The kids are all right.
There are a lot of times when you sink to your knees and think nothing will ever change, the fight is too hard and too long and the world is full of prejudice.
Then there's days like today.
Fred Phelps, known for his protests at the funerals of AIDS victims, and now extremely popular for his bizarre protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers, decided to grace Prairie Village, Kansas with the presence of his minions. The target for the picketers was Shawnee Mission East High School, a large suburban school in the Kansas City Metro area.
More after the fold
Westboro Church is located in Topeka, Kansas, which is why Kansas City often gets blessed with their ministries. Shawnee Mission East's crime is an active gay/straight alliance group, and the nominating of an openly gay classmate for Homecoming King in 2007. I don't know why they waited until now to tell the students that God hates them and they are burning in hell, but they did. An impressive 12 of them. Wow. And at least two children, which is sweet.
But they were met with at least 300 counter-protesters, a large number of them Shawnee Mission East students. The kids organized and with the support of the school administration were able to shout down the Westboro orcs with signs calling out love, compassion and tolerance.
It takes time, a long time, for some things to grow. Plant a sapling, and you'll never believe it could grow into a towering tree. The stream erodes the rock. The ants move grains of sand one at a time, but eventually a tunnel is built. It takes time for ideas too. Sometimes generations. We are looking at kids now who are not just able to come out in high school without being ostracized, they are being crowned homecoming king. 25 years ago when I was running that guantlet, you kept your mouth shut. Yes, of course there were kids we knew were gay, but nobody talked about it. There was no gay-straight alliance. Gay marriage was not even up for discussion.
A generation later, and those ideas have grown, they have taken root. Who knows where we will be in another twenty years?
There is a saying, "The dogs bark, but the caravan marches on." Equality and tolerance, they march on, despite the barkings of the religious right. These are the things that will flower and propogate, long after the yappings of Fred Phelps, or Bill O'Reilly, or Ann Coulter are relegated to the trash heaps of history.
I feel good today. I feel peaceful.
The kids are all right.