Life and Living: An Open Letter To The Stanford Survivor…and ALL Survivors

     I read your impact statement last night, in its entirety. Where do I begin? I felt the overwhelming desire, being the father that I am, to encircle you in comforting arms…but what can be said, to bring comfort?

     “It’s going to be okay”? “Everything’s going to be okay”? They seem like such empty platitudes, in light of everything that has happened since that terrible night. No. Everything is not going to be “okay.” Nothing about this is “okay”, or should ever be thought to be “okay.” That despicable act, the lack of any acceptance of culpability on the part of the young man or his father, and the equally despicable joke of a sentence handed down by the judge. None of it is “okay”, or ever will be.

     You, on the other hand, can find yourself firmly on the road to “okay”, but you’re going to have to dig deep. Some days will be better than others. Things that seemed inconsequential before, will now bring hesitation and trepidation. I’m not going to even presume to tell you that this is “normal”, because it’s not normal, unless a person has endured what you and many others have. When these triggers jump up, (and they will never do so at opportune times,) you’re going to need some personal ammunition to combat their impacts.

     You will survive…you must survive. Don’t give those bastards the satisfaction of ever caving under the weight of this. Yes, there will be times when the weight will seem unbearable, but in those times, remember that you are not alone. You’re never alone. You have millions of fellow life travelers, some of whom have been through similar trials, who stand with you, maybe not in person, but definitely in thought and spirit. Surround yourself with those who will uplift you. Cast off the negatives, the naysayers and the “don’t be’s.”

     You’re on our minds and in our thoughts. While we may not know your name, that’s not important. We’re still thinking about you, willing you feelings of love, peace, comfort and light, even in the darkest of times.

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(Jim) Crowing – An Open Letter To Al Melvin and The Arizona State Government

LISTEN UP, ARIZONA.

LISTEN UP, ARIZONA.

     Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a bone to pick with you. It concerns a bill that has passed the Arizona state legislature, and now sits on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk, awaiting either her affirming “Jane Hancock,” or her veto. You know which bill I’m referring to; SB 1062. It has been referred to in the media as the “Arizona Anti-Gay Bill.”

     Just this morning, I watched a short clip of an interview between CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and state senator Al Melvin. Mr. Melvin, I have a question for you: why could you not answer a simple question regarding discrimination? As Mr. Cooper noted, you have declared your intent to run in that state’s next gubernatorial race, and as he noted, you were unable (or unwilling!) to answer a single question with regards to possible discrimination issues involving people in your state.

     Mr. Melvin, SB 1062 has absolutely nothing to do with religious freedom, and you know it. It pertains to commerce. Commerce, as you are (hopefully) well aware, is a matter of profit and loss. Religious practice, on the other hand, is a matter of espousing and expressing faith in a particular ideology and / or deity. As most church establishments are 501(c)(3) non profit endeavors, there seems to be a marked difference between them, and say, a bakery or florist shop. Apparently, you are confused as to the divisions and restrictions of each type of establishment, and where the two should and shouldn’t be intertwined.

     Mr. Melvin, how exactly does one such as yourself get to be a state senator, with such decidedly bigoted values and views? Navy War College? Were you good at that? Perhaps you should go back to that, because you’re a dismal failure as a representative of the populous. I have little doubt that there are thousands of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual constituents in your state, that are looking at you and shaking their collective heads.

     Let’s leave my apparent angst for Al Melvin to the side for a second, and address this ill-conceived piece of legislation. SB 1067 is problematic in a number of ways. For one, it would require business owners to make a declarative statement with regards to their religious proclivities against serving members of the LGBT community. This harkens back to the days of Jim Crow laws, where businesses would display signs that read, “No Coloreds Allowed,” or “Whites Only.” I’m assuming that any declaration must be posted, as a business license must, in a conspicuous place. I foresee this as being akin to a “scarlet letter,” and here’s why. Let’s say I am a consumer, and I walk in to a store with one of these signs posted near the register. As a supporter of the LGBT community, I am not even going to bother looking for the merchandise that I’m seeking, not in this store. I see the label, I acknowledge it for the bigotry that it is, and I turn and leave. The business loses revenue.

     In addition, the bill is unconstitutional. It is nothing short of state-sanctioned discrimination against an entire group of people, based solely on their sexual preference. Should Governor Brewer sign this piece of legislation into law, it will assuredly result in millions of dollars being spent by the state to defend it against rightful challenges to its constitutionality. In other words, Arizona; this one’s gonna cost ya!

     Speaking of costing ya, I hear that none other than the denizens of One Infinite Loop, Apple, Incorporated, have expressed concern over the bill, and its possible impact on any decision to abandon its Sapphire Glass plant in Mesa. Jan! Hey, Jan? Are you hearing this? Tim Cook and Apple will likely hit your state right in the wallet, should you dare affix your signature to this!

     I guess it all comes down to one question, folks; what’s in your wallet!? At any rate, it’s like the latest memes say. We’ve already had this discussion, and you cannot discriminate against a particular demographic who wish to sit at the lunch counter.

Et Tu, Brute? An Open Letter In Response To The Founder of Liberal America

...a full measure of ire, unleashed.

…a full measure of ire, unleashed.

     I don’t usually do this type of thing with my weblog. I try to stay as close to stories and editorials as I can, without airing personal issues or using The Cybersattva as a forum for redressing grievances, if it can be at all avoided. This time however, the offending party has left me no other choice, no alternate avenue for an in-kind, personal response; therefore I am  forced into the open. (The rules set by Ms. Willis, seem to indicate that a personal attack can be launched, with the avenue for a personal response immediately being closed off, thereby necessitating a public response. So in essence, I am now playing by her rules. So be it, id est quod id est.) With Sinead as my inspiration, I proceed…

Now I'm the Bad Guy.

