Pride: a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated or from qualities and possessions that are widely admired.
That’s exactly what I feel when I look at my wife, the love of my life. It’s what I think about when I watch my preschool students graduate and go forth to conquer the world of elementary school, and it’s what I celebrate ever June with thousands of my sisters and brothers as we commemorate the continuing struggle for recognition and equality as LGBTQ citizens of this great country. Pride.
Growing up in Texas, pride was just a part of my state’s name, you know, Texas Pride? I have the t-shirt. I know my state’s history and how rugged the individuals were who came to here to form a community. The struggles we imagined overcoming as a collective, as Texans. I wore my six-shooter on my hip as a squirt, and all I dreamed of was riding off into the sunset on a horse with no name.
I take pride in many of the historical and current legislators from my state, like Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards and Wendy Davis. As a child, the heroes of the Alamo were just that, my heroes. But since 1994, that sense of pride in my state has taken a beating. If it wasn’t bad enough to have GW Bush as our governor, he went on to hold the highest office in our land, appointing as his successor…Rick the dick. Oh, um…Mr. Perry. And the worst insult? The teabagger, Ted Cruz is my elected senator. The man who almost single-handedly cost our economy $24 billion dollars by orchestrating the government shutdown, now wants to be its commander and chief.
I am not usually a person who comments on politics or stresses over the asinine behavior of politicians. I just don’t feel my energy should be directed in anger or angst at things I have no power to change. I vote, and hope the good people of Texas will have the moral strength not to elect contentious worms, but it’s a crap shoot. As my kids say, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.
But Ted Cruz changed my mind. I have never been as upset with anyone as I was with my senator when he filed the Restoration of Marriage Amendment and the Protect Marriage from the Courts Act. I was incensed that he would have the gall to introduce legislation that took such huge steps backward in the fight for equal rights. That such contemptible drivel would be put forth by the man representing me. I actually sent the man an email letting him know exactly how ashamed I was that he spoke for Texas. It felt really good to give him a piece of my mind. I was proud (there’s that word again) of myself.
Maybe he would see the light. Maybe he would realize that “we, the people” means all of the people. That we have established through the fourteenth amendment that “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” I felt he had to see that his actions undermined the very freedom he espouses.
But alas, it wasn’t to be. His office kindly sent me an automatic reply. I received an email detailing why he introduced the legislation, and how it was all about “State’s rights and not at all about discrimination”. I had to laugh and shake my head. I should have held my course and not sent my negative energy out there to change his mind, because, in the end, what did it get me? Not a whole lot. The confirmation that my State senator does not, nor will he ever represent me or anyone like me. The affirmation that to effect change, you have to vote and keep voting, and get your kids to vote, and get your neighbors to vote. And one other thing…one subtle reminder to stay far from the fray…a monthly email from the office of Senator Ted Cruz. Just in case I forgot about him.
Bold Strokes Books
Forsaken December 2015
Bitter Root Summer 2016