April 11, 2013

Stop the Disrespect

A man in Missouri has been not only barred from his husband's hospital room, but has been arrested because he dared to assert his rights as the man's partner. No, this didn't happen ten years ago, or even five years ago. It happened two days ago. This is why we need nationwide same-sex marriage laws and LGBT non-discrimination laws. There is too much evidence that, left unfettered, bigotry against LGBT people will thrive. In the absence of clear, uniform laws, any hospital employee can become a petty dictator, imposing their own bigotries on already desperate medical situations. There's just something profoundly nasty about taking advantage of the situation when one partner in a same-sex relationship is incapacitated. How would any of us feel if our so-called loved ones used our illness to warp our lives to match their vision. The level of disrespect that shows is fundamental. Each of us has the right to shape our own lives even when we're not able to enforce it.

April 01, 2013

The Power of Satire

Source: Arab American Institute
Bassem Youssef is the host of an Egyptian television program called al-Bernameg. He has been arrested for allegedly "insulting Islam and the Egyptian president." His show features satirical representations of the leadership of Egypt and has an enormous following. 

Satire is a powerful tool against governments in that it illuminates hypocrisy, ineptitude, corruption, and other undesirable characteristics, while at the same time providing a comedic and emotional release for the government's subjects. A smart government would welcome satire as a way of tightening up its game. In fact, any government that can't withstand a bit of mockery doesn't deserve to be in power. 

America has benefited enormously from Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Saturday Night Live, etc., who have prompted their viewers to turn out of office ridiculous extremists like naked emperors. Egypt and other burgeoning democracies should (in this case) follow America's example.