Who do you love? It doesn't matter. You can marry that person.
I'm writing my closing Strange Days column on an historic day for the United States and its Supreme Court, which basically ruled to allow same-sex marriage.
I'm guessing the word "progress" will be used frequently on the cable-news channels and Twitter feeds today.
That's only appropriate. It's yet another move in a good direction. Despite economic and financial troubles, consider America's progress in recent years. The U.S. elected its first black president. Some states have passed laws allowing same-sex marriage and marijuana use.
This type of progress isn't happening only in far-away places. In my other closing column, my last contribution on the Surge's Beerman desk, I listed the progressive improvements in South Carolina's beer-related laws during the past seven years -- improvements worthy of more celebration.
I'm wondering if all of these are foregone conclusions, if the seeds of full libertarianism were buried deep within the nation's founding, and if the branches will push through and blossom in each new circumstance.
While I watched crowds celebrating in front of the Supreme Court today, I noticed a sickening statistic crawling across the bottom of MSNBC's screen: "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the death toll is now 100,191 people."
What a strange contrast. In the U.S., we're celebrating (or not) a Supreme Court decision allowing full sexual expression and self-determination in one's committments.
In Syria, they're trying to stay alive.
In my own odd way, I started trying to work out a relationship between these two events, or maybe a pivot-point from which both situations could be considered.
Unfortunately, what came to mind was not a current pop song or a classic-rock track, but instead a quotation from a Nobel Lecture on Literature -- but wait, it's really good.
In his 1970 Nobel Lecture, Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, "...whole countries and continents repeat each other's mistakes after a while; it can happen even now, in an age when, it would seem, everything is clearly visible and obvious! No indeed: what some peoples have already suffered, considered, and rejected suddenly turns up among others as the last and newest word."
Oh, how true.
And I think that excerpt makes a good pivot point for today's news.
It's a vantage point for same-sex marriage because time has taught us that people will fight for their true identities, and suppressing identities is a mistake we need not repeat.
It's a vantage point for Syria because time also has taught us that authoritarian oppression hasn't gone away, and the drive to maintain power and control will inflame leaders to take horrific actions against fellow humans.
In one direction, we have people allowed to be themselves. In another direction, we have people losing their very lives.
For now, progress has a fickle influence within the human race.
- Colin Foote Burch, @cfburch4