Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sometimes I get bothered by what I see posted on facebook. I feel I have to write something down.

I have been having trouble with some of the posts I have seen on Facebook pushing bigotry as religious freedom.
I felt compelled to write about it, but have not been able to resolve in my mind just how to address the issues.
Then I remembered a Bible verse:
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector - Luke 18,9-14
with that in mind I began to write.

Jesus came to them today and told them this story
Two people went to Church to pray.
One was a celebrated government official, who was trying to force everyone to follow their own limited interpretation of the Bible.
The other was a law abiding and loving gay person who just wanted equal rights for everyone.
The official stood in front of a crowd and prayed aloud for all to see and hear: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t allow these people, who don't believe what I am comfortable with, to have anything I don't think they deserve. I don’t sin, as I see it, and I don’t commit adultery, as I have been married to all my spouses at the time. I’m certainly not evil like that gay person over there! Imagine if they are allowed to be married, I know you would hate that as much as I do. I thank you that you hear MY prayers. Thank you for making me straight.’

But the gay person stood at a distance away from others and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I know I am not worthy of your love. Yet I also know you love me. I thank you for the love you have brought into my life. This companion you have given to me has saved me from a life of desperation and possible suicide. This companion you sent to me showed me that you are love, and that I am loved by you.  I only ask that I will someday be allowed to have the same rights as everyone else, and marry this loving person you sent to save me.'

I tell you, this humble gay person, not the government official, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

This is what came to me to write. I was unsure of myself at this point, so I sent it to my brother Rodney. I asked him if I had overstepped, or gone too far.

His response is the most profound thing I have read in a long time.
He said... 
I want you to know how wonderful you are to me. Because nothing you have ever done or said has treated me as other. You have only and always treated me as same, as part, as included, as loved. Not ever a blip of anything else from the very beginning. And you, DuWayne, and Dad are the only ones. Every one else needed time to adjust but came around to a growing level of acceptance. Not you. Not one millisecond. That's amazing!

Again, thank you. I have been texting a college friend who is upset with the cruel "bullying" that is being directed at Kim Davis. She is angry at me because of a meme I posted about the checkout cashier. 
I couldn't sleep last night trying to think of reply. I'm wondering if it's worth it. Your parable is just what I needed to hear.

Cruel and bullying. I don't see it. That meme was ironic sarcasm that makes a point about a current issue without resorting to making it an accusation against an entire group of people as does your very hurtful use of "the gay agenda."

You are asking me to answer for a population of people lumped together by a single characteristic. The moment I realized I was gay, I was in terror that I would no longer be seen as Rod, but would now forever be this first. That I would be defined by a single fact about me, the fact that I am gay. Do you understand that I lost friends over this? That it did happen? That people I thought would be my friends till I died became polite acquaintances? But nearly 40 years in I have friends for whom that is not a consideration and have developed a thick enough skin to accept those who cannot see past it. But it hurts, and I mean HURTS that you did this. When you use "gay agenda" you did this. You made me your "gay" friend. When you take the individual actions of an individual in a class of people and speak of the class as such, you did this. And you did it to me.

I cannot believe that you compare that meme with bullying. Do you understand at all what happens everyday in this country and around the world? I would be so happy to go a week without seeing in the news that a disaster, an economic downturn, a plague, was because of gay people. But it happens, every time there is a shooting, a hurricane, a heavy fire season. Have you ever heard one of these things in the news and thought, "Wow, that is horrible. I wonder if Rod heard that? I wonder how it must make him feel?"

I would love to go a month without someone in the news saying that gays should be arrested and locked up, arrested and quarantined, or worse, not even arrested. I don't go a month without a fellow citizen calling for gays to simply be shot, hanged, set on fire, just for being gay.

These things happen every day, but I have never, ever lumped you or anyone else opposed to gay rights or gay marriage into a group and judged you by the actions of the Westboro Baptist church of "God hates fags" fame.

Do you realize that every political season that I, a political junkie, have had to listen to politician and commentators and others in public life support anti gay causes to win the votes of people who want me dead. Right now they are calling for constitutional amendments that would dissolve my marriage to Doug. Do you even understand what it's like that until June 13, 2015 I was afraid to visit my sister because If anything happened to me or Doug in Alabama the other one could be shut out of the hospital or funeral parlor because we were strangers in the eyes of the Alabama State law. I'm not a healthy 53, and I had to think about that. Every place I went, I had to think about that.

Do you even understand that I had to pay taxes on the health benefits that Doug received from my work? Because the Feds did not recognize our marriage, those benefits were considered extra income. Did you know that we had to do our taxes twice every year b/c the Feds did not recognize our marriage, but state did? Since the CA taxes based on Fed we had to do two a single for them, and then pay for a "mock" federal tax as married to do our state taxes.

