Well. It was nice to hear from friends and family today offering their condolences and sympathies for the passage of Proposition 8 in California. There are so many things to examine from this episode of a civil rights struggle that gains another chapter.
What’s most important, and what I need to reiterate as much for myself as for all of you is that we need not lose hope. Sure, it’s surprising – sometimes appalling to see the degree of bigotry which exists in America. Especially in, what most in our country view, as a liberal haven like California. But, witnessing ignorance or hatred, usually is just that – surprising and appalling.
Mostly because, as Americans, we don’t think of the people who live right next door to us as being capable of disliking us. You know, those folks who for the most part wave at us, or at least nod in our direction when we see each other getting into our cars in the morning. Each going to work. Each earning a living to pay our taxes. Each putting our pant legs on, one-at-a-time. You get the picture.
What bothered most of the people that I’ve spoken with over the last few months were the drives down the streets lined with signs proclaiming support for such a divisive proposition. It created hurt and dismay. Even my own Mother, God-Bless-her, was shocked that someone might take her NO on 8 bumper sticker. (No worries. She replaced it with one on the “inside” of the window. Not fearing someone breaking it, she reminded me that’s what insurance is for).
But, back to the “hope” part.
The struggle of course, is far from over. The cause of reason and justice can’t be deterred by a single event. And, in the big scheme of things, this is a single event.
If you look at the results of Proposition 22 just a few years ago and the results of this vote, it is clear that the sane is gaining ground. It is not possible for the irrational and unsubstantiated to last perpetually.
States like Massachusetts and the like will show America that it is simply unjust in the long run to treat people differently. And, for those who voted for 8, with the argument that civil unions are the same as marriage, thus – we should settle for this – you may be among the most misdirected. It is simply akin to telling a colored person of the 50’s that your fountain dispenses water, it will quench your thirst too – why must you drink from mine.
Demeaning a class of people can only last for a time. But, it’s important that we take this time to examine ourselves. Examine our strategies, and our goals. Let’s use this time to rethink our approach and our future.
Perhaps we expand our advocacy efforts to include repealing tax-exemption laws for “religious” institutions that are more aptly the equivalent to PAC’s. We will need to regroup, and reapproach our conscious awareness of our continued movement. Perhaps commemorating this set back as a day of reflection. Let’s move to make it a day off work. If not through formal holiday, a day of strike. And lets refocus this referendum as one on civil rights. Period. Yes, I’m Gay – but quite frankly as far as this discussion is concerned, that’s irrelevant.
Lastly once we find the votes in the future, hopefully not too distant future, and we bring this to the front of the political conversation again – let’s enlist a nationwide grass roots effort. Each of our LGBT brothers and sisters has as much to gain from this effort as Californians do. Finding a way to involve people from out of state, much like the Mormons and Catholics do can be an effective way to channel our broader energies and efforts from our extended communities.
And – then. Once we repeal this injustice, move to change the laws to require at least two thirds vote for any change to the State Constitution. This referendum should never have passed with a 51 or 52 percent vote. The constitution ought to be held as a document not to be easily changed with the whim of a political group bent on pushing their views on their neighbors. Speaking of neighbors – the next time yours asks to borrow your lawn mower, tell him “get off my fucking lawn i’ll chew your ass up with it!”.
Ok. that last part was just a little frustration venting. Go ahead and give it to them. Show them what a real neighbor should behave like.
Hugs from Texas. We love you all.