April 25, 2013
I wish more people and governments around the world would begin to understand that the building up of relationships -- and not merely the stripping down of civil liberties -- is often the solution to a safer community, no matter how big or small it may be.
April 22, 2013
Today's WTF read of the day. I promise, you'll think you've just opened up a newspaper back in the 1950s.
April 18, 2013
With respect to all the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks, I ask this one question:
How can a nation be so rattled and spurred to action when three innocent lives are taken in one act of terror, but refuse to take action on an issue that takes 270 American lives each and everyday?
Last night, my friend Terry reminded me of these twisted facts: Number of people killed in terror attacks in the US since 1980: 3,000; Number of people killed by gun violence: 900,000.
April 17, 2013
“If you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil—that’s it. Selflessly. Compassionately. Unafraid,” President Obama said. That was mostly true on Monday; a terrible day, when an eight-year-old boy was killed, his sister maimed, two others dead, and many more in critical condition. And yet, when there was so much to fear that we were so brave about, there was panic about a wounded man barely out of his teens who needed help. We get so close to all that Obama described.
Read the rest of the article here.
April 16, 2013
You know, sometimes it is really damn hard not to want to reply to SENSELESS HATE using more HATE. This is one of those times. What a bunch of disgusting and small individuals.
April 15, 2013
Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party have just released an attack ad on the new Liberal Party of Canada leader, Justin Trudeau.
The event in the video above was a charity event where Mr. Trudeau was helping raise money for the Canadian Liver Foundation.
I consider myself a pretty reasonable and progressive Canadian who is quite literally tired of this sort of politics. Minutes ago, I visited both the Liberal Party and the Canadian Liver Foundation websites and made a personal donation to both organizations. Please consider doing the same.
April 14, 2013
April 13, 2013
April 2, 2013
Toronto City Council has up to 12 months to decide what to do with the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway. Now, I'm not on council, but if I were, I'd be promoting turning that space to something like this.
April 1, 2013
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
After five amazing days in New York City, I found myself sitting and reflecting in seat 6D on my Porter flight back home to Toronto. I was sad to be leaving, tired and a little hung over, but mostly a bit anxious as I usually am whenever boarding a plane.
Prior to take off, the woman next to me turned and gently told me: “Just to let you know, I’m not a very good flyer. I get nervous on take offs and landings.” I smiled and responded with: “That’s perfect because I love take offs and landings; the mid-air turbulence is what scares the shit out of me.”
We exchanged smiles and after a few initially awkward and silent moments, we struck up a conversation.
It started with the expected and the usual “Where you from/What do you do?” inquiries, but it quickly grew into something a lot more substantial and controversial.
I blame it on this: “You seem like a nice guy, do you have a girlfriend?”
I thought about lying for a split second, but instead, I respectfully responded with: “No, but that’s because I’m gay.”
For the majority of the flight, I found myself answering questions about my coming out story to my family, my relationship with my parents, my plans to raise children, the state of marriage equality in America and how proud I was to be Canadian.
But it was another topic that really shifted the conversation – religion.
As I was discussing how disappointed and disgusted I was with the Pope’s (and the Catholic Church’s) views on women, homosexuality and marriage, my new friend advised me that she was an Orthodox Jew.
Suddenly, I was the one asking questions.
For the remainder of the flight I got to know a wonderful 52-year woman; born in India; raised in Canada; now living and working just outside the New York City boundaries; married to another Canadian; has four children; still travels on her Canadian passport; thinks the gun culture in America is ridiculous; and, votes Republican because she doesn’t think President Obama likes Israel enough.
I listened, agreed and disagreed, and continued to ask questions.
I learned that my new friend was about to visit her ailing mother, who was on life support in a Toronto hospital. She also admitted to me that she struggles each and every day reconciling her own personal views and the religious beliefs she is told is the correct way forward.
My new friend described to me the wonderful Jewish traditions that her and her family observe during the holidays and Sabbath, but she also explained how at times, she is uncomfortable with the views of her sect of Judaism, and in her opinion, how women are treated as second-class citizens. At one point she exhaled deeply and uttered “It’s a constant challenge, I feel stuck some days.”
I reminded her it wasn’t just Judaism and briefly mentioned examples of how oppressive Islam and Christianity can be towards women (and gays).
The conversation then navigated itself to the topic of the holocaust, where my new friend was surprised to find out that homosexuals, in addition to the millions of Jews, were also camped and exterminated. (Oddly enough, her husband now works for IBM, the same company whose devices were used to identity and classify individuals using the infamous concentration camp punch cards.)
And suddenly, we were wheels down in Toronto. We gathered our belongings and exchanged a few looks. It was as if we had a renewed understanding of what shared oppression and struggle felt and looked like. Considering the intensity of our conversation, the encounter ended in a rather unremarkable manner.
New Friend: “You know, you were the first gay person I’ve ever spoken to. Thank you for that.”
Me: “Really? Well, it was great meeting you. You’ve made me completely re-think how I view and judge Orthodox Jews.”
New Friend: “Well, we are not all the same; some of us struggle and continue to ask questions.”
Me: “Same with us.”
We smiled at each other. She walked on and waved. I leaned back against the cold tunnel walls and waited for my gate-checked luggage.