Monday, July 17, 2006


"Marriage Protection Amendment"

Hi - could you take a minute and look at the so-called "MarriageProtection Amendment" that will be on the ballot in Virginia thisNovember? The first line is sadly a blatant attempt to rewrite thewords of Thomas Jefferson to restrict rights and freedoms in America -certainly not what we are supposed to stand for:"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriagevalid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its politicalsubdivisions."HOWEVER, it is the rest of the amendment that will affect the livesof all heterosexual Virginians, particularly the single, widowed andelderly."This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not createor recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarriedindividuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities,significance or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth andits political subdivisions create or recognize another union,partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights,benefits, obligations, qualities or effects of marriage."Do you know elderly heterosexuals living with a member of theopposite sex but not married - in order to protect their pensions?This amendment will threaten the contracts they sign together forhouses and cars and worse, any medical directives they sign on behalfof one another. Their treatment will be just like gay partners whocannot speak on behalf of their companion in a medical crisis - theirwishes will go unmet at the hospital!Do you know elderly heterosexuals living with a one or group ofpeople of the same sex - as many older single, widowed and divorcedwomen are now doing? Well the same thing will happen to them...buyinga house together - speaking for the other person in a medical crisis -- all legally threatened by this amendment.This is no "Marriage Protection Amendment". It is a Big BrotherAmendment - designed by the radical right to punish anyone not livingthe way they deem appropriate. There are reports from states thatalready exacted such laws of heterosexual elderly couples losingtheir rights - don't let this happen in Virginia!Please vote no to the Amendment in November and pass this along to 10of your friends NOW! This is not a matter of "just" patriotism -protecting what America has always stood for until recently –freedom. You could be protecting their nest eggs AND saving theirlives in a medical emergency at some point in the future!Thanks,Joan__._,_.___

Monday, July 03, 2006


Wilentz on Democracy

I’ve started going through Sean Wilentz’ history of the United States between 1800 and 1860, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, and was struck by this paragraph in the preface:

Democracy appears when some large number of previously excluded, ordinary persons – what the eighteenth century called “the many” – secure the power not simply to select their governors but to oversee the institutions of government, as officeholders and as citizens free to assemble and criticize those in office. Democracy is never a gift bestowed by benevolent, farseeing rulers who seek to reinforce their own legitimacy. It must always be fought for, by political coalitions that cut across distinctions of wealth, power, and interest. It succeeds and survives only when it is rooted in the lives and expectations of its citizens, and continually reinvigorated in each generation. Democratic successes are never irreversible.

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