books, nor the shelf space to store all of them. I finally sold or donated most of them, keeping only a few that are valuable or special to me.) 

Amazon drove hoards of bookstores—from big ones like Borders and Barnes & Noble to the small, neighborhood, mom and pop stores—out of business because, let’s face it, people like convenience and they like a good price. No matter your stance on where or how people should buy their books, that’s why Amazon succeeded. So how will Amazon fare with brick-and-mortar stores? Why are they doing this? Thoughts? 

Caucus Cacophony

The microscopically detailed news analysis of the caucuses have already driven me crazy.

“So here we are looking at Smithfield County, Anderson, and Sanders and Clinton are neck-and-neck here. Now, if we look at the precincts in light blue—back in 2008, voters in those precincts preferred pickles on their cheeseburgers. Historically, we’ve seen that people who prefer pickles on their burgers tend to be more liberal, with those who prefer ketchup leaning in a more conservative direction. What this means in this race, Anderson, is that Clinton should be worried about her position in Smithfield County…”

The preceding satire has been brought to you by absurdity and brain ache.