Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gay Rights? Gay Marriage? It's Time!

I am a 64-year old wife of 42 years (to the same great guy), a mother of two and a grandmother. I served in public education for 34 years, as high school teacher, principal and superintendent. I have never understood the depth of bitterness and hatred directed at folks who are gay. Over the years, my husband and I have had gay friends, worked with gay peers (including other teachers), and taught gay students. I never experienced or heard of any "threat" to anyone from a gay person. No unwanted "come-ons," assaults, or sexual harasment. Too bad I can't say the same for my fellow straight folks!

So what's the big deal? Where does the hatred come from? How does someone else's sexual orientation threaten me, my family, or my way of life? How does a gay couple getting married threaten or diminish my marriage? Why not make the legal process and protections of civil union available to everyone and leave the religious sacrament of marriage up to individual denominations - under the First Amendment's freedom of religion?

Have we forgotten America's Declaration, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal?" How about the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, "...nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or prosperity, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws?"

Obviously, it's the "tryanny of the majority" again, the same tyranny that enforced slavery, denied women the right to vote, etc. I think back to a poster in my high school office, "What's popular is not always right; what's right if not always popular." Thankfully, courageous leaders and decades of protest have out-lawed most American "tyrannies of the majority." It's way past time to outlaw this current "tyranny of the majority" against gays!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

School Choice - Charters, Competition & Deregulation?

Do we really want any further school initiatives that subject public education, our schools, our students, and ultimately the foundation of our democracy to the same market forces that produced our current economic crisis? What form will high risk speculation, mysterious financial instruments, derivatives, and credit swaps take in a deregulated public education sector? Or Ponzi schemes for that matter? Can there be any doubt that opening the huge K-12 education institution - and its tempting coffers - to the private sector will lead to the same kinds of abuses that got us into the mess we're in? If we study the history of deregulations gone bad - remember the S & L crisis, Enron, Worldcom, Merrill - perhaps we can keep the "greed is good" contagion from our children's education.