Posts Tagged ‘Gay Pride’

Letter From New York via Martha’s Vineyard 06 13 2016 Numb but furious. Where have all the flowers gone?

June 14, 2016

Yesterday, as I suspect most people did, I woke to the horror of the Orlando massacre.  Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I kept wondering if I was actually reading what I was reading.

Of course I was. 

Not long ago I emailed a friend, now living in Florida, that I felt furious and, at the same time, numbed.  I am angry and do not know a single thing I can do that will actually help affect any kind of real change.  A New Yorker, both my Senators support more stringent laws regarding guns.  It will do no good to write them.  Obama sits on my side of the issue. 

And any letter I write to a Republican, I fear, will lend no weight.  I have tried.  Somehow I end up on their mailing lists, thanking me for being a supporter.  When Bush was President, I wrote a letter demanding he not invade Iraq.  For years, I received Christmas cards and photos of W. and Laura, thanking me for my loyalty to them.

Same with my local Congressman…

They are not listening.

It is twilight here on Martha’s Vineyard.  A few boats skiff across the harbor.  From where I sit, I can see the Edgartown lighthouse.  I am sipping a glass of wine, lost in the quiet and the beauty, furious and numb.

As I was not needed at Edgartown Books, I headed out in my car today, turning left at the end of the driveway and letting fate take me where it will.  For awhile, as I drove, I listened to NPR programs doing an exegesis of yesterday’s tragedy, the worst mass shooting in the country.

As he holed up with terrified people, Omar Mateen, the shooter, called 911 to let them know he was doing this because he was pledging allegiance to IS, calling the Boston bombers from its Marathon his “brothers.” 

As I listened, the portrait of Omar Mateen was beginning to reveal itself to those who were attempting to figure out what had happened.  He was American born, apparently radicalized via the Internet, probably bi-polar, an abusive husband, worked for a security firm, had been interviewed at least twice by the FBI because of statements he made or actions performed.

He bought his guns legally.  He bought his guns legally, after all that.  He killed 49 people and died himself.  53 others are wounded.

He was offended by seeing two men kiss.  But his parents didn’t think he was unhinged.

Trump tweeted in peacock pride about being right about Muslims except Omar Mateen was born in America of Afghan parents.  He was a US citizen by birth, no act would keep him out.  He didn’t come here perverted.  He was born here and was perverted by God knows exactly what…

He attacked a gay nightclub, Pulse.  It is Gay Pride Month.  It is also Immigration Month.  It was Latin night at Pulse. Kill two birds with one stone?  Hate amplified?

As I drove the island today, I felt lonely, in the way I felt lonely when I was young and watched as Viet Nam unfolded before me and about which I felt powerless until I played hooky from school and joined a march against the war.

We have no marches these days.  We don’t gather together to scream against the violence.  Perhaps that is why I felt lonely today; I have comrades but we do not come together, we do not march together, we do not sing songs of protest together against the outrageousness of the time in which we live.

Sitting here, watching the pink tinged sky while a small boat motors across the harbor, I am still numb and I am still furious.  What do I do with this?

And in the back of my head, all day has been the thought:  where have all the flowers gone?

Letter From New York, June 21, 2011

June 22, 2011

Or, as it seems to me…

Twilight is settling on New York City; it’s a Monday night as I begin writing, the end of one of those beautiful days that are perfect – not too warm, not too humid, sun blessed with light warm winds. I walked home, past at least a dozen restaurants with their sidewalk seating jammed with people yearning to soak in the grand beauty of the day.

As I walked, I wondered what I would write about this week. Certainly I was thinking about the weekend – I spent Saturday with an electrician who was fixing the damage done to my electric wiring when lightening hit a tree near the house when I was out in California. I was lucky: the house didn’t burn down and it might have. Mostly I was thinking I was lucky.

I thought, as I walked south down Broadway, past all those New York restaurants with sidewalk seating, about how nice a city New York can be. It was a lovely day and people were being lovely – it was hard to have a fault in this day.

Walking down Broadway I thought how blessed I am with friendships. Last night I had dinner with my friends Lionel and Pierre; we have shared many things and they always take great good care of me. I thought of my friend Maura, who has come to New York, working with me at Odyssey and what a journey we are both on, trying to help figure out how to help Odyssey grow and prosper because each of us believe fiercely in what Odyssey is doing. It’s doing great things and we’re attempting to help it understand its future. There is my friend David Fox who once described me as his newest oldest friend. He had surgery today and was manning the phones by the afternoon. Wow! I would have taken the whole day off; surgery is a good excuse for a get out jail card. I thought of Mitch and Mitchell, new friends David and Bill, my brother, my sister, my sweet sister-in-law, more names than can be counted in any missive…

I am an enormously fortunate man. I split my time between New York City and a sweet little cottage on a creek in the Hudson Valley. I work on interesting projects and am intellectually engaged in my life. I listen to jazz and smile and think about a lot of things while tapping away on the laptop in my lap.

Gay Pride, which just happened in Hudson and which is about to burst upon New York City, underscores this is a huge time in New York State for gay issues. Gay marriage is in front of the legislature as I type. Governor Cuomo is pushing to have it approved; rallies pro and con abound. I remember ten years ago having a conversation at a wonderful breakfast at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel with my friend Medora who asked me what I thought about it and I told her I was amazed it was a topic of conversation in my lifetime.

My friends Gary and Angel are getting married in September. They will do the official deed in Connecticut, which has approved gay marriage, but will celebrate it in New Jersey where they have a home. Wow! This is happening in my lifetime. Who would have thunk?

I am amazed at the changes in society in my lifetime. Not just gay rights – let’s think about the changes that have happened for African-Americans in the last fifty years. This country has absorbed so many different groups of people. That’s one of the amazing things about America – it has absorbed so many from so many lands. We have always felt a little challenged about absorption but we seem to work it out.

So all I am saying is that we are at an interesting crossroads in our life, as we always are. America is changing, as it always has. Learning how to embrace those changes are the essence of what has made America great.