MY BIG BIRFDAY RANT!
Hey everybody! Thank you so much for the many birthday wishes. Today, an old whore turns even older. I'm 52 and I'm happy. I have a job which I enjoy and many wonderful friend both online and off. Yesterday in Provincetown, I had lunch with my dear friend Ryan Landry, and we made each other scream with laughter rewriting "Mama's Turn" from Gypsy Rose Lee. Think "Mama's snorting meth, mama's got a knife, whoops there goes her d(ck, mama's gotta let go. (Cue the projectile diarrhea sound effect.) Then my gal pals from the Illusions of Provincetown got together for a feast of Oklahoma City-style soul food prepared by Tisch DeWiliams and oinked by Felicity Layne, Billie Jean Beetem and myself. The Miss Florida pageant had just happened a day earlier, so I was riveted by the gossip from this event. Pageants were the original Drag Race and queens and trans are still just as passionate about them as kids are about Ru's televised competition. I was then treated to Dina Martina's sold out show. I'm not into competition, but I've got to say that Dina is probably the most original drag performer working today. Or maybe ever. Her brain-dead yet genius shtick is so insane that it never gets old. Whoops! Let's not mention getting old today. Anyway, rest assured that I had a blast yesterday and begin a 5 day work week of performing and djing today. And work is a blessing in this economy!
Now you know that what I love even more than drag and music and horse-hung drug dealers are long-winded political posts. If you would grant me a birthday wish, please read this and see if it means anything to you. Neither involve cake or candles or presents, but both are heavy on my mind as I turn another corner so I hope you'll indulge me. And yes, I am now trying to use my birthday to trick you into paying attention to something very serious. And this post is as long as I am in the tooth.
THING 1: Michael Brown is the black kid from St. Louis who was gunned down by the police on his way to his grandmother's house days ago. About to enter college. Unarmed and shot with his hands up in the air. An eyewitness has not yet been interviewed by cops. A crowd that just wanted info has been met with attack dogs, tear gas and flash grenades. The footage, with smoke and explosions looks like a war zone. AND THEY ONLY WANTED INFO ABOUT WHAT APPEARS TO BE A SENSELESS KILLING. So the only thing we can conclude is that nothing was learned from Trayvon Martin's death two years ago. And that we live in a police state. It's here. Especially if you're black.
This quote from The New Yorker about what's been going on in the Ferguson area has got to shock you. I know that you don't want to live in a country like this, and the New Yorker calls this insane dilemma increasingly common. “We have people who have warrants because of traffic tickets and are effectively imprisoned in their homes,” he said. “They can’t go outside because they’ll be arrested. In some cases people actually have jobs but decide the threat of arrest makes it not worth trying to commute outside their neighborhood.”
But it doesn't matter what color you are--we are losing our freedoms to the police force and to the government. Look at the way police treated peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters, gassing them while they were seated. Local police were given help by the federal government on how to squash riots--that's how desperate our corrupt government is to squelch any criticism of the status quo, how banks and other corporate interests own our government. The one that we vote for to represent us freely reject our constitutional rights to assemble and protest or demand answers from law enforcement agencies which murder blacks. This is not the land of the free if you disagree with the government or if you're a young black male. Surely, this has to outrage you.
And I haven't even mentioned the increased surveillance which we are all subject today. This has been growing over the Bush and Obama administration, but Big Brother is here. Every email, text or phone call you make can be scrutinized. You can't be happy about that. How free are the people of this country if we can't exercise our constitutional rights and protest in the streets and communicate privately? Let me answer that--not free at all.
Blacks were brought to this country in shackles, suffered through segregation and this is still going on? I recently read an article by a black pastor called "Black Life Is Expendable." I was aware that black prisoners were infected with syphilis for 40 years up until the 1970s in the Tuskegee Experiment. I was not aware that black babies were used as bait to lure alligators from swamps. So maybe blacks have been aware all along what is going on in this country and the many other ways that the cards are stacked against them. But the pastor's article was an eye-opener to me. All countries and nationalities have engaged in abhorrent behavior in more barbaric times. Black kids are being shot NOW. In 2014. Or if not shot, being stopped and frisked--which neither Obama, our first president of color, nor the NYC mayor who campaigned on ending stop and frisk and has a black wife are doing much of anything about. Was Deblasio's afro-wearing kid just a prop to make us think something was done about this while he hires Giuliani's police chief Bill Bratton? How easily we are deceived. Two words for Deblasio, who I campaigned for: Eric Garner. He's the unarmed black man who was choked to death by NYC police while saying "I can't breathe" after being apprehended for selling loose cigarettes. Nothing will change unless you raise your voices against this madness.
