Tuesday, April 6, 2010

They Who Stand Against The Tide

Every decade, every century of America's existence has seen an inexorable crawl toward the clearer light, but not without strife, not without fear, and not without hatred. Slavery, women's rights, civil rights... to make strides in our quest for a united and free humanity, Americans have had to fight bare-knuckled against themselves, trying to expunge the worst parts of the human condition, literally stamping them out in some cases. Each fight seems bloodier than the last, even as the body counts grow smaller, maybe because the dead may lie in peace beneath the trees, but the damage to the American psyche never quite heals, never quite goes away.

With each stride forward, we have had to drag along the unwilling, who count themselves Americans, but do not want to share their freedom and liberty with others, as if the Founding Fathers and the Constitution have granted them exclusive rights that they could dole out as they saw fit. Whether from the barrel of a rifle or the marching feet of peaceful protest, those who would not come willingly have been carried onward, toward a future they abhor, where everyone is truly equal, where we are no longer White or Black or Jew or Christian or Muslim or Man or Woman, but Human, something we have been all along, even as some refused to admit it.

The new battle line is homosexuality. Forced to incorporate people from other races, women, members of other religions, the intolerant have drawn a wide line in the sand, and refuse to budge. They will not acknowledge that homosexuals are people, with rights, privileges, feelings, desires, and hopes. They will cling to the dogma that tells them that these people are "abominations" before their god. They will not yield, not budge, not give up an inch of ground. They will make their displeasure felt... short of actually admitting it in words.

Nowhere was this thrown into sharper relief, than in the actions of school administrators in Fulton, Mississippi, who would not allow a gay student, Constance McMillen, to go to her prom with her girlfriend. To that end, they canceled the prom, only to draw a court challenge, recently won by the ACLU. So, they said they would hold a prom after all, apparently acceding to the ruling of the court. Little did anyone know that they did not intend to let a little thing like the justice system of the United States stand in the way of their disgusting hatred. They held a "prom," which turned out to be a fake, while the real prom was held somewhere else, sans Constance and her date. To do such a thing -- besides being blatantly homophobic and bigoted -- required the tacit assistance of the community, both to create the fake prom and to hide the real one. In essence, it takes a village to raise children capable of perpetrating and participating in such a heinous act.

Their stubborn refusal to give ground subjects them to the inexorable grinding away caused by the winds of change and the waves of liberty. Not unlike the rocks that stand sentinel at the edge of the sea, they may stand there in their imposing posture, but each wave that crashes against them wears them down, just a little. The constant friction will wear down and grind away the monoliths of ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry. They may believe that in getting away with their ruse, they have won; let them wallow in their self-congratulation, then. All they have done is seal their fate.

They will be excoriated, and rightly so. America stands for freedom and liberty for all people, and though the Founders could not have made that clearer, subsequent action by this nation has defined that intent for all time. Each group that once was on the outside, now enfolded in the protections they always deserved, removes one more impediment to true freedom and unity for all, and marks such contemptible actions as those seen in Fulton, Mississippi, as even further outside the bounds of decency. They should not be hated, however, but pitied; they could accept the inevitable and become part of a greater thing, the breadth and life of humanity, but instead, they condemn themselves to the slow, tortuous, miserable death by their fear and ignorance, forever deprived of the riches that come from acceptance of their place as part of the milieu we call humanity. Like the dinosaurs, they, too, shall pass from the Earth, to haunt it no longer, relics and fossils that will be looked upon in future centuries as part of an incomprehensible past.


  1. What infuriates me even further is that from what I've read, the disabled students were also sent to the alterna-prom with Candace. What a horrible, horrible community to pull this stunt.

  2. That was the tip-off that there was more to this than a simple case of parents boycotting the school. The school was no doubt complicit, setting up the "prom" to give the "undesirables" some place to go, while protecting information about the other rescheduled prom. So, the school follows the letter of the judgment handed down by the courts, and the parents get what they want -- a homosexual-free prom, with the disabled students thrown in for good measure.