I’m a very lucky man.
When I was a teenager, I was in a punk rock band. That band had five members: guitar, bass, drums, and two singers. It wasn’t very good, but that band changed my life.
I was one of the “singers” (read: screaming). The other guy was a guy named Tom. Tom was gay. We all knew he was gay, but apparently, he didn’t. He came out to us, and we accepted him because he was our friend and we already knew it. It apparently changed his life. I don’t even remember it because it was so inconsequential to me.
There was also a guy named Eric in the band. There were two other guys named Corey and Chris in the band. They are both wonderful people, but they’re inconsequential to this particular story. Eric ended up having an unexpected child, getting married, and joining the military, where he served valiantly.
Tom came out to us as a gay man. Eric came out to me as a conservative. They both accept each other, and I accept both of them. These two men are two of the most influential people in my life. I love and respect them both. They are both strong-willed and opinionated. They disagree on a lot of things, but they agree on the humanity of the other.
I am worried most of the time about how there’s no middle ground, and about how there isn’t any hope for us to find it. I’m concerned that we’ll find a way to kill each other. I’m worried about division.
Talking to both of these guys gives me a lot of hope. They occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum in a lot of ways, but they still give a shit about each other. They’ll always be friends. That gives me a lot of hope. There needs to be more Toms and more Erics. They’d be helpful in making the Matts of the world understand the grey areas that are so hard to understand.