Nobody likes to be called ignorant, but we all are. I certainly am. I’m ignorant when it comes to Venezuelan politics, cooking Indian cuisine and the quantum mechanics of time travel. I just saw an article this morning that suggested the present and the future exist simultaneously and now I have a headache. I can’t even discern how there is still only one Marty McFly and how he always finds the DeLorean.

It’s okay to be ignorant, but somewhere along the way people decided being called ignorant meant that you were stupid or dumb—instead of just simply lacking knowledge of something. Some years ago I was hanging out with my brothers, drinking beer around a fire pit and listening to old country music; a favorite pastime for the Claggett boys. One of my brothers, a genuinely nice person who tends to lean to the right with his political views, started talking about the Affordable Healthcare Act. Yes, family + holidays+ alcohol + politics = disaster.

His arguments against the healthcare policy seemed to stem from the views of his employer. It was more the repetition of scare tactic talking points and less a debate on the merits of the actual policy. I pointed out his ignorance on the legislation and it didn’t go well. He felt I was attacking his intelligence instead of simply stating he lacked knowledge on how the program was intended to work. I still feel a sense of awkwardness with him today. That’s what happens when feelings replace facts, when ignorance is allowed the space to thrive.

My mantra lately has been that the more I know, the more I know I don’t know. I don’t imagine that will change the older I get. Perhaps this is why comment threads bother me so much. They are filled with so many feelings, absolute truths without a factual foundation.

The argument du jour is that Joe Biden is too old and out of touch to be president. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that anyone who is not a senior citizen may be ignorant to what it is like to be a senior citizen, whether that be physically or mentally. So, aggregately we use feelings to describe that which we are ignorant to, often coming across as discrimination.

Are we to assume that a septuagenarian can’t run a country simply because of their age? Isn’t that ageism? Why is it okay to discriminate against people based on age? I would expect more from my party, the party of inclusion. It is not okay to say Pete Buttigieg is too gay to be president. It is not okay to say Elizabeth Warren is female and shouldn’t be president. Why is it okay to use age as a discriminating factor? It isn’t. Joe Biden may not be my first choice right now, but his age has nothing to do with it. He played a valuable role in marriage equality. Let’s show him some respect.

As I type this editorial, past deadline and on press day, I got a surprising bit of news that I would like to say a few words about. Our Art Director of 12 years, Jake Stevens, has accepted a position elsewhere and the next publication of Watermark will be his last. It is an understatement to say Jake has been a valuable employee to Watermark. He has been key to our success, not only in making each issue look professional but in making us a stronger community resource. Personally, Jake set an example that in part inspired my sobriety. For that, I will forever be grateful. Best of luck, Jake!

In this issue of Watermark, we tackle a subject you’re warned not to talk about in public: religion. Michael Wanzie speaks with local LGBTQ Christians about why and how they’ve kept their faith. Our arts sections give you the scoop on Orlando Fringe and the Indigo Girls’ regional shows. In Tampa Bay news we cover the milestone victory of Jane Castor as Tampa Mayor and in Orlando we introduce you to those being honored by the LGBT+ Center of Orlando at the 2019 Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.

We strive to bring you a variety of stories, your stories. I hope you enjoy this latest issue.

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