Speaking of Waffling

For the most part, response to today’s comic has been overwhelmingly positive, with some “I don’t get it”s (mostly from overseas readers and younger readers) thrown in for good measure.

I do actively try and stay away from such things – possibly a mistake on my part…possibly a good thing. There are reasons I got out of editorial cartooning.

But I did get this comment:

From: MP

Subject: Thanks for calling me a bigot!

Location: Message

Body: Awesome. So I agree on marriage with President Obama (well, until two months ago). And so I’m a bigot? Thanks for that.

I used to enjoy your comic.

I fear my initial response was

Do you actively donate money to groups that say gays are pedophiles, want to make “gay behavior” illegal, and go so far as to say gay people should be “exported” out of America?

Chick-Fil-A has.

I thought about this, and wished I hadn’t sent that. Or at least sent it with the implied tone. It strikes me as everything that’s wrong in political discourse these days.

My second response probably cuts more to the heart of the matter – why I did what I did with today’s comic.

MP,

I am sorry if that came across as blunt.

I do thank you for taking the time to write. I knew this would be a prickly cartoon, and I seldom do such things in Dork Tower: indeed, I try to actively avoid it. But on occasion, I do. I also knew I would feel dishonest to myself if I did not do this cartoon.

I have many gay and lesbian friends. They are all in committed, long-term relationships…which is more than I can say for my straight friends (although, to be honest, there are more of them, so that may not be an entirely fair comparison).

Nevertheless, when I talk to my gay friends about marriage, the deep sadness that they feel is striking – my friends can not marry their partners, and the pain shows in their eyes and sounds in their voice.

This hits a very emotional nerve, with me: I adore my wife, and could not imagine being unable to marry her. Honestly, equal rights across the board for the gay members of our society seems (to me) so incredibly obviously mind-bogglingly The Right Thing To Do, that I get baffled when some are violently against it. I marched in a Gay Pride parade, with my wife’s church (UCC), and the hatred – the sheer, ugly, hatred, fear and ignorance – spewed by some groups along the way was simply shocking. It was a real eye-opener for me, someone who thinks that truly we can all really “just get along.”

But that’s not really what the cartoon is about. It is not about something someone at a chain restaurant said or believes (even though I utterly reject it). I do not boycott people or companies because of differences of opinion. (Well, OK…if someone was a raving Nazi, that might be different. But so far I’ve come across none of those).

Chick-Fil-A has donated at least five million dollars to groups that vilify homosexuals, and actively seek to deny them the same human rights that I enjoy. Some wish to see gay people punished by law.

I can disagree with people, and remain friends with them.

However, when people punch my friends in the face, metaphorically or literally, it gets to me.

If you do not come back to Dork Tower, that’s of course fine: I have said what I felt I needed to say, and knew it would lose some readers. I thank you for your past support (which I assume I had), and I wish you the best. There are many fine webcomics out there.

Should you at some point in the future return, that’s grand, too.

With very best wishes,

John

Anyway, that’s about it. If I haven’t stated my case well enough, that’s my own fault. If you, dear reader, feel the need to leave the comic at this point, I do wish you all the best. And thank you for past support.

Drop back if you feel like it: more Tolkien gags are on their way. I’m not that big into the political stuff. I won’t promise that it won’t pop up very occasionally (with the emphasis on “very”), but there is a reason I got out of editorial cartooning.

If you decide not to pop back here ever again, that’s OK, too. I put these things on the web mostly for my own amusement. That anyone else at all reads these scribblings is as surprising now as it was 15 years ago.

Enjoy life, and enjoy the rights that you have. I simply hope my friends soon have them as well. And we’ll catch you on the flip side.

John

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