Wisconsin Union Protests 2011

The protesting that has been happening in Wisconsin’s state capital, Madison, has gripped the nation.  I was in Madison this past weekend and made my way to the Capital to see what was going on.  The building was closed, but there were still crowds of people around, chanting, banging drums, and speaking out against the current Governor’s early reign of tyranny.

Below is a link to the set of photos I took.  The crowd was rather light, since I was there on a Friday– but they were just as passionate as ever.

http://rickaiello.smugmug.com/SpecialEvents/Politics/Wisconsin-Union-Protests/16113600_qHBbc

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Way to go, Joe, you Jackass!!

Way to go, Joe Lieberman.  Because of your backstabbing and your inability to make up your own puny mind, you’re now the least popular politician in the United States.  You can’t even muster up 1,000 Facebook supporters.  You might as well just admit it now… you’re a douche, and your career is over.

Don’t let the Senate doors smack your ass on the way out.

Aaaarrrrrrrggggh!! I can't take it anymore!!!

OK… OK! I have been silent long enough.

I didn’t want to make a big stink, but I just can’t help it. I have to say something, and if I don’t do it soon, I’m gonna friggin’ explode.

OK, my Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans, and Questioning brothers and sisters… I am talking to you.

We’re not a happy bunch right now. Any visit to the news, or to blogs, or to chatrooms, or to Facebook or Twitter will tell you that. We are an angry bunch. We want what we want, and we want it NOW!

We want Gay Marriage. We want a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. We want a repeal of DOMA. We want Anti-Discrimination laws. We want Anti-Defamation laws. And don’t forget about Gay Marriage…

Yes, we really do want what is rightfully ours, and really, who can blame us? We’ve been an oppressed group for as long as we’ve been around. Other groups have got their rights, why can’t we?

Well yeah, I agree… and I want those rights, too. But did it ever strike you as odd that we’re demanding EVERYTHING to happen RIGHT NOW? Right now, when our country is still just barely recovering from the worst economic crisis it has seen since the Great Depression? Right now, when we are still fighting a war in Iraq and still trying to find the mastermind of 9/11? Right now, when the entire world is unstable, both economically and politically, and we are relying on our country’s leadership to ATTEMPT to keep everything together?

Did you ever think that maybe RIGHT NOW is a little TOO SOON?

I have, and I have said so and thought so since before Barack Obama got himself elected. Sure, he’s made some mistakes (that DOMA brief really did suck), but I truly have to believe, in my heart, that he wants to help us out. We just need to understand that, just like Rome was not built in a day, LGBTQ rights cannot be applied to us in 24 hours. It takes time, and it takes making the right moves and taking the right steps.

Our impatience comes from years and years of pain, sorrow and neglect, and I feel that pain, sorrow and neglect just as much as the rest of you. I understand why we are angry, and I understand why we want action. And I understand why we want to yell and scream and carry on when we feel we’ve been maligned.

But at what point will our voices blend in with the rest of the background noise? How long will ranting and raving and screaming work to get our country’s attention? And will it work at all?

I’m trying to find the answers, because I don’t know what they are. I’m just suggesting that we are going about it in the wrong way, and I’m concerned that our voices will not be heard, because those who we want to hear us are just going to plug their ears to drown out the noise.

It took this much animosity for me to break out of my blogging funk and write again… maybe it’s time we all try to do the same. Pick up the pen, or turn on your computer, and write your feelings. Send them to those who you want to hear your thoughts. Think out your grievances before airing them, and put them into context. Make them understand why you are so passionate about what you want.

Screaming will just make you hoarse. Intelligent thinking will get you heard.

Rick has avoidance issues…

OK so I’ve been avoiding my blog.

It’s not because I dislike it or anything… I don’t.  I just dread writing lately.  I worry that I may start a post and never finish it (because that’s NEVER happened before.  Ha ha.)  I worry that I may write too much and nobody would want to read it.  And I worry that I really have nothing to say, after all.

Well, that’s a lie.  I have plenty to say.  In fact, there have been numerous subjects on which I could have said volumes, including Proposition 8, Obama asking Rick Warren to do the invocation at the Inaguration, the holidays, New Year’s Eve and much, much more.  But as time wore on, those subjects either got old or compounded upon each other, and were relegated to the column of “old news.”  

