Saturday, May 12, 2012

People Evolve

Perhaps Obama's "evolve" line was an excuse to address the fact that he spent about a decade or so saying something that was wrong but politically necessary.  But there is something to it.  When I left to go to college, I was the typical boy of the mid 1980s--fearful of being thought of as gay and using the word gay as an insult--disco is gay, for instance.  I never assaulted a person I thought to be gay or threatened them with an unwanted haircut (indeed, I was threatened with "shave-rape" during my summer in London by an asshole who was also on the program who did not like my beard), but I was homophobic, no doubt about it.

Then I met gays and lesbians and lived in an environment where these folks were just as normal and accepted as everyone else.  I got hit on once by a guy.  It surprised me (I was apparently as clueless about the same sex as about the opposite sex), but I didn't get angry or upset.  I guess I had evolved in college.  Not that I was necessarily any more secure about anything, but I guess I developed some empathy for people who were different and who were living difficult lives as a result.

I never found any reason to support efforts to craft laws to give gays and lesbians less rights.  I do not know when I started buying into my favorite amendment, the 14th--it just seems natural, logical, reasonable, sensible, fair, and just:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
 It should have gone without saying, and it would have been nice if it did not require a civil war, but this one aspect of the Constitution is very much worth fighting a war.  Equal protection.  I cannot think of another way to put it that would be more fair, more right, more (dare I say it?) American.

I grew up in a culture where gays and lesbians were supposed to hide, and I am glad to see that "it gets better."  That one's sexuality need not be hidden, not even in the armed forces.  It is clear that society is still evolving, as gay marriage is becoming increasingly accepted, just as inter-racial marriage was once rare in many places and illegal in others but now accepted.  My daughter developed her attitudes from Buffy, which was revolutionary in a variety of ways but particularly when it came to treating a lesbian as normal teenager and as a hero.  For that Joss Whedon earned all of the money that the Avengers has accumulated.

While Obama may have taken his new stance because of political calculations, it is quite clear that the politicians and the party seeking to stop the flow of history are very much in it for political gain as well.  I would rather be cynical and doing what is right than be cynical and do what is wrong.  What is the difference?  Equal protection.

My views evolved on this awhile ago.  If you need help evolving yours, check this out.

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