(OKLAHOMA CITY) I'm hoping you had a safe (in more ways than one) calendar New Year's celebration and are ready to commit to a political and social New Year of acquiring the legal recognition of our GLBT equality which is already ours as a right of citizenship.
This morning I watched the "The Times of Harvey Milk", a documentary of Harvey Milk composed of interviews with people who knew and worked with Harvey Milk, combined with news clips illustrating the important events in Milk's public life in San Fransisco as city Commissioner. This is not to be confused with the new bio-pic starring Sean Penn titled simply, "Milk".
I was reminded that the defeat of the Briggs Amendment that would have outlawed the employment of GLBT teachers in California was followed by the rise of Anita Bryant, who got her inspirational juice from this setback to the fundie-nuts and homo-haters agenda. She was the rolling crest of the wave of anti-GLBT laws and reversals that followed across the country in the late 70s and early 80s. Think Wichita, Kansas; Dade County, Florida; and Oregon.
Oklahoma had its own version of a Briggs Amendment argued before the United States Supreme Court in 1985. You can read the transcript and listen to the audio here: click here or http://tinyurl.com/8znzkp . The Supreme Court let stand a 10th Circuit Court ruling that invalidated an Oklahoma ban on pro-gay advocacy by teachers.
( http://www.lambdalegal.org/about-us/35th-anniversary/ )
BTW, Bryant is rumored to be alive and well living in Edmond, Oklahoma, a bed-room community populated by a majority of white-flight commuters who relish spending their tax-money on religious statues on the public streets. ( http://tinyurl.com/9qqvc8 )
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Bryant )
It would seem this knee-jerk reaction to GLBT progress is genetic to the bible-bumping believers of America as that's what's going on now with our marriage-equality movement: for every Massachusetts there's an Arizona and an Arkansas.
Listening to the confession clips of Dan White, the convicted killer of Milk and Mayor George Moscone, as well as the ravings of Sally Kern of Oklahoma and her other Kern Krew members in Oklahoma, where I live, they have a single uniting fear: fear of change, be it social, legal, environmental, or scientific.
Why else do they suck like leeches so tenaciously to a way of living now 5,000 thousand years old with its treatment of people as property, a destructive dominance over the environment, the elevation of a small, "pure" minority to rule over all that's considered different, and like leeches, drain the vigor of human imagination from our society.
Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, has written, "Modernity is the enemy of fundamentalist religion and gender-bending is the hallmark of modernity." ( www.religiondispatches.org )
We're probably too familiar with the Santayana quote, " Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." So, let's get acquainted with a new one that's explicitly forward looking, by George Bernard Shaw: "We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future."
"The Times of Harvey Milk" available free online at http://tinyurl.com/7qyaco
Hulu.com has the complete The Times of Harvey Milk documentary, by Robert Epstein and Richard Schmiechen, with narration by Harvey Fierstein. Occasional commercials make free Hulu webcasts possible. (01:27:34)