Fucked-Update: Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Shit.
As some of you may know, last week, I had a birthday. What most of you probably don’t know is that I’m so obsessed with my own birthday that I tend to celebrate it for the entire month of January. This being January 31, the celebration will officially be over tomorrow. While I would prefer that nothing happen in January that might detract from the joyous observance of my birth, there are other important birthdays in the month as well. So that’s what we’re going to talk about…because birthdays make me happy and if I don’t think about happy things, I’ll remember how sad I am that the only presidential candidate I really believed in dropped out of the race yesterday. And then I would be crying on my keyboard. And then there would be no Fucked-Update.
An Opportunistic Politician’s Favorite January Birthday
What important figure do liberals and conservatives alike love to name-drop? You guessed it. Dr. King. Now, don’t get me wrong. He totally deserves a holiday. Actually, I think he deserves more than a holiday. He deserves to have his message taken seriously…still. He deserves to be honored for all the work he did, not just the advances he made in civil rights. Yet, when he’s remembered, it’s rare that people mention more than the fact that he had a dream and he wrote a letter from a jail in Birmingham. We talk about Dr. King as a great civil rights leader, not because that’s all he ever did, but because that’s the least controversial way to remember him. His name is often invoked to inspire people (as it should) and more often invoked as a way to make skeezy politicians seem more revolutionary than they actually are (see Mitt Romney crying and lying). What men like Mitt Romney seem to forget is that Dr. King wasn’t only a proponent of non-violence in civil rights demonstrations. He was against violence in general…even in war.
Let’s take his speech “Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” for example:
Let me say finally that I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. And there can be no great disappointment where there is not great love. I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. America has strayed to the far country of racism and militarism.
He gave that speech in April of 1967, and yet we seem to be back in the same place again. His birthday shouldn’t be a day when we as a nation pat ourselves on the back for making strides toward racial equality. It should be a day when we listen to the entirety of his message and remember how far we have left to go.
The Annual March for Life Celebrates it’s 35th Anniversary
Wait, what? Oh, I’m sorry. What I meant to say was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade was on January 22. Easy mistake, I suppose. After all, the coverage I saw on the major news networks didn’t actually mention Roe v. Wade. Well, sometimes they said March for Life started as a reaction to the historic Supreme Court decision, but no one actually mentioned that January 22 marked 35 years of legal abortion in the US. That’s a cause for celebration.
Yet, I couldn’t find much talk about it outside of feminist and/or progressive publications, blogs, and websites. So here’s a little list of links for you folks to peruse lest you take your reproductive rights (or those of the women in your life) for granted.
-Sara Robinson of Group News Blog on the shift from surgical to medical abortions and the pro-life movement’s reactions.
-Sarah Blustain of the Nation on men’s post-abortion syndrome. No seriously. The “abortion hurts women” rhetoric wasn’t working, so now we’re supposed to feel sorry for the dudes.
-And of course, you can always find great articles on repro rights in AlterNet’s Reproductive Justice and Gender section
A Not So Happy Birthday: 15 Years of Soldiers in the Closet
On January 29, 1993, a piece of seemingly harmless (to straight people) legislation got the approval of President Clinton and forced gay and lesbian soldiers back into the closet. Stupid, stupid, Clinton. As is typical with discriminatory legislation, the Clinton administration attempted to convince the GLBT community that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would make it possible for gays to serve in the military…you know…just as long as no one actually knows they’re gay. Aside from the obvious reasons why it’s stupid and discriminatory, it apparently hasn’t occurred to people how natural it is for men in close quarters to get a little frisky. Seriously. I’ve seen more homo-erotic behavior in the freshman dorms at the Air Force Academy than at JRs on 50-cent beer night. It’s time people face reality and chill out about having gays in the military….because they already have them and they always will.
The good news is, with any luck (and a democratic win in November) this could be one of DADT’s last birthdays. Both Clinton and Obama have voiced opposition to DADT and there is currently a measure to repeal the law trapped somewhere in a House subcommittee. The bill has 141 co-sponsors. Excellent news.
For more on DAD, contact the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.