I was given the [Nobel] Peace Prize, I talked and talked, and no one would
listen. After I was awarded the prize,
every word I said was a pearl of wisdom.
Dear Readers &
The publication of
this issue marks a change for UWFR,
and by consequence, for me. Up until
now, I have elected to focus UWFR
on the forecast part of its mission, dedicating most of the writing to
predicting what will happen as opposed to what should happen (judging by some
comments I’ve gotten over the years, some people never understood that). I feel satisfied that I accomplished
that. Several readers have asked me
what are my political leanings because they could not tell from my
forecasts. Moreover, I have often
reviewed past forecasts (even I forget what I’ve said), and have found that I
have delivered a far better record than even I expected. Of course, you would be the final judge of
I have not often
explained my personal perspective, and I know that what I have to say will
upset a lot of people, mostly people in the cultural community within which I
must live. I will do so now, to
preemptively dispel some misconceptions sure to come about my motivations.
It has been my lot
to be a minority within a minority; to occupy an ideological spot that is
largely uninhabited in American society: that of a gay man who believes in
God, in the words of Jesus Christ, and in the fundamental soundness of
the knowledge and wisdom accumulated by humankind through ages that
ultimately led to the flowering of Western Civilization and the securing of
the land of freedom and prosperity in
which I was fortunate to find my home.
I was not always in
that spot. There was a period during
my high school and early college years in which I had left my belief in God
behind, and in which I delighted in poking holes in the positive views of
America, Christianity, and any other traditional values held by fellow
classmates unfortunate enough to express them to me.
Before that time, I
had been quite alone, particularly from sixth grade on thru ninth grade.
Becoming self-aware of my sexuality, I left my old friends, and did not make
new ones. Small-framed and very thin,
I was a frequent target of bullies who would harrass
and occasionally beat me. I was taught
to fight back, being told that even if I lost, it would discourage another
attack. While it turned out there was
some truth to that, it did not do much good when there were many different
bullies in our large school who apparently did not compare notes.
Sometimes I would
be attacked without warning for a few minutes. In one such surprise attack, a huge fat boy
slammed a large pile of dirt right into my eyes with such force, my plastic
bottle-bottom eye glasses collapsed offering no protection, leaving me unable
to see for the quarter hour it took for a horrified teacher to spot me and guide me to a
restroom, and help me wash out all the soil.
More often I would be advised when and
where I had to meet to ‘fight’ for my honor.
Of course, I put ‘fight’ in single quotes because since I was much
smaller and weaker than my challengers, it really was more of a
beating. Almost always the bullies
brought their sidekicks to watch.
For reasons I will
not get into here, during that time home offered no refuge or comfort. And so, it was a dark and solitary time;
and, the anger and bitternes I accumulated during
those years I turned on the established order I saw around me.
I can think of two
occasions when another boy more able to match the bully’s size intervened on
my behalf, and stopped the beating, even with the bully’s sidekicks all
around. I can no longer remember their
faces (one was a stranger, and one I knew, though not as a friend). But, this is one thing I do know about
them: they were far ahead of the rest of us on the way to becoming men. And from them I learned a lesson I have
held onto since.
Continued column 2 >
Ultrapolis World Forecast
Ultrapolis Project –
(The day did come
I followed their example literally, when a 10-year old boy was being shoved
around by the same bully who had blinded me with dirt. He and I were both now 15, and yet he was
still easily twice my size. Despite
my own hidden terror, miraculously, he backed down after letting me off
with just one shove.)
I arrived at
Texas A&M University somewhat of a malcontent. But already, being now two years past the
sense of confidence in myself, and my resolution to assert myself, was
growing. I no longer was a physical
was getting stronger (and apparently, more desirable), and my mind was no
longer in the mode of a perpetual state of defensiveness. I began to discard the ideas I had shaped
in that state.
After over two
years of having arrived at Texas A&M, in 1984 I took on the leadership
of a gay activist group of students in the quest to win the right to be an
organized gay group on campus - with the full rights of free speech like
any other. This was in the middle of
the Reagan era, at one of, if not the most, conservative universities in
America. Because of the legal court
case and the hot emotions over the issue at the time, it was a role that
required me to be open and public of who I was; and for years afterward, I
would run across people I had never met at Texas A&M who would let me
know they remembered me.
