I went to the spontaneous protest against Mayor Dan Sullivan's veto of the Anchorage Assembly's Ordinance 64. The one that was meant to include laws protecting gays and lesbians against discrimination and hate crimes. The one approved by the Assembly in spite of severe sandbagging and astroturfing on the part of local preacher cum politician Jerry Prevo. A lizard looking man who uses his local pulpit to promote politics and hate against those who don't believe exactly as he does. Prevo essentially bused in mob after mob of whipped up teenagers from Sarah Palin country (Wasilla) who had no reason to be there protesting other than to feed off of each others hate. After the dust settled, the partisans of equality and justice for ALL humans had won in the Assembly only to have that all crash down upon us because of Mayor Sullivan's cowardice and his fear of losing Prevo's mob support when he vetoed it today. His reason -- most of the people at the Assembly hearings were anti-ordinance 64. Hell they all had matching red t-shirts. So while Germany had her "brownshirts" Anchorage has it's "redshirts". Anyhow one must assume that by "most" he of course meant those fake protesters Prevo brought in -- right Mayor Dan? You know... the ones that don't live here? What a putz. A one term putz who just ruined his political career by the issuance of this cowardly veto. And no, I didn't vote for him, I voted for a Democrat, former state legislator Eric Croft.
The protest was attended by around 125-200 people at it's peak by my estimate. Not bad for short notice in a fairly small town. I didn't really know many of the people there by sight. I knew Mel of Henkimaa blog from her pictures so we talked briefly. She took some pictures of my sign. I made it a point to talk to a couple members of the media to point out who and what I am. Told them the usual and now seemingly cliched "straight but not narrow" (Mel's classic response to that was "I'm gay but not narrow", by the way. Very funny...). I also pointed out to those members of the media that I am a progressive Republican, who was there to support my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who fight against discrimination and hate crimes.
To say I get a thrill at the reaction to that statement even when issued to friendly persons is a huge understatement. Blank stares like a puppy recognizing the sound of their own name is what it most reminds me of and you can virtually see their minds exploding at the sheer absurdity of my personal "position" statement. Thus why I will continue to use it. More on that later when I said the same thing to a shouting bigot (the only one there, actually).
Anyhow I'm pretty sure Mel and I have met before... probably through Linda from Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis and from back in the day when we played a lot of gigs with "Sky Is Blue", an all female band whose members were mostly either lesbian or bisexual. I didn't ask them at the time. It wasn't important. We we all just playing music and having fun. Linda was a member. My drumming sister and friend Stephanie was as well. I think I endeared myself to Stephanie one day at the Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival by being sympathetic to the common plight of all performance drummers, that of the essential need for hydration. I brought her many a bottle of water or beer both there and at other gigs like at Pridefest so I suspect that for my act of compassion she couldn't help but love me. I know. We drummers stick together, no pun intended. We have an unspoken bond, best expressed in an almost 'Dune'-like manner of sharing our water. So basically, while I'm not gay or lesbian (merely an honorary lesbian according to Linda ;) and some might say I certainly dress like one), I know many people I consider dear friends who are either gay or lesbian. But I digress. I attended because I was righteously pissed off at Mayor Sullivan for hsi veto. I wanted to actively demonstrate the motivation behind a straight, Republican identifying individual by showing up to support friends in a time of crisis. I felt my attendance was absolutely necessary. Essential. Because I can. Because apparently I have the power to blow some people's minds. And I was right.
I think a lot of times this happens because many just can't wrap their heads around the concept. They probably question my motives or wonder if I'm stupid or something for remaining in the 'R' column but as I told another person I was standing next to at the protest and who was there with two of his friends holding their own "Straight But Not Narrow" hand made signs, "sometimes it is more personally rewarding to fight from within". It certainly is for me because when I see the flabbergasted looks from those who find out who and what I am I get energized. I hear "MORE COWBELL!" I get the feeling I can spit hot lead type and write a narrative in real time by personal action rather than just paying lip service to support a cause I believe in passionately.
Progressive? Republican? Whaaaat? (head tilt) BOOM! Sweet. Mission accomplished. Another barrier of entrenched thought torn asunder. Me 1, Their Brain... well also 1 -- it's now a tie but I may be helping to rip away the expectations of many of those who base their ideas of Republicans on the well worn and tired caricature of the neocon paradigm. So a win-win for both of us because just as I am not actively trying to convert people to Buddhism nor am I trying to get more progressive Democrats to turn "to the dark side" by realizing their inner Republican. It is just who I am. I am comfortable with my political "sexuality", not threatened by other peoples party identification or political leanings. I am a font of mutual respect, freely given and usually always received in return equally.
