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Passions in Poetry

Give me a break.

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Ringo
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0 posted 05-08-2006 11:40 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

A bill currently in the California state legislature would require school textbooks to mention the sexual orientation of historical figures in order to make gay and lesbian students feel more comfortable, according to the AP.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica, is meant to prevent gay students from dropping out of school. One senator, Jackie Speier, equated learning about the accomplishments of gays to the women's suffrage movement and the civil rights struggle of black Americans.

One senator, however, wondered why texts should be required to mention someone's sexuality even when it's not particularly relevant to a person's accomplishments.

"For instance, where John Marshall of course discovered gold in California that ultimately led to the 1849 gold rush and California as a state. Now, I don't have any idea whether John Marshall was gay or transgender or whatever, but even if he was, certainly whether or not he was, doesn't add to or subtract from the contribution he made to California history," said Sen. Bill Morrow.


And people wonder why this country is going stupid.
Perhaps we should also divulge their hair color so that the blondes of the country get their due.
OR, I know... We need to talk about the "handedness" of people of historical significance so that the lefties of the country feel included.
Better yet, we need to re-write all of the text books so that we highlight all of the people that created history while they were wearing glasses. I know that I certainly felt insignificant because no one made sure I was included in history because I had bad eyesight.

For the record:
I have absolutely nothing against any group of people because of anything. I just feel that this is getting to be the ceiling of stupidity. I am not even going to ask what could possibly be next because I do not wish to jinx this country into finding out.

Now, so that I might be more politically correct and inclusive in my rant, the following people were gay, and were also very influential historical figures. I am running off the top of my head, so they might not be in order:
Socrates, Plato, Michaelangelo, Alexander the Great, Haderian (of Hadrian's Wall fame), Richard the Lion Hearted, Leonardo DeVinci, Crazy Horse, Sir Francis Bacon, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, Tchaikovsky, Virginia Wolfe, Cole Porter, Bessie Smith, Truman Capote, Liberace, Tennessee Williams, Andy Warhol, Billie Jean King, and probably too many others for me to name.



"... the rest is silence"
from the song The Flesh Failures www.myspace.com/mindlesspoet

[This message has been edited by Ringo (05-08-2006 12:14 PM).]

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1 posted 05-08-2006 12:13 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

LOL, I agree with you, this bill is absurd.
Someone really believes this change would actually make someone stay in school?  
(someone's head is up a dark alley)
It's none of our business anyway...one's sexual preferences should remain a private bedroom issue, not one of public record. In MHO, the ONLY exception is in possible predatory situations.
Susan Caldwell
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2 posted 05-08-2006 12:50 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Could you name those lefties for me?   I feel so slighted in a righty world...people, what side is the spiral on a notebook????  

I just feel that this is getting to be the ceiling of stupidity

Are you sure about that getting to the ceiling thing?? I think there are plenty more really stupid things they could do..

Not sure exactly who "they" are...but then I don't need to as they always show themselves...

*sigh*  I want to be a child again.  It's the only logical solution.  
Mistletoe Angel
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3 posted 05-08-2006 03:10 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I don't know if I'd call it "stupid" necessarily as much as I would consider this bill just simply unnecessary.

I believe it's naive, wishful thinking for Kuehl and other sponsors of the bill to believe that this California state legislator bill is going to automatically boost school attendence among a specific group to 100% or so. There's always been multiple factors behind dropout rates and lackluster attendance records and such, and thus it simply isn't realistic to believe this one change is going to remedy the whole situation.

I do absolutely believe there are some tendencies of homophobia running through our culture right now. We have went and matured a long way from a dark, unfortunate past where gays and lesbians were victimized to abuse in numerous forms, but there remain social and intellectual tensions and prejudices against them.

