According to Mother Nature, my last post was a couple of weeks before summer officially began. Now we’re a week in. That’s right. I haven’t been keeping up on my weekly blog. There is one reason. Though the summer season didn’t begin until June 21st, my summer break began about a month before that and, frankly, I’ve had better things to do. I finished edits on a novel that will be out soon, I taught (am teaching) two online classes through UNO, I’ve hung out with family and friends, attended the first annual O Comic Con, gone on a couple of trips, taken several photographs recounting my journeys here, and vegged on MadMen (and tweeted about it here), enjoyed some Third Rock From the Sun, and stared in rapt wonder at various ridiculous movies on Netflix. So far, Zombeavers is my favorite. So, you know, for me, it’s been pretty chill.
Things haven’t been quite as peaceful in the rest of America though, right? Damn, it’s exciting!
We are living in a time of change, folks. I know the discerning reader understands that all times are times of change, but c’est la vie. A few days ago, on the morning of Friday June 26th, the United States Supreme Court declared gay marriage legal throughout the land. This is what we call a win, right? At least I do. And I’m happy the United States of America has finally joined a good chunk of the world in choosing equality over hate. Honestly, we should have been first. I’m not here to complain though. This is a victory for progression toward a more advanced collective state and since I consider myself an amateur futurist, I am happy. Nay, folks, I am ecstatic.
But I’m also cautious. Sure, those of us who ponder the past, observe the present, and predict the future (usually incorrectly) have had some recent victories. The aforementioned legalization of gay marriage is one. The fact that the governor of South Carolina called for the removal of the Confederate Flag from the State House building is also an absolute good. I mean, even in pop culture, people are starting to see the future for what it is: open. For instance, Marvel Comics’ current version of The Mighty Thor is a woman, Captain America is an African-American (if this one is really a shock, I highly recommend you go out and find the graphic novel Truth: Red, White, & Black right now–it’ll blow your mind), Spider-Man is Latino/African-American, and finally Ms. Marvel is a Muslim Pakistani-American (also the child of immigrants). These last four examples may seem minor to you but I believe they are evidence that our society is changing. They say art imitates life just as much as life imitates art (or at least the ones in the know do). If that is the case, the United States of America has come a long way and the future looks bright.
But let’s be real here for a moment. As a nation, we haven’t come that far.
I mean, Loving v. Virgina was almost 50 years ago and people are screaming that what the Supreme Court just did is unconstitutional. I think those people screaming don’t fully understand the Supreme Court’s job. That’s a problem. What’s that? You don’t know about the Loving v. Virginia case! Well, if you didn’t follow the link, here is the quick version: In 1967 the Supreme Court decided it was unconstitutional for states to have anti-miscegenation laws (which were laws that stated people of color and white people couldn’t get legally married). Isn’t it strange that nearly half a century later, the Supreme Court is making an almost identical decision about a different group of people who want to wed? Isn’t it also strange that the Court’s decision in 1967 didn’t absolutely destroy the fabric of our society and/or the sanctity of marriage OR bring about the end of our freedoms as we know them?
You know what is strange in the 21st century though? The number of people who have suffered because of backward beliefs prevalent in our society. You know how many it is? That’s how many. And what, exactly, was the impetus to get Governor Haley to propose the removal of the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina State House? Hmmm . . . I can’t quite remember . . . . Wait. It was this mass murder. And oh yeah, the accused killer is reported to have said something awful to the people he gunned down in a church, right? In case you haven’t heard, it apparently went like this: “I have to do it. You’re raping our women and taking over the country. You have to go.” So you know . . . things aren’t perfect, are they? But that’s not all.
I mean, don’t even get me started on the unhealthy healthcare system (though I must admit, the Affordable Care Act seems to be helping lots of people in those states where it has been implemented as it was supposed to be implemented). Then there is still that ridiculous war on drugs. Though that, as well, seems to be changing. Oh man, and prisons and schools in this country, what the hell? I can’t forget the general underlying sexism popping off everywhere (though, again, it is getting better). Pollution, poverty, and the growing gap between the rich and the poor are also . . . problematic stateside. And how could I forget Super PACs and everything wrong there? Incidentally, Super PACs were legalized by another Supreme Court decision and while I disagree with it, I do understand it isn’t bringing about the end of civilization as we know it. When you really think about it though, couldn’t Super PACs be more harmful to our democracy than marriage?
All I’m saying is let us not rest on our laurels at these victories, as small or large as they may be. Yes, let’s attend weddings (and divorces, ZING!) that wouldn’t have been possible a week ago. Let’s enjoy a broad spectrum of beliefs, religions, people, and nationalities in this country. Let’s look to the past and realize what we should be proud of and what . . . you know . . . not so much. Let’s have entertainment that reflects the vast diversity present today in the United States. Let’s relax. Let’s be nice. Let’s have fun, drink and be merry.
But let’s not forget we still have a long way to go.