Pride Month hits a little different this year.
In one sense I’m an outsider to the whole thing. I am thoroughly, comically straight. I’ve known this since I was five, long before it was relevant to my life in any way. I can still remember their names.
But in a larger sense, it is an absolutely central concern. I am an American, and I do not stand by when my fellow citizens are mistreated. I am human, and when human rights are denied to anyone – citizen or not – it becomes my concern. If you don’t get concerned when one group gets mistreated and denied, don’t be surprised when nobody gets concerned when it happens to you.
We live in an age where right-wing extremists are in a full-blown panic over the very thought that people not precisely like them might actually be allowed to live their lives without fear. Their fragile self-images implode at the idea that they are not the only people on the planet with rights. They insist their crabbed, anti-American and deeply blasphemous views of morality be enforced on a larger American population that neither wants nor needs to have anything to do with such things.
Unfortunately, these extremists have taken over much of the political process in this country and are working to cement their dictatorial hold on minority power though fear. They are passing laws and edicts overtly designed to reduce some Americans to second-class status, to strip their humanity away and then reap political benefit from the bloodshed that results.
Because make no mistake, people are already dying over this. Americans. Humans. People that the right-wing regards as expendable pawns in their quest for absolute dominion.
Speaking as your basic straight guy, fuck that. Fuck that sideways with a Buick.
I am in the process of revising my Western Civ II class down at Home Campus this summer, a class I have not taught since 2015 so it needs attention. This class deals extensively with the rise of Fascism in the 20th century – an ideology built on the violent scapegoating of anyone not precisely like the group that seized absolute power and an ideology that inevitably leads to mass murder. During WWII the United States of America gave medals to my ancestors for shooting Fascists and I will be damned if I will disgrace their memory by allowing it to flourish here and now.
This month I will be proud of those who celebrate, and I will give no quarter to those who would deny them their place as Americans and as people.