Friday, October 29, 2004

Holy Absence

Not too long ago I wrote about a neighbor of ours whose letter to the editor of our local newspaper indicated that she saw nothing anti-gay about the Republican Party platform this year. As I mentioned then, John and I like these people a lot, so we invited her and her husband over for coffee the other night to discuss this issue with them. I don't know what we hoped to accomplish, but I think it was just to hear how she came to the conclusion that the Republican party was not anti-gay right now and maybe to have the opportunity to give her another perspective.

After we settled down in the living room I felt the need to discuss just how awkward I felt discussing this with them. I shared that it was hard for me to discuss my concerns and feelings about such personal issues without sounding (or being!) accusatory. But John and I also felt it was important for us to hear what they had to say. My exposure to Republican thoughts on this matter had come only through media, which tends to produce relationally vacuous impressions, or through people who share my own beliefs.

I won't go into all of the conversation, but I believe the net result was positive (as most honest and love-based conversations are). Neither of us experienced major shifts in our points of view (no real surprise). But what seemed kind of holy to me was having a discussion about this that didn't end in either of us batting at the air about whatever we believed without considering the thoughts or feelings of others on the other side of the fence. And we didn't paint all of those who disagree with us with a large brush, or assume we knew all that the person on the other side of the issue was thinking. That felt big to me.

Can a holy event receive its essence from what did not happen or from what was unsaid? I don't know, but all four of us had to admit that as strong as our convictions might be and whatever their final results, only God has the big picture and hearing the other's points of view only made this more clear to us.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Sometimes the Chiffon's too Crinkly

My boss's race-car-owner husband, Bill who is also our CFO, skulked into the office yesterday to ask if I knew where we kept the samples of "crinkly sheers" (he was on a mission for his wife). He seemed a little embarrassed to be asking such a fey question, so I took the opportunity to point out that when he said "crinkly sheers" he sounded just like Paul Lynde from Bewitched. He shot me a beer-can crushing glance and went to look for the sheers, which he found all by himself. On his way out, he stopped and said in his most serious tone, "I think Paul Lynde was FABULOUS." Though Bill is Republican, he, thankfully, is not homophobic. Despite his chrome-loving persona, I think he actually enjoys handling the occasional soft good, and I applaud him for it.

I agree with his estimation of Paul Lynde. Somewhere in my childhood memory he was asked why Hell's Angels wear leather. His response was, "chiffon is too crinkly" (or something like that, hence the earlier memory jog).

Thinking of Bewitched reminded how much I identified with that show as a kid. I find it remarkably relevant even today.

You know the plot. Darrin (high strung or just uptight depending on which Dick was cast) is a mortal who falls in love with Samantha, a high-born witch trying to adjust to suburban life by pretending to be someone she isn't. Samantha's mother Endora, by far the most worldly and best-dressed (caftan anyone?) character tries to respect her daughter's choices but refuses to let her cave to what she sees as the provincial and unnecessary expectations of the mortal world.

Endora and the rest of Samantha's relatives, including Lynde's Uncle Arthur, conjure spells that have effects on humans (usually Darrin) as absurd as the unforgiving yoke of mortal behavioral codes Samantha is required to wear.

Formulaic fun or cultural comment? How about both? The show is, among other things, about repression. Darrin is a metaphor for loving but ignorant humans, while Samantha stands in for marginalized populations (people of color, women, glbt people). They love and are committed to each other, but Darrin has a hard time accepting Samantha for who she is while Samantha has to work to understand the world Darrin comes from (Darrin has the longer row to how evidently). Endora and Sam's other relatives (an earlier generation of gay culture?) subvert the norm as a coping mechanism for surviving in a world where they are feared and, historically at least, killed if discovered. It is no wonder that practical joking Uncle Arthur is Sam's "favorite uncle." Humor is the most valuable subversive tool there is.

Gladys Kravitz, the deliciously nosy neighbor, represents the least tolerant of people, the most fearful and the most committed to catching Samantha screwing-up, which for Sam usually happens when she is trying to hide someone or something connected to her real identity. Gladys's anxieties about what she doesn't know causes her cerebral cortex to short circuit and her unnecessary moral outrage produces trouble for everyone. Abner, her disconnected husband couldn't care less what Samantha does or doesn't do. He stays pleasently removed from everything, minds his own business and tries in vain to get his bored wife to do the same. His dismissive attitude may give us a clue about why she is so frustrated. Ms. Kravitz herself seems to be trapped in the small world of Morning Glory Circle. Perhaps her attempts to peer into Samantha's life are misplaced desires to escape her own.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Our Tax Dollars at Work

In addition to my consulting worok I'm also working for an interior designer and her business manager husband in a small town south of Indianapolis. It is so much fun, and my new bosses are very nice. The husband, like most people in this little rural village, is a life-long Republican and we have interesting and genuinely inquiry-based political discussions.

