aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

A bitter taste

Amidst the glee and gloat over the Supreme Court's imposition of gay marriage on the country, I must confess that what depresses me most is to see who's celebrating. I have a number of friends I knew backed this result; I expected them to be happy about it. But I was surprised by several friends' affirmation of the result, and I must struggle with the feelings I have of disappointment in them.

Many of them are young. This is the Zeitgeist they have grown up in. No doubt they would see me as a dinosaur, as someone who just doesn't "get it." Soon, they will cease to make allowances for me, find my objections tiring. And then it's just a short step to writing me off as a crank or a bigot.

Except life has a way of crashing through Zeitgeists. Every Revolution depends upon the enthusiasm of the young as much as the passivity of the old. The young people who danced in the streets when Mussolini marched on Rome are an obvious example. But though that seemed to be going great places, eventually it brought everyone to a less hopeful destination.

In The Secret of Santa Vittoria, the water tower of a dusty Italian village has painted on it, DUCE DUCE DUCE DU. A young man, fired with enthusiasm and oblivious to the danger of what he was doing, climbed the water tower to paint that when Il Duce came to power. (He ran out of paint, but no matter.) Now, when everyone is tired of him and the war is crashing in on them, Mussolini has fallen. A middle-aged man, who you would have thought would be smarter than to attempt it, has climbed the water tower and is painting over the DUCE DUCE DUCE DU. And here is the point: It is the same man who, in his younger days, had once climbed the tower to paint his enthusiasm there for all to see. In risking his neck a second time, he is doing what he can to make amends for his previous folly.

The day will come -- perhaps when we are debating polygamy, as we soon will, or when their children are growing up and reflecting the culture back at them -- when at least some of those who are so happy today will not be so happy. And maybe a few of them will join in the effort to repair what has been damaged.

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