Having said that, I have grown up through elementary school back in Arvada, Colorado, and have seen homosexual classmates frequently get teased on, get called all kinds of derogatory names, and often are unfortunate victims of bullying. My older half-brother Larry Sweeney is homosexual, and it's through growing up with him that I'm absolutely convinced sexuality is not a choice you make at any random second in your life, it is natural, and we must respect that. I believe there remains much discomfort among gays and lesbians in that in some cases they are indeed not treated as equal, and some nutty personalities like Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps and Dr. Laura Schlessinger vocally keep demonizing them about everything, from being pedophiles to having anti-social sickness to wanting to give people AIDS.

Do I think this bill is necessary? No, I do not. But there is a far greater issue of concern here, regarding respect and tolerance regardless of your sexual preference, for each student to be treated as a student and not judged or approached differently by their preference, and my heart cries out for where respect could again reach deep in the heart, the core, of pur public education system.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Sunshine
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4 posted 05-08-2006 04:00 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
Better yet, we need to re-write all of the text books

Another fine example of wasted money, as well...

Essorant
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5 posted 05-08-2006 04:20 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Where is that article from?
Ringo
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6 posted 05-08-2006 06:24 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Susan- Your wish is my command:
Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush (Sr), Bill Clinton, Rep Bill Bradley, Ben Franklin, Oliver North, Alexander the Great (a double post!), Napoleon Bonaparte, Fidel Castro, Prince Charles, Henry Ford, Helen Keller, Ted Koppel, Jay Leno, F. Lee Bailey, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, Glen Campbell, Natalie Cole, Jimi Hendrix, Phil Collins, BOTH Everly Brothers, Judy Garland, Sir Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Michaelangelo (another double post) and many more.

Noah- I have grown up through elementary school back in Arvada, Colorado, and have seen homosexual classmates frequently get teased on, get called all kinds of derogatory names, and often are unfortunate victims of bullying.
I was a heterosexual and grew up dealing with these things. High school is rough. I mean no disrespect to you or any member of your family; however, kids get teased because they can be.

Essorant- I got the article from the Fox News website. They have a section where they publish a list of idiotic stories, and this one topped the list.

"... the rest is silence"
from the song The Flesh Failures
www.myspace.com/mindlesspoet

Brad
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7 posted 05-08-2006 08:19 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Yes, the bill is stupid.

Why does everyone, on both the right and left, want to micromanage the classroom?

Let teachers teach.

Sunshine
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8 posted 05-08-2006 09:22 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Brad, your comment, "let teachers teach" is almost right. I wish they would let them teach.

Instead, I remember very well, and this goes back a few decades, when teachers just came to "sit".  I had the luxury then of a few teachers who really CARED about their kids [not saying that there aren't any of them around now, but it was quite apparent back then...] and those teachers still, today, keep in touch with their students as they can.  

We're talking about 3.5 decades or so.  Or more.

But as I was leaving high school it became quite apparent that a new, younger, supposedly more "hip" generation of teacher was taking over.  From what I've been able to surmise, it's been about 50-50 since that time.  The leader/teacher gave way to the "come what may/guidance advisor" of a teacher.  

Then politics stepped in and messed up things a little more.

I [wrongly] thought that once my kids were through with school, so was I.  So, so wrong.  It's good to be wrong.  It pulls you up with a sharp reminder that we are not just here for ourselves and our kids.  We're here for everyone, and can continue to have input...

There are still great teachers out there.  There are teachers who go beyond the daily and get into the lives of their kids.  While I don't know her personally, I know her almost just as well, and I can say that I'm fairly sure one of our own poets can attest to the fact that we just can't give up.

Textbooks will be written and re-written to go with the flow.  I have to agree with Ringo, however, that them that have a penchant for a private life that others might not equate themselves too is not a reason to print it; what it was that they DID with their life to make and/or change history is what is important.

For the lefties?  I'm going to apologize right here and now for the fact that things were never adapted for your needs earlier on in time.  As has been pointed out, there have been lefties long before there were binders and/or notebooks.  Thank YOU for adapting to generations of those who didn't think far enough ahead for everyone.

I have worked with several lefties in my time.  I have even worked with those who are ambidextrous and they, as well as folks who have control over languages, continue to please my inner soul for the things I have yet to accomplish.

