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VOL. 132 | NO. 30 | Friday, February 10, 2017

Dan Conaway

Dan Conaway

The Us of Us


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I AM US. I am Muslim. I am a COGIC Hindu Jewish WASP Jehovah’s Witness. I am a Roman Catholic Buddhist Satanist Seventh Day Adventist and Latter-Day Saint. I am an Atheist Agnostic Humanist Evangelist. I am a Sunni Shia Christian Rastafarian Taoist Sikh. I am a foot-washing, holy-rolling Jain spiritualist and whatever Lord Voldemort is – and I am not.

I believe that karma is a bitch, and I believe in God and Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Yahweh and Ra, voodoo, vodou, vodun and vudu, and the Holy Spirit, the Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka and Gitche Manitou, and whatever it is that Joel Osteen believes in – and I do not.

I am and believe any and all and none of those things, and that is my right.

I am a latte-sipping, pro-choice, Times-reading, bleeding-heart, civil-rights-whining, know-it-all, gun-toting, bible-quoting, beer-guzzling, tin-hat-wearing liberal conservative, elitist blue-collar redneck suit, and climate-denying, pro-life, social activist skinhead, millennial boomer, pothead professional teetotaler, wrestling fan and champion of women’s rights and the far right left.

I am complicated.

I am African-American African Aussie Latino Hispanic Anglo Native-American Scots-Irish Asian, and French Italian Peruvian on my mother’s side. I am Middle-Eastern Eurasian Eskimo Russian Scandinavian Lithuanian Swiss Welch Haitian, and Basque German Portuguese on my father’s side.

I am human.

I live in the Rust Belt, the Bible Belt and the Grits Belt – and I take a belt now and again. I live on that coast and the other one, and on the shores of the Gulf and all the Great Lakes, and the ones not so great and all the rivers large and small, and in the swamp and in the valley, and on the mountain and this side of the wall. I live in the flyover, the done over, and the all but done. I live up there, down there, over there and out there, in town and in the country, in peace and in conflict, in certainty and in doubt, in wealth and in poverty – and less and less in between.

I am local.

I am a married heterosexual homophobic homosexual single tranny granny. I am a straight queer macho butch bisexual male biker in touch with my feminine side. I am a gender neutral transgender lesbian logger in a gay mood. I am a perfect gentleman and a real lady and a guy’s guy on a girl’s night out.

I am who I am, and my right to be is guaranteed. 

I am equal to everyone by law. I am subject to no religious test by law. I am, whether just born here or just sworn in five minutes ago or tracing to the Mayflower, just as much a citizen as any other citizen by law. I am, whether in a tower or a cellar, boardroom or bordello, answerable to the law.

I am an American.

And because of all of that – all – I am a beacon to the world. When any of that – any – is denied, the light dims.

I’m a Memphian, and an American. 

Dan Conaway, a communication strategist and author of “I’m a Memphian,” can be reached at dan@wakesomebodyup.com.

PROPERTY SALES 61 61 6,453
MORTGAGES 46 46 4,081
BUILDING PERMITS 113 113 15,474
BANKRUPTCIES 19 19 3,289