In 2005, my wife and I spent a weekend at the Hilton Head Inn in South Carolina. My wife attended a medical conference, and I played golf. The first night we had dinner in the resort’s dining room and were waited on by two young white kids, a boy, and a girl.
These two young waitpersons couldn’t have been nicer and more solicitous of our needs if they tried. They behaved exactly the same way to the three diners seated at the next table, who were a man and woman in their 30’s, plus an older woman who was clearly the mother and mother-in-law of one of the two younger guests.
Aside from the fact that we hadn’t brought my mother or mother-in-law to the resort with us, there was one fundamental difference between us, and the guests seated at the next table – they were black.
I lived in South Carolina from 1976 until 1980. If you had told me back then that blacks would be doing anything in the Hilton Head Inn dining room other than mopping the floors after the guests had eaten their meals and left the room, I would have told you that you were out of your mind.
If I had been a plantation owner in South Carolina in 1850, and you had told me that 15 years later those slaves on my plantation would be as free as I was and would have the same political rights that I enjoyed, I would have also said that you were out of your mind.
The world changes. We don’t know and can’t predict how quickly this change will occur, nor can we know how the world will look after the changes takes place. But if there is one thing in this life which doesn’t change, it’s the fact that things will change, regardless of whether we can accept or understand the changes when they occur.
This morning I listened to the AM shock-jock Rush Limbaugh wannabe. He was ranting (he’s always ranting) about transgender something-or-other which needs to be ‘stopped.’ I heard these same arguments from gay-bashers twenty years ago, from ‘nig*er haters’ forty years ago and from misogynist men in between.
Sometimes the fear of change is muted, sometimes it’s loud – differences in volume and degree often a function of different places, different types of work environments, different states. But every time some group begins to ask or demand to enjoy total and complete equal rights as defined by that yellowed piece of paper on display in the rotunda of the National Archives, someone or some group will stand up and tell them they need to wait.
Wait for what? What’s the big deal? I have never (read: never) understood how anyone can feel threatened or afraid because someone else has a different color of skin. I have never understood why someone’s gender means anything beyond what style of clothes a person might want to wear.
As for all this nonsense about transgender this and transgender that, I am still waiting for anyone to explain why it’s such a big deal if a person who used to be a man and now has become a woman wants to compete in a women’s track or swim meet? I thought the whole point of amateur sports was to have some fun and keep yourself in good, physical shape.
Oh, I get it. If the strong side forward for the basketball team my daughter’s high school basketball team is playing used to be a man, she’ll muscle her way into the crease and hit a bunch of layups that will prevent my kid’s team from winning the game.
Know what? I hope the GOP launches a video about the dangers of same-sex toilets that plays on every TV station around. And it would really be great if Larry Craig, the former Republican Senator from Idaho who was arrested in 2007 for trying to pick up some guy in a public men’s room of a bus station, would do the commentary which would be something like this:
“Hi. I’m Larry Craig and I was arrested for coming on to some guy in a public toilet back in the day. They were right to arrest me because what I did was bad. But now I’ve made my peace with Jesus, and we can’t let those woke folks run our country into the ground. Vote Trump in 2024!”