I mentioned once that one of the main reasons I'd prefer not to have Bush as president is that his support of constitutional bans on same-sex marriage puts my family at a disadvantage financially, especially as we get older or have kids. I also mentioned that John and I would probably move from Indiana if the state rewrites its constitution to further exclude us. He seemed surprised. He then said that he didn't think most people felt as if it should be a political discussion, to which I said that enough people did for the issue to end up as amendments on several state ballots this election cycle.

He asked me if not having marriage rights really put John and I in a bad position. He wasn't being argumentative, he just wanted to know what all of the fuss was about. He asked if there was anything he could read to learn more about it. He's not really a web person so I told him I'd find him something that would explain our situation.

Thankfully, the General Office of Accounting archived a report it wrote back in 1997 at the governments request for a summary of benefits and protections attached to marriage. It is still available and is the source for the over 1000 benefits and protections number quoted frequently by the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal.

The list is long, which kind of makes my point to my boss, but the report's unwieldy nature makes it difficult for most people to read through quickly, especially folks who are not computer-prone. Imagine my surprise when I discoverd that you could order your own copy, all 50-odd pages of it, for FREE from the U.S. government! Just go here and fill in the information. (Note: you don't need a customer ID number). The report number is OGC-97-16. I ordered a couple of copies--one for my boss and one to plop down in front of my dad, a CPA who ended up arguing with me one night over whether or not John and I really needed all of that marriage benefit stuff.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes with my boss and my dad (I think I may have convinced him, but I never really know)!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Out and About with Mary Cheney

After reading my October 18 entry, John pointed out an op-ed piece from the NY TImes in which William Safire said that very few people knew Mary Cheney was gay until the debate. To avoid on-line subscription issues, here is Media Matters report . If you knew Mary was gay before the debate you are evidently a "media junkie". The title would seem to fit anyone who watches the news since lately junk is all anyone has been getting.

A simple Google search indicated to me that even the casual reader of that obscure literati rag USA Today would have known Mary was out, as well as anyone who watched the vice-presidential debate (okay, that may have been more truly for political junkies). It seems to me that not only are Lynne and Dick dealing with some shame issues, but Bush/Cheney's base is as well. They are doing anything they can to keep voters' eyes off of the complete disaster this administration has created.

More on what they DON"T want you to focus on later.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Attack of the Lesbians

I've been trying to get this post up for three days, but life has gotten in the way.

You probably have heard by now that Lynne and Dick Cheney were unhappy about the fact that Kerry proclaimed during the last debate that he doubted that Mary Cheney considered her homosexuality a choice and instead affirmed that she is being who she was born to be. The conservative version of the story is here. As a result, Lynne has determined that Kerry is not a "good man." Translation: Kerry is a bad man. I can understand how she feels qualified to identify those. She has been married to one for years. But I think she is misplacing her wagging finger in this case. I love Elizabeth Edwards take on the hooplah (From Daily Kos):

ELIZABETH EDWARDS ON ABC RADIO: "She's overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs... I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences... It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response."

Biggie up to my friend Rosie's mom, Anita, who put me on to a related story. Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is under the delusional impression that lesbian girls are being mass-produced in rural high schools all over his state. He cites it as a by-product of the direction our country is taking without high-minded, true intellectual folks like himself on the job. Evidently without him, Oklahoma will have to change its name to Oklahomo.

Coburn says he's heard that school officials have even taken to sending girls one by one to the bathroom. The good news is that school officials have no clue what he is talking about, which is even better news for Oklahoma high school girls. Can you imagine how long those bathroom lines would be?

Coburn, Hustler Magazine just called. They want their bizarre high school lesbian fantasy back.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Turning the Smirk Upside Down

In order to stomach watching a third debate I had to arrange an internet chat with my friend Kris in Minnesota. We turned the debate into a drinking game. Both of us had to take a drink whenver we heard:

1. A lie from Bush
2. A reference to the Clinton administration
3. A knockout blow from Kerry

Needless to say, typing messages was kind of a challenge toward the end so we switched to cell phones for the post-debate wrap-up.

