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  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINT When they come for me
Mark Zubro. Photo courtesy of Zubro
2018-07-04

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When they come to tell me to move to the back of the bus, the answer is no, I'm not moving. When they tase me, arrest me, shoot me, whatever—until my last breath, I will be fighting.

Yeah, I'm almost 70, out of shape and fat, and there isn't much physical fight in me. I don't care. Kicking, screaming, biting, hitting, scratching, gouging whatever I can do, I will do.

When they come to deport me or declare that I have no rights because I am gay, and it wasn't that long ago that all gay people were considered criminals in this country, and you don't think they won't continue to try that? I'm thinking of the current laws in Mississippi. They argued back then that since we were criminals, we had no rights, and they will try to argue that again. When they try that, I will still be fighting.

The Justice who recognized/helped us achieve many of our rights will be gone in a few weeks. We have a right to feel anxious and afraid. We must be vigilant and forceful. We have the obligation to take action.

No, I'm not going to be civil. That ship has long since sailed. Civil? I remember the 1960s. I marched in the 1960s. The bigots and the segregationists told us we had to be civil. Then and now, they are using some weird standard of politeness against us while they inflict their violence upon us. They don't always have to beat us with a night stick, or spray us with a water hose, or gun us down. They've learned to couch their viciousness in the language of religion or in attempts at passing unjust and discriminatory laws against us. They twist our feelings of compassion so that now, it's pity the poor bigot who is being picked on. Their candidate bullied and continues to bully individuals and groups, and commits war crimes, tearing children from their parents. I have zero pity for any of that.

You had to leave a restaurant? But see the thing is, you weren't being discriminated against because of the color of your skin or because you were a member of a particular class. You were being discriminated against because of the content of your character.

Picture every official of the current government no longer able to dine out in peace anywhere. No, I am not advocating violence against them. Asking them quietly to leave, chanting 'Shame,' pointing out what they should be ashamed of—oh my, yes—all of that and more.

For the future? Go back in the closet? Are you mad? One, I don't want to. Who does? But more, there's no way I'm going back in the closet. Back when my first book came out in 1989, I was one of the few, if not the only, gay mystery writers to use his real name on his books. Fake names, marriages to lesbians, pseudonyms, closet, bah! Thirty-six books and seven short stories later, and it's no secret who I am and where my political affiliations lie. Do what they will, they will not take my soul or my self.

Who is to blame for the state we are in? Those indulging in malicious hallucinations that voted for him, yes, they're to blame. The parts of the media that aired his rallies and gave him excessive air time, they're to blame. Oh, but my yes, to all of you for whom Hillary was not pure enough, Hillary was not Bernie enough and, oh, her emails, and you stayed home and you didn't vote, or you contributed to the drumbeat of negativity about her, yes, I'm talking to all of you—this is your fault as well. The most civil thing I can think of to say to all the members of the above groups is fuck you. On my way to the camps, or deportation, or death, I will turn my back on all of you. With my last thoughts, I will be hating you.

Until those dreadful moments, if they come, I will be speaking out, joining my voice to our better angels to work for change. It is a requirement of our existence that we vote this November. I will be voting as if my life depended on it.

Mark Zubro is the author of 36 LGBTQ novels: mysteries, science fiction and books for young adults. He won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Men's mystery for his book, A Simple Suburban Murder. He has been nominated eight other times. He taught eighth graders reading and English for 34 years. He was president of the teachers' union in his district for the last 20 years that he taught. Now, he spends his time reading, writing, napping, eating chocolate, and voting.


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