Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On the Wrong Side of History...and Ultrarunning

Usually I don't even bother anymore with wasting any thoughts on things Cheney, having concluded that I just have to let it go rather than waste my bandwidth and energy on what should have happened in a perfect world.

(in the interests of full disclosure, my take: I wonder why the former vice-president is a free man, still a Very Important Person in political circles, rather than spending the rest of his life in jail for war crimes).

Anyway...seems that his gay daughter, Mary, and his straight daughter, Liz (who happens to be running for a U.S. Senate seat in Wyoming in 2014), are a bit at odds (credit to AP news, here):

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife stepped into a sibling squabble Monday after their daughters became involved in a public feud over gay marriage that began on "Fox News Sunday" and soon spread to social media.
Discussing her U.S. Senate campaign on the talk show, Liz Cheney restated her support for the "traditional definition" of marriage. She added that states should be free to decide for themselves whether to allow or prohibit same-sex unions.
Her sister, Mary Cheney, who is married to a woman, shot back on Facebook: "You're just wrong."

Gay marriage is coming whether you like it or not.  And just like slavery, or women's suffrage, or civil rights, you will either be on the right side of history or the wrong side (clue: the right side of history is that who people choose to love and/or marry is their business, not the government's ..."traditional marriage" is not diminished one iota if the gay guys or ladies down the street decide to marry).

I also loved this quote from the same article:

Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, didn't waste any time challenging Liz Cheney's television comments as insufficiently pro-gay marriage.
"Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 - she didn't hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us," Poe posted on Facebook. "To have her now say she doesn't support our right to marry is offensive to say the least."
Chimed in Mary Cheney: "Couldn't have said it better myself. Liz - this isn't just an issue on which we disagree - you're just wrong - and on the wrong side of history," she posted.

So, we have the very awkward clash of political ambitions versus alienation of family.  And Liz, seriously, does it really make sense to "leave the issue up to the states"?  Can you imagine a patchwork of up to 50 different definitions of marriage--along with all the associated issues of taxes, heirs, estates, wills, next of kin, adoptions, etc. etc. etc.?

Additional personal disclaimer: Among my family members are numbered several gay folks.  They are just ordinary people, just like you and me in every way, same hopes and dreams and needs, except that they happen to love someone of the same sex.  I love them and accept them and their partners equally and totally.  It's not my call or my business to do otherwise.

Think again about being on the right and the wrong side of history.  Reminder: you get exactly one chance to get it right.

And while I'm on a rant, let's also point out another entity that's on the wrong side of history: the United Methodist Church (link here):

A United Methodist pastor was convicted Monday of breaking church law by officiating his son's same-sex wedding and could be defrocked after a high-profile trial that has rekindled debate over the denomination's policy on gay marriage.
The Methodist church put the Rev. Frank Schaefer on trial in southeastern Pennsylvania, accusing him of breaking his pastoral vows by presiding over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts.
The 13-member jury convicted Schaefer on two charges: That he officiated a gay wedding, and that he showed "disobedience to the order and discipline of the United Methodist Church."

Oh, and the mandatory connection to Ultrarunning?  Imagine that you're running an Ultra, say a 50 miler.  You're a back-of-the-pack runner, say 11 hours or so finishing time. You happen to fall in with a guy (or a woman) runner going about the same pace as you.  The miles and the hours fall away quickly.

As you know if you have run any long-distance race wherein you spent at least part of the time with a stranger, there is an instant connection and bond.  As you chat, all of a sudden you are sharing things about yourself that you would never otherwise broach in normal social intercourse.  And it's perfectly normal and natural, as you both struggle in the athletic endeavor.  As your body is laid bare, so to speak, by the physical effort, so is your mind.

So...it's not very far-fetched at all to imagine that your running buddy shares the fact that he/she is gay/lesbian.  Do you suddenly call bullsh*t and tell the runner to buzz off, you don't accept his/her lifestyle? Like,  "You're going to Hell, I'd better drop back now and let you run your own race."

Or do you have this moment of understanding and empathy and know, just know, in your heart of hearts, that the ONLY difference between them and you is that this person just happens to love someone of the same sex.

Not a big deal, is it?

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