Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bath Water Doesn't Stay Warm Forever

As I've been on this journey of reconsidering what it means for me to be a Mormon, and what life has in store now that I feel good about the fact that I'm gay, I've tried to avoid that extreme position of throwing the baby out with the bath water. For a gay Mormon, that can be a daunting prospect.
It seems that every gay Mormon faces two choices. Option One: Stay anxiously engaged in the church and "fight the good fight," whatever that might mean for each individual. This often involves trying to reconcile internal conflicts involving sexuality, church doctrine and policy, Mormon culture, family dynamics or combinations of those things. Option Two: Walk away from the church completely and find meaning in life with individuals and communities that accept rather than merely endure the presence of people. This often involves a realization that it isn’t the right fight, or a fight worth having or that the “fight” metaphor is a false one. These are stark, gut-wrenching options. For most Mohos, these are the only two choices. I like to think that if forced between the two, I'd go with the latter. 
But there's also another choice, one which is all too familiar to me: Indecision. The lengthy halting between two opinions that becomes a dirty lukewarm stew in which a person wrinkles and bloats. I think this can be seen from the outside as choosing Option One. But inside it saps the energy of the soul, it quickens the temper and leads to feelings of resignation. 
Of course, we all get into emotional funks from time to time. That is one of the constants of the universe, at least for thinking, feeling people. But what I'm trying to describe is something very different. When the bath water starts to grow cold, most people get out, dry off, put on some comfortable clothes and enjoy the next activity. Me? I'm still in the proverbial tub, the temperature is going down by the minute and I forgot to put a towel on the rack. I think about how nice it would be to add some hot water and wonder why I forgot the towel, but sheer thinking doesn't change anything. Yeah, I'm pathetic sometimes. 
I can make decisions at work. I can plan family activities and trips. But big personal decisions are something I worry about to death.
For the last couple of years, I've felt intensely that a life change was imminent. But things are much the same. It's not as though my life is miserable. Yet I'm afraid it might become so if I don't pluck up the courage to get out of the chilling bath and get on with what comes next. I'm a hopeful, thoughtful, extroverted and loving person. But I'm also a coward.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just one integrated blog for Pablo

With appreciation for all the excellent and wise feedback, I've decided to stick with just one blog. It's hard to argue with a consensus. And it feels right to keep things in one place. Thanks again everyone.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

When a Choice Is Placed Before You

After commenting on Daniel's blog, I figured I'd turn my comments into a post of my own.
There is an intriguing story behind the creation of that quintessentially Mormon item: the CTR ring. Thinking back on the story as I heard it, I remembered, wrongly, that there had been a debate over two competing phrases: "Choose the Right" and "Choose the Good."
Turns out, this is the relevant part of the real story (from a Deseret News piece by Jerry Johnston based on an interview of Norma Nichols, a member of the Primary General Board in the 1960s and 1970s):
"I remember we thought about dropping the word 'the' out and having just a CR ring - Choose Right," Nichols says today. "I went home that night to think about it. That's when the inspiration came that the word 'the' was the most important word of all. Choosing right could mean many things, but choosing the right meant there was only one way. We kept the 'T' in CTR."
This “only one way” belief is one of the pillars of Mormon culture and theology. Mormons aren’t the only ones who think this way, by any stretch. (Humans seem to have a penchant for certitude. Many people, perhaps most, don’t like not knowing.) But the Mormon flavor of “rightness” is particularly bitter for a lot of us.
How different would the culture of the church be and how different would my and many others’ experiences in the church have been had the Primary Board in the 1970s decided the “the” issue the other way or chosen a less exclusionary phrase?
Maybe the phrase just wouldn’t have caught on. Maybe three-letter acronyms are just more popular within the alphabet soup of Mormonism. Maybe the culture of rightness just can’t bear to even contemplate that sometimes “the” right denies certain inalienable rights, most notably the pursuit of happiness. Still, I hope that someday there will be a critical mass of Mormons in this world who worry less about how to segregate things and people into “good, better and best” (and the outer darkness of “bad”) and more about how to choose wisely and with love

When rainbow CTR rings become popular in church I think we’ll have turned a corner.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The City on the Hill Is a Whited Sepulchre

