Friday, June 26, 2015

The Wrong Side Of History

Seattle's Capitol Hill Neighborhood - Photo by King 5 News

I was bouncing up and down and side to side today, while riding in the passenger seat of a fifteen passenger van (maybe fifteen pre-teens!!) that was loaded with eleven of us and all our gear.  We were rattling down Powerline Road in the Colockum Wildlife Area in 106 degree heat after four and a half hours of grueling upland survey work.  It's roughly a two and a half hour drive back to civilization, and we were about a half hour into the trip when the jumping and jarring caused several of us to request a quick bathroom stop.  Back in the air-conditioned body odor cloud, we continued our journey homeward to Ellensburg, Washington.

It's friday, so the crew was awake and talkative, beginning to bond, after our second week on the job together, and anticipating the weekend off following the hot day filled with bumpy roads and biting insects.  My friend Max was the first to get a cellphone signal.  She quickly announced that the Supreme Court had ruled 5-4 in favor of marriage equality in the United States of America.  At that moment, I exhaled a breath that I've been holding for months and momentarily felt the urge to laugh and cry simultaneously.  Neither occurred however, as the rush of the historic nature of the event and the power of change surged inside of me.  I grit my teeth, clenched my fists, and quietly experienced a sensation that my limited vocabulary can only describe as "victory."  Suddenly I couldn't wait to get home!  I looked at the driver and quietly announced, "We'll be celebrating at my house tonight."

I've been home for about five hours now, and I've had a chance to watch several videos and read a few articles about various reactions to the new marital paradigm.  Unsurprisingly, there are many dissenters; everyday Americans and politicians alike.  My personal favorite statement from a right-wing voice thus far has come from Lindsey Graham:

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham disagreed with that, saying he would respect the court’s decision and that instead of pursuing “a divisive effort” to overturn the ruling with Congress “that would be doomed to fail,” he would commit himself to “ensuring the protection of religious liberties of all Americans.”  “While we have differences, it is time for us to move forward together respectfully and as one people,” he said in a statement.

I respect that point of view, and consider it authentically American.  When I was a soldier for nearly nine years a lifetime ago, I remember the best comment I ever received on an evaluation report from my "superiors."

Sgt. Davis has the moral courage to state his opinion when he disagrees, but supports the mission 110% if the final decision doesn't go his way.

 Towel of Many Colors

I'm a bit more irreverent these days.  The comment above is about as good as it gets in Uncle Sam's service.  It's not exactly designed as a haven for rebellion.  Apparently, in this instance at least, Senator Graham sees public service through a similar lens...or maybe he just smells what's on the wind and doesn't want to wake up on the wrong side of history.  Sure seems like there's a lot of that going around lately for some folks; waking up on the wrong side of history.  If I kept getting big things like this "wrong," frankly (always), I'd look hard in the mirror at where I was getting my ideas.  Hell, I publicly got upset with myself when I failed to predict the Super Bowl winner, I can't imagine a reality where I kept getting continually "taken by surprise."  I'll stop there, as I truly intend no offense.

I could bash outdated views, remind people about "everyone" the married biblical patriarchs slept with (one man and one woman, not hardly), or deliver an eloquent discourse, from an evolutionary theoretical perspective, on the scientifically observed and clearly understood societal benefits, which are derived from the presence of LGBTQ+ individuals historically in all human communities, or another promoting diversity and full of buzzwords like "resilience" and "vulnerability."  I could probably even hunt down an ironic story of two guys named "Adam and Steve" getting hitched.  But, that's not on my radar.  I'm too busy celebrating being on the right side of history.

Dave ~ Thanks for your time.  I hope we get to know each other better.