“We Were Going to Get Here Anyway”

“We Were Going to Get Here Anyway”
We have a hard time accepting and practicing this term.
We have a hard time accepting and practicing this term.

By definition, the word “patience” is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

For most of my generation, patience means little. In my 30’s, I learned that not everything will happen when you demand it, and on your time.

The recent events over the past week has proven again on why “patience” can be irritating and beneficial.

Let’s start with the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision last Friday striking down the ruling that same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. I laugh when I see people react like fools on both sides of the issue: pastors setting themselves on fire, people changing their Facebook profile to show their picture in the colors of the rainbow, which is the universal symbol for the LGBT community.

I’m not surprised.  That’s why we’re humans. We behave in ways that I shake my head in disbelief.

Whatever happen to people like me who saw the news and said “I may agree (or disagree) with it, but I can live with it.”

I said this in 2013 in reference to NBA player Jason Collins: we will come to a point where no one cares about an individual’s sexual preference. The same can be applied to different forms of marriages.

I learn how to adapt, accept it, and go about my day. It’s time for it to happen.

We would going to get to this point anyway, whether we liked it or not.

But let the social media mob run roughshod on just about anything, and you want to quit Facebook to get away from the silliness.

When asked for my opinion of the ruling, I calmly said “That’s nice.”

“What do you mean, ‘That’s nice?!?’ Are you happy about it? What IS YOUR OPINION OF IT?!?!?!”

“I’m cool with it. If you expect me to jump up and down about it, you’re talking to the wrong guy.”

“You mean, you’re not surprised about this? How can you be so calm and passive about this?  This is a big deal!!”

“Why in the hell should I be? We were going to get here (with this news) anyway.”

That person wasn’t sure if I was a fire-breathing religious conservative or a bleeding-heart liberal.

It doesn’t matter if I like or reject the ruling. What is important is that I follow the rules, adhere to them, and live my life.

Sadly, for many people I know on Facebook, Twitter, or in real life, that’s not a good enough response from me. They wanted more of my “reaction” to the SCOTUS ruling.

Nice try. That’s my response and I’m sticking to it: calm, sensible, and practical.

I’ve long since stopped making a fuss about many topics, including same-sex issues. I had mentally “accepted” years ago that same-sex marriages should be legal. After all, interfaith marriages and interracial marriages happen everyday. And there are people, liberal or conservative, who are not fans of either of those types of marriages as well.

We were going to get here anyway.

Moderates, like me, witness historical events and we’re going to roll with it. For better or for worse. Democrats and Republicans lose their proverbial shit about anything that moves on Twitter.

If you let a political party dictate how you feel, I can’t help you there.

We’ve been down this societal road before: smoking, civil rights for minorities, and other events.

Nothing is going to be perfect. Never have…never will, so let’s stop with the Pollyanna narrative as it relates to Friday’s ruling. Same sex couples will divorce, bicker, and go through domestic violence  just like heterosexual couples.

Not all marriages are perfect. They take work and patience.

Which brings up the Dixie (Confederate) flag. Now, let me address the shootings in Charleston first. I think it is lazy of us to treat the shooting deaths of nine individuals in a historical African-American church as a secondary item, so we can spend most of our time debating about a flag. The very same flag that was a symbol that we ignored for so long, it’s pretty embarrassing and hypocritical.  The shootings and the flag are two vastly separate issues in my opinion. Let’s treat them as such with common sense.

It doesn’t erase the fact that a deranged person who had very dark and sinister racial attitudes walked into a church and opened fire.

Now, how many of us knew why the LGBT pride flag is a rainbow flag? You learn something new every day.
Now, how many of us knew why the LGBT pride flag is a rainbow flag? You learn something new every day.

Those who quickly brought up the flag moments after the shooting, clearly had an agenda to propagate: get rid of the flag, because it cause the shooter to kill innocent victims.

The flag didn’t cause that individual to kill people. He had his mind set on harming people because he chose to do so.

My take is this: the flag should not be used in a public setting (government buildings, post offices, et cetera). Yes, people are going to display it on their own personal terms. Much like those who will display the Nazi flag, any offensive materials (racist, sexist, juvenile, to name a few), and yes the LGBT flag, along with an Iowa Hawkeyes or ISU Cyclones flag.

We can’t completely eliminate its use. You can thank the 1st Amendment for that.

That’s the way it is. If you want to fly the LGBT flag, you have a right to do that. So does someone who wants to fly a Dixie flag…on their own property.

