Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beer of the Week: Terrapin India Style Brown Ale

The Beer of the Week series is being at least temporarily revived in honor of my cousin Michael's Thanksgiving contribution to my fridge.

A couple of weeks ago Michael - who lives in Atlanta - called me from Taco Mac, legendary (so I'm told, though I'm a little suspicious of the name) for their world-class beer list. He told me he'd just had a really hoppy Brown Ale, that it was amazing, and that I had to try it.

I told him that the beer he was describing was impossible, a contradiction, so he must have been wrong about what it was. I had no doubt that he'd had something to drink, and that he really liked that something. But a hoppy brown ale? It defied credulity.

Shifting into professor mode, I explained to him that the Brown Ale is a British style of beer known for its rich malting, but that it isn't particularly hoppy. In fact, all British styles go light on hops, as far as I know. Brits may have their Bitters, their Strong Bitters, and even their Extra Special Bitters, but none of those are, by contemporary American standards, particularly bitter. An American Pale Ale or an India Pale Ale, for example, while related to Bitters are, frankly, a great deal more bitter.

The Brown Ale, however, is mild even by British-style standards. Some of my favorite beers are Brown Ales, including the native-to-Louisville Bluegrass Brewing Company Nut Brown Ale. But they aren't known for their hoppiness. Derived from the English style Mild Ale, they are more more malty, thicker, and delightfully sweet.

But Michael, only 21 years old but by no means cowed by my knowledge of any subject - much less my relatively limited knowledge of beer - swore over and over again that what he'd had was a very hoppy Brown Ale. He looked it up on the menu and told me that it was called an India Style Brown Ale, and that it was brewed by Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Georgia.

I'd never heard of Terrapin, so he told me he'd try to pick up some bottles from them for me when he'd see me at my parents' house for Thanksgiving.

True to his word, the first thing he handed me when I arrived in Lexington, where my whole family converges every year for Thanksgiving (this year my poor mother had to find places for maybe 23 of us to sleep!) was a 12 pack sampler from Terrapin, featuring their Rye Pale Ale, their Golden Ale, their India Style Brown Ale, and their SunRay Wheat Beer. Those are the four beers they bottle year-round.

All I brought him, sad sack that I am, was a bottle of my favorite winter seasonal, the Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout (which he didn't like quite as much as Brewery Ommegang's Chocolate Indulgence) and a bottle of Sierra Nevada's winter warmer, aptly named Celebration Ale.

He also gave me a few other Georgia micro-brews, which I may write about later if they merit it and if I carve out the time to write about beer again. I'm most looking forward to tasting the Sweetwater Festive Ale that I'm currently cellaring.

But last night - finally home from juggling Thanksgiving with two families - I cracked open the 12 pack sampler from Terrapin. The first bottle I tried was the Rye Pale Ale, which I drank with dinner. While the idea - adding some rye extract to an American Pale Ale - seems bold, the end result was less adventurous than it sounds. What I tasted was a very drinkable if a little nondescript Pale Ale. More golden in color, a little thin, with a wispy head, it was hoppy without being overpowering. Not a bad effort, but it doesn't merit a post of its own, either.

After dinner - while watching another miserable Kentucky-Tennessee football game - I cracked open the India Style Brown Ale. If only the game were so lively!

It truly is a contradiction, a Brown Ale with 65 IBUs (International Bittering Units, a measure of the hops in a beer). It makes use of 6 different malts and 5 different kinds of hops to create an impressive hybrid between an IPA and a Brown Ale, keeping the biting hoppiness of the former while also preserving the sweetness and rich malting of the later. Deep brown in color, it was relatively thick, had a robust, white head, and finished smoothly for such a hopped-up beer.

I liked it, and eagerly anticipate the other two bottles of it sitting in my fridge. I'm glad Michael called to extol to me the virtues of this "impossible" beer!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Guess I'll Be Shopping at Lowes

I saw this at The Huffington Post. It seems Bernie Marcus, the founder of Home Depot, thinks that Democrats, or even lackluster Republicans, should be summarily executed.


Here's what he said, as quoted by Thomas Frank in yesterday's Wall Street Journal:

"If a retailer has not gotten involved with this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to Norm Coleman and these other guys," Mr. Marcus said, apparently referring to Republican senators facing tough re-election fights, then those retailers "should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs."

