Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2012

Understanding N.C.'s gay marriage amendment

I'm covering North Carolina's vote on Amendment 1, which would write the state's ban on gay marriage into the N.C. constitution. I'd like to use this post as a call for input and to think out loud about the way this amendment would interplay with some of the principles on which our government was built.

Nuance and questions about the amendment's full impact on domestic partnership benefits aside, it's fairly easy to understand why people are against the amendment. What I'd like to hear more about is: Why are many people so passionately for it? What is so threatening about the government allowing gay people to marry?

Does it really boil down to God says it's wrong to be gay? If so, are you sure he does? And if you are, are we the kind of country that codifies the majority's understanding of God's word on social issues?

And if we are, why isn't, say, adultery illegal?

It is not my place to decide or advocate. I just want to put as many relevant facts and voices before voters as I can, and play a part in North Carolinians deciding issues from a position of knowledge.

That's my role in our democracy as a member of the press - to verify, to agitate and to question. But I believe in democracy not because it's intrinsically great, but in large part because it seems to be the best method developed to protect individual rights.

And because I believe individual rights are a foundation of society, it's hard for me to understand the argument against allowing gay people to marry each other. That's the point I'd like to hear from people on: What is so dangerous about it, how does it so violate your own rights, your safety or society's needs  that it should be banned by the state's constitution?

I'll be covering this issue for the Winston-Salem Journal, but this is my personal political blog and unaffiliated with the paper. If you'd like to share your thoughts, and your name, please contact me via cfain (at) Thank you for your time.

"A majority taken collectively is only an individual, whose opinions, and frequently whose interests, are opposed to those of another individual, who is styled a minority. If it be admitted that a man possessing absolute power may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should not a majority be liable to the same reproach?"

- Alexis DeTocqueville, Democracy in America.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Either I'm dead right, or I'm crazy."

I watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington all the way through for the first time last night.

If we selected Congress by picking people at random, do you think that would make the government worse, or better?
Boys forget what their country means, just reading "land of the free" in history books. And they get to be men and forget even more. Liberty is too precious to get buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men ought to hold it up in front of them every day of their lives and say: "I am free, to think, to speak. My ancestors couldn't. I can. My children will."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A flag bearer from the huddled masses

As one of the gals at Blog for Democracy notes, the U.S. Olympic team has chosen a Sudanese refugee to carry the American Flag during Friday's opening ceremonies.

Lopez Lomong came here as a teenager. Tell me that ain't what makes America great.

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.

Nice. Image:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm sorry, I thought this was America

If you can't relate it to The Simpsons or South Park, I don't want to hear about it.

Fight the power.

Monday, March 3, 2008


When former Pres. Bill Clinton came to Macon for a rally earlier this year, I met a young woman named Melita Kabashi. I don't remember what her Middle Georgia connection was, but she was originally from Kosovo. And when Kosovo declared it's independence I tracked her down and asked her to write a little something.

Turns out she was in Kosovo at the time. It's worth your time to read this all. But you absolutely must read the last four paragraphs, and look at the photos she sent.

Good luck to you, newborn Kosovo.
First, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to United States Government and the American People for their unwavering support for the freedom of Kosovo and its recognition as an independent country, now the Republic of Kosovo.

I must admit that just mentioning the name, Republic of Kosovo, gives me goose bumps, and distant memories capture my thoughts. I vividly remember the year 1994, when my mom, dad and my little brother were saying their last farewell to me at the Belgrade (Serbia) bus station. I was only fourteen years old and was leaving for the United States of America to escape the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. The Serbs, under Milosevic, had been committing atrocities against my people, the ethnic Albanian Kosovars, and had expelled us from our schools. My parents were sending me to the US for my safety and in order to get a good education. Young, but very alert that this could be the last time that I would see my loving parents and little brother, I tried to give them my strongest hugs possible as I slowly whispered that I would do my best to make them proud, that I would never forget them, and that I was not abandoning them.

During the flight, I was full of emotions, excitement (along with some fear) about the adventure ahead of me and sadness in my heart for all that I had had to leave behind – my family, my friends, and my home. I must admit that I was somewhat comfortable about what lay ahead because my family and teachers had taught me about the US, that it was a great democracy where the will of the people prevailed, and that the American people were our friends who perhaps someday would help us gain freedom. From the day I landed in the US, I discovered that the American people were welcoming and warm, just as I had been taught to expect.

