I was having coffee with a couple of close friends a month or so ago. I forget the context, but one, a very close friend, said, “I am not a gay man. I am a man who is gay.”
I thought about it at the time, and have been thinking even more about it lately. I think there is an important message in what he said. I want to know how I am like someone, no matter their culture, race, or what they do for a living. What do we share? What can we talk about? If we can find how we are alike, then we can talk about how we see things, and why we see them as we do. As Congressman Trey Gowdy asked, does unity matter more than diversity? Truth more than freedom? I seek truth and unity. I value liberty.
Now, I have known this man for a long time. I admire him. He has done many things with his life that I wish I had done. He is a good friend to many people, where I am not. He was born in New Hampshire, went to undergraduate and graduate school in New Hampshire. He left, as his career demanded, lived in a few places, then returned to his home. He has a home, whereas I don’t. He does important work now for free. He is with the same partner, and has been for longer than I managed to stay married. I envy his stability in life which I have not found.
We have many things in common and only a few that make us different. I have seen him as a man who is gay, not a gay man for many years. Since he said it over coffee, I have thought more about it.
When I was a boy, there was a girl who lived across the street who looked more like Mick Jagger than Mick Jagger. C could play the guitar better than Jim, Joe or Bill, and made it a career. I knew C was different. I was looking at C’s web site recently. Why, I have no idea. C’s name was spelled different. I thought it was an error. But I read the blog, and C had undergone a sex change. Well, not really. C is and has been, a man. I knew, in my little boyish mind, that C was more like me than any of the girls. C was one of the guys, and could play better than any of rest of them. If I can put it in a crude way, C was a man without a penis. And I don’t care that he doesn’t.
Now, this has very little to do with sexual preferences. It has to do with things I have in common with others, which is the basis for any relationship. It has to do with unity.
I am in Southeast Asia now. I don’t carry my phone. I use a real camera when I want a picture, but mostly I like to see and write about what moves me. To me, words are better than a picture; at least, they make a picture more powerful. I am avoiding the constant electronic interruptions in life. I don’t need to have NEWS FLASH after NEWS FLASH, especially now. I like life. I am a lucky man. News flashes impinge on my ability to find common ground with others who are very much like me.
There was a blog post I read yesterday that moved me, Make it Stop by Jon Carrol. It was beautifully written by a man I can find common ground with. I can also find things he wrote that I don’t agree with. So what? He expresses the sadness and insanity of the death spiral we, as Americans, find ourselves wrapped in. He talked about stupid people talking about stupid things. I hope he would pass positive judgement on what I am writing.
Just as I see a man who is gay, I wish to see a man who is black, not an African-American. I wish to see a man who is from Mexico, not a Mexican. I wish to see a man who is Muslim, not a Muslim. I am not interested in an African-American President, but a President who is an American man who has an African father.
I watched a video on You Tube yesterday, a speech by Trey Gowdy. It also moved me, and I hope to be a better man for it. Congressman Gowdy said that if you want to persuade a person to see things your way, do it without insulting him. He said that a good relationship can only survive in the absence of insults. Today’s social media is based on insults. I do it. I have reposted insults to Hillary Clinton. I insulted my ex-wife, thinking I was smart and witty, and said I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I am good at insults.
I write this because I was moved to do so by a man who is gay, Jonathon Carroll, and Congressman Trey Gowdy. Contrast that with the constant barrage of insults in the news and social media, with Facebook leading the way. They only make me angry. They insult me if I disagree, and I insult those with whom I do not agree. Its easy. Just copy and post.
From now on, I am going to do my best to seek common ground, to find unity, especially with those who share my American heritage.
If you post or repost insults, even if it is about Trump or Clinton, I will message you, telling you that I am going to ban your posts. If I violate my own intentions, feel free to call me on it.
I will try to persuade others to see the world as I do, a beautiful place for those who seek liberty and freedom from government. I will avoid those who run for office based on a campaign of insults. I won’t be voting for a Democrat or a Republican in 2016. I will vote for Liberty, only if the campaign is free of insults. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter who is elected anyway.