Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dr. Brandon Lacy Campos?

So, for those of you that are my Facebook pals, you know that for the last three days I have been up to my neck in my first graduate school application. It is due tomorrow, lord help me now. Since I shared that I would be applying to a PhD program in addition to MFA programs, a number of you have asked me why. Specifically you've asked why a PhD versus an MFA.

The best way that I know how to answer that question is through the publication of my personal statement to the Feminist Studies PhD program to which I am applying.

William Brandon Lacy Campos
Personal Statement

Until a few short weeks ago, the PhD program in Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota was not included in the pile of graduate school applications that has been haunting my desk since the beginning of the fall. Rather myopically, I had directed my attention to MFA programs in Creating Writing, specifically fiction. Though, I have a deep passion for scholarship, and I proudly describe myself as a NOC (Nerd of Color), I was finding it difficult to find a program that was flexible enough to allow me to explore both of my passions that are pushing me towards graduate school: honing my craft as a writer and exploring the ways in which gender, sexuality, sex, race, and the politics that intersect, interweave, and dissect these issues play out in an artistic and pedagogical manner in science fiction and fantasy literature and movies.

Having worked closely with three graduate students in the feminist studies department, specifically Jess Giusti and Charlotte Karem Albrecht—with whom I co-authored a chapter, in the recently published anthology from the University of Minnesota Press, Queer Twin Cities—and Dr. Kandace Creel Falcón, I had a fairly clear picture of the flexibility of the scholarship within the department. But it wasn’t until a recent conversation with Dr. Jigna Desai, a brilliant thinker that I have known for 13 years and with whom I would hope to work as a graduate student, that I was convinced that a PhD in Feminist Studies would help me achieve my personal and professional goals.

In order to understand those goals, it is first necessary to understand the multiplicity of identities and experiences that have contributed to creating the person that I am. As a staunch anti-post modernist, please allow me, in detail, to delineate the identities that I claim (forgive me-- the identity theory of Foucault and Wilchins makes my skin crawl—Lisa Duggan is my hero). I am an African American, Afro-Boricua, Anishinaabe Euro femme genderqueer male-bodied HIV-positive working class recovering addict queer feminist man born that was born in Duluth, MN and grew up in a geographical reality that stretched from Duluth to Pampanga, Phillipines. My Father is from southern West Virginia where he grew up in the same town in which our family lived as slaves, and my Mother’s family is a working class clan from just outside of Duluth, MN.

These particular narratives: coming out as queer, coming out as positive, embracing being a person of color, critically examining my relationship to masculinity, choosing my gender expression, working as an artivist/organizer, choosing to be a community scholar and people’s policy wonk, finding richness in my extreme Northern and beautifully Southern heritage, choosing to draw strength from my slave ancestors and my reservation-ized indigenous people, being raised by a single mother, having a beautifully complicated family structure, and acknowledging my penchant for academia have all participated in my decision to pursue a PhD in Feminist Studies as a specific means to push forward my personal mission, which is to create positive social change through research, analysis, and idea exchange through writing, particularly creative writing, and as an instructor.

In order to create a strong foundation for sustainable progressive social change, it is necessary to critically understand the role that current systems play in propping up regressive ideas and paradigms, stagnant notions of identity, and harmful concepts of being that are then codified into our moral precepts and propped up through the media, pop culture, public policy, laws, and jurisprudence. Once understood, and I believe we have made progress with that understanding, new ideas, institutions, thought patterns, arts, pop culture, media, educational systems, and other modalities of socialization and idea exchange must be created to replace the self and society concept delivery systems that currently exist.

This must include a fundamental integration of the arts and artists as tools and agents for social change. While the “artivist” most certainly exists, and in my role as a spoken word poet I count myself among them, there still remains a lack of scholar/artists that are or have the training to integrate critical pedagogies into their work as tools for changing the ways in which justice concepts, particularly of race, gender, and sexuality, are consumed and integrated into community.