Many people have posted their feelings and thoughts about the tragic death of Todd Ransom yesterday. I especially appreciate Rob's post yesterday, which inspired me to post the following. Many others have written deeply touching words too, but Rob's words were stirring. I'm not sure what I can add, but in tribute to Todd and countless others whose lives were cut short or clouded by despair, I am compelled to write something.
This is sad and infuriating beyond words. On hearing the news, my first feelings were for Todd Ransom's family and loved ones who bear this loss most deeply. I wish we who have felt similar anguish as a gay person or the loved one of a gay person could each embrace them, shed our tears together, and then allow them their private moments to grieve and reflect. My feelings moved to anger that this could happen in 2010. My initial bonfire of emotion has refined into the flame of a jeweler's torch with a resolution to create rather than destroy or be consumed.
I did not know Todd Ransom. But I know this, gay or not, Mormon or not: We are all Todd Ransom today.
His suicide is not entirely the fault of the church or the toxic parts of church culture. Yet without any doubt, the church bears it's full share---in an amount roughly the size of the allegorical hill on which its shining city of Zion sits so prominently. The church and its stewards are responsible for fostering the winds and storms that Todd Ransom and so many others have had to endure day after day after day after day. Just like the shining city on the hill, that responsibility cannot be hidden. The church must act to redeem itself and its people--all of its people--before it's too late. Otherwise, the church is simply another whited sepulchre, gleaming from a distance, yet tarnished. That tarnish can be removed only by the princes of the church themselves.
It really doesn't matter anymore whether the church's stance on homosexuality or its advice to gay members is well-meaning, misguided, doctrinally sound, hateful, based on an agenda, or decisions made in the upper rooms of the Salt Lake Temple or within the Holy of Holies itself. Gay Mormons are dying, suffering, despairing, abandoned to the streets, promised the impossible, shunted to the periphery of "worthiness", and told they are loved, accepted, valued and cherished by the church only to discover those words become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal because they have not love and therefore are nothing.
The church doesn't need to figure out this "issue" of homosexuality. It doesn't need a program to minister to gay people. It doesn't need a new policy statement, news release, magazine article or general conference address. It needs to get the hell out of the business of building "pathways to perfection" with good intentions. It needs to stop being willfully blind and deaf to the realities of being gay in this world, and especially being gay in the increasingly ironically-named Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is time for the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to arise from the dust and be men---men of the manner of the Christ of whom they proclaim to be special witnesses.
The church must reject the notion that some may be lost along the way to serve the supposed greater good. Collateral damage is unacceptable when it comes to the human soul. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to buy into false notions and accept alternative versions of reality when we are in a siege mentality.
We are all human. Too often each of us is blinded or distracted by our upbringing, our prejudices, our heartfelt hopes, our best intentions, our worst fears, our most fervent dreams, and the other limitations of our humanity. But the church, its leaders and its members cannot continue, even accounting for human foibles, to profess to value the worth of a soul as a matter of doctrine but decide to reject or denigrate that soul in practice.  If God is love, then how can his church be any less.
All of this goes beyond the church's beliefs and actions regarding gay people. It goes beyond the church itself. All the same, right now we are talking about gay people and the church. I don't have the one true answer to what we are facing as a people. But the sooner the brethren admit the same, the sooner we begin to shake off the chains that continue to bind us to so much needless despair, suffering and, yes, death. We owe it to Todd Ransom today. We owed it to Stuart Matis ten years ago. We have always owed it to the known and the unknown among us. Let us remember. Let us stand up and do something before once again it's too late.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

