Saturday, May 19, 2012

Change!

It has been almost two years to the day since I last posted to this blog. A lot has happened in those two years. Publishing is changing, and this country is changing.

 

Change scares a lot of people. I've been around for awhile and I don't scare as easily as I used to, but I feel this country is poised on a knife edge, and the election in November will tip us one way or the other.

 

I hope we will tip on the side of progressive thinking, but my worst nightmares feature a Republican president who has so little empathy for others that he sees nothing wrong with strapping a dog (in its crate) to the roof of his car or bullying an "effeminate" young man at his prep school. The young man later admitted to being terrified. I don't doubt the dog was too.

 

These two incidents speak to the character of the man who wants to lead this country. Whatever else he stands for (let me consult my etch-a-sketch) I doubt that a wealthy, privileged person with no empathy can possibly understand the plight of so many Americans whose wealth, in the form of their homes, has been stripped from them, along with their jobs and much of their sense of self-worth.

 

I shudder to think what he would do to gay people.

 

Our current, and hopefully future, president just came out in favor of marriage equality, and I've been surprised by a lot of the reactions to his announcement. The one that surprised me the most came from my own back yard.

 

I live in a very liberal part of the country, so I was surprised when I read on a Yahoo! group composed of people from my very small community that some of them are still struggling with the idea of granting gays and lesbians full equality.

 

Well, folks, I just had to speak up! And once you get me started, it's hard to make me stop, as my neighbors soon discovered.

 

Then I started seeing people commenting on Huffington Post that they are struggling with the idea of gay marriage, so I decided to post some of my rant from that Yahoo! group to this blog, so that I could refer these struggling folks to something that might help them sort out their thoughts.

 

My rants are long, so I will post them one at a time over the next few days. Or maybe sooner. Cuz, y'know, once I get started...

 

One poster said:
maybe it should be called something other than marriage, just syntactically, because it is different.

 

So I responded with:

 

Why is gay marriage different from straight marriage? When two people fall in love, no matter if they are same sex or not, the love they feel for each other is the same. When two people love each other enough to want to spend the rest of their lives together, they want what almost every person on the planet wants--to find a true partner with whom they can share their life, and often they wish to express and increase their love by creating a family that includes children.

 

To say that gay marriage is different is to say that it is less than heterosexual marriage. It says that gay and lesbian people are less than heterosexual people. It says that the children of gay and lesbian people are less than the children of heterosexual people.

 

Separate but equal was wrong in the segregated South, and it is just as wrong when applied to the very real lives of gay and lesbian people.

 

We now consider it obvious that people of different races should be able to marry. A generation ago that wasn't obvious to a great many people. It took a Supreme Court decision to begin to change people's minds.

 

The reluctance of so many people now to be willing to change their minds is causing great harm, great suffering, to gay and lesbian people. I am one of them.

 

I have been rubbed raw by the recent rhetoric of the Republican Party, by the vote in North Carolina, and by some people who just can't seem to understand the PAIN they are inflicting on gay and lesbian people, many of whom are your neighbors.

 

When Proposition 8 was on the ballot, I saw signs in my neighborhood that said Yes on 8! and I realized that even here, in this relatively liberal and tolerant place, there are people who hate me. Yes! That's what those signs told me. Because they told me that there are people here who would actively interfere in my pursuit of happiness, who would take steps to ensure that my life would be more difficult than it needs to be, and to let me know that in their eyes I am not OK, that I am not worthy of love because I love the "wrong" person. If that isn't hate, I don't know what else to call it.

 

This is the [location redacted] Family Network, yet some of you who are here to share resources and knowledge, to help and support each others' families, feel that the families of gay and lesbian people should be excluded from help and support. You take for granted the rights that marriage gives you. You never think about the many ways that marriage protects you and your children, but if you lost those protections, you would be outraged! Why do you not see the outrage of the people to whom you would deny those protections that you rely on?

 

This weekend I attended a college graduation. The speaker, quoting Jeff Bezos, told the graduates that cleverness is a gift, but kindness is a choice. I hope that some day the people of this country will learn to choose kindness.

 

Catherine M Wilson
(You may see me around town. I'll be the one wearing the t-shirt that says, Second Class Citizen.)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Finn Jackson said...

Excellent post, Catherine. I had those same signs in my neighborhood (my partner called them "our" tombstones); I know exactly how it felt. Infuriating. Depressing. Frightening.

Still. What an amazing few weeks. First Obama, then the NAACP. After so much disappointment it's hard to hope, but there's at least an off-chance we won't end up under the bus--if we can come together behind this administration. Anyway, welcome back, and thanks for fighting the fight. Finn

May 19, 2012 at 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Move to Canada, you will not believe the stress you carry with you daily living with the hatred in the US. I lived there for 9 years and won't even go back to visit because every time I do someone make a rude comment to myself or my wife.

December 29, 2012 at 6:16 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home