Imagining ourselves newly is difficult if one removes the option of only recreating ourselves in an equality framework—I have no interest in being equal to straight, white, able-bodied, misogynist wealthy men with the same privileges they have. I am interested in a liberation framework that requires a full expression of my best self while at the same time committing myself and my work to the full and best expression of everyone else without regard to national borders or the dictates of privilege.

That is why, personally, I love the creative genres of science fiction and fantasy in literature, television, and movies. In worlds where literally anything can be imagined or created, one should not be limited to concepts of gender, race, and sexuality within the frameworks that exist in our quotidian reality.

Unfortunately, while speculative fiction has created brave worlds where non-humans can thrive and be object lessons in diversity, the mass consumed franchises of speculative fiction literature and movies reify and reinforce rigid concepts and stereotypes of race, gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation. There are notable exceptions in the genre, but, for the most part, the role of speculative fiction in socialization (the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Star Wars, the Wheel of Time series, ad infinitum) continues to be largely unexamined or critiqued. And in those rare instances when they are critiqued (for example, there was a plethora of conversation about alien racialization in the latest three Star Wars movies), there is still very few artists/scholars that are offering bold alternatives. Indeed, some of the best and brightest offerings in speculative fiction that challenge our notions of, for example, gender were Ursula LeGuin’s 1969 classic The Left Hand of Darkness and Octavia Butler’s Xenogensis trilogy, the first book of which Dawn was published in 1997. While there have been notable books between those two that have challenged our concepts of race, gender, and sexuality (specifically Mercedes Lackey’s Last-Herald Mage trilogy which was published beginning in 1989 with Magic’s Pawn featured a gay protagonist) the library of speculative fiction that challenges or lifts up different notions of gender, race, and sexuality are few, far between, and far from the most recognized titles in the genre. Thirty years between notable speculative fiction works that implode gender is much too long to wait.

And, forgive my skepticism, but while The Left Hand of Darkness was a work of literary genius that openly discussed issues of fluid sexuality and basic concepts of transgender identity in the same year that Stonewall took place (and I am sure that I do not need to mention that 40 years post-Stonewall trans and gender identity continue to be disconnected discourses from the LGB community let alone the community at large), I doubt it will be made into a Hollywood summer blockbuster anytime soon. While Harry Potter, as much as it is loved, still adheres to rigid concepts of male dominance, damsels in distress, distraught and overwrought mothers that turn to men for help, and the wise old crone that offers random sage advice to the young, white, male heroes that ultimately, time and time again, save the day (sometimes with a little help from Hermione) and continue to reinforce rigid gender roles and conventional mores around good and evil and the relationships between “men” and “women.”

My professional goals are to not only write amazing speculative fiction that is consciously, though not overbearingly, written to challenge notions of race, gender, and sexuality but to also create and teach coursework at the university level. My work as a professor, and the work I hope to explore through my coursework and dissertation, is to outline methodologies that use the arts, particularly the literary arts, to actively and consciously train writers and artists to address not only inequalities but liberated concepts of being and to provide the theory and the praxis tools in order for artists/academics/organizers to be able to do so.

On November 29, 2010 at NYU, I performed as part of program called Living Out Loud, which featured three artist/activist queer men of color living with HIV. During a panel discussion after the performance an audience member asked us a specific question about academia. The question was how did we deal with getting the ideas demonstrated through our poetry into classrooms with faculty and administrators that were resistant. My answer was two-fold: use community organizing principles to build relationships with instructors that are natural allies and get your work in front of students that way and become an instructor yourself. Pursuing a PhD in Feminist Studies is my commitment to walking the talk. I believe that sustainable social change starts with education and the classroom, and as a veteran community organizer and artivist, I believe the best way that I can continue to be effective in my work as a change agent is to research, write, and teach.