At Peace With God

I found this the other day and loved it:
Priest: "Have you made your peace with God?"
Voltaire (on his deathbed): "I didn't know we were at war."
I'm at peace with God. I am not at peace with the church. But I'm not exactly at war with it either. There are many things I hate about it. There are some things about it that I think are good. I'm not grinding any axes against the church or institutional religion. Okay, maybe a couple of small hatchets. 
I've shaken off my addict-like dependency on the church for my sense of peace and joy in life. I embrace my skepticism, revel in honest intellectual inquiry and find a kind of exuberance in the notion that most questions don't have tidy answers and some questions may have no answer at all. I fear far more for my salvation when I fail to follow sound logic and good human sense than when I choose not to "follow the prophet" who has no more and no less access to the divine than do I when it comes to personal matters.
Most importantly, I'm enjoying the fellowship I have with the circle of people around me who I love, who I care about, who challenge me, who support me and who enliven my spirituality and emotional health. Among my most strongly-felt hopes is that I'm able to give that in return because those relationships are an expression of the divine. That authentic camaraderie is peace to me.
What are your thoughts and feelings about being at peace? How do you go about creating and finding peace in your life?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Should I start a new blog with a dedicated Moho theme?

When I first started this blog, I figured I would write mostly about my thoughts and feelings of my life as a Mormon -- from born-in-the-church to true believer to disenchanted to disaffected to hopeful agnostic, and everywhere in between. A lot of my feelings about the church are intertwined with my experience being a Gay Mormon. But lately, my posts about Moho life in particular have been more frequent than other things.
So, I'm asking you, dear reader, to give me your feedback on whether I should create another blog focused on life as a Moho, and focus this blog on the broader topic of my experience as a Mormon in general. There's no bright line. This is more about areas of emphasis rather than clear lines of division. I don't like drawing lines anyway. I can't really draw them straight. (Double meaning intended for your reading pleasure.)
The poll is at the upper left of your screen. Please manifest your vote by the usual sign. :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An Encouraging Trifecta

I’m felling more upbeat today. No vast changes, but my outlook is less cloudy. Here in Portland, we call those “sun breaks.” Hooray for euphemisms! Some people might say we get enough breaks from the sun here, but hey, I grew up in Arizona, so I have a sun surplus. 
In addition to talking with a couple of friends yesterday and attending part of a Moho gathering, writing a comment on Chris and Camilla’s blog helped me feel better. I’ve adapted it to be part of this post because it has to do with faith, hope and love.
From my perspective, hope is best experienced when it is blended with faith and love. But I don't mean to limit the meaning of any of those three to the traditional churchy definitions. I look at them this way: Hope has to do with a sense of optimism tempered by what is likely. Faith transcends religious experience and goes more to the idea that although I don't have all the answers and no other human being has all the answers, there is truth and goodness in this world worth standing up for and fighting for. Love is by nature unconditional, and mysterious. 
When shared, love lifts, enlightens and enlivens. This happens in ways big, small and everywhere between. Neither hope nor faith nor love is necessarily diminished by a healthy sense of realism. And even when our circumstances change, our expectations are unmet, our faith is tested and our hope becomes strained, genuine love remains.
As I was writing, the latter part of 1 Cor 13 came to mind. (For me, that chapter is among the most transcendent and beautiful in all scripture across all religions.)
“[W]e know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.... For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.“
The traditional Mormon interpretation with which I was raised defines the future “then”   as sometime in the afterlife. I had a flash of insight that broadened the personal application for me. 
I really identify with the imagery of the dark glass. Whether it is due to a foggy mirror or a tinted window, I know my perceptions are obscured to some degree. But I hope that obstruction continues to become less over time (as it has so far), that the fog will dissipate, that the darkness will give way to light. Knowing myself more fully is a gift that can come in this life. Knowing and appreciating those around me more completely can come in this life. The way I see it, LOVE is the perfect thing that comes to do away with what is “in part,” broken or incomplete. I just have to recognize love for what it is and what it isn’t, and not wait for the future to allow myself to feel whole.
After a streak of feeling down, those were encouraging thoughts. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Loneliness, Married Moho Style