Knowing how I was processing the debate, you are not likely to put much stock in my judgement of who won it, so I'll keep that opinion to myself. Here, however, are some of our observations:

-Neither of the candidates took the question about the effect of the women in their lives seriously, though Kerry talking about his mother was really sweet.

-"Furious George" was a no-show. Kind of made me sad, but then again his absence kept me from feeling as poisoned after this debate as I had after the others (of course Old Forester gets some credit for that).

-There is a new super hero on the Hill. His name is "Budget Man." Bush spot-lights a big "B" into the sky over DC when he needs him.

-Kerry quoted scripture three times in appropriate ways to great effect. Bush didn't--at all. I wonder if Bush knew when Kerry was quoting scripture.

-Bush's sarcastic jokes, which can sometimes play well over the air, fell with the thud of Texas hailstones last night. They were flat because this last debate was naturally a little more serious in tone since this was the final opportunity the public would have to form opinions about a shared experience with these guys.

-Bush's smile is biggest and his eyes the blinkiest when he is lying or about to lie.

-Bush: "Kerry is way out of the mainstream" Translation: "Don't vote for Kerry, he's differnt." This Bush strategy will back fire, since most of the U.S. is aware that currently the "mainstream" is an uncontrolled torrent of confusion, oppression, and chaos pouring from the Oval office.

-Kerry is patient.

FLIP-FLOP alert:

Okay, I changed my mind about saying who won the debate. Even a half-drunk man could tell that Kerry is by far the better debater, and he was much more presidential in his demeanor and ability to grasp complex facts and put them together.

For my Republican friends out there, it is okay to vote for Kerry. In this election, who could blame you, not Bill O'Reilly, not Richard Lugar , not John McCain. And frankly, since as my friend Rosie says "once you are in that booth, no one really knows who you vote for", I'm not sure they won't vote for Kerry in the end. The reality is that Bush is not very Republican--he's too fiscally wasteful and too invested in your personal life issues to deserve that label.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Gay Ghost Towns

On November 2 my beloved Arkansas will have the chance to violently choke-hold the legality of gay marriage and slam the door on any civil rights for gay couples living there. The Arkansas Surpreme Court has made the decision to allow the broad language of the Arkansas Marriage Amendment to stand.

The amendment is almost certain to pass. I'm angry and sad about it, but mostly sad. I tried to figure out a light-hearted and fun way to write about this, but I can't. My home state, where all of my family and many of my friends, who are like family, live is likely to decide that John and I are not worthy of the same rights that non-gay couples are.

I've told my parents that if the amendment passes John and I will come home this Christmas, but after that we won't be visiting Arkansas. I don't know how long we will be able to live in Indiana either. John and I can leave here, sadly putting him in the same position with his home state and family as I will be with mine.

But neither of us feels like there is much choice in the matter. Until people begin to realize just how important this issue is to the productive members of society it affects, no one will really understand how devestating this situation is. Leaving for states where the taxes we pay go toward supporting the families we have is not just my idea, and frankly, Charles Bouley over at the Advocate says it better and with as much passion as I ever could.

"It’s time for a new tactic. How about emptying out those nice, newly gentrified neighborhoods, depriving these communities of our property taxes for schools that most of us will never utilize for our children? How about watching fine restaurants close because they can’t get good help, good management, good chefs, or a steady clientele since all the gays skipped town? How about leaving behind all those jobs and showing employers what running a business is like without our help? From administrative assistants to executives, from hairdressers to physicians—whatever the occupation, it’s time to hang our shingles in states that want us there. 

The change will come slowly, but it will happen. Right now it would mean that we’d all have to move to Massachusetts. I’ve lived there--not bad. But in California, come January 2005, I’ll have domestic-partnership benefits that are equal to Vermont’s civil unions, and that’s acceptable for now. So, California and Vermont are fine. In fact, Washington and New Jersey are fine too, because at least they’re trying. The other 45? Iffy at best. 