So I’ve decided to sum up some of those things here, and maybe — just maybe — I can start 2009 with a clean slate and go on from here.  So here we go….

Proposition 8 – Clearly, this was a disappointment, and clearly, the GLBT community spoke up and spoke up loudly.  I was touched and moved by the uprising, but I did not participate in any of the protests.  Why?  Well, I missed the first one in Chicago because I already had plans to see my mom that day.  And the second one (which protested the Cinemark theatre in Evanston for its CEO’s contribution to the Yes on 8 fund) was right after the funeral of a dear friend and I just wasn’t up for it.  But the real reason is because, in my heart of hearts, I just didn’t feel the same.  All this clamoring for the title of “marriage” to be used across the board doesn’t sit well with me.  Yes, I want the same rights for all people, and yes I want that equality whether I’m gay, straight or anything… but I feel like we are so focused on the word “Marriage” that we can’t see any other possibilities.  I’m hoping that something good comes of all this in the future … and the possibility that Prop 8 (and the other props in Florida and Arizona) is overturned is still out there — but until then, I wish we could regroup and really think about what we want… and do it right this time.  

Rick Warren – No sooner than this announcement was made, GLBT people were shouting “FOUL” and “BETRAYED” and calling Obama a traitor, worrying that he would do to us what Clinton did with “Dont’ Ask, Don’t Tell.”  I, however, looked at it as a positive.  Yes, the man is evil and has said some terrible things about our community… but the fact that he is there, among Democrats who believe and want everything he doesn’t… is significant.  I truly think his presence there will not have such a profound effect on anything at all.  It is merely a presence.  It actually speaks louder to his ability to see other views than anything else.  Obama isn’t going to alienate what he believes in because of who he asks to give an invocation.  So I kept silent on the issue– until now.  I know my view is not popular amongst my peers… but that’s just how I feel.  

And now on to more fun things…

The Holidays were a joy.  Christmas Day with the twins was full of laughter and love, and the girls were absolutely adorable.  They’ve reached the age where they can actually laugh and enjoy the holiday… and to see them with their toys was so much fun.  For those of you on Facebook, I have pictures up of them opening their gifts and playing with them, here and here.  

And finally, New Year’s Eve was a great time.  I went to my friend Ricardo’s for dinner, and we all shared our goals for 2009 and what we learned in 2008… it was an emotional and sweet moment when each of us professed our love for each other, as friends and as family.  I’ve said it before – I have some of the most wonderful friends a guy could ask for.  I love them dearly.  Afterwards we proceeded to Sidetrack to ring in the new year — the first time I had been to a bar for New Year’s Eve in many years.  I had a great time, and I think 2009 will be a really wonderful year for all of us.

So that’s about it.  Here we are, the first Monday of 2009.  Everyone is back to work, and life continues on from this point.  I’m grateful to be employed, and thankful to be alive and well.  In this day and age, what more can you ask for?

So to all of you, a happy and healthy new year.  It’ll be DIVINE in 2009! 🙂

I Believe In Love

Please click “Play” below.

OK… I’m singing this song for a very good reason… other than it being an amazing song by three amazing artists (The Dixie Chicks).

Today, across the country, thousands of people will be protesting in cities from coast to coast about the passage of Propositions 8, 2 and 102 in California, Florida and Arizona. These propositions changed their states’ constitutions to exclusively deny the rights of GLBT people to marry. These protests are being carried out because we, as GLBT people, feel that constitutions should not be written to DENY people rights- but to GIVE them rights. By passing these hurtful and mean-spirited amendments, these states have done just that, and that is WRONG.

Here in Chicago, most of my friends will be protesting this along with our brothers and sisters across the country. I, however, will not be able to protest because I will be with my mom up in Wisconsin. Therefore, I am singing this song as my way of protesting this injustice.

I realize my method of protest may not exactly be kosher or even traditional. I’ve been trying for the past few weeks now to find a way to express myself about this issue and I just couldn’t find a way — until now. I feel bad that I can’t be at the protests… but I had to let my voice be heard.

I believe in love. And love does not discriminate.

Thank you for listening.