Don't petition the White House, Use

Don’t petition the White House, Use

Nov 18, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
Secessionists. I first want to say thank you for finally learning something from history. The last time so many desired to rid themselves of a tyrannical president they declared war on the Union. Thus, your use of a peaceful means through petitions on the White House’s site is commendable. Furthermore, each state now finds themselves represented by a petition and signatures from people possibly...
The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The whole campaign season did not just depend upon the presidential race that finally came to an end last night. Yes, the country voted clearly to give Barack Obama another four years in the White House. He received more than 50 percent of the vote and won handily in the electoral college. Yet, it is what happened down the ballot that shows the nation’s...
Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Republicans, Rape, Life, and Control of Women

Oct 24, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments
During last night’s Indiana Senate debate the Republican candidate, Richard Mourdock, did more than stick his foot in his mouth. I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from...

The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The Country Moved to the Left Last Night

The whole campaign season did not just depend upon the presidential race that finally came to an end last night. Yes, the country voted clearly to give Barack Obama another four years in the White House. He received more than 50 percent of the vote and won handily in the electoral college. Yet, it is what happened down the ballot that shows the nation’s move toward progressive values.

It appears that Democrats will pick up a couple seats in the lower chamber but the real change happened on the senatorial level. Voters said no way to Republicans Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock after they attempted to scapegoat women and downplay the trauma of rape and sexual abuse. Furthermore, women won in Massachusetts, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Wisconsin for their first terms. All four of them will be more progressive legislators than their predecessors. In Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin will be the first openly gay Senator. Meanwhile, Arizona will send the first openly bi-sexual person to the House as Kyrsten Simena appears to have won the 9th Congressional seat.

That leads me to four ballot initiatives in which voters said yes to equality in three state and no to discrimination in another. Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Or better yet – recognize the love and commitment that two people have for each other, regardless of sexual orientation. Minnesota’s ballot question would have amended the state constitution to ban marriage equality. Voters said no to the amendment and state sanctioned discrimination. These four victories are the first for marriage equality at the state level.

California voters had the opportunity to vote on a few ballot initiatives (only in California) with a potential impact on the nation. Voters said yes to raising taxes the richest of California households. They also said no to limiting the political voices of working families in a proposition that would limit union involvement in election… while continuing to allow corporations near unfettered control.

Washington and Colorado did not want to be outdone. Both states voted to legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21. These two states now lead the movement to decriminalize a harmless drug that has sadly placed too many people in prison and cost taxpayers far too much money.

We could go further into the details of statewide initiatives but these pretty much show the drift of the country. Mitt Romney stayed competitive because of whites and older voters. President Obama won re-election because he appealed to a more diverse populace. He won with voters under 40 and each minority group. Simply put he won over a majority of Americans.

The results from last night do not guarantee over night success as Color of Change says in the statement:

“Throughout the election, the choice couldn’t have been more clear. President Obama’s commitment to fight for everyday people in his next term stood in stark contrast to the failed economic and social policies of the other party.

“But we’ve still got more work left to do to ensure that our efforts at the polls result in real change for our families. There are far too many folks suffering from the effects of this long-lived downturn economy, and we look forward to working with President Obama and advocates across the nation to push for reforms and policy solutions that will help Americans everywhere achieve the American Dream.”

That much is true. But the country did move to the left last night. I find it hopeful. I am heartened by the results.

Statistically I should feel the opposite. I am a straight, white male and a Christian. Born and raised in rural Illinois. I should be a Republican because of either social issues or fiscal concerns. But I do not identify with the party because of my compassion for others, regardless of who they love, their ability, their ethnicity, faith or gender. I believe in equality and justice for all. It is for those reasons that I find opportunity to further justice and equality after last night.

I welcome the work we have ahead of us because their is grace and love on the left. Walk the progressive walk and experience the grace throughout a diverse and welcoming cause. Feel the love in accepting people for who they are and the compassion to advocate for others.

The country moved to the left. Let us rejoice for today. Let us mobilize for tomorrow.

