May 2012

By Wink

By the time I was a young adult I discovered that some of my friends were gay.

That they were gay didn’t really bug me, but I couldn’t identify with it, because I am not gay.

This was back in the 1970’s and 80’s, at the time of the rise of anti-gay politicking among the ‘religious.’

For the life of me I couldn’t understand where all this gay-phobia came from. Anti-gays kept quoting the Bible though, so I assumed the Bible must have some horrible things to say about gays.

I will not pretend to be a religious scholar. I went to church as a child but didn’t start reading the Bible until I was an adult.

I was at a point though, where I was somewhat familiar with the Bible. It seemed to me that the overarching message of the Bible was ‘love.’ (Happily, this was also the overarching theme of the Beatles, but I digress…)

I couldn’t rectify the Bible’s ’love’ theme versus all the vitriol I was hearing about how evil the gay people were supposed to be.

If two people love each other, and want to be together, wouldn’t that be good? Doesn’t the Bible promote ‘love?’

My gay friends didn’t seem ‘vile.’ They certainly weren’t hateful and, to a great extent, weren’t even political. They just wanted to live their lives and be left alone.

The anti-gays would have none of that. They started introducing anti-gay legislation all over the country. Much of it legalized discrimination against gays, in housing, in jobs, in the military, etc…

They were making laws, and the sole purpose of each was to discriminate.

How were gays supposed to react?

A) Lie down and be run over by these legal tanks, or
B) Stand up, ‘out’ yourself as gay, and fight against this type of discrimination.

I tip my hat to those pioneering gays who outed themselves early. It is one thing to risk a job, but many of these people ended up being disowned by their own parents and other family members.

It is hard to imagine what it would be like to have your mom and dad never speak to you again, to act as if you don’t exist. We all need affirmation that we have a purpose and, for the most part, we get that from our parents.

Even I, the non-scholar, know that Jesus said nothing about ‘sinful gayness’ (gaydom? gaiety? gayitude?), but does the Bible?

I could quote you chapter and verse, but I will limit this to verse……

Thus sayeth the Beatles: “Love is all you need.”

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By Wink

 

What is it with conservatives? Why is ‘anti-progress’ their fall-back position on almost every big, long-range issue?

Let us make a brief list of issues American conservatives (Note: I did not say Republicans) have fought furiously, on the wrong side:  Slavery, Social Security, Medicare, civil rights, women’s rights, unions, gays, etc.

We are not settled on all of these yet, but what does the scoreboard say?

Slavery – Abolished

Social Security – Approved

Medicare – Thought to be settled, but Paul Ryan and many others seek to eliminate this.

Civil Rights – Granted

Women’s Rights – A constant battle. Apparently ‘small government’ means sticking a bureaucrat between you and your doctor. Every day some state legislator introduces a law to do just that.

Voting Rights – Settled? There is a conservative campaign to limit voter rights in many states, making it especially hard to vote for youth, minorities and the elderly – who traditionally lean to Democrats.

Union – This battle is never-ending, but conservatives are winning the publicity war on this, painting unions as ‘the problem’ in our society. 40 hour work-weeks? Minimum wage? Paid vacation? Sick leave? Conservatives hate these, but they will walk in the Labor Day parade….

Pollution – Seriously? We still have to fight to prevent pollution? Apparently.

Public Education – This is what made America great, and conservatives attack it constantly.

Gay Rights – A long way from done, but the handwriting is on the wall.

 

Winkest Link has addressed many of these issues before, but today we focus on the last – gay rights.

President Obama has taken the belated, but firm stance, that gays should have the same rights, including marriage, that everyone else has.  Welcome to the club Mr. President.

For now, this is bound to cause some consternation among certain blocs of voters, and will certainly cause Obama to lose some votes. Principled stands tend to do that.

Here is an article from a conservative Republican saying, in effect: “Hey fellow Republicans, get over the ‘gay’ thing. Gay rights are coming, so you might as well get on the correct side of the issue.”

The battles for these issues were/are long and hard, and sometimes bloody (see ‘Civil War’ and ‘Civil Rights’), but the long-range outcomes are inevitable.

I don’t know why conservatives so consistently choose the wrong side. I just don’t know. Maybe change comes hard to some people, but why would anyone fight against equal rights?

It usually takes years, but eventually conservatives will admit the changes were correct, and for the better.

Today, conservatives speak of the ‘evil of slavery,’ and ‘vow to fight’ for Social Security. They now (usually) ‘stand firm’ in support of Medicare.  All are issues they fought vigorously to oppose. Now they are standard-bearers!

Sometimes they regress. They are now building legal barriers to make voting more difficult, and have even broached the idea of ending Medicare.

Eventually, though, they come around, and even start to brag, as if they themselves instituted the changes.

Better than citing revisionist history, and praying for massive public amnesia, would be a ‘mea culpa,’ as George Wallace did when he admitted to being on the wrong side of the Civil Rights battle….

“I was wrong and I am sorry.”

A little contrition goes a long way. Americans love to forgive.

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