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4:57 pm EDT        46°F (8°C) in Shelbyville, TN

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On this Good Friday, I have been back out on the road for two days; I headed back out on Wednesday evening, after having gotten home last Thursday night. It was a fairly busy six-day period at home; that started last Friday, with my father and me spending most of the day to move a whole bunch of stuff out of the house my grandmother (his mother) is about to sell. We took a couch she had in her living room, and we had to rent a U-Haul cargo van to move her double bed out to her assisted-living facility in Howell, MI. Much of Sunday and Monday were spent on other various errands and chores I had to get done during my time at home.

As I’m sure you’ve no doubt noticed, the giant oil companies are once again getting carried away with their rape of the American public. Seeing that the Democrats still haven’t developed spines after three months in control of Congress, Big Oil and its minions in the global commodity markets have spent much of the month of March jacking the prices of their products way the hell up. Regular-unleaded gasoline, after flirting with the $2.00 per gallon mark for most of the winter and even getting as low as $1.80 in some spots in January, is now back up to around $2.65 in cheaper areas and above $2.80 elsewhere in the eastern part of the country. The American people told the Democratic Party to do something about this bullshit last November 7, but as we are seeing now, the Democrats continue to fail the American people in this critical matter.

In fact, as a front-section article in yesterday’s edition of USA Today tells us, some Democrats are even aping Rethuglicans by refusing to end Big Oil’s free ride on the back of the American taxpayer. This needs a little background explanation, so I’ll do that first. In 1998 and 1999, when the Clinton Administration was negotiating offshore oil drilling contracts with Big Oil, somebody forgot to include a price cap — under which royalty relief to the oil companies would be suspended above a certain per-barrel price of crude oil — as one of the contract provisions. This wasn’t really a problem at the time, because nobody could foresee Chimpy’s illegal “war” and occupation of Iraq’s oil wells; but when Chimpy did Big Oil’s bidding by taking Iraqi oil more or less offline, and prices spiked as a result, Big Oil managed to avoid at least $1 billion in royalty payments to the federal government.

Of course, Chimpy’s mis-administration has steadfastly refused to do anything about this since it first came to light in 2004. Why would they? It’s not like former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond couldn’t use another Gulfstream jet or two. While Democrats in the House have already passed legislation to correct this injustice, two key Senate Democrats — Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Jeff Bingaman (NM) — have stalled the plan in the upper chamber of Congress. Get a load of Bingaman’s imitation of Rethuglican talking points: he claims that the House plan would “violate the sanctity of signed contracts.”

Gee, that’s really funny that all of a sudden, Jeff Bingaman is worried about violating the sanctity of signed contracts. Eleven years ago, he had no problem at all with voting for a law that did exactly that to gay and lesbian couples in America — the so-called “‘Defense’ of ‘Marriage’ Act.” The blatantly unconstitutional DoMA, as you well know, says that state marriage or civil union licenses such as those now offered in four states — a form of signed contract between two loving people of the same sex — mean absolutely nothing and have zero “sanctity” at the federal level. Now, all of a sudden, the very same Jeff Bingaman is soooo concerned about the sanctity of signed contracts — so in the interests of making this real simple, I’m just going to point Sen. Bingaman toward chapter 23 of the Gospel of Matthew, from which New Mexico’s junior Senator could stand to learn a thing or two.

This is just yet another example of Democrats failing to stand up for the patriotic American values I have outlined in at least two previous posts here: this one and this one. It’s not only this stalling of needed legislation by Feinstein and Bingaman that makes this painfully clear; it has been seen in many other Democrats, particularly two of the front-runners on the presidential campaign trail.

