And then the 2012 election season got underway...
Now it seems that each new day brings some new horror bubbling to the surface. In a stunning win for marriage equality, my state’s legislature passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. In the next breath it was taken away by a citizen’s referendum. That fight is ongoing. Right-wing extremists renewed their crusade against women’s reproductive rights, and Republican officials began working to disenfranchise Obama-likely voters by rewriting voting rules.
Still... hope remains. With each new travesty perpetrated by those who would roll back all of the enormous strides our country has taken in the decades since the Civil Rights Act became the law of the land, since Roe v. Wade, since Loving v. Virginia, since Stonewall, the voices raised in outrage against oppression and intolerance are heartening, indeed. I have only to open Facebook or Twitter to be reminded that, for each extremist voice calling for a halt to the steady march of progress, a chorus of voices rises up in outrage to drown out the bigotry and hatred and fear.
That hope I felt so keenly—that I tried to share in every word I committed to the manuscript—is alive and well. My tribute in writing To Touch the Stars is not equal to the great courage displayed by so many who risk criticism and ostracism in defense of basic human decency by speaking out, but I hope that readers will come away with the same sense of wonder I feel every day when I bear witness to these acts of valor in the name of equality.
My statement in the acknowledgements, “Our quest to touch the metaphorical stars of acceptance and equality for all began with the single steps of a very few courageous individuals and remains impossibly long still. Looking back, however, I marvel at just how very high we have already climbed” remains as true today as it did on that happy day when I wrote it down. I hope, as we continue on our way, the ideal that we’re striving toward continues to remain in our reach.
You can find more information about me, read an excerpt of To Touch the Stars, and find purchase links for the book on my website at http://www.jeremy-pack.com. If you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy the adventure, and that the love and spirit I put into every page comes through loud and clear in my words.
Blurb for To Touch the Stars
For happenstance news correspondent Tait Williams and newly minted astronaut Nicholas Sullivan, 1966 is a year of beginnings. Idealistic Tait dreams of changing the world with his pen, and Nick has his sights set on the moon. With the Apollo program in full swing, Nick is on the fast track to his dreams—even as Tait’s hopes of covering the Vietnam war are sidelined by a cause he doesn't believe in: a correspondent assignment with NASA. It is here, in the golden age of the US space program, that the hearts of two men collide, setting them on a path of discovery spanning two decades.
From war-torn Cambodia to the decadence and heartbreak of the early 1980s, Nick and Tait come together time and again only to be ripped apart by social conventions and their own ambitions. As they strive to realize dreams that remain elusively beyond their grasp, through each other and the extraordinary people that touch their lives, they will come to understand that the things that matter most—the brightest stars of all—have been within their reach all along.
And on a personal note let me say that I know it sometimes feels like we're taking one step forward, multi-year steps back in the fight for equality, but when we look up from out of the trenches, I think we can see that change is here, it is happening. We want it to happen faster. The set-backs are demoralizing. But I know that if we keep our chins up, revel in the victories, and learn from the defeats, we will win this fight. And we'll win it soon. Thanks for all that you do, Jeremy. Keep fighting the good fight by being you. - Cardeno C.