The holiday season brings with it a mixed bag of emotions and experiences. When we are surrounded by family and friends, have resources to buy gifts for those we love, and have time to enjoy the extra work that holidays entail, it can be a great…
The holiday season brings with it a mixed bag of emotions and experiences. When we are surrounded by family and friends, have resources to buy gifts for those we love, and have time to enjoy the extra work that holidays entail, it can be a great time. When we are lonely–whether the distance from loved ones is geographical or emotional–the Christmas season can be an especially difficult time.
Good or bad, however, the New Year is a time for resolutions; a new year brings with it a clean slate. This is the year I will lose weight, become familiar with all the things my computer can do, read the Great Books, learn to speak Japanese, make peace with great-aunt Zelda. We are all programmed to see the beginning of a new year as a hopeful event–a triumph, as the cynic might say, of hope over experience.
Well, I can do that. I can reach into my psyche, past my rational mind, and bring out a wish list for the coming year. Herewith, then, are Sheila’s Six Resolutions/Wishes for 1998.
One. This year, the Christian Coalition and its fellow-travelers will work on being Christian. They will study the biblical passages about "judging not" and "loving one’s neighbor as oneself." They will devote more time to feeding the hungry and clothing the stranger, and less to condemning and threatening anyone and everyone who holds different values or beliefs.
Two. This year, parents who discover that their child is gay will respond by saying "So what?" They will make it clear that love is not conditioned on sexual identity; that parental acceptance does not require betrayal of a child’s most intimate nature.
Three. This year, politicians will stop pandering to the fear and bigotry in their constituencies. Instead, they will use the "bully pulpit" of public life to remind citizens that we are all in this great adventure together; that we don’t have to love each other, but we do all have to "get along" (to quote Rodney King’s poignant and memorable phrase).
Four. This year, high schools and middle schools throughout Indiana will make the physical and emotional safety of ALL students a high priority. Administrators will insure that homophobic or racist behavior is dealt with sternly and promptly, and that the school is a nurturing environment for all children.
Five. This year, AIDS will be cured.
Six. This year, the gay community will become politically and emotionally empowered. Turf battles among activists and organizations will diminish, and cooperation will grow. Political involvement will increase sharply, and with it, political sophistication. Gay and Lesbian and Transgendered citizens will use their financial and intellectual resources to work for the election of sensible, honorable people. The state of Indiana will amend its civil rights statute to include protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The U.S. Congress will pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. The citizens of Hawaii will reject the recently proposed constitutional amendment, and will make Hawaii the first state in the nation to recognize gay marriage.
Wouldn’t all that make for a wonderful year?
While we are working to make "Sheila’s Six" a reality, I want to wish everyone reading this column a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. While we may not be able to implement my wish list, we can–and must–work together to insure that 1998 is the very best year we can create.
A clean slate. A New Year. Another chance.