In a strange coincidence, two incidents this week highlight the remarkable tolerance and intolerance that the American people have toward those who are gay.
On the positive side, yesterday the United States Postal Service issued the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in United States history.
In 1977, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. But on November 27, 1978 Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated because of their political beliefs.
The White House ceremony announcing that stamp was held on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
On that very same day, Rochester “Shock Jocks” Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck, went on a homophobic rant during their morning radio show, The Breakfast Buzz on radio station 98.9 The Buzz.
During the Wednesday morning show, Kimberly and Beck openly mocked a local transgender high school student, who was born male but plays on the girls softball team.
Kimberly and Beck also mocked the new health care policy implemented by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren that will allow employees of the City of Rochester to receive medical services related to gender affirmation surgery.
Kimberly Ray joked on the air that: "The services that will be paid for under the new coverage: gender reassignment surgery, psychological counseling ... because you're probably a nutjob to begin with!"
The First Amendment guarantees the people’s right to free speech.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
But that doesn’t mean that you can say anything you want, no matter how offensive, without consequences.
Who is the “Nutjob,” the person who was born gay or the person who assassinated the first openly gay elected official in United States history?
Who is the “Nutjob,” the person who was born gay or the person who mocks a high school student?
There is a line drawn in the sand of life between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. When you step over that line, you pay the consequences.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.
Granted, where that line is changes, but that’s the way life is.
Until a few decades ago it was acceptable for men to say that “A woman’s place is in the home;” but not anymore.
Since 1917, when Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to be elected Congress, 298 women have served as U.S. Senators or Representatives.
Right now, another woman, Hillary Clinton, is the leading Democratic candidate for President in the 2016 elections.
Times have changed.
Until fifty years ago, it was acceptable in some parts of the country to use the “N” word to describe Afro-Americans. But, as a recent case in New Hampshire shows, using the “N” word is just not acceptable anymore, anywhere.
The President of the United States is an Afro-American.
Yesterday, “Shock Jocks” Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck were fired by Entercom Rochester, which owns radio station WYSL, The Buzz.
Times have changed. Leave your prejudices at home, or pay the consequences.