My book “see my book” and this blog are all about finding and expressing your authentic self. Well…..we may be, at this very moment, reaping that whirlwind. I suspect, never before, in so short a time, has a culture had to sustain so many and various challenges to the status quo than America in the recent decade. Who and what makes a person their own true self has never taken on so many variations than at this very moment in America.
Much of this change has been lying dormant or quiet in the background. But once the barriers, the enclosures, seemed vulnerable, the great varieties of “self” suddenly began to make themselves known. And the announcements were not subtle. The onslaught of emerging “authenticities” and “true selves” is a tsunami. The heaving waves have been washing over us for several years now. Here are a few of the many moving parts of the new Kraken!: (forgive me ahead of time if I inadvertently step on any toes. Not trying to find fault or lay blame. Just describing and listing events.)
The loss of many pillars of American self-image…hard work, sacrifice, self-sufficiency, loyalty, pride. Silent, furtive illegal immigration had been going on for decades. But suddenly with a new progressive President and congress, who were more sympathetic to their human plight, they began to come out of the shadows. Those already here had the courage to stand out. “Dreamers” stood up. We witness the baffling spectacle of “illegals”, law-breakers, who formerly feared discovery and deportation now publicly demonstrating in the streets in the face of police who now, instead of arresting and deporting them, merely guard their flanks to maintain a “peaceful demonstration”. The audacious, in your face, blatancy staggered any simple sense of law-abidance.
Homosexuals, both male and female, came rushing out of the closets that so long held them. Again, for decades, not unlike the illegal immigrants, they honored a low profile, segregated existence in the shadows of cities and propriety. But now a new courage overtook them and they, too, demonstrated forcefully in public for their authenticity. From that, in quick succession, came the further assault on the proprieties of marriage and civil rights.
Once gay rights became an open discussion, it was not long before bi-sexual and transgender people followed. The LGBT coalition was formed and soon became a powerful political and economic strata. Lesbians, gays, transgenders, transvestites, cross dressers, were suddenly everywhere, in the public vistas and in every form of media.
The disabled for centuries also lingered in the shadows of the population. Their disabilities, missing limbs, afflictions embarrassed them and the public. They stayed distant. But that, too, in short order, changed. From the massive Disabilities Act, to the returning veterans now with wounds evident that once would have proven fatal, another class of shadow people were ready to take their rightful place as authentic citizens.
And Race, in spite of nice progress since the sixties, reared its uglier aspects again, seeking respect and justice.
Women’s rights has been a long and climbing issue. But again, in this new climate of open protest, it takes its place more forcefully among these other issues that stretch the comfortable fabric of society and push it to newer heights. The search for authenticity among women has never been stronger. (A small example of imagery, not theory: the plus-size model…the greying model…emerging “authenticities” more prevalent today than not long ago)
Eccentricities that were once kept at bay by public approbation, now are deemed authentic forms of self-expression. Strange haircuts and styles; red/blue/orange/pink hair; tattoos, few at first, but quickly to become “sleeves” and full bodied; piercings of various kinds and areas; clothing of the most outlandish; nudity or near nudity visible at any given moment; the full use of all forbidden language, including the F word, in public, in film, television; the open discussion of all things sexual, aided by the ubiquitous ads, at all times of day, for getting an erection when you can’t (four year olds asking from the back seat “what’s a four hour erection?”; men embracing and kissing on the mouth on evening newscasts, women doing the same; gay men having so much “fun” being gay on the evening comedic tv sit-com; sexual techniques and devices openly discussed, mostly in the form of jokes in the nightly sit-coms; drug use and gun violence portrayed constantly on the nightly tv shows and movies; full blown, uncensored, real people pornography available with the push of a few keys on your computer; ………ALL TABOOS TESTED!……………..THE KRAKEN HAS BEEN RELEASED!
Released, not in small doses over decades, each piece slowly digested, but in a flood, a tsunami. Should we not be rejoicing? Yes, but the average public, which is a majority, reels. It is a constant and pitiless assault. But this is the point here…Can the normal channels of tolerance absorb and digest so much as quickly as the disenfranchised would like? There is both push-back and MORAL FATIGUE.
All of the above remediations are legitimate. And the plaintiffs are rightfully impatient. But some perspective must be admitted by the “inauthenticated”. They must learn their own tolerances. I believe, in time, the public majority will accept without legal or personal complaint all of the issues listed above. But the recipients must see the almost impossible task of the inertial public to digest and process so much so quickly. Patience is in some order. Patience can quickly deteriorate into renewed neglect. But proper orchestration is possible. Kindness and respect on all sides must and will ultimately prevail, but it must be given more time, a slower pace, and some empathy all around.
The established moral bedrock of any society changes slowly. Re-read THE SCARLET LETTER to refresh your perspective on the early foundations of this country’s moral stance. Such repression had to change. It has. Not always for the better. Some modulation is in order. (we could live without the Cialis ads)
Gays gyrating nearly nude on a Gay Pride Parade float are no longer advancing their cause. Blacks rioting and looting are not advancing their cause. The country now understands the faults of the past. Justice is working toward corrections. All grieving parties need patience and civility. Many solutions are already here, more are coming. The moral digestive tract on all this is narrow and slow. Some goodwill and cooperation will go a long way towards honest digestion. Constant compassion is hard.
The tattooed, LGBT, Black, illegal alien, wounded, pink haired, foul-mouthed, nearly naked Kraken with a full erection will slowly slip peacefully back into the sea, and the assimilating rainbow will soar over the land. Be civil. Be patient. All good and true authentic souls will be honored and fulfilled! Authenticity, in all its forms, has become visible. In fair time, in all its forms, it will become accepted.