Fearing for their lives, apparently, over saying anything that just might possibly maybe be construed as offensive by America-hating, so-called “fundamentalist ‘Christians’,” Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are running as fast as they can away from a Godly, patriotic stand in firm support of full equality and citizenship for God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children in America. Only John Edwards, so far, among the front-runners, has shown the spine to stand up for that which God demands of us — full equality and brotherhood in the human race for His beloved GLBT children. Then again, Edwards likewise has been a castrated coward at times during this campaign, cowering in the face of well-known Christofascist terrorist Bill Donohue in the non-scandal over Edwards’ hire of two bloggers earlier this year.

For obvious reasons, the Rethuglicrime Party is not an option for any gay person who lives by the other important part of Jesus’ command in Mark 12:31 — you have to love yourself as well — but I swear to God, the Democratic Party has me at my fucking wit’s end with shit like this. The only declared Democratic candidate who seems to be worthy of respect as a principled, no-nonsense human being is former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, who (a) is polling at basically zero and (b) last held elective office when I was still in diapers. The rest of them will say one thing to one crowd and then the exact opposite thing to another — apparently, they still don’t get it. Rethuglicans have found that there is more electoral success to be had by standing firmly for the wrong thing instead of waffling, flip-flopping, and never taking any stand on anything, and if Democrats don’t learn this lesson immediately, they will have only themselves to blame when the next Rethuglican president flushes what remains of American democracy down the toilet.

Already in this presidential campaign, I’ve been back and forth several times on which candidate will earn my vote in Michigan’s Democratic primary next February 5 (assuming I am still living in the state at that point) — the candidates’ waffling and refusal to take stands has been forcing me to waffle and refuse to firmly back any particular candidate. Until the blogger fiasco, I liked Edwards, but the former North Carolina Senator’s pissing of his pants in response to the bigoted hot air from Christofascist terrorists sent me flying into Obama’s camp. Now I think I’m back behind Edwards again, after Obama punted on a perfectly straightforward question about the morality of homosexuality (more on that in a bit), but who the fuck knows.

(Here is the promised bit from the last paragraph: the truth is that homosexuality, and what so-called “Christians” like to call “homosexual behavior,” in and of themselves, are neither moral nor immoral. Homosexuality is what it is — a God-given state of being in which people are naturally attracted to the same sex, without any choice in the matter. So-called “homosexual behavior” can be either moral or immoral, depending on what motivates it — promiscuous, slutty sex for the sake of nothing more than getting off with a different guy every night would be immoral, while holding hands in public to symbolize the strength of a committed same-sex relationship is perfectly moral. Getting blowjobs from hookers in private while publicly condemning God’s GLBT children and presenting oneself as the face of everything that is “Christian” is immoral, while the Rev. Mel White’s tireless advocacy for full equality for gay people is 100% moral.)

I tell you, I’m tempted to just say “fuck ‘em all” and sit out the primary if all of these Democratic candidates keep pulling this spineless shit. I’m half-considering the idea of showing up to an early, low-attendance campaign event that allows questions from the audience, where I would hit them with this question:

As you know, gay and lesbian Americans have been relegated to fourth-class citizenship by the Republican administration and Congress that have held sway for a dozen years. What are you going to do about this?

Am I ever going to fully and equally share in the more than 1,100 legal benefits of civil marriage? Am I ever going to enjoy the right to full and open military service that heterosexuals take for granted? Am I ever going to enjoy equal protection from discrimination in housing, education, employment, public accommodation, and all facets of life? Am I ever going to be equally protected by hate-crime laws, as Christians already are?

Should I be holding out any hope that your administration will do something about all of these, or should I be seeking out the nearest Canadian consulate so that I can live in a nation that ALREADY does all of this? Thank you.

If what has been said on the campaign trail to this point is any indication, every single one of them would run away from the question fast enough to break Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin’s shared 100m dash world record. In fact, one wonders how far away from the question Obama and Clinton would run; perhaps Paul Tergat and Paula Radcliffe, respectively, had better be looking out for their marathon world records.

Well, that’s it for this update. I get to sit here in middle Tennessee until Sunday, then I will grab a load destined for southeastern Texas for Tuesday night.