Slowly the barriers are crumbling in the US. Why is that important? Because like it or not the US still has considerable influence in the world. Combine the “gay rights are human rights” speech of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and it is likely that more and more states and progressive countries will choose to not be on the wrong side of history.
What an incredible bit of video editing and also a reminder of how much my knowledge has expanded because of my wonderful friends on G+ these past few months. This is not my New Year’s message but this video is a great opportunity to pause and reflect on what a remarkable year of triumph, tragedy and a celebration of the human spirit 2011 was.
Given that the whole point of this blog is for me to just put down my random thoughts it is rather strange that someone as hyperactive as myself can actually sit here without having any focussed thoughts. The key word being “focussed” as I have many thoughts going through my mind now.
We spent much time at work today engaged in an animated discussion about Democratic race in the US. Inevitably, the subject also turned to race. I am not a US citizen, thankfully, so I can sit happily with my Irish and Canadian passports and feel no responsibility for the numerous stupid things they have done. I do, however, have my preferences in terms of what I would like to see happen in the upcoming US elections. I would prefer Hillary Clinton to be the democratic candidate for president and I would also like the Republicans to be kicked into the political cellar. Any party that chooses a leader who can say the words “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully” deserves whatever it gets.
I do not share the enthusiasm of my colleagues for Barack Obama who they see as the ideal choice. Perhaps I am missing something but I don’t recall Obama saying one thing of substance so far in his campaign. Sure he is slick and articulate but I really don’t think talk is what the US needs now. Hillary has proven herself to be a tough contender and I vividly recall her brave but failed attempt to implement drastic changes in the US health care system when Bill was in office. The fact she stood her ground and remained stoic in public through the ridiculous Lewinsky episode says volumes. Also, and this is a bit on the petty side, Obama strikes me as a bit glib and his eyes are just a wee bit too shifty for my liking. What puzzles me is the insistence of my colleagues that my views are based on the fact that Obama is black. When I ventured to observe, that like me, most of my family, and Tiger Woods, he is decidedly mixed I was quickly informed that the fact he looks black makes him black. Who knew? My dislike for Obama is more than skin deep I can assure them. There is that strange divide in even Trinidad society that even i feel uncomfortable crossing – the racial divide. I don’t think twice about race but apparently it means a lot in terms of group identification to a lot of people. Given my penchant for speaking my mind I often have to flee certain discussions knowing I would probably be beaten to death for my none-too-subtle views.
Turning my thoughts to other things now I want to talk about a comment my Cousin Peggy ( author of Jahajin) left on my blog entry yesterday which provides food for thought. Because I maintain two versions of this blog I will include the comment here:
“ The dislike of gays is one of those irrational things that prove that people are still beasts at heart. The same people who howl about the world becoming overpopulated can have a serious problem with the existence of ingenious souls who have found a way to live happily every after at the top of the food chain without adding to world problems (and without feeling deprived either). It seems to me that gayness is one of the kindest options Mother Nature and Evolution have supplied us with.And not all that different from those of us boring straights who have only one child (or none at all). There comes a point, when we are done with the mindless struggle for existence, when we should turn our minds to being a little bit imaginative.And that would include wondering about one’s orientation. How many people live straight lives because they have never really thought about what they wanted in a relationship?The word ‘tolerance’ is bad in a slogan, but it is at the root of the struggle for Human Rights. That is, you don’t have to LIKE the other guy, but you must refrain from killing him, or beating him up, or denying him a job. Face it, most of us are not likeable…”
Peggy is not someone who thinks on a standard level and I always value her take on things. I don’t have a fundamental problem with anything in her comment and, maybe it is in the genes, I generally find I agree with her. Typical me that I will concentrate on the last bit of her last sentence.
It is true that most of us, those rats who refuse to follow the piper are definitely not likeable. I have long ago come to terms that my personality is such that people either appreciate me ( an estimated 10%) or want to avoid me like a politician would a polygraph ( 80%). The remainder tend to regard me the way we regard crocodiles in a zoo…with a mixture of fascination and revulsion. I am generally happy with this situation as I figure it weeds out undesirables. Of course, I am also painfully aware that it may also weed out some desirables but such is life. We are all both the beneficiaries and victims of our own personalities.
I cannot count the times that someone has come up to me and said “but I always thought you were such a jerk” or “when i was first introduced to you I thought you were so standoffish and distant”. It is the eternal story of first encounters and how we protect ourselves. I tend to hide shyness around new people with an armour of silence and disinterest. It is hardly a surprise that some take this for elitism or arrogance. There is some consolation to be had from knowing that I cannot possibly be the only person thus afflicted.Sometimes I wonder if my tendencies in that area have alienated people who might have been important parts of my life or even THE important part. There must be a whole slew of us who wonder if we have sailed past possibly important people simply because our inherent character traits pushed them away in our wake.
On the good side, those same people could also have been the iceberg to our Titanic.