My father was a wise man. Of course, I never gave him credit for that when I was growing up (or while he was still alive so he could savor the satisfaction of "I told you so") - it's only now as I look back on his words and on life in general that I can truly appreciate his wisdom. Listening to his advice could have saved me various life bumps and bruises, but in my defense I'll offer that lessons learned the hard way are generally the most enduring ones.
One thing he told me: "Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see." It's easy to forget that advice, especially when we want to believe something badly. And, as unpopular as this might be I need to apply those words within the context of the recent Houston Human Rights Campaign Gala and Rodeo fiasco. There have already been too many words spent on this and part of me just wants to keep out of it, but I feel compelled to offer a different perspective.
There is no disputing that there were Houston police on horseback deployed in front of the hotel where the HRC gala was being held (although to be honest, in the photo I've seen one of them looks like he's napping). There is no disputing that HRC called the Houston Police in the middle of the week about the planned protest. What I'm still not ready to accept is that those police were there as a direct response to the protest. And even if they were, who's to "blame" for that?
One trusted friend attended the event and actually talked with the mounted officers, who said they were there to manage the crowd from the the baseball game. As it turns out, the Houston Astros were playing the Florida Marlins at Minute Maid Park on April 12 and a brief Mapquest analysis indicates that the stadium is a mere .62 miles from the hotel. The point is that there are other plausible explanations, and perhaps the reason they were there had nothing to do with HRC or the protesters so I'm very cautious about applying cause/effect to what went down.
Even if one accepts that HRC is responsible for the hoovery I find it hard to believe that they have the power (or the will) to have the Houston Police Department deploy horseback officers. It's a PR nightmare that part of me wants to let them manage by themselves, but another side of me can't help but to question. Deploying those officers is something that the HPD would have done on their own but, again, I'm skeptical.
My point here isn't to diminish the obvious still-widening rift between HRC and a community that it purports to represent as part of its mission (something that saddens me more than I can express, BTW). It's not to dispute the events of the evening provided by other people who were there, or the bad judgment of calling the HPD in the first place. It is, however, to question the rush to judgment of cause and effect of some potentially incendiary events because it's all to easy to see what you want to see and hear what you want to hear. The thing is, none of us can afford to make those kinds of assumptions. There's too much at stake to get this wrong.
When it comes to HRC I perceive myself as neither a hawk nor a dove. I do, however, hold them accountable for things they do (as well as things they should do but aren't, don't or won't). I like to think I keep a fairly level head and I even have moments of pragmatism despite the admittedly still strong emotion at play. It is In that mindset that I feel a need to urge cautious restraint. Stirring up anti-HRC hysteria in the trans community is not difficult these days. In this case, is it really worth it?
Some other wise advice, thanks to my dad: "In any conflict the side that abandons reason first will lose." That side can't be us.