But why should you leave your home? Because your home state doesn’t want you, and it’s time to end the abusive, toxic relationship. Gays are the battered spouses of the states in which they live when that state refuses to recognize their right to love and marry whom they please and grant them equal benefits. "

I foresee a time in the not so distant future when this will be a reality for John and I. We can't fight this battle alone. We will desperately need the help of those of you who believe in us but who may not face the same issues we do. I don't even know what to tell you to do, but you can start by reminding people we exist. When you hear people make derogatory jokes or references to gay people, remind them that you know us. That we are your family and friends and that their bigotry, subtle as it may be, forces us to rearrange our lives.

America's Worst and Best Christians

I love self-described "bad Christian" Anne Lamott. You can sometimes hear her as a commentator on NPR or read her essays at My first introduction to her was through the book Traveling Mercies. If you've had the experience of staggering your way to Jesus, you might want to check her out. I find her to be a model of 21st century ,"Jesusey" both/and thinking. And she likes Joyce Meyer who I like for her ability to preach against the culture of victimhood.

But for the model of America's self-proclaimed "Best Christian," you'll need to check out Betty Bowers, who is "so close to Jesus He brings people back from the dead just so she can have the last word." I'm especially fond of some of her political observations-- she believes George W. Bush is a homo (if you follow the link, make sure you click on the action item at the bottom to see her letter of concern to the preseident) and obtained a copy of the true homosexual agenda. Her gift shop is fun, too.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Got Wood?

Interesting debate last night. Those town hall questions would have challenged all but the most Clintonesque debaters.

Kerry's answers and deameanor were solid and comforting in their thoughtfulness. He was a little less smooth than the last debate, so I might take him from a 9 to an 8 on my gut-o-meter (a ten-point scale). Bush was much improved from two weeks ago. My gut-o-meter had him moving from a 4 during the last debate to about a 7 last night. And it would seem that "not sucking as bad" signifies success for Bush supporters. I wish we had higher expectations for our president. Of course, if truthful self-awareness is important to you, then the lumber company thing might bring the score down some.

Refuting Bush's numbers regarding how many small businesses will be effected by Kerry's plans for keeping jobs here, the conversation went like this (From

"But let me just address what the president just said.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's just not true what he said. The Wall Street Journal said 96 percent of small businesses are not affected at all by my plan.

And you know why he gets that count? The president got $84 from a timber company that owns, and he's counted as a small business. Dick Cheney's counted as a small business. That's how they do things. That's just not right.

BUSH: I own a timber company?


That's news to me.


Need some wood?

(LAUGHTER)" End of quote

Well, it turns out Bush actually was part owner of a timber company. But he decided to mislead the public and then made things worse by attempting to insult the person who was right by joking about his lie. Hmmm...misleads the public then makes inappropriate jokes. Remember when Bush made that hilarious slide presentation of him in the Oval office looking for WMDs under the furniture while more of our troops were being killed each day during their genuine search for WMDs? It's that good-humored folksy style that has endeared him to the rest of the world.

Here are some possible audience answers to Bush's jokey "Need some wood?" question:

Ha-ha. Do they cut the wood from your nose, Pinnochio?

Ha-ha. No, thank you. I can't afford it.

Ha-ha. No thanks, you might need it to make weapons for troop training.

Ha-ha. Seriously though. You'd make a better wood salesman than a president.

Ha-ha. Can I use it to club fags and their kids?

Ha-ha. No, but I'll need some later. How close are you to running THAT company into the ground.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Southern Gospel Queen

Ever since I was a kid listening to the Florida Boys sanctify the Independence County Fair's dusty midway, I've been fascinated by Southern Gospel music. Southern Gospel (SG) is as easy to recognize and as difficult to pin down as Southern food--you know it when you see it, but exactly what makes it unique can be hard to say. Generally, SG is religious music that combines Christian faith messages with bluegrass or country style, humor, fun hair and clothes, and lots of drama. SG fans can be pretty intense, almost Phishhead-like in their devotion to their favorite groups.

I'm especially fond of SG family groups, like the McKamey's and the Crabb Family. But single acts like Nancy Harmon (actually she does have The Love Special Singers backing her up) are great, too. I watch them all and then some on Saturday nights from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the Phipps Gospel Sing (tells you something about our social life).

Lately I have a new favorite SG star. His name is Kirk Talley. And talk about drama, this poor man has is it in spades these days. Kirk was the victim of an extortion attempt after he sent nude pictures of himself to some guy over the internet. Ex-gay Watch has all the ins and outs with links to newspapers, comments, etc.

