The Cross House

The White House comes to the Cross House

 

In 2015, I wrote the following. It is, I think, the post I am most proud of:

 

History fascinates me. It always has.

In studying the history of America, one dynamic is obvious: America has been struggling since its creation to manifest the intentions of its founding fathers.

In the Constitution, it is famously written: “…all men are created equal.”

These are fine, noble words. Yet, in reality these words were not practiced. When the Constitution was ratified In 1788, men of color were enslaved; they were certainly not considered equal to white men. Nor were women of color. In 1788, even white women were not considered equal to men. Far from it.

This massive disconnect — between ideals and practice — is understandable. The white men who wrote the Constitution were prisoners of their time, trapped by the zeitgeist of their era, with ideals far from the practiced norms of their era.

However, what makes me so proud to be an American is that my country has, since 1788, struggled to make manifest not the words of our founding fathers but rather their intentions: All people are created equal:

  • In 1865 slavery was made illegal.
  • In 1920, women at last gained the right to vote. All people could now vote, no matter their gender.
  • In 1948, Harry Truman ended segregation in the military. He was deeply appalled that some men (men of color), willing to die to protect America, should be treated like second-class citizens.
  • In the 1960s, segregation itself came to an end.
  • In 1967, interracial marriage was made legal. All people, no matter their color, could marry each other.
  • In 2015, all people, no matter their sexual orientation, could marry across the land.

 

Today, 227 years after the US Constitution was ratified, we still struggle to manifest the intentions of our founding fathers. This process has lurched forward for more than two centuries in fits and starts. But it has lurched forward.

There are plenty of people who think gay marriage is wrong. But there were plenty of people who deeply, ferociously believed — almost always based on religious convictions — that legalizing interracial marriage was wrong, that ending segregation was was wrong, that ending segregation in the military was wrong, that giving women the right to vote was wrong, and that ending slavery was wrong. Such people deeply believed that these societal changes would destroy America, and that such changes were against God.

However, these changes made America better. Stronger. More just.

These changes made America more as its founding fathers intended.

And all these changes were in accord with what Jesus Christ practiced and preached.

Today, Clarence Thomas sits on the Supreme Court. He is a man of color. But his wife is white. And their interracial marriage was made legal across the land by the very court he now presides on. Yet Thomas, in his dissent against marriage equality, would deny others the right to marriage based on the fact that their sexual orientation differs from his.

Since 1788, America has struggled to manifest the intentions of its founding fathers. These struggles have not been easy, and there has been anger and resentment and even bloodshed at every step of the way as America inches towards an ideal established in 1788: all people have a right to equal treatment.

All people.

I am proud of my country.

 

This was two years ago. And the American landscape seems, to a degree which shocks and depresses me, unrecognizable from what I wrote in 2015.

While I still celebrate equality for all, and always will, millions of Americans are grasping to deny the very same. The rights which they enjoy, they would deny to others. In just one example, as these words are written, the GOP-controlled Congress is working to deny health care to tens of millions of people…while they have assured that THEY will still fully benefit from the Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010.

I am terrified for my country.

But what, you may be asking, does this have to do with the Cross House?

Well, today I added something to the parlor…

 

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On July 26, 2015, the White House was lighted to celebrate that marriage equality had been approved by the Supreme Court. When I first saw this image…I cried.

 

I had the image set into an antique frame which I think, think, dates to the 1890s. As usual, I love contrasting historical eras.

 

It thrills me that my house, built in 1894, now has a framed picture in the parlor representing something INCONCEIVABLE in 1894.

And this is what I most want for the house: rather than be frozen in time, I want the Cross House to vividly reflect history; a house of 1894, yes, but also very much alive in 2017.

 

 

 

32 Responses to The White House comes to the Cross House

  1. “Breathes there a man with soul so dead..” who doesn’t grin at Ross’ parlor pictures? Chin up, Ross. The Pew Research Center has cheery news on the hearts and minds of millennials, who almost all believe as you do. Bless ’em–they don’t vote in large numbers, maybe because they move a lot and exclusionary laws discourage easy registration. Faithfully voting old baby boomers, voting like it’s 1955, swamp them. This is a temporary condition–as my generation fades, theirs will come on strong and continue the arc of moral justice. Current politics are the last gasp of us old farts–continue to be the moral example that you are!

  2. I LOVE this. I also cried happy tears when that happened. It felt like love was winning, and that we were moving in such a positive direction overall.

    Sigh.

  3. Ross, I love your house and I love your spirit. I think we’ve come a long way, and we still have a long way to go. Kind of like our houses. Thank you for the post.

    • I like that your decor has significant personal meaning. One’s home should reflect the person that lives there.
      This is a wonderful post Ross.