DO YOU KNOW THAT GAY CHILDREN ARE DYING? Besides teaching math, I work with at-risk children. Do you understand that of those students, gays are particularly vulnerable? Did you know that if you are a black child who is treated badly because he is black he can go home and has family that can both sympathize and understand his or her pain? Not gay children. They go home to fear that their families might treat them as badly or worse. Do you know that they represent more than 40% of the homeless teens? Do you know that they are at higher risk of physical violence? They are still at much higher risk depression and suicide. Did you know studies have found this has nothing to do with a child being gay, but is greatly influenced by how the child perceives and/or experiences societies attitudes and action towards them as a sexual minority?

Did you know a good young man in my new Christian Class set himself on fire 4 or 5 days after confiding with me that he was in love with his best friend and didn't know if God could love him? Did you know that I had another student who was being beaten up everyday after school by his best friend... his best friend from elementary school. His friend planned to beat him up until he wasn't gay. Did you know that I worked with another student whose parents took all of her clothes locked her in her room everyday, giving her 1 outfit for school-one of their choosing-keeping her under house arrest because they found out she was gay. Did you know the school yearbook adviser at my high school tried to keep a class sweetheart couple out of the yearbook b/c they were girls. She went so far as contacting the parents of the couple and outing them. But it was to late. One girl's parents had already forced her out of the house; the other already knew and threatened a lawsuit if his daughter was treated any differently than anyone else. He nearly sued over the pain the adviser had already caused. Did you know this adviser came to me nearly in tears, because she only wanted to protect the girls. Did you know that despite the pain this adult had caused children, I understood, comforted her, and helped the girls forgive her.

Do you realize that Kim Davis' beliefs do not trouble me, her actions if she accepts the consequences of treating people differently do not bother me. Wanting to protect her from having to give a gay couple a wedding license does not bother me. But the rallying of politician and conservatives clamoring around her on the news, talking about evil gay people bullying her disgusts me. Saying she should get to treat people differently saddens me, hurts me. But far worse, this grandstanding gives them the chance to say to another child that you are different and someone else has a right to not serve you because you are different, and that puts another cut on the child's soul. The rallying of politicians and conservatives clamoring around her on the news talking about evil gay people bullying her disgusts me because it validates this discrimination the eyes of that child.

You asked about an accommodation for Ms. Davis, that another clerk could issue the license. Did you even look at the story closely enough to know that SHE REFUSED TO LET HER CLERKS DO THAT? 5 of her 6 clerks were willing to issue the certificates, but she won't let them. Did you know that yesterday her lawyers filed for a lifting of the injunction because the people who needed the marriage licenses got them while she was in jail? So now that their case is over, she wants to go back to not issuing licenses AND NOT LETTING ANYONE IN HER OFFICE ISSUE THEM. Do you understand that I can and do respect her sincerity of beliefs, that am more impressed with her willingness to be jailed for them. But I also do not accept that my government allow any of its citizens to be treated differently by a representative of that government and that I will speak out against it?

It has been a long standing principle in our democracy that in the public square you may not discriminate. That even private businesses open to the public must provide their goods and services to anyone who has a legal right to them. Do you understand that I accept completely that someone can act according to her beliefs up to and until those actions put a burden, however slight or inconsequential, on someone else. At that point it has and always should be illegal. As Lincoln so brilliantly put it, "Your right to swing your fist stops at the end of my nose" It is morally reprehensible to me that I be treated differently by persons because I am gay. But if I am not doing business with them, they may act freely on their beliefs. But if I need service, I do not need to be reminded of friends I have lost because I am gay. I do not need to be polite as she goes and gets some who is willing to do business with a gay person. I do not care if she loves me, I do not care if she is praying for my lost soul. I want to be able to walk up to the counter get what I came for and go about my business. Anything else opens a painful scar that tears at my person.

The rallying of politicians and conservatives clamoring around her on the news talking about evil gay people bullying her disgusts me. I cannot accommodate that. It takes the pain inflicted by her on people she refused to serve and says to a child that it is right. If you're gay then people should get to treat you differently because of that.

You call a meme bullying? Do you know that a teacher at Bell accused me of having pornography in my classroom because I had a dropout and suicide prevention support group for lgbtq teens. She told her classes that my group was "the most evil" thing on campus. She showed them a video of herself on Montel saying how gays are out recruiting children to be gay and now because of groups like mine we the sexual predictors were actually on campus. Did you know I found out because some of my students were in her class. They came to our lunch group hurt and angry. Did you know she actually published my name in a conservative magazine article titled "Running the liberal gauntlet" saying I was a homosexual militant who was torturing my students with my radical agenda? She put me through all this when I had never really spoken to her prior to this, and was talking about how she had been persecuted by me.

