Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How Jerry got me started

Out of problems and crises, come opportunities. I was not happy when I heard Mr. Falwell bought the farm. Even though he was a mean person, who hurt others, including GLBT persons, I do not usually dance with glee when someone like him exits the stage. Like Ronald Reagan, his policies were backward and dangerous, but he was somehow likeable...sort of like an eccentric uncle.

In the summer of 1981, I had been made unemployed. Finished with college, and a polticial science B.A. degree under my belt, I had been an office manager and an athletic shoe salesman.

I was drifting, and unsure of my career or future.

After being the president of the OSU Gay Alliance, I had no gay community organization to join. There were none in Columbus at the time. Then we heard that Falwell was coming to town to start a chapter of the Moral Majority.

I quickly organized friends, liberal allies, and acquaintances to protest their first meeting. About 150 women's activists, Gays, peace workers, and even socialists got together and picketed the church on Cleveland Ave. where Falwell's group had planned to meet. We sent in spies.

Only a dozen or so people showed up to join the Moral Majority, and the chapter actually never got started.

We were so jubliant, we decided for form a new Gay rights organization for Columbus. We called it Stonewall Union. I became its first president, and later its first Exectutive Director. I had a job. We put on the first parade in Columbus for the GLBT community (back then GL community). The rest is history. Their parades now attract 100,000 people. Columubus Ohio and Ferndale, Michigan are two of the most Gay friendly cities in the Country. All because of Jerry Fallwell.

Thanks, Jerry.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

We all get those emails with grandiose ideas to boycott certain gas station brands, or to not buy gas on a certain day. The naive belief is that this is a way consumers can bring down the "high" price of gasoline. Certainly that is the way it works sometimes. Consumers can boycott a brand or they can stop buying a certain product. Then supply goes up, and prices come down.

This doesnt seem to work for gasoline.

Most of us cannot stop using gasoline. Our society and lifestyles and geopgraphy require gas for our transportation, which for most of us is our cars.

But even if we cant bring the cost per gallon down, there is a way to reduce our costs for gasoline. We need to drive less. We need to walk to the corner store, or the post office or the bank. We can ride bikes to locations that are within a mile or two. We can car pool or we can take a bus or a train.

We can also start buying cars with better mileage. The days of the giant suv land yaughts is drawing to a close. Like the dinosaurs, the days of lumbering Suburbans and Excursions and Hummers will become history.

Americans still have cheap gas at $3 a gallon. The rest of world pays closer to $6. We have grown fat and lazy over the decades since we first learned we were at risk to the whims of politics, mideast turmoil, and dwindling resources. Instead of getting smart, and using technology and knowledge to reduce our addiction to oil, we built and bought giant vehicles that sucked gasoline like drunken politicians. And we built more freeways so we could live far from the cities in the country.

We are paying THAT price today. Will we be making the same mistakes tomorrow?