Friday, February 17, 2012

Marriage Equality in MY STATE!! Woo hoo!!!

I'm so excited to live in a state where it's now legal for EVERYBODY of legal age to get married! It's about damn time!!! Of course, it was just signed into law, and there will be a huge effort to overturn it by people who are apparently so insecure in their own belief systems and fragile unions that they find a loving marriage between two committed gay people somehow threatening or undermining...BUT, I am optimistic that the people in my state are far too accepting, progressive, compassionate, and yes, even logical (there is, afterall, a huge financial boon to the state economy that comes along with supporting marriage equality as well) to allow any sort of repeal of this wonderful, long-overdue legislation to occur.

I suddenly feel very proud to be a Washingtonian! (Now, if we can just get the legislature to fully fund education in our state, we'd really be off and running...)

Congratulations to all of the beautiful couples who are now planning to wed openly, in their home state, surrounded by the people who love them and secure in the knowledge that their marriage is finally considered legitimate in the eyes of the law, as it has always been in their hearts and in the hearts of open-minded and loving people everywhere.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Are celebrities more worthy than the rest of us? Really?

Whitney Houston has died. You can't help but know this, because it's everywhere you look right now. On the news, on the entertainment shows, on the political shows, in the magazines, in the newspaper, all over the internet...Another incredibly talented, incredibly wealthy, incredibly famous (and infamous), celebrity, whose life was cut prematurely short due to using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the stresses and challenges of the very fame and fortune she coveted. Something many people, celebrity and non-celebrity, choose to do. Turn to drugs or alcohol or sex or bulimia or gambling or "sex addiction" (whatever!) or some other unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with life.

Only, when you're a massive celebrity, like Ms. Houston, you are somehow held in higher regard than others. Your death is blamed on the pressures of fame and fortune, not the choices you have made in your life. People say things like, "Let's just remember the legacy of this incredible singer, the incomprable voice, and not dwell on her demons." Demons? Why aren't we talking more about the choices, not "demons", that led to her death and the deaths of so many other rich, famous people. There are plenty of ordinary people, all over the world, facing challenges like poverty, disease, broken marriages, hunger, illiteracy, harassment and abuse, grief, you-name-it, without turning to drugs and alcohol and blaming it on their circumstances. Where is the news coverage of these people? And, why is that so many "ordinary" people are blamed and reviled when drug use leads to tragedy, but we let celebrities off the hook?

Don't get me wrong. I know that addiction is a very real, very daunting, and very difficult obstacle to overcome. I have seen genuine addiction tear apart families and ruin lives. (Although I have some healthy cynicism every time I hear some male politician or cheating celebrity claim that "sex addiction" was the reason for their infidelity....)  And, I feel no joy or satisfaction that Ms. Houston has died. It's a senseless waste. I still hold memories of her soaring rendition of "I Will Always Love You" in my heart. Her voice was amazing. Her smile, infectious. Her choices, terrible. But, it bothers me that tributes and fanfare and passionate emoting about the wonder of Whitney are flooding the airwaves, everywhere you look, with very little discussion of the decisions she made that led to her death.

This kind of thing happens all the time. We are celebrity-obsessed in the United States. We seem to hold famous people in higher-regard, no matter how eroded their morality, how horrible their decisions, or how reprehensible or foolish their behavior. So, why is this bothering me so much today?

Because, just a few days ago, two little boys were blown up by their deranged father. Charlie and Braden Powell, two completely innocent young boys, were murdered in an act so selfish, so horrific, so unbelievable, that it should be at the top of the discussion boards. It should be everywhere we look in the media, because it should be the kind of thing we are mobilized as a society to combat. Instead of massive, ongoing tributes to a woman who had every advantage life had to offer -- beauty, talent, wealth, recognition... Where are the tributes in support of children like Charlie and Braden? Where is the media coverage of  the masses clamoring for more funding for programs like Child Protective Services? Was there media coverage of this horrible event and the funeral of these two little boys? A little. A drop in the bucket, compared to what we've already seen about Whitney Houston.

That's not right. It's just not right.