Do you know that I took calls for the next couple of years from friends who wanted to know what was happening. Did you know my mom called very concerned and I had to explain to her what happened. That the persecution the other teacher referred to was that she got in trouble for talking to her typing class about controversial topic without parent parent consent, that she showed a non-approved video to her classes which also had nothing to do with her curriculum and upset many of her students. This was what caused her to list me as such in a very public forum.

So no my friend, with what I and so many of my students have experienced, I do not believe the meme I posted was bullying. To me it is publicly adding my voice to the conversation. It is me saying to my students that while discrimination still exists, and while people will class you as someone who others should be allowed to treat as different or other, IT WILL NOT GO UNCHALLENGED! I will say as loudly as I can, so that child can hear it, that it is wrong. I will say the system works when it didn't before, because she was not allowed to do it.

And we are nowhere near the end. Do you at least know that in more than 30 states it is legal for your employer to fire you because you are gay? Did you know people have been fired, lost there jobs, because their bosses found out they were gay because of a wedding announcement?

I have to stop now. Writing this has hurt. I am not going to proofread it. There is so much more to say. How painful it was that Doug's brother would not speak to me or acknowledge my presence. How he would leave church if I went to church with Doug. How I cried because I just wanted to go to church with Doug, not cause a problem for someone else at church. And to have to see how it hurt Doug to learn how his brother would treat him if they were not brothers.

Or, how I once went to visit a good friend, a good friend that I wanted to meet the first person I had ever really fallen in love with. That the person I was dating did not want to go into the house of my christian friend because he would not be welcome so he stayed in the car. We were in the neighborhood and I just wanted to stop by and say hi. Even after I said that would not be the case, that he would be welcomed, he said I was wrong. And when I went up to the friends apartment to say how silly he was being, you said no. You did not want to meet him because you said it would upset your children. So I said, "Oh, okay. I understand." And I left, without you meeting him. I left and had to tell him he was right. And I had to accept that if I was the person you hadn't met you would not want to see me either.
So yeah. My brother Rodney has been through a lot. More than I ever imagined.
Anyone who says Jesus hates him... doesn't know him, or Jesus, or speak for Jesus. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I never went to college for Business… but I have several questions.

I have been thinking about this for several years.

I am still not sure I am going to say this correctly.

But still… Here goes…

There is a trend that has been going on for several years where companies have put a great deal of importance in cutting “costs” to improve the bottom line.

In order to cut these “costs” several companies have chosen to lay off employees and freeze raises for the employees who actually do the work, and provide the services, labor, and products that the company is supposed to be in the business of supplying to their customers.

These companies often get rid of the longest standing employees that have the most experience and highest skills in the company’s product.

This is hindering the capabilities of the company, leading to customer dissatisfaction, and customers going to other suppliers, thus leading to the company seeing their bottom line going further down.

To fix this issue they decide to cut more people from their workforce and continue to hold employee raises at 0%.

What I do not understand is how corporations can look at this self destructive behavior and say “Hey Mr. “Chief-whatever” You did a great job”, then pay obscenely large bonuses to these people with a “C” at the front of their title. Sure they cut costs to make the bottom line look good at the end of the year. However, continuing to shrink the workforce leads to a loss of client satisfaction.

That will lead directly to a further degradation of the company’s bottom line the next year, ruins the companies reputation, eventually leading to potential clients not considering that company for business as the reputation has gone down as they lose quality employees.

Why would you consider giving a bonus to any CEO, CFO, CTO, anyone with a “C” at the front of their title, if they ran the business so poorly that in order to salvage the bottom line, they have to freeze raises, or lay off employees? Isn’t that an abject failure of the “Chiefs” that they have to butcher the company to save the bottom line?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Showers 2013

4/18/2013 7:47 AM - Naperville has reported over 9 inches already today.

Radio weather said we are getting an overall average of 1” per hour. ..They also said the worst of the storm is on the way. ON THE WAY? My house is going to float away!

Front of our house. Street is becoming a waterway

Upstream from us.. (corner one house south of us)

Catalpa and Ravinia Can’t get to the drains, water is knee deep.

So there you have it… This is what Woodridge looks like when we are getting 1” an hour…

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What? You want to impeach who? For what?

