After the state of New York came to its senses and allowed its gay citizens to actually have some of the rights that the rest of their populous enjoyed, the tiresome, predictable bigots crawled to the surface, stepping over each other in a mad dash to see who could be the biggest hater, fuming over everything from the lights on the Empire State Building to some bizarre ramble about plugs in a socket from that odious cretin and child abuse supporter Bill Donahue. And of course, right on queue comes the whackadoo Pat Robertson, fuming that “There isn’t one single civilization that has openly embraced homosexuality that has survived,”.
Now, grown ups understand that all such hateful rhetoric is nonsense, of course. Not all of us require a pretend Sky Daddy to tell us how to live, we take responsibility for our own lives and decisions. All of this talk about gay marriage from fundamentalists is mainly a recruiting tool. They spewed the same hate before blacks or women got to vote, and before interracial marriage. They were wrong then, they are wrong now, and until our society stops allowing a book of mythology- written by men for a political purpose- to have any bearing on how reality in this nation (and world) operates, then we’ll constantly be subject to hate speech and bigotry wrapped in the FSM sweater.
So, what is destroying society? Two words: Greed and envy.
One need not look far to see the effects of greed in today’s America. The rich keep getting richer, sitting on more and more of our nations wealth, sheltering it safe from the clutches of the state, waiting on another “tax holiday” to return their money back to the US, where they can continue to off-shore jobs and underfund the communities in which they operate. They hire the lobbyists who write the laws that a bought and paid for Congress enacts- its a tidy circle of greed that enriches a tiny sliver of our population at the expense of, well, everyone else. And since our mainstream media is consolidated into so few players, we get treated to spurious “reporting” based on greed, blathered up from Cato and Heritage Foundation Randian stooges, whose motto can be summed up as “I got mine, fuck you.” Societies have collapsed because of greed- Greece at this very moment, anyone?
Which brings us to envy. Some people can accept that they are free, some people can’t. Some people do things- get a tattoo, watch pornography, smoke pot- because it feels good. No one else on earth is impacted by these decisions, just as the tattooed pot smoker isn’t impacted in the least if their next door neighbor goes to church twice a week and watches American Idol. Some folks want to marry, or kiss, or hump someone of their own gender. They do so because it feels natural- because it is natural, to them. And somewhere somebody is hating them for it.
Why? Envy. Call it religious indoctrination, or some faint echoes of a Calvinistic past, but to a strata of our population, people doing something simply because it feels good, with no other benefit beyond that- is by nature wrong. Because they can’t imagine taking the risks of say, falling in love with the “wrong person” or smoking a joint, or watching Hustler videos- because they are afraid- they envy those who can. By being unable to free themselves, they instead order that the “pursuit of happiness” is a privilege to be meted out by decree. Because they are too afraid to actually use the gifts given them at birth to make a better place for themselves in the world, they allow their fear to ruin those who feel no such restraints. My life was severely impacted by thus such people, who at some point made my father so ashamed of his sexuality that he never mentioned it to me, even as he died of AIDS. His repression of himself to his family brought a tangible, destructive element to all our lives- something the pious claim will happen to them, if Adam and Steve can wed. It’s a lie. It’s a lie brought about by fear manifested in envy, covered in fairy tales and sadly applauded by too many who should know better.
If our society is to evolve- perhaps even to survive at all- it will take us confronting these notions of greed and envy, denouncing them, and moving past them into a freer, more balanced place. Will we get there, before our infrastructure crumbles and our children starve as the Steve Jobs and General Electrics horde their pennies? Will our national debate revolve around the envious, fearful minority restricting the rights of gays and women because they are too afraid of freedom for themselves? Can we move ahead, past envy and greed to something better, or remain stuck in pointless debates about things that matter not, while we ignore our real problems?
Only time- and not hateful slime like Pat Robertson- will tell.