“It was a beautiful thing, really.”

“It was a tsunami. In April of ’82 there was an article in the New York Times about a new gay cancer, and everyone thought ‘oh well.’ I was in my twenties. I wasn’t worried about a thing. But then every week you started to hear about somebody becoming ill. My boss was one of the first. He was a famous florist. He went into the hospital on Thanksgiving and was dead by Easter. I lost most of my friends. A lot of the first men to die were privileged. They were closeted, corporate white men. During the day they were bankers but at night they’d hit the leather clubs and bars. But they learned their privilege didn’t matter after they got sick. They were just ‘gay.’ We had to fight for AIDS to be recognized by the government. We joined together with people of color, and junkies, and prostitutes. It was a beautiful thing, really. Our feminist lesbian sisters taught us how to protest because they’d been doing it for decades. They showed us how to organize meetings, and bring people together, and force the government to the table—things we’d never had to think about as white men.”  ~HONY

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You Really Don’t

“When I used to eat corn on the cob, I was really having butter and salt.  Now I eat corn on the cob and it’s the sweetest thing I ever put in my mouth.  Lay off salt and butter for three weeks.  You think you know what green beans taste like, but you really don’t.  It will blow your fucking mind.”  ~Penn Jillette, in Men’s Health November 2016

Human, being.

I am very glad, indeed, to have this opportunity to address the two Houses directly and to verify for myself the impression that the President of the United States is a person, not a mere department of the Government hailing Congress from some isolated island of jealous power, sending messages, not speaking naturally and with his own voice– that he is a human being trying to cooperate with other human beings in a common service.

Those are the words President Woodrow Wilson used to open his first address to a joint session of congress.

I like them.

I think people sometimes forget that behind the grandstanding and theatrics of Washington life stand  real human beings, bearing the same strengths and frailties we all do.  Not gods, not demons; just a bunch of guys.

Preposterous

“It is preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can lay down the best and only rules of government for all who are to come after them, and under unforeseen contingencies… The fathers would have been the first to declare that their prerogatives were not irrevocable.”  ~Ulysses Grant on the U.S. Constitution, quoted in The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses S. Grant in War and Peace by H.W. Brands ©2012