First off, I guess I'm safe, since I'm not a retailer.

Second, and maybe this is just picking nits, but shouldn't you throw them out of their "goddamn jobs" before you shoot them? Otherwise, wouldn't they be dead before you fire them?

Evil businessmen (gendered language intentional), take note: terminate employment first, then terminate life. Otherwise the firing would be less than satisfactory, right?

Pardon me this last weak joke:

Business can be murder!


Update: Here's a diary at Kos that simultaneously places this story in its context in the fight over the Employee Free Choice Act and avoids my penchant for bad jokes. Check it out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A New Journalistic Low

I've been meaning to ask this for a while now:

What's so scary about Barack Obama?

Really, I've got to know. What is it about him - other, of course, than his race - that has a small but significant minority of Americans absolutely losing their minds?

The most credible non-racist answer I've heard is that his tax policies amount to a quasi-socialist redistribution of wealth. For some people, as a matter of principle, income tax levels should never be raised. I have no interest in having that debate at the moment, though I will say that a certain amount of taxation is the price we all pay for living in a civil society that helps protect our interests. Exactly who should pay how much of the taxes that provide our social and yes fiscal security is a fair and open question.

However, I fail to see exactly what's so scary about raising to income taxes of the wealthiest 1% of Americans to the pre-Bush levels. What that amounts to is an increase in the tax rate for highest tax bracket from 36% to 39%. Of course for those people (including, I might add, most likely my parents, though they've never told me exactly how much they make from year to year) this amounts to a pretty good chunk of change. But it doesn't exactly leave them penniless.

Brian Beech - our regular conservative commenter, and all-around-good-guy - has argued passionately that such increases place a disincentive on work, writing here that president-elect Obama's tax policy stems from a "Robin Hood" mentality that, carried to its logical conclusion, would "reward people for not working" (Brian, please do let me know if my selective edit of your comment somehow misrepresents your point).

This, I think, is a pretty clear articulation of the point that many conservatives are trying to make, that the accumulation of wealth should be rewarded, not penalized, in a capitalist society, and that the system of progressive taxation that has long been the staple of the modern American tax code penalizes that which should be rewarded. Of course I strongly disagree with this point. It overlooks the extent to which the social fabric bought by the taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans actually secures their wealth by providing for them a stable society in which that wealth may be preserved. Thus the taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans is not so much a punishment as it is an investment. And that investment is, in any democracy, not altogether involuntary.

I could also make a fair number of ethical points. I, after all, don't have a great deal of sympathy for the person who can't buy an extra yacht because their taxes got raised, when people all around have little idea where there next meal is coming from. But independent of those considerations, the fact remains, whatever one thinks of Barack Obama's tax plan, that progressive taxation has long been the way we do things in America. Notwithstanding the occasional lead balloon that is some right-wing plan for a flat-tax, the fight over progressive taxation was won or lost a long, long time ago.

Barack Obama's tax plan does not do something new or unprecedented. It simply bumps the highest tax bracket up a little, to where it was before the Bush tax cuts. If this is the best that those who are deathly afraid of Obama's upcoming presidency can come up with, I don't know what to say.

But that's not why I'm writing today. I'm writing because, once again, I'm simply in shock. I've noted here before that nut-jobs like Hal Lindesy, famous author of The Late, Great Planet Earth, (for those of you unfamiliar with contemporary evangelical eschatology, think Tim LaHaye before there was a Tim LaHaye) have declared that Barack Obama is a precursor to the anti-Christ.

Well now Newsweek has an article asking if Barack Obama is the anti-Christ. Yes, that Newsweek!

I don't know what to say. I really don't.

I could start with how the whole anti-Christ thing is misunderstood. Despite thousands upon thousands of assertions through history that the biblical book of Revelation (not Revelations!) forecasts such a figure, the word "anti-Christ" does not appear in it even once. Either it or its plural are found in the Bible only in 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 7. There the anti-Christ is not some apocalyptic future being, but rather persons present at the time of the writing (probably sometime in the early 2nd century CE). See, for example, 1 John 2:18b: "So now many antichrists have come," (NRSV, italics mine). This and the other references to antichrists in the epistles of John refer to a group present within the church at that time, who in John's view had a bad ("deceitful") Christology.

