Climbing That Hill

After a fantastic week of Joe, Kamala and Amanda Gorman, a 22 year-old young woman who made me love poetry once again for the first time since my early twenties, it started to happen.

I began falling into the…

ABYSS.

to the sunken place I go

Strange the way it creeps up on you.  And even stranger how, once you get to be a certain age and have had enough therapy, you know how to begin to creep out.

What brought me careening down there after this cataclysmic week of exciting firsts?

  • L.A. house arrest to avoid a virus
  • Vaccine searching fatigue
  • Zoom communication (meetings, teaching, and even socializing)
  • Screen watching fatigue (what was once fun and decadent now feels dronish and labored no matter how much YOU liked it and swear I MUST see it).
  • Fascism and other tales percolating from the dark side of nowhere
The true spirit of this week #onlyBerniememeIwillshare

Of course, this is merely a partial list.  Feel free to add on and subtract for yourself as you see fit.

I was sort of embarrassed to write this because of the privilege I enjoy.  White, employed (Note: Well, for now, nothing is permanent), happily married, friends, house, food, shelter and pasta guilt-free more nights than I can count because, more than anything else, THAT’S allowed these days).

Still, living through these times feels like dancing on the head of a pin too often than not.  At any point you can slip and impale yourself.  Perhaps not too badly but just enough that a small puncture slowly turns into a crack, and then a wound, which gets larger and larger and then suddenly emerges as a…gaping hole

Nothing to see here… totally normal day

And, you know, that can’t be good.  Imagine what awaits you when you’re fully sucked down inside.

Um, no….THAT’S not what I mean.

Seriously.

Living in Los Angeles, California has had so many benefits but the most recent downside is navigating at the epicenter of U.S. Covid-19.  We’re averaging well over 10,000 new cases daily and more than one million overall. 

Our home state of California has over 3.4. million cases thus far, the most of any state in the country.  When you consider there are just shy of 25 million people infected in the entire U.S. that means we account for almost 20% of cases.

We’re #1! We’re #1! #uhoh

And yet, we have far less vaccines available than other states. A friend in Florida told me it was easy peasy to register for your shot.  Yet the first day you could register in L.A. county, the site crashed, appointments were cancelled and many of us (Note: ME) spent hours trying to book vaccinations at sketchy clinics that wanted ALL your insurance info online and STILL didn’t manage to offer a definite spot for both shots.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the Trump administration had it in for California and gave Florida a larger part of our vaccines just cause HE lives there.

But I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

Yet.

Searches Etsy for fashionable tin foil hats

Nevertheless, it did give me a lesson on how others might have begun to succumb. 

This, of course, was countered by watching a kind and decent man being sworn into the presidency pledging that his first priority would be fixing the CoVid mess by listening to SCIENCE and not poll numbers.

But what was even more encouraging has been his appointment of seemingly EVERY top expert in EVERY field of government to do that and much more AND to, in turn, save the Republic.

(Note: It also didn’t hurt that not ONE of them was related to him by either blood OR marriage).

Like magic… BUT REAL!

Call me crazy (and many have) but I found this to be oddly encouraging.  That and watching the unmuzzled Dr. Anthony Fauci spreading honesty on TV once again, particularly about all things CoVid.  He even got down in the weeds and reassured crazies like me that there is NO real difference between the Pfizer and Moderna shot and that the only reason he took the Moderna one was that it happened to be the one available the day he had his vaccination at the National Institute of Health.  But that he would have done either.

Speaking of straight shooters, AND decency, tell your Fox News viewing relatives there is neither to be found there.  Sean Hannity this week had a banner onscreen headline categorizing Joe Biden’s first week as president  “DISASTROUS.”  Not sure if this was due to the one million shots for the first 100 day pledge, which was already being met after several days in office, or the US reentering both the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization.

My charitable way of saying “you are a moron”

Still, they did surface with two compelling Biden scandals.  Our new president has the temerity to wear a Rolex watch AND owns and exercises on a Peleton bike.

Oh, the no golden toilet of it all!  Oh, the shame!!

The President EXERCISES?!

Sure, I’m being snide but I’ve found that’s one way to brighten up my world and get by.  The other is to take in the fact that after four years DECENCY might actually be back in vogue. 

How do I know? 

Well, when Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff was walking down Constitution Avenue with his wife, VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS OF CALIFORNIA, he made international news just for briefly stopping and doubling back where they had previously been in order to retrieve the earring that had just fallen out of her ear.

So shocking was this act of valor in these days, I heard one journalist this week actually say on air, where do you make copies of a guy like that?

Get yourself a man that would wear your name on a t-shirt! #weloveDougie

Yes, that’s how starved we’ve been and how low the decency bar is.  Which means imagining how high we might get back to during the next four years is indeed something to live on for and celebrate no matter how long it takes to get us all immunized so we can return to hugging (and more) in person again.

Though if all that doesn’t do it for you, reveling in the words and images of our young poet laureate on Inauguration Day was a real, um…shot in the arm for my psyche, not to mention a reliable booster on each awful day since.  And that was even AFTER listening to Gaga sing the National Anthem with a giant Dove on her chest.

It was the gold mic choreography that really got me

I mean, if Amanda Gormans exist in the world – a young person with that much talent, grace and theatrical style – who also overcame a speech impediment – to live perform a POEM(!) she wrote for the ages to the world on Inauguration Day –  how bad are things, really? 