If anything, negative symbols should remind us of our history and the impact it has caused. This country has a history of great and very ugly moments. To wipe clean of the ugly, is to deny the fact that it happened.

We can’t change the past…but do we really learn from it?

The answer is no, because we hate to learn from history. History doesn’t “wow” us. It’s boring.

History is relevant to how we face moments like now: with clarity or with irrationality.  If we don’t learn from history, we’re screwed.

The Civil Rights bill got a lot people talking and taking sides 51 years ago this summer. What happened? People accepted it and moved on, whether they agreed with it or not.
The Civil Rights bill got a lot people talking and taking sides 51 years ago this summer. What happened? People accepted it and moved on, whether they agreed with it or not.

How did America react when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964? There were some knuckleheads for sure on both sides, but overall, the majority of Americans knew that it was going to happen. When it did, we accepted it the best way we knew how and we moved on.

The same here with Friday’s ruling: we’ll accept it, like or hate it, but we move on.

The hashtag “love wins” has been used by everyone who is in favor of the ruling. But, I have to ask philosophically, why are we still so hateful towards (immigrants, homeless, handicapped, atheists, etc.) others? It’s pathetic.  “Love wins” when it’s for one group, and not all humans. Something is wrong with that. Doesn’t “love” incorporate everyone, including those you disagree with?

Hypocrisy…all of us are guilty of this.

Did #lovewins move the needle? Or do we still need to really work on that?
Did love really did “win”? We still have to work on that before we finally say that “love wins.”

Love only won the battle. It hasn’t won the war.

For every person who wag their scornful finger at the South for continuing to fly the Dixie flag, are they the same people who blindly ignore the various forms of de facto discrimination like housing, employment and institutional racism in the North?

How many minorities live in Beaverdale?

Why are residents who live downtown against having low-income residents living in their buildings? Are they afraid that these “poor people” are going to “trash” these high-end luxury condos? Low-income or restricted-income residents are not always the ones who trash homes and places, driving the property value down.

When we brag about how progressive we are in Des Moines, why does it feel that we continue to ignore and not include certain groups and neighborhoods?

Just when you think you know what SCOTUS will rule on...yeah, keep guessing.
Just when you think you know what SCOTUS will rule on…yeah, keep guessing.

Everyone’s happy that same-sex marriages are legal, and yet we can’t seem to get our shit together. People are ecstatic about same-sex marriages but we give the evil eye to interracial and interfaith marriages.

It has been an interesting week, but I’m not celebrating or booing about the news. I knew that, eventually, it would happen. It was only a matter of time and circumstances.

It was being patient. It can be irritating and yet beneficial.

We were going to get here anyway.

Advertisements

Hold Your Applause

On Wednesday, President Obama publicly came out and announced his stance on same-sex marriages.  This is a few days after Vice President Biden announced his position on it as well, but with less fanfare. 

To no surprise to me, both have said that they are in support of same-sex marriages, which was something that the LGBT community have been seeking from both men since the 2008 presidential campaign.  In the past, the feeling was that the President has been lukewarm and not “all-in” to the issue. 

Today, everyone is using words like “courageous”, “heroic”, “brave”, and others, to describe the President. 

That is all well and good, but let’s hold our applause for President Obama and Vice President Biden.  They did what they are supposed to do:  take a position that will make some people happy and some people unhappy. 

I tell you where those applauses should be given to…

…the individuals, couples, and supporters of same-sex marriages and LGBT rights who have toiled and fought in the quest to change the perception and the laws that will make same-sex marriages acceptable in our society. 

They are the “courageous” “brave” heroes who deserves your applause.  Nothing against the Prez, but what he did Wednesday pales in comparison to what groups like One Iowa, same-sex couples, and supporters have done. 

What makes them courageous and brave is that they don’t quit.  Yes, they suffered a setback when the North Carolina General Assembly, not the people who live in the state, the legislature voted against same-sex marriages.  But unlike some supporters who are throwing up their hands and giving up because one group of lawmakers said “no”, these committed individuals are persistent.  They get up after being knocked down, dust themselves off, and go at it again. 

Those who are so quick to give up and be frustrated clearly do not understand that it is a long journey, not a race.  You can’t get all 50 states and society to change overnight.  It’s not that simple.  One loss doesn’t (or shouldn’t) define your legacy.  Neither does one win.  Ask the pioneers of the Civil Rights movement about having patience and faith when they could have easily given up.  Don’t give up. 

