Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hate comes in all Varieties

I grew up on the border of Louisiana and Southeast Texas. My neighborhood was inhabited by "God-fearing Christians". Lilly-white, middle class Americans which consisted of a married couple (male/female) and 2.5 children. The station wagons were the vehicle of choice and 95% of the men went to work at one of the many oil refineries. The women stayed home and raised the children.

My neighborhood was also inhabited by men who rode in flatbed trucks at night with crosses made of lumber loaded in the back. I remember one day playing outside alone in the front yard. The sun was starting to set and I heard the rattle of flatbed trucks coming down the street. In proud procession, I saw my neighbors dressed in white hoods where I felt they wore a proud, yet smug grin. I remember feeling afraid as the hair on my neck stood on end. I learned about the KKK in school and I was getting an education in my front yard as well. I've known people that were killed by the KKK. I knew the damage they were doing.

I remember I drove my friend and I to a mutual friend's wedding in Vidor, Texas. At first, she declined to go. Then, she refused to go as much as I tried to convince her. Finally after talking in earnest and swearing to her that it would be a trip to the wedding, then I would take her home immediately after.

When I picked her up, we chatted about our friend getting married and about attending college. We were having a nice time during our trip to the wedding. I looked in the rearview mirror and my stomach clenched. I tried not to alarm her, but picked up speed. The truck behind me matched me. My friend, "K" saw the look on my face and looked behind us. I remember the fear in her eyes, the tears of embarrassment, the anger of giving in and attending a wedding she was invited to.

I asked her to brace herself as I was going to try and lose them. I tried turning on various roads until I became lost myself. Finally, I lost the men in the truck. My friend was exhausted. I pulled into her driveway to bring her home safe and sound as we missed the wedding. We both cried for a moment and I tried to apologize. It was at that moment that I knew what it must feel like to be black living in the south while being chased by the KKK. I felt that instead of the year being 1982, that is was 1928. Hate comes in all varieties.

Many years later, I am watching the local news. A gay man living in Warren county, Tennessee is being tormented by 3 homophobic teens. They have tried destroying his home as well as spray painting hate slogans all over his home. He can't leave his home for fear of being killed.

Hate comes in all varieties.

I read the other day that illegal aliens are allowed to marry in the United States. Yet, 2 law abiding, tax paying citizens that happen to be the same gender are refused. Our government is saying loud and clear, "Illegal aliens are recognized in our country, even though they are breaking the law. However, Gay Americans are not valid. Period."

It reminds me of the quote:

“I am the Love that dare not speak its name.”Alfred Bruce Douglas (1870 – 1945) Uranian poet (referring to his homosexual relationship with Oscar Wilde)
Hate comes in all varieties.

Just last week, I encountered an attorney who has taken an oath to provide justice for those who have been wronged. Because, in our country, you are innocent until proven guilty. He saw me and for an instant, I could see "that look" in his eyes. The explanation that "gay partnership is not the same as legal marriage" fell in useless disarray at my feet. I've been condemned as being a sinner and less than any other United States citizen.

Hate comes in all varieties

What year is this anyway?

More Musings Later-

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