Thus anyone using the Bible as some sort of prophetic code telling when some supernatural enemy called the anti-Christ is coming should probably go back and read their Bible - especially those parts of it that actually mention antichrists!

But, of course, there has been a long tradition of Christians speculating about the anti-Christ. That doesn't begin with Hal Lindsey or Tim LaHaye. And while that word is not used in the Bible the way that those who profit (literally! These people make millions of dollars selling books, making movies and giving lectures!) from it use it, there are still Biblical images that give rise to this mad speculation about the anti-Christ. But since when is Newsweek in the contemporary evangelical eschatology business?!?

And, since when is it OK for Newsweek to give space to speculations that our president elect may be this anti-Christ?!?

I'm not advocating censorship of the press. Newsweek is of course legally free to print just about whatever the hell it wants. But whatever happened to journalistic standards? Anyone seen those around?


Since posting, I've seen posts on this at Political Base and Daily Kos. And, Political Base notes that CNN has been down this road, too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Internet Nonsense, Cat Division

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Here's how to tell if your cat is trying to kill you.

(I know, I know, this isn't nearly as funny as Sami's stupid cat post. I guess I'll just have to learn to live with that shame.)

Keith Olbermann on Prop 8, Plus a Rant of My Own

I know, I'm a little late to this party, since this clip aired on Monday. But, for those of you who didn't watch it then, and haven't seen it online since then, here's Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on California Prop 8:

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not... understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want -- a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

I can understand - though I disagree with them - why some people would be religiously opposed to same-sex relations. I can thus understand why there may be rules and regulations within particular religious communities prohibiting same-sex sexual relations, though such rules are not, I believe, supported by an appropriate understanding of Christian theology and ethics. I can understand why some, whose view of the divine-human relationship is shaped by what scholars call the Deuteronomist school, would try their best to remove "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals" (in quotes because I hate that phrase, which shows up in United Methodist polity on the issue) from their congregations and denomination.

After all, the Deuteronomists - whose main contribution to the Hebrew scriptures is the bulk of Joshua - viewed purity as the main religious concern. Purity of identity and purity of ritual. This purity is the driving force behind the covenantal relationship between God and the religious community. The fate of that community rests on their upholding their end of their covenant with God, which is to keep their group pure. Thus tolerating those who bring impurity into the group could, in this view, bring disaster to the group.

I saw this theology up close and personal in the church that I pastored. That church, part of a dwindling rural community with few jobs and fewer young people - who would leave in droves after they graduated high school - was in an uneasy position. They viewed their history in terms of their relationship with God. When things were going well they enjoyed God's favor, when things were going poorly they suffered God's wrath. In the brief time that I pastored them, things were going poorly. And, while I had plenty of sociological reasons for their decline, they saw it through a theological lens. They were suffering, they explained to me, because they had fallen from God. How had they fallen from God? By tolerating my heretical preaching.

That is how this theology works in a church. There it is destructive, forcing out those who in their mind bring impurity into the community. While I disagree with it, I understand it. It has ancient roots, and even in its most destructive moments articulates something constructive, that the religious community must live up to its covenant with God, striving to be who God calls it to be.

But the United States is not a religious community with a collective self-understanding of being in a particular relationship with God. We are not a church, but a nation, and a pluralistic one at that. The broad diversity of faith - which even includes those who say they have no faith - makes, in the interest of both peace and liberty, some distinction between the regulations of any particular religious community on the one hand and the laws of the state on the other absolutely necessary.

Yet in Prop 8 we have no non-religious justification for the imposition of a law that makes sense only within a particular religious community. In Prop 8 we have religious bodies - mainly the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints - both funding and even running a political campaign to alter the constitution of a state. Even for those who have religious convictions on the issue - and I should again state that I don't think that such convictions properly understand Christian theology and ethics - this should be chilling.

When churches help pass laws and alter constitutions, principally on the grounds of the rules and regulations of their own particular community, founded on that community's understanding of its relationship with God, it begs this most frightening question:

Which religion, which church, gets to decide which of its own rules get to become civil law?

Because, religious people, we don't all agree.

We may celebrate the imposition of our own religious code on the broader population, but will we celebrate when someone else's religious code is imposed on us?

