Monday, September 5, 2011

Why I'm Angry

So, someone asked why I/we/my community seem so angry at times in regard to Bachmann and her ilk. While I can't speak for everyone else's reasons, I can speak of my own.

See, once upon a time, there was this kinda geeky (okay, pretty damned geeky) kid nick-named Cynjon who lived in this atrocity of a city called Ocala. Well, techincally he lived outside the city proper, on the edge of an expanse of woods...this detail will become relevant shortly.

When I first moved there, I fell in with a mixed crowd of teenage "miscreants." The majority were (and still are) pretty good people, but there were others, a small group of skinheads, who were less good. Far from good even, you could say. It didn't take me long to figure out that I didn't want to associate with the latter that much...I think the time that we all went to this local music store so they could harass this guy (Rob, I think his name was) because he was gay kind of clued me in that I didn't need to be buddy-buddy with them. Unfortunately, regardless of whether I wanted to see them or not, our circles overlapped quite a bit.

I did my best to avoid them, though. If I saw them at parties, I'd leave. If there was a group of people who were likely to be hanging out with them, I wouldn't go wherever it was they were going.

My attempts at avoidance weren't always successful, and one time in particular was especially horrific. At this point I'd pretty much stopped going anywhere social for fear of running into them...but I still had to go to school. While this particular group didn't go to my school (or ANY school, for that matter) their friends...who were part of my circle of friends...did. And they were frequently picked up by that group after school. So I still had to deal with the taunts and threats and whatnot on a semi-regular basis.

One afternoon I started the walk home after school. I'd only made it maybe 1/2 a mile down the usually quiet road when a car flew by me, slammed on it's brakes, turned around and came back. Out hopped 3 of the skinheads...I could see Cindy and Kristi--part of the circle overlap, and current girlfriends of two of the skinheads, in the car with them. One of the skinheads was carrying a knife, one had a tire iron, the third nothing. Needless to say, I didn't hesitate to dash into the pine forest behind me, followed by their hooting and hollering as they chased me. The simplified version is this: I spent the next three or four hours being chased by them deeper and deeper into the woods, using their vocal-ness as a means to stay away from them, and hunkered down and hidden. It was nearing dark when I finally came across a church, where the man who was there let me use the phone to call home so somebody could come and get me.

When I got home, we called the police...who were useless. Completely uninterested. The next day, I got up, put on my clothes, and returned to the school...the same school where I would see some of the people who were in that car. Upon my mother's suggestion, I went to the dean (appropriately named Mr. Dean) to tell him what had happened. He and I did NOT have a good history together (he flat out accused me of being involve in the killing of some ag dept animals...despite that that had happened the year before I moved there)...when I told him of the previous days experience, I was told it was my own fault, for being the way I was. Namely, gay.

Eventually I left that school and that city both, and got on with my life elsewhere. And my life is a VERY good one, filled with loving folks.

But the thing is, until you've been hunted like an animal, and feared for your life, you can't truly understand where I'm coming from...where the anger comes from. Sadly, far too many of my friends have had the same experience, or similar ones. I've had many friends abused, spat upon, beaten and left for dead..some of this happened to too many people I know.

When I see people like Bachmann/Perry/etc running for public office...for PRESIDENT of this turns my stomach. Literally. THAT is why I'm angry. Here are people who wants to govern us as citizens, but who believe that a significant portion of the population that they would be in charge of are LESSER than the rest. Who believe that by our very nature, we are "sick" and should be changed. Who believe that I am not deserving of the same rights as every other person in this country. How can that NOT be frightening? How can that NOT cause anger? It sends a message that ignorance and prejudice are okay and acceptable. No other group in America is legally treated in this way. No other group can be denied housing, fired from their jobs, not allowed to visit/see a spouse who is in the hospital based solely on WHO THEY ARE. There will be those who say that anger can serve no good purpose. That to embrace anger is to give in to darker tides and energy. I disagree. I think that anger, when righteous and called for, can be a tool for change and for good.

It's a tool I intend to use to the best of my ability to make sure that we keep moving forward, both as a country and as a people. When the pattern of our society includes ALL of us equally, then I will sit back and shut up....and I look forward to that day.

20 things
(Collage, 2007, using pages from a David Mack comic)

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