But change the books yet again?  If not to add for historical purpose the changes that all people have made to our world, as a whole, then I say, no, don't go back and uncover someone's private nature unless one were to write a book on that person alone; but go ahead and add to history, yes...

and take it from there.

Thank you Ringo.
Ron
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9 posted 05-08-2006 10:44 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Want to hear an interesting fact that almost everybody knows but almost nobody really considers on a conscious level?

I stumbled across this back in the early Seventies, writing an article for a trade magazine about the food service industry, based on some research at Michigan State. It's true, though, in any industry, and indeed, in any human situation. When someone comes to your table to take your order, or you meet someone at a business meeting or a local bar, or even if you just glimpse someone for half a second across a crowded bus, there's always one thing you remember about them. It probably won't be their name, the color of the hair or eyes, or whether they are left- or right-handed. Those are characteristics of being human, but they generally aren't defining characteristics. They're not necessarily important enough to us to remember.

You will always, however, remember their gender.

It seems to be almost impossible for the human mind to think of someone without simultaneously labeling them as male or female. Gender is a defining characteristic. Even in those rare androgynous instances where you couldn't quite be sure, your very doubt becomes the one thing you won't forget about them. Sexuality is so deeply ingrained in the human mind that is always the first step in defining another person. Certainly, it is vitally important in how we define ourselves.

We entertain many characteristics throughout life, like hair color or eye glasses, and assume many roles, like parent, business person, writer, or artist. Those usually don't define us, though, if only because most of them can change many times over the course of a lifetime. I'm not sure it's fair to compare trivial characteristics with defining characteristics like gender, race, and yea, in my opinion, sexual orientation.

People need role models, if only to show them the possibilities they face are, indeed, possible. We choose our role models in large part based on the defining characteristics we have in common with them. Men have had diverse role models for thousands of years, women for only a few hundred, and Blacks for only a few decades. Every prominent role model, every person who has shown it can be done by doing it, raises the bar for all the others in the world who share common defining characteristics. It's important for women to SEE they aren't limited by their gender, it's important for Blacks to SEE they aren't limited by their color, and yea, I think it's important for gays to SEE that no door is closed to them because of sexual preference.

In short, I agree completely with Senator Kuehl's goal. I think we need a lot more people like her, not just in government but in every walk of life.

Unfortunately, I can't agree with the Senator's methods.

Not all problems have a solution that can be mandated by law. Just as I believe you can't successfully legislate morality, I also recognize that you can't always legislate away injustice. I think we can and should encourage greater availability of gay role models, both contemporaneous and historical, and do MUCH more to discourage stereotypes, but I don't think government force is ever going to be a solution.

You can't, after all, pass a law forbidding fear or hate. It just doesn't work. That certainly doesn't mean we can't pass laws that encourage understanding and goodwill, however. I would, for example, fully support any bill that explicitly told historians, writers, and text book publishers that they COULD detail sexual orientation with no fear of discrimination by school boards or parents because of such inclusion.
Not A Poet
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10 posted 05-09-2006 12:08 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

To be fair and unprejudiced, shouldn't those same text books also point out those historically significant straight people?

Ron, you are right that probably the first thing we notice when meeting a new person is their sex. That is usually a pretty obvious characteristic. Yes, even skin color is a fairly obvious characteristic that also stick in your memory. But, I think it would be a rare thing to notice and recall sexual orientation first unless that person made a blatant point of it.

I have to go with Ringo on this one. It seems ridiculous to rewrite the history books just to enumerate the homosexuals.
Essorant
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11 posted 05-09-2006 02:01 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"But, I think it would be a rare thing to notice and recall sexual orientation first unless that person made a blatant point of it."

Good point, Pete.


Ron
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12 posted 05-09-2006 02:42 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
But, I think it would be a rare thing to notice and recall sexual orientation first unless that person made a blatant point of it.

In truth, I suspect we very much notice it, Pete, but only as an assumption tied to gender. But that's still missing the point. The point is that it's a defining characteristic. Like gender, sexuality is a large part of how we define ourselves.