During my first year in the US, I had the incredible, unbelievable opportunity to meet President Bill Clinton. I was only 14 years old, when in the town hall meeting in Billings, Montana, I was chosen to ask him my question. Full of emotion and with shaking hands, I asked the President what he could do to stop the fighting which was happening then in Bosnia and Herzegovina and which was spreading towards Kosovo and to stop the oppressive Serbian in Kosovo so that my family and all Kosovar Albanians could one day be free. The President said that the US government would do their outmost to stop the genocide and the killing and bring in democracy. I was so happy and thrilled, (and naïve of, course) that for a moment I thought that he could accomplish in a short time all that he had promised.

Of course, I quickly realized that it would take a long time and that, even if the US did try, success might not be possible. Nevertheless, despite all the suffering that I had experienced throughout my childhood, for once I felt blessed and happy, and for the first time, I believed that there really was a chance that my family and all Kosovar Albanians could someday be free.

That was fourteen years ago, and during the first five of those years, the oppression in Kosovo increased, many innocent people were killed, and a million people were expelled from their homes. It seemed as though the situation would continue forever, but we never gave up our belief that the US and the UK people would someday help us. And of course, that is exactly what happened when those two countries, in 1999, led NATO’s invasion of Kosovo in order to stop the atrocities that had been committed against us.

Since then, however, although Kosovo has been a protectorate of the United Nations with no political connection with Serbia, it technically remained part of Serbia, and despite years of negotiations, there was no resolution of its political status. The preferred solution was to have the United Nations declare Kosovo independent, but that was not possible because both Russia and China vowed to veto such a declaration. Therefore, the US, UK, France, Germany and Italy all urged Kosovo to unilaterally declare its independence, and they promised to immediately give official recognition to Kosovo as an independent country.

On the 17th of Feb., 2008, the government informed the population and the world that from that day, Kosovo was declared to be an independent and sovereign country, now called the Republic of Kosova. This news was music to our ears, and the tears that were flowing down everyone’s cheeks could not be stopped, but this time, they were tears of joy. Streets of Prishtina as well as other capital cities around the world were full of people celebrating, singing, dancing, or just enjoying the moment in time.

Early in the morning of the 17th of February, 2008, the day that all Kosovar Albanians have dreamed of for so many years became reality. In fact, when I woke up that day, I felt as though I was dreaming. The streets of Prishtina, the capital city, were full of hundreds of thousands of people waving our new national flag and, of course, the American flag. The temperature was below freezing, but even the cold wind could not cool the warm joy and excitement in the hearts of the people. The peaceful celebrations continued all day, finally ending with an amazing display of fireworks.

It was announced that NEWBORN was the word that had been chosen by the people to be the slogan for our independence. I believe that NEWBORN was the perfect choice. We are truly a newly born country, one that is receiving unwavering support from such leading democracies as the USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium, who have recognized our right to be independent and FREE.

Now that we are independent, many challenges lie ahead of us. These include, primarily, the economy, the judicial system, health care and education. Though we should never forget our tragic history under the Serbian regime and the war that ended it, now we must forgive and move on. Kosovo must truly become the land of the free for all of its citizens, whether they are Albanian, Serbian, Turkish, Roma gipsy, Goran or any other ethnic group or religion. The Albanian Kosovar people make a promise to the free democratic world that the NEWBORN Republic of Kosovo will not fail, and that all must work to make democracy a part of our institutions and our everyday lives.

Ever since they led NATO to bring an end to the atrocities that were being committed against us, Kosovar Albanians have considered the US and the American people to be our saviors. In fact, the people of Kosovo are probably the best friends that the US has in the world. So we say, “THANK YOU, AMERICA”, for freeing the people of Kosovo and for introducing democracy to this newborn country.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Being thankful for free speech... sort of

I take free speech for granted. I spend almost no time thinking about it, or appreciating it, or wondering what it would be like to be thrown in jail for opening my mouth.

And I open it. A lot.

It is amazing to me that free speech is attacked the world over. Why would anyone want to oppress their fellow man? It's like trying to hold back the tide, except of course the tide doesn't bleed when you shoot it.

God bless the men and women who know that rights are never granted. They are claimed, too often with deadly consequence.

I hope for the day when we can all take free speech for granted.