This begs then the question of why Feminist Studies? To be blunt I wholeheartedly believe that sexism is the root cause of not only gender and gender identity based discrimination but also homophobia and heterosexism. Further, it is sexism and its accompanying requirement of the oppression of women to maintain the privilege of men that is the ultimate roadblock for radical social justice. Even racism, which at its root is about maintaining economic hegemony for the elite, has at its core a fundamental roadblock built around sexism. Sexism has been so ingrained in many communities of color that it is a natural check on progress towards racial justice. It keeps men of color from working effectively with women of color and white women allies, and the feedback loop between racism and sexism often keeps white women and women of color from building with one another. As such, I believe that in order to effectively work towards liberation that my work must be centered in an overtly feminist approach, identified as feminist at its root, and the analysis and theory that it is built upon most come from a feminist ideologies.

Specifically, I am interested in the Feminist Studies PhD program at the University of Minnesota because of its multidisciplinary approach to scholarship, its cross university breadth and scope, the amazing faculty that I have had a chance to know over the years (particularly Dr. Desai, Dr. Torres, and Dr. Zita), and, perhaps most importantly, the students in the program with whom I have worked, and for whom I have the utmost political and personal respect: Dr. Kandace Creel, Jess Guisti, and Charlotte Karem Albrecht. And, considering my own extensive background in political movements and my work around community of color political ideologies, I am deeply excited at the possibility of working with Dr. Isoke. Finally, In my conversations with Dr. Desai as well as students in and previously of the program, I have been assured that my own commitment to a multidisciplinary approach to scholarship as well as my rock solid to making direct connections between academia and the broader justice community would be welcomed and nurtured within the department.

While I do not meet the program requirement of having at least a minor in a feminist studies concentration, I have consciously exposed myself to feminist thought and ideologies. My study abroad in Puerto Rico from 1999-2000 was specifically designed to study the feminist movement and impacts of colonization in Puerto Rico, including the course La mujer contemporanea en la sociedad puertorriqueña (The Contemporary Woman in Puerto Rican Society). I have been deeply influenced by feminist writers and thinkers such as Lisa Duggan (The Twilight of Equality changed the way I think about organizing), Barbara Smith and Beverly Smith (and the Combahee River Collective), Lisa Albrecht, Karín Aguilar San Juan, Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, Octavia Butler, Jacqueline Carey and Aurora Levins Morales. Lisa Albrecht and Aurora Levins Morales are friends and mentors, and I have also had the privilege of knowing, working with, and being mentored by Barbara Smith.

In the end, I am a feminist. I am also a man and as such work daily to keep in check my own privilege. Most of the time I am successful. Sometimes I am most definitely not. But I firmly believe that if only women identified individuals center their scholarship in a feminist framework, then our work to dismantle system sexist oppression, and therefore all forms of oppression, will continue to be slow, uneven, and ultimately less than liberating. It is for this reason as well as those that I have stated previously that I am interested in pursuing a PhD in Feminist Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Interview with an Soulful Artist: Pepe Villegas

Every now and again the world manages to bring someone into your life that is breathtaking in just about every imaginable way. A little less than a year ago, via the fantastic Karlo Colon, I was introduced (electronically and later physically) to Pepe Villegas. From his physical awesomeness (yes Lawd this man is a looker...and so is his partner RJ...but I ain't opposed to a package deal of spare husbands...heyyyyyyy) and spiritual beauty to his stunning art to the intentional manner in which he lives his life (and helps others to live theirs), Pepe really is breathtaking.

As often happens in New York, all of the best things are scheduled at exactly the same time in different parts of town. The day I received notice that Pepe would have a gallery opening was the same day (not even 10 minutes before) that I had finalized a meeting with a number of people for a new work project. Without resorting to vulgar language...I was a wee bit pissed off. But sometimes thems the breaks. Since I wouldn't be able to be with Pepe for the opening of the show, I thought of the next best thing I could do, which was help spread the word about the show and about this truly gifted artist.

I hope that you all get a chance to experience Pepe's artwork and Pepe himself. You will get a taste of Pepe here, but if you are free this evening and in New York City, do yourself a favor and check out the opening of this exhibit. If you can't get there this evening, it will be up through sometime in January (more information about tonight can be found at the end of Pepe's interview).

