White Man’s Burden

Here, in my state a showdown is brewing between the LGBT community and legislators in the capitol.

Idaho passed a Human Rights Act a number of sessions ago believing their votes showed what good folks they were.  They won’t discriminate against women, Jews, Blacks, or Japanese Americans who were interned here during WWII.  There will be no genocide, no back of the bus, nor will camps hold citizens.

These largely white, male reactionaries didn’t realize they had opened a Pandora’s Box of outcomes.  Where they thought they had passed an ‘everybody wins,’ warm and fuzzy law, the residents of Idaho took the lawmakers at their word.

That brings our story to today.  The LGBT community has nearly begged lawmakers to ‘Add the Words’ to the previous Act.  Four words to be precise.  The gay community insists that Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity amend the law as it stands currently.  However, lawmakers will not permit any hearing or even tolerate such an incomprehensible notion.  That is this conflict in a nutshell.  The majority of rural-dwelling, agrarian conservatives cannot fathom that alternative sexuality is real.  Roosters like hens, steer like cows, billy’s like nanny’s.  It’s very simple.  For the religious right, they look to multiple translations and versions of the Bible, and Adam and Eve reads clearly.

The problem centers on real life and real people.  Whether most farm animals (most) behave according to expectations, humans are something more.  Sexuality isn’t a black and white issue like race relations.  And the gay community is real and is suffering.  Simply because those in power refuse to recognize reality–physical bashing, job and housing discrimination, bullying, it is happening.  Haters know what lawmakers refuse to see.  By taking no action the Idaho legislature has condoned persecution.

I am reminded of a story of Queen Victoria.  It was the late 1800’s in London and Jack the Ripper was waging terror in the impoverished White Chapel neighborhood.  However, the Queen refused to recognize the crimes because she did not believe prostitution was real.  How could there be prostitutes murdered when the profession did not exist.  End of problem.

The LGBT community is real.  Even if law makers refuse to recognize the demographic, everybody else in society does.  That’s why the discrimination and abuses are carried out.  Legislators may not believe in alternative lifestyles, and in return we are certainly losing our belief in our legislators.

There are gay characters in my book, River of January, and though it wasn’t my business to out them, I could see they suffered.  One in particular lost his career and died very young after an unhappy, unfulfilled life.

This is, in America, and in my state, the last acceptable prejudice.  Those who govern the people must govern for all the people, whether or not they personally approve of alternative lifestyles.  E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many Come One.

Ambition V. ADHD


In this first winter of my retirement some days weigh heavier than others.  Yesterday grew so onerous for example that I cleaned out the mudroom.  Trying to sort out my yearnings I thought about how anxious I am to see this book materialize, then I wondered if it’s just cabin fever.  

I am an ambitious person.  No matter what I complete, how well projects or objectives are met, I feel unfinished.  Is this the outcome of a driven personality?  A perfectionist? Or a nut-job?  Somehow the causes seem irrelevant when the restlessness drives me to pursue housework.  

I envy those who can putter around contentedly, planting flowers, decorating walls, and in many ways living in the moment and making that moment beautiful.  I try to attend to that affective side of myself, but never out of serenity,  Guilt haunts my activities, pushing me to complete the task.  Not love, not pleasure, not contentment.  Jesus how many antidepressants can one soul swallow?

In River of January I am working with people I understand.  We are kindred spirits, Chum, Helen and I.  They too drove themselves to find success. 

I get it, he wanted to do what he wanted to do.  And the man wanted to fly airplanes.  As remote as that possibility appeared from a family farm at the foot of the Appalachians, Chum pursued that single aim for all it was worth. 

Helen, too, aimed stardom, and she trained as if she were running a marathon.  They disregarded all the powers of inertia and conformity, pushing forward even though they had no guarantees of success.

I too, have no guarantees in this book effort, but my spirit is restless and pushes on anyway.  It’s just my nature. 

This couple lived in a unique time and place.  America convulsed with growth in the early to mid Twentieth Century, and they both found opportunity in the upheaval.  I am compelled to preserve their tale, and compelled to find some success sharing it in book form.

It snowed last night.  Shoveling ought to smooth the edge off my restless fidgeting.