I'd venture a guess that every Moho has felt an almost unbearable loneliness. I'm talking depths-of-despair loneliness. It seems to be a common theme. It involves fear, self-isolation, reliance on impossible promises and well-built facades. For me, it keeps coming back, despite the fact that I have some really amazing and supportive people in my life who I appreciate and love and who I know appreciate and love me too.
Even though I've made huge strides in dealing with my feelings of loneliness and in reaching out to others with openness and honesty, I still feel dreadfully alone. I still use my facade, which only adds to the loneliness because the people around me are led to believe everything is fine. I still fall into patterns of withholding information. I still fear being rejected. I still fear being treated as a sub-human freak for being gay. Although it took me years to escape all the denial and finally come to terms with all the aspects of who I am, to this day I beat myself up about what a selfish jerk I am for putting my wife through the emotional trauma that comes along with being married to a gay man and for the anguish she and my kids would go through if we ever separated.
This will sound really stupid, but it's the best description I can come up with at the moment: Remember near the end of the movie "The Little Mermaid" when Ursula becomes a giant, stirs up a whirlpool and traps Ariel at the sea floor at the bottom of the whirlpool? Ursula starts shooting lightning bolts at Ariel. Too often, I feel like Ariel dodging lightning bolts. I'm alone at the bottom of the sea and, though surrounded by water, can't even swim to safety. I can breathe and see some of what's going on around me, but I'm confined and scared.
But hey, it's my pity party, and I can cry if I want to, right? I know I'll feel better and more optimistic soon, but the seemingly never ending back-and-forth really sucks. I'm glad it's Friday.

Ah well

Twenty-four hours on and no more hits from Glad they stopped by. And now we both move on. Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Visit from

On the same day as my post about the the Prop 8 film "8: The Mormon Proposition" I had a single, one-page, brief hit from the domain (which is the web domain for church officialdom). Thanks Sitemeter!
I don't take conspiracy theories very seriously and I don't by any stretch think I'm important enough to be noticed by the powers that be in SLC, but it was a bit creepy. A straightforward application of Occam's razor would lead me to believe that the web gurus at the COB decided to have BlogPulse (which is what directed the person/troll/bot to my Prop 8 post) search blog conversations throughout our lovely Internet for every appearance of "Prop 8" and "Mormon" and other similar search terms. Given how flummoxed so many in the church seem to be by the response to the church's central role in the passage of Prop 8, it would be no surprise that the church would scour blogs to find out what people everywhere are saying about it. 
But if you're reading, Brother Packer or faithful minion... Hello. :) Please, read on.
If this solitary visit was connected to the church in the way I suspect, what will chafe my hide is that this will be yet another example of the church showing more concern for tracking and cataloging what Mohos and others are saying about the Mormon Church and Prop 8 than making efforts to engage in honest and admittedly challenging dialogue about it or the emotional fallout on God's gay children that comes from the church's troubling history regarding homosexuality.  
I've used the terms "Prop 8" six times, "Mormon" four times, and "church" eight times (including this sentence) in this post. Let's see what happens. BlogPulse and Sitemeter, work your magic.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Latecomer to the Moho Blog Party

I've been connected to the Moho community in Portland for a long time now, but I didn't become a Moho blogger until recently. I was afraid that I'd get drawn too deep into the mohosphere, spend too much time reading the many good blogs out there and neglect other things. It's easy to do, especially for me. It happened when I first found the New Order Mormon message board. It was so good to find a safe place among people with similar experiences with the church. I dove in and spent WAY too much time reading and posting. So much of it was good and needed and helpful, but I had to take a step back.
Experiencing that helped me to be more balanced in how I approached blogging and becoming part of the Moho online community. For a few years now, I've been reading Moho blogs sporadically and have felt very blessed that so many people have decided to share so much. Now that I've become a small-time Moho blogger, I feel even more connected. I'm still lonely and afraid and indecisive sometimes. But I'm doing better.
I've made some wonderful friends who feel like family. It's amazing how we can find such meaningful connections with people so many miles away. The church discourages us from making connections online. Yet it provides NOTHING to meet the needs that the mohosphere does for so many of us. I can sit in a church meeting surrounded by people and feel utterly alone. I can read a blog post, write a blog post of my own or chat for five minutes with another Moho or Moho-friend and feel understood and renewed.
So while I may have come a bit late to the party, I'm glad I'm here. I'm happy you're all here too. Thanks to my buddy Jon for pushing me to start blogging. Thanks to all of you for coming along with me and letting me tag along with you on our crazy journeys. Here's to continuing that fellowship and camaraderie among us all.