So I took a few pictures. Posted them to facebook. Made my own sign. "Hate is not a Christian Value!" on one side and "WWJDAAH?" ("Who Would Jesus Discriminate Against And Hate?") on the other. I'm no artist, but I think it explained my own personal take on the illogical position taken by these particular forces of Christian Evangelical fueled anti-equality, discrimination and hate. I hope it provoked some other barriers, those of the closet bigot driving by in their car who may have secretly fantasized about running us over, to be torn down. Maybe so maybe not. Either way, my deepest thanks to whomever brought the poster board and markers and for allowing me to express my thoughts to people who may have been in severe need of a small mind-fuck. Or perhaps I should say thanks for the tools to fix a small mind, fuck!
After a couple of hours that included time spent in front of City Hall and in front of McGinley's Pub, owned by Mayor Dan (where a hapless and clueless waitress laughably told me she was going to "call the cops on me" for standing there quietly, holding up a sign on a public sidewalk for all their patrons to read), I decided to go home... a mere two blocks away. People were still standing there around the corner and across from City Hall, chanting slogans, so I decided to leave my sign in case it resonated with anyone else and so they too could use it. Consider the irony if you will. A Buddhist, trained and raised as a true evangelical Christian during my youth, using my usually superior knowledge of their own professed religion as a momentary mind-fuck designed to get the hateful bigots to THINK for themselves for a change. After all I had left Christianity precisely because of the hate and bigotry people have towards disbelievers which they usually justify in their minds by manipulating biblical scriptures to suit their own needs. Many of them have never actually read the Bible as extensively as I have, instead they choose to accepted as gospel their faith motivate HATE because some asshat smarmy lizard like Jerry Prevo TELLS THEM that is they way they should think. It's disgusting to me at SO many levels. That type of "sheep being led by a cold and calculating wolf" behavior makes me want to scream, right in their unthinking faces, "WAKE THE HELL UP!" -- but believe it or not I actually prefer the more subtle methods of spurring forward their own thought processes rather than attempting to re-brainwash them. Thus the irony of my sign.
So I set it down for others to reuse and turned for home and here is where we come to the crux of this story. I, not being a jaywalking asshat scofflaw (unlike our Mayor) dutifully waited for the walk signal to change, crossed the street and then I see this one skinny, chinless white guy dressed in the maintenance uniform of a Westmark Hotel employee, screaming hate towards the crowd of my friends standing across from City Hall. The usual plethora of ignorant slurs. The 'Q' word. The 'F' word. His impotent and ugly anti-American attempt to limit the rights of those peaceably assembled to protest the denial of their rights. Ding! Off goes the light in my head. I am a pretty short and stout Welshman, none too intimidating but I have a scowl taught to me by my loving Father (who really is a pushover and sweet man without a mean bone in his body) and my version of it was lovingly perfected over the years by using it against ignorant idiots like the one I now walk, unhesitatingly and directly towards. A homeless guy standing next to him quietly bumming a smoke pretty much scampered away when I firmly but respectfully asked the shouter " What do you think you're doing?" of Mr. Chinless. The homeless guy felt compelled to answer first with "just bumming a smoke" and he got away quickly. No harm, no foul. He wasn't yelling. So I smiled at him and let him go, knowing that NOW I could focus on the problem at hand. I have an idea that perhaps nothing is scarier when confronting someone's ignorance and bigotry than to talk in a firm yet menacing tone while easily manifesting the fire in one's eyes and the scowl upon ones face as you're about to do some verbal "schooling". I wasn't there to pick a fight. I wasn't there to goad him to physical violence. I was there, standing about two feet from his face, to tear his psyche a new asshole. I was there to explode his mind with the mind bomb I know is virtually guaranteed to verbally yet peaceably "rock the world" of people like this puffed up and blustering rooster, cowardly crowing his hate from afar. The brief conversation (less the wild and menacing gesticulations needed to drive my point home into his tiny mind) went something like this and please pardon me -- I beg your forgiveness as I use his own crude language to vividly illustrate his ignorance and bigotry:
Me: "What do you think you're accomplishing, standing here, yelling your hateful words at them just out of their hearing range?"
