Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Kroger + GLBT news + the First Amendment

Following is a letter to the editors that I've sent to the mainstream media in my area. I urge you to think about the import of this action and message and do what you can to make a difference for free speech in this country.

Regarding the story that Kroger is reviewing a contract with the company DistribuTech which distributes a local free newspaper, "Out and About". Following is a quote in Nashville's "The City Paper":

"Kroger spokesperson Melissa Eads said in a statement that the papers were removed in accordance with a company policy of not offering publications that serve political or other agendas. "We have had a long-standing policy in place that prohibits the third-party from distributing publications that promote political, religious or other specific agendas."

I am 44 years old, straight, and married. I do not feel that "Out and About" serves any kind of political, religious, or 'other specific agendas'. "Out and About" is a NEWSpaper, like "The Tennessean" is a newspaper. Krogers in our area have free newspapers that cater to parents, African Americans, etc., so I'm unclear as to the difference between these publications and "Out and About". I am neither a parent nor an African American, but I'm not bothered in the least by there being publications available in my Kroger for these particular groups of people. I just simply don't pick up free newspapers in which I have no interest, rather than insisting that my choices are more important that those of others and removing their ability to make their own decisions about what to read.

Nashville, and other cities, have other options for grocery shopping, and I will definitely take my business to Publix or any other grocer who doesn't have a policy of discrimination. I strongly urge Kroger to consider the impact of thisdecision on the wider community, and opt for tolerance, the first amendment, and freedom of choice.

I close this post with a statement from Rev. Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Update -- surgery Thursday + sister news

This is just a note to say that I won't be able to post or probably even visit here for a bit. Thursday I'll have the rotator cuff surgery I talked about before, so my left shoulder/arm will be immobilized for a while afterwards. I hope I'll be able to use my hand a bit, but don't know how that's going to be. So, fair warning -- I may not be able to respond to messages for a while.

Second, if you're the sort to pray or send good vibes or whatever, please remember my youngest sister. She has had lifelong problems with alcohol and depressive disorders, and tried to commit suicide Sunday night. She has 3 children, 9, 3, and 2. They are with a friend right now, but legally will probably revert to their father's custody. This is problematic in that he is abusive and seriously contributed to my sister's issues, and in that he has no help whatsoever for the kids. My mom is on her way up there now to see what she can do, including whether or not she can take the kids home to Florida with her "while this gets sorted out". The hope is that she might be able to foster-partent them, or adopt them even. When my sister is released from the hospital, which I hope is a long, long time from now, she will have visitation rights, but only with supervision, so she's really created a difficult situation for herself and for those who love her and her children.

We all need peace, wisdom, and guidance in this matter. All good wishes will be appreciated.