After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]

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Parting Glances: Knowing when to no

By |2005-10-20T09:00:00-04:00October 20th, 2005|Opinions|

Older gays — those ready at fifty or thereabouts for the other $250 sneaker to drop — are sometimes seen by those younger as founts of eternal wisdom, keepers of universal truths.
Maybe it’s the grey hair. The expanse of waistline. The wizened brow that comes from looking back at “the good old days” — even though you can’t go home again (not in drag anyway).
Yet, I find the more time spent on the Mary-go-round of life, the less I really know when, if ever, I’ll grab the brass ring. And I suspect that there are many doors in the House of Two-Way Mirrors, even though most open on to empty rooms — lit by the blazing sun at noon and the temperate moon at night.
“Are you enlightened?” I was asked by a guy 15 years younger than my then 55. He was sincere, even if his question was occasioned by too many ouzos (the drink of philosophers), and prompted by talkative reverie, common to those mentally adrift on bar stools too comfortable for anybody’s good.
“Yes: I’m a card-carrying, fully Awakened Being, recipient of truths handed down from master to master, through discipline, meditation, and hard-earned cash. If you’re serious I’ll initiate you. Just commit to spending $100 for each of 52 steps. Yes; Cosmic Rewiring awaits. Trust. Don’t question,” is what I might have answered.
I could have said, “No. I’m just me. No epiphanies (except Mozart’s music), no visions (other than William Blake’s drawings), no revelations (apart from Emily Dickinson’s verse). All intimations of Beauty, Being & Beyond. Quite inspiring, don’t you think?”
I did say, “No, I’m not, quote unquote, enlightened. Just older and somewhat wiser.” And: “Bartender, more Swedish meatballs, please.”
It’s easy to play the Enlightenment Game, especially if you’ve got a gift for gab, an affidavit face (see above), and pretense to “truths” that confer special status on those who buy into your program — installment by installment, ad infinitum.
All you’ve got to do is hold the candied carrot in front of the go cart. Rebuff doubts with, “You’re not trying hard enough.” Or: “You’re trying too hard”. “You’ve made great strides with your chakras, now relax”. Or: “Your spine’s not straight. Tighten those buns!” “Grasp chastity by the nitty-gritty.” “Let go! Better still: hold on.”
Both ends against the muddle.
There’s big money in playing guru. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard found that out (ask Tom Cruise), as did multimillionaire “DaVinci Code” author Dan Brown (driving Bible fundies crazy over claims that Jesus and Mary Magdelene married — when actually they were just “living in sin”).
True believers are plenty. Sometimes they spend a lifetime searching for answers. I heard one speaker say she had devoted 20 years in pursuit of “knowing” through prayer, reflection, and fasting. An audience member asked at Q&A, “When will you know that ‘you know’?” Her honest answer: “I don’t know.”
Truth is, there’s always somebody out there ready to play prophet (for profit), ready to save us from sin, ready to make us over in their image. Love Won Out, Exodus Ministries, Promise Keepers, Scientology, Dykes for Jesus have “enlightening” messages, seeking to change us through brainwashing and re-programming.
We LGBTs — outsiders to many true-believer insiders– have no interest in turning our lives over to the dogmatic or psychological whims of others. As two-spirited people to begin with, we learn from hard-earned experience to trust our own inner compasses. We need no busybody interference to make us fully human or spiritually alive and kicking. (Watch out!)

About the Author:

Charles Alexander