A good friend of
mine from that time, but one with whom I often disagreed then and still do
now, once told me, perhaps in a moment of resentment, that the only reason
I became the leader was that because out of the 35,000 students at that
school, I was the only one willing to do it. While that was not 100% true, I concede
his point. In any case, I was very
successful at it.
It was as a
leader of this sexual minority that I learned how much the same we all are
as humans, and how none of us as a group is immune from the impulses of
bigotry, of supremacist views borne from deep resentments, and even deeper
insecurities. Despite the presence
of a very conservative student body drawn from farms and small towns around
Texas, of a military culture embedded into the school by the corps of
cadets, of an openly hostile administration, and of far-right Christian
groups, the most deplorable and venomous treatment I received at Texas
A&M came from hard-core lesbian feminists and their gay male acolytes.
It was also
during that time that I learned that almost no gay person shared my views
of God, family, and country, even among the friends and supporters I had
–save two or three. Still, even
though every single person dismissed my objections to what the hard-core
lesbian feminists were up to within our organization, and for a period was
left alone to defend myself from within the organization (another very
lonely period), once every prediction I made started to come true, the
larger group again asked for my leadership.
Somehow, despite the now-clear fact that I was no
liberal-progressive like most of them (even every guy I dated was a leftist
atheist), they decided they were better off with my leadership than without
it. From then on, I out-maneuvered the hardcore feminist
liberal-progressive opposition within the group at every turn.
When I graduated and
left College Station, I already knew that there was no place for me in the
gay (now lesbian/gay, soon to be LGBT) movement. Though I came in contact with plenty of
other gay student groups, as well as leaders from the National Gay Task
Force and the Houston Gay Political Caucus, I found not a single kindred
spirit. My influence in the gay
group I Ieft behind at Texas A&M lasted for a
few years. But, eventually, as the
last of the old guard left, the hardcore feminist liberal-progressives took
over, and the last gay organization I knew of not beholden to them ceased
Continued column 3 >
applying to intern with Republican politicians, but I realized very quickly
that in 1986 that was a pipe dream.
Years later, I
was invited to a dinner with a large group of gay and gay-friendly people,
all of them people I found smart, charming and likeable. At the dinner my host began making crude jokes about
the sexual organs of the Virgin Mary.
Everybody, gay and straight, laughed. I did not. In the entire room I was the only one
silent. He either did not see or
care about the look on my face, because he kept at it, drawing more and
more laughter. I did confront him
afterwards, and he did apologize.
But, the feeling from the realization of just how distant I am from
so many around me is something I will never forget.
Of course, there
are other gay Christians. Not many,
though. And, most of those I know
follow a liberal-progressive version of Christianity that is markedly
different than my own.
Here’s the thing:
I do not believe that if the universe burst into existence thirteen and a
half billion years ago, and set into motion trillions upon trillions of
galaxies, each one home to a hundred billion suns, it did so in such a way
that one of them, after five billion years, would bear a planet with a
species of which, after 75 billion of them had lived and died, would give
rise to a small community that, without aid from or respect for anything
that had come before thru the ages, with only themselves as the starting
point, would be the absolute source of all knowledge of what is good and
true, and ought to be.
So here’s the
change. UWFR will now begin to include commentary about how things
ought to be, aware that this will not be for everyone, and some may react
with anger - especially among the GBLT.
The forecasts will continue without regard to preferred outcomes.
When I look back
at those years with my face on the ground and a boot on my back, I do so
with some satisfaction. I never
failed to show up, and I never stopped swinging.
quote at the start of this letter from Mr. Mandela was attritbuted
recently to him by a journalist on National Public Radio, in response to a
question the journalist posed to him as to what changed for him when he was
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It
rings true. In my experience of
life, I have found that people more often than not primarily assess the
truth and wisdom of a fundamental or controversial idea by how others
around them respond to it, than by the employment of their own wits. Though I believe restraint is generally
in order when it
comes to public self-flattering characterization, I will allow myself to
say this here: I have never been one
of those people.
I expect the same
is true of you.
Marco Antonio Roberts
record cannot be beat. One can
follow the herd chasing the latest hyperbolic, melodramatic, and
soon-forgotten micro-trend on Facebook and Twitter, or one can be wisely
and judiciously in front of it with UWFR.
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