It didn’t used to be this way, and for that, I’m glad.
I’m not talking about the bigotry and homophobia and outright, well, meanness of the new Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Disgusting, prejudiced, homphobic laws have been passed by states and cities for as long as ‘Merica has been around, for hundreds of years.
What I’m talking about is the incredible firestorm of outrage that’s sprung up this week about Gov. Mike Pence’s law. The immediate denunciations on Twitter, Facebook, the local news, by so many, from all corners of the U.S. (that front page of the Indianapolis Star, above, is fantastic.)
I’m talking about governors banning travel from their state to Indiana. Professional sports organizations denouncing Indiana (hey, when NASCAR says your politics are too conservative, you know you’re pretty far afield of reality.) Legitimate columns and commentary being published saying the NCAA should move this weekend’s Final Four out of the state (a nice thought, but seriously, how in the world can you do that on a week’s notice? Would be totally unfair to the thousands of people attending)
Social media and the Internet have all made sure these despicable laws and this blatant bigotry aren’t just quietly passed and ignored; they are forced to endure blinding sunlight, and that sunlight is what brings change.
That sunlight has the ability to shame a state and its legislators, and force change. Because once corporations and sporting events threaten to leave a state and take their $$$ with them, that’s what forces change.
Religious “freedom” to discriminate very rarely trumps a huge economic hit in the eyes of politicians.
Again, I am not at all surprised Indiana’s right-wing legislators passed a bill like this. The Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case gave them an opening, legally, and now they’re jumping through it.
But the outrage is beautiful, and real, and it’s dead center of this debate. And that wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago.
**Next up, this has no major news value today, but the great Richard Deitsch sent it out on Twitter and I thought it was sensational. Roger Ebert, in 1979, sat down with Muhammad Ali and watched the Champ watch “Rocky II” for the first time.
Ali’s running commentary, how he talks about what the movie got right and wat it got wrong, the way Ebert weaves in the movie action … just sensational.
Ali’s the best.
**And finally today, we’ve all had good first dates, we’ve all had terrible first dates. But I don’t think too many of us could ever top the heroics of Tristan Gareau, a Canadian DJ who saved a man from a burning car on a recent first date.
Apparently Mr. Gareau and his date were driving home from their rendezvous when he spotted a car that had smashed into a condo.
Gareauopened the door and, after being blasted in the face with black smoke and hot air, found 65-year-old driver Steve Guy passed out at the wheel. As his foot was still on the gas, the vehicle’s wheels were continuing to spin.
Gareau, who weighs just 135 pounds, grabbed the older and 90-pound heavier man to haul him outside.
What a hero. Only problem is, what the hell is he going to do on the second date to impress the girl? Jump off a skyscraper?