Saturday, July 6, 2013

Waiting for the Tsunami

Contrary to what some in the peanut gallery might say, I was NOT around 65 million years ago when the asteroid that hit the Earth wiped out the dinosaurs. Though it's likely they never knew what hit them, I would've given anything to have seen the expression on their faces as that giant wave swept over the land and carried them to extinction.

Cataclysmic events like that are often sudden, violent and lasting. Notice we don't have any dinosaurs around these days? Nature adapted and life, somehow, went on. If there is one constant in the universe it is that change is inevitable.

Change comes in many forms, not just biological. Societies change and with them social mores and values. It's hard to imagine that only a few decades ago, it was illegal in some states for a black man and a white woman to marry. Now, aside from the occasional stare from an ignoramus, it's not even noteworthy. I can't tell you how many young people I run into who are in relationships with members of other races and ethnic and religious backgrounds. Only a generation ago, that would've been almost unthinkable. The stigma from the respective families would've been overwhelming. Trends like this should come as a reminder that no matter how much a society may resist it, change comes anyway.

The same is true for gay and lesbian couples. It wasn't that long ago that they had to hide their feelings towards one another for fear of retribution. The recent Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA, while not the perfect solution, nonetheless was an important step in the long journey that that community has had to endure. It will take a few more years, but, eventually, the day will come when all people, irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation, will have the same right to marry the love of their life. That day cannot come fast enough.

Even the recent setback concerning the Voting Rights Act, was a temporary roadblock. Population demographics are changing in America and the country is slowly moving towards a more diverse, inclusive and tolerant society. The forces which resist such changes may have won an important battle at the Supreme Court, but the war, for them, is already lost. It's possible a few voters will lose their right to vote in the next couple of elections, but as the numbers of minorities continue to swell to the point where they eventually become the majority, those who did this will face their own extinction.

I could go on and on. Women's reproductive rights, global warming, evolution, you get the point. These issues have only one eventual outcome and no amount of delay tactics, legal haranguing or obstructionism can prevent them from being fulfilled. [Though in the case of global warming, time is of the essence.]

That is the good news that awaits America. That is why, despite all the nonsense with which we've had to contend these last few years, I remain optimistic about our future. The agents of intolerance and bigotry can shout as loud as they want. Time is NOT on their side. They know it. That's why they're acting the way they are. The voter ID laws that are being passed now are nothing more than a futile attempt to delay the inevitable and prolong a past that long ago died and was buried.

The world that they grew up in and loved so dearly has passed on and they simply refuse to let it go. Fortunately for the rest of us, the decision to let it go doesn't rest with them. It rests with ALL of us. Time marches on and could care less who is a willing partner or not.

For those trapped in the past, the asteroid has already struck, the ash cloud is rising and the wave is building momentum as it heads for shore. The end for these Neanderthals will not be as swift as it was for those dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but like their ancient brethren, it will be just as lasting.

No comments: