The “Personal” Election

November 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Family, Tom Butts

By Tom Butts

It’s hard to explain, but the 2012 Election seems to have a high level of emotion in it.  My own included. I can’t remember when I’ve been so passionate and raw about a general election.  Maybe it’s because the election has really taken place over a two-year period.  Maybe it’s because in my state, Washington, every day residents are voting on my relationship. Yes, they are deciding whether I can call my marriage of 11 years a “marriage” or not.  It’s hard to look at that with any other attitude, as I find it so appalling that, in 2012, people can vote to take away my right to something that’s so deeply personal to me, my husband and my beliefs.

To top things off, we have a very important general election to consider.  One candidate believes that my marriage should be recognized throughout the country, one does not.  One openly talks and includes the GLBT in conversations to the nation, one does not.  The next President will more than likely choose two Supreme Court Justices.  This is a huge thing in a divided court.  This court will make decisions on very personal issues.  A woman’s right to do as she likes with her body.  Marriage Equality…etc.

Now, back to my point of emotion…

There are people that call me a “one issue” voter.  That may be correct.  In fact, I believe in a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do.  I believe in healthcare reform, I believe in marriage equality, I believe we need all Americans to pay their fair share of taxes.

All of these are important.  That said, “marriage equality” is what really sticks with me personally.  I’ve found myself being a bit hurt by family members that are voting for Mitt Romney in 2012.  I respect their right to choose the candidate they feel best meets the needs of the country. That said, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for myself.  I tried to explain it to my father.  I told him, what if Mitt Romney said (and the RNC platform stated) that anyone over the age of 70 should not be allowed to drive.  My father, being, 82, said “I could NOT support the candidate.” I said, there, you have it Dad, that’s my thought exactly with gay marriage.”  He said, “Tommy, that’s my livelihood they’d take away.” I said, “Dad, it’s my marriage they want to take away.”  I think it actually settled in.  Although, for the record, I am guessing his vote will still be cast to Mitt Romney.

It’s obvious which way I want this election to go, but I wish more of my friends and family that identify with “conservative values”would realize that gay marriage is extremely conservative.  I want to be responsible for my partner, I want to love him, be loved, learn, have challenges and be in a responsible, adult marriage.  IT’S THAT SIMPLE.

Now…writing this has gotten me emotional *smirk* so I’ll say…adieu.

Share

Slowly But Surely the Walls of Prejudice Are Beginning to Crumble

June 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News, Tom Butts

By: Tom Butts

A key part of the law banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage (DOMA) was struck down as unconstitutional by a U.S. appeals court Thursday.

We’ve heard a few decisions regarding this matter; the reason this one stands out to me is that it’s the second court to make the same decision but what raises my eyebrow of hope is that this court is not a “liberal” West Coast court but an Eastern one.  The other twist: both judges who claim that DOMA is not constitutional are (ready for this?)…REPUBLICAN.

What?!

Yes, ‘tis true, Republican.

Looking at the Constitution, they have decided that DOMA truly doesn’t provide citizens in this segment of population equal rights.

Remember this little ditty from School House Rock days:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Well, it was my way of memorizing and learning about a very important part of “Americana” – our preamble to the Constitution.

I think as we move forward and people open their minds to what’s fair, not necessarily what’s their opinion, we will look back and see that people were on the right side of history.

In Washington State (a favorite of mine), people are overwhelmingly in support of gay marriage 55% to 33%.  More and more of my conservative friends are continuing to hold strong to their beliefs but realize that two separate sets of rules for humans are not the way our country works.

Just the words, mixed race marriage, women’s vote…they’re archaic at best.  In a few years, I’m hoping that “gay marriage” will perhaps mean what it did in the 1930’s – “happy marriage”.

Tom Butts out…

Share

The First Gay President

May 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News, Tom Butts

By: Tom Butts

Okay, let’s start off with a true statement.  When I heard President Obama had said he favors Same-Sex Marriage or as I prefer to say “Marriage Equality”, I was touched…okay, I got teary-eyed.  It’s powerful to hear your President validate something so personal.  I’ve been with my husband for over 10 years and it’s nice to see it recognized.

Now…to my point…

“Our First Gay President”?  (First off, I thought that was Buchanan.)

