My immediate family is pretty liberal – not crazy liberal – but certainly gay rights, civil liberties, and religious freedom liberal. My siblings and I have grown up this way, so it boggles my mind to see anything different. I just do not understand any other way. Though this story focuses on my Grandpa, I whole heartedly believe that my Grandma also made this journey before she passed away. One of my favorite memories is her making sure that one of her frammed basketball cards (Grandma LOVED her sports) was out front and center for when openly racist family visited.
My dad posted this on facebook. I am very proud.
We moved to [small town] when I was 11…. We came out on weekends from [larger urban city] to go fishing. My sister had moved here a few years earlier, but that wasn’t really a factor because that hadn’t really worked out and she spent a lot of time with us in [larger urban city] anyway.
The biggest reason we moved from [larger urban city] to [small town] was because there were no black people in [small town]. None. Not one.
My dad was from Texas, Mom from Alabama. They couldn’t help it, it’s what they knew. Dad had a number of coworkers who were black, and he liked them, but in his mind there was a difference between black PERSONS and black PEOPLE. And to be fair, in the late 60’s, early 70’s, regardless of who was to blame, there was a lot of tension in places like [larger urban city]. Maybe [small town] was indeed safer.
Cut to 1995, 22 years later. (although it seems like 50). A fly-in fishing trip to a remote cabin in Canada, the group including Dad and a friend from work, who happened to be black. There were discussions, some a little uncomfortable because Dad was struggling a little bit with his past, I think, and ultimately mutual respect. I remember my friend, late at night in the dark of the cabin when we were all in our bunks, “This is for you Buddy” followed buy a beautiful rendition of an old country song. He had a nice voice.
Cut to 2008 when my dad, in probably his last political act, voted for Barack Obama as President of the United States.
What’s the point? Today Mitt Romney was in [small town], my town. He has evidently failed to make the journey my Dad managed, even given that it should have been a shorter one for them. If he’s not a bigot, he’s worse, because he’s acting like one to get a vote, to become President because it’s “his turn”. And in my town, at [Local Farm] people cheered him. And for the first time I’m ashamed at having grown up here.
I live in the south. I live in the bible belt. Having been raised in a family that comes from the south somethings are very familiar, but others still suprise me. Open racisim is still a thing – maybe not out in public – but certainly in a group of “like minded” individules. (Read this as white people.) I have never experianced this personally. While in the south I have only worked in places that were ethnicly and culturally diverse, so when I hear that this kind if thing still happpens I’m still suprised. It makes my heart sad and I really cannot wrap my head around the thought process.
On a simliar vein, I found this while being lazy on the internet this morning. Hugh Hefner wrote an article for his magazine Playboy about Sexual Freedom. My favorite quote “Today, in every instance of sexual rights falling under attack, you’ll find legislation forced into place by people who practice discrimination disguised as religious freedom.”
Where I live now has a decent sized gay population. Things that give me hope are times when I overhear conversations like this. At least its a step in the right direction.
Person 1: “I think I’m going to vote NO on that amendment.” (large amendment to state constiution against gay marriage)
Person 2: “Wow that seems awfully liberal for you. I’m suprised.”
Person 1: “I don’t agree with it [gay marriage], but its not my place to say they can’t get married if they love eachother.”