Friday, February 03, 2012

My Country Tis of ..... Who?

I just returned  to London from a two week business trip back to the  United States.  I was in  New York,  Los Angeles  and then  took a couple days off and went up to San Francisco  to see  friends and family.  It was  an interesting trip.

New York was great,  my company's offices are  in Lower Manhattan, right near Wall Street.    Also  the trip was even more special because it was Eric's and my first wedding anniversary.  His present was I got him a ticket to fly over and spend the week with me .   So  when I wasn't working we got to explore New York, and  hangout with our  dear friends Daniel and Gerardo.

It was during our week in NYC  President Obama gave his State of the Union Address.   Many people applauded  progressive vim and verve in the speech.  I found myself thinking... "okay, sounds great but where have you been for the past  3 years?".    I obviously will vote for  President Obama come November, but  I am still not  excited about it.  After watching  the seemingly endless string of  GOP Presidential debates. it is now even more clear that  the 2012 Presidential election will essentially be  a choice between an marginally effective democratic President, and whichever bat sh*t crazy  Republican survives the circular firing squad that is this years' primary process.

So we have a GOP contest essentially between Mitt Romney  and Newt Gingrich?  Seriously??  It's like the  Republican Party has  decided to double down on  their quest for total irrelevance.   The good news is,  either one is a losing proposition for the  GOP.  The  wingnutty base will never support Mitt "the Mormon", who  once boasted he was more pro-LGBT rights than Ted Kennedy.

As far as Newt "Swingrich" goes, (his three wives,  affinity for adultery and open marriages aside..)  it is safe to say that Newt  is just wayyyyy too crazy  for  vast majority of  Americans.    So  I think President Obama can safely  keep  the moving boxes stored away for another four years.  Yet the question is not who will be President  come January 20th, 2013, but rather who will control Congress.

After NYC  it was on to  Los Angeles for  more meetings for work, and some warmer California  weather.  I will admit it was nice to be back in the U.S. for a while  It's always nice  to  be able to drive on the  right side of the road in a car with the steering wheel on the left side of the driver's seat.   I will confess that I have never really cared for L.A., but   this time  I actually found myself  not minding the gridlock on the  405.

I guess it is a result of just missing  California.  This was even more evident when last weekend I took a couple days off, and  flew up to San Francisco.

It's  always  odd  the first time you return to  a city you used to live in , after moving away.   You feel like you live  there, but don't live there.   It's kind of  weird.   I wandered  down  past my old apartment building  in the SOMA (South of Market)  neighbourhood. of  San Francisco.  Standing outside, it  felt like  I had just forgotten my keys and was locked out of my own flat.

Then you see somebody else's name on  your mailbox and it all kicks in... Oh yeah, I don't live here any more.

While in SF I had the great good fortune to get to see my friend  Rudy in his current run with  the Word For Word Theatre Company.   He is in  the play  "Food Stories", and as always,  was amazing in it.   I also was able to spend some time with my Sister, her husband and my   glorious, brilliant, and perfect (can you tell I'm a  proud uncle?), nieces and nephew.  For the most part it was nice just to spend time revisiting my old stomping grounds.  I even was able to poke my head in at my old offices at  Kaiser Permanente  in San Bruno, and in Oakland,  and catch up with some of  my former co-workers.

All of which,  I will confess had a bitter-sweet  feel to it.    Friends and co-workers here in London often ask me if I  "miss"  San Francisco.  That is a complicated question.  Obviously there are  lots of things  and people I miss.  My friends, my family, and  the weather. (It is a balmy 28 degrees Fahrenheit here in  London today.)  But the question implies  that if I say  "yes"  I  miss SF, it means I  somehow regret moving here,  and if I say "no"  then  it feels like I am trivializing the people and things I left behind.  

Obviously  I don't for one minute  regret the decisions  that  resulted in my moving here, and  if  time were turned back,  I would  make the exact same decisions again, without a moments hesitation.  What  I do regret is the fact that  Eric and I  didn't  really have a choice..  Moving to London was the only way we could be together.  Living together in the United States was not even an option for us.    Not because of money, or distance. But simply because of bigotry and stupidity.  

The United States Government, which I support with my taxes,  forced me to move,   and yes,  that fact still makes me angry.

Well meaning friends,  for whom the reality of  DOMA ( the ridiculously mis-named "Defense of  Marriage Act"),  doesn't apply;  will often  say;   "Nobody forced you move Dave.  You could always have just stayed here."    The  sheer idiocy of  that statement  is  mind-boggling.   Of course I could have stayed in the U.S., but  without the person I am married to.   It is hard for these people to imagine  having to  choose between your Spouse and your Country.   Yet  that is exactly the choice thousands of bi-national same sex couples are forced to make every day.

How would you feel if, in  order to even be with, let alone marry the person you love, you had to move overseas.  All for no other reason, than the basic legal protections other married couples enjoy, we are denied, because the Republican Party needs to keep Gay and Lesbian Americans as the one group they can still legally hate, and discriminate against.

London is a fantastic city, and  I am  fortunate to have a great job,  and  Eric and I have wonderful friends and family here.  So what is the problem?   The fact  we didn't have a choice.  The basic rights given to other tax-paying Americans  to have the option to live together and build a life in the United States  we were denied, for no other reason than  bigotry and discrimination codified into law by DOMA.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you hear about Washington State? We're about to join the ranks of grown up peoples' too!

You'd love the northwest corner - it's like Bavaria with an adjacent ocean/islands....lemme know when y'all want to come visit!