Monday, February 10, 2014 - Volume 5, Number 1 – Editor’s Letter to Readers

© Copyright 2014, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.

Retrospective:  Truth Is Independent of the Self, of the Group

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Before 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.


-Nelson Mandela


Dear Readers & Friends,


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 that.


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 & Review

Ultrapolis Project – ultrapolisproject.com



Editor: Marco Antonio Roberts

Copy Editor: Michael Alberts

Contributing Editors:

Mark Eastman

Mark Steele









< From column 1


(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 worst,  my sense of confidence in myself, and my resolution to assert myself, was growing.  I no longer was a physical weakling,  and 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 to exist.



Continued column 3 > 


< From column 2


I started 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.


The paraphrased 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


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Our forecast 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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