Thoughts On Cynicism And Idealism

There’s a lot of reasons that this blog could dive headfirst into the “cynical” half of its title and never resurface. There’s the whole “spying on American citizens” thing. There’s the VRA thing. The looming student loan thing. I could go on, but that would merely be unnecessary padding. We all know things suck.

Except that, for today at least, there were a few things in our country that didn’t suck. DOMA is gone. There was Wendy Davis’s epic filibuster in Texas. These are lights in a dark time. These are moments that rekindle that flame of idealism and keep things firmly in balance.

That’s not to say that tomorrow won’t suck; conservatives in Texas are already mustering for round two of the fight. Even the DOMA victory isn’t complete: a complete victory would not have allowed for states to continue to define marriage. A complete victory would be equal rights for citizens of all sexual orientations NOW, end of discussion, if you don’t like it, too fucking bad. That’s still the end goal. You shouldn’t have to go to a specific state to be allowed a right like marriage.

On the other hand, we should be invigorated that something is happening. A woman’s right to make decisions about her body wasn’t abruptly gutted in Texas. Our same-sex marriage seeking friends and family members are one step closer to equality. Most importantly, the message is very different now than it was ten years ago. Ten years ago, we didn’t have a light in the darkness. Ten years ago, we didn’t have much of a reason to be hopeful about anything.

Ten years ago, those fighting for equal marriage rights were doing so largely alone. Allies were few and the general atmosphere was either “don’t talk about it, don’t think about it, pretend it doesn’t exist” or worse “God hates you, you’re an aberrant mutant, stop existing.” We’ve come a long way from that. Granted, we’re still on the road, and no amount of progress will ever make up for the abominable way we’ve treated our fellow men and women just for being themselves. Nothing will ever erase those mistakes we’ve made as a country or recover the lives of those who were destroyed because of prejudice and isolation. We can’t take those things back, no matter how much we wish we could.

All we can do is work to make sure that the damage that’s been done is stopped. All we can do is stand together against prejudice and bigotry. All we can do is prove that, no matter how flawed we are as a species, we are capable of learning from our mistakes and that we’ll never stop trying to make tomorrow better.

And that’s why I think this blog is still worthy of the second half of its name.

Baby’s Got A Gun

I think that one of the great things about the Internet is the juxtaposition of the profoundly amazing and the profoundly moronic. Just before I came upon this article, I was looking at a high resolution image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, one of the most awe-inspiring images ever captured. Let’s admire it for a moment before we continue.


Doesn’t look like much, until you realize that each of those little blobs is an entire galaxy. Billions and billions of stars are out there in the black and we humans, we are the only animals on this planet who have ever even seen these stars. Magnificent, when you think about it.

The wonderful thing about the Internet is how with just a few clicks, I can go from this wonderful example of scientific achievement and transition to this slogan by Representative Steve Stockman of Texas: “if babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted. Vote Pro-Life.”

Let’s look at a list of all the ways this is an absolutely asinine thing to say.

  1. We don’t abort babies. We abort embryos and fetuses.
  2. If a baby is capable of holding a gun, it can’t be aborted because it’s already been born.
  3. Why would a baby having a gun change anything anyway? Babies don’t have the physical capabilities to effectively wield a firearm.
  4. Who the fuck would give a baby a gun? If your baby is holding a gun,  it means you have failed as a parent. Seriously, you’re the worst.


One thing that flaming liberals like myself like to remark upon is the contradiction that seems to be part of the basic belief system of the religious right. Okay, so you’re Pro-Life. I get that, even if I don’t agree with it myself. I can understand holding all life to be sacred; hell, I’m a vegetarian myself almost entirely for philosophical considerations. Let’s set all that aside for a moment.

Why is it that the person who is proudly Pro-Life usually is also the person that supports the death penalty? Why does the Pro-Life person want more guns, when guns are specifically designed to take life away? Why does the person who values life more than anything else not value any life other than that of the embryo? All life is supposed to be sacred, right? Except for the lives of convicted felons. And the lives of burglars. And the lives of mothers.

Why is it that Pro-Life love stops once the fetus is a baby? Why do you care so intensely about the fetus, but rail against the welfare systems in place to take care of those fetuses now that they’re babies?

The only answer that makes sense is hypocrisy. That’s the only thing that makes sense  when you have a platform that is supposedly protects individual liberties, unless you’re a mother, or a minority, or a homosexual, or part of a lower economic class, or an atheist, or really just anybody who doesn’t meet with a very strict set of social requirements.

Seriously, I cannot understand how you can look at a politician like Stockman and not feel your brain recoil in the presence of such concentrated idiocy. This is slogan-bait of the worst kind. It’s the kind of thing you do when you are so convinced that your constituency is composed of morons that you know slapping “guns, babies, pro-life” together will get you some attention. I guess it worked in that regard, since we’re all talking about it. On the other hand, I don’t see how getting a lot of attention for being a moron could possibly help one’s political career.

Even if I was Pro-Life, this shit would offend me, because it’s so very blatant. The funny thing is that I could almost, almost, believe that this was satire. If it hadn’t come from a Republican from Texas, I would have laughed it off as a jest poking fun at the silliness of sloganeering. Part of me hopes that it’s a joke. I would be very relieved to find out that this was a story that originated from the Onion.

But I don’t think it’s a joke. I think that there are people who think like Rep. Stockman and there are people who agree with him. And those two sobering thoughts just leech away whatever schadenfreude I might have felt at this whole silly thing.