Keith Olbermann asks of those who support Prop 8 and other such legal efforts to deny equal rights to LGBT persons, Why does this matter to you?

What do you think is at stake here, other than the imposition of a particular religious moral code on the general population? Does the notion that some people have different sexual desires than yours somehow threaten your own sex life? Does the notion that two people of the same gender want to carve out a life together somehow threaten the life and household you've established for yourself?

Because, outside of the religious concern, I just don't get this. And, if the religious concern is the driving force, it should be driving the other way! Because all people who value their own religious freedom should be scared to death of the imposition of any particular religious code on the general population, as the same mechanism may then impose itself on your own practice of your own faith.

Monday, November 10, 2008

God Hates Shrimp

Got this from Tom. Thought you'd like to know.

So, don't eat shrimp, lest you bring condemnation into your very body.

Abstaining From Prayer

While I don't usually write on "spiritual" topics here (or anywhere else, for that matter) for some inexplicable internal reason, I feel compelled to do so this morning.

It is not a great secret that, by and large, I don't pray. I participate in a perfunctory prayer before meals, mostly because Sami and I decided that would be a decent habit to instill in Adam. And, since I left ministry, Sami has been the one - at least most of the time - who speaks those prayers aloud, while I merely try my best to remain mostly still and silent for the few seconds she takes to offer some spontaneous words of thanksgiving. I also participate in congregational prayers at church, and am still occasionally asked to lead them.

But, when I am in private, most of the time I do not pray.

Oh sure, every once in a while some impulse will strike me, and I will do something that must seem very much like offering a prayer, though I might not describe the act as prayer while I am engaging in it. There are moments in which anxiety might bring me literally or figuratively to my knees. There are other moments when I may literally or figuratively leap for joy. But the act of pausing to pray, of kneeling in silence, being mindful of the presence of God, or of offering words of praise and thanksgiving, of contrition and repentance, of supplication, of request... this I simply do not do any more.

I guess I'm thinking of that right now because this morning I read this in Abraham Heschel's classic work on prayer, Man's Quest for God (and yes, I think that if he were alive now, Heschel would recoil at that title):

About a hundred years ago, Rabbi Issac Meir Alter of Ger pondered over the question of what a certain shoemaker of his acquaintance should do about his morning prayer. His customers were poor men who owned only one pair of shoes. The shoemaker used to pick up their shoes at a late evening hour, work on them all night and part of the morning, in order to deliver them before their owners had to go to work. When should the shoemaker say his morning prayer? Should he pray quickly the first thing in the morning, and then go back to work? Or should he let the appointed hour of prayer go by and, every once and a while, raising his hammer from the shoes, utter a sigh: "Woe unto me, I haven't prayed yet!"? Perhaps that sigh is worth more than prayer itself.

We too, face this dilemma of wholehearted regret or perfunctory fulfillment. Many of us regretfully refrain from habitual prayer, waiting for an urge that is complete, sudden, and unexampled. But the unexampled is scarce, and perpetual refraining can easily grow into a habit. We may even come to forget what to regret, what to miss.

We do not refuse to pray. We merely feel that our tongues are tied, our minds inert, our inner vision dim, when we are about to enter the door that leads to prayer. We do not refuse to pray, we abstain from it.

Heschel, of course, goes on from there, but this is where I stop. I am less interested in his explanation for why we (whoever we are) do not pray, and more interested in examining for myself why I do not pray, and what is gained or lost by that decision. Though to say (or in this case write) "that decision" is misleading, because it implies that at some point some conscious choice was made to abstain from praying, whereas the truth is simply that I find myself not praying, and am trying to explain it after the fact. Here Heschel's "perpetual refraining can easily grow into a habit" strikes most true.

First, I have some sympathy for the shoemaker whose prayer life Rabbi Issac Meir Alter of Ger ponders. Unlike him, however, I do not have some noble task pulling me from prayers I wish to utter. That shoemaker may or may not be able to articulate that in some important way the act of making and fixing shoes - especially when done, as in this case, for the poor - is an act of prayer, an offering to a compassionate God distributed to the community. Heschel seems to note as much when he offers that the shoemaker's sigh of regret as he misses morning prayers to tend to his work may be "worth more than prayer itself." The Apostle Paul may have had something similar in mind when he wrote of God's spirit interceding for us in sighs and groans too deep for words.