Let me do some quick fact checking by tombuttsisnotreallycheckinganything.com

Obama, he’s straight.

He didn’t endorse gay marriage and set dates or proposals to show how he plans to end the inequities of marriage and lack there of.

South Carolina banned interracial marriage until the Federal Government stepped in and told them they couldn’t.

He said he’d leave it up to the states to decide.  Really?  We didn’t leave slavery up to the states or there’d probably be a few that still have it.

Yes, it’s an amazing gesture and I’m sure that I’ll get email telling me that it “takes time…” baby steps…” it will happen…”

I don’t think these words resonated with Rosa Parks and they certainly don’t resonate with me.  I realize that I most certainly should not or expect to be compared to a woman who was so powerful in the civil rights movement, but I also shouldn’t be ignored or counted out.

Marriage equality is just that, treating us all equally, giving us the same federal benefits that married couples get and protecting us.  Really marriage is a conservative concept and some of “us” want to opt in.

I’m not sure that people continually voting on our rights or our equality is healthy for us or them, well, again, I just checked tombuttsisnotreallycheckinganything.com and it’s not healthy…there, I said it.

Share

Remaining: 961

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Tom Butts

By: Tom Butts

That number could be looked at a few ways; it could be seen as how many more remaining delegates there are in the Republican Primary.  It could also be seen as a countdown clock as to how much more time we have until we see the “ugliest” Presidential Election in years.

It seems clear to me, as a Democrat, that we need to stick with the facts and tell the story about the day a new President was handed a load of crap from an overzealous war-monger who had no idea what he was doing with money, war, or diplomacy.

Sure, it’s fun for us to tease Mitt Romney (Mittens, as I like to call him).  Sure, not too many of us have had a renovation that includes “car elevators” or a price tag of $12M.  We enjoy seeing Anne Romney talk about how she did work, when in reality it wasn’t whether being a mother is a hard job (we can all say “yes” to that), it was about Mittens talking about her like she was one of his economic advisors.

When I get involved in political conversations (usually heated if the mix includes the GOP) I do a lot of listening at first.  People say, “look at gas prices, the President made these prices go up…”.  I simply reply, “you’re probably right; he’s also taken the DOW from 7000 to 13000”.  Of course, after that is mentioned, I get told that one person does NOT have influence on the DOW/NASDAQ.  So let’s be clear…we need to decide, is he the ALL POWERFUL OZ or not?  I’m guessing he’s not.  There are many factors in our world economies that are influencers in what’s happening -mainly China, Brazil, and India.

What I can say is that unemployment has dropped since January ’09.  The DOW has gone up since January ’09.  As a recruiter (that’s what I do for my day job) I’m finding it much harder to find great candidates.

To make it through the summer, two things are mandatory:

1. Owning a TiVo or DVR (to skip through the billions of dollars in advertising spent by both sides).

2. Listening to facts, taking a snapshot of pre and post Obama and where we are.  As a gay man, I have more rights, my       401(k) is looking good again and, as you can guess, I’m a supporter.

Share

Catholic Church and Gay Marriage

April 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Tom Butts

By: Tom Butts

 

I’m going to have to agree to disagree on this editorial:

Catholic Church right to give voters a say in defining marriage. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2018002480_guest18bray.html

There are so many things wrong with that sentence.  Let’s start with the whole separation of church and state.  Much like England and a good chunk of Europe, Protestants protested the Catholic Church and it forcing its beliefs on everyday citizens.  The Catholic Church does not have the right to give voters a say.  Let’s start with some statistics, Catholics make up 16% of Washington state’s population.  That said, it would be like homosexuals giving the voters a say in defining women’s rights (rumor has it that gays make up 7 to 10% of the population).

Richard Bray talks about the church having the right to advocate for the “historical definition of marriage:  one man and one woman…”  I suppose that’s okay, but only within their church, which again is 16% of the population.

He talks about the church and how he is proud of its leading efforts to feed and clothe the poor, give shelter and services to the homeless. (He fails to talk about the controversy of child abuse and their stance on birth control, but I’ll let that slide, no pun intended.)  I will agree, there are a lot of things that the Catholic Church does that is good.  There’s a lot that I personally don’t agree with.  That said, how is it that, as a minority in the state itself, it should think it should be able to “give voters a say”?