Thank you Pepe for agreeing to be interviewed for the good readers here at My Feet Only Walk Forward. From my heart to yours!

1. Talk to me about the type of art that you do. Where does it stem from? You went to school for architecture, so how does one go from being an architect to being a brilliant painter?

I am considered a multi media artist since my creative expression ranges from a diversity of mediums; painting, photography, video, writing, drawings, etc. My artistic motivation stems from a deep-seated curiosity concerning the unfolding of my life journey and an innate drive to reveal the beauty within the ordinary. I know that everything in life happens in an impeccable and many times in an inscrutable manner as it upholds the embodiment of who we are.

My education as an architect provided me structure, to conceptualize ideas, introduced me to art history and consequently became the gateway for me to embark into a multifaceted search for that self-expression which brings to fruition my genuine and creative life force.

2. You grew up in Puerto Rico (WEPA!) how has your identity as a Puerto Rican influenced your artwork? How has the narrative in your artwork changed since you have lived in the US? How have the two narratives of your life combined?

I was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and spent half of my life in New York City.
All through my evolution as an artist and regardless of the location or subject matter, you can sense an undertone that resonates with my upbringing in my art all the way through the use of storytelling, vibrant colors, folklore and figurative mysticism.

Being raised in a Roman Catholic environment kept me in constant inquiry to reason the unreasonable. The contradictions, the fear based demands on how to be, see and think and the insufficiency of common sense when it comes to its dogma, awakens the provocative style that exemplifies my art work

3. You such a quiet confidence about yourself and who you are, particularly as a gay man. How has your artistic journey intersected with your journey as a gay man?

I particularly don’t identify myself with labels and categories. It limits our perception of the oneness that we are and it only perpetuates discord

My artistic journey is my emotional, physical and spiritual journey. It’s all the same thing!
I believe that we are all artists and creative beings with a voice and the means to embody it. It is in our faculty to unfold and express that which we are, trusting that everything that we experience is an invitation to surrender to our authentic greatness.

4. What is it that you want consumers of your art to take away from the experience? What is it that you hope to achieve through your artwork?

I love bringing people together and through the joy of fellowship I have been skillful in conceiving artistic happenings that inspire others determination to get acquainted with their unique brilliance.

I can only offer of myself, just as I am and I know that when we come from that Awareness all we see is our own reflection in everything. This realization is an insight for inspiration and brings forth the motivation to share it as an art piece and just feels wonderful.

5. You and your partner RJ founded The Waking Circle, which is an amazing group committed to helping folks grow spiritually. How does your work as an artist intersect with your spiritual path? In what ways does your spiritual path determine how you experience your artwork?

As I mentioned before, everything is one and you can’t have one without the other. Rj and I came together in a most synchronized and natural way. We both share an awareness of what is in the moment-to-moment experience and the power in the simplicity of being.

In the Waking Circle Rj’s recognition and teaching of "resting as awareness for short moments, repeated many times" and its instant effectiveness resonates with my present conscious take on of life and the complexities of my creative process.
For example: What I used to define as an “artist block” now I see it as an invitation and an opening to step out of “my limited and familiar strategy” into a moment of awareness where I can see myself thinking that I am blocked.
The byproduct is clarity and the revelation of fresh ideas and unimagined solutions.

6. Finally, you have a gallery opening coming up soon, where can people find you? What projects do you have coming up? How can people keep connected to your work?

Here is the press release information on the gallery exhibition “Folkorican”:

With FolkloRican, renowned multi-media artist Pepe Villegas presents us with a ten-piece collection of oil paintings that delve into an intriguing archive of personal and cultural memories referencing his Puerto Rican upbringing. Ranging from striking representational and semi-representational portraiture to abstract and symbolism-rich canvases, this highly evocative criollista sampling is deeply rooted in cultural pride, introspective contemplation, and national nostalgia. The exhibition title, a playful portmanteau of the adjectives “folkloric” and “Puerto Rican,” aptly and cleverly captures the autochthonous and celebratory spirit of the artist and his artwork.

