Yesterday I cried a lot.
First, the Supreme Court of the United States of America decided that gay marriage was legal all over the country. This is an issue near and dear to my heart.
Imagine the old couples, marrying finally in their 70s. Getting to make that commitment and open statement of love before their time on earth runs out.
Imagine the three-year olds, boys who think Prince Eric is prettier than Ariel the Mermaid, girls watching Mulan over and over again because how could they not? Think how their lives might open up. Maybe some day “Come out!” means more often, “Get in the car!” Said by mothers standing at front doors, everybody late for school.
A few hours after the Supreme Court announced the decision, I watched President Obama’s eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, the pastor killed with 8 members of his bible study class in a South Carolina church. Obama finally said what I imagine he’s been thinking much of his life. We’ve talked about race enough. Time to do something.
A few hours later, and this is a let down in oratory, I watched the last episode of Season 4 of The Wire. I know. Television. But art has a legitimate role to play in political consciousness, and if it doesn’t make us cry now and again, it lies.
The Wire is a 10-year old HBO series set in Baltimore. The main characters are the police. Each season then draws in additional stories from different organizations in the city – drug dealers, dock workers, politicians, schools, the newspaper.
Season 4 is about the schools. By necessity, then, the children.
It really made me cry. How could life open up for everyone’s children? Too big a thought? How about every child in America?
The Wire tells its stories very, very slowly, and never settles for an easy denouement. No points driven home by killing someone every episode. You come to know four boys well, and you wait, for 10, 11, 12 episodes to know what happens to them.
It’s the waiting that gets you.
Imagine those lives closed off by systemic tragedy.
I realize that I’ve just finished 13 hours of 10-year old digital narrative, putting myself into a somewhat isolated emotional state. So, back to shared experience.
Yesterday the Supreme Court made life better for so many children. I know that people who hold different political and religious beliefs than I object to the ruling on many grounds. But if we rise above institutions for just for a minute, and see that a formidable barrier to self has been removed, surely that’s good? If humanity is good, aren’t our selves good?
Surely more barriers should be removed, for others?
I thank you America for opening your minds and your laws so my son can live more freely. In return, I hope to volunteer in some local schools where kids might not have a mom at the front door telling them, “Come out, we’re late. Get in the car, where are your shoes!”
Not much but the confluence of gratitude, tragedy, and art ought to rush on to some good sea.
Have a good weekend everyone. Free streaming for The Wire is available on Amazon Prime, if you haven’t seen it yet.