But I am not the shoemaker, doing some noble act instead of prayer, marking with remorse the hour of prayer missed because I could not leave my labor. Even if I were, I suspect from Heschel's perspective - valuable though that sigh may be - something important, something vital is missed by not more consciously, more intentionally, attending to that hour of prayer. To see what may be lost, however, I must first explore why I do not pray.

I do not pray because I do not believe in the God I used to pray to. That is part of what I tried to articulate here, when I last wrote on prayer:

All my life... I've interacted with a God who is unconsciously conceived of as a big, powerful, and wise man, standing outside, over and above the created order. It is this concept of God that was embedded in each of my religious experiences, and which has always been a part of my prayer life. But I no longer believe in, and so can no longer pray to, a Big Guy in the Sky. However, while my theology has developed some concepts of God to replace the inadequate one, my prayer life has not. As such, I can write about a more mature and better thought out concept of God, but that God exists only conceptually, not experientially. That God is a part of my developing theology, but not a part of my religious experience or practice.

That post focused principally on the gender and location of God. God is not a

1.) man
2.) out there,

but is instead our very Ground of Being (to use Tillich's phrase), found in here, all around us and even inside us. This Ground of being is neither male nor female, but both male and female images can be used as metaphors for the divine, affirming the truth that we are all - male and female - made in the image of God, participating in the divine image.

Related to this is how we understand God's power, the topic of my Thesis.

Simply put, I do not believe in an all-powerful God. Such a God is not only philosophically problematic, but also ethically flawed and thus ultimately religiously undesirable. Simply put, an all-powerful God, where suffering exists and where such power is understood as a kind of irresistible divine coercion, the imposition of God's plan on creation, is a tyrant.

I thus do not believe in a God who of necessity hears me when I pray. I do not believe in a God who changes my material circumstances when I pray. I do not believe in a God who will - responding to my prayers - heal me or anyone I love of illness or injury. I do not believe in a God who will - again, responding to my prayers - rescue me from the consequences of my own foolish actions.

For most of my life my impulse, in times of trouble, has been to pray. Family member sick? Offer a prayer for healing. Money getting tight? Offer a prayer for help. Grieving the loss of a loved one? Take that grief to the author and perfecter of life and salvation, your very present hope in times of trouble.

But the God to whom I prayed, the God who I believed would hear my prayers, would receive my concerns and act on them, is not the God in whom I believe now. That is an awkward sentence, especially coming from someone who has always made a sharp distinction between God as God and any particular description of or belief about God. I cannot reconcile it with my conviction that God as God cannot be conflated with my beliefs about God. That conviction would lead me to say not that I no longer believe in the God to whom I used to pray, but rather that my beliefs about God are and have always been fluid, yet they arise and fall within the context of a relationship with God as God.

But that is not what I write here, nor is it what I mean. My experience is of one who prayed to a god that never existed. Not that there is not some reality to which the word "God" rightly points. But that what I used to mean by that word never was.

So, I don't pray. This is not a matter of policy, simply an articulation of historical fact. When I wake up in the morning, I no longer share my thoughts and words of hope for the day with the god I used to pray to. When I eat my meals - except when sitting at the dinner table with the whole family - I no longer offer thoughts and words of thanksgiving to the god I used to pray to. When I am sick, when I am mourning, when I am anxious, when I am afraid, I no longer turn those things, by any conscious act, over to the god I used to believe would keep me safe.

Yet these are not the only forms prayer takes, and that leads me (finally) to what is lost.

What is lost by my failure to attend to the divine in the course of my day-to-day living, no less than what is lost in the shoemaker's skipping of morning prayers to make his vocational offering, is the mystical component.

My "spiritual" atrophy (I detest the word "spiritual," not just because it so often left content-less, undefined, but also because it implies some sort of body-spirit dualism that is at the root of our collective sexual dysfunction) has robbed me of the tools I used to use to unpack that phrase "mystical component." It is, after all, such a subjective phrase, and I am no longer subject to the experience of mystical prayer. But, though Heschel is right (at least in my case) that "we may even come to forget what to regret, what to miss," I am still aware of missing something, regretting something. And that regret is no mere product of the guilt that was once instilled in me when my prayer life - no less than that of my religious leaders' - fell short of our professed ideals. It is less a guilt, and more the noted lack of something.