It has been difficult to watch Kirk go through what he has. He's obviously very conflicted--a man attracted to other men who also works in an industry that rejects homosexual relationships as unnatural and sinful. The tone and transparency of his letters to his fans during the last six months are touching (thanks to the editor over at A Very Fine Line for archiving them).

What would cause someone who works in a conservative fish bowl like the SG music industry to do something risky like connecting with people they don't know over the internet. Is it as some people think, that all gay men are promisicuous, even SG singers?

I assume there are lots of reasons people post nude pictures of themselves on the Web. But if I had to guess why someone who ascribes to conservative Christian views does it, I would probably say it has something to do with unresolved, internalized, and secret shame issues regarding his attraction to men. Now that his extortioner has forcebly outed him, Kirk is left to deal with the unresolved and internalized parts of that equation.

I hope he is getting the help he needs. I noticed in the description of his "Restoration Team" that none of the people are therapists. Ex-gay Watch even noted that the Exodus person who was working with them is no longer involved. Though I don't feel that ex-gay ministries are the only way to go for dealing with issues like Kirk's, I wish someone who was a little longer in the ex-gay tooth was involved in his efforts. Though we may disagree on some things, I found my ex-gay friends less hateful and dismissive than some of my Christian non-same-sex attracted firiends when I came to the conclusion that it was okay to be gay. For example, my best friend from college whose family I'd spent every New Years with for years told me that he would not have John and I in his house for even a short visit because he did not want his kids exposed to people like us.

My point is, I fear that if Kirk "falls" or decides that it is okay for him to be gay (not likely given his career choice) I don't know who will suport him while he is vulnerable. I will certainly be supportive, but given his more conservative interpretation of scriptures I doubt that I would be of much comfort to him. I hope if there are any ex-gay people reading this that they will keep an eye on Kirk for me. If his "Restoration Team" efforts fall short, would you please consider reaching out to him in love? I'll keep you posted on what I hear.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Ex-ex-ex gay fun!

I've met "gays." I've met "ex-gays." And I've met "ex-ex-gays." But I have never met and "ex-ex-ex gay." In other words, I've never met anyone out there who left a specifically ex-gay position (ex-gay ministry participant, counseling, reparative therapy, etc.) to come out of the closet and then later went back the ex-gay life. But if you have, I'd like to hear about it.

I'm not talking about people in ex-gay ministries who have sex with other gay people in weak moments (or "fall" as they might say). I'm more interested in talking with gay people who decided they didn't want to be gay and tried ex-gay ministries and then decided they didn't believe the claims of ex-gay ministries were true or for them and decided their same-sex attraction was natural and good. And THEN went back to their position of supporting and pursuing the goals of ex-gay ministries.

Believe me, I'm trying not to be confusing!

If anyone knows of somone who fits this description, send them over and let's chat!

Troy's Civil Rights Gumbo Recipe


1 bigoted state representative

Heat with:
79 percent of Lousiana Voters who think they are against any kind of civil protections for gay families

Stir in:
1 judge who bothers to pay attention to Louisiana's laws regarding over-packing proposed amendment statements

Serve over rice.

(editorial note: I especially like the Talon's comparison of the Lousiana gay party "Southern Decadence" to that gold standard of hedonism "Mardi Gras". Evidently a heterosexual orgy of over-indulgence is morally more acceptable than a homosexual one.)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Push-me, Poll-me

I'm glad to see that Arkansas is waking up to just how stupid the RNC thinks its voter population is. And they are sharing the information with a conservative sister state--Indiana. This is from Indiana's Decatur Daily Democrat. And given the 45,000 person jump in Indiana's voter registationit looks like others might be getting the message as well.

While Gene Lyons may be appealing to the better part of Arkansas' nature by saying that bigoted campaigning doesn't play well there, I wouldn't be so sure he is correct. It works in places like South Carolina. Just ask push poll victim John McCain.

Perhaps Karl Rove was just giving McCain more time to groom himself for the Oval Office. Funny how McCain, who lost the Rupublican nomination to Bush back in 2000 has come up in more than one conversation I've had as a good candidate for future president.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Cruel School

I don't know if you've been following the Washington Post's series on gay youth or not. It is pretty heart-wrenching. Thanks to Ben over at Scattered Words where I saw it first. Ex-gay watch also has some examples of how bad school life can be for gay people. As a friend of mine says, "there are so many ways to get got in this world."

