Burch: A young man's protest

Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Brandon Holt is a young man on a mission. Whether that mission is impossible or not remains to be seen. After all, he’s trying to bring Tennessee government to its senses — a truly Herculean task. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he and his fellow student-activists eventually manage to muck out our state legislature’s smelly chambers, just as Hercules once cleansed the stinky stalls of King Augeas. According to legend, the Olympic games were founded to celebrate the victory of Hercules over the rotten-egg rulers of his day.

Holt recently graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School and is now bound for Princeton University. During his senior year, he helped organize seven protests against the now-infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which along with other bizarre bits of bigoted buffoonery (euphemistically called “legislation”) have made Tennessee the butt of many a late-night comedian’s ridicule.

Holt recently helped organize an eighth protest — this one against HB600, which Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law on May 23. It overruled a Metro ordinance that would have required vendors doing business with the city to have nondiscrimination employment policies covering sexual orientation and gender identity.

As reported by WSMV Channel 4 News, Holt and other students recently delivered a petition to Haslam asking him to “repeal the repeal” of Nashville’s nondiscrimination ordinance. According to Holt, he thought Haslam “was even more supportive because we are youth that are taking a stand for what we believe in.”

Holt has also been quoted nationwide by news organizations such as NBC News and msnbc.com, which reported him saying: “This is the civil rights movement of our time, and if we don't take advantage of our opportunity to stand up for what we believe in, then we have lost that opportunity. And this is something that we all feel so strongly about.”

Holt hit the ground running: “My first protest was something that I organized. I found that it wasn’t as daunting or as hard as I thought it would be.”

And he remains undaunted — despite his protests having failed to move Tennessee’s stone-age legislature: “Even though I guess we lost the fight, we kind of won because we set the stage for other young people to take part in government.”

Holt served as a congressional page and that service led him to become politically active: “At page school, I learned that the most important thing a citizen can do is participate actively in government.”

He later worked as an intern for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), who said of Holt and his gay rights movement: “It reminds me of the Freedom Riders in the ’60s. We haven’t had that kind of spunk and gumption displayed by a young person in Nashville in a long time, maybe half a century.”

On a more humorous note, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill has sparked a “light bulb idea” by former Star Trek actor George Takei, who proposes the following: “Any time you need to say the word ‘gay,’ you can simply say ‘Takei.’” He offered examples in a YouTube video: “You could safely proclaim you support Takei marriage. If you’re in a more festive mood, you can march in a Takei Pride Parade. Even homophobic slurs don't seem as hurtful if you say, ‘That’s sooo Takei.’”

Here’s a proposal of my own: “Discrimination is tacky, so buy a Bob Mackie, wear threads bright and fey, then pretend to be gay, till all bigots admit: “We were full of bull*&%?!”

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

140 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 6/10/11 at 10:18

I think everyone must remember we're holding these discussions in the "south".
From Texas to Georgia, including the great states of Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama.
You want to talk like this, discussing these topics, in California or New York?
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan?
What's going on here in Tenn., is laughable, if it wasn't so pathetic.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 10:22

Ben, then why defend a part of this American culture stands against homosexuality, if you are not judging? It wasn’t too long ago this society said interracial marriage was wrong and it too was band.

By: yogiman on 6/10/11 at 10:26

Civil rights due to race is one thing. Civil rights due to homosexuality is another and there is no comparison between the two.

What rational thought makes one brag about their sexual desire? Until recently, it has always been something that was kept in the bedroom. How many are bragging about their whore mongering?

By: Mike Burch on 6/10/11 at 10:30

govskeptic and dargent7,

There are some nice verses in the Bible. I think the essential message of the Hebrew prophets, Jesus and the apostles was a good one ...

to practice compassion and social justice

... however, the idea that the New Testament is an improvement on the Old Testament is silly. In the OT, the prophets said there would be trouble galore in this life, when people failed to practice compassion and social justice. But the people chose to act like today's conservative Christians: say a prayer, offer a tithe and damn the poor, the weak and the defenseless to whatever fate befell them. But the prophets still said that in the end everyone would be saved, including ALL Israel and Sodom and other Gentile nations.

