There’s a song I love, Forever Young. I’m not sure who the original artist is (and no, it’s not the one by Rod Stewart) but I heard it in this documentary, Young @ Heart (which you should see if you haven’t already). I liked the song immediately and my favorite line is, “May you always know the truth and see the light surrounding you.”
It’s been a less-than-fun few weeks. Pretty much the entire time since the Chick-Fil-A news broke, really. It’s interesting to see, sociologically (you have the conservative Christians saying that they are both the majority—they are the ones who speak for most of the country—and the minority—they are so persecuted for their beliefs). Now obviously both can’t be true. If you speak for most of the country, you can’t really be persecuted, because the majority of the people believe as you do. And if you really ARE persecuted for your beliefs, it’s probably because you aren’t speaking for everyone.
So yes, it’s been pretty rough. It’s hard to think of complete strangers saying horrible things about me and to think of people I once considered friends agreeing with them. And it’s hard to think about people in my state getting to vote on whether I should be allowed to marry. (Although, as I’ve said, I do have hopes that Maryland will be the first state where the residents vote for gay marriage. And I do think it will be.)
But it’s also been a pretty fantastic few weeks. I HAVE seen the light surrounding me. That lyric (to me, anyway) means being aware of all the love that’s in your life and I have felt completely surrounded by that love. It’s easy to feel hated, especially when there’s been so much judgment hurled my way (I was called a homo fascist on Twitter*) but every time I began to feel discouraged, I would get an email or text or Facebook comment or Tweet that inspired me to keep going.
As they say in The American President, you don’t fight the battles you can win—you fight the battles that need fighting. And the battle for equality is always worth fighting, whether it’s for African-Americans or Jews or gay people. Either we’re all equal or none of us are, and if it’s none of us, that’s a precarious way to live.
I like to think that I’d be fighting this battle even if it didn’t directly impact me. I’m not entirely sure that’s true—I am a huge fan of the path of least resistance and going along to get along. But I see the way some of my friends are rallying around me, and I hope I could be half as amazing as they are.
But things ARE the way they are, and at the very least, I am going to not be silent anymore. Silence doesn’t protect anyone. All it does is make sure that the extremists (on both sides) are the only ones heard. I’ve spent a lot of time rolling my eyes but saying nothing, and I’m tired of it. On Twitter, I’ve started unfollowing the people I disagree with. Some will snidely say, “Oh, that’s really tolerant,” but I’m not saying that free speech only counts if I agree with you. People are absolutely allowed to spill all the vitriol they want to. But for me, I’ve started asking whether Facebook friends and those I follow on Twitter make my life better or worse and if it’s a good use of my time or a waste of it. And if the answer is no, I’m going to unfriend and unfollow. Life’s too short to spend it with angry people.
* = Which honestly amused me more than anything else. Yes, it stung but I do believe that if I inspire vitriol from total strangers, I must be doing SOMETHING right. Right? ;)