"Pride" And "The Fierce Urgency Of Now" genre: Gaylingual

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Pride. What is pride? On Sunday in a number of major metropolitan areas pride included a parade for those who believe being LGBT is worth acknowledging and celebrating. For others, pride events on Sunday were shameful events attended by thousands of sinful Americans who have no respect for the Bible or fear of the words it contains.

By today, pride had devolved into a few straggling media sound bites and a debate about whether the following video touting Barack Obama's support for the LGBT community is really about "the fierce urgency of now" or simply the efforts of a campaign to be all things to all people in hopes of winning votes.

What seems to be absent from today's tense debate is some healthy means of measuring whether the pride we share with our LGBT brothers and sisters is anything more than a veneer we wear once a year to demonstrate a solidarity that is born of a predisposition to engage in sexual relationships that reside outside the established norm. Unfortunately, I fear that this moment is more about being fierce than about the urgency of now.

Many equate "pride" activities with a message of tolerance...but as of this moment, tolerance seems to be in short supply...especially within the confines of the LGBT community. Suddenly the sound of songs like "We Are Family" blaring from speakers on floats has been replaced with the sounds of sniping siblings...unwilling or unable to allow for dissention or disagreement as to our path forward.

At the center of this storm resides the beast that so often defeats the downtrodden...the debate over the means to enact "the fierce urgency of now". Not only is this conflict immensely ironic, it is evidence that the intersection of words and deeds, or the lack thereof, is often an incendiary moment...a moment capable of imploding a movement by stopping it in its tracks...or a moment whereby the movement breaks through the barriers that have long served to block it from reaching its destination.

On Sunday in many cities, words and deeds did intersect...and like so many Pride Sunday's before it, rhetoric and reticence stood side by side...on both sides of the debate. Thousands from the LGBT community turned out to be seen and heard...and thousands remained hidden...reticent to raise their voices and show their faces.

Many of those in attendance Sunday are apt to scold those who weren't...just as some have chosen to scold Barack Obama for not leading the LGBT cause beyond the rhetoric of fierce urgency and into the now. Yet in realizing as much, there exists ample evidence of our own community's reticence...reticence that is all too often ignored in the rhetoric that we employ to justify our own actions while assailing the lack of it on the part of others.

Inherent in the many arguments and protestations taking place is a willingness to view the "other" with a microscope while refusing to see the very image that was just reflected back at us...this Sunday's dark shadow of the thousands of our LGBT brothers and sisters and their friends and families who were quietly absent, and therefore willing to accept "the safe security of what has always been" rather than march for a better tomorrow.

Barack Obama, like all men seeking positions of leadership, offers a message of hope. No doubt that message is designed to achieve victory in an election but I suspect it has granted him a unique platform from which to recite more of the words he believes have the potential to unleash the deeds that must accompany "the fierce urgency of now"...in those who have for far too long accepted far too little.

Regardless, the presumption that his victory in November assures an LGBT victory is little more than the tinder that serves to fuel the flames that divide us from each other. Barack Obama, like all leaders, is first and foremost a messenger of what can be...a light in an otherwise dark passage. While we can debate the words he uses to construct that light, we fail ourselves when we believe that he can walk that passage alone and assure us that we'll somehow effortlessly arrive with him on the other side.

Our victory will be achieved when the willing and the reticent in our community and our circle of friends walk hand in hand through that tunnel...undaunted by fear...and convinced that "the safe security of what has always been" will no longer suffice because we've finally chosen to make "the fierce urgency of now" a glimmer of light in our rear view mirrors.

The light that Barack Obama holds will not last forever. It is also doubtful that we will be able to reach forward and expect that he can reach out and pull all of us through the tunnel we know we must travel. In truth, our victory will unfold when we reach back and grasp the hands of our fearful and faceless brethren and instill in them the hope to keep walking until they too can see the light ahead that is waiting to lead them to victory.

Only then will "the fierce urgency of now" be known in the history books as that point at which our words and our deeds collided in a moment of cataclysmic catharsis. I look forward to celebrating that day...with a pride that is compassionate, certain, and clearly codified.

Tagged as: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Gay, Gay Rights, Homosexuality, LGBT, Pride, Religion

Daniel DiRito | June 24, 2008 | 1:57 PM
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