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What if gay was straight and straight was gay? My friend showed me this video today and, at first, I was just going to share it on my Facebook, but then I stopped.
This needs to be shared, but I needed to add my own words to it. I should caution: watching this at work is fine unless you mind people seeing you cry. Even a burly man like myself cried.
Bullying is a problem in America. It is a problem around the world. Kids are afraid of being who they are. Constantly, they’re bullied. Daily. Hourly. Minute by minute. As Shane Koyczan said, “the school halls were a battleground.” You never know when the enemy is going to show up; when you’re going to be attacked; when you’re going to be … Destroyed.
I should know. Minute by minute, hourly, daily, weekly, and yearly, I was bullied. For years it went on. For years I was the brunt of the joke. Fat jokes. Jewish jokes. Being in the plays made me gay. “I’d rather die than go on a date with Jacob,” said one girl to a friend of mine. I’d rather die…
I would come home and I’d cry. Every day. If there was an ROI on crying, I’d never work a day in my life. Those years. They were numbing.
You learn how not to feel. You learn that it’s better to be cold than feel that pain. And so I would walk into the fire. I would accept what was said and I stopped crying. I stopped feeling.
Finally, one day, I snapped. What would provoke a short, scrawny little guy to jump onto a 6’2, 250 pound man baffles me so many years later. But he did. His arms wrapped around my throat. I could feel him trying to choke me. And so I took all 250 pounds and I slammed back hard into a locker. I turned and watched as his body crumpled to the floor. I crouched down, made sure he could see my eyes, and I said, “Don’t ever touch me again. Don’t ever talk to me again.”
From that day on, the battleground became a peace zone. No one harassed me. No one teased me. My tear ducts got a break. I got a break. But the lessons I had learned stuck with me. I was cold. Calculated. Calloused.
Bullies want you to hate yourself because they view happiness as relative. They’re afraid of what’s different and because of that fear, they’d rather make you feel bad than try to elevate themselves. They’d rather tear you down than build themselves up.
I remember about a month ago I was presented with a situation that made me tremendously uncomfortable. I reacted poorly. The person talking to me could sense the ignorance I had. While it didn’t cause a problem–to my knowledge–I recognized that had I taken it farther, I would have been in the same regiment as a bully.
Because bullies are cowards. And fear comes from lack of knowledge. Instead of continuing to react about that situation, I educated myself. Was I more comfortable it? I don’t think so. Was I accepting of it? In part. But I understood. And therefore, what fear I had could go away. When fear isn’t in your life, neither is hate.
I recently went through an emotional change in my life. The first response for anyone when that happens is to be afraid. And when you’re afraid, that’s when fights happen. That’s when you start to say things you don’t mean. That’s when you call someone “a bitch” or “ugly” or “fucking useless.” But really, if you meant those things, you would have said them when you weren’t fearful. Fear very easily contributes to anger which very easily contributes to hate. We don’t like to be afraid, so we’re angry at what makes us afraid.
But what if, instead of being afraid of that change, we didn’t allow that first response? What if we didn’t allow ourselves to react so poorly? What if, instead, we simply thought and tried to understand. Wouldn’t that be better?
I walked away from that emotional change in my life fine. Sad, but fine. Isn’t that better than angry?
If those were behaviors that we were taught at a young age–to ask questions, to try to understand, and to gain insight into what the other person is thinking–wouldn’t bullying go away?
Bullies do what they do because they don’t know anything else. They don’t know. So when that gay teenager is being bullied for it, it’s because the bully doesn’t know. Does that make it right? Absolutely not. But it’s their ignorance that is fueling their hate. I pity them. I pity their lack of constitution and self-respect.
It’s okay to have fear. But it’s the cowardice bullies that allow that fear to turn to anger and then hate. I pity them. I pity the most cowardice people I’ve ever met: bullies.
“Congress’s judgment was infected by dislike, by fear, by animus.”
Those were the words that Associate Justice Elena Kagan said on Wednesday when discussing the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. She went on to explain that, “Congress decided to reflect and honor a collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.”
I can very easily preach about why anyone who disagrees with marriage equality–and I’m not going to call it gay marriage because marriage is marriage–is a fucking moron. And I’d happily blast you for lacking brain cells and I’d say you belong in a far different time. I’d even say that your marriage is probably a crock of shit and that you’re projecting because you recognize your own weaknesses. But considering I don’t believe in ad hominem attacks (and that I’m trying to be a less angry person), I thought I’d just pose questions.
But first … I want to look at what’s probably going to happen in regard to marriage equality before I pose those questions.
First and foremost, DOMA will be repealed. It is an unconstitutional law that puts into place many unfortunate rules that are simply unnecessary. There really is no way around that and it would take a cataclysmic failure for the Supreme Court–especially with Justice Kennedy leaning toward repeal–to not rule in favor of getting rid of DOMA.
But that was always the easy bill to get rid of. It was simply that no one really wanted to argue for it because the nation wasn’t ready and the Supreme Court could have found some sort of a loophole to say it was okay which would have set a tremendously dangerous precedence.
