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To Anti-Prop 8 voters

This post is primarily for those who are upset (and justifiably so!) with the results of the election.

I am upset too.  However, our outrage for the passage of Proposition 8 must be tempered with patience and courage. 

This is not an end, it is a setback.  Our state and our country are simply not ready for that kind of equality.  Yet.  

Over the past two centuries, we have as a country pushed racism out to the fringes of our society.  Yes, it still exists, in large amounts.  However, racism is now confined to individual incidents and opinions, rather than the massive government-sponsored patterns of bigoted behavior seen not so very long ago. 

Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better. 

People are afraid.  Fear makes people do irrational things.  Fear does not make you a Bad Person, even if that fear is totally irrational and based completely outside reality.  Emotions are funny that way.  They are, quite simply, the most powerful facet of the human psyche.  Think about it.  In sufficient quantity, emotions can overcome a human being's very survival instinct, the most powerful instinct any animal possesses.  If fear can motivate one to end their own existence, is it really so difficult to believe that fear could motivate one to mark the "YES" box, even when their conscience says NO?

The only salve for this fear is time.  Every generation has been more accepting than the previous.  Every year more studies come out showing that homosexuals are just as likely to make good parents and heterosexuals.  Every moment our country becomes just a little more used to the lifestyle choices and cultures of others. 

This will not be solved in one sweeping blow.  The fear that motivated the results of this election will slowly erode over time.  As gay culture becomes more mainstream, people will become accustomed to it. 

It was not so long ago that a black man and a white woman holding hands would have elicited dropped jaws and cold stares in the most liberal of areas.  Now it is generally dismissed as the natural order of things.  Someday the same will be true of two women holding hands. 

So calm yourself.  Take a deep breath.  This is not the end of the road, but merely an inconvenient detour.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
I applaud your rational, calm response. I also do not share it. Yes, equality will come. No, this is not the end. However. This is cause for anger. This is cause for indignation. For disgust. For contempt. This is cause, even, for open outrage. These negative feelings must be embraced, explored, and dealt with. Pretending we're not upset will only weigh us down. When we have accepted our anger, we can master it and make it into a tool to make us stronger. With that strength will come, we can hope, the ability to be gracious and understanding of those who hate and fear us.

Right now, I feel no grace--I have only bile and venom.
Nov. 5th, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC)
Hm. I am not pretending my feelings, and I am not asking you to pretend yours. How you feel is your business and none of mine.

I am saying that things are in actuality not nearly as bad as they seem.

The decrease in the margin from Prop 22 only a few years ago is staggering -- from 24% to only 4%.

This state, indeed this country, is fighting for freedom. Freedom from fear and ignorance. Change is scary, and the citizens of this state are coming to accept the changes are coming, they just aren't ready for it now. The balance is tipping toward freedom, and much more quickly than it did 100 years ago.

Again, your feelings are your own. However, ask yourself this: is it right to be angry with someone because they let emotion cloud their judgment?

I've been in situations where fear or doubt caused some pretty terrible decisions in friends and family. Is condemning those decisions with bile and venom help the situation, or will it only cause more fear and anger?

I don't know. Each person's reaction will be different, and there are no right or wrong answers. I am dealing with this the only way I know how, by coming to grips with my feelings and not falling prey to the same ignorance that plagues 52% of our country.
Nov. 5th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, another thing.

This isn't to say there aren't bigoted homophobes out there who took a perverse pleasure in passing this bill who do, in fact, deserve all the anger and disgust that can be thrown at them. I just don't believe that they are the majority.

And, though I know I come on a bit strong sometimes, I absolutely appreciate your anger. Your feelings are valid and justified and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

I am just trying to demonstrate that the vast majority of the YES voters were under the influence of fears and doubt that were every bit as strong as your anger.
Nov. 6th, 2008 06:23 am (UTC)
I should say, I truly appreciate your perspective here. You make excellent points here. I'm just angry. I appreciate that you respect my anger; I certainly respect your rationality and clear thinking. I have to shape my anger, transform it into something useful. That's just my way of working through this.

Where I differ with you--though I admit, your perspective is likely far more productive--is that I'm not willing to excuse or lightly forgive the "yes" votes. I have no sympathy for those who oppose gay rights. Fear is as dangerous as hate. Heck, even Yoda pointed out the Fear-->Anger-->Hate-->Suffering cycle.

In the end, you're probably right. I may even come to agree with you in a few days--or weeks, or months, or however long it takes. For now, though, all I can do is feel my anger, own it, and see what it will become as it breaks down. So, it's entirely possible that as my anger dissolves into its component essence and I refine that essence into well-reasoned drive, I will entirely agree with you.

