13 June 2006

I Live in the Nation's Safest Neighborhood/WWJD?

As much as I loathe to reveal personal information about myself, I learned when I moved into my new neighborhood in Greater New York, that it is in fact the safest neighborhood... in the nation. This may seem strange when you hear that I live in the East Village, but it's true. My apartment complex has its own security team on foot, bicycle, and in cars; there are security phones everywhere: it is, statistically speaking, the safest neighborhood in the United States.

So, imagine my surprise when I learned that Kevin Aviance, a well-known drag performer, recording artist, and downtown NYC personality--who gave one of the most amazing performances I've ever seen at the Tunnel, some time ago--had the shit kicked out of him a block away from my apartment Sunday morning, near Phoenix bar, while I was sleeping soundly in the arms of my boyfriend.

The reports say that there were others nearby, but they did nothing to stop the assault. This attack has made the news at least on MSNBC, on ABC.com, and of course, Queenmother; but I thank the redoubtable Joe.My.Blog for the initial alert. Monday reveals the usual superb GayProf post on the subject.

I've asked myself, as I think one must, what would I have done if I'd been there? I decided that I would have run into the bar, gotten some friends, or anyone I could find, and gone back to help stop what was going on. We all think, or hope, that we will never be gay-bashed, but this is a case (and Aviance was not in drag at the time, as that must mean something to you) of there but for the grace of god go I. (It's a catch phrase, people, I'm as athiest as they come.)

Now, this brings to mind a few things, at least for me it does: I hope you're aware that in the current White House, inter-office memos, whether from the current occupant or from the lowliest intern, often carry the acronym, "WWJD." You know what that means, right? It stands for: "What Would Jesus Do?" What would Jesus do?

I am sure, in except the most irony-free of the people who could possibly be reading this text I am writing, that the very idea of what Jesus would do, or even might do, couldn't be further away from almost anything this administration has accomplished or attempted. Cutting funds to youth-support groups? Waging war under false pretenses? Waging war at all? Depriving funds for body armor for the soldiers fighting this war? Cutting funds to returning veterans from said war? Cutting taxes to corporations and the very wealthy to put the tax burden on the middle-class? Cutting anti-terrorism funds to New York City and Washington D.C., the only two cities attacked, thus far, in the "war" of terror? Destroying the environment and the education of children with programs that purport to protect said national resources? I'm certain there are some who will read this and be baffled about this news, or believe it is leftist propaganda--but for the rest of you who have been following the news that doesn't appear on Fox, I am quite sure you find these gestures by our government, by the current occupant of the White House, to be the furthest thing you could imagine that Jesus would do. What would Jesus do, indeed?

There is a lovely piece by Hendrik Hertzberg in this week's New Yorker that touches on some of these issues. Hertzberg notes that there is an imprimatur that occurs when any official lends his name and his words to discrimination, to bigotry, or, no matter the soft-pedaling, to hate.
...The Constitution is not going to be defaced by the “Marriage Protection Amendment,” as its supporters style it. In Wednesday’s Senate vote, it failed to attract even a majority, let alone the sixty-seven votes that would be required for actual approval. But the President’s hypocrisy is not cost-free. He has stirred up prejudice. He has lent his imprimatur to an effort to make gays and lesbians—specifically, gays and lesbians who would like to formalize and solemnize their commitment to their partners and, in some cases, to their adopted or natural children—the scapegoats for the real troubles that afflict American families.

In the past forty years, the definition of marriage has indeed been changed, not by any homosexual master plan but by an epidemic of heterosexual divorce. Marriage is a social good—Bush is certainly right about that—but it has become a disposable good. The causes of divorce are manifold, and they do not include gay marriage. (The state with the nation’s lowest divorce rate, Massachusetts, is also the only state where gay marriage is legal.) The day after the Senate vote, USA Today reported that “the number of active-duty soldiers getting divorced has been rising sharply with deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.” The divorce rate among Army enlisted personnel since 2003, the year of the invasion of Iraq, is up twenty-eight per cent. For officers the increase is seventy-eight per cent. Perhaps this, rather than the imaginary threat of same-sex marriage, is something that the President should look into.

Indeed. I encourage you to read all of Hertzberg's piece--it's quite short. But let us leave, for only a moment, the question of loving couples being allowed to marry, the impact of a difficult martial conflict on the marital relations of soldiers and their loved ones, even the ethical conduct of the current Commander in Chief. Forget those things for only a moment, and ask yourself, what would Jesus do, if he were standing on a streetside, while four men were kicking the shit out of Kevin Aviance, breaking his jaw, bloodying him brutally, and leaving him on the pavement to limp his way to the hospital? What would your Jesus do?

The police caught the bastards.

1 comment:

GayProf said...

I have never understood the WWWJD folk. They are usually the people furthest removed from messages and acts of humility and humanitarianism.