Recently, I shared a photo from PrideFest Milwaukee that had an unexpected response. The photo said simply: “I don’t think the worst thing that could happen to me is raising a child who is gay. I think the worst thing is to raise a child who is cruel to those who are gay.”
The post got an amazing 745 likes on my Facebook page, as well as a few of the anticipated responses that come when you share something that has long been part of the culture wars. I stand firm in my beliefs, but the reaction also is one reason I don’t post much overtly political stuff on Facebook. My friends/acquaintances cut across the political spectrum, and there’s no reason to incite one side or the other. Enough of that is going on as is.
However, one response is worth examining in more depth. It came from a person who wrote, “The worst thing is to raise a child who is intentionally cruel to anyone … not just gay people.”
No one disagrees with that, but the statement somewhat misses the point of the post, which calls attention to a group that has been abused and disenfranchised for some time.
Long ago, I realized that children are not inherently racists/misogynists; more often than not, they’re puppeting what they hear from parents and family members. The danger comes when intolerant thoughts become ingrained beliefs and values.
This is a simple fact: You can talk to, influence, help, offer, beg, plead, hope and pray, but you cannot "prevent" someone from making a bad decision.
No matter how far we’ve come as a country, all you have to do is read the headlines and it becomes clear that intolerance and anger toward people who are different from us still has a strong grip on many in our nation. For every two steps forward, we take at least one step back, sometimes more.
And we only have ourselves to blame.
Quote of the month from Rosanne Cash: "You want to know where you come from and who you are connected to. From the most simple — tracing back your name — to the most complex of what sticks to your DNA over eternity. The musical lineage I have. The emotional and spiritual lineage I have. What my kids will get from that. All of those questions become really important. They certainly did for me."
Here are some other random (and for the most part more tongue-in-cheek) thoughts from the past month:
• Snow days make you realize there's a fine line between togetherness and trapped.
• The morning after daylight savings time takes effect: There's no way it's already 11 a.m. Oh, yeah...
• If you want to know why parents do what they do sometimes, blame Daylight Savings Time and the groundhog. That covers at least 90% of it this year...
• Some days you wake up and feel bitter. At other times you are grateful. The latter definitely applies this morning, despite a night's sleep that feels like the cat's siesta on the ottoman.
• After the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament: So UNC is smarter than Harvard. At basketball. Barely...
• So, if you're deciding to run for president, you think you'd be smart enough to purchase your domain name in advance. Don’t believe me? Take a look at www.tedcruz.com. (Not surprisingly, the page no longer exists at the apparent “request” of the Cruz campaign.)
Dear Mother Nature: With regard to your seemingly ongoing disrespect for those of us who live on the East Coast, all I can say is live through this lingering allergy/cold/curl up in a fetal ball feeling. Then you'll understand why my acronym of choice for you right now is GFY.
On behalf of the Mid-Atlantic and New England states, thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.