‘Times Are Changing’ Except at Burning Man

This has been one of those Bob Dylan weeks when “The Times They Are a-Changing” really came home again to society, as old white guys who thought they could turn back the clock on humanity got bitch-slapped by the world. When Governor Pence of Indiana tried to lie his way out of the rationale for his state’s efforts to initiate a Christian jihad against gays, everyone from Apple to the NCAA made it eminently clear that they could see right through the subterfuge and wanted nothing to do with that level of intolerance. Then when Arkansas, a state that vacillates between forward and backwards thinking, tried a similar effort to force narrow religious values into the every citizen’s life, its governor took the warnings from the CEO of WalMart and his own son to heart, and told his legislature to take its crap piece of legislation back for a revision that would clearly declare that discrimination would not be tolerated in the state that spawned the likes of Johnny Cash, John Grisham and William Jefferson Clinton.

Stepford Wives at Burning Man:  Nothing Unusual for BRC's inclusive world

Stepford Wives at Burning Man: Nothing Unusual for BRC’s inclusive world

I learned a higher level of understanding (and eventually love) of people with a variety of different orientations through Burning Man and its principle of Radical Inclusion, and I’ve been fearful that the nation was moving in a very different direction, as state and national legislators kept pushing us farther and farther into a world I had left far behind. But this week, the country seemed to right itself (as it tends to do over time) by knocking some of those old-fashioned thinkers back on their heals and reminding them that our nation is one where opportunity on an equal basis is the true secret of our success, and restricting those opportunities sounds the death knell for our society.

Thank God for Burning Man, where we celebrate our full range of diversity every minute of every day that Black Rock City exists, and where what’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” is a dusty mix of gypsum and sand rather than the awful sense of intolerance that marked the civil rights struggle of the 60s. Let’s not start that shit again with backwards thinking old guys to whom we’ve ceded control of our country. Let’s continue to bitch slap every stupid effort to roll back the clock and leave Burning Man as our only respite from intolerance.

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