Ever since I read in astronaut Sally Ride’s obituary that she had been in a committed relationship with Tam O’Shaunessy for twenty-seven years, I’ve wondered how O’Shaunessy must feel now. I don’t know how Ride set up her estate, but O’Shaunessy won’t be receiving any survivor benefits from the military because it’s prohibited by the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Besides, they were not even married. Can’t do that in California.
Things have improved some since the AIDS epidemic of the eighties when lovers were not allowed into hospital rooms, because we read that O’Shaunessy was at the side of our nation’s first woman astronaut through her long bout with pancreatic cancer.
The California cognitive scientist George Lakoff http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2004/08/25_lakoff.shtml has urged Democrats to resist Republican attempts to influence policy by “framing” it in language that obscures its true nature—death tax rather than inheritance tax, entitlement programs rather than veterans’ benefits and social security, and, of course, “pro-life” to cover a whole lot of issues that are less than life-enhancing to many sentient beings.
Democrats attempted this with some success, but most of the time, the Democratic problem has been a lack of imagination and courage. As Team Obama gears up for a new beginning, here are some of my ideas for them:
Random reflections on politics, the media, political activism, women's lives and spirituality, often inspired by travel, cultural events or what I read.
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