Monday, November 10, 2008

Still Crushed

Tomorrow will be a week since the voters of California took the unprecedented step of removing rights from a group of people. The history of the state -- indeed, of the country -- has been one of extending rights, not limiting them. A week, and I still feel as crushed and deflated as I did when I saw the first returns and knew that what my gut had been telling me was right -- we are still too hated and misunderstood to be treated equally.

I read the blogs, I read the comments sections of news articles. I feel the anger, the hurt, the disappointment. I don't know what to do with it. How could all those millions of Californians have justified to themselves that it's OK to discriminate? To treat one group of people different from another?

And it's not just strangers. Our family has been friends with another family (mostly the parents) for more than 30 years. This lovely (or so I thought) couple have known me for more than three decades. They attend many of our family functions, including my mom's recent 90th birthday party. They have met my husband, greeted him warmly, laughed at the many funny things he says. Yet, I discovered (a few days before the election) that they had voted "yes" on 8 via their absentee ballot. These are not stupid, uninformed people. The husband owned a good-sized ad agency in San Francisco. But they helped to vote away my rights. I can't imagine what I might say to them should I ever see them on the street. (They live just a few miles from us.) It's certain I will never see them at another family event, because if anyone in my family had the audacity to invite them, they can't expect to enjoy my presence, as well.

So where do I go? We gay people are a tiny minority in this country. We have some political power, but apparently not enough. I have confidence that in 20 years, we will have full legal equality, but it seems clear that we will never be fully accepted. Or even truly tolerated. The "ick" factor will always be too much for most people.

I'm not ready to stop fighting for equality, but I'm not sure what strategy to employ. The only weapon I have at my disposal is logic and reason. And that hasn't worked. Our adversaries don't care about logic, apparently. Their fear is clearly too great to be overcome by logic. It's like a former friend of my husband's who -- when we were visiting Lake Tahoe together -- was afraid of a thunderstorm because he worried lightning would strike our 20+-story hotel and cause it to collapse. It was a base, irrational fear. But it was his fear, and nothing I said could make his heart beat any less quickly.

Far too many Californians are like that frightened little man -- and nothing I say can relieve their anxiety.

To all of you who have read this far, thanks for letting me vent on you.

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

The people who fear, will always find something to fear. They will find some person, prophet, religion or book to hide behind..if it is not the issue of gay-ness, it will be something else. The best thing that we can do, is..difficult as it them. Love them for their faults and love them through the fear. The only way to get more of what we want, is to put it out there...I think that we all have to remember that in this difficult time, that to put out more hate and more anger, only begets more of the same. Wash yourself with love and let it flow from you. Be that shining example of how much love there is in the universe and how it can permeate all things, and eventually, someday...those people who cower in fear may come out of hiding and bask in the glory of that love. I am not saying that it is easy, I still feel so much anger that I could not be with the Mormon sector of my family for my nephew's baptism this weekend, they still turn my stomach. But when I feel that anger and that hatred, I try to melt it, to soften it and I send them my love. They need it. I try to be as Christ like as possible and love even those who sicken me, who most would turn away from. If we can be that example, there will come a day when no one can deny... the glory and power... of LOVE.