An opening reception is scheduled for Wednesday, November 17, from 5:30 to 7:30pm, and will feature live Afro-Caribbean and Latin music by percussionist and NYU Steinhardt masters candidate Carson Moody.

FolkoRican: The Art of Pepe Villegas runs from November 17, 2010 through January 31, 2011 at The Gallery Space at Wagner is located on the 2nd floor of the Puck Building, at 295 Lafayette Street, corner of Houston Street (B/D/F/M trains to Broadway Lafayette, 6 train to Bleecker, or N/R/W trains to Prince Street).
Viewing hours are Monday-Thursday 9:00am-9:00pm, Fridays 9:00am-7:00pm, and Saturdays 9:30am-6:00pm (closed on Sundays). The Gallery is closed from December 24 through January 3, inclusively.
For more information, including adjusted holiday hours, please contact Frankie Crescioni-Santoni at 212.998.7400.

You can find more information on my work on my website www.pepevillegas.com

Gracias Brandon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hudson Valley Seed Library Art in New York City

Just over a year ago, my partner David hitched a ride with our good friend Karlo Colon about an hour and a half north of the city to hang out with the folks from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. The Hudson Valley Seed Library is a great organization that each year makes available heirloom seeds to the public. But instead of packaging the seeds in any old seed packets, the seeds are sold in packets with original artwork done by regional artists, and it just so happens that this year my partner was chosen as one of the artists.

Each fall, the Seed Library hosts an art exhibit where the original prints can be viewed and purchased. This year, there will also be an exhibit of 2011 artwork at the Horticultural Society of New York. Don't miss this opportunity to see amazing work by local artists.

Contemporary Heirlooms:
Art from the Hudson Valley Seed Library

December 9 - 23, 2010

Opening Reception: Thursday, December 9th, from 6:30 to 8:00pm

The Horticultural Society of New York is pleased to present Contemporary Heirlooms: Art from the Hudson Valley Seed Library as part of its continuing exhibitions program featuring plant-based art.

The exhibition showcases for the first time in New York City original artworks commissioned by the Hudson Valley Seed Library for their unique Art Pack seed collection. Each season, the Seed Library looks for a diverse range of artists to interpret the herbs, flowers and vegetables from their catalog for the designs of their seed packets. The focus this year was on the heirloom varieties currently available through the Seed Library. All sixteen artworks from the 2011 collection will be on view. Drawing from a range of different styles, materials, and experience, Contemporary Heirlooms includes works in a variety of mediums, including collage, encaustics, oil, ink, watercolor and digital art by a diverse selection of artists.

The Art Packs were established to celebrate the beauty of heirloom gardening in New York. The collection is part of a long tradition of art in the Hudson Valley, stretching back to the Hudson River School in the 19th Century. In addition to being a vital region for food production, the region continues to be home to many artists. The diversity of the artwork and artists chosen is meant to reflect the genetic and cultural diversity of the varieties offered by the Seed Library and is emblematic of the region.

Founded in 2007 by Ken Greene and Doug Muller, and based in Accord, NY, the Hudson Valley Seed Library aims to create an accessible and affordable source of regionally-adapted seeds that is maintained by a community of caring farmers and gardeners. The Seed Library is member-driven and led by a simple principle: the 700 members receive seeds each spring and then are encouraged to return the seeds from the mature plants in the fall. Sold to the public, the 130 heirloom seeds varieties are divided into two categories: the "Library Packs", which include seeds grown locally by the Library members; and the "Garden Packs", which are seeds bought from wholesalers. By 2014, the Seed Library hopes that they will be able to exclusively sell locally grown seed.

