Back in early December, when I scheduled the library’s computer class offerings for January and February, it never occurred to me to plan around Inauguration Day. So yesterday, Monday, I look at my personal calendar and realize that I managed to schedule myself to teach a class on Tuesday morning. Way to go, Jessica.
This morning’s computer class, then, lasted only eighty minutes, not ninety. Those who feel shortchanged are entitled to a full refund, which I shall pay out of my own pocket. This is a noble sacrifice on my part, but I think I can swing it, seeing as the classes are free.
Class concluded promptly at 11:50, at which point I, and most of my students, walked over to the library’s community room, where the inauguration was being televised on a big screen. I got there just as Rick Warren was starting the Lord’s Prayer.
A word, now, about Rick Warren.
I am a sexual minority. This is probably apparent from the name of this website, but I’ll spell it out for the dimmer members of my reading audience: I am not a straight girl. I am, strictly speaking, a bisexual. I am capable of emotional, romantic, physical, and sexual attraction to males as well as females. To compound this heresy, I am a liberal, a Democrat, and a feminist. I have a college degree in Women’s Studies.
It naturally follows that I practice satanism, despise men, and kill children (but not before I recruit them into becoming homosexuals).
Oh shit, I didn’t mean to type that. Whoops! I must learn to be more careful about divulging my wicked ways. Pretend you didn’t read that. Let’s start again:
It naturally follows that I care passionately about same-sex rights. I believe that consenting adults should be allowed to marry (or not marry) whomever they choose, without interference from the government. I believe the government should neither encourage nor prevent people from marrying
Shrewd readers may realize that this is actually a very conservative philosophy. In theory, if not in practice, conservatives prefer to keep the government out of people’s private lives. But let’s keep this conclusion to ourselves, shall we? I don’t want to undermine my own argument of being a pansy-ass leftwing nutjob.
With most of the Big Important Societal issues, I can understand both sides. I may not like the other side, but I can almost always comprehend why someone disagrees with me. Be it immigration, the economy, healthcare, global warming, globalism, welfare, Israel, what have you—I can see how someone could reach completely different conclusions.
The only issue that baffles me is same-sex marriage. I have never heard an argument against it that makes any sense.
“Oh, but my religious teaching prohibit it!”
Ah, yes. There’s that. And while it saddens me that certain interpretations of certain religions prohibit same-sex marriage, it’s really none of my business. Other people are free to adhere to whatever dogmas they like. Let’s have a nice round of applause for the First Amendment, yes?
So fine. Prohibit same-sex marriage in your house of worship. No skin off my back. But be a pal and keep your private religious beliefs out of my public sphere, all right?
Back to Rick Warren: I actually didn’t mind that he delivered the inaugural prayer. I appreciate that he devotes a lot of his attention to issues such as AIDS and the environment. I don’t appreciate that he interprets the bible in a different way than I do, concerning gays, but that’s his prerogative.
I will fight any piece of legislation or public policy that discriminates against gays. Such laws are unconstitutional and inhumane. But I will not fight individuals who believe differently than I do. See the difference? I’ll engage in civil conversation with those individuals, and gladly, but I won’t fight them. And I’ll leave the clergy alone if they leave me alone.
Moving on: After Rick Warren did his bit, Aretha Franklin came on. That’s when I started crying. Good thing the room was dark.
I continued to sniffle through the John Williams arrangement of Simple Gifts, and I even choked up when Biden was sworn in. (You’ll recall that he was the guy who faced Sarah Palin in the Vice Presidential debate.)
When Obama took the oath, I started to bawl. I more or less sobbed my way through the entire inaugural speech.
It was a profoundly emotional experience for me. (The bit about how I cried through the ceremony probably clued you in to that.) What made it so very meaningful was Obama’s race. Even a few years ago I doubted I’d ever see a black man as president. Racism has always perverted this nation’s course, and continues to do so, but today I saw a biracial man take the oath of office.
I have never been prouder to be an American.
I’ve got a lot more to say about Obama himself, and about my hopes and fears for the nation and the world, but I am worn out. Witnessing live-action history does that. More from me in a few days, after I zip off a few professional articles.