Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – February 28, 2014

It seems that there are people who think that any black American slave who resisted was a terrorist. And that tells us a lot about those people. And in Arizona it seems that persecuting Latinos has been replaced by persecuting gay Americans as a legislative blood sport. And in Africa, it seems that persecuting gay Africans is more of a priority than fighting hunger and disease.

My Hero is Your Terrorist

Denmark Vesey was born a slave. Although he managed to buy his freedom, his wife’s master would not let him purchase her freedom – or that of their children.

Denmark Vesey ultimately led one of the major slave revolts in American history, an insurrection that spread fear and panic in the hearts of every slave owner and every supporter of slavery. The fact that his revolt did not succeed and that Denmark Vesey was hung did nothing to assuage their terror.

Almost two hundred years later there is a plan to erect a statue in his honor in Charleston, South Carolina, the site of Denmark Vesey’s rebellion. And there are some noble white South Carolinians who are complaining because, in their view, Denmark Vesey was a “terrorist” who didn’t “work within the system”.

The absurdity of the naysayers is obvious and further comment is unnecessary. Let’s just hope that the statue is erected…………………and very soon.

Arizona Crazy

The state government in Arizona has been so obsessed with persecuting Latinos in the name of immigration security that it took the Supreme Court of the United States to curtail some of the more egregious legislative actions. Sullen and unbowed, the Arizona Bigots have clearly focused on yet another target – gay Americans.

Recently, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a measure passed by the legislature that would have given the operators of public facilities – hotels, restaurants, theaters, etc., the right to refuse service to individuals whose lifestyles offended their religious beliefs.

This was a gossamer legislative veil over the intent to give these same operators of public facilities the right to refuse service to gay Americans. And Governor Brewer, with visions of Super Bowl and gay consumer dollars galloping away from her state wisely vetoed the measure.

But what is it about alternative lifestyles and different concepts of love and caring that make some people so hateful in the first place?

Back into the Heart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness describing the bleak and horrific characteristics of the European colonization of Africa. Over a century after that book was published we are now witness to the leadership of too many African nations advocating draconian legislative actions which criminalize the lives and lifestyles of gay Africans. Death sentences, life sentences, banning and shaming are all part of the New African Fascism.

In too many parts of sub Saharan Africa there are challenges of crime, civil unrest, genocide, hunger, disease and poverty. Can it be that alternative lifestyles and different concepts of love and caring are the priority issues when so many Africans are suffering, not from homosexuality, but from ineffective, corrupt and misguided governance?

It may be time to hit the reset button in Africa.

Have a great weekend – stay strong and be great!