What would it feel like to grow up and live in a world where no white heterosexual male had ever been known to do anything significant? What if all your teachers, all your community leaders, everyone in the media and in sports all presented themselves as gay? If you had never seen anyone with whom you could identify succeed, don't you think your own goals might be shaped by that dearth of motivation?

A role model has to be a reflection of ourselves -- as we see ourselves -- else it's not really a role model. It's just a tease of what we, as someone different, apparently cannot have.

As to rewriting the history books, it might be profitable to check the copyright on the textbooks being used in your local schools right now. History books are being rewritten all the time, Pete. Almost annually, in fact. Are you suggesting nothing should ever change? If an historical figure's gender and race is detailed in the text, why not their sexual orientation? Each is at once equally relevant and equally irrelevant.

Again, I don't think it should be legislated. I do think it should be expected.


Essorant
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13 posted 05-09-2006 08:12 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't think it should be expected.
"Sexuality" is not equally important to every person, event, movement, etc.  There's no reason to make sexuality an issue when talking about someone like Jesus Christ or King Alfred, or about the people involved in establishing a country, unless it is something that stood out in particular person, event, movement, etc.  And just because someone was married to a man or woman, hardly makes it something that should be mentioned in terms of heterosexuality and homosexuality.   On the other hand, if we are talking about someone that obviously strongly expressed and influenced sexuality, views on sexuality, etc such as Anais Nin, or D.H Lawrence, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, etc. I think sexuality relevant because it is something that they strongly expressed, and strongly influenced.  But suggesting or trying to make it out as if it is equally defining or relevant to every human being, is ignoring the fact that it is not.
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14 posted 05-09-2006 10:02 AM       View Profile for SEA   Email SEA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for SEA

how does who they have sex with alter what they did historically?! Or make them a better( or worse) person, or any more or less of a role model?! I don't WANT to know who they have(had) sex with, I don't care. What a joke...what a complete waste of time, energy, monies.....if they want to teach that information, it should be kept solely in the sex ed class and no where else, maybe as a quick mention, if that....

unbelieveable....no actually, I can believe it....so then it's just sad...and pathetic.
Alicat
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15 posted 05-09-2006 10:33 AM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

I agree with Ron regarding role models, but disagree with the proposed implementation.  Everyone who has ever had to buy a textbook knows the enormous cost associated with that acquisition.  And here we're talking about hundreds of thousands of textbooks being written, proofed, printed, bound, and distributed.  Not just one though, but many different books on the same theme, as school boards choose the text they will use in their schools from a selection.  And who will have to pay for this?  If the Honorable Senator did so from their own pockets, I'm all for it.  Odds are though it will come predominantly from property taxes and all the other taxes California imposes upon their citizens.  I wouldn't be surprised at all that if this measure passed, the DOE would be contacted for funding.

I do find it incongruous that after decades of homosexual lobbies influencing laws to protect and shelter homosexuals from sexual persecution, all of a sudden they are outting the gay community after decades of 'don't ask don't tell' applied across the board.  I wonder that if this measure passes and the texts enter circulation, if mention of other gay personalities will be given, like Caligula, de Sade, Mao, numerous Popes, and a goodly percentage of Roman and European Emporers and Kings, among others.
Not A Poet
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16 posted 05-09-2006 11:12 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Of course history books have to be rewritten. History is a living, changing thing. It is happening every day. But to rewrite history just for the purpose of exposing some significant figure's sexual orientation is ridiculous and totally irrelevant.

My name is unlikely to ever appear in any history text but if it does, I can only hope it is for some contribution I have made to society, not for whom or what I might have slept with.  Of course, it is more likely that history may mention the harm I caused society but I would still hope that my unrelated sexual activities be omitted.

There are many men and women from history whom I admire. I admire them for what they did. I don't give a damn about their sexual orientation and I suspect the vast majority of us feel the same. Some of those role models have been at least rumored to be homosexual. I just don't find that relevant. I don't revere their work or contributions any less for the fact that their preferences were different than mine. I also don't honor the straight ones higher because theirs agreed with mine.