The tricky part is actually the Tuesday proceedings. In their question, Justices Antonin Scalia (am I the only one who can’t stand hearing this man talk?) and Samuel Alito indicated a more cautious approach to the “gay marriage” debate. They wanted to allow the states to decide, state by state, whether it was allowed.
Naturally, we can expect these two to do anything they can to slow down marriage equality because they are the two most right wing justices on the bench. But some say that it’s actually the more right wing justices that argued for this case to come to the Supreme Court.
For a case to be decided, 5 votes are needed. It’s a simple majority. But for a case to be added to the calendar, only four votes are needed. Therefore, it has been suggsted that the four “Conservative” Justices, Scalia, Alito, Chief Justice Roberts, and Clarence Thomas voted to bring the case over because they knew about the need for Mr. Swing Vote: Justice Anthony Kennedy.
So when on Tuesday, he asked, ”You might address why you think we should take and decide this case,” you have to wonder that the Conservative side of the bench was pleased.
Should the Supreme Court decide this case, it would be the closest thing to sweeping approval of marriage equality across the land. But by bringing this case forward, Justice Kennedy, who is a big State’s Rights activist, is suggesting what the other four also believe: perhaps we should let the states handle this.
Therefore, what I predict is that DOMA will be repealed. But that whether to allow marriage equality will have to be done state by state. While it’s not a full fledged victory, I actually prefer this technique. Consider Roe v. Wade and Brown v. The Board of Education. Both of these were sweeping court cases and the aftermath was disastrous. States are testing just how MUCH they can get away with in regard to limiting abortion. And after finding that “separate, but equal” was unconstitutional, there has been tremendous segregation around the nation through natural demographics.
Because of this, I find the path to marriage equality actually rests in patience and the Democratic process. Young people are, for the most part, accepting of allowing people to love whomever they want. It’s the old people who can’t get past the wiring in their brains. So as they die–and it’s gruesome to write it that way, but how else can I?–we’ll see the percentages of people agreeing with marriage equality increase. And because we’re allowing each state to handle it when they’re ready, we don’t have to worry about backlash.
Now that I’ve finished with my political discussion, I really do have to ask you a series of questions.
- How does who someone loves impact your life?
- Are you nervous that by allowing two men or two women to marry, your marriage becomes worth less?
- If that is your fear, why would you allow anyone else to determine what the worth of your marriage is?
- What will you tell your kids when they ask what side of this battle you were on? Will you lie and say you supported it or will you try to fill their minds with vile hatred to perpetuate a deplorable behavior?
My friends … Your marriage is your marriage. No one can tell you what should or should not be done in your marriage. But there is no place for you to try and pass judgement on someone else. Is marriage a religious thing? I’m sorry, but it’s not. You are LEGALLY protected because of your marriage. Therefore, when it became a LEGAL discussion, that supersedes your religion. We must look at what is ethically fair to the nation, not morally fair to one group.
Marriage equality is going to happen. It’s not a question of if, but when. Your hate. Your fear. Your abhorrent behavior. That’s what you’ll be remembered for. When our kids and their kids look at this case in their history books, they’ll see pictures of bigots standing tall with their “God Created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” posters. And they’ll go, “Wow…These people were dumb.”
Because it’s true. You are on the wrong side of history.
So please allow me to call your animus and raise you to love. Because isn’t THAT what marriage is supposed to be about? Two loving people? Isn’t that really all that matters?
Tomorrow is the day where millions of Americans will go the polls–some of us a hell of a lot earlier than we’d ever want–to vote for the candidates who they feel are most likely to represent their constituents the most effectively in their respected branch of government. I’m from New York and therefore understand that my vote is pretty much useless when it comes to President Obama (unless Romney secretly becomes Reagan).
Despite this, I have spent a considerable amount of time listening to the debates, researching each candidate and trying to determine where I wanted to place my vote when it comes to the President.
In one corner, I’ve got President Obama who hasn’t done enough stimulus to get the economy where it should be; who focused so much on the idea of debt that he led us down a path of austerity; and finally, didn’t act like the bulldog he should have been when it came to dealing with the House of Representatives.
He disappointed me.
And then in the other corner, I’ve got Willard “Mitt” Romney who, well, I can’t really tell you much about him; and that’s not for lack of want. He’s for and against universal health care. First he wants to bomb Iran and then says he doesn’t want war. And finally, he believes that debt is tremendously dangerous.
Yet, when you research the buy outs Bain Capital did, the majority of them were done with debt and then the companies took further debt to pay consulting fees which then bankrupted said companies and, well…We should just let Detroit burn anyway.
He’s truly scared me.
You see, I know who I will be getting when I pull the lever tomorrow morning (or push the button or flip the switch or punch the hole or, well, whatever). I know what type of President Barack Obama will be because I’ve spent four years with him. We all have. And I want everyone to pause for a second and think about where we were four years ago.
