Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not Gay Enough

The name of my blog is starting to seem like a misnomer: "So Gay"? Hah! I'm as obsessed with the U.S. elections as everybody else, for reasons having little to do with my fagitude. I haven't even mentioned California's Proposition 8, which aims to amend the California State Constitution to define marriage as an exclusively heterosexual affair. All the gay and gay-friendly bloggers are calling it Proposition Hate. So clever. (I've had reservations for many years about the use of the word "hate" to mean bigotry and its relatives, and I see no reason to cancel those reservations now; but of that more another time, perhaps.) I've begun wondering if the opposition to 8 is being led by the qualified professionals who've failed to defeat other such initiatives in the past; but of that, more another time. I don't know where the time goes. It's after 10:30 p.m. Bloomington time, and I'm just getting started on so many things that needed to be done today. (But then, as I found when I idly googled the phrase, some people are too gay, lots of people aren't gay enough. Maybe it's a new fad. Maybe it should become an organization, or a movement.)

For now, I see from The Hankyoreh that:

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea has concluded that the police used excessive force in putting down the candlelight protests and in doing so violated participants’ civil rights. In its formal recommendation, it called on the police to abide by defensive guidelines and to prohibit the use of fire extinguishers, and it called for a warning for National Police Agency Chief Eo Cheong-soo and censure of riot police commanders.

This tends to support Amnesty International's report of last July on police abuses during the protests. Naturally, the police and President Lee Myeong-bak have ignored both Amnesty and the Human Rights Commission.

Also from The Hankyoreh, a new Korean organization has been founded to continue the project of protecting and extending democracy in Korea. The National Congress on Public Welfare and Democracy was inaugurated with a smallish rally on October 5 in Cheongye Plaza, the site of last summer's candlelight vigils.

There'll be plenty for them to do. On top of the rollback of democracy that President Lee has been trying to carry out, the South Korean economy is in as much trouble as that of the U.S. The Korean currency, the won, fell this week to its lowest level since April 6, 1998, the time of the great economic crisis. This will especially hurt small and middle-sized businesses; more in The Hankyoreh article I just linked. And that's enough for tonight.