Sunday, November 09, 2008

Bits'N'Pieces: Church

I am trying something different here, I guess this is a memory or an excerpt out of the book that is my life and perhaps maybe yours. I don't know why I write as if thousands upon thousands of people are reading this but I'm going to think positively and hope for the best. Hopefully this will become a somewhat regular addition to the purple monkey and hopefully it will become something....I dunno, awesome.

Bits'N'Pieces: Church

..."Jesus there are a lot of people" Tata says, Mama giggles at the unintentional joke, he smiles back at her saying "I'll drop you guys off at the front and park." We get out of the Oldsmobile, I take in the big gulp of gasoline exahust and hurry up the steps, it's cold outside. I hold the door for Mama and my brothers and a few others as they smile at the cute kid stuck holding the door open, trying to keep a strong face despite the cold and despite his closeness to warm up.
"I got it, go to your Mama" some man says as he sees the neurotic fear in my eyes that I might lose her. I run up even more stairs, grab her hand and tippy toe to put my hand in the Holy Water, feeling the luke warm, almost oily feel of the warm blessed water, damp my forehead, chest, shoulders and finally my other hand. The smell of incense fills my nose, strong and bitter, like gasoline. We find a seat, other people shuffle down the aisle, making way for Mama and her children and we're seated.
She unzips my coat and the mittens attached fling off my hands one by one followed by me kneeling to pray like I was taught to do; instead smelling the dull varnished pews and bitter incense. The whole wooden church looks like its glowing, like the few chunks of wood left after a fire, glowing that bright and dirty orange, slowly going out until they are only a few embers.
"How can the church be so dark and bright at the same time" I think to myself without really thinking it. I lean my head against Mama's arm, smelling her perfume and make up, bitter and strong and feel the softness of her fur coat. It's cold from us being outside for those few bitter seconds while we were dropped off at the front, but I'll warm it up and it'll stick to my face when I pull away. I turn around, it's okay because Mass hasn't started yet and see Tata, standing in the back, I wave and smile, he waves back hurriedly, hoping his kid will behave himself. I sit back, lean against Mama, finally having warmed up a bit"...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mixed Feelings

Yesterday Barack Obama made history. In a clear sweep, the 44th President of the United States of America was elected and the throngs of people in the streets partying, kissing, cheering, dancing, singing and praying only mimic the immense joy I feel. Even as a Canadian, I am proud that one day I will be able to tell my children that I was alive when I witnessed history in the making. When I heard Jon Stewart cut off Stephan Colbert and annouce that Barack Obama has been elected the President of the United States, I think I was finally able to let go of that breath that I was holding in all day on November 4th, 2008.

Along with a Democrat in the White House, they also control the Senate and the House of Representatives meaning the years to come will be years in which laws and acts are actually passed and not a deadlock between warring factions. No more vetoes, progress will finally start again. America, you're sensible cousin from the Great White North could not be prouder of you! You've finally told the world "WE DON'T WANT TO BE HATED ANYMORE!". The cheers and the tears shed are only the start to the great example I truly feel you will set for the rest of the world.

So why would I have mixed feelings? Well an anomaly occurred in the great state of California. California was one of the four key states that essentially locked it in that Barack Obama would become the first African-American President of the United States of America. They are now (most likely) the first state to grant homosexual couples the right to marry and then take it away from them.

Proposition 8 will most likely pass, amending the constitution of California and defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Barack Obama was not in favour of same-sex marriage, a position he himself has claimed he may change once he becomes more educated in the matter, but pubicly denounced the hateful propisition. As did Joe Biden, Vice-President elect, as did Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and Representative of the State of California.
Why would I make a stink about this now after one of the greatest day in American History? Because of Mr. Obama's victory speech:
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.…Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

I actually teared up a little. The President-elect of the United States, in my mind, a homophobic country, mentioned the gay community in his victory speech after learning he had been elected the 44th President of the United States of America!

A small gesture, sure. But a small gesture that speaks volumes. This man has made the gay community a point off a check list. A reason to hold your tongue should you have nothing nice to say. Gay kids watching this speech in their living rooms with homophobic parents sitting beside them know they have a president that not only acknowledges them but respects them. It's a shame that the people, the ignorant, hateful people of California (yes, that goes equally to the white community that didn't vote for Obama and to the black community that voted against Proposition 8 because of their delicate sensibilities) could not heed the words of Martin Luther King Jr when he said:
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:
'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Florida and Arizona have now passed the same hateful laws, banning same-sex marriage, with Florida going that further hateful step of not even allowing civil unions, common-law partnerships or anything remoteful similar to a same-sex marriage to exist. Arkansas approved a measure to stop unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children that are in dire need of stable homes - gay people being their number one target.
So to all the hateful, ignorant, stupid people, black and white, that voted against the teachings and sensibilities of Obama (yes even if did in fact vote for Obama) shame on you. It's because of you that thousands of people will have mixed feelings on what should be the happiest day in America's history.
Congratulations Mr. Obama, I sincerely hold in my heart faith that you will turn your country around, that because of you, the ridiculous laws in Arizona, Florida, California and many other states will one day be laughed at in history classrooms. Just as children let their jaws drop when they learned of "a time" when black people could not sit at the same restaurants that white people sat at or that black people could not marry white people or that white people, in the darkest times of your country's history, owned black people, I know the impact you'll make on your country will one day have children dropping their jaws when they learn of "a time" when two people, who love one another, could not marry because of their gender.
Once again, Congratulations Mr. President!