BRIEF BLOG INTRO:
I'm a singer/songwriter and actor from Texas "Living in the Bonus Round" in New York City. That is my way of describing how I feel having cheated death. In a game show, the Bonus Round is where time speeds up and the prizes are better. Seeing your death changes you. Now, I'm consuming life as quickly and as fully as I can, while still taking time to breathe and appreciate every single day as an utter miracle. Last year, I turned 60 and I had a set of goals, all of which came true, including composing -- and performing in -- a Mass, recording a solo album with a few friends and self-released it (selling tens of copies), headlined at a major night club in New York City to two full houses and just played the lead role in the reading play not written by myself. I update a few times a month these days, and I don't spam. So it's easier to keep up with me by following by Email. When this blog began, it was to track my death. I'm told it was the first AIDS blog. You can start at the gruesome beginning if you want. Or just jump in and maybe we can learn some life lessons together. Welcome to the Bonus Round. I'm Steve, The Songwriter.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Helping Mike Jones

I am lending my blog support to Joe.My.God's efforts to help Mike Jones, the man who exposed the religious hypocrite, Ted Haggard, the minister who had the ear of the White House, who was fighting and raging against gay people, while having a gay relationship with Mike who was, at the time, a hustler. Joe has been talking to Mike and is outraged that the mainstream gay organizations seem to be holding him at arm's length. But it's safe to say that Mike's courage was instrumental in helping overthrow the homophobes running our government in this last election.

Go to Joe's blog entry and you will find more information about how to help Mike. As Joe puts it:
It was at this time last week that the last bell finally rang on the 2006 election, delivering the House, the Senate, and the majority of state governships into the hands of the Democrats. The map is blue again. And so is the sky. My face is sore from smiling and my feets are aching from all this happy dancing.

And playing a possibly vital, perhaps pivotal role in this triumph was not a politician. Not a party strategist. It was a private citizen. It was a gay man. A man who although he was risking his personal livelihood, risking his arrest, and surely risking his physical safety, he came forward and did the right thing at the right time.

That man is Mike Jones.

Regardless of your personal opinions regarding Jones' chosen field of work, you cannot ignore his unprecedented accomplishment of almost completely upending the Republican Party's last minute campaign to divert the nation's attention from the true issue of the election: the Iraq war.

Talking Heads: "The terrorists have just blah blah....gay marriage referendum blah blah....stem cell legislation blah blah...millions of illegal immigrants blah blah. Um, wait a minute. We have a breaking bulletin: Pastor Ted Haggard! Head of evangelical movement! Homosexual! Prostitution! Crystal meth! Close to the President! More! More! More! More!"

Repeat on every channel.

Headlines on every paper.

For five days.

The five days BEFORE the election.

All the billionaire George Soroses in the world could not have more effectively eclipsed the Republicans' usual last minute diversionary tactics. It was pure delicious serendipity. It was kismet. And most of all, it was KARMA, baby.

We'll never know the exact impact that Mike Jones' revelations had on the national election. He came forward specifically because Ted Haggard was hypocritically supporting Colorado's anti-gay referendum. That referendum passed, anyway. And Jones probably didn't fathom that his story would balloon into a national media orgy and image nightmare for the RNC and President Bush. Jones could not have predicted that his little sex & drugs scandal might have spun unknowable numbers of wavering digusted red staters over to blue country.

But it happened. Just barely enough to win by a tiny margin. But it was enough.

[EDIT: Even Karl Rove agrees that Mike Jones had a hand in the Republicans' undoing, telling Time Magazine, "The profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected. Abramoff, lobbying, Foley and Haggard added to the general distaste that people have for all things Washington, and it just reached critical mass." (via - Columbia Journalism Review. Emphasis mine.) ]

I've been in contact with Mike over the last week. He tells me that the major gay rights organizations have extended nothing but ten-foot poles. He is unemployed and I imagine that for at least the short future, he is unemployable. He is facing the potential of huge legal bills. He has received death threats from Haggard's followers and other peace-loving Christians.

Gentle readers, you and I owe Mike Jones a debt of gratitude. It's a different country than it was seven days ago, and even if you think that Mike Jones had only the tiniest part in effecting that change, we OWE him. Remember those last two Senate seats were decided by just a few thousand votes each.

So please, show your thanks.

Go to PayPal's Send Money screen and throw some love to our unlikely hero, using his email account: "massageandmuscle@aol.com" If you ran into Mike Jones in a bar, wouldn't you insist on buying his drinks? There's thousands and thousands of you out there in JMG-land, and I'm willing to bet that you too have sore faces from smiling and aching feet from all that happy dancing. Show some appreciation to the man who might have helped put that smile on your face and the blue back on that map.

If you don't have a PayPal account, they are free and take less than 1 minute to set up. You can send cash directly to Mike from your ATM or credit cards. Send him the $10 you would have spent buying him drinks, if you ran into him in a bar. Send him the $20 you would have spent buying his dinner in a restaurant. Send him $50, $100, maybe more, if you think that maybe, just maybe, Mike Jones had a hand in changing the political landscape of our nation, and possibly, just possibly, a war.

And even if you don't buy any of the above, if you don't think what Jones did had ANY effect on the election, you should thank him. Thank him just for the sheer entertainment of the last week. Thank him for exposing the ugly hypocrisy of the evangelical movement. That alone, is worth a ten-spot. At least.
Joe speaks for me. I've also extended an invitation for Mike to see Big Voice if he's in NY so I can personally shake and hand and thank him for his personal courage.
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