In the "beautiful" New Testament, "hell" popped up without explanation, even though the God of the OT and his prophets had never mentioned anything about hell or suffering after death. Then Christians started condemning all the world and even each other to hell. They invented "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" so they could damn anyone who disagreed with their beliefs to hell. They turned Jesus into an unjust monster willing to send billions of people to "hell" for not believing in him, when he was either unable or unwilling to introduce himself to them.

By the time Revelation was written, Jesus had become a mass murderer. John of Patmos said Jesus would:

Condemn Christians for eating the wrong foods, after Jesus, Peter and Paul said Christians could eat anything.

Murder the children of a woman because she was having sex.

Murder trillions of animals and billions of human beings in a global bloodbath.

After all this mayhem, John of Patmos said that human beings would be tortured with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lamb and Holy Angels.

I fail to see anything "beautiful" and a religion that praises and worships a being infinitely more petty and cruel than Hitler. Of course I don't "believe" in the Jesus of Revelation. Hopefully Jesus was more like the Jesus of the Gospels, and the monumental ego trip was the fault of the people who wrote the NT. They wanted to "shock and awe" people into believing in Jesus, but in the process they turned Christianity into Devil Worship.

I think we should be honest about the Bible and the goals of the men who wrote the texts that became the NT. Should we "shock and awe" innocent children into believing Jesus is the Devil?

By: yogiman on 6/10/11 at 10:30

When was interracial marriage banned by law? I always understood it to be a cultural belief.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 10:41

Try this on for size Oh Great Mutilator of History.

Interracial romance has been a point of contention in America since the first English settlers established colonies in the seventeenth century. In 1664 Maryland banned interracial marriage due to questions over whether the offspring of a black slave and a white person would be considered a free person or property.

Increased prevalence of interracial romance
Since the Supreme Court struck down the last of America’s antimiscegenation laws, the number of interracial marriages has more than tripled. According to the Census Bureau, the number of mixed-race marriages rose from 300,000 in 1970 to 1.2 million in 1990. Between 1960 and 1990, the percentage of African American marriages involving a white spouse more than tripled. Furthermore, according to recent statistics, 65 percent of Japanese Americans marry outside of their race and 75 percent of Native Americans marry someone of a different ethnic background.

http://www.enotes.com/interracial-relationships-article

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 10:46

Here is more proof of the same subject.

On June 12, 1967, the United States Supreme Court decided the case Loving v. Virginia; in a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Court ruled that any laws against interracial marriage in the US were unconstitutional and therefore no longer enforceable. At the time of the decision, such laws existed in 17 states.

Although the laws were rendered unconstitutional, they still remained on the books. The last two states to remove the laws from the books were South Carolina (in 1998), and Alabama (in 2000).

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 10:46

Here is more proof of the same subject.

On June 12, 1967, the United States Supreme Court decided the case Loving v. Virginia; in a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Court ruled that any laws against interracial marriage in the US were unconstitutional and therefore no longer enforceable. At the time of the decision, such laws existed in 17 states.

Although the laws were rendered unconstitutional, they still remained on the books. The last two states to remove the laws from the books were South Carolina (in 1998), and Alabama (in 2000).

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 10:47

Sorry for double post.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/10/11 at 10:51

it was valid enough to bear repeating, Nemo. lol!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/10/11 at 10:52

yogi, are you going to blame your ignorance on your old history teacher now?

By: slacker on 6/10/11 at 10:53

IMO homosexuals should be free to legally bond with whomever they choose. It is their life, and their business.

A legal bonding ceremony, that includes the same rights and benefits of a marriage ceremony.

Name the ceremony whatever they choose. The word marriage has long been established as a M/F bonding, and for identify purposes, and to placate the mobs, it should remain so.

I believe if they approached this issue as simply being a matter of fairness to a group of people, and no threat to so called traditional marriage, they would gain a majority of backers.

By: BenDover on 6/10/11 at 11:03

There is a large majority of people in this country who already support Civil Unions of Homosexual Couples. Additionally the state has no influence whatsoever over a private ceremony of marriage.

By: revo-lou on 6/10/11 at 11:06

Ben, support of, and legal acceptance of, are two different things. The first means nothing without the second.

