I just started getting the podcast to the American radio show "A Prarie Home Companion". It's patriotic Americana for the left wing. Or rather, the slightly less right wing. People who theoretically favor rights for gay people and women and immigrants, but want to dream of the midwestern heartland, populated by lonely Norweigan farmers and their foibles and aren't we all struggling in this together, all of us straight, white, christian liberals?
I remember listening to a christmas episode and they were talking about the town Christmas pageant and the kids dressed as Mary and Joseph and the lights and the feeling of community and it made me feel terribly lonely. Because this community was not for me. I didn't know the word "heteronormative" yet then, but I knew this imperfect paradise of essentialist americanism was not for me.
And my patience for it and longing for it has since been replaced by annoyance. What makes white, heterosxual christians more american than black people or gay people or atheists or costal people or queer, atheist costal black people?
I'm really tired of Americannes being defined regionally such that minority populations are more likely to be excluded. If we stop and think for a moment, we know that Lake Woebegone is not only inhabitted by white, straight christians. People migrate within the US. Even people born to Christian families drop the ID. 10% of the kids will be queer. But the continuing refernces to Norweigan farmers implicitly excludes atheists and queers and explicitly excludes jews, latinos, black people etc. Garrison Keeler's America is not so different than Rush Limbaugh's America. Except in Rush's America, the enemies are at the gate. In Keeler's, the same people Rush calls enemies just don't exist at all.
And this is the choice for us in America. We can be normative and blend in, we can be invisible or we can be reviled. This kind of "choice" eats into you (and by "you" I mean "me") even if you try to reject it. Square peg, round hole. Trying to make your identity fit into the grid provided for it. Being a queer alone is suxxor, because you just don't exist. You have no mirror to reflect your existance. Affinity groups are essential for maintaining sanity, imo. Also, NPR sucks. Can we stop calling essentialist erasism "liberal?" Because it's not, and I'm tired of it.