This song has been floating around in my head for a while now. Seems like I start humming it every time I pick up the paper, check the internet, or watch the news. I’m just thinking about hypocrisy, hatred, and a government peopled by “leaders” who looked the other way, benefited from, and are now protecting the perpetrators of the crisis while claiming to look out for us. Who is worse? The people who created the crisis, the people who did not regulate it, or the people who are already mobilizing to blame it on the queer community, immigrants, and people of color? I don’t have an answer.
So, on this, the first day of LGBTQI History Month (and breast cancer awareness month and DSV month), here is to “Another Beautiful Day in America.”
This song was written by the writer and Director of Latter Days, C. Jay Fox, for the film of the same title. For those who do not know, the film explores the crisis a Mormon sent out to to witness experiences when he realizes he is queer, the inflexibility of his faith community, and the equally important crisis of his would be lover who realizes he may be nothing but “fluff” on the inside. Fox himself was a Mormon and described the two main characters as parts of his own personality and emotional development. He said he imagined what it would be like if his partying self met his religious self, and given that he has grown into a gifted filmmaker and conscious person, one wonders if the two other queer characters (the activist and the AIDs shut in) are also pieces of who he has become. The song itself is about the hypocrisy of a faith that follows a loving God and yet embraces a politic of derision and division between themselves and the Others (queers, poc, or anyone else who they deem unclean and unsaved/saveable). It is a song and a film that are particularly poignant given the amount of money being poured into the anti-marriage act in California by a faith whose followers largely live in a completely different state and the willingness of other Christians to blame the economic crisis on not only the queer community but measures like the one prop 8 hopes to defeat.
Despite their prevalence in society, I will always be undone by illogical behavior and senseless violence (whether that violence is emotional, physical, or sexual is irrelevant). I cannot witness either or interact with people guilty of either without coming out of my skin. The mundane nature of self-serving and derision make them no less soul shaking for me. And on a national level, they are a national shame that is now leaving hardworking people destitute and people on the margins paying both the economic price and the price of being targeted when they are no more guilty than anyone else not in banking or the government.
The illogic of this moment in N. American history and the equal violence and illogic of certain groups’ response to it is both expected and profoundly unsettling. And everytime I try to write about something else, someone on the street (elders, students, working class mothers, the small local business owners I frequent, the clerks, the postal workers, etc.) tell me a story about their anxieties and fears about the current situation and I think it would be disloyal to talk about anything else.
Tonight my father called to tell me about a Vietnam Vet and one time General losing it in the elevator at the VA today while he was picking up his meds. Amongst the many things he said during his meltdown about the economy, he said that he had charged all of his business expenses for the month on his credit card b/c like so many other small business owners he could not get his normal line of credit b/c of the crisis. He said that he would rather risk the huge charge on his credit card than lay off workers he knew needed to work as much as he did. This is the sacrifice of a man who has already sacrificed enough for our country, and it is a sacrifice that Congress has yet to make.
Happy LGBTQI History Month you all.