Of what?

I can't say. But I can say that, though I do not pray because I no longer believe that my prayers can manipulate either God or the universe, no responsible theology of prayer has ever advocated prayer as a form of manipulation in the first place. C.S. Lewis - by no means a "liberal" - famously noted that we pray not because it changes God, but because it changes us. Other voices have articulated similar sentiments. This understanding of prayer (and/or other religious disciples) as self-work permeates every religious tradition I am aware of.

Call it prayer or call it meditation, the act of simply sitting - in the presence of God, or just in stillness and solitude - can drive us so deeply into ourselves that we may come to see the fundamental absurdity of clinging to the claims of self. This may come from listening to the monkey-mind swing from branch to branch spouting the nonsense that we can so rarely see as such. Or this may come from bringing a list of claims and requests to God, only to see them for what they really are, a selfish hope for wish-fulfillment.

So I need to sit. I need to be still. I need to pray. Not to any particular deity who may choose - manipulated by my magical words - to supernaturally intervene in my life. But rather in the presence of the God in whom I need to be grounded, so that I can escape the infantile claims of self and become a more compassionate person.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We're Not Done Yet!

I was sorely tempted to write an unequivocally joyous post this morning, trumpeting the new dawn in American politics. I stayed up far too late last night, drinking far too many celebratory beers, filled with pride in a country that could elect a man named Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a Kenyan and a Kansan, president.

I wanted to proclaim a last and final (yes, I know that's redundant) end to the Civil War, with an African-American not only winning a presidential election, but even gaining the electoral votes of the former capitol of the Confederacy.

I wanted to do this. I really did. But my joy is tinged with grief this morning. Because I see a new Civil War emerging.

While one avenue of oppression was at least partially closed, with racism getting a stinging (if incomplete - the election of a black president neither ends nor erases centuries of institutional racism) rebuke, another avenue of oppression is seeing a tremendous increase in traffic.

Across the country there were ballot initiatives designed to trample of the rights of same-sex couples, and all four of them passed:

With 92% reporting, Arizona Proposition 102 is ahead 57% to 43%, which means, of course, that it has passed. This is especially painful because a similar ballot initiative, Arizona Proposition 107, was defeated 51.8% to 48.2% only two years ago. In those two years, then, it seems homophobia and heterosexism have enjoyed a 9 point bump in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Arkansas voters, responding to a 2006 Arkansas State Supreme Court ruling that a state policy banning LGBT foster and adoptive parents, have "approved a measure banning unmarried couples who are living together being adoptive or foster parents." This ban is essentially a back-door route to banning LGBT foster and adoptive parents, although its victims are not limited to the LGBT community.

In Florida, voters - not content with having already banned same-sex marriage - have voted to do it again, just for good measure, passing Amendment 2 62% to 38%.

But, most shockingly, it looks like California Proposition 8, a measure to change that state's Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage, has probably passed. Yes, even in California, heterosexism and homophobia still rule.

Last night was still a great night for America. The country stood up and demanded change, and change has happened. But many, many more changes are still needed. A young African-American girl or boy may now be able to dream of leading the country without being laughed out of the room, but a gay man or a lesbian can still be denied fundamental rights, and can still be scapegoated for the problems faced by heterosexual couples.

Racism may have been dealt a blow, but it has certainly not been killed. And, this same election that dealt that blow to racism has also proven that heterosexism and homophobia are not only still alive and well, but are in fact growing.

So congratulations to Barack Obama, president-elect of the United States. And congratulations to America for taking a bold but necessary step. We can certainly rejoice in this great moment. But my rejoicing is muted this morning, as I mourn for those citizens of this great nation who were told in no uncertain terms last night that they are still "other," still "less than," still at best second-class citizens, who cannot marry the person they love, who cannot adopt children (or even take in foster children!) and who may even be denied the right to visit their partner in hospitals.

So, by all means, take a moment to celebrate. But when that moment is done, realize this sobering truth: Injustice and inequality persist, and are in some very significant ways growing in strength.

We're not done yet!



Oh, and Comic Elon James White takes on the notion that Obama's victory somehow signals an end to racism and the rise of a post-racial society in Episode 12 of his brilliant This Week in Blackness:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted!

As you can see, I voted today. Did you?