  4. Hi Ross! I, too, love history and agree with much of what you wrote, but, to be honest, I’m not so sure that Jefferson really meant that “all men are created equal,” and was just being a hypocrite. At the time, it was commonly believed that kings were in their positions because they had a divine right to rule. Their rule could not be questioned because it was “God’s will.” The Declaration of Independence was a list of grievances against George III and I think Jefferson, right up front, was repudiating the notion that the king was superior and could not, therefore, be questioned. I think THIS is what Jefferson had in his mind when he wrote that phrase – not so much that everyone was equal but that the king was not superior. (I think that this is how it would have been understood at the time rather than as a hypocritical statement)

  5. I have never commented on any of your political posts before, but you said you like hearing honest views so here goes… For the record, I am a Republican, but I agree with you 100% when it comes to Donald Trump. I think he is a horrible person and an idiot. I remain in shock that he is the President of the United States. However, I don’t agree that Republicans are evil and want bad things to happen to people. A lot of Republicans worry that we are too far in debt and can’t afford to just throw more and more money at every problem. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to help people who really need the help. But, anyway, I agree with you about gay marriage and I think you are a really kind and good person.

    • Thank you for your comments, Kerri, and the kind words.

      I never stated that Republicans were evil.

      I stated the GOP-controlled Congress is working to deny health care to tens of millions of people.

      Also, regarding the debt, I believe that MOST Americans agree that too much debt is a bad thing. But the GOP wants to enact a MASSIVE tax cut for the rich. Even conservative tax foundations believe this will lead to a spectacular increase in our debt, as happened during Reagan and Bush 1, and Bush 2, and to Kansas.

      Also, the GOP in the 1980s and early 1990s created the biggest deficit in history and destroyed the economy. Then, a Democratic president managed to erase this deficit, create the longest and largest surplus in my lifetime (born 1957), paid down the debt, and create a robust economy. Then a Republican president squandered all this, created the biggest deficit in American history, and destroyed the economy. Then a Democratic President hugely reduced this deficit and created the longest ever continued quarterly growth in American history.

      So, the question I ask myself a million times a year is: Why do fiscally prudent Republicans vote Republican?

      • Hi! It’s all very complicated, but I agree with you about Republicans and tax cuts. However, you give Clinton and Obama credit for cutting deficits, but, for most of those years, Republicans controlled the Congress and Democrats complained the whole time about Republicans not spending enough money! Bottom line is that Republicans should stop pushing for tax cuts and Democrats should measure success by what works rather than by how much money is spent. As far as the health care bill goes, I have no idea what the truth is because the CBO says 24 million will lose insurance, but the Republicans say that the CBO ASSUMES that these people won’t buy insurance once the mandate is eliminated. Short of reading the bill myself and also becoming a health care expert, I don’t know how to know what the truth is.

        • The truth is that the American health care system lags far behind every country that has universal health care, because of one simple word: profit.

        • Hi again, Kerri!

          It is significant that no matter what party controlled Congress:
          1980-1992: Republican Presidents. Economy is ruined. Deficit reaches unprecedented new levels.
          1992- 2000: Democratic President. Economy is restored, and it booms. Deficit entirely erased. Largest and longest surplus in my lifetime created.
          2001-2008: Republican President. Economy is ruined. Deficit reaches unprecedented new levels.
          2009-2016: Democratic President. Economy is restored, and longest uninterrupted quarterly growth in history is created. Deficit significantly reduced.

          I see a pattern.

          Also, I am one of the few people who looked closely at the economic/tax plans for the leading candidates in 2016.

          Conservative tax foundations gave Hillary’s plans an A rating.

          Conservative tax foundations gave Donald’s plans an F- rating. With alarm bells attached.

          So, again, why do fiscally prudent Republicans vote Republican?

          Regarding health care, I will ABSOLUTELY trust the CBO over any politician, D or R!

          • Ah, that’s mean Ross! (Just kidding.) I will agree that Reagan raised the deficit, but I don’t think he “ruined” the economy and I love George HW Bush – he’s a great man!

            Let’s compare Jimmy Carter’s record vs. Eisenhower, for example.

            P.S. touche on the CBO!

            [From Ross: I think George HW inherited a mess from Reagan. And I, too, like George. Also, one cannot compare a one-term Carter with a two-term Eisenhower. Oh, and thank you for your good humor!]

  6. “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    ― H.L. Mencken, On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe

  7. Am wondering if this picture satisfies the “discordant element” that you’ve described as being critical in each decor scheme?

  8. It was the happiest day of my life. I still cry when I think about it. I never thought it would be possible for me to marry. To this day, when Im feeling low…I take a look back on YOUTUBE…and it helps.

  9. I like how the frame hangs at an angle from the wall (due to the picture rail) and also the interesting shadows that it casts because it isn’t flush with the wall behind it.

    • I like the effect, too!

      Totally unplanned. It just hung that way. I think it is because of how the frame is designed. The back is beveled.

  10. Here Here! That framed image fits perfectly in the house! You are a wise and kind man, I am ‘very very young’ and I share your views, both politically and on your graceful house.

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