The economy was in a tailspin. A true tailspin. It was caused by policies put forth by both Democrat and Republican elected officials. It was easily recognizable and individuals made a killing betting against the things the big banks were causing. But, we were losing tens of thousands of jobs at an alarming rate and soon were in the millions.
Yes, President Obama promised that we’d never go above 8%, but that was during a campaign before he even knew how bad the economy truly was. No one–and that’s leading economists too–knew just how bad the economy was. Suddenly, we’re pushing double digit unemployment and even higher underemployment.
Despite how bad the economy is, though, we’re climbing out. We continue to have great job numbers–I don’t follow percentages–and as long as that continues to happen, we’ll see growth. On top of that, the housing economy is starting to improve. People who were otherwise underwater on their mortgages are seeing the value begin to tick up. It will take time, but we’re heading there.
Ask yourself: are you better off today than you were four years ago?
If the answer is no, ask yourself this: did you lose your job because of a policy that President Obama rolled out or because of actions taken by those we elected in the past?
If the answer is because of President Obama’s policies, then this blog post will mean nothing to you. But, I seriously doubt it’s because of his policies. Sure, you can say that he creates regulations that inhibit businesses or that he passes high taxes which limits hiring. But, let’s think about that argument.
We had record economic growth in the 1990s. This was during a time when taxes were up. President Clinton, a Democrat, helped us realize a surplus. So, obviously taxes weren’t really all that much of an inhibition. Hell, just ask small business owners. Ask them, “Do taxes determine whether you’re going to hire someone?” The answer is “no” more often than not.
And the reason is because only one thing determines whether a business will hire more people and that’s whether that person will turn a profit. So, if an employee costs me $100K a year, if I make more than that, obviously having the employee helps. (This is basic math, obviously).
But, do you know what dictates profit?
Revenue. And we’re approaching a fiscal cliff that, if we jump off, will show American businesses what life is like without the trillion plus investments that the government suddenly isn’t pumping into the economy.
That’s uncertainty. And that is what is causing the economy to grow at a much slower pace. It’s the uncertainty of whether the economy will even be alive in three months. Want to blame someone for that? Go call up Paul Ryan…He helped a lot. Oh, wait…You mean that guy running with Mitt Romney? Ahh…Yes…
Now, I’m not sitting here saying that President Obama is perfect. I’ve got a lot of problems with him.
He took three years to say that he supported gay marriage. Really? Why did it take that long? It’s a basic liberty to love whomever you want and marry whoever you want. OR!!! It’s not a basic liberty, in which case, the government should get the hell out of the marriage business. But, since that’s not going to happen, I’d very much like the government sanctioned segregation to end. Yes, President Obama supports gay marriage now, but I wish he’d been firmer about it sooner. My Mom would too.
He allowed the Justice Department to prosecute marijuana dispensaries where it was otherwise legalized at the state level. This was a waste of money and an infringement on the State’s rights. Whether you believe with the legalization of marijuana or not–I’ve never met an angry pot head, ya know–if a state decides to support it, the Federal government should respect that.
Absolutely, he has a bunch of cronies in Hollywood and that allows for SOPA and bills like that to gain traction in the House and Senate. That totally goes against my belief on the freedom of the Internet and I’ll never support that.
I totally agree that the situation in Syria is getting quite atrocious and we really should be doing more to help. I’m not a foreign policy expert, so I won’t try and pass judgement and say that we should be deploying special forces to liaise with the rebels to see what’s what…Or maybe we are.
But, you know something?
When Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama was taken hostage by Somali pirates, he did not hesitate to deploy Navy Seals to take out the pirates. He gave the word.
When there was a very good, but not definitive, chance that Osama bin Laden was located, he gave the order to go in and take him out.
With Iran trying to build a nuclear bomb, he has pushed forward very severe economic sanctions that are working. Sure, I’d rather support the middle class in Iran because I believe that an active middle class enables for freedom. But, his sanctions are working.
He has been our Commander in Chief for four years now and while he has not been perfect, he has done his job to protect our country. He has stepped up, removed us from two wars and helped us to do some “nation building back home.”
The economy is returning. My Mom is only a few steps away from being able to legally marry whomever she chooses. My brother won’t have to be put into situations like Iraq or Afghanistan–he wants to, I’m secretly happy he won’t have to.
So, when you ask me if I’d rather have this imperfect Commander in Chief who has truly responded to situations with as much gusto as he possibly can or a Commander in Chief who doesn’t even know where he stands on any issue…I have to choose the imperfect, hard working, seasoned Commander in Chief.
Because when push comes to shove, I know what to expect these next four years. I know that I will be more prosperous in four years than I am now under President Obama.
So, tomorrow morning, as I rub the tired out of my eyes and down a cup–or two–of coffee, I will be voting for President Obama. Because, at the end of the day, he knows how to defend our country and will continue to push for a healthier economy. Presidents don’t create jobs; but, they sure as hell can try to create an environment where they can grow. And I believe President Obama can do that these next four years.