It is truly easy to pick on gay marriage.  It’s not something that a lot of people are familiar with; it’s not something that personally affects a lot of people, even within the GLBT community.  That said, it’s a very personal thing and to say that it is the Catholic Church’s responsibility is reckless.  The world has evolved (again not a pun).  Marriages are now mixed race; women have the right to vote.  I would imagine a large number of Catholics have had a divorce, like approximately 50% of American marriages.  Why doesn’t the Catholic Church do something more proactive, support a ban on divorce in Washington state?  That way we’re not taking rights away, we are just truly protecting marriage.  My point here is I do not understand the idea of standing behind the “definition of marriage” – hasn’t that changed over time?

Bray continues on:  “I’m proud that the church consistently fosters the dignity of the human person.  Regardless of your beliefs, or if you have none…”

Homosexuals are human, simple statement.  Let’s foster dignity and recognize the option for two people to provide for each other, love each other, and be treated equally to their heterosexual counterparts.

Most people will agree that gay marriage should probably take a back seat to the 500 years’ of child abuse in the church, right?

Tom Butts is a proud GLBT citizen from the state of Washington in Seattle.

Share

Embrace Your Inner Obamacare

March 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Tom Butts

By: Tom Butts

When I get an opportunity to write I find myself “blocked” -mostly because there are so many things going through my head at any given time.

Today is no different.

One issue getting attention as it goes to the Supreme Court is Obamacare (as it’s labeled by most conservatives).  Personally, I think they could have been a bit more clever in coming up with a better name, but it’s the GOP and creativity and evolution are two things they aren’t very good at.

 

Okay, so back to my thought.  Obamacare…right when you read it, I like the idea that my President does care.  When I read the list of things that are now protected as far as healthcare, prior to this legislation being signed into law I don’t understand why people would be against this.  More people are covered with insurance already, more people have the ability to keep coverage even when there is an existing condition. What’s not to like, right?

It’s funny to me that Romneycare (now I’m being a bit lazy in coming up with a clever name) has been law in MA for years now and it’s a state with almost all residents covered by insurance AND the residents are also very happy with their healthcare. Yet, Romney runs from it. Odd, it sounds more like an accomplishment to me.

As Democrats we need to focus on this and embrace it.  I think Obamacare is a great thing, andI’d even keep his name attached, I see it as a positive connotation.  Let’s let the GOP run at the mouth and “dog” it.  Let them fight women’s reproductive rights – after all it’s 1970, oh, wait, it’s not, it’s 2012.

I get fired up about a lot of things, this is something we should let be.  Say, “I like Obamacare.”  There’s really nothing someone can say about the negative effects of it, I still haven’t seen any of the scare tactics they’ve tried to use…no years of waiting for that doctor’s appointment, grandmothers being “put down” because it’s just cheaper.

I for one like Obamacare – I for one like the idea ofcoverage for all – I for one am done talking about this topic…for now.

Share

“God Bless America”

January 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News, Tom Butts

By: Tom Butts

I was listening today as Rick Perry dropped his nomination for President of the United States. As I listened I kept noticing that it sounded much more like a sermon than a leader bowing out of a campaign. Normally I would have turned off the “noise” but kept listening. His words were a combination of secular sentences and Bible quotes.

Now I’m writing this as a person who truly believes in God. Yes, I get it from both sides, my Christian friends that say, “How can you embrace the gay lifestyle?” and my gay friends that say, “How can you believe in a made up person?” But this is a different article on a different day.

Last summer, I was again, watching television with my friend Shane visiting from Australia. President Obama was speaking and at the end did the obligatory “God bless you and God bless America.” I didn’t really notice until Shane looked at me and said, “Hey, can you go back a few seconds?” So I did. It played again, I’m sure I was on Twitter on my phone. He said, “Did you f*cking hear that? The President just talked about God.” This started to make me think. Had I been desensitized by the right wing? Why is my President saying that after each and every speech? So, I did some research.

