SOAPBOX - HENRY ROLLINS Gets The Last Word
This is a call to arms, boys.
This is your world, and you’re inheriting it from your parents. Unless you want to fight their wars and drink their dirty water and go through this maddening repetition, brought to you by people who not only refuse to learn from history but love to repeat it—unless you are going to be the change, you are going to inherit a world with far less resources than the one I walked into at your age. Twenty years, the world has changed so much, and in 20 more, the lines drawn in the sand will be very different. This is all up to you: to look for alternative fuel sources, to acknowledge global warming, to fix the appalling racist and homophobic tendencies our government has. All that’s within our grasp. You can make a difference. This is a great country to do that in. It needs it. It needs strong, brave people trying to make a difference. If not you, then who?
In some ways for you guys, being gay today is better than it was 20 years ago, and in some ways it’s worse. I think America has accepted homosexuality as a fact, but the downside is the Bush administration giving the psychotic, ignorant wing of the Christian right—who are very homophobic and very hateful—a voice. A few State of the Union addresses ago, the president said, “I defend the sanctity of marriage,” which is lip service to the Christian right, saying, “You queers are on notice.”
I don’t understand it. If Bill and Tom want to get married, why does anyone have a problem with it? Get a life and leave them alone. That you would deny these people that happiness because of something you think you understand about the Bible is quite awful.
Homosexuality is not an abnormality. It’s maybe rarer than heterosexuality, but it is no less a truth. I don’t really see the difference between gay and straight other than a basic difference in the preference. The needs are the same: company, love, fulfillment, all of that. So equality to the point where it’s no longer an issue anymore, emancipation and progress, is what’s needed.
The message that I think will be seen in the next several years is gay people saying, “We’re really, really good parents and our kids are really great.” I know a few couples who are married or joined in some way with kids, and their kids are fantastic: They’re funny, they’re smart, they’re considerate. If I were raised by two women or two men, I don’t see what the problem would be. As it is, I had two people who hated each other’s guts, and it definitely did a number on me—I’m still working it out. Now, with Mary Cheney leading the way, I think you’re going to see children of gay couples growing up and being quite “normal,” no fangs or claws, and becoming very useful and great parts of society.
The good will always defeat the bad. Sometimes it doesn’t look like you’re winning, but as long as you’re on your feet, talking about it and finding allies, you’re beating these people who rely on intimidation, on your apathy, your silence, on you eventually giving up.
It is very easy to feel defeated. I do, some days. I feel very weary at the state of this country and what this president is doing and potentially will do before he finally leaves. It’s easy to put your head in the sand and just go, “Screw it! I’m going to stay home with a bunch of comfort food and just stop checking in!” I hear ya, but we can’t.
When you see the extraordinary depths that these people have to plumb to get talking points, like when Ann Coulter calls John Edwards a faggot and gets laughs, well, that may have worked for people like my father, but it’s not going to work for me. If that’s what they’re bringing to the table, then believe me, that does not hold water in the real world. When the lights are on and court comes into session, that’s not rockin’. With all these bright young people coming out of the halls of academia, guess what? It doesn’t rock with them either.
So I think you’re going to see a change in your lifetime, in a lot of different ways, and maybe sooner than later. And so, basically, one must take heart. Like Churchill said—and I remind myself of this always—never, ever, ever can you give up. I have to repeat that to myself, ’cause man, some days I get up and these bastards got me beat, you know? They got me pretty whipped, and I’ve got to keep whipping myself up and throwing myself into that propeller and fighting the good fight.
You have to be part of the solution and part of the change, because cooler, calmer, more interesting and innovative heads will prevail. We will find alternative energy sources—they’re out there, they’re being utilized by other countries— we, too, will utilize them.
We will save the world. We will save this country. We will wrest it back from these awful people who think they have a lock on it. They don’t!
The Henry Rollins Show airs on IFC on Fridays @ 11 p.m. EST/8 p.m. PST. For more Mr. R, check out ifc.com/henry or henryrollins.com