I keep seeing posts asking for people to sign a petition, or forward along an email, or share a post, that requests we impeach Barack Obama.
I say that we cannot do that yet.
We cannot begin impeachment proceedings against Obama before we bring George W. Bush up on the following charges.
1) Seizing power to wage wars of aggression in defiance of the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. Charter and the rule of law; carrying out a massive assault on and occupation of Iraq, a country that was not threatening the United States, resulting in the death and maiming of over one hundred thousand Iraqis, and thousands of U.S. G.I.s.
2) Lying to the people of the U.S., to Congress, and to the U.N., providing false and deceptive rationales for war.
3) Authorizing, ordering and condoning direct attacks on civilians, civilian facilities and locations where civilian casualties were unavoidable.
4) Instituting a secret and illegal wiretapping and spying operation against the people of the United States through the National Security Agency.
5) Threatening the independence and sovereignty of Iraq by belligerently changing its government by force and assaulting Iraq in a war of aggression.
6) Authorizing, ordering and condoning assassinations, summary executions, kidnappings, secret and other illegal detentions of individuals, torture and physical and psychological coercion of prisoners to obtain false statements concerning acts and intentions of governments and individuals and violating within the United States, and by authorizing U.S. forces and agents elsewhere, the rights of individuals under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
7) Making, ordering and condoning false statements and propaganda about the conduct of foreign governments and individuals and acts by U.S. government personnel; manipulating the media and foreign governments with false information; concealing information vital to public discussion and informed judgment concerning acts, intentions and possession, or efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction in order to falsely create a climate of fear and destroy opposition to U.S. wars of aggression and first strike attacks.
8) Violations and subversions of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, both a part of the "Supreme Law of the land" under Article VI, paragraph 2, of the Constitution, in an attempt to commit with impunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes in wars and threats of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq and others and usurping powers of the United Nations and the peoples of its nations by bribery, coercion and other corrupt acts and by rejecting treaties, committing treaty violations, and frustrating compliance with treaties in order to destroy any means by which international law and institutions can prevent, affect, or adjudicate the exercise of U.S. military and economic power against the international community.
9) Acting to strip United States citizens of their constitutional and human rights, ordering indefinite detention of citizens, without access to counsel, without charge, and without opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention, based solely on the discretionary designation by the Executive of a citizen as an "enemy combatant."
10) Ordering indefinite detention of non-citizens in the United States and elsewhere, and without charge, at the discretionary designation of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Defense.
11) Ordering and authorizing the Attorney General to override judicial orders of release of detainees under INS jurisdiction, even where the judicial officer after full hearing determines a detainee is wrongfully held by the government.
12) Authorizing secret military tribunals and summary execution of persons who are not citizens who are designated solely at the discretion of the Executive who acts as indicting official, prosecutor and as the only avenue of appellate relief.
13) Refusing to provide public disclosure of the identities and locations of persons who have been arrested, detained and imprisoned by the U.S. government in the United States, including in response to Congressional inquiry.
14) Use of secret arrests of persons within the United States and elsewhere and denial of the right to public trials.
15) Authorizing the monitoring of confidential attorney-client privileged communications by the government, even in the absence of a court order and even where an incarcerated person has not been charged with a crime.
16) Ordering and authorizing the seizure of assets of persons in the United States, prior to hearing or trial, for lawful or innocent association with any entity that at the discretionary designation of the Executive has been deemed "terrorist."
17) Engaging in criminal neglect in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, depriving thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and other Gulf States of urgently needed support, causing mass suffering and unnecessary loss of life.
18) Institutionalization of racial and religious profiling and authorization of domestic spying by federal law enforcement on persons based on their engagement in noncriminal religious and political activity.
19) Refusal to provide information and records necessary and appropriate for the constitutional right of legislative oversight of executive functions.
20) Rejecting treaties protective of peace and human rights and abrogation of the obligations of the United States under, and withdrawal from, international treaties and obligations without consent of the legislative branch, and including termination of the ABM treaty between the United States and Russia, and rescission of the authorizing signature from the Treaty of Rome which served as the basis for the International Criminal Court.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A little reminder of why I can’t wait for Springtime!

Riding the Sporty down Bluff Road from Lemont to Bolingbrook Then back to Woodridge

Please excuse the bumpy camera work… I don’t have a steady-cam mount for this camera yet.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Singing with my Dad Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

I love singing with my dad.

Here we are at the Polte Family Christmas Celebration. We didn’t get to practice much together due to schedule conflicts but we do enjoy the time we have singing. You can tell by us laughing at the end.

Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy sung by Marvin and Todd originally performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed singing it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My thoughts on Amanda Todd and the cyber bullies who murdered her.

Anyone who knows, meets, or is currently "friends" with one of the cyber bullies of Amanda Todd, should say to that bully  that you hope they can forgive themselves for the pain and death they caused."

That should be posted on each of their social media pages every day.

It should be the first thing said to them every morning when they wake up.

It should be the first thing said to them every time they are met in public.

Every day right before they go to sleep it should be the last thing they hear.

This statement should follow them wherever they go.

They should have no escape from this statement.

This should continue until they understand and acknowledge what they have done.

Acknowledge it just as publicly and as many times as they posted their bullying statements to Amanda.

This is what they deserve... but to do so, would be considered to be bullying them.

Deserving or not, bullying is wrong.

So these bullies will not get what they deserve and they will get away with this "murder".