Inauguration Day Poem

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
 — Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ozymandias

 

Good Riddance to 2016!

2016 sucked.

No, it wasn’t as bad as the year humans almost went extinct (c. 72,000 B.C.), or when the Black Plague carried off a third of the population of Europe (1348) {source for both: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2016/07/is_2016_the_worst_year_in_history.html}, or 1919, when the flu killed more Americans than died in World War I (half a million versus 116,516) {source: Ibid and http://www.militaryfactory.com/american_war_deaths.asp}, but it still sucked. And since I haven’t written on this blog since March (and that post dealt with a subject that sucked), I am going to make up for lost time by writing about all the ways that this particular year sucked donkey balls.

Famous People Died!

Sure, they die every year, but this year seemed worse. From Leonard Cohen to John Glenn to…David Bowie? Carrie Fisher?! George Michael?! Prince?!!!! What the fuck, 2016?

Other People Died!

Just look at my last post. And yes, technically she died in 2014, but I didn’t find out until last year so I’m giving credit to 2016.

Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize in Literature!

For some people, this was the worst news ever, because Dylan is a musician, not a writer, except that he writes his own lyrics, and those lyrics are profound, but they are nothing without the music, which is just chanting with notes, and….yeah, I thought it was pretty cool he won, too.

Drumpf pitched his campaign to the lowest common denominator, and white supremacy, and misogyny…and won!

One could argue that 2017 will really be the year that sucks, when our narcissist-in-chief is sworn into office, but this could also be the year he’s impeached and removed from office, which gives us…Mike Pence. Still, it starts with the election, which Drumpf won through a combination of Russian meddling, FBI meddling, fear, voter suppression, low voter turnout, and an electoral college that is made up of the party faithful, instead of independent electors, as the Founders wished. And this in the year that Hamilton became a smash musical on Broadway.

Syria

Aleppo.

 

And yet, a lot of good happened last year, too — much of it in the way of science. From irrefutable proof of gravitational waves (Einstein proven right again!) to the eradication of measles in the Americas — though my personal favorite is the brokering of a peace deal in Colombia, ending decades of bloodshed. And yes, that peace deal was rejected by the Colombian people (or rather, the fewer than 38% of them who bothered to vote — sound familiar?), but a new peace deal was drawn up the following month and will be sent to Congress, instead of being voted on. {source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-37965392}

So, in the context of all human history, not to mention all world history, 2016 wasn’t that bad of a year. It just felt that way.

A Victory for All

Back in middle school, I once got into an argument with a classmate about gay people.  I defended them; she vilified them.  The argument ended when she accused me of being gay, which was worse than being called a girl.

Were I to have the same argument today, I wouldn’t care if I were called gay or a girl, though I am neither.  It would be no more offensive than to call me a giraffe, and considering the people I know who are female, or gay, or both, I would take it as a compliment.

Today’s Supreme Court decision validates my stance of twenty-plus years ago (and, more importantly, validates the feelings of millions of people), though the journey continues for full equality (as it does for women).  Still, the rays of that distant sun are starting to warm the earth, and in a nation where equality under the law has been the goal, faster in theory than in practice, the 5-4 decision handed down today moves us closer to that goal.  It also reminds us that ignorance — which breeds fear, and is the natural state of undeveloped man — is what needs to be conquered, and the best way to do that is with facts.

When we are born, everything is new and scary.  As we learn more about our world, the monsters in our closets turn into clothes, those under our beds into shoes.  The scary becomes mundane.  True, there are actual dangers in the world, and we shall always fear the unknown.  The trick is to not confuse what we fear with what is dangerous.

Same sex marriage is not dangerous.  Same sex marriage is as boring and mundane as straight marriage, and those who claim that it makes a farce of traditional marriage, well, you might want to educate yourself on traditional marriage.

In the next few days, months, years, and probably decades, there’ll be grumbling from people who “don’t get” homosexuality, or bisexuality, or how someone born male can identify as female, or vice-versa.  But complete understanding isn’t needed for complete acceptance.  All that’s needed is the understanding that LGBT people are people, and therefore a victory for them — and for love — is a victory for all.