Chinless: "I fucking hate queers! They should stay in the closet..."
M: "So you believe that your hateful words are doing anything productive at this moment?" (because I really do talk like I write... lol)
C: "Fucking faggots just ought to go home. Nobody fucking cares! Go home! Fucking faggots!" (him yelling over my shoulder)
M: (opening the bomb bay doors) "So how do you explain me -- a straight, heterosexual REPUBLICAN being down here today, standing with them while holding up a sign and supporting their cause? Supporting the cause of preventing idiots like you from discriminating against them, of perpetuating your hateful speech and violence against them as I help work to stop violence from people like YOU against people like them?" (the sound of the bomb whistling towards the terra firma of his tiny pea brain)
C: "Well you don't sound like a Republican! You sound like a fucking faggot liberal..."
M: (getting closer in his face and adding a hint more menace and Clint Eastwood-esque "Feeling lucky, punk?" growl to my voice) "Well actually, I'm a Progressive Republican... (KAAAAAA-BOOOOOOM!) and I'm here to insure that mindless, ignorant and bigoted dinosaur neocon fucks like yourself and Dan Sullivan (stabbing a finger towards City Hall) are BURRIED ALIVE and that he and others like him will NEVER ever serve in office again. I'm here to insure that you and people like you will ultimately learn to NOT shout out your hate and stupidity or suggestions of violence towards them ever again! (he quickly tries to sputter a few words attempting to dehumanize the protesters as I interrupt, more forcefully, gesticulating wildly, stabbing my finger towards first him and then at City Hall) Both you and ignorant assholes like Mayor Sullivan perpetuate hate and even violence against people who are just as human as you or I. Why is that exactly? Why do you feel the need to do that?"
C: "Because I fucking HATE queers! They molested and forced my little brother to be a fag and I hate them for that!"
He really said this. Then suddenly in a flash at that very moment and because of the look he had in his eyes as he said that sentence, with what I can only explain as the laser-like precision of pure unmitigated bunker-busting insight, I knew EXACTLY why he is the way he is and uttered the following:
Me: "You know statistics show that the vast majority of sexual molestations against children are done by heterosexuals, NOT homosexuals. I have an idea that the true root of your problem is that you yourself molested your own little brother when you were younger and your outward expression of hate towards these people here today is because of the overwhelming guilt you feel for having done that to him. You mask that guilt with your rage and pretended homophobia but you'll never be able to escape the reality of what you yourself did by raping and molesting you own little brother, will you? You in fact are the closeted homosexual, not mad at them but truly mad at yourself for not being able to deal with what you believe to be taboo feelings... with your OWN closeted homosexual tendencies."
I have absolutely no idea how I keyed into that. Some flash of insight right before that I picked up on from the look in his eyes. By the snarl of his phlegm crusted lips. As his face flushed white, looking as though it were devoid of any blood whatsoever, I could tell with absolute certainty (KAH-BOOOOOOOOM!), I had scored a devastating and direct hit, leaving no safe place for him to land the airplane of his fragile and rickety home-built flying machine of discrimination, hate and violence on the comfortable, well worn and well used landing strip of his own deluded mind. He breathlessly tried to stammer a few times with a look of abject horror in his eyes. Something told me I had hit the nail squarely upon the head and driven the point so deeply that he was mentally mortally wounded. He closed his mouth, sighed, turned on his heels rapidly and walked away without another word. Until he got about thirty feet away from me and stabbed his fingers towards the protesters. Perhaps he felt safer that far away from a mental terrorist such as he may have just witnessed, namely me. But he had it coming, I swear. He wordlessly tried to form a few more hateful thoughts as he walked away further but all that fell from his lips was the bloody shrapnel of a hateful mind utterly ripped to shreds. Stammering incoherence. He sheepishly looked back at me again and couldn't find the words so he skulked away.
This incident, one I'll probably remember for the rest of my life, is now what I consider to be my most successful mind-bombing run against bigotry ever. If all of us could learn the sudden insight that somehow mysteriously informed me of his very core characteristics and personal narrative truth as it pertained to his illogical and irrational world view and as fueled by his outward display of hate, I'm became pretty sure the world would and could become a better place for all humanity. Even for Mr. Chinless -- after he shuts the hell up and learns to think for himself and deals with his OWN issues first before blaming everyone but himself.