There aren’t many things that tug at my heartstrings. As I’ve been told, I’m pretty stoic. It takes a lot to make me outwardly emotional. I don’t normally cry at sappy movies, weddings, or even funerals. (Ok, I cry every time I watch Armageddon. What’s it to you?!?) My almost-constant composure is not because I’m unemotional or lack empathy. It’s because I tend to keep it together purposely. I maintain a decent poker face when the shit hits the fan, and I’m there to support my family when they need someone to take over and get things done while they deal with whatever sorrow life brings their way. Once in a while, my emotions bubble over and I let them out, but usually not in public.
Well, today, I found myself catching tears that made their way past my lower eyelid and onto my cheek. Hopefully I brushed them away before anyone else in the Panera I’m working from this morning noticed. What brought about this reaction? Duh, don’t you always cry when Supreme Court rulings get announced? Ok fine. Well I did.
Today, I feel proud. I’m not an American exceptionalist (if that’s a word). I realize there are a lot of problems with the nation I reside in, as you’d see from most of the posts on this website, and we’re not at the top of the charts in a lot of favorable rankings anymore. But today, I’m overwhelmingly proud to be an American. Today, the Supreme Court decided (5-4 which is its own issue) that all 50 states must recognize the legality of same-sex marriage. As a heterosexual married male, this decision doesn’t directly affect me one bit. In fact, it doesn’t affect the vast majority of Americans. But if you believe what you hear from the Christian Right, this decision is either a sign of the end of America or the End Times, which is often the same thing, since many don’t realize there’s a “rest of the world” out there.
Today, I feel vindicated. I have a lot of gay friends — a combination of real-life friends, social media acquaintances, and fans. I stand by their sides today, knowing that they are no longer prohibited from expressing their love for one another the same way the rest of Americans have been able to for over 200 years.
Today, I feel hopeful. I look forward to the day when those who are different from the majority in any way are treated with the same respect and humanity that everyone deserves. Today, we moved one major step closer to that day. Love is love. People are people. We are all Americans, and we are all entitled to the same rights, liberties, and freedoms that our fellow Americans enjoy. When it comes to Constitutional protections, there should be no “second class.” This nation was founded on the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Somewhere along the line, many of us forgot about that third, equally important, basic right. Today, at least in part, it returns to those who have been denied it for much of their lives.
Oh shit, there I go again…