The Day After by Gena Ratcliff

13445743_10153613282962765_8870135889594466009_nYesterday an American male walked into a gay club in Orlando, was seen sitting to have a drink before beginning a slaughter that ended with 49 dead, 53 injured and untold thousands of lives affected by this oft repeated instance of ‘death by an assault type weapon’.

I spent the day at my job at a home improvement store, listening as I walked the aisles, my emotions jumping between breathtaking sorrow and unadulterated rage, and except for a few colleagues that shared their own sorrow directly to me, I heard nothing. Not a murmur about what was, by then, flooding the networks.

Comparatively, I recalled the days following Columbine all the way through San Bernadino and the conversations then: full of outrage at the act from some, and, on the other side, grousing about how the ‘liberals’ would be trying to come for the guns again. But yesterday, I heard almost nothing in the aisles, and my mind made that horrible, terrifying leap… this time, it wasn’t children, it wasn’t  a church full of parishioners or an office full of folks sipping their coffee. It was a club full of queers and, really, who cares?

If one believes the flood of heartless vitriol that flowed through the social networks, it’s an easy jump to make. Then there’s the media helping incite the commentary by coloring our view and feeding outrage:  A kidnapped or murdered white girl gets media where a minority girl gets nothing. A white, male athlete rapes a woman and the headlines call it a sexual assault. It’s RAPE people! And there is no ‘excuse’ for it. A bunch of queers get shot by an angry, homophobic male, that was/had been on the no-fly list and had been interviewed by the FBI more than once, but was able to legally buy a fucking gun… but let’s talk about the Muslims and how they’re all terrorists. What planet are you from and what century do you live in? Do you not get the fact that all terrorism is a hate crime and all hate crimes are terrorism, and that radicalized Muslims are not the only ‘doers’?

Today I’m done. I’m done excusing the behavior of ignorance and intolerance. You don’t like ‘political correctness’, fine. The rest of this piece will please you, as I’ve thrown all that to the wind.

I’m done quietly defending my right to live in equality and safety in my country, my state, my town, and battling the faceless BS spouted by Faux News watchers. Get an education people. Check the facts. Read a damn book. I am done silently tolerating a representative from my state (TX) that is so heartless, he would tweet out at 7 am on Sunday morning, a quote about reaping what you sow after the worst mass shooting in the modern history of the United States. Never mind that the back peddling has begun… It was pre-set, blah, blah, blah.

I’m done choking down the whole religious freedom crapball that chips away at the lives and rights of women, blacks, gays, immigrants and poor people. I’m done feeling in the wrong when my heart flutters every time I see a camo-dressed, open or not-so-well-concealed carrier of a weapon strolling a store or street just because they can. Is he a good guy or a bad guy… or is it Halloween? While a visit to Walmart can be daunting, I’ve never in my life felt the need to carry a weapon to go shopping.

News flash to the Christian Right: your behavior isn’t ‘christian’ or ‘right’ (as in correct) and your legal right to worship doesn’t trump the rights of others to live in freedom. Your constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion is just that: you have the freedom go to the church of your choice and observe your religion in your home without fear of persecution. You do not get to make laws that force others to live according to your religious tenets.

If you have a business that serves the public, you are required to serve ALL of the public that waves currency in your face whether the customer is gay, a different race or from another planet. It includes covering birth control in comprehensive health care plans if your business offers the benefit. If you work for a government agency, for instance, a county office, you must observe the law and issue marriage licenses to ALL people that are legally guaranteed the right to marry. If you can’t do your job, get the hell out of my face and find a job that doesn’t offend your delicate sensibilities. Your religion isn’t mine, nor are its rules and regs. To force it on others via legislation isn’t ‘religious freedom.’ That is ‘theocracy’… you know, like ‘Sharia Law’.

To the NRA affiliated idiots that think the Second Amendment is the be all, end all of this nation’s foundation: Fuck you and the horse you probably fell off of. You need to back the hell off. If you need an assault type rifle for hunting, you should consider a different sport. If you’re so attracted to camo and stroking your weapons that you can’t be without them and insist that you’re ‘defending America,’ join the military (if they’ll have you) or law enforcement (again, if they’ll have you). And take a freaking class on the Constitution and learn what the whole thing means beyond the Second Amendment. It will require the ability to count beyond the number of fingers on one hand.

To our local, state and national governmental representatives:
-Do you take money from NRA?
-Believe bathrooms are dangerous because of LGBT people who need to pee?
-Think child molesters that are also former Speakers of the House don’t deserve to die in prison?
-Believe rapists (that are white and wealthy or professional/college athletes) don’t deserve the ‘hardship’ of prison?
-Don’t believe in equal pay for women or a living minimum wage for all that reflects cost of living?
-Do you lobby to close doors to women’s clinics that provide important and otherwise unaffordable health care because they also offer abortions?
-Do you think that folks on a no-fly list still have the right to buy guns?
-Do you think it’s a fine idea to pour billions into war, send our children off to fight said wars, then cut funding that would care for those very soldiers when they come home bent or broken?

The shit-list is long Mr./Mrs. Elected Official, and I, with masses of people of like mind, will do our damnedest to make sure you get to experience the joys of unemployment. I don’t care which side of the aisle you perch on. November, like winter, is coming. We are watching, listening and paying attention to your ‘representation’ of us. The bulk of you haven’t done your real job (representing the people, not corporate entities) in years, so it’s time for you to go.

I am gay. I am a woman. I will not live in fear. Either walk with me or stay the hell out of my way.

Gena Ratcliff 2016
See • Feel • Trust ~ No Regrets

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