I found this:

On the evening of April 30, 1973, Richard Nixon addressed the nation live from the Oval Office in an attempt to manage the growing Watergate scandal. It was a difficult speech for Nixon; he announced the resignations of three Administration officials, including Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, but Nixon nonetheless tried to sound optimistic. As he approached the end of his speech, Nixon noted that he had “exactly 1,361 days remaining” in his term and wanted them “to be the best days in America’s history.” “Tonight,” he continued, “I ask for your prayers to help me in everything that I do throughout the days of my presidency.” Then came the magic words: “God bless America and God bless each and every one of you.”

Almost 39 years ago was when a sitting President first spoke those words. The context was hardly an auspicious beginning for the phrase in the presidency, and it didn’t immediately catch on. Gerald Ford eschewed it, as did Jimmy Carter. But not Ronald Reagan. Reagan made “God bless America” the omnipresent political slogan that it is today.

Again, I’m writing this as I honestly hadn’t known anything different. You see, I’m 46, so when I was 7 years old this started happening. It was like “pledging allegiance” (again, a different article on a different day), it was something we all did and really, for me at least, there was no significance.

In my opinion, really, there’s no place for this in a Presidency. I don’t care if my President is Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, or atheist; I just want them to be moral. Unfortunately I can’t imagine the backlash President Obama would receive if he decided to take it out of his speeches, some people still don’t think he’s American.

My point is, our secular nation is not being threatened by non-Christian values, it’s being threatened by Christianity itself. Let’s remember why we separated and fought to get away from England in the 1700s. We are a free nation, a secular nation, and this is something unique and wonderful. I’m hoping someone else takes the time to evaluate and has the nerve to talk about it with the Presidential Seal on the podium in front of him (or her).

Share

Single-Issue Voter

January 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Tom Butts

By: Tom Butts (No “Ifs” “Ands” or “Butts”)

I was having a conversation with my father about politics; it’s never good or it’s so ambiguous that neither of us can make sense of it. I of course am Democrat, and my father is a “Texas Republican”. Ask me what that is…
Well, it’s quite easy to explain. My father votes Republican, plain and simple. He likes the image of the candidate; it has a lot of pull for him. In 1980/84 he voted for Ronald Reagan. He really had a bro-mance with that president. To this day, I’m sure there’s still a picture of him and “Aunt Nancy” in his house, framed in some black-patent frame from 1981. In 2000 he was very excited that GW Bush won the election, a mental landslide in my father’s head (although Gore captured the popular vote). What these men have in common is two things: Belt buckles and cowboy hats. Yes, it’s actually that simple. You can probably guess who my father supports this year (hint: another Texan, with poor debating skills).

So, back to my point, we were talking about the 2012 election and my father asked who I was going to support in the General Election. I quickly told him President Obama. He said to me, “you are a one-issue voter”. You know what? I think I am.

It bothers me when my gay friends say that they’re Republicans. I say “bother” because I do believe everyone should have the ability to vote for the person they think would best lead the nation. I hear a lot of my gay friends talk about how they are excited about Romney, or Paul. I still don’t understand.

I’m a white guy, my husband and I make a really good living (we’re DINKS – double income no kids). We own homes, we travel, if you were to look at us, we probably look like Republicans. But we’re Democrats. The main reason is that I don’t think you have anything without your freedom. Your freedom to marry, freedom to be respected, freedom to be loved, etc. I can’t think about money saved by voting for a conservative candidate when he or she is saying things like, “we can’t support big government unless it’s to overturn a state’s stance on marriage or abortion.” In addition to confusing me, it offends me to no end.

I tried to explain to my father that without the ability to be equal in the eyes of a secular government, I have nothing. He still didn’t get it. So, I said, “Dad, what if the Republican Party platform said people over the age of 75 should be banned from driving?” – - (Long pause) – - he then says, “that would never happen”, I challenged him again. He tells me that he couldn’t possibly vote for the party (he’s 81 years old). I said, “Wouldn’t that make you a one-issue voter”? – - (Another pause) – - “I get it”, he says.

I think what it boils down to is when you try to get people thinking about things that are important to them and that it could be taken away, they get the AH-HA! moment and it clicks.

So, when people ask me if I’m a one-issue voter, I proudly say yes. Until we get equal rights and the ability to focus on other topics that don’t take our rights away, I don’t mind if people think I’m being narrow minded…

I’m simply being me.

Share