Great place for discourse

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 9, 2012

It has been a most interesting week.

To say that the column that appeared in this space last Saturday generated lots of feedback would be an understatement. Some of that feedback has appeared – and will continue to appear – on this page. Other feedback has come in quiet text messages, in personal emails from people I never met, and of course, on Facebook.

I heard from a woman who is married to her same-sex partner, with whom she is raising children. As a couple, they encounter many who, frankly, discriminate against them because they are perceived as different. They know that their lives would be easier if they didn’t live in Andalusia, but they stay here for a reason.

“We like small-town values,” she said. “We want our children to be raised with those same values that we were.”

She offered to be interviewed. But after I heard stories about how she and her wife are harassed, I thought it would be irresponsible of us to bring more attention to them.

A heart-breaking email came from a former resident of this county who is now pursuing an advanced academic degree. He was bullied in high school, and shared the story of the high school quarterback spray painting a derogatory message on his front lawn.

“I always held my head high, though, because my mother and grandfather taught me to always be true to myself, love myself and others, and to always hold my head high and keep a forward outlook into the future,” he wrote.

Said another friend, “It is too easy for straight people to discriminate against all gay/lesbian people based on irresponsible and outrageous behavior by a few in night clubs or gay pride parades. On the other hand, we don’t discriminate against all straight people based on irresponsible and outrageous behavior of a few in strip clubs or Mardi Gras parades.”

Yes, that, too.

Two things I’ve pondered this week. The first lesson comes from the practice of yoga. After two classes that really didn’t seem difficult when compared to my normal morning runs, I could feel muscles I didn’t know I have. The smallest movements have the potential to create shifts in how we feel.

In the same way, sometimes things that are written – be it my position or the position taken by others – can create subtle shifts in how we think.

The second thing is one of the many things that I love about my work. And that is that despite the rise of social media, newspapers are still a great place to responsibly and civilly express point and counterpoint, reaching not just one’s “friends,” but a wider audience.

It is an honor and a privilege to do this work, and all of our readers are appreciated.