I was riding a bus when I heard the news. I opened Facebook to kill some time and there in front of me were hundreds of status updates celebrating the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling on same- sex marriage. It seems that while we were packing bags, traveling to a new base in NYC, and just basically living life, the US had a moment of clarity and finally set right one of the great injustices in our country. I knew it was coming eventually and I still couldn’t believe it.
One of the great benefits of traveling is perspective. Everybody does it differently, all around the world. Seeing daily life in action, from various viewpoints, brings one’s home country experience into focus. Some things make more sense. Some things reveal themselves as the utterly stupid practices they are. There are some things the US does better than any other country on earth. There are many more things that the other countries could school us on.
I am not shy about voicing my distaste with many of the operations of the US government. As a citizen, I fully embrace my freedom to question, disagree, and work to change those government policies and practices that are just plain awful. Traveling has taught me what being shy about questioning your government can lead to. It isn’t pretty.
But every so often, the US does something that makes me want to celebrate. Yesterday, I celebrated.
With their decision, SCOTUS didn’t “allow” gay marriage in the US, they chose to vocalize and enforce a common sense principle- the government cannot deny any right to any group that they grant to another. We’ve actually been over this already with various other groups. It’s not about special treatment or redefining anything. It’s not even just about a marriage ceremony since, in the US, marriage grants a whole host of government protected rights. It’s about common sense, common decency, and It’s about damn time.
This decision doesn’t absolve the US of it’s other ills. protecting the right of gay people to marry and reap the legal benefits of marriage will not cure racism, end hate, stop our wars, halt torture, or pull anyone out of poverty. It won’t even end discrimination against those who identify as LGBTQ. We have a long way to go to realize the world I, and many others, want to raise our children in. What this decision does do is proclaim loud and clear, “We are trying. We WANT to do better. We WILL do better. We ARE doing better.” That is something to celebrate.
In every country we travel to, there is good and there is bad. The US is no different. But here, and in every country around the world, there is no better feeling than standing amongst your fellow human beings and feeling the exhilaration of true, large scale, humanity centered, progress. It takes your breath away. It makes every ugly, hate filled argument in opposition fade gloriously to the background. Even when it doesn’t fix everything, it fixes something. So, while other ills rage on, for one beautiful moment in history, we should celebrate in a big way.
Yesterday, love won out over fear and hate in the US.
Today, we are basking in the glow of being present, in our own home country, to witness such a win for humanity.
Tomorrow, if you need us, we will be happily celebrating pride with about 1 million of my closest, glitter clad, rainbow wearing, NYC friends. You’re welcome to join us!
How are you celebrating pride?