I'm sitting in front of our little wood stove, which is chugging out the warmth and light I need in order to wake up at 5:00 a.m. I've poured myself another cup of ambition (Dolly Parton, Nine-to-Five for those who didn't catch that reference) and am ready to head down south to my new work gig.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Crossing Over

I'm asked sometimes (usually when someone learns that I'm voting for Kerry) if it wise to change horses in the middle of a fast-moving stream. I assume that we are the riders in their metaphor, but I think it is probably more accurate to say that we are the horse and our president is the rider. The question should be does our president know enough to decide whether we should continue crossing the stream to the point we are headed, find another place to cross, or turn around all together. If the wrong decision is made, I can assure you that it will be us that drowns first.

I prefer a president who has the ability to take in a lot of different kinds of information at once and interpret them correctly. I also need a president who considers not just his own survival, but that of his "horse." Bush may make quicker decisions, but in my opinion Kerry makes better ones based on more information from a greater number of sources. And frankly, I'm not convinced Bush really has the ability to be that concerned about his horse. He has jumped from organization to organization, failed business to failed business, willing to leave chaos in his wake without ever having to suffer as a result. In Vietnam, Kerry volunteered to suffer beside those under his command, and then he came back to the U.S. to be their advocate and has done the same for his constituents in MA.

Kerry also understands the stream better. He realizes that it is not just the challenging stream of the U.S. and its war on terrorism, but a fjord of sensitive situations (Iraq, Iran, the Sudan, North Korea, China, Terrorism, Russia) each steered by a different set of politcal particulars that require finesse, precision, and more consistent attention than one can give from a ranch in Texas. And unlike Bush, Kerry is willing to make reasoned, even if risky changes rather than stubbornly making a run for the spot on the shore using the one path he is "pretty sure" is going to provide safety despite mounting evidence that it won't. It is easy, but very dangerous to mistake prideful pig-headedness for resolve.

Kerry--The Comeback Kid?

I'm enjoying my last free day before my next work project begins on Monday. I'm lying in bed, drinking coffee, and eating a small slice of my friend Duane's flan and a piece of his spice bread for breakfast (both are incredible--I don't even bother making flan anymore. It seems so pointless.). I'm also ignoring the sharp and irritatingly spaced beep of our smoke detector, which refuses to accept the fact that I've given it a new battery. Anyway, it is a bright, cool fall morning here and the windows are open so it is pretty easy to block out the noise--especially as long as the flan holds out.

I'm also still reeling from the debate last night. John and I couldn't believe what we were watching. I had heard about Bush's debating skills and wondered if he was test-driving some new reverse pschology approach to the art, ala water torture, "the key to success is to repeat airless phrases while looking tired, impatient, and sulky." Kerry seemed to be doing just fine: poised, considerate, on point, strong when necessary. But I'm no debater, so I wasn't sure he was truly doing as well as he seemed to be.

Turns out Kerry might have known what he was doing after all. I assumed liberal folks would raise Kerry's arm as the winner, but I guess that a lot of conservatives did, too. "Conservative Bloggers Say Bush Sucked" from Daily Kos gives a run down on some conservative responses. This one from the National Review really surprised me (biggie up to BlogAmerica for spotting it). And Powerline Blog coined the nickname "President Out of It" for Bush (hmmm...).

So what's up? Bush may have just had an off night. I'm sure he'll get it together for the next debate. But I'm also starting to wonder if I don't see Kerry emerging as a long-distance runner AND a sprinter. When I think back to the primaries, I was really surprised that Dean didn't emerge as the DNC candidate. From the distance I was keeping, Kerry didn't really seem that special. Once he received the unnofficial nomination, however, I began to watch him more closely and see footage of him stating his position back in the 70s on the Vietnam War. For a 20-something (at the time), he was incredibly thoughtful, collected, and gracious. He looked as if he knew how difficult the issue he was raising was for other vets (and he did), but its importance required him to follow his convictions anyway. Empathy+Discernment+Follow through on Convictions= Good Leadership! And I began to recognize a deliberateness (that sometimes look painfully like plodding) as he works through issues.

Aside from the fact that I agree with most of his positions, Kerry's leadership abilities soon made him a no-brainer choice for me in this election. But the rest of the country has been slower to get on board. Obviously, some never will, but the same blend of empathy, discernment and follow through showed up again last night and I think it took some people by surprise.