Pride. Proud. Loud. Live. Life.
The rise of Donald Trump has led to a sad truth. There are millions of people in this country who use hate above love, bigotry over tolerance, and disdain over empathy. We live in divisive times, where ignorance, anger, hate, and violence are welcomed. A large part of our population, denies science and puts their faith in a Bronze Age book that has no evidence of its validity. Every day, I see people use the Bible and other holy books to justify their hate, their bigotry, their ignorance. Our society can't progress with such an albatross around our neck.
Currently, there are grown adults who won't drink a beer because they worked with a transwoman and put a rainbow on their cans. I have witnessed religious adults throw baseless claims of indoctrination because Target sells children's clothing with Pride graphics. They are trying to ban books and litigate education so that our children can't learn about the different ways people love each other and that many children don't come from the archaic family structure of a father and a mother. There are many types of families, and there are those who don't want our children to learn about them. What they really want is to teach them that if a family isn't a traditional family, it is wrong, it is sin, it is reprehensible. They use the word indoctrination, but they really mean in normalizing. They don't want to normalize LGBTQIA+ human beings.
These people who fight so hard to keep this world simple and traditional are scared. They are ignorant. They are insecure. A new world doesn't make sense to them, they don't have a place in it. They see differences as a threat instead of progress. To them, they want the world to make sense based on their values, that they themselves were indoctrinated into believing. I've read the bible, and based on what I have read, the God of the Christian Bible isn't all-loving, but cruel and narcissistic. Jesus, if alive today, would be marching in Pride parades, campaigning for progressives and teaching people to be tolerant and loving. The opposite of what right-wing Christians are doing. They cherry-pick passages from the Bible trying to validate their hate. In doing so, they ignore other parts that they conveniently don't follow. How's your shrimp? You okay with slavery? Misogyny? Genocide? There is so much more, but that is for a later blog.
So as I sit here ordering a case of Bud Light from Target, I wonder how we progress our country. First, we aren't going to change many of these people. I have seen some of them change, but only when their bigotry is tested against someone they love, but even then, some don't change. There are many men and women who are shunned by families. We aren't going to change many. But, yelling at them, insulting them, and cancelling them doesn't work either. It only strengthens their defenses as they retreat further into their bigoted reality. Second, this is a long fight that may take a new generation to fix. I don't think Boomers, Gen Xers, or millennials can fix this, but Gen Z and beyond may be our answer. I am impressed on how inclusive Gen Z and Gen Alpha are. They aren't concerned about whom you love as long as it is consensual. They don't care how you want to identify or what pronouns you want to be called, it's all cool with them (using the word “cool” just verifies what generation I'm from). Lastly, we need to talk and we need to listen even more. When I went to college, I wasn't as progressive as I am now. It took a conversation with two gay men to make me evolve. I sat with them, and I listened. We can't battle each other on Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok hiding behind phone and computer screens with the ability to block, delete, and swipe it away. WE NEED TO TALK. WE NEED TO LISTEN. We must stop “cancelling” everyone. If our knee-jerk reaction to everyone who isn't as progressive, tolerant, empathetic, or inclusive as we want them to be, then all we are creating are echo chambers and societal bubbles. Those who are ostracized will withdraw into the parts of society that will accept them, and then they won't ever learn to change. I, being a progressive, have been “yelled” at by other progressives for not being progressive enough, for not accepting every dogmatic belief they want the whole world to accept as truth.
If we keep pushing people away, then we are no better than those on the right. Progress is hard and it is slow. We are fighting against millennia of bad ideas, of a religious patriarchy that is holding on for dear life. For every two steps we take, we must except that we may go back one, two or sometimes more as the pendulum of societal values swings. But we always progress. We need to practice inclusivity as well as we preach it. By having civil discord, we will win and bigotry will lose. We need to combat bigotry, not by ignoring it, but by confronting it with patience, calmness, and with resolve. We have to humanize those who are discriminated against, as our opponents are making them out to be monsters, to be evil, to be a threat. Talk. Listen. Challenge. This is the only way to change. Don't get me wrong, if someone doesn't want to listen to me or talk civilly, then they will get my wrath if I witness any type of bullying, bigotry, or discrimination.
Let's remember why there is a Pride month, why there are Pride parades, shirts, flags, etc. It's because there is a right-wing faction in our country that wants to push the LGBTQIA+ community out of society and into the darkness. We celebrate pride because it is the only thing we can do to combat the bully, the bigot. We stand tall, We stand strong, We stand together and We stand PROUD.