My Name Is Peter

Some Thoughts on Some Things

Politics As Usual?

January 21st, 2010

In reading The New York Times today, I, like so many people, was struck by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the government’s limitations on corporate spending on candidate elections. The majority opinion cited the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. However, I absolutely agree with Justice Stevens, who read the dissenting opinion, which pointed out that corporate speech is not the same thing as an individual’s right to free speech.

In this day and age, where corporations grow stronger everyday and are able to manipulate Congress like puppeteers, how could the Supreme Court, the institution charged with interpreting our Constitution and defending our system of government, decide to allow corporations potentially unfettered financial access to the Democratic process? In my opinion, they have simply legalized corruption. Instead of working for the people, many more politicians will begin to cast their allegiances toward the corporations that exploit the people.

Equally disappointing for me was the Obama administration’s participation in the Senate election in Massachusetts. I honestly believe that had President Obama not campaigned alongside Democrat Martha Coakley, she would have had a much better chance of beating Scott Brown. The results are very clear. Voters want change. They want action. They are sick of speeches and excuses. Obama’s platform of change was and is just that. Change. If he and his administration cannot provide it, the people will look elsewhere. That is what happened in Massachusetts, and that is what will continue to happen across this country.

In my opinion, the mistake the Obama administration continues to make is that they posture themselves as if Obama’s win and subsequent popularity are about him. It has never been about him. It has always been about the HOPE and CHANGE that he represented. Those were his campaign promises. He was the new guy in town, and he was the exact opposite of George W. Bush. And that, I believe, is why Obama won.

Days before the election in Massachusetts, I started to get the usual mass emails from Camp Obama. “We’ve got an important election coming up.” “Call here.” “Send money there.” Yet, instead of being motivated by their repeated calls to action, I couldn’t help but wonder where the Obama administration was during the important gay marriage election in Maine. Or where they were when New Jersey voted on gay marriage. Or New York. Where were the supportive emails for the LGBT community saying, “Please stand up for equality”? There were none. Obama and his administration stood silent and watched as a community of his most ardent supporters was repeatedly kicked to the curb. Take a look at Maureen Dowd’s piece this week on Gavin Newsom. He has some great observations about Obama’s position on gay marriage.

The sad irony today is that the fear-based forces who have pumped millions upon millions of dollars into the hateful doctrines of “separate but equal,” “don’t let THEM redefine marriage for US,” and “keep the gays away from our school children,” are the same people whose money bankrolled the campaign of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts. The National Organization for Marriage’s latest press release proudly announces, “The National Organization for Marriage spent $50,000 in the closing days of the campaign to identify marriage voters in Massachusetts and make sure they turned out and supported Scott Brown.”

Believe it or not, I still have a lot of hope, though! I have hope that maybe now things WILL start to change. Maybe now the Obama administration will see that when they support equal rights for all Americans, they also take a stand against the hateful PAC’s that aim to slowly undermine them, too. Maybe now, when the corporations begin pumping millions of dollars into the campaigns of various elected officials, the publicity generated by those donations will keep the politicians more honest and accountable to the people they are supposed to be serving. I hope so. It is truly time for some CHANGE.

A Perfect New York Evening

January 6th, 2010

Sunday night, I had what I would consider the perfect New York evening.  And believe it or not, my perfect evening including neither a trip to the Met to see Turnadot, nor a fabulous dinner at Picholine.  Although, as a side note, my birthday is coming up on January 13th, so I wouldn’t mind doing either or both of those things should someone feel like taking me out to celebrate…

But I digress.  On Sunday night my best friend Nicole and I shared a quiet evening at her place in Tribeca with her two-year-old daughter, Lexi, who enjoys apples, chicken nuggets, chocolate milk from a box, and of course Finding Nemo.

Lexi calls me “Uncle Peter,” which, when she does, creates in me an infectious smile that starts in my heart and then fills the entire room with joy.  Yes, I just wrote that sentence, and no, I am not on lithium.  It’s 2010, people!  Lighten up!

Anyway, our evening also included a visit from a new friend of mine, whom I met on New Year’s Eve. Lexi liked him immediately, which made me smile again because if you pass the Lexi litmus test, you are definitely good people.

And so the three of us played with Lexi for a bit, and then when Nicole put Lexi to bed, I ordered us some good old-fashioned New York Thai food. After dinner we all piled onto the sofa, hid under blankets and watched Julie & Julia.  Every moment of this movie is wonderful.  Except, we all agreed, for Amy Adams’ hair.  I mean, why?

When the movie ended, Nicole headed off to bed, and my new friend headed back uptown.  I was sad to see the evening end.  On a cold New York night, there is nothing better – at least for me – than good friends, good food, a good movie, warm blankets, and a comfy couch.  I am headed back to LA tomorrow with warm memories of cold city.