Photo by HowardLake

MN School District’s Sick Irony to Combat Bullying

Oct 18, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments

Today in the world of ignorance and pure stupidity we have the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota. The school district is now in the process of forming a task force, following the national attention to a string of suicides by students and a federal investigation that revealed the school did not do enough to protect students from bullying.

This anti-bullying task force will have a bully who will try to push hateful rhetoric in the school district’s policy. Brian Lindquist, head of the Parents Action League, received an appointment to the committee despite his promotion of ex-gay therapy and calling AIDS a gay disease. He refers to it as GRID, Gay-Related Immune Disease, a name the illness had long before science had figured it out and one that stigmatizes the LGBT community.

Lindquist refers to LGBT people as though they suffer from a sexual disorder. All because they fall in love with another man or another woman? Lindquist’s rhetoric and actions promote and condone the bullying that has lead the suicides of young LGBT students. Yet, he receives an appointment to a committee charged with curbing the bullying in the school district. This action is beyond stupid. It is negligence towards the 8-year old boy who “acts” a little different than his peers. It is criminal towards the 15-year old who boy growing into a man’s body while his fellow students taunt him with shouts of “fag” and “fairy” and much worse. It is accessory to child abuse as the high school juniors call a girl in their class a “dyke”.

Possibly worse yet, is who the school district did not name to the task force. As Think Progress’ Zack Ford writes:

Truth Wins Out points out that Anoka-Hennepin has made some troubling choices in who it has appointed to its new anti-bullying task force, and who it has rejected. Tammy Aaberg, whose son Justin was one of the students who committed suicide and who has since dedicated her life to anti-bullying efforts, was rejected from the task force. So too was Jefferson Fietek, an anti-bullying trainer who serves as the faculty advisor for the local Gay-Straight Alliance.

Ford notes that the School Board Chair Tom Heidemann is “fully committed” to the task force’s goals but wants “very diverse points of view.” Evidently that means keeping the same structures that promote discrimination, hatred, and bullying of LGBT youth.

Mr. Heidemann, this task force that you helped assemble is meaningless with the inclusion of Brad Lindquist or any other person who promotes the his ideals. You have validated the rhetoric of hate and the actions of bullies. This move tells the LGBT youth in your school district that they have one less safe space in their lives and it comes at a time when the federal court rules the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Mr. Heidemann, do you fail to see the sick and twisted irony of this appointment? I guess it is possible that you do not. But, I must wonder if you realize the truth in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Justice here would mean creating a school district that encourages equality for all students and a safe haven for all students to learn.

Mr. Heidemann, students have ended their lives decades early as a result of people like Lindquist. Yet, here you help task him with ending bullying in your schools. You should be ashamed of yourself.

We need teachers, administrators, and staff members that help kids and teenagers find their own identities. We should be working to foster schools that say yes to kids of all walks of life – the jocks, the nerds, goths, LGBT students, the misfits, and of course those cool kids that pressure everyone else to fit in! Growing up can be hard enough. It shouldn’t be a hell that you want to escape from.

I am sure the pressure will mount in the coming days for you Mr. Heidemann. In the meantime please reconsider this decision and create a task force comprised of people who actually want to kindle tolerance and acceptance in your schools. Do the right thing.

“People Are Born Gay, People Are Taught To Hate”

Jun 20, 2012 Aaron Krager No Comments

More posts will be coming soon. I am overwhelmed right now with a couple projects and it is hindering some work for the site itself. So, for all the people coming and reading about the controversy with, please stick around. I write a lot about the progressive movement, workers’ rights, and how the political process impacts individuals.

In the meantime please enjoy a little Lee Camp.

Kos notes the changing demographics in polls coming from four states that will vote on marriage equality in November. Marriage equality would win in each of the four states.

Washington – 51-42

Maine – 55-36

Maryland – 57-37

Minnesota – 49-44

We still have a lot of work to do in each of these four states but we are on the right track.

