Regular readers might remember me talking, back last summer, about a Tennessee state senator named Stacey Campfield from down in Knoxville. You know, the never-married late 30’s/early 40’s state senator, who is sponsoring a “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”
Well, it turns out that over the weekend he was refused service by the owner of a Knoxville restaurant because of his recent ignorant comments that HIV originated from “gay men having sex with monkeys” and that it is “virtually impossible” to become infected through hetero sex.
Speaking of monkeys, Campfield is someone Granny would say, “Hasn’t got the sense God gave a monkey.”
This story holds particular interest for me not just because I’m a gay man in Tennessee, but also because the restaurant he was banned from , “The Bistro at the Bijou,” is one of my favorite in Knoxville. I’ve mention it several posts over the course of my blogging, not by name, but by praise for the burgers.
It’s a place I would often eat on football Saturdays when I was able to go to games more regularly, and the Attorney and I eat there sometimes because it’s a short walk from his office.
Now, with owner Martha Boggs giving Campfield a taste of “what it’s like to be discriminated against,” I love the place even more.
I know Martha by sight, although she probably wouldn’t know me from Adam. I always thought she seemed very cool. Now I am sure of it.
If you are ever in Knoxville, have a meal at The Bistro and tell Martha how much you appreciate her.
I know that the next time I’ll be sure to.
I remember learning about the 1960’s civil right movement in the U.S. and not getting it.
I don’t mean the movement.
I got that.
I got why it needed to happen.
I just didn’t get why it had to be necessary.
A whole century had gone by since humans were allowed to be considered property, so how could they still be kept from anything everyone else had?
How there could still be enough people in the 60’s who had problems with equality to make it an issue?
How are there still enough today, another half century gone by?
Bigotry has shifted it’s focus more from African-Americans to Homo-Americans, although it’s foolish to think it’s over for black folks (or Estro-Americans, Latino-Americans, etc., etc., etc.). The anti sentiments are still there. They’re just packaged up and more covert.
Bigotry comes out of fear.
But, what is everyone so afraid of?
I used to think it was the fear of the unknown.
But, now I believe it’s a fear of happiness.
Plain and simple.
People are afraid to allow others happiness, for fear it may diminish their own.
And I’m afraid that’s a fairly American thing.
We have become such a nation of individuals.
Personal good above common good.
What I want vs. what We need.
It even shows in the way we vote.
No longer do we vote for. We vote against.
And this is a trend that is mirrored by politicians who no longer seem to stand for anything. Only against.
Not sure who is the chicken and who is the egg, but it’s destroying us.
Mark 3:25, and all.
Remember, the country was created as a union, with idea of serving all people.
And it’s bigger than race, or gender, or sexuality.
It’s human decency.
What’s happened to that?
Maybe I am being naive and we never really ever had it.
But, am I naive to think that we can?
Here you can have whatever you want, right?
I think I came out at work today.
At least to some folks who either don’t pay much attention, or are stupid.1
One, in particular, is exceptionally stupid.
And was also the trigger for my one-man pride parade.
I can get along with pretty much anyone, but this guy and I never have.
He’s had a problem with me from day one, and his position hasn’t softened over time.
I’d say after today, it has hardened to the core.
It all started over Chik-fil-a.
On days that I did not carry a lunch, Chik-fil-a had always been a pretty regular spot for me around noon time.
Until all that nonsense earlier this summer.
Like many of our homo brethren2 I decided that I would have to sacrifice the pleasures of the delicious greasy, pickle-topped goodness in a stand for civil rights.
I haven’t had one of the sandwiches since.
Which for me is like giving up ass.
The only thing I can think of that might be better than sex is eating Chik-fil-a while having sex.3
So, some of the guys on the crew were surprised when I decided to not join them there for lunch today.
I didn’t make a big deal or anything, but I did say that I wasn’t interested in giving them my money anymore.
“Oh, my God.”
That came from my exasperated nemesis.
“Haven’t you ever heard of reserving the right to refuse service?” he asked. “If Chik-fil-a doesn’t want queers in their restaurant, then they don’t have to.”
He didn’t get that the Chik-fil-a issue wasn’t even about a right to service.
He also didn’t understand that I was speaking as one of those queers.
“So, on top of everything else, you’re a faggot-lover, too?”
I didn’t know what the everything else was, so I just zeroed in on the insult at hand.
I don’t know where it came from, but I just spat back, “Yeah, I am a faggot-lover. Especially one in particular. And, you know what? He loves me too.”
Everything stopped. Nobody said a word.
Not for a long time.
Maybe fewer people were already aware than I thought.
Finally they all went on to lunch.
Things were a little weird for the rest of the day. But I think that was more my own issue from anxiety about what I had done.
Or, more importantly, the way I had done it.
There’s a time and place for everything.
This wasn’t it.
But, now the cat’s out of the bag.
And I guess now so am I.
[ fin ]
Has anyone else noticed that when MittRom spoke to reporters the other day, attempting to explain away the leaked video of his performance last spring as Marie Antionette, his always perfect hair was looking a little disheveled?
Like he was unraveling.
Or that a rough top had been using it for reins backstage.
No wonder Marie Antionette always wore those big wigs.
I really only have two things to say about these pictures from a Time magazine photoshoot with the GOP veep candidate.
1. If you are running for one-heartbeat-away-from-the-highest-office-in-the-land, is this really the image you want to portray? Douche bag frat boy getting in a quick set of bi’s? It would be one thing if a photographer happened to catch some shots of the candidate while he was in the middle of an actual workout, but this stuff is on purpose. Planned and staged. Ryan had to approve this message.
2. This is the famous PX90 bod we’ve been hearing so much about? The Attorney did it this summer, so I know what a PX90 body looks like.1 This isn’t it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging Ryan’s appearance. He’s in good shape. But he’s really in no better shape than I am.2 And I have never done PX90 in my life.
I rarely talk directly about politics here, but if you have been reading me for a while, you won’t be surprised to know that I am pleased1 by the the outcome of the elections.
Even though I have lived all my life in a very red state where only 39% of us voted for President Obama.
And this isn’t so much about politics, as it is a lesson I learned about the process.
In Tennessee, a Democratic vote does nothing toward swaying the Electoral College. The best we can hope for is to count toward the popular vote.
So, because of her mobility issues, I never expected Granny to want to go to the polls.
I wasn’t even sure that she was really aware it was election day.
But she was.
And at 95 years old, born before women even had a right to vote, she insisted that she, too, be counted.
Because I didn’t think she could stand in a long line for an extended time, I suggested that maybe she let this one go by.2
Now, one thing about Granny that is both a source of pride and frustration for me is that she is stubborn as a mule.
And she wasn’t hearing any of it.
“This might be my last one,” she said. “I’m not taking it for granted.”
Any other questions?
So, The Attorney helped me get her down to the school. He brought a car that’s easier for here to get in and out of than my truck, and rented a wheelchair so she could sit in line.3
When it came time to go into the booth, she got out of the chair up and brushed me off when I tried to support her by the elbow.
She was going to do this herself.
Count as a tiny percent of the 39%.
Yes, she did.
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.” ― Alice Walker, The Color Purple
If the outcome of the election this week did not comfort me enough, it gives me even more comfort to see this incredible map made by Facebook user Cousin Cole. I really gives you a true sense of how wonderfully diverse our nation is, and we’re really fifty shades of purple.
Everyone you know should see this, no matter how red or how blue. Please share.