Originally published at http://goo.gl/DLUI on 10/4/10
If this is the first time you've encountered me or my writing, you should know something about how I see the world. It sounds very Disneyesque, but I see life as a huge web. I own a Chilean Rose Tarantula, named Spatula.Spiders have notoriously horrificly bad vision. They are in essence blind.Yet when I feed him a live cricket he almost immediately knows it's in his aquarium with him because Spatula has laid out webbing all over the interior of his environment. The moment something moves on that web he feels it. This is how I see the world. A butterfly flaps it's wing in Africa and a hurricane develops in the Gulf of Mexico(which means I'm sure most residents around the Gulf are really pissed off at African butterflys). But more than that if a speeding car in Atlanta,GA hits and accidentally kills a person crossing a street there, it means that whatever accomplishments that individual would acheive are denied the whole world. And you might not think that means a whole lot but what if you're a teenage girl living in Montreal who is destined to have a child in the future born with Down's Syndrome? What if the man struck down by said car was the one man on the planet who could invent a vaccine for Down's Syndrome in the next 20 years? Seems to me that all of the sudden that man, and indeed that speeding car in Atlanta just became extrememly important to you, right?
This doesn't mean someone else might not come up with the same vaccine in 25 years but by that time your child is born and you're dealing with it and it's toll, mental,physical and financial. And the rest of the world is in it with you through either higher insurance or tax costs. Also then now the world is deprived of the contribution your vaccinated child might have made. Perhaps he could've prevented the next big financial meltdown.
I bring this up because the world has just been deprived of 4 people in the last 3 weeks who might've made fantastic contributions to the world, yet now we'll sadly never know. In the last 3 weeks 4 young people, ranging from ages 13 to 18. These four young boys were not murdered in the traditional sense. They were murdered however and you and I and the President and everyone else who stays silent about this subject are guilty as if we'd lined them all up and shot them ourselves.
We shouldn't be entirely surprised. This atmosphere of meanness has been around quite a while. While I don't blame popular culturefor these deaths directly, I have to say I never watched American Idol after the first couple of episodes because I found it to be mean-spirited. These people would audition and sing their hearts out and Simon would rip them to shreds all in the name of "just being honest". No Simon, you weren't "just being honest". You were being a bully.
And how many countless stories have we heard in the last several years about teenagers, gay and straight, who've killed themselves because the pain of the torture they get from their classmates is too much? We've even had parents get involved and torment young girls over the internet.
If you want to see how mean homophobia can get go to a gay pride parade. People line the streets and yell "fag!" and "Damn you to hell!" at gay women and men just for being gay women and men. But gays are also hated in a whole other way. By silence. DADT still exists. Sen. Jim DeMint has called for not allowing gays to teach in public schools. Christine O'Donnell says homosexuality is an identity disorder.
Then there is Andrew Shirvell, a Michigan Asst. Attorney General who is actively harrassing a gay student leader. Even sitting outside the guy's home.
And the Democrats and a lot on the left just point and laugh. They don't say anything. They give these homophobic nitwits the same attention one gives a clown at a circus. The clown is funny and we watch him but no one ever says he's dangerous. No one ever points out how mean he is. By our silence we take part in his joke. By our silence we take part in hate as well.
It's amazing that President Obama, considered by many to be the finest speaker on any circuit today,has been well, discouragingly silent on this, to borrow a phrase from Keith Olbermann. Keith mentioned the president's discouraging silence on his Sept. 21 show, talking to David Corn about the failed vote to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" that day. But it's worse than Mr. Olbermann may realize or certainly worse than he or any of us knew then. We hadn't lost those four young men yet.
Now, the President of the United States is the biggest mouthpiece in the world. His comments are carried to every ear on the globe, with possible exceptions maybe of people living so isolated we don't know them. Don't believe me? As yourself what is on President Obama's iPod.Ask yourself if you know the name of his dog.You know exactly what's on his iPod or at least you can find out. And we all know Bo. We love Bo! Who doesn't love a big fluffy dog?
Now ask yourself what the name of VP Joe Biden's dog. Or ask yourself what's on Health and Human Services Sect. Sebilius's iPod.You don't know? Of course you don't. Why would you? But you know President Obama.
I'd like to address the President for a moment directly. And please, feel free to forward this to him if you like. And while you're in the mood to do something,please take a moment to check out the Trevor Project at http://www.thetrevorproject.org and the "It Gets Better" video project started by Dan Savage at http://www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject
Mr. President, With all due respect sir, you're keeping too quiet. I believe it's time for you to take to the airwaves once again, from the Oval office behind that beautiful desk. I believe it's time you stood up for people who are right now living in pain and fear. You need to sit the American people down and have a good hard truth telling. A verbal smack upside the head, if you will. Tell them we're better than this. Tell them that bullying anyone about anything should not be an option. Tell them they need to talk to their kids and find out if they are a bully or if they are being bullied. Since I believe all things are connected I see the failure to repeal DADT as part of the problem. It needs to be eliminated so that the country can, as a whole, understand that gay people are every bit the citizen and human being straight people are. We've all known someone who was ostricized for being gay. I myself know of several. I am straight but that doesn't mean I can't see the pain and anguish.
So even if you don't suspend discharges due to DADT, do this Mr. President. Make a speech. Make it a good...no, scratch that, a great one and tell the American people we need to love one another again. Thank you Sir.
Michael J. Norton
Copyright 2010 Michael J. Norton