Especially when it leaves us with this life lesson:

..We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one

We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,

We will rise from the windswept northeast

Where our forefathers first realized revolution

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,

We will rise from the sunbaked south

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

and every known nook of our nation and

every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,

battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade,

aflame and unafraid

The new dawn blooms as we free it

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it

If only we’re brave enough to be it

Lady Gaga – “The Star Spangled Banner”

Check out the Chair’s newest project, Pod From a Chair , now available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

Hello Lady G

There is only so much a white guy like me should weigh in on in regards to Black Lives Matter and the coast–to-coast protests regarding the very recent public execution of George Floyd via the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.

Us white people could say a lot, and many of us have as we’ve lent our support and voices to nationwide (and international) street protests, but even more important is LISTENING and really HEARING.

However, if you happen to be a white GAY guy like me, there is something you most certainly can and should weigh in on.  And that’s the outing of Lady G.

No not LADY GAGA, who happens to have a new album (Chromatica) out now, but LADY G.

Make that a HELL NO

Who is Lady G?

Well, pretty much the opposite of Lady Gaga.

Lady G is a pseudonym for a longtime U.S. senator from South Carolina at the top echelons of power in this country (Note:  Chair of the Judiciary Committee and a frequent golfing companion to Electoral College President Donald J. Trump. And no, it’s not Tim Scott, South Carolina’s junior, and only OTHER, senator).

Oh no.. I’m shocked.. can’t believe it…

Lady G is also, more importantly, someone who has consistently and vociferously publicly denied being homosexual while very consistently and very vociferously voting and advocating AGAINST every major piece of legislation/law in support of the LGBTQ community for the last two decades.

Lady G voted:

  • Against same sex marriage, compared it to polygamy, said changing marriage would be only to suit the gay agenda and that, most importantly, it was against the national interest.
  • For the Federal Marriage Amendment (Note: To enshrine in the US Constitution that marriage be between a man and a woman) because a handful of liberal judges in Massachusetts should not be able to change the definition of marriage for the rest of the country.
  • Against including LGBT people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, claiming it was unnecessary.
  • Against same-sex couple adoptions, because to change the adoption laws to recognize same-sex couples, would be not consistent with our state (South Carolina).
  • Against including LGBTQ people in the federal hate crimes bill, proclaiming there was no need and it would ultimately divide America.
  • Against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because there was no groundswell of opposition to it within the military. (Note: And later criticized its repeal, arguing it would cause an increased risk of casualties).

We could go on and on and on but click here for more info.

Yep, we are with you Gaga

Some of the above is what spurred a gay adult film actor and sex worker (nee escort for hire) named Sean Harding to several days ago post the following on Twitter:

There is a homophobic republican senator who is no better than Trump who keeps passing legislation that is damaging to the lgbt and minority communities. Every sex worker I know has been hired by this man. Wondering if enough of us spoke out if that could get him out of office?

Since then at least two other sex workers have personally come forward to Mr. Harding with corroborating stories about the senator that go back for years.   Not to mention Mr. Harding and the Lady G moniker began trending on Twitter.

Cue Pence clutching his pearls…

Many more sex workers have also posted online about similar encounters with Lady G but, like Mr. Harding, they are a bit frightened to come forward because they all signed NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) about their encounters since the Lady is a very experienced attorney.

Yet in the truth telling age of sex workers like Stormy Daniels, Mr. Harding and his colleagues are in the process of hiring legal representation in order to unmuzzle themselves and speak their truths.  The latter would presumably include giving specific and indisputable details of their encounters with their said client.

So — what is their end game?

To expose this senator for the hypocrite that he is and get him voted out of office.

Time’s up… for both of you

See, if Lady G were not in such a public and powerful position to continue to do so much damage to a community he claims to NOT be a part of but clearly IS a part of, there could be a debate about things like a right to privacy.

But when a person of power is instrumental in passing and arm-twisting for legislation that publicly criticizes, condemns and denies rights most specifically TO that community, all bets are off.

Unlike people of color, there are those in the gay community who can hide their identities, publicly blend in and actively participate in the repression of that which they would ideally choose not to be in the name of career or some twisted sense of self-loathing morality.

Certainly they have a right to do this.

In the same way that those in that repressed community have the right to speak out and fight back against that said repression.

This is not to equate this fight to what is currently going on in our streets in the name of Black Lives Matter.  It is simply to point out that nothing will change if we continue to sweep hypocrisy under the rug and fail to speak truth to power.

Lady G was once far ahead in the polls for reelection in 2020 and is now polling dead even (Note: Even pre Mr. Harding’s tweet) with the competing candidate from the Democratic Party.

Take down time (amazing photo from Mother Jones)

Ironically this person is a Black man who has never held public office but has an impeccable and extensive resume in both the private and public sector.  He is the current associate chairman and counselor to the DNC and his name Jaime Harrison.

Mr. Harrison is the former head of the South Carolina Democratic Party, a political science graduate from Yale University who went on to receive a law degree from Georgetown University, a former high school teacher, a former leader of a non-profit (College Summit) that helps low income youth find a path to college and a career, and former director of floor operations for Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)  (Note: A longtime Joe Biden confidante) when he was Minority Whip of the House.

In addition to his current duties at the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Harrison has in his more recent past even co-taught a course at the University of South Carolina with Matt Moore, a political rival but also his very good friend who happens to be the chairman of South Carolina’s Republican Party.

Go Jaime Go!

Prior to and all during his campaign Mr. Harrison has consistently stated that he doesn’t see his message to voters in the traditional progressive vs. conservative/ Democratic vs. Republican mindset but instead notes it’s really going to boil down to right vs. wrong.

Of course in the long run, that’s what it always boils down to – whether you’re a sex worker, politician or voter.

Lady Gaga (ft. Ariana Grande) – “Rain on Me”