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politics of fear: alive and well

November 6, 2008

With the election of Obama the pundits have declared the era of fear over.  We have moved on, into a wonderful world of hope, and the old guard trying to scare us with terrorist boogeymen has retired.
Not so much.
The politics of fear are alive and well, and no where is that more apparent than California.  We were told it wasn’t about fear, or hatred.  We were told that awful line, "I don’t care if you’re homosexual, as long as it doesn’t affect my life."  If marriage really only affected those getting married, the Yes people said, then they’d be all for it.  Then they told lies about children being taught that gay marriage was better than straight marriage, and about churches being forced to marry gays.  The fact that some of these lies had a grain of truth just made them harder to fight.  Gays became the boogeymen of this election, infiltrating schools and converting children to that evil homosexual lifestyle.  Unfortunately, people bought that story and voted yes.
It’s such an old story, the fear of the other.  We bought it again, and now it’s some of the most discriminated people in the country who have to pay.  18,000 couples now hang in legal limbo, married on Monday and now single people with their lives and finances entangled.  So many other have weddings planned which now can no longer happen.  Hundreds of angry grieving people marched through West Hollywood last night, with no other outlet for their grief.
Why all of this?  Because of the fear that our children might be taught that gay people are people too?  Even though every education association in the state pointed out that parents have the right to pull children out of schools for those lessons, so that if you want them to grow up to be bigots then you’re welcome to make that happen.  Because of the baseless fear that churches might be forced to perform gay marriage?  Churches have the right to kick out anyone they want to, and they don’t have to marry non-members.
Why all of this?  Because people are scared of those who are different.

We won more than we lost, though, even though it’s hard to see.  We got Obama.  He’ll sign the Matthew Shepard Act, finally overcoming the blantant, angering, and horrendous lies the right has spread about this law.  He’ll fight for equality in employment and housing for our community, and he’ll work to give us all domestic partnerships.  Obama will do more for the country than defeating 8 would have.  That’s the happy thought that I’m focusing on now.

I am aware that the tone of this entry is insulting to those who don’t agree with me.  I guess I’m done apologizing for that.  I’m tired of people smiling at me while they tell me that I’m not deserving of the same rights as everyone else.  I’m done smiling back.  I’m tired of being told that I shouldn’t get so angry about it, that it’s not personal.  It is personal to me.  In most states I am still allowed to be fired from my job and kicked out of my home because of my identity.  There is no federal protection for me when someone hits me for being queer.  It is personal to me.  I’m done trying to politely explain how I’m a real person to people who are unwilling to listen.  I’m hurt, I’m angry, and I’m done being nice.  We will overcome, we will convince you of our right to exist, and we will get full and equal rights as fellow citizens of this country.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 7, 2008 4:36 am

    (read this whole comment in a “calm I’m trying to make you feel better voice” not an arguing voice. I totally realize you have every right to be angry I’m just attempting to explain.)
    While I know it doesn’t seem that way I do think alot of people who voted for it probably didn’t want to take away rights. They just care about the name that designates those rights. I think of people like my mother who I know would have voted for a proposition like 8 because marriage is a religious institution and the bible is pretty clear about its thoughts on homsexuality. And she fully believes me when I tell her about the biological component of homosexuality and believes the gay couples should be afforded the exact same rights. I’m not saying that the thought is right or wrong but its something that is very important to religious people. And I know its painful that people think you shouldn’t be able to have the same name designation as a heterosexual couple and its fine to be angry. But I want to reassure you that most of the people who voted for prop 8 cared about the name only. They still think you are a person and many probably felt homosexual couples should have the same rights. I know you say that if its just a name why does it matter, let gays have it too, but probably alot of the people who voted yes on prop 8 think “if its just a name then why does it matter to the gays so much”. Once again not saying its right or wrong but it just is. Its different sides using the same logic against each other. I just don’t want you to feel like people think you aren’t a real person or that you don’t deserve to exist because that’s not only not true (in all but extreme cases) but not good for your mental health :-D. This war will be won just like every civil rights battle in history, with small babysteps. Maybe that means getting “separate but equal” for awhile but it will be won because (with the exception of the ignorant that will always exist) the world IS becoming a lot more accepting. They just aren’t willing to give away a name that has such strong ties to religion…yet.
    (and now switch to ANGRY voice)
    Oh and if someone ever hits you for being a bisexual- I’ll give you better than federal protection- I’ll sick Nathan on them for ya lol. (yes I realize its not the same but its a WONDERFUL mental picture).

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