Shower Curtain Chronicles: February 2010

Shower Curtain Chronicles

Latex painted shower curtains make great, cheap, waterproof banners to display at demonstrations, over freeways or anyplace you want to take it to the anti-gay, anti-Constitution fascists. This blog will feature banners I've made over the years, commentary on the outrages du jour, general observations and accounts of the latest actions by our blog troop as we wield the bathroom accessory cum political billboard.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My DFL History

I was born a DFLer and grew up in a union, DFL world where Hubert Humphrey was a god. In rural Duluth, Republicans were few and far between. As a kid, to meet one was like discovering a space alien. When I reached high school age and had to go to school downtown, I was able to skip the bus ride home and volunteer at Humphrey campaign headquarters after school, getting a ride home with my Dad when he was done with work. One of the enduring sadnesses of my young life was Humphrey's loss in '68. I still wonder what kind of forward-looking, culturally and scientifically advanced, working class utopia this country might be right now if he had won.

My older sister took me to my first caucus when I turned 18. At the next caucus I was proud to be elected precinct captain and held that position a number of times. In 1990, I founded and chaired the Northland DFL Lesbian/Gay Caucus and later became the Affirmative Action Director of my senate district. I went on to manage a city council campaign and a successful DFL legislative campaign that unseated a longtime Republican incumbent. I worked in the office of DFL Lieutenant Governor, Marlene Johnson as part of her transition team and was a contender for a staff position with the newly-elected Senator,Paul Wellstone. In 1992, I set up and ran an all-volunteer campaign office for Jerry Brown's Democratic presidential bid, taking advantage of free media and creative campaign events, winning in the City of Duluth. In 1994, I was a delegate to the DFL State Convention. Earlier that year I founded the International Workers' Day Committee to stage a worker rally in the Duluth Civic Center each May Day.

I have strong DFL ties and I believe in the economic and social justice principles of the party, more so, I dare say, than many DFL office holders. However, I am no longer a member of the DFL. After a long learning process, I came to believe that I could do more for DFL principles from outside the DFL or any other party. That's what I'm doing, now.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

"That Hurts Me"

Those are the words of Speaker of the House, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, today, when I asked her why she appointed a closet homophobe like Rep. Joe Mullery to chair a committee that all gay rights legislation would have to go through.

As a group of us protested at the entrance to the House chamber at the Capitol this morning, our banner read, "MARGARET! MOVE MARRIAGE EQUALITY HEARING, FEB 12." Soon, the Speaker of the House appeared in front of us, saying that she would talk to Rep. Joe Mullery about getting a hearing but that she doesn't have the power to "fire people," just persuade them. She tried to leave us with the impression that she had no power and that Mullery can do whatever he wants. I said, "Margaret, you appointed him." She said that, "Well, he was a very senior legislator." I said, "Why didn't you appoint him the Public Safety Committee?" She said that that was complicated.

The Civil Justice Committee and the Public Safety Committee were a combined committee, chaired by Mullery until December 2008. Then, the Speaker of the House who has the power to configure committees, split the committee in time for the new biennium. When I first saw this happening, I was very excited because I thought the Speaker of House was paving the way for marriage equality legislation. But, instead of appointing a liberal to head the Civil Justice Committee, the committee that all gay rights legislation would have to go through, she appointed a red neck. When I called her out on this, her only response was to get personal, holding her finger up to me and saying, "That hurts me." Without letting me respond, she fled up the stairs.

Like my Mom always said, "The truth hurts."

Monday, February 01, 2010

No Rest For The Wicked

It is tempting to hunker down in our happy comfortable homes, surrounded by love and pretend that if we don't make a fuss, if we don't raise our voices, if we don't militantly demand justice, that we will be left alone to live our quiet safe little lives. But that is not the case. Playing possum is a fools game because they will come for you. Never mind marriage rights, employment rights, housing rights, etc., the other side is unsatisfied that we merely exist. And they are at work, twenty four hours a day to correct that situation. So we must fight, we must be visible, we must always demand full equality, we must be fierce and we must not relent because the other side is diligent and unceasing in their wretched campaign to destroy us.