Now I’m the Bad Guy.

“You want me to be the bad guy? Fine…now I’m the bad guy.”
(Mother Gothel, “Tangled,” ©2010, Walt Disney Pictures.)

     This all stems from an article that was written for the “Liberal America” website, a decidedly biased commentary on a news story from August of last year. I, in turn, composed a rebuttal piece, in which I expressed a fair amount of disdain at media bias from both right and left-wing sources. Let me make this abundantly clear: at no time, and in no way, shape or form, did I ever set out to besmirch Liberal America on the whole. I merely had strong opinions with regards to one article, and expressed them accordingly. No, on the contrary. I like a lot of the stuff coming out on LA, Ms. Willis has managed to accumulate a fine stable of writers.

     As a result of last night’s piece, Ms. Willis sent me the following message via Facebook, which I will be parsing and answering ammodum:

“Willis

Did you seriously write an article on your blog targeting my site? With a screenshot of the Facebook post from my site? And the phrase “certain publications”? And call me partisan media? Which we are, unabashedly biased. Hence our name. And called it a “spin”? Can you not give your opinion – however stupid it may be – without smearing a friend’s website? First you get all in my business with an employee with whom I’m facing a legal issue. You didn’t know her. In fact, you don’t know me. And now this? Let me get on my soapbox: screw you. With friends like you….I dump them and get new friends.”

Willis

Side note: you’re narcissistic, self-promoting, and you’re not British, so drop the fake “apologise.””

     So let’s delve into this, shall we, Ms. Willis? First, you asked this of me;

“Did you seriously write an article on your blog targeting my site? With a screenshot of the Facebook post from my site?”

     The answer to your first question is no. I did not write an article on my weblog for the purpose of “targeting your site.” I wrote my article as a refutation of one article at Liberal America, and not Liberal America on the whole. As to your second question, yes. I employed the use of a screenshot, from my own newsfeed, which referenced the article in question. (It’s fair use, and perfectly acceptable.) You went on to inquire:

“And the phrase “certain publications”?”

     Yes, I employed the phrase you mention, not only with regards to Liberal America, but also publications on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Had you read my article thoroughly and objectively, you may have noted that.

“And call me partisan media? Which we are, unabashedly biased. Hence our name.”

     Very well, since you just so much as admitted to being partisan, then I fail to see why you should be up in arms regarding my assessment. In addition, I did not call you “partisan media,” I referred to your website thusly. I had no idea that you and your website were the same entity. (Ms. Willis, you are not merely your website. The sooner you reach that epiphany, the easier your lot in life will become.)

“And called it a “spin”?”

     Absolutely. What would you call an article with a misleading title, meant to incite bias? Is that not “spin”? I’ve witnessed this enough from Faux News, to recognise it when I see it from publications on the opposite end of the spectrum. It should be noted that I referred to the article as “spin,” and not the site itself.

“Can you not give your opinion – however stupid it may be – without smearing a friend’s website?”

     So now it gets personal. So now, my own opinions are “stupid.” That, Ms. Willis, is an immature, cheap shot. Again, and I’m tiring of saying this, I wasn’t out to “smear your website,” I published a rebuttal to one piece.

“First you get all in my business with an employee with whom I’m facing a legal issue. You didn’t know her. In fact, you don’t know me.”

     Since you went there, then by all means, let’s go there. The information that I was made privy to, came from Ms. Smith. At no time at all, did I dig into your business. If calling one of your writers a “dumb bitch” in Facebook chat is your method of engaging in “business,” I would seriously look into changing my business model, if it ’twere me. In addition to that, I would not be referring to my stable of writers as “employees.” They’re the “talent.” They’re the ones who are fueling the Liberal America vehicle with the gas of articles, and making it go. Heaven forbid that they should walk en masse, then your fledgling endeavor would cease to be. While you are “Gene, Gene,” they are “Jo, Jo.” Don’t become “Art, Art.”

“And now this? Let me get on my soapbox: screw you. With friends like you….I dump them and get new friends.”

     Ms. Willis, I had no idea that you were this thinly skinned, or I might have approached my rebuttal even more gingerly than I believe I did. As for “screwing me,” while I’m flattered by the offer, I’m afraid I must refuse. As to the “unfriending,” that I cannot prevent, and Godspeed. Then again, you couldn’t simply leave it at that, could you? It seems that you added a…what did you call it?

“Side note: you’re narcissistic, self-promoting, and you’re not British, so drop the fake “apologise.””

     You will find no sidenotes here, only mainline responses. I’m narcissistic? I took a little impromptu poll, and the consensus is that no, I’m not. Self-promoting? Sure, no one else is going to promote me, so I might as well. As for the cultural requirement that you’ve placed upon my spelling, who in the blue, bloody hell are you to tell me how to spell “apologise”? I am, in point of fact, part English. I’m also 1/2 Hispanic, 1/4 Dutch, and a mix of Scots-Irish and English. The refinements that I employ when I write are my own, and you are in absolutely no position to presume to dictate to me when and where to employ them.

     Ms. Willis, if you were under the impression that I would sit by, in silent acquiescence of your invective-laced, “third degree” personal attack, then I regret (meh, not so much) to inform you that you were, putting this in Halloween terms, “frightfully” mistaken.

“If you think I’ll sit around while you chip away my brain,
Listen I ain’t foolin’ and you’d better think again.
Out there is a fortune waitin’ to be had,
You think I’ll let it go, you’re mad…
You got another thing comin’.”
(Judas Priest, ©1982, Columbia Records.)