Sunday, March 29, 2015

Paradise Lost

We spent the past week in paradise and before I go further, just let me say thank you to Gary Reed, the best grandfather and father you'll ever meet. 

It was his decision to give his family memories rather than money in his golden years. And oh what memories. Thanks to Gary, Jeff, his siblings and their partners and Ali and I spend a week together in Turks & Caicos under a benevolent sun where the most difficult decisions are beach vs. pool and where to have dinner. It's such a great time that Alison has never once complained that she's the only kid in a group of old people.

Her unprompted message to Grandpa after we got back was, "I love you. I love you. I love you." And she does. Ali has grown up in a world where color doesn't matter and love is love. No matter what. She simply doesn't know another way, and if that's all we ever give her, then I'll be happy that we gave her what matters most. 

The Reed family is a great one inside or outside of paradise. If you can swing it -- even if it's just a dinner out somewhere -- I highly recommend making memories over leaving cash to your kids. We all cherish our time in Turks, just as we cherish the idea that we all look forward to sharing time together as a family. 

I'm grateful every day to have been taken in by this group of folks. They're truly keepers. I travel in cold weather to see them, too. It's just as great with them in Maine at Christmas. Well, as great as it can possibly be when you trade sand for snow and bikinis for parkas.

I could spend the rest of this post complaining about what we found when we returned from paradise. 

In a nutshell, Indiana's governor and all but one GOP legislator approved a bill that has been widely perceived to be permission for businesses to discriminate against those they believe are an affront to the business owners' faith.

The bill is really a legalistic bit of verbiage that mimics federal and many other states' laws. But the way it was discussed and signed, and the people who pushed it -- one of whom chortled to his followers that never again would an Indiana business have to serve a homosexual if the owners didn't want to -- was just awful. On national television today, the governor said protecting the rights of the LGBT community wasn't on his agenda. He refused to say the new IN law wouldn't allow discrimination. 

The words that make up the law no longer matter. People across the globe are now assured that Hoosiers are bigots who believe the LBGT community's rights are not equal to others. Clearly, some of us are. 

But I like to think that most of us are not. It's not that we believe one group deserves more freedom than others. We believe everyone deserves the same share of freedom as everyone else. Color, gender sexual preference simply shouldn't play a part in how you divvy up the freedom pie, the rights pie, the humanity pie.

Seems to me that the sect that pushed this law is OK with the world as long as it is the majority power.  Treating everyone equally means that they would be equal, too. How terrible. 

There's a lot of talk now -- at least in the circles in which I move -- that this is the step too far that will reset the clock and bring the state political system back into sanity. 

One can only hope. Pray maybe. But to whom? 

Paradise seems lost.


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