Friday, February 17, 2012

Honoring Anthony Shadid and waiting for Gov. Christie...

Before we talk more about the current war against women that I mentioned in my last post, we must make note of two items. 
First, it saddens me to report that two-time Pulitzer Prize journalist and New York Times reporter, Anthony Shadid, died from a severe asthma attack while slipping into Syria on horseback.  Mr. Shadid’s two Pulitzers were awarded in 2004 and again in 2010 for his reporting of our Iraqi invasion and occupation.  We shall miss his keen, intelligent, empathetic eye and voice.  He was a brave man and lent credit and honor to his profession.  [Here]
Second, we congratulate the New Jersey legislature for passing legislation approving same-sex marriage in their state, but, as the NYT lead says, “Gay Marriage, Passed, Awaits Veto by Christie.” [Here]  Isn’t that nifty?  One man with enormous national political ambitions will stifle the will of a majority of both houses of the New Jersey legislature.  
Christie wants the New Jersey legislature to turn the matter over to a state-wide referendum, thus relieving himself of the responsibility of single-handedly squashing an increasingly popular civil right.  (Given the Governor's considerable girth, I use the word advisedly.)  The Democratic leadership in the New Jersey legislature has vowed to vote against any such referendum.  Instead, the Democrats are waiting for Christie’s veto of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill in the hopes of gathering enough votes to override the veto.  New Jersey law gives the legislature a generous two-year period for such an override.
I once happened to see a Governor Christie performance in a Town Hall discussion of teachers’ salaries and New Jersey’s education budget.  Christie shamelessly verbally battered a young teacher who was defending her profession and the school system.  It was a shocking example of a bully who happened to have a mike, a camera crew and a staff on his side.  He sneered, interrupted her, mocked her and finally dismissed her with a wave of his hand.
The last time I saw anything quite so cruel was back in the Fifth Grade when a bully named Charlie beat up my friend Skinny Hunt.  We are all out of the Fifth Grade by now, but let’s see if Gov. Christie is.
It is a shame that the wave of good will and sanity that swept over the New York State legislature six months ago and which led them to extend the right of matrimony to same-sex couples, didn’t immediately sweep into neighboring New Jersey.  New York State, it must be remembered, is led by politically astute Andrew Cuomo; New Jersey has Chris Christie. 
Last July in New York State, as soon as same-sex marriages became legal, any opposition seemed to melt away and decent folks across the political spectrum opened their arms and their hearts in acceptance and welcome.  This is what my partner and I experienced six months ago and have continued to enjoy every day since.  And this is precisely what the current Conservative leadership seems not to know, viz. that this is the way decent folks behave when given the chance.

Addendum: Gov. Christie has vetoed New Jersey's Same-Sex Marriage Bill.  [Here]

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