The art from the Seed Library collection has been exhibited in various locations throughout the Hudson Valley, including: Kingston Museum of Contemporary Art, Kingston; Roos Arts, Rosendale; Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery, Hunter; and the Gardiner Library, Gardiner. The Hudson Valley Seed Library has been featured in Martha Stewart Living and Margaret Roach's blog, A Way to Garden. Most recently, The New York Times ran a feature article and profile on the Seed Library and their mission to grow, save and share New York's heirloom varieties.

A Preview Party, hosted by Great Performances & Katchkie Farm, will be held on Thursday, December 9th, from 5:00 to 6:30pm. Signed limited print editions of the original artworks will be for sale during the opening and throughout the exhibition, along with seed packs and framed Art Packs.

The Horticultural Society of New York is the premier resource center for all things horticultural in New York City. Through a broad array of unique educational, vocational, and therapeutic programs, resources and exhibitions, The Hort brings together plant and gardening experts and enthusiasts to share knowledge, exchange information, and take part in activities that enhance environmental and cultural life in New York. The exhibition program combines an innovative curatorial approach with a unique gallery space to showcase emerging and established artists in all media who are inspired by the natural world.

The Gallery at The Horticultural Society of New York is free and open to the public Monday to Friday, from 12 to 6pm. For further information, please visit www.hsny.org or contact Chris Murtha at 212-757-0915 x121 or cmurtha@hsny.org.
For more information about the Hudson Valley Seed Library, please contact Ken Greene at 845-626-4910 or ken@seedlibrary.org.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Book Review: Thoughts Induced by Chewing Ice

I have a good friend who just happens to be 40% gay. That basically means that he shamelessly flirts with me and with my partner but without ever putting out. And his adorable and brilliant wife Adi totally encourages his deviant and distracting behavior.

One day he is going to flirt with me, and I am going to punch him right in the head.

In addition to being 40% gay, he is a gifted short-order satirist, that has an amazing way of seeing a moment in life and summarizing it brilliantly in just a couple of lines of prose. Beware the Ice Chewer!

Yuval Sheer aka The Ice Chewer is a beautiful blogger that publishes his photos and life vignettes on his blog, Thoughts Induced By Chewing Ice.

His words are often incisive, usually funny, and always amazing in the messages they convey in their simplicity.

Here is an example of a recent entry at his blog:


Store owner at diamond district
asks me if I want to take a look inside his shop.

I tell him that my love does not like diamonds and jewelery.
He says:"Every woman loves diamonds".
I repeat that my love doesn't and he tells me"
"Really? I wish I had married her........."

Sometime in the last year Yuval teamed up with brilliant visual artist Mettookonet, who started illustrating some of Yuval's blogs in her ink drawing style that is very reminiscent of cartoons from the Jazz Age. When I see her art work, I am taken back to the height of Art Deco, flapper dresses, and decadent wealth of the 1920s. For her, I believe Jazz Age art is most apropos. Her drawings seem to be on the verge of tapping their feet and bursting into a scale.

Sometime along the way, Mettookonet and Yuval decided to self-publish a graphic novel style book that featured his quips and her art.

The result was the book called Thoughts Induced by Chewing Ice.

This graphic novel is witty, smart, sly, hilarious, and pure pure pure eye candy. The graphics tell as much of a story as the text and together they are a breathtaking experience.

The stories in the collection will make you think, laugh, and tap your feet with their poetic prose.

I heartily recommend this book for you and for anyone you know that enjoys finding the poignant lessons and hilarity in every day life.

For cost and to order a book please email theicechewer@gmail.com.

PS Once upon a time, I was having dinner with my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. My Aunt started chewing ice from her pop glass. I remarked to her that chewing ice was a sign of sexual frustration, without skipping a beat she retorted that perhaps if me and my cousins left the table, she and my Uncle could do something about that. My Aunt would love this book too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Yes We Can?: Only If You Shut the Fuck Up and Do Something

I still believe yes we can.

But only if "we" shut the fuck up, recognize that we have seen amazing progress, and recognize that we gave the president four a year term.