Why I won’t applaud the President on Marriage Equality

May 9, 2012 Aaron Krager 3 Comments

By now you have heard that President Barack Obama position on marriage equality finally evolved into support. All of this happens the day after North Carolina residents overwhelmingly backed an amendment to their state constitution banning it (and a host of other domestic partnership rights). The state that Obama carried in 2008 joined the rest of the former confederate states in once again saying one class of citizens is inferior to the majority of the voting bloc.

Having a person in the powerful position such as the Presidency of the United States carries, well in Vice President Joe Biden’s words, a big stick. Sadly, the movement for marriage equality will not see the most powerful person use that stick and fight for them. Obama’s announcement makes it clear that he will continue to leave it up to individual states. A place where marriage equality has lost each and every time it has been on the ballot. This is despite a majority of Americans now in support of marriage equality.

The basic rights of people cannot be left up to the states. We cannot live in the United States while individual states divide against each other in battle to legally recognize the love of two people regardless of their sexual orientation.

Obama cloaked his struggle with marriage equality in his Christian faith. Others hide behind the same faith to discriminate against their neighbor, coworker, or even a close family member. You may have heard someone say that marriage is an sacred agreement with God. My faith tells me a loving relationship cannot be denied and should be more fully nourished. But that is not the argument. The fight exists within the eyes of the law, not in the eyes of God. We cannot begin to see the same as God but we can try to see the foundation of our nation’s laws – the Constitution.

Preventing two men or two women from obtaining a legal document that recognizes their relationship in the same manner as mine is a violation of the Constitution. I will not stand for it and neither should the President. The people elected him to head the executive branch of our country to uphold the Constitution. He took an oath to do so despite Chief Justice John Roberts fumbling of it during the inauguration.

So I will not cheer or applaud the President on something that he should have already done. We can only ask how much longer for justice and equality. We can only look on in disbelief and wonder what more can we do.

The fight moves onto Washington and Minnesota where voters will say yes or no to equality for gay and lesbian couples. If President Obama wants to leave it up to the states but personally support it then he damn well better campaign for it in those states.

I realize progress comes slowly. Powerful tells us to wait. This cannot wait. We are not the land of liberty while our country denies fellow citizens rights that others enjoy. So President Obama, welcome aboard the band wagon. Now will you lead aggressively or merely stand back and watch?

Bullies celebrate 14 year old’s suicide

Sep 27, 2011 Aaron Krager 1 Comment

Jamey Rodemeyer’s death is a tragedy too many families are experiencing. The bullying and hate must stop.

Sadly, even in the wake of Jamey’s death his sister is confronted with a celebration by his bullies at a school dance. Yes, this happened. Yes, this is the country we are becoming. Yes, these are our young children.

Jamey’s sister attended the dance as a way to be distracted from her grief and horrible loss. Instead, the bullies that pushed Jamey into suicide celebrated his death.

“We thought it would be great to be with all of her friends, then all of sudden a Lady Gaga song came on and they all started chanting for Jamey, all his friends and whatever,” Tracy Rodemeyer said. “Then the bullies that put him into this situation started chanting ‘You’re better off dead, we’re glad you’re dead.’”

I would like to imagine these kids have no clue what they were actually saying but they are more than old enough to realize the pain another human being suffers from after a loved one dies. They knew exactly what they were saying and how hurtful the chanting would be to her.

This is the country we are becoming when we teach hate in our churches, when we teach intolerance instead of compassion, when we teach kids to be afraid of what is different.

We are driving young kids, gay and straight, into despair and loneliness. Nothing feels worse than having peers taunt you – just for being you.

I know depression… intimately. It is paralyzing and no matter how illogical suicide may seem for most, it is a temptation worth exploring during that state of mind.

Jamey should be day dreaming in class of meeting the right person for him or his career endeavors. Instead the bullies killed him just like they have killed many in the past.

Make it stop – another teen suicide

Sep 27, 2011 Aaron Krager 1 Comment

Rise Against could add a few more names to the song featured above, the latest being 14 year old Jamey Rodemeyer of Buffalo. The teen openly struggled with his sexuality and sought acceptance from others in his school and online.

“JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND [sic] UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” one post said, according to local reports. Another read, “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!”


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