For every North Carolina, there’s Iowa, albeit it was the state Supreme Court that made the decision in re Varnum v. Brien

Getting the folks in this building to support same-sex marriages is tough, but so is getting ourselves to do the same thing as citizens.

As we spend most of our time  obsessing over elected officials and campaigns, the pro-same sex marriage groups doesn’t get enough credit or full support for what they do.  Ninety minutes after the President told the country that he was in favor or same-sex marriages, over $1 million dollars were donated to his campaign. 

Don’t you think that money could have been sent to the groups who are on the front-line of changing the attitudes and working towards ensuring legal rights for lesbians, gays, bi-sexual, and transgendered individuals? 

Kenneth Weishuhn should have received your support and encouragement for coming out.  Instead, people turned on him, used cyber-bullying, and faced hostility.  He didn’t have to commit suicide because of the blowback he received for being gay.  He should have lauded for being brave for announcing he was gay. 

President Obama’s decision to support same-sex marriages isn’t as brave or courageous as some want to make it out to be.  His support, however, greatly helps in the effort to change the attitudes towards this issue and the LGBT community in general. 

Those who are not in the public eye who are supporting same-sex marriages are not celebrated and lauded.  Those are the ones we should be lauding and supporting. 

They are the real heroes of this crusade.  Let’s not forget them. 

Death threats, rejection, push back, misconceptions, and other factors are what they face every day.  And yet, they continue on with the fight.  Nothing deters them.  They know the next day is a new day to make a difference. 

What is considered “courageous” and “brave”? 

When all of us, as citizens, are willing to learn how important the issue of same-sex marriage is to the LGBT community, and the openness to support it, not just in spirit, but also financially. 

Don’t you think it’s time that the individuals, couples, and groups who are working towards changing the societal and legal attitudes towards LGBT and same-sex marriages get more of our applause for being brave, heroic, and courageous for taking the risk of doing what is right? 

It’s long overdue, if you asked me.

Just a Senseless Beating Death?

The Black Church pushed for racial equality. Are they ready to take on the taboo issue of same-sex equality?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names (slurs) will never hurt me…”

That may be true, but it shouldn’t be a precursor to murder. 

The discussion over the beating death of Marcellus Andrews of Waterloo has brought up a litany of angles and different perspectives over whether or not Andrews was gay (his sister said he wasn’t, per the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier) to the ever-ending list of violence among youths, particularly on the east side of Waterloo.

As a native of Waterloo, I didn’t feel comfortable coming out right away and offering any opinion or comment.  Stuff like needs several days to simmer before knowing what the details are and writing an opinion.  This I can be sure of:  something did happened between Andrews and his murderers that provoke the deadly beating.  That is a fact. 

Was it a hate crime?  Andrews’ family sides with the Waterloo police by saying it wasn’t a hate crime.  Others will beg to disagree. 

But, to disagree with the family’s, and the police department’s, assertion that it was not a hate crime, would imply that others think they know more about Marcellus than Marcellus’ family does.  Is it fair for me, or anyone else, to make an assertion that Andrews was gay and that his family is covering up the fact or are in denial of that notion? 

That’s about as reckless of an assertion to make, and a terrible one at that.  His family knows Marcellus more than Des Moines Human Rights commissioner Rudy Simms, One Iowa, and I combined.  Even if they were to ever admit that Marcellus was gay or exude behavior that would be type-casted as gay, his family isn’t going to tell you.  That’s their right and their privacy.  

So, what about the words that were used towards Andrews when he was confronted and then was beaten up?  Were they just words, or was there an intent to say something about him prior to beating him, causing his death?  Today, insensitive and derogatory words to describe an individual have become a flash-point of discussion and debate.  Do these words define a person is a hate-monger, racist, misogynist?  The easy answer is yes.  But, is it as clear-cut as we want to make it out to be?

That depends on who you ask.  The African-American clergy and their parishioners are not going to come out and support gays and lesbians in public.  Some of them won’t admit in private either.  Which is why individuals who have never lived in Waterloo are having a difficult time understanding why the black community have refuse to accept it was a hate crime, with respects to the LGBT community and culture

That is what makes the Andrews beating death a conundrum:  was it a hate crime or another sad case of black-on-black street crime?  

The African-American community is religiously conservative when it comes to gays and lesbians.  Progression has been made for the LGBT to gain acceptance, but the wall that has been constructed by the black church and black community is one that will take so much more significant time to tear down the brick facade, chip by chip