Tag Archive: Democrat

A Marriage of Equals

My dad really offended me the other day by circulating an article he had found online called, “How the Left has sabotaged marriage.” His fairly progressive Lutheran church has been holding a lecture series on their evolving position on gay marriage and Christianity. I don’t know if the article my father found was part of that series, I know that I felt alienated regardless.

Having a safe place for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people to worship might be a game changer, yet most traditional churches tolerate alternative sexual orientations, but don’t really go to the extra effort to welcome us into their fold. There’s something especially empowering about a group of people coming together to worship a God of their understanding, whatever religion that is. Unfortunately, traditional churches still have not made a place at the table for those in the minority.

I can’t really go to my local parish and feel welcome, and that’s a shame. I find myself casting about, looking at other religions to see what might fit, but not finding any religion particularly open-minded. Having a place to belong, and knowing you belong there, is life enhancing, yet it’s not something I truly experience.

And now, of course, it’s the political season. I’m a Hillary Clinton supporter, but even Saturday Night Live made fun of the Left for its glacially slowly evolving position on gay marriage. Kate McKinnon, playing Hillary, went for a drink at a bar where the real Hillary Clinton was working as a bartender named Val. Val tried to bring up, “Oh, you’ve really helped out gay rights,” and Kate’s character kept insisting, almost to the point of absurdity, “But I could have done more.”

The democratic position is practically the only tenable position for a gay man to hold unless he’s so wholly self loathing that he likes being relegated to second-class citizenship status. Aside from transgendered icon Caitlyn Jenner, the Republican party rarely embraces the LGBT community.

I look forward to the day when I can get married in a traditional, not entirely alternative, wedding service, but I’m not sure that will happen in my lifetime. Still, we’ve come miles and miles since Stonewall, and the fight has changed from the basic right of being seen at a bar in public to the right to marry and spend your life with one person.


“Shoot to Kill”

As the current Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina works its way toward the inevitable nomination of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to once again be the candidates in a reelection bid, I am reminded of a much different convention held in Chicago in 1968.

In that year, President Johnson was so embroiled in the divisive politics surrounding the unpopular Vietnam War that he decided in March of that year not to run again, and stepped aside. The 1968 Democratic National Convention was to be held in Chicago, and promised to be a contentious affair, fueled by partisanship, seeking back room alliances to lead to the nominations of a candidate who would appeal to the masses. Anti-war opponent Robert Kennedy had been the most likely candidate, but he was gunned down on June 5th, after winning the California primary, sending the delegates scrambling to find a candidate they could support.

On April 4th of that year, after civil rights leader Martin Luther King was assassinated, riots broke out all over the U.S. The very next day, facing the likelihood of riots in the city of Chicago, Mayor Richard J. Daley told Chicago Police Superintendent James Conlisk to “Shoot to Kill” protestors. Then, ten days later at a press conference, expressed outrage that his order had not been carried out.

Daley was used to strong-arming opponents and ruling with an iron fist. Dissention was not tolerated in Chicago, and they called Chicago politics in that era “The Machine.” On page six of his seminal book “Boss,” famous columnist Mike Royko notes, “Daley was a product of the neighborhoods and he reflected it in many good ways—loyalty to the family, neighbors, old buddies, the corner grocer. You do something for someone, they do something for you.” However, Royko continues, “But there are other sides to Chicago neighborhoods—suspicion of outsiders, intolerance toward the unconventional, bigotry, and bullying.”

Protests in that era were dramatically different than protest movements now. People in the late ‘60’s really felt they could change politics and affect policies in the future. Nowadays, people speak in a more disheartened fashion, feeling that no matter the actions of any one individual or even a group, widespread change simply doesn’t occur. People seem to feel shut out of the process, but it’s important to point out, “No decision is a decision.”

My advice: Find something to care about and support. Make sure your actions have meaning, and believe in the possibility of change. It’s now almost cliché to claim: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” but I still hold firm to the faith that our lives do matter. As Emile Zola so profoundly states, “If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud!”

Lately, protest movements have come under fire as superfluous and ineffective in stirring up the masses.  It’s more popular these days to become a radical whether your position makes sense or not.  The general public these days seems less and less interested in radicalism.  Two movements in particular strike me as creating a backlash as to what the causes purport to support:  the protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street as well as the archly conservative Republican Tea Party movement.

If you really want to be Radical, stand up for what you truly believe, even if it doesn’t support the status quo, to a position without feeling the need to take to the streets or shout the loudest in order to register your opinions.  Below are a couple ways to stand firm in your opinions without becoming didactic.

  1. If you happen to be gay, go to church anyway, and if you really want to challenge yourself, attend mass at a Catholic church.
  2. Sign up for a marathon or half marathon, and raise money to support the cause of your choice.  The point is to continue to challenge yourself physically, if you are able.  If not, find other ways to challenge yourself.
  3. Leave a bad, completely broken marriage.   Take a leap of faith, and trust that the net will appear.
  4. Pursue your passions, no matter that the odds may indeed be against you.
  5. Keep in contact or attempt to reconnect with those teachers, mentors, and friends who have most affected you.
  6. Leave behind and let go of hurts that have limited you.  Remember the adage:  I have no interest in returning to the past because I’ve already been there.
  7. Love your parents unconditionally; on the flip side, love and support your children unconditionally as well.
  8. Set limits without preaching, all the while showing love through patience.
  9. Read books and limit the amount of mindless television you watch.
  10. Find idols to influence the way you walk with integrity, dignity, and grace through your life.  Make your time on earth matter.
  11. Quit drinking, even if virtually all your friends disagree with your decision.
  12. Turn your liabilities into assets.
  13. Wait for the right person to come along rather than settling for what’s convenient.
  14. Challenge yourself to go somewhere new instead of following familiar paths.  Take a different route on your daily walk.  Go to see a show or an exhibit.

Please let me know the innumerable radical thoughts and ideas I have missed.  As Robert Frost writes, “Two roads diverged in a woods, and I–I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”