Monday, July 12, 2010

8: The Proposition, The Film, The Church and The People

So much for the hiatus ending soon. But now, after FAR too long a break, I'm back to blogging. This long post will more than make up for the lack of writing the past few weeks.
A while back, I watched the film "8: The Mormon Proposition" with a group of close friends. This was when it was first released nation-wide. I guessed that it would stir up a lot of complicated emotions inside me. It did. The film is a bit clumsy and disjointed at times. It probably won't change many minds. But maybe it will. It will likely turn off a lot of people. But I'm not sure that matters in the long run.
The film is an imperfect packaging of a message that needs to be spoken and needs to be heard. For so long the voices of ignorance, hate and fear have been the loudest. Many church leaders and members have, sadly, added to that chorus. During the last 20 years or so, a lot of gay activists have done their own kind of shouting. Sometimes that's a good thing because anyone who stays too quiet for too long gets brushed aside. It's also a good thing to speak up and correct the inaccuracies, slander and fear-mongering, of which the various sides in the gay marriage debate have been guilty. 
I'm a mediator and peacemaker by nature. Yet I think there's a time for shouting too. The church has been bellowing for such a long time at those of us who are gay that some shouting back is in order. This post is my contribution to vociferously speaking out. I realize that shouting back out of emotion isn't going to immediately create trust or dialogue. But everyone deserves some time to vent. Speaking up with enough force so that people have to listen to the legitimacy of the feelings and the arguments is important. After that, we can have the discussion. The church needs to be called out on the things that it's done wrong. It's hard to be respectful when the church so often responds either with arrogance when it's "winning" or by playing the victim when it's "losing" -- although the win-lose dichotomy is ultimately false.
I will unequivocally state that we all have to be careful to not shout so long and so loudly that we descend into fighting words and/or actual violence. Violence does not bring justice, only retribution. Protesters should not be vandalizing church property. Church security should not be throwing to the ground and handcuffing anyone found kissing on church property. Nothing good will come from seeking vengeance for the horrific shock therapy program of the 1960s and 70s at BYU (which is somewhat awkwardly portrayed in the film), or for the dehumanizing spite from the mouths of so many convinced of the righteousness of their cause. We are a nation founded on the rule of law. Equal protection of those laws often comes slowly and at a price, but it does come. 
It seems to me that two significant things can come from this film: 1) It highlights some of the things that various leaders and members of the church have done and continue to do that is deeply hurtful and wrong toward gay people; and 2) It provides some catharsis for the filmmakers, many of whom are gay and grew up Mormon as well a large segment of the audience who are also gay and grew up Mormon--along with their families and friends. 
Since at least 1998, the church has been pouring money (and more importantly directing efforts, and imploring members to donate their time and talents) into groups whose sole purpose for existing is to enact anti-gay marriage laws. The film explains some of the church's involvement in Hawaii in the late 1990s. But it doesn't go into the church's role in supporting initiatives in Alaska around the same period and in other states over the intervening years. It glosses over the church's central role in the passage of Prop 22 in 2000, which led to the California Supreme Court decision in 2008 declaring that law to be in violation of the California constitution, which in turn led to Prop 8. The church's reaction to the court's decision is telling. From the church's website: 
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes that same-sex marriage can be an emotional and divisive issue.  However, the Church teaches that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is the basic unit of society. Yesterday’s California Supreme Court decision is unfortunate.” 
It is indeed unfortunate that the leadership of the church chose to throw its gay members and families and their friends under the bus through a single-minded focus on homosexuality as a political issue rather than a complex one that involves human beings, whose souls Mormon doctrine states to be of great value.
The following is a direct quote from a letter from the First Presidency which leaders in California were directed to read aloud in sacrament meetings on June 29, 2008. On that same day, I sat and listened to it be read from the pulpit in my ward in Vancouver, Washington. I know from friends that the letter was read in their wards in Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Arizona. I would not be surprised to learn it was read in other wards in other states. All these readings of the letter in sacrament meetings outside California could be violations of elections laws, and fly in the face of common decency. Of course, when church leaders wind up the emotions of members of the church, the top will go spinning. So how can it be shocking that local leaders would read this letter of their own accord in their local congregations. Thus said the First Presidency: 
