CONGRATULATIONS TO CALIFORNIA SAME-SEX COUPLES!!..SAME-SEX MARRIAGES CAN RESUME!!
Get in there and make it happen people. We never know when that door is gonna slam shut again.
But this little nugget of joy actually brings us to the subject of todays post....revolution. Its a word that gets thrown around alot these days and usually means that something is not going the way the user hopes. Judge Walkers ruling has stirred alot of pots....anger and not-so veiled threats of violence are becoming increasingly commonplace sentiments expressed by those who appose gay marriage. And of course, those feelings are whipped into a frenzy by irresponsible pundits seeing a chance to gather the dissaffected to themselves.
Originally, I wanted to write this post in the week following Judge Walkers ruling...but...because I wanted to focus on the positive aspects of the rulling, and because I don't think its good to give too much weight to the crazy extremist end of the spectrum, I let it go. After all, the things I was seeing in the news were just isolated incidents...or so I thought. Then, Maggie Gallagher, her anti-gay matrimonial majesty, came along with her own call to revolution that has reinvigorated the idea that such extreme thoughts are the only way to preserve their vision of society. But first...the background...
Gunplay has been coming up alot in public discourse and virtually within minutes of the Prop 8 decision came an angry backlash. While the republican party may have been silent on the issue...their ultra-conservative base was not. Here I was, all happy over the decision and going about my "marry" way when I came upon a post in Good As You spreading along an image that originated in the uber-conservative website Free Republic...who's followers refer to themselves as freepers. The name always remindes me of zombie B movies and these guys can always be counted on for the most horrific of opinions. This is their solution to gay marriage...
LA Times, My second encounter with heightened anti-gay hostility came in the form of a vandalism in at a Los Angelas museum. An angry museum goer ripped the two men off the top of this cake sculpture and threw around the museum, ostensibly in a fit of post Prop 8 anger.
Then their comes the ever present, and completely unrealistic republican fantasy of changing the 14th amendment. Its due process and equall protection clauses being the cornerstones of the majority of our rights as American citizens...its also the portion of the constitution most inconvenient when you want to....say...stop latino people on the street and demand proof of their citizenship...or prevent gay people from sueing the state for marriage rights. Well, when asked about whether or not altering the 14th amendment is an appropriate tactic for halting gay marriage did not immediately deny the possibility. from The Washington Blade:
"I haven’t looked at the impact of the decision yet as far as what, if any, action needs to be taken. I’ve been on the immigration issue, the defense authorization bill and this START treaty, so I really have not had an opportunity to talk to my people about it."
Excuse me Senator McCain, but whats to discuss? Should this answer not have been an automatic "HELL NO"? First, it takes far too much much to alter the U.S. constitution and those who like the idea as a way of dealing with uppity minorities simply don't have that kind of support...not even from the freeper community. Secondly I have to wonder if the Senator is going into his own freeper territory after his last angry rant on the senate floor about the Matthew Sheppard Hate Crimes Act. But what the hell? If things don't go the way we want, we will just destroy everyones protections so we can return america to 1950? They want to go back to a time when racial minorities had no visibility and even fewer rights...abortions happened in back alleys..and gays we sent to mental institutions? This is what America means to them? Not..."give me your poor, your tired, your huddles masses yearning to be free"....nope...we want things the way they used to be and we will rattle our sabres, brandish our semi-automatic rifles, and detroy the foundations of our liberty to make it happen... Madness
However damaging the Senators intentions may be, I still considered them as separate from the events I labeled above. I wrote it off as angry people making their own angry statements about events they feel helpless to alter....But then......
Along came her anti-matrimonialness, Maggie Gallagher with a call to arms to support her particular brand of "culture war"...(emphasis mine)
"In a few weeks the Republicans will produce a document that purports to lay bare core GOP principles. Do they care enough about principle to stand against Walker's judicial tyranny, his outrageous attempt to brand decent, good Americans as hateful and irrational bigots because they voted for marriage as one man and one woman? We shall see.
But, I suspect they won't. I remember how the Republican establishment responded in the early days to the abortion issue. I remember how the wives (like Cindy McCain) were outraged that their husbands could be so backward as to oppose abortion rights. Too many pols see the wind now at their backs and will succumb to the temptation to dodge the tough bullet -- to avoid the media hit and the gay rights' dollars. Who will have the courage to speak for the majority here and our constitutional system of government?"