As to a "private ceremony", see the above statement.

By: revo-lou on 6/10/11 at 11:08

Oh, and, the state sure as hell has an influence if there are more than two people involved, and, if one is under the age of consent.

By: slacker on 6/10/11 at 11:08

Ben, its been explained to me, that they run into legal difficulties.

By: yogiman on 6/10/11 at 11:10

hee hee,

Looks like dumba.. is a good reader, Blanketnazi2. Now, maybe he/she can read, and pass on to me how to get rid of these darn fleas. I'm tired of having them as pets.

By: brrrrk on 6/10/11 at 11:12

It's beyond me how people can use the Bible as some sort of measuring stick considering the number of contradictions that it contains.

For example, the books of Matthew and Luke both trace the genealogy of Christ from King David. In the book of Matthew there are 28 generations between Christ and King David and in the book of Luke there are 43 generations. So which one's right? if Matthew is correct then it must follow that Luke is not, and vice versa. And that's just one of many examples.

By: slacker on 6/10/11 at 11:18

Its no secret that Tiger Woods got interracial marriage legalized.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 11:19

That is simple yogi, drink Deet?

http://www.drugstore.com/search/search_results.asp?Ntk=All&srchtree=5&Ntt=DEET&aid=336064&aparam=DEET&scinit1=DEET

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 11:21

brrrk, erhaps it is the same people that yogi get his information from.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 11:22

Missing one p.

By: slacker on 6/10/11 at 11:25

Ben, I can visualize a post-off between you and Burch. Ben the ''Capitalist'' versus ''Liberal, goody two shoes'' Burch

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 11:33

slacker, Ben has 4,000 yrs of cultural history to back him up. Do you think it would be an even match? lol

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 11:35

By: yogiman on 6/10/11 at 12:10
hee hee,

Looks like dumba.. is a good reader, Blanketnazi2. Now, maybe he/she can read, and pass on to me how to get rid of these darn fleas. I'm tired of having them as pets.
_________________________________________________________________

I think you should try reading sometimes yogi. You might be able to fill the half brain you have not.

By: slacker on 6/10/11 at 11:38

Nemo, Burch will go Carl Sagan on him.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 11:43

Then I will but may money on Burch. Billions and Billions. lol

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/10/11 at 11:44

yogi, are the fleas on you, in your yard or in your house? (sorry, had to ask to be clear.) i know there's some natural products that work pretty well. i'll try to find the name.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 11:44

Now there is an extra A. geezz

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 11:58

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 12:43
Then I will but/=put may=my money on Burch. Billions and Billions. lol

I think I drank to much coffee. I’m doing a yogi. lol

By: jvh2b on 6/10/11 at 11:59

"yogi - What rational thought makes one brag about their sexual desire? Until recently, it has always been something that was kept in the bedroom. How many are bragging about their whore mongering?"

Oh yeah, cause str8 men haven't been talking about their conquest around the water cooler since the 1950's or anything...

It must be awfully dark with your head stuck so far up your rear if you really believe your statement there yogi...

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 12:01

Blanket, house

I try to stop at Neighbors Wednesday, but I could not find a place to park. The area was booming.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 12:06

jvh2b ask -

"yogi - What rational thought makes one brag about their sexual desire?

Perhaps for those that can’t accept same sex marriage they should try to keep their wondering minds from going into someone else bedroom. Two people male/female, male/male, female/female sexual habits are theirs alone.

I don’t think any person of sane mind would want to think of yogi and bud’s sex life. So why do this two care about others sexual habits?

By: brrrrk on 6/10/11 at 12:08

jvh2b said

"It must be awfully dark with your head stuck so far up your rear if you really believe your statement there yogi..."

Maybe a good pair of rectal goggles are in order?

By: bfra on 6/10/11 at 12:11

don’t think any person of sane mind would want to think of yogi and bud’s sex life. =============================================================

Just that sentence turns my stomach, especially with all the fleas mixed in!

By: yogiman on 6/10/11 at 12:14

Yes jvh2b,

A number of people have let their co-workers "know" about their "sexual accomplishments". It mounted to a braq of their "achievements".