Unfortunately, it seems the only message that got across to the majority of Americans was "change." Once again this proves that there are three year olds with longer attention spans and cognitive abilities than the bulk of the American voting public.

Change is good if there is a strategic reason for change. Changing because you are angry, impatient, and haven't done anything to be part of a solution is selfish and damaging, and the fools that participated in this "change," are going to get exactly what they deserve. They are going to get even more polarization, ridiculous obstructionism (do I have to remind people that Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, openly declare in August that his ONLY goal in the Senate was to deny Obama a second term? Don't you people FUCKING LISTEN OR PAY ATTENTION!), and gridlock. What that means is that working people, poor people, the self-hating/racist/too stupid to think critically elder white men that turned out to vote, queer folks, women, and anyone else that is not secure enough in their personal wealth to be unaffected will find themselves worse off than they were at the end of 2008. Mark my words that these same individuals, including gutless/stupid/selfish/cry baby gays that have been been throwing tantrums and pity parties because Obama didn't put their pet issues first (WE ELECTED HIM TO A FOUR YEAR TURN--SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO SUCK ON A THE TIT OF SOMEONE AT HRC!), are going to be all "shocked" and dismayed that they voted for this new Republican House, which really couldn't give a shit about anyone but themselves, that is not only ineffective but is going to act as a rubber stamp roadblock of legislation that could make a difference in this country.

I voted for change in 2008 when I cast my vote for Obama. By strategically thinking about my vote and what it meant, I have gotten much of what I wanted (though by no means all). I wanted universal health care, Obama fell short but we have the first health care reform bill basically EVER in this country...every President since Teddy Roosevelt has been trying to do what Obama has done and failed. I wanted the recession to end. Though the economy is growing slowly, it is growing. I wanted a massive slap down and regulation of Wall Street. Obama fell short, but he still managed to have passed a significant financial regulation reform including the creation of a Consumer Protection agency with significant powers to regulate Wall Street. There are still many more things that I want: job growth, end the wars, non-draconian immigrant positive legislation, passage of the DREAM Act, a package of queer liberation bills that can include the hetero-normative largely bullshit issues of HRC queers but queer positive immigration reform, 50 billion dollar investment in HIV/AIDS prevention/support for positives/cure research as well as a bill to de-criminalize HIV transmission and a ban on states that attempt to do so except in cases of willful malicious intent, student loan forgiveness for ANY college graduate that spends at least 5 years working for a non-profit organization in a service capacity, a infrastructure and transportation bill that drops half a trillion dollars into updating all aspects of our infrastructure and the construction of high speed rail lines all across the United States linking at least one major city in every U.S. State (of course, except Hawaii and Alaska).

I may not get all that I want, but I elected Obama to a four year term...expecting that he is going to do everything I want in two years is not only stupid and selfish but is unfair. The man was given four years to do the best he could for America, yet after only two years (which have seen amazing progress), folks are screaming ME ME ME ME MINE MINE MINE MINE NOW NOW NOW NOW. And let me be really clear with those of you that are feeling good and patting yourselves on the back because you did your once every two years duty to turn out and cast a ballot but in between elections you don't do anything except complain: FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU.

Was that message clear enough?

I have reached an end with those that believe that voting is their one and only civic responsibility when it comes to engaging with the political process. They cast a vote for a person and then heap all of their wants, desires, and expectations on that person. Basically, they abdicate person responsibility to advocate, actively, for change onto another person and then have the audacity to be angry when that person, staggering under the enormous piles of demands from all sides, picks a path that is shiny and lined with gold. if you are broke, of color, queer, disabled, or a woman and you don't, every day, do something small to create positive social change in this world, please know that the other side, with their massive wealth and deep pockets, can pave the way to their desires with gold bricks. It's up to the rest of us to make sure that those bricks are revealed as fools gold and that the field the path walks through is seeded with land mines.

The whole damn country needs a good old fashion ass-whooping and grounding. And, just like when I got a spanking when I was young, these voters deserve exactly what is coming to them.