Friday, June 24, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But...

(N.B. to The Reaction readers: Nobody Asked Me, But... is a weekly feature every Friday at my home base Simply Left Behind, where I write up a quick summary of news that will carry over into the weekend that you might have missed. What can I say? I'm lazy!)
I'm going to depart from the usual "weekly whip-around of news you missed this week."
I'm tired. I'm not sleeping all that well. I ache.
"Yes, I expect continued impatience with me on occasion," Obama said. "But understand this ... I think of teenagers like the one who wrote me, and they remind me that there should be impatience when it comes to the fight for basic equality."
I'm impatient, too.
Not just about gay marriage, which I view as a right. About all progress.
I've reached the point in life where I have fewer years ahead of me than I have behind me, if longevity projections are accurate. Even if I make it to a hundred, I'm still cresting the hill.
I'm frustrated. The world in some ways is better than I imagined and in many ways, much worse.
When I was young, very young, the world was an oyster to be shucked, the flesh consumed and left a pearl. There was a real progressive movement that moved the yardsticks further down the field. The nation was awakening to the beauty of equality, the value of each person for who they are and the content of his or her character. We saw potential around every corner.
It seemed so easy. The right looked like it would go down in flames, despite Bill Buckley's vow to "stand athwart history, shouting 'Stop!'" The conservatives would be reduced to people who said "Yes, but..."
Just like in Europe. Just like in every goddamned civilized nation in the history of the fucking planet.
The past thirty years have proven me wrong. Well, maybe not wrong. Maybe "premature" is the better word.
As I sit here typing on a PC on the internet, where my words will reach thousands, and could reach millions, I'm reminded that the immediate future can change as quickly as me pushing an "Enter" key. The past thirty years appear to becoming more and more irrelevant as the challenges of today make people sit up and take notice.
No longer is greed an acceptable behavior. Slowly it's being replaced by a sense of shame.
Sooner rather than later, the abhorrent idea that a gay man who loves another gay man cannot marry him will be as repulsively quaint as separate water fountains for the races: indicative of a far greater evil in our society, and yet somehow almost laughable on its own merits.
Sooner rather than later, a palliative that has been handed down through human history for milennia will be accepted, even legalized.
Sooner rather than later, the notion that people who are worse off than you or I don't deserve anything more than a handshake and a "good luck with that" will be as common as petticoats or outhouses.
Sooner rather than later, we'll have actually health care, one where no one but my doctor can earn a profit off my body.
Sooner rather than later, Muslims will be accepted in American society as equal partners in the American dream, such as it is. It's happened before. Just look at Italians. Or Irish. Or Jews. Or Asians.
Perhaps we'll have a 20th century themed "Colonial Williamsburg," where conservatives of the future can put on goofy tri-cornered hats and stand on a soapbox and recite "Obama is a Muslim!" and then have a good laugh at themselves.
All of these are inevitable. The great march of time, the juggernaut of history, says so. It may not happen easily...history has a habit of being bloody...but these will happen.
I hope it will happen in my lifetime.
I'm just worried it won't. And that, in a nutshell, is why I'm frustrated and tired this week.
(crossposted to Simply Left Behind)

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