blogger-friends at KnowThyNieghbor.org.
It has been a somber observation to witness people, whether they
are members of the press or the media, bloggers, or casual
conversationalists, rip apart Ellen Degeneres because of what
should be viewed as a moment of genuine humanity and
The aforementioned don’t see Ellen’s nationally televised
conveyance of emotion as a touching moment of genuine humanity and
conscientiousness, however; they simply see a dramatic overreaction
and a pathetic loss of composure.
It saddens me that our culture is so cynical and so hungry to judge
that it would denigrate a woman who, after building a loyal
audience of viewers that have supported her very personal struggle
to be an authentic person, shared with that audience the very thing
they have found appealing about her: her compassion, her soul, her
humanity, and the conviction of her sincerity.
The cynics would have us believe Ellen was merely overwrought
regarding something rather trivial, but behind Ellen’s “outburst”
is something pure, more meaningful, and very revealing, in terms of
Ellen’s own morality: Ellen caused two young girls and their
family pain, and that caused Ellen a tremendous amount of
This was not about a dog.
This wasn’t about using celebrity power to influence the outcome of
an unfortunate situation over which Ellen felt she had lost
control. This was about Ellen confiding in her audience that she
had acted in an irresponsible way and that her carelessness
resulted in two children losing what had become a new member of
their family. And, ultimately, this was a deepening of the bond
Ellen has built with an audience that, for the first time in
American television history, embraced a talented, compassionate,
sensitive, and loving out lesbian entertainer. For us to see mere
overreaction undermines this and the appreciation and the respect
Ellen feels for her audience’s own compassion and humanity.
In a culture where we worship and obsess over shameless,
superficial celebrity manipulators of the public, it is disturbing
that Hollywood shows us four minutes of genuine, heartfelt
humanity, and we revel in mocking it.
This time around, the focus of ridicule fell on a member of our
community, but when it comes to debasing humanity, this culture
does not discriminate.
As a member of the GLBT community, I find it profoundly troubling
that part of our fight involves trying to convey our own humanity
to a society that is often cavalierly devoid of insight into what
it means to be human, not to mention the spiritual price one would
presumably pay when one hurts another human being.
In light of the above observation, it should not surprise us that
our opponents do not hesitate to hurt us.
It is our knowledge that our enemies do not hesitate to hurt us
that often challenges us to control our anger as we attempt to
engage our opponents in rational, civil, healthy debate, and,
admittedly, we are not always successful.
Currently, that anger has turned inward, and the gay community is
at odds with itself as it debates the fate of ENDA, something with
which some of our opponents are undoubtedly pleased.
Rather than focus our frustration on those members of the community
who argue that, realistically, a non-inclusive version of ENDA is
the only way ENDA has a chance of being passed, and that
transgender protections will have to wait, we should focus our
frustration on a society often lacking in humanity.
Those of us who believe that it is not within the realm of
compromise to leave a part of our community behind should not be
dismissed as politically naïve, overly emotional, or immature; we
should be respected for our commitment to our community and for the
conviction we display in voicing our outrage over the necessity of
political gameplaying where civil rights are concerned.
Now is the time to unite as a community and to redirect our
frustrations to the larger problem at hand: an intolerant,
uninformed, and often inhumane society that would put us in a
position where we are forced to compromise the dignity of some of