This morning I went over to hang out with my dad while my mom and sister went to a baby shower in honor of my cousin, Gregory's, wife. My son Gus had spent the night at yia yia and papou's, so he hung out with us.
It was an interesting morning. Gus needed to finish some homework, and Dad needed to get ready for the day. I quite literally went from double checking 6th grade Language Arts work, to getting my dad into the bathroom so he could shave, reviewing Gus's inventive spelling of "decision" to getting Dad something to eat.
Just before Mom and Sandra returned, all was quiet at the house. Gus had finished his lessons and was quietly playing a video game. Dad had shaved, read his paper, and had had something to eat. He and I sat in the living room talking - about family, people he knew as a kid, nothing really important at all. It was just dad and son and dad and son.
I try not to be overly political in this blog. I mean as much as political person can be. But the 2015 Utah legislative year is winding down. It's crazy long hours, last minute compromises, and a bunch of cranky legislators.
Last night, I got into it over Senate Bill 296 - the Anti-Discrimination and Religious Freedom Amendments. In theory this law gives LGBT people safety from being fired. In exchange, religious organizations, people of the "cloth," the Boy Scouts of America, and companies with fewer than 15 employees are exempt. I called it the Swiss Cheese Anti-Discrimination Except bill. It passed both chambers, historically providing theoretical protection for LGBT people for the first time in Utah history.
I was up until the very wee hours of the morning trying to convince both legislators and members of the Facebook community that this was not the law they felt it was. The evening got pretty heated - but I stayed above the fray for the most part.
In the end, both my state senator and state representative, one a Republican and the other Democrat, voted for the bill. They both felt it was flawed but gave some protection rather than none. OK, I can understand their reasoning.
However, it was followed by Senate Bill 297, which on the surface allows public employees to opt out of performing all weddings (except for those of family members) if they will not perform a same-gender marriage based on their deeply-held religious beliefs. On the surface, that seems reasonable. Only problem, it goes a step further: based on one's deeply-held religious beliefs, this law allows a medical doctor to refuse a gay person treatment, a teacher to refuse to educate girls, a security service to refuse to patrol an ethnic neighborhood, all without fear of reprisal. In short, all of the "rights" won in SB 296 are invalidated - so long as that discrimination is based on deeply-held religious beliefs.
The great compromises offered to get the anti-discrimination bill passed are basically swept away, like the lies they actually were.
I took both my of my "voices" on Capitol Hill to task for their "Aye" votes. Both felt that it was fair compromise. Both are good, decent people and good legislators. I know this because both have agreed to meet - the three of us - after the session (and they've had some time to decompress) to discuss LGBT issues and what pro-LGBT laws they may be able to cosponsor together in the 2016 session.
In the meantime, establishment LGBT activists and some allies are trumpeting the success of the new anti-discrimination law. The rest of us just see the Emperor's ass.
On most Fridays, Gus, Niko and I have Boys' Movie Night - seeing how everyone in our house is male, I recognize the overkill on the name - but it's a time for the three of us to hang out together and relax. Usually, we grab a pizza as a treat before piling on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn. But last night, we put on some Motown, danced around the kitchen, and made pasta from scratch.
We always have a great time when we make pasta, even if we have culinary disagreements about the length of the final product.
When I was a kid, there were some school subjects that I really enjoyed, and others that were less enjoyable. It's probably not a coincidence that the classes I liked earned me the best grades. History and English were a dream. Science and mathematics? More like a nightmare. Even today, I can't hear the word, "chemistry" without breaking out into a cold sweat.
We recently learned that Gus is behind in his Language Arts (English) class. The advantage of the school the boys attend is that it is designed to allow students to move at their own pace, so he can make up the missed assignments.
What shocked me was the reason he fell behind in the first place: he finds Language Arts boring!
Under my unappreciated guidance, he's been able to make significant headway toward catching up. As I've helped him count out syllables for his haiku, explained onomatopoetic words, and guided him to identify adjectives and adverbs - all with the gusto of a recently reborn preacher -Gus has trudged through it all with the enthusiasm of someone, who just learned his entire summer vacation will be spent painting fences.