But then, a number of them were lying about their accomplishments, and I doubt if it has changed much.

By: slacker on 6/10/11 at 12:16

There once was a whore-monger from Nantucket...

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 12:17

lol bfra

That could be a movie maybe The Fleas that Ate Gordonsville?

By: yogiman on 6/10/11 at 12:21

dumba..,

I don't give a damn about yours or anyone else sex lives. You can go to bed with any man you want to. Heck, you can even go to bed with a woman, if she will let you..

And the others who call themselves women can go to bed with any other woman they want. And they can also go to bed with one of the male category.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 12:22

Speaking of movies, I’m off to see the Suber8. It looks to be a good for escapism.

Now I know bud will thinks that I am thinking of her all the time, however that is the far from the truth. I think of good people and how great life is, even with people like her. ;-)
See you later.

By: revo-lou on 6/10/11 at 12:26

{slacker on 6/10/11 at 1:16
There once was a whore-monger from Nantucket...}

who couldn't find a bucket...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/10/11 at 12:26

bfra, that's what you get when you RITDDI or whatever the heck she called it.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 12:31

yogi, for someone that declares that he is smarter than everyone one this board, you seem to miss out on a lot of knowledge.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 12:32

I suppose, yogi will tell us that was not in his learning back in the day he was in school having an education crammed in his head. This is true, but yogi you should know by now that one does not stop learning from day to day.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/10/11 at 12:34

I want tell anyone about you and the pig, yogi.

By: BenDover on 6/10/11 at 12:37

Burch is a fly-weight. Most of you guys trump that meandering mental midget on a daily basis. Why you cheer lead for him is something I often question though. Some kind of weird liberal solidarity I guess.

By: dargent7 on 6/10/11 at 12:53

Whoa, hold on a minute Mike Burch.
Everything Jesus taught, said, and spoke, was, "loving your fellow man".
"Turn the other cheek", "7X7 on forgiveness, The Beatitudes, The Semon on the Mont".
"Who he has sinned, cast the first stone..." "Am I not your brother?" The list is endless.
Think any of the A-holes we have in Congress could come up with that stuff?
Jesus Christ was a prophet.
Personally, I'm a Zen Buddhist and a Taoist who could care less about whatever the "Christians" in this great state of Tenn. believe in.
I'd rather walk the streets of Detroit and pray I don't get shot.

By: house_of_pain on 6/10/11 at 1:11

Nemo, we were inside on Wednesday.

By: bfra on 6/10/11 at 1:15

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/10/11 at 1:26

bfra, that's what you get when you RITDDI or whatever the heck she called it.
=================================================

Thanks! I forgot bud prefers the RITD as she stated.

By: budlight on 6/10/11 at 1:34

By: jvh2b on 6/10/11 at 9:06
"By: gdiafante on 6/10/11 at 7:03

I see the Bible as I see the Pirates Code...not to be taken literally but used as a guideline."

Thats because that was what it was intended for...to learn the lessons of the parables and collection of stories...unfortunately all to many miss the forest for the tree's on that one.

The Bible is a book of ethical standards, guidelines for living and commandments which lead to eternal salvation. Choose to follow them or choose to not follow them. It is your (and everyone's) free will. However, don't be surprised when you find out the bible was directed and written by our one True Source - The Creator of Everything. I sure would hate to not believe and get it wrong. I'd rather be a believer and live with the criticism and hate towards me, than to not believe.

By Lt. Nemo "When talking about idiots, buffoons and loons, budlight your name always comes up. You are just a masochist/narcissistic old troll that love the pain and an unsavory reputation. Now we all know you just love the attention."

"We all know" is using quite a broad brush to paint your personal views, Lt. I would be surprised if it were not YOU, yourself and You that you describe. Sometimes it takes one to know one.

But you go on spewing your venom. Hopefully if you spew out enough, your innards will not be eaten up with liver, colon, kidney or heart dis-ease. You seem to be so filled with hate. I feel sorry for you. Why don't you try googling "Supreme Science Qigong Center" and see if they can help you "breathe it out".

Have a nice weekend. I'll be praying that you find yourself - or God!