To my elected Senators from Maine (a letter in support of repealing DADT):
Lady Gaga is coming to Maine to champion gay rights. Forget her. She isn’t important. To this 55-year-old, she’s just another one of the screaming crowd of performers trying to out-crazy each other. Sort of like the Stones in our era. Sort of like politicians today, now that I think of it.
Here’s what’s important to you:
In 1941, Robert Heinlein wrote a “Future History” as part of his collection of science fiction stories The Past Through Tomorrow; he designated the 60’s as “The Crazy Years,” in which people did very strange things on a par with flagpole sitting and goldfish swallowing. This was predicted (in his fiction) by an actuary who plotted hundreds of trends and noted they all came together at one point.
While the 60’s were pretty crazy for a lot of us, I think time remembers them more as a surge of freedom for people previously disregarded: e.g., women and non-white races.
However, I think he got it wrong. I think the Crazy Years of the 60s were the sanest in modern history, perhaps; it is the current time that is truly deserving of the title, The Crazy Years.
So, which side do you want to be on?
Do you want to be on the side that turned The Crazy Years of the 60s into the dawn of freedom for millions of Americans? Or do you want to be George Wallace and Strom Thurmond, trying to hold back the tide?
That’s the decision. Not whether you want to be elected again or not. The decision is this: when the 20-somethings of today sit around and talk about the Crazy Years of the post-9/11 era, do you want to be Rosa Parks or James Blake*? Because you know gay rights will become a reality in the next 10 years. Younger people will make it that way. You know this. So your decision is easy.
Repeal DADT. Be on the right side when our kids and grandkids talk about the day freedom got a little more free.
*James Blake is the bus driver who called the police on Rosa Parks when she refused to move to the back of the bus. I don’t think I’d ever heard his name before, which is interesting, don’t you think?