…And Justice For All
Comics, Culture, More, but what is the “more” part of the phrase. In my teenage years, it was video games, as I got older, I leaned towards what was happening in society or what I had seen or heard in my time in the military. It was not until many years later when I would come to be a part of the Comic-Watch family that I would find a vehicle to help me drive my ramblings to whoever would listen. Here I am in my forties and wondering if what I am writing is the right definition of “more”.
March 3, 1991, I was 12 years old and I watched the horrific beating of Rodney King unfold. I did not know what to think or what to say. As the trial would play out on television in the beginning era of 24-hour news, the verdict came in. Not guilty. The horrific events that will be televised for weeks and months would bring up new topics of subjects that will not only become new to me but mold me into the person I would become. It was a sunny day, lunch was over, and I was headed to my civics class. The sharp pain of a fist was felt on the back of my heads and as fell to the ground all I could do was cover my face as feet and fist were delivered.
This was the first time I have ever experienced anything like this before. I grew up overweight and nerdy, so bullying was almost an everyday event. Getting the snot beat out of me from about 5 people was a new avenue I was currently traveling on. Thankfully, that would be my only trip. My friends would come running from the hall and break it up, teachers and the school nurse would ask me who did it. I knew who they were, but I felt that giving their names would be punishing their feelings and not them. Where they wrong? Perhaps, however, people deal with anger in different ways. I never blamed them, and I still do not. How could I blame them for a society whose history has shown time and time again, that people of color will be held to a different set of standards?
As time went on, I would dive deeper into human rights, sociology, and why equality is almost a premium way of life. February 4, 1999, Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times outside his apartment, the cops would later be acquitted of all charges. I was in the military currently. Being in a career that is heavily conservative was challenging at times when it came to social subjects and this was no different. It didn’t matter that he was not armed, didn’t show aggression towards the cops, the most common term was either “there are two sides to every story” or my personal favorite “you’ll grow out of being liberal.”
Years would go on and I realized the more time I spent in the military the liberal I became. I never understood why you take a job upholding the Constitution and not want equality for all but instead continue to turn a blind eye towards social injustices. Maybe folks are not as blind as they perceive themselves to be. Imagine being told you cannot serve your country because of who you love. Imagine living in the shadows while being in a war zone and potentially dying for a country that wants you to not tell anyone if you are gay. While the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was a landmark decision, it was basically a shitty raincheck on freedoms owed. Today you can serve in the military, but unfortunately, the mindset of most is still the same as it was from years past. God forbid you to speak out in solidarity for social injustice, you will almost be guaranteed a formal talk with some sort of supervisor, however, if you speak out against Social Justice Warriors and snowflakes, somehow your path is free and clear.
I was born without that gene that picks up any signal of people and their interactions with me. I had zero clue that my wife was hitting on me, I had zero clue that one of her good friends was gay, I never picked up on one of my good friends in the military who was gay and for his first 7 years in he had to live in the shadows. I joke with people that Google is my friend when it comes a lot of LGBT+ terms. I recently watched Scream Queen: My Nightmare on Elm St. It is about the gay/bdsm undertones of Nightmare on Elm St. 2 and how Mark Patton’s acting career was basically ruined by United Artists and the writers of the movie.
Much like most of society and its constant turning of a blind eye on social justice issues Mark Patton’s career and dream were shattered because of his lifestyle and his employers failed attempt to stand up for their employee. I have always considered myself an ally for the LGBTQ+ community, and I will be the first to admit I google A LOT OF TERMS I hear in convos. Seeing this documentary opened my eyes to how we as a society still have a lot of growing to do. You will always hear “I don’t understand why they have to shove this down our throats,” “They are forcing their way of life on us”; however, it is actually quite the opposite.
I have been lucky in my 41 years of life. I have never gone to a school that was closed. The times I have gotten pulled over by the cops it was for speeding and I was let go with a warning except for one. I was able to get married without having to be secretive or have my family disown me for loving someone that did not fit their bullshit expectations for a life that was not theirs. Sure, I have hard roads that I had to travel, and they have shaped who I am today. Just as the racist, misogynistic, and homophobic statements that were everyday words in a career built on providing freedom have shaped me.
If all lives mattered then we would not care if two men married. If two women adopted a son. We would not say “there are two sides to every story” when the tape clearly shows the true story. If all lives mattered trans men and women could serve the very country that has stripped their medical benefits. All lives should matter, however, in 2020 we still have people fighting for basic human rights so all lives can matter.
Comics, Culture, & More…A Personal Journey
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