let’s pretend that i’m the manifesto type. a zealot. someone convinced that they are right, guided by god, if you choose, or at the least guided by a morality, a rigid doctrine, a pope you could say or it could be karl marx and lenin, the unabomber, a disgruntled ex-cop with a gun, fidel or che, jefferson, franklin & adams, et. al. i may be reaching here, but you’ll understand how i might have arrived at this list in a few more paragraphs, grant me your patience.
if not them, then someone with a grudge (grudge isn’t really the right word and it may take someone less happy than i to deliver it, to conjure the right word for what i’m feeling); perhaps it’s an unresolved social issue—and that may be closer to the truth of the matter, the truth of my declaration. social issues being the hot buttons of the current political landscape (sen. portman and his ilk, for instance; the broader good just out-of-reach of their comprehension or political expediency.) let’s say it’s that, shall we? an unresolved social issue.
i shall not rail against the wrongs i know have been directed at me and my life choices by specific people such as my cousin and his mother (oops! too late); what would be the point of such condemnation, how would it resolve anything, they being so far removed from my life that they no longer exist. (it does still rankle and i find it hard to forgive them for sequestering—such a current word—my uncle from me. it isn’t that so much as the fact that they are doing this because i am gay and the unfounded fear that i am after “their” money, money they may or may not inherit if and when my uncle dies.) okay, i did inveigh against them, but i promise you that is only a minor diversion from my larger complaint and the purpose of my manifesto.
i want to kiss my lover in public and hold his hand, not just in a metropolis where our act would be lost in the swirl of humanity, but in the town square of small town america. i don’t want my kissing him or holding his hand to be an act of war. a declaration of independence, a mein kampf. i want it to go unnoticed, to be unremarkable, to fold itself into the fabric of our lives, all of our lives, in such a manner that you would not see the warp or weft, a finely woven piece of silk.
i don’t want my wedding announcement* to be news or held up as a sign of the progressive politics of this newspaper or that community. instead, i want the farmer in south dakota to show his wife of 40 years our wedding picture and say, “don’t they look happy?”
I want to look into the eyes of a stranger and not see suspicion or revulsion because i gesture a lot, use complex language, elongate my vowels, drop a curler, or call my best friend “mary” even though he looks like a lumberjack.
i want to be able to assume my world is right instead of fighting for my rights. i want to be as steadfast in my knowledge that the world works in my favor as the last white, heterosexual male in the farthest corner of the state of maine thinks it works for him.
i am not color blind in my desire to be free of the shackles of hate. please note that this manifesto would hold true whether i lived in nigeria, sri lanka, china, indonesia, or bolivia.
and so concludes my manifesto. i am not a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off, i own no guns, i am not manic-depressive, or suffer from schizophrenia. i do not hear voices directing me to act out against my fellow man. i am just a man who wants to kiss his lover in public without a thought.
*should we ever decide to marry and have the right to do so wherever we may be living at the time.