Brad
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17 posted 05-09-2006 08:45 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't know, what's wrong with this idea:

Let historians decide what goes into a textbook.

Let teachers decide how to use the textbook.

If you want to change either of these things, you become an historian or a teacher.

And, Pete, if I ever get back into textbook writing, I promise to put you in one.

Local Rebel
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18 posted 05-09-2006 10:23 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I think it would be great if we let teachers actually teach history.  Historically -- gay/straight, male/female were not entirely as we perceive them in this day and age.

Our modern paradigms are more stark -- one is either this or that -- seems pretty simple to us -- gender is determined by whichever bit of skin happens to be between our legs at birth.

Not so much so in ancient times.  Maleness, and femaleness were seen as gradients -- more an attribute of what one DID with oneself as a person than what equipment one was born with.  A man of course, was seen to be the 'perfect' human being.  But, not all males were seen as 'men'.  

If we were to try to 'assign' orientations to persons of the past it would be an anachronistic and unfortunate attempt to understand history through the filter of current ideology.

That's why it's a silly idea.
Not A Poet
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19 posted 05-09-2006 11:30 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Thanks Brad. I hope you can find something good that I did rather than the other. BTW, if you find it relevant, I am completely straight
Essorant
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20 posted 05-11-2006 01:18 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

We don't call someone "homoracial" or "heteroracial" for being attracted and involved with a person/people of the same or different race, why then do we stoop to name-call someone "homosexual" or "heterosexual" for being attracted and involved with a person/people of the same or different gender?  


Midnitesun
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21 posted 05-11-2006 10:40 AM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

Somehow, the notion that rewriting a textbook would change anyone's perception of the world around them, or that it might serve to keep more teens in school...is ludicrous at best.
History is a dynamic. You'll never have a text that is truly current. Effective teachers always offer new additional information sources to supplement those texts, which are expensive to produce. When it comes down to it, teachers and students alike have to interpret all that input, and classroom discussions can and do go way beyond what is published. Plus, there are always supplemental reading assignments.
The issue of gender/sexual orientation is probably best left to these non-textbook sources anyway. MHO. And as someone already pointed out, you can't and shouldn't try to legislate everything. Rewriting all those texts could bankrupt most school budgets, which are already looking like broken piggy banks.
Not A Poet
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22 posted 05-11-2006 01:22 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

quote:
why then do we stoop to name-call someone "homosexual" or "heterosexual"

I don't see this as "stooping." There are many other terms that should be considered derogatory but the clinical word above surely are not any more than male or female might be.

Other than "stooping," your above point is well taken. Why is it necessary to bring out this feature when describing a person's historical significance? At least that appears to me to be the point of the statement.

Essorant
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23 posted 05-12-2006 02:05 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Rarely are men and women that are in love-relationships with people of the opposite sex casually called "heterosexuals" but they are rightly lovers, partners, or couple, without some sex-oriented name in respect to their relationship.  But when we talk about men and women in love-relationships with people of the same sex, all the sudden everyone and everything now becomes "sexual"  Now people are called "(homo/hetero)sexuals" Now the manner of the relationship is called "(homo/hetero)sexual/ity.  Why don't we just say we come from the planet Sex too?

In this way to me it is rude.  I don't think it is respectful to hang upon gender and sex, when we are talking about something that goes so far beyond those as having a very personal love-relationship with someone.  


time prophet
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24 posted 05-15-2006 09:21 PM       View Profile for time prophet   Email time prophet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for time prophet

No distinction is necessary apart from recognition that we are are all human beings. All deserving of equal respect from each other. Any other descriptive notes only generate bias of an opiniated nature. In meeting another human being what else do you need to know? We all bleed red blood, that should be sufficient.

All this claptrap over who is what and what for and deserving of whatever by way of recognition is a waste of time and effort.

The worlds manic obsessive compulsive disorder that requires everyone and everything to carry a label is how the world became the mess it is.

Idealistic, simplistic view? Yes, but the one I subscribe to.
 
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