WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, JACK?
Lately I have been getting e-mails from old friends of the site asking if I’m okay. I particularly thank old friends Like WillPen and StarShine for their concerns, and while I would love to tell them that I have, indeed, been okay, that would be a lie. I HAVE NOT BEEN OKAY! Yes, in the purely physical sense of the word I have been in good health and enjoying the company of my dogs, friends, and of course Mrs. Jack.
BUT in the emotional sense of the word “okay,” I have descended into a cynical funk spurred by a level of disappointment the likes of which I have never felt before. It has led me to my old hippy attitudes and defenses: turn on and drop out. Before you go all “drugs-are-bad-for-you” on me, I did not, in fact resort to any sort of illicit or illegal drug usage. I have long since discovered that I am too old, and they don’t do for me what they used to. ‘Nuff said! But I decided to drop out of the discussion.
Why would someone with such a passion for politics do such a thing? Because I’m absolutely DISGUSTED with the level of discourse in this nation. The very people who called ANYBODY who so much as whispered disagreement with Bush/Cheney unpatriotic and treasonous are SCREAMING at the top of their lungs about every breath taken by President Obama. Talk about your double standard.
And the PRESS? What a bunch of tools. They can’t wait to give airtime to the crazies and carry their agenda forward as some sort of worthy discourse. So much for the long criticized Liberal Media. I guess they have decided to join FOXNEWS in its efforts to bring down the U.S. government. Could advertising revenues from Big Pharmaceuticals and Big Insurance and Big Banks have anything to do with the coverage we’re getting? Just a guess!
So, why would old Jack step out of the shadows and begin to blog again? Although I have strong opinions about Health Care Reform, unemployment, and a host of other issues that currently plague our nation, I figure there is enough shouting from both sides on these issues, not to mention plenty of media play. After all, weren’t we treated to repeated performances by the “Tea Baggers” and “I-want-my-country-back” anti-healthcare-for-all crazies?
I reject the notion that somehow my life would be better if some church/religion or political party really, really liked me and accepted me as a member without strings.
But on Sunday little media attention was given to the Equality Across America March held in our Nation’s Capitol. Oh, yes, there was a brief mention of it on every news outlet I watched for the next 24 hours along with news footage of people marching with signs. But not one single word spoken from the podium was broadcast by a major news organization or local news organization to my knowledge. Even Logo, the gay cable channel that I upgraded my DirecTV package to get, didn’t offer live coverage on their channel or the internet. However, after some searching, and eye strain, I found the little mention on Logo’s website that C-SPAN was covering the event LIVE.
So I joined the rally in progress. I am given to understand that I missed the entertainment acts that started the show, including Lady GaGa, but fortunately I arrived in time to see someone I really appreciated: Julian Bond, a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement that lent his support to gay civil rights and urged his fellow African-Americans to join him in his efforts. He cited Coretta Scott King as a supporter of gay rights. This was welcome news to me, because I had not heard it before. He said that Martin Luther King, Jr. supported civil rights for the GLBT community. Once again, I was surprised to hear of this.
The dagger in my heart since the election of Barrack Obama has been the activism of the black church against gay rights. Why would this make such a difference to me? Because I have been a strong advocate, and at times activist, for racial equality since the late 1960s. Why would a white boy from Oklahoma feel that way? Certainly not from anything I was taught as a child in a state that still takes pride in social backwardness. No.
The reason I understood the plight of black America in the late 1960s was because I was beginning to understand that I, too, was “different” from others, even my own brothers. I was beginning to realize that it was dangerous to my well-being if anyone were to find out about that difference. So, I hid. I went to the closet that had been so hatefully prepared for me and “sucked it up.” I went on to marry two women, one of which is still my beloved long-time companion in life. But due to the overwhelming feelings of fear with which I lived the lie that was my life, I understood that my brothers and sisters in the African-American community were not able in most cases to hide who they were, so I supported them in every way that I could in their efforts to achieve equality.
On election night last November, tears welled up in my eyes and ran down my face as I realized that I had, miraculously, lived to see a black man win the presidency of the United States of America. But on that same night, while millions of GLBT Americans celebrated the election of a black man they had fought hard to elect, the results in California on Prop 8 indicated that many, many African American Christians in that state had banded together with a right-wing conservative movement that stands against everything they have worked so hard to achieve to FOREVER enact a law codifying inequality against a group of American citizens. In my view it was shameful.
That, coupled with the reluctance of the Obama Administration to cross the Conservatives on the issues of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA, broke my spirit. Day after day I had poured my support of Barrack Obama onto this blog, only to be dumped out as a sacrificial lamb to curry favor with the Rush Limbaughs of the world. In my view that is shameful. And I told myself that my belief in HOPE and a Change You Can Believe In was naive, and that like all those before him, the man I felt was “my President” was just a politician after all. And I do not blame President Obama for this horrible state of affairs. It is how things work or should I say “don’t work” in this country. If you want to be elected, satisfy your base. If you want to be re-elected satisfy everybody else. Reality BITES!
But on Sunday I saw a large group of GLBT Americans rally in front of the Capitol Building, where long ago I once worked, and it hit me that to just capitulate to the right is not the answer. To drop out is not the right answer. No matter how small the voice, it needs to be heard. So today, on the 11th anniversary of the tragic death of Matthew Shepard, a young man tortured to death for being gay, I renew my call for justice in this nation. I renew my efforts to not be pushed back into the closet in order to make someone else comfortable in their narrow beliefs. I reject those who would reject me and those like me and call them out as the bigots they are. And I call on all of those of every stripe in our nation, African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, American Indian and anyone else who feels that they are being marginalized, to stop allowing the narrow right-wing minority of this country to shut you up or drown you out but instead to band together in a renewed effort to make LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL not just a slogan but a reality.
And I fire one more sally at those who say they like us but don’t mean it and those who openly hate us. I would like to change Woody Allen’s old line to say this: I would never aspire to belong to a club that doesn’t accept me as a member. I reject the notion that somehow my life would be better if some church/religion or political party really, really liked me and accepted me as a member without strings. GOD CREATED ME, just as God created you. And GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES. Therefore, I am no mistake! Man, on the other hand, does make mistakes. And if you have somehow made the mistake of writing your membership rules in such a way as to exclude me, then that is your doing. Do not blame it on God.
In closing, I say good-bye to the Democrat Party. It does not value my membership in its actions and deeds. And don’t get too excited, Republicans. It will be a cold day in hell before I sanction your narrow-mindedness. And as for the “great religions” of Western Civilization, my reading of your membership rules prohibits me from joining. See ya!
This is Jack, and I am who I am. And my new battle cry is: Liberty and Justice for ALL!