All else aside, I applaud your post--you're looking at this the right way.
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Mad kudos for the Star Wars reference. you have discovered my secret weakness!
Nov. 6th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
I love your choice of icon for this comment.
And I am mad. And I can't change that by thinking that things will be better in the future. I want things to be better now, and the fact that that's not possible doesn't make me any less mad.
Nov. 6th, 2008 04:04 am (UTC)
It was a brilliant icon choice.
Nov. 6th, 2008 06:16 am (UTC)
I quite like the icon, myself! And, yes--I think you've said it exactly. It's not about tomorrow--tomorrow will come, and we'll face it. It's about confronting the moment.
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC)
Speaking of icons, is that Ashitaka in yours? I love Princess Mononoke so much.
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
It certainly is! I <3 Mononoke. But then, I tend to love just about everything done by Miyazaki.
Nov. 6th, 2008 06:25 am (UTC)
It's surprising to me that with all the outrage over Prop 8, no one has really taken the time to read it.

Marriage is a cultural institution.

I REPEAT: Marriage is a cultural institution. It's absolutely ridiculous the way this word and this idea is mistreated on both sides of this issue.

I have a novel idea, let's put forth an proposition that secures FINANCIAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS for same sex couples rather than calling it marriage. If they can't "marry" in a specific faith background, then find a new one. It's not the government's job to interfere in cultural practices....which it what marriage actually is.

The short of it: Ask for equal financial/civil treatment under the law because denying that to people IS discrimination. However, don't ask for marriage unless you want to fight the church, because they are the ones that control that. Oh, and fight the church yourself, not on the ballot box.

Both sides of this mess make me sick.
Nov. 6th, 2008 08:06 am (UTC)
I don't want to live under a government that the churches can push around, and I don't want to live under a government that demotes its citizens with newspeak.
Nov. 6th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
I don't either, but we live in America. Those are constants.

We as a people need to get better at problem solving. Not as a country, as a society. Because while we can make a mess like nobody's business, we sure can't clean it up.
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, marriage is no longer a cultural institution in this country. It was originally, yes, but no longer.

I agree that marriage should not be any business of the state.

However, the state MADE it their business, we let them, and thus marriage is now a state intsitution. Whether we like it or not.

Second point. Allowing equal rights for same-sex couples but calling it something different immediately brings to mind the Jim Crowe "Separate but Equal" laws that were struck down as unconstitutional and illegal.

I'm not saying I disagree with your assessment, I'm just saying that times have changed. Marriage is no longer a purely cultural or religious custom.
Nov. 6th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
I suppose we'll have to disagree.

Despite the fact that people still call it marriage, it is merely a financial contract when you get "married" at city hall (And that's what a No on Prop 8 would have entailed for all the same sex couples that wanted to get married). My uncle is "married" to his wife, but they didn't have a marriage ceremony, they went downtown and signed some papers. The end. It doesn't speak about their love because they are secure with that, it merely makes their lives easier financially.

The lines are indeed blurred in this country, but this is far from "Separate but Equal." It's unfortunately, a matter of semantics. At the end of the day, if people are still garnering equal rights (Because these would indeed be EQUAL unlike the shoddy institutions and facilities set up during the "Separate but Equal" period) what does it matter if it's not called marriage? Are people going to be that petty over a stupid title?

Are people not joined together through love before the ceremony itself? To me, it all seems silly.

The Anti-Prop 8 movement merely wants to be better than everyone because they've been marginalized, and they want to feel like their struggle accounts for something. The Pro-Prop 8 movement is narrow minded and scared because of something they don't understand. Either way, it's an issue of people missing the big picture, focusing on titles, and large scale soap boxing that hinders actual dialogue on an incredibly nuanced situation.

And for the record, I voted against Prop 8 on the sole basis of civil equality. For me, it's more pressing that people are treated equally under the law. What cultural institutions say about someone's background is none of my business and frankly, nobodies business.

You don't like it, pick a different faith.
Nov. 6th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
As we think and communicate primarily in words, they are pretty important.

Language is a living thing. Definitions change, and not always for the better.

"Marriage" used to be a holy union between two people witnessed by a Christian church. It is still that, but over the centuries the word began to be used colloquially to mean "a civil union" with all of the tax incentives and legal ramifications that entails.

Even the document to be signed is a Marriage certificate.

Even the definitions of marriage (per dictionary.com) have changed to include the words "social" and "legal" as well as religious.

1. the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.
2. the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of a man and woman to live as husband and wife, including the accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage.
3. a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction: trial marriage; homosexual marriage.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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