THING 2: It was touching to see everyone's remembrances of Robin Williams, whose talents clearly touched the lives of many of you. I love that we are a compassionate people who will mourn a great talent or send money to Thailand or Haiti or even volunteer, as my Vietnam vet uncle did, to help out with the recovery effort in Katrina. But I had to sit back and scratch my head over the zillions of posts which bemoaned the loss of a wealthy Hollywood actor who succumbed to his mental health and took his own life. If senseless loss of life is so upsetting to you, where is your concern for 2,000 dirt poor Palestinians who were just killed by Israelis using weapons that your tax dollars bought for them? Where is your concern over the fact that we have re-entered Iraq, which Obama called "the dumb war?" The Bush administration lied to us and took us into a war which killed over 100,000 innocent Iraqis who were never even able to attack the US. I voted for Barack Obama because as a senator, he voted against going into this senseless war. Now he's going back in. The reasons are just as murky as the non-existent WMDS. A few days ago, he declared that there would be no boots on the ground. 150 more soldiers left yesterday to join the 500 who were sent recently. We're going in to fight ISIS, who we support in neighboring Syria. The fact is, the US is all about war. War gets weapon manufacturers paid. War lets us establish military bases in the middle east so that we can keep close watch over oil-rich territory. And the reason it is suddenly so important that we protect Americans in Iraq when we could airlift them out to safety rather than bomb? Why do we need to protect Kurds, Yazidis and other people you've never heard of before a few weeks ago? Because they live in a region which produces a ton of oil. Aside from this region, Iraq's major export is dates. So we don't care about Iraqis, Kurds or Yazidis or American diplomats. We care about securing oil.
Even though Americans are supposedly sick of war, and the country rejoiced when diplomacy won out over more military action in Syria, here we go again. Obama, like Bush, is ignoring congressional approval for use of military force to go back in. Supposedly to protect people with bombs. Protect them against an extremist group who the US helped to create by tearing Iraq apart, while clueless Americans cheered while we dug Saddam out of a hole and murdered him. That led to the chaos which created ISIS. Face it, the USA is the world's largest terrorist organization. We destroyed a whole country and plunged it into chaos for no reason.
For no reason except that the rich folks in Congress vote for poor folks' kids to go and die for the economic gain of a few. When we went into Iraq the first time, the UK was one of our few allies. We have no allies as we prepare to go back in to a country where military involvement has spanned for presidents. Our current president has a Nobel Peace Prize and is now spreading peace with bombs. If the Kurds and Yazidis are such a humanitarian crisis, why aren't any other countries joining the US to help? Wise up to this. It's clear to everyone all over the world how bogus our foreign policy is. It just isn't clear to the American people because we succumb to corporate news spreading pro-government propaganda. How could we have an effective press corps if they are barely questioning why we are going back into a "dumb war." Both CNN and (supposedly liberal bastion) the NY Times both apologized to viewers/readers for not asking harder questions of the Bush administration before we launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. The media isn't asking hard questions now. So it's up to us. I have to believe that the same people who are concerned over one celebrity suicide death are also concerned about mass murders that we pay for with our tax dollars. That we'd care more if we were just presented with the information before we get into another full-scale conflict and are told by propagandists/news that the US doesn't "cut and run" so we have to stay and fight.
Unlike Robin Williams, there are probably no Palestinian or Iraqi actors who have entertained us for decades. So we don't feel a personal connection to them. Also, they're far away and they aren't white or christian. May I suggest this connection and then I'll finally shut up? If we weren't spending trillions on the war that most Americans polled claim to be sick of, we wouldn't be cutting veterans' benefits, closing social security offices, the Post Offices' hours, subsidies for oil to heat seniors' homes. Hell, if all the fortune spent on the war we supposedly don't want was spent here, we could have free health care and repair our crumbling infrastructure. But that would make sense. And that would mean demanding that our government do what we want and represent us. But they can't listen if you are saying nothing. If you can find the online porn or shopping or any address you need online, you can google your representatives or president or mayor and give them a piece of your mind. That's how a democracy is supposed to work.
And now for cake! Thanks very much to the few of you who made it through this lengthy diatribe!
Thanks again for all your birthday wishes. I'm amazed at how many friends and well-wishers I have. I was especially touched and surprised to hear from Elaine Stritch, Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.