One thing that boggles my mind sometimes is that there are people living who witnessed racial discrimination as codified in the nation’s laws. Crazier still, when I say that “there are people living” who remember a time when the law actually required racial discrimination in many places, I’m not referring to a handful of octogenarians who grew up with horse-drawn carriages. I’m talking about people in their 40s. That’s insane to me, largely because it defies belief that a nation founded on the premise of all men being created equal would have been so shortsighted as to pass laws doing nothing but promoting hate and prejudice. I could kind of understand if it was in 1850 or something, but it was still happening in the 1960s, and was still a giant controversy a mere decade before my birth.
So it brings a smile to my face to realize that odds are pretty good that in a decade or two, I’m going to be telling people about a time when the country had laws against gay people. People are going to look at me like I’m full of crap when I tell them that we wouldn’t even let gays serve in the military, even when comparatively backwards nations did. (Russia permits “well-adjusted” homosexuals to serve, for example. What that means, or how it’s not terribly offensive, escapes me.) I’ll tell people that freedom-loving Americans — and churches which also taught about God’s love for everyone — protested allowing homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals, and people will think I’m nuts.