Matthew Lickona 2:43 p.m., June 19
Don't Tell The Mormons This But...
I didn't expect that an evening painting my office would be my most memorable, but when CNN projected Obama as the winner, I stood holding my paint roller as the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King filled the room. I'd read that he had known that he'd die for his cause. It was not in vain.
As I proceeded to get paint in every nook and cranny, even in the rooms I wasn't painting in, my thoughts were centered on my sweet friend, music arranger Gene Page. Decades earlier, his brother, Billy, advised him to give up his dream of becoming a concert pianist because "the white public will never accept a black concert pianist." Gene was a child prodigy in music and went to a music conservatory on a four-year scholarship. I can't imagine the enormous amount of talent that must of gone straight down the toilet because of ignorance. Maybe even a cure for cancer!
I was engaged to Gene's buddy, who abused me. No one cared, except Gene. He was on his way to the studio to record a Natalie Cole album, but took the time to call. "I'm sickened and disgusted by the way he treats you," he said. "If you want me to, I'll get you out of there." I'd waited since childhood to be rescued. Gene gave me my dream. I wish he'd gotten his.
Several of us were coming out of Martoni's on Cahuenga in Hollywood in 1980. I was just a young girl from Valley Center. I'd never known any blacks or gays. A cold wind was blowing and I had on a silk shirt. Shivering, I trotted ahead to get to the car, Footsteps came running up behind me. Something went around my shoulders. I turned and it was Billy. He'd given me his jacket. Billy, who's now deceased, was a gay man. He won my support for gay marriage on that night..
I'm the one who's liberated. I no longer have to downplay the fact that I'd join forces with blacks or gays, something I've done for over 30 years. I enjoyed it when my dad wouldn't let me park in front of his house with the "No on 8" and "Obama" bumper stickers on my car. My ex said I did it just to piss him off. I didn't, but I would have. My good friend, whose husband served years in the Hanoi Hilton chained to and tortured with John McCain, gagged a little when she saw it. I loved it all. I finally feel feel free to be me.
"I can't believe I raised two daughters who support gay marriage," my mother said from a recliner in her toxic Rancho Bernardo neighborhood. "It's not your world anymore," I said. "It belongs to the kids. And there doing a mighty fine job, if you ask me."
I left the Mormon church over Prop 8. When I took in a homeless woman over the summer, I asked for food from the church. I'd just had surgery and she and I had $3 between us. After being a member for 20 years, I was denied help because I had said, "I'm not sure love is ever a bad thing."
Tom N., a Mormon in Escondido emailed: "I would like someone to explain to me why I should continue to do business with Wells Fargo that supports a web site and group that advocates blatant intolerance, misinformation, and what appears to be hate directed towards another group." I for one, Tom, can't explain it because gays aren't the ones telling you that you can't get married. I don't want to tell other people what to do.
No matter what the scriptures say, if I'm going to error regarding gays, it's going to be on the side of love. That's what I can live with on judgment day.
Gene and Billy, you may not have lived long enough to realize your dreams, but at least one African American got his. Our nation truly became great the day Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream...
The In Crowd
Written by Billy Page Arranged by Gene Page
I'm in with the in crowd I go where the in crowd goes And I know what the in crowd knows Anytime of the year, don't you hear? Dressing fine, making time.
We breeze up and down the street We get respect from the people we meet They make way day or night They know the in crowd is out of sight.
I'm in with the in crowd I know the latest dance When you're in with the in crowd It's so easy to find romance Any time of the year, don't you hear? If it's square, we ain't there.
We make every minute count Our share is always the biggest come out Other guys imitate us But the origin is still the greatest in crowd Any time of the year, don't you hear? Spendin' cash, talkin' trash.
I'll show you a real good time. Come on with me, leave your troubles behind I don't care where you've been You ain't been nowhere 'til you've been in. With the in crowd, the in crowd, the in crowd.
Blacks today, gays tomorrow. Obama rocks! Love, not 8.