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Archive for July, 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016 was the annual San Diego Pride Parade – or as it’s known at our house – Reaffirmation Day!

Pride Parades are always a day filled with joy and love. It’s a day of singing and hugging and making new friends, and letting my soul be renewed in its gayness as I touch that big gay flag at the end of the parade.

But this year – this year was different.

This year it wasn’t just those of us watching that needed to be there. Those who were walking in the parade needed to be there also. They needed their souls to be renewed, they needed to be seen, they needed to be loved. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.

I had a San Diego Police Officer come over to me and take my hands and in hers and thank me for being there, for supporting them. Seriously? Through tears I told this woman: “No, thank you for being here for us.” There was a hug – and then she was gone.  My heart was just full.

There were over a hundred people marching under the Qualcomm banner. Cheering and waving with smiles of pure joy on their faces.

Walmart, HP, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, The San Diego Padres, Harrah’s all there – all marching – all waving, all proud to be human beings not being judged or in fear of losing their jobs.

A high school marching band made up of gay kids from schools all over the county – marching and basking in the glow of the roar of the crowd as they passed by.  No fear of rejection or bullying or condemnation. Just love – lots of love.

Military personal – Army, Navy, Marines, Airforce, Coast Guard – all under the American flag, all walking tall and proud with some tears streaming down their faces.

Police, Firefighters, Sheriffs, Highway Patrol – all walking, riding, waving, hugging, smiling – all joyful.

Almost 4 hours of churches, businesses, politicians, community services walking, waving, singing, hugging, laughing, loving…

This is what happens when no one is forced to hide. This joy is what happens when people are accepted for who they are. This love is what happens when there is no fear of rejection, no thought of discrimination, no laws that divide us one from the other.

Whatever your political leanings may be, I simply ask that before you tick any box this November – you think about what can happen when people come together in love and the knowledge and acceptance that we are our brother’s keepers. It’s not about black or white or Hispanic or whatever ethnicity you may be. It’s not about being a Christian or Muslim or Jewish or whatever religion you may or may not follow. It’s not about gay or straight or transgendered. It’s not about men and women. It’s about the human race. It’s about all of us sharing this life we are blessed to be living.

Your thoughts should not be about hate and walls and guns and laws that divide us one from the other. Your thoughts should be about what you can do to unite us as a people, what you can do to make things better for you, for your neighbor, what you can do to stop discrimination, what you can do make peace in your family, in your community, in your own life.

For me, my peace is grabbing that big gay flag at the end of the parade. That’s where I promise myself to never look back, to never go back, to never settle, to help where I can, to hug and love and keep talking and writing until I’m no longer able to do so.

And grabbing that big gay flag is about love. My love for Susan, for my kids, for my grand kids, for my brother, my nephews and their wives and their families. For my friends, who are also my family, I want the world to be kind to them, I want them to grow up in a world where they are free to be whoever it is they are. Not who or what the world thinks they should be – but who they are.

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Here are a few words from the document that we celebrate on this Independence Day: The Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness… “

Some 240 years after this was written, we live now in a world where instead of working together toward a common goal, we cast blame on those we don’t understand when things don’t go our way.  It’s the gays, it’s the Muslims, it’s the Hispanics, it’s the women, it’s the African-Americans, it’s the baby boomers, it’s the Democrats, it’s the Republicans, it’s the Bush’s, it’s the Clintons, it’s the Christians, it’s the Pope, it’s the Communists.  You get my drift.  The list is endless.

The writers of the Declaration of Independence tell us that being an American is supposed to be about celebrating individual freedoms for everyone. That we are all equal, and we are all entitled to the unalienable rights (rights that cannot be taken away) of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Reread that last paragraph one more time before you read on.

But – It’s not always easy to be an American.

You may not like the person yelling in the street burning the American flag in protest, however, as an American it is their right to do just that.

You may not like the mosque in your neighborhood, but as an American the right to religious freedom is to be celebrated.

You may not like the people of color (any color) who just moved into your neighborhood, but as Americans we have the freedom to live where we choose.

You may not like folks protesting for women’s rights or gay rights or voicing their distaste for war; but as an American it is their right, and some believe their responsibility, to do so.

You may not like the Westboro Church protesting at funerals, but, it is their right to do just that. It is also your right to go and protest against them.

You may not like the politicians who are currently in office, just remember that your vote is your voice – use it.

You may not like the whole immigration thing, but remember; if you’re living in the continental United States; your family came onto this soil as an immigrant.  Just think about that.

So, when you wave your American flag and watch those fireworks this weekend; ponder the fact that we are all Americans. Every race, every religion, every gender. Every man, woman and child.

All entitled to the same rights and freedoms. All deserving, all human beings endowed by their Creator…

It really is something to celebrate.fireworks

 

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