Age of Aquarius
Audacious hopes for the new year
by Sally Sheklow
I want Obama to be president. I know he’s been elected, but I’m tired of waiting. Besides, wishing for what’s already underway might somehow grease the karmic skids and make everything else I’m hoping for more likely to come true. Whatever it takes, I hope the change we can believe is more than the election results.
How about if we put some muscle into imagining the kind of world we want? Let’s go for it. Let’s believe that liberty and justice can be for all. Why not dream big? Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding — call me old school, but I hope this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
These are my hopes. I hope national priorities switch to ending militarism, racism and poverty. I hope for equal opportunity for everyone — youth, elders, people who are incarcerated, immigrants, people who are poor, homeless, hungry, cold, for people of every religion and no religion. Speaking of which, I hope for an unconditional-love epiphany for every religious leader and congregant who spreads abomination theology and condemns queer people (or worse yet, tries to cure us). May they all see the light, open their hearts and get a little more festive.
I hope we stay committed to withdrawing from Iraq, saving our planet and building a sustainable economy. I hope CEO salaries go down and workers’ wages go up. I hope we close the offshore tax loophole. I’m not afraid to say it; I hope we DO redistribute the wealth.
I hope more people become community organizers for social justice, affordable housing and universal health care. I hope AIDS becomes more rare than polio and that everyone with HIV gets whatever they need to stay well.
I hope green jobs flourish, unemployment plummets and unions grow stronger. I hope we decriminalize pot and re-regulate the auto industry, the corporate tax structure, insurance and pharmaceutical companies and the media. Could we at least require that you can’t call your news fair and balanced if it isn’t?
I hope birth control is made as accessible as Viagra. I hope the diet and fashion industries’ obsession with thinness gives way to more realistic images of beauty and that people stop hating their bodies. I hope we get serious about preventing hate crimes.
I hope government ensures protection of the most vulnerable among us, and that it recognizes that among us are lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer people who need protection. Especially LGBTIQ youth. Especially queer youth of color.
I hope we close the achievement gap. I hope the new administration’s commitment to education means good schools, with well-paid teachers, accessible to everyone. I hope for new federal standards that require women’s history, black history, immigrant history, indigenous history and LGBTIQ history integrated into every school’s curriculum.
I hope we pass an Equal Rights Amendment. I hope for enforcement of Title IX and for a mandate that women’s sports receive the same funding and promotion as men’s. I hope school policies will prohibit bullying boys for being too swishy and girls for being too tough, too smart or too strong. I hope transgender kids can become their true selves early in life, and I hope they can use whatever the hell bathroom they choose. I hope we’ll all feel free to express our gender and our love however we want without having our spirits — or worse — beaten out of us.
I hope marriage is made equally available to everyone. I hope Congress will confirm progressive new Supremes to the high court, which I hope will strike every unconstitutional law from the books. I hope the arc of history is bending toward justice. I hope our country stops being governed from an undisclosed location and that our new president shows up on TV and YouTube and more of those cool T-shirts. I hope what we see is what we get.
Award-winning writer Sally Sheklow has been expressing her hopes in Eugene Weekly since 1999.