Yesterday was a delightful day for a parade, and the town cooperated with the SoPride Parade. What a parade it was, a celebration of humanity. It's why I support GLBTQ, equal marriage rights, women's rates, minority rights. It's all about human rights. One human does not have the right to decree who else has a right.
Corporations are different. They can discrimanate, so long as they're not using our common networks and products - the government system of money and measures, other government systems of law enforcement, disaster response, security, and justice, and more pragmatic and tangible nation sets, like the electric and transportation grids. Give those up, you can discriminate against whomever you want, for whatever reason you resurrect from your mind's darker crevices. But if you use these things I listed, you can't discriminate. We're a package deal, all the people, for the people, and all the products and services the people provide through work and taxes.
My wife and her organization, The Women's International League of Peace and Freedom, called WILPF because The Women's International League of Peace and Freedom does not trip lightly over tongue and lips, were marching. She took the car so I walked downtown to join her, finding our car and slipping my laptop case into the trunk before going on to the festivities. The parade started at 11 but it was small and fast. I had to race to overtake it and see my wife. Small might it be, it was loud, colorful, joyous and fun.
All the local churches were represented, except the Baptists, and the university had a boisterous, jubilant contingent, Raider Pride. The Quaker Friends had a large presence, as did the Presbyterians and Unies. The Unitarian Service took it one step forward, with a marriage between a same sex couple who'd been together for 37 years taking place during the parade.
I found my wife in the parade and waved to her. She didn't see me. I moved ahead to see more of the parade, figuring I'd connect with her at the end, where the parade stopped. But the parade ended and no wife. I remember she'd talked about going on up to the band shell and meeting there, so I headed that way. I stood up there and looked across the crowd for her.
It was amazing. Everyone was so colorfully dressed, and looked so similar, that I could not find her.
I began drifting back down the road toward the plaza. People shouted my name. Our friend Fran hurried up to tell me my wife was down at the kiosk, waiting to meet me.
The kiosk! I'd forgotten that we'd made that plan. To the kiosk! People called my name. "Your wife is waiting for you at the kiosk." The mayor passed by. "I just saw your wife down at the kiosk." Yes, thank you, one and all.
I hurried down the road. There she was. "Hey you," I shouted in an imitation Louie Armstrong voice. It's our call. Back when we were first dating, I used to entertain her by doing voices, Louie Armstrong among them. She learned to do, "Hey you," and it became our calls in crowds to find one another.
I saw her perk up. I stopped, watching in amusement as she whirled and looked in the other direction. Her friends called her from behind me. "Here's your husband." Connected at last, we headed back up to check the scene and listen to music. Friends were performing, and we enjoy their talents. After that, she and I went off and had a late lunch at Standing Stone. They were featuring an Octoberfest brew in the German style. Sensational! Drinking it, I remembered how much I enjoyed German beers.
Then home again, home again. This sort of celebration is what Ashland is all about. As our mayor noted in his comments, our city council unanimously passed a resolution that same sex marriage is legal in Ashland, one of three places in Oregon, along with Portland and Eugene.
It strucks me as ironic that we grow up hearing that we're all special and unique. There's not another person like you in the world. Yet, when it comes to sexual preference, gender identity, and religion, people often want everyone to be the same.
I'm glad we're not and pleased that we celebrate the differences.
At least we do in Ashland, in October.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com