Gay rights dollars?....is this woman for real? If our dollars were really that powerfull this fight would already be over. Also...who really needs to have courage to speak for a majority? True courage is in standing up for the little guy and try as she might to cast themselves as such...NOM and those they represent are NOT the little guy. And finally, its rich that she makes mention of our constitutional system of government when she is trying her hardest to get the American public to ignore certain parts of that same constitution and the governmental system which maintains it.
But soon after, she gets to the point. Its not about fairness or voters rights. Her mission is about whipping up anger, hatred, and disenfranchisment in the American public and that anger has only one target...us.
American politics are in a quasi-revolutionary phase.Using battle as a metaphor in politics is nothing new. I have done it myself in many a posting. The issue here at hand here is that you will never find gay people arming themselves for real combat...or throwing the metaphorical noose over a tree limb in order to intimidate someone...which is what that gun pictures intent really was. Metaphor and analogies are one thing, but when it has the potential to spill over into real action we have a tremendous responsibility to select our words carefully.
The people, symbolized first in the eruptions of Tea Parties, are rebelling against elites who believe they can ignore our voices and our values...
...Rush Limbaugh had his finger on the truth. In the nearly half-hour speech he gave after the Proposition 8 ruling ("the American people are boiling over!"), Rush said that Walker "did not just slap down the will of 7 million voters.
Those 7 million voters were put on trial -- a kangaroo court where everything was stacked against them. ... Those of you who voted for Prop 8 in California are guilty of hate crimes. You were thinking discrimination. That's what this judge has said! Truly unprecedented."
Yes, it is. We are entering into a new phase in the battle not only for marriage, but for self-government, for the legitimacy of the views and values of the Ameircan people.
This is a fight we cannot dodge, and must and will win.
Buckle down, it's going to be a ride!
There is so much anger and division being brought about in the American public because of completely irresponsible punditry like this. If you scare the people bad enough, someone...somewhere is going to act on that fear and a tragedy will result. The simmering anger running through the hearts of some people is evidenced in the examples I gave above and also in stories of tea baggers spitting on politicians on the steps of Congress. People like Maggie Gallagher have no problem tapping into that emotion and further intensifying it to serve her purpose.
My father...bless him...is a staunch conservative, and lives on a constant diet of Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and Ann Coulter. I can't tell you how many times he has brought up the notion that America is heading for civil war because "liberalls are shoving their ideals down our throats". I fully believe that this is not a conclusion he arrived at on his own, but one carefully cultivated by the conservative talking heads he listens to. They have used peoples fear of change in small but horribly destructive ways. The phantoms they are conjured to scare us, change with every presidency that they are not in power...first it was the Clintons selling America to China. Now its Obama and and a laundry list of gripes.....and us, the gay community, for daring to be treated as equal citizens. We are the phantoms they raise up to incite fear that the American way of life is in danger when all their really is to fear...is fear itself.
To my own father I have to say "could you fire that first shot?" When it means real death will it be worth the price? Will your pundits stand behind you then...or will they decry you as crackpots? Will Maggie Gallagher and Rush Limbaugh stand with you on the front lines or will they retreat to whatever hole they can find to hide in? Would your sense of rightness then vanish in the cold light of day when you have to look into the eyes of another American that you have raised a weapon against...when you have to look into his eyes and see an enemy instead of a fellow American. Will you then realise that he had a family and aspirations for his life, just like you?
Now...my dad has been to war...I know that if he felt it what he was fighting for was right, he would do what he needs to, having seen the awfull realities of war. He still has terrible nightmares about his days in Vietnam that leaving him crawling on the floor, screaming in his sleep...he knows what war really means. I also believe that their are people out their who feel that standing up against "the liberal agenda" or "the gay agenda" is a just cause. They don't know us as people...we might as well be the communist menace for all they know of us. Among those, there are people out there who, at some point, may pull that trigger because they don't know the reality of war.... who bears that blood?...not only them to be sure, but also everyone who created and sustains the idea of culture war.
There is no "us against them" but everyday we are made to believe that there is...and many people believe in it as the gospel truth. Right now it may be all talk and jingoism...when I see the look of fear and resolution in the eyes of men like my father I realise that there is a possibility that someone can cross that line from imagined patriotism..into horrible action. Anger like that needs a focus. We have been made that focus by people like Rush Limbaugh and Maggie Gallagher and the like. Because we do not fit their vision of America and because it helps them acrue listeners. But I don't think even they understand that someday, someone might actually take their calls to arms literally.
So...I leave it up to you, the reader to draw your own conclusions. Are these isolated incidents? The last gasps of dying prejudice? Or the markers of an undercurrent of hostility focused squarely on the gay community? I leave it for you to decide.
Until next time dear readers...