I was surprised by my spirit's reaction to the news that New York's Republican controlled Senate passed gay marriage. Sure, I support the right for anyone to commit himself/herself to this archaic religious institution and I give a thumbs up to the states who have already passed it, but this time felt different. It felt like a triumph for humanity, for the soul.
The difference is that New York is the birthplace of the gay rights movement, where the Public Morals Squad of New York incited the Stonewall Riots, and it feels like 42 years of struggle against oppression has finally ended. Of course, there will be discrimination - we'll never eliminate all bigotry in the world, but we sure can convince civilized folks to be tolerant of differences.
I'm rather fascinated at the existence of homophobia while other traditional "sins" are embraced, gluttony and sloth being the first that come to mind. America is fat. FAT. This is breaking our healthcare system - it has real, detrimental effects on society, yet America continues to get fatter and lazier and accepts it as normal. You don't see people flying airplanes pulling anti-fat people banners like they do for gay folks. (I'm using that as an example because homophobes often base their discrimination on being repulsed by homosexual behavior, not because there is actually something wrong with that behavior.)
Washington, San Diego, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago NL, Chicago AL, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York NL, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Oakland have all held Gay Pride events. I'm not big on this whole trend of ethnic/heritage/background nights that baseball teams have going on, as I don't think highly of being proud of something you didn't choose to be. Pride is for accomplishment, not skin color or birth certificate. At the same time, a baseball game, having a largely suburban audience, is an opportunity for people who normally don't experience difference to be exposed to various shades of people and backgrounds. I doubt that exposure is long enough to make any iota of a difference, but hey, can it hurt?
I'm sitting in a locally-owned coffee shop in Piqua, Ohio, right now (Winans - great coffee!) and I've just noticed an Ohio historical marker sign across the street that proudly describes the "Civil Rights Movement in Piqua." America is great precisely because of its diversity and its tolerance for that diversity. When there wasn't tolerance, brave people fought to create that tolerance. Don't be proud to be an American, be proud to live the American ideal. Ask yourself what you have done to deserve to be proud to be an American. If you're spouting off bigotry and hatred, you don't deserve the flag you claim to love. To deny some people freedom is to deny freedom itself and to deny that flag. But if you're like those Republican senators in New York who took a step back from their ideology and voted to do the right thing - the American thing - then by all means, proudly wave that flag.