Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fighting Mad? Fight Back!

By David Salcido

In the 1976 Robert Altman film Network, one of the most famous and chillingly prophetic speeches in movie history was given by Peter Finch’s talking head Howard Beale, when he said: “Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad! You’ve got to say, ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’” After the passing of Prop 8 in California, members of the LGBT community are finally waking up to the realization that unless we ALL do something about the current situation, nothing is ever going to change.

Luckily for us, there are organizations that are leading the charge, by tallying up the offenders, one by one. Millions of dollars were donated toward passing the offensive Proposition 8 in California. With so many economic problems plaguing this country, education cutbacks, people losing their homes and worse, thousands thought it beneficial to spend their money on denying basic civil rights to fellow Americans. Now those who did so are being held accountable.

Several websites have been erected since early November tallying the votes, crunching the numbers and naming the names, including The San Francisco Chronicle has a section of their site dedicated to both sides of the debate, tallying up not only those who donated for Prop 8, but against it, as well. The lists were compiled for the Associated Press by Richard Dalton, “a computer-assisted reporting specialist” based on “campaign finance reports submitted to the Calif. Secretary of State’s Office since 2007.”

Of course, the usual suspects figure prominently on both lists. They came out in all their hate-mongering glory, flinging money at the Proposition like a many-headed Hydra. To date, the numbers are staggering. Anti-Christ James Dobson’s Focus On The Family donated many times, for a grand total of $539,643.66. Donald Wildmon’s The American Family Association donated $500,000 in one lump sum. Timothy LaHaye’s venomous wife Christine’s group Concerned Women For America dished out $409,000. The Knights of Columbus ponied up $1,425,000. And the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops blessed the campaign with $200,000 of their parishioner’s tithes. So much for the numbers.

By far the best and most informative site out there now is that offered by Californians Against Hate, whose Dishonor Role includes not only the names of individuals and companies who donated to Proposition 8, but the total amounts donated, broken down by date, along with information about the people who donated and website links, where available. Which makes it very easy to be proactive in researching and boycotting where appropriate. All information there is based on data made available by the California Secretary of State’s office.

It’s there that you’ll find many local business owners at which to direct your anger. Yes, I said it. If you’re angry about the results and really want to do something about it, target the people right here in your own backyard. Californians have their hands full with the thousands who live there. Let them take care of their own. We have our own fish to fry, right here in New Mexico. Take note.

Perhaps the biggest offender is Albuquerque resident and owner of the Blake’s Lotaburger food chain, Brian Rule. Yes, far from being a simple executive with the company, as originally reported, Rule is the sole owner of all 77 stores throughout New Mexico. Rule thought it a good idea to donate a whopping $10,000 to support Proposition 8. Members of the LGBT community disagree, making it their golden rule to avoid the burger bigot’s barnyard bistros wherever they may be found.

Coming up close on the list is William Moore, the Chief Executive Officer of Rinchem Company, Inc, headquartered in Albuquerque. Moore donated $9,999 of his company’s money to Proposition 8. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Moore’s company specializes in transporting and warehousing toxic materials for “regional and Fortune 500 customers in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.” Wise business-minded members of the LGBT community would do well to steer clear of Rinchem.

Another home-grown business owner, Steve Foutz, Chief Executive Officer of Foutz & Bursum Construction in Bloomfield, helped in the mission to deconstruct the civil rights of others. He thought it good business to donate $9,500 to Proposition 8. Ironic considering that Foutz attributes his success in the construction industry to his “professional, versatile and flexible” traits. Maybe he should have added “intolerant and thick as a brick” to the list, because Foutz’ “higher level of service” falls short in the community department.

One more business that didn’t really think things through is the Webb Automotive Group, Inc, located in Farmington, which donated $9,950 to the cause of driving a wedge between happy couples in California. Do you think it ever occurred to the owners of this “full service Cadillac and Chevrolet dealer” that luxury items, such as the cars they sell, are more likely to be sold to happy couples with no children and LOTS of disposable income to play with? Apparently not.

Other big-money and business-owning offenders include Darwin Harrison, Chief Financial Officer of Albuquerque Health Partners, LLC who donated $6,000; Joe Tanner, Native American Art Dealer with Fifth Generation Trading Co. in Farmington, who donated $5,000; Roger Cox, owner of Roger Cox & Associates, Inc and William Sego, Chief Executive Officer of Dura Bilt Products, Inc, both from Albuquerque and each of whom also donated $5,000; Marshall Jones, owner of Great American Stations in Gallup, who donated $2,000 and Jack Cook, general manager and owner of Navajo Trading Co. in Farmington, who donated $1,000.

All are worthy of our anger and boycott. Oh, but there are more. To find them, simply go to the San Francisco Chronicle site and do a search by state. There you’ll find the 50+ different contributors, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents, bankers, financial advisors, building contractors, real estate developers, teachers and more.

Just remember, nothing has ever been solved through violence. If, however, you do find that you have been supporting the business of one or more of these people on the list, stop doing it and don’t forget to let them know WHY you will no longer be requiring their services. It’s really that easy. Because we’re all mad as hell, but the only way they’re ever going to know it, is if we tell them, in Howard Beale’s own words, “I’m a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has value!”

Simply put, we DON’T have to take it, anymore.

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