So let us forgive those who have talked so vilely about their fellow humans, those who have used the law to prevent people from marrying and enjoying the rights that heterosexuals have had for millenia. Let us forgive those in power who have moved so slowly to help. Let’s forgive the shit out of them, so much so that they grow uncomfortable with our magnanimity.
But please, do not let us forget. We will watch many of those same people move to forget their past, to act like they too have been on the side of inclusion. Don’t let them. In particular, do not let the younger Republicans and conservatives elide over their hate. We should be very quick to welcome, let that be clear. If someone makes a full apology and recants his or her past positions, by all means, he or she is to be greeted as a friend. But don’t forget the past. Don’t let people who endorsed anti-gay ballot initiatives across the US change without a sound to the side of “getting government out of marriage.” Forgive them, but do not forget what we are forgiving. The millions of LGBTQ people who have suffered until now under the law deserve nothing less.
fwiw, I think that the “authentic” in this quote carries a lot of anger over lost power in it, and specifically that of a racial animus. To say that one is interested in an American identity isn’t very specific — I’m interested in the ever-changing idea of what constitutes American-ness (not that there’s ever been an actual idea of one), but I’m about as far from the Tea Party type as you can get. When one begins to label things as “authentic,” however, that implies a concomitant “inauthentic,” and next thing we know now we have someone as a judge of what falls into the camp and what stays out in the dark. All of American history is full of those wishing to keep the camp small and the (for the most part, successful) opposing effort to welcome more in.
When you’ve lost the seat of power (as many in the demographic of the common Tea Partier have over the past 40 years), you become the first to use “authentic” and “inauthentic” as a last attempt to hold sway over the direction of history. This holds true in other subcultures as well (e.g. what is “authentic” hip hop, what is “authentic” football, so on and so forth). I don’t say this lightly, but the fact that the side of inclusion generally wins in history has kept me out of many a moment of despair.