Letter from the Editor
My parents and grandparents used to wield an old maxim when I was a kid: you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. I vaguely understood its meaning as: you can’t have everything you want. If I had a cake—a slice, a cupcake, or an entire cake—of course I’d eat it, and that would be the end of that. What needed to be discussed? Ah, the sweetness of youth.
I was in my mid-twenties when a friend derided “queens” for effeminate mannerism while proclaiming the validity of “gay rights.” I looked at him askance and the words fell out of my mouth like hot grits before I knew it, “George! What are you talking about? You can’t have your cake and eat it, too!” In that split second, I the full meaning of my parents’ aphorism blossomed into my consciousness—
You can not have a cake (slice or whole), have it remain remain whole, while you consume it.
You can’t lay claim to any belief if your actions undermine or run counter to that belief.
In other words, people cannot work to achieve two outcomes that are by their nature opposed to one another. Mind you, I don’t see the world as black and white. There’s a whole lot of gray out there; but lately I’ve seen way too many people try to make this truth null and void . . . either out of sheer ignorance or abject willfulness.
There are a lot of well-meaning people who will swear to you that they don’t have a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or transphobic bone in their body. While that statement may be 100% true, it is also 100% irrelevant. Prejudice (opinions not rooted in fact or experience) and bias (the way those unfounded beliefs are enacted against others) do not reside in one’s bones. Those beliefs inhabit the mind.
There are truly wonderful people in the world, some I’ve met on church pews, in bars, and had meals with who claim to be all about peace, love, Jesus, and we the people, but see absolutely nothing wrong with book burnings, all lives matter, segregation, monuments to the proponents of the Confederacy, and lukewarm displays of concern. There are flocks of men who would get into a barroom brawl if someone assaulted their wife, daughter, or mother, but still don’t want equal pay for women.
The numbers of our citizenry who didn’t go to the polls to vote and drape themselves in the stars and stripes? Please. They have taken no active part in in the most basic act of democracy. They'd do well to remove that cloak of patriotism before they burst into flames.
And don’t you even think about considering yourself post-racial, if you blithely reap the benefits of a system based solely on the color of your skin and make no attempt to level the playing field.
Just stop already. The world sees you for who you are. You cannot have it both ways.
Love one another.
OHF Weekly Editor-in-Chief
New This Week
Gun Violence in America, the NRA, and Racism
By Glenn Rocess
In any other first-world nation, a mass shooting is national—and often international—news. In America, it’s a Tuesday. No other developed nation allows such easy access to firearms of almost any type, and no other nation’s schools require “active shooter” drills for its children. There are Americans who move overseas to protect their children from gun violence at school; I know this firsthand because my wife and I sent our youngest son to school overseas less than a month after he told us he knew other kids who were bringing guns to school. He has since told us this was the best thing we ever did for him.
How did we reach this point where mass shootings have become commonplace? Those of us who are older remember a time long before Columbine, when school shootings were simply unheard of. What changed? As with so many of our nation’s shortcomings, it begins with racism. Read the full story.
Pulse: Six Years Later
June 12 marks the sixth anniversary of the night hate came to Orlando and murdered forty-nine people out for a night of fun. June 12, 2022, marks the sixth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre.
Unfortunately, mass murders and terror attacks have become commonplace in America. Two weeks ago, nineteen elementary school students and two teachers were slaughtered by a gunman with an AR-15 in Uvalde, Texas. Ten days before that, ten Black people were also murdered in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. And this list of American carnage and its trail of broken bodies and lives stretches back further than I care to or am able to recall.
I have a longstanding aversion to depictions of violence. I gave up on horror with the film version of Stephen King’s Carrie (1976). All interest in slasher movies ended with Halloween (1978), the original with Jamie Lee Curtis. I walked out of Natural Born Killers (1994). I know . . . don’t ask me what I expected. The subject matter was right there in the title.I let Mel Gibson dupe me into a theater for 127 minutes of gratuitous bloodletting in The Passion of the Christ (2004). I headed for the exit minutes into No Country for Old Men (2007). Read the full story.
Juneteenth: A Reason for Celebration or Reparations
My personal feelings about celebrating Juneteenth have shifted a few times. I first learned of Juneteenth long after my college years. A friend from Texas suggested a few of us in Orlando, Florida, join her in celebrating Juneteenth, which was a big thing in her home of Beaumont. Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, was the day enslaved people in Texas learned of their freedom. I understood why that would be a big deal in Texas. But why should people not from Texas be concerned?
Over time, Juneteenth became more popular throughout America—the concept of celebrating the end of enslavement, despite the span of timebetween when the Civil War is considered to have ended, April 9, 1865, and Juneteenth, seventy-one days later. I eventually got curious and started digging into what happened during those seventy-one days?
I first thought there might have been a delay in communication. What forms of information transmission were available those days such that an event as important as the Civil War ending got missed for almost two-and-a-half months? There was the mail, which was slow and unreliable. Newspapers were available, although a large percentage of the population, especially the enslaved population, was illiterate (not by choice). Telegraph depended on cables physically connected between cities, but Texas wasn’t excluded from the telegraph and should have received the news. Read the full story.
Happy Father’s Day
Special greetings of the day to all you dads, daddies, fathers, pops, padres, papas, papis, pères, and vaders!
Love one another.