"In March 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved a state law providing that 'Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.' The California Supreme Court recently reversed this vote of the people. On November 4, 2008, Californians will vote on a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that will now restore the March 2000 definition of marriage approved by the voters.
“We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. "
What happened to the 12th Article of Faith? "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." Last time I looked in the dictionary, a magistrate is a kind of judge. I presume church leaders would go on record to say that Latter-day Saints should sustain the decision of a judge, even if said Latter-day Saint might disagree with the decision. The First Presidency's apparent disdain for court decisions with which it does not agree is very troubling. Courts throughout the country reverse the "vote of the people" all of the time because the "vote of the people" violates the constitution. That is one of the jobs of the courts. That's why we have three branches of government. It's elementary school civics. Court rulings are part of the law. Oh, and there's that nasty little part about the church violating California election laws. I don't care that the fine was in the thousands of dollars. When you have an army of lawyers carefully looking at every aspect of your involvement in a political cause, it's hard to believe that it was just an oversight.
The initiative process in California is, without question, a legal way to change the law. The proponents of Prop 8 skillfully used that process. But are we to allow every issue of importance to be subject to the voters? As a matter of political theory as applied in California, I suppose we could. Does it make sense to do so? That is an unsettled question. But I know this: One of the foundational purposes of the judiciary is to moderate the passions of the political sphere. Otherwise, why not just put the constitution itself up for a popular vote every few years? Some countries do. But that doesn't seem very American. For the church to preach that we should sustain our government out of one side of its mouth and then out of the other infer that the voice of California Voters is superior to the judgment of duly elected, yes elected, judges of the California Supreme court, is disingenuous and hypocritical.
The brethren also pitted family members and friends against each other, requiring members of the church to choose to follow a “request” by the First Presidency or follow their conscience if they were opposed to Prop 8. When you make a covenant to consecrate yourself, your time, your talents and everything the Lord has given you to the church, and the highest church authorities are “asking” you to support a state constitutional amendment, it's pretty easy to understand that supporting Prop 8 is essentially a commandment. As a direct consequence, most of those who follow the brethren are going to look with contempt upon those who feel compelled to follow their conscience with which they have been endowed by their Creator. The brethren know this. In Mormon culture, obedience trumps love. In the case of the church’s stance on homosexuality and Prop 8 in particular, another thing is true: fear trumps reason and sound thinking.
The church website, whose content is presumably vetted by the stewards of the church, states, in its now less-prominent section (post-Prop 8) on “Same-Gender Attraction”: 
"When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identity as a man or a woman. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise yet another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose."
No support whatsoever is given for these declaratory and conclusory statements. If any of the rising generation is attracted to someone of the opposite gender, how precisely will legal recognition of relationships between people of the same gender confuse them? Expansion of the definition of marriage will somehow change the natural attractions they feel? It's also worth pointing out here that a person's gender identity does not determine that person's sexual orientation. And please, don't cite to Boyd Packer's statements about the rules versus the exceptions. We're talking about human relationships, not percentages of what is perceived by some people to be normal or abnormal. And what exactly will gay marriage do to make courtship, stable marriages and child rearing more difficult? Perhaps the church could look to the lack of "moral strength and purpose" in the large number of marriages between straight people that are built upon notions of tradition rather than love and commitment. When they've figured out how to strengthen the love between people who they see as following their "natural identity," then they can come talk to me about why the love between two gay people is less worthy, less legitimate and lacking in moral strength and purpose.
The shock value of talking like this may turn some people off. But it can serve as a necessary release valve. When the steam subsides, we can see more clearly. Having all of that heat gone can allow the cooler heads and the better angels of our nature to move to the next step of dialogue. A measure of discomfort can eventually lead to important insight and personal discovery.
We're in a period of transition. There's still a lot of heat and steam building up. But if we can find ways to vent it, whether it's through movies or blogging or whatever, even when the emotions are raw and people may view what is said with distrust and dismissiveness, and the speaker isn't as articulate as they could be, we get closer to the time when the core of the message of fairness, equity, and our common humanity will be seen and understood. But it's messy and it takes time.