Quoting one of my favorite films, Network, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Many who know me understand that I don’t subscribe to an organized religion, and that I disagree with most mainstream beliefs of what constitutes a higher power, the afterlife, and sins. So, why would I reference the idea of hell?
Because, sadly, that’s what my life would be if our country continues down this dark, dangerous path of empowering people such as Rick Santorum.
Yes, I said our country. According to Santorum, people such as myself are likened to polygamists, child molesters, and “man on dog” action. But no one personifies the American dream more than I do. Perhaps, I don’t want to be rich, or have the two car garage and live in the suburbs, but I come from modest and humble beginnings. At an early age, I was diagnosed with childhood leukemia, and though my family didn’t have a lot of money, we pulled together. My parents instilled in me the beliefs that life’s riches are made up of unconditional love, being there for those you care about, and making the most out of life.
After surviving leukemia, I became a normal kid who had a part-time job and saved up to go to college, then an adult playwright who, despite still having little money, has had several productions in New York, and also shows in Minnesota and Chicago. I am a man fighting for a dream.
Why then, do I have to worry about fighting for my civil rights? And not just my rights, but the rights of women, children and any other human being that doesn’t fall into specific conservative bullet points of how we should lead our lives. I live in fear of being stripped of everything I’ve worked so hard for, and being reduced to a mere “object” because I don’t fit into a certain mold. Sound familiar? Give you a hint: it happened during World War Two.
Unlike Santorum, when I really want to learn more about someone, I dedicated some time and energy to do proper research. I’ve spent the last two days reading his views on many topics, and was particularly taken aback on his views on pornographic. On his Web site, Santorum writes:
"Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women."
Really? I think his view on pornography is the truly pornographic thing. You want to talk misogyny? Take a look at his views on women’s rights.
"The state has a right to [outlaw contraception]. I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that. It is not a constitutional right, the state has the right to pass whatever statues they have."
"Monday marks the first full day of the 40th year of Roe v. Wade, but together we can make it the decade when Roe is overturned."
“I believe and I think that the right approach [to rape] is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless, in a very broken way, a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving to you. As you know, in lots of different aspects of our life we have horrible things happening. I can’t think of anything more horrible, but nevertheless we have to make the best out of a bad situation. And that is making the best of a bad situation.”
Call me nuts, but I think getting raped is pretty violent. What if Santorum’s wife was raped and got pregnant. Would that be a “gift from god?”
Still, I don’t wish this on her. I don’t wish harm on anyone, really. But that’s what sets me apart from Santorum. You want to call me a sinner. Go, right ahead. You want to tell me I’m going to hell. Well, we’re almost there. But I dare you, or anyone who supports you, to spend five minutes watching how I “choose” to live my life with warmth, love, and authenticity, and we’ll certainly discover that America’s moral compass points in my direction, not yours.
I just hope people come to this conclusion before its too late. 2012 is a leap year. Let's leap forward, not backward.
Some people get depressed at having a birthday. I've learned not to do that in recent years because, really, what's the alternative?
I'm 34 today. I'm spending the day relaxing at home, and later I'll head into the city for dinner and to a show--Death of a Salesman--one of my favorite plays, which I have never seen performed.
While I look ahead to all that I'd like to accomplish in the next year, I can't help but reflect on age 33. So, here are my favorite things about what happened while I was 33.
I wrote two new plays, heavily revised two more, finished a screenplay, and a polished off a solid first draft of my book.
My plays, The Other Day and Recovery, were seen in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis.
Kellen was born.
I won my first major award for playwriting for The Other Day.
My face was featured in a magazine, and on a few Web sites.
I took a semi cross-country road trip. Four times.
I watched my dad come home from the hospital after six months.
I worked for World Wrestling Entertainment.
I made people laugh.
I laughed at myself.
And I drank. More than I should have.
And I will continue all of this at 34!
Mark Jason Williams
I find trouble wherever I go