Monday, October 27, 2008

More than the sum of its parts

While I try not to go back and revisit topics, I'm going to make an exception here. Every time I read an article in the paper or see one on TV about California's Proposition 8 my blood pressure goes up a point or 40.

With hopefully eight of the shortest days ever recorded in the history of mankind to go before the election next Tuesday, the bullshit in the Golden State is getting deep.

Like I said last week, I don't have a vote on this issue and I only have a few friends who do, and I'm pretty sure all of them are voting "no." But if you know anyone who does vote in California, I'd urge you to give 'em a call and a nudge in the right direction.

Or, rather, not the right direction, but the correct direction.

Here's a little sample of the rhetoric being used in support of an amendment to another state's constitution to codify discrimination:

“It’s more important than the presidential election. We’ve picked bad presidents before, and we’ve survived as a nation. But we will not survive if we lose the institution of marriage,”

This quote in the NYT's story is from Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby based here in Washington. Gay marriage will bring down America, eh? I'm pretty sure if we survived the Soviet threat during the 40+ years of the Cold War, and Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan during World War II, we'll learn to adapt.

The scary part of the NYT article is how the proponents of Prop 8 are casting the fight in terms of freedom of religion and hate speech. Supporters claim if they fail, churches and pastors across the state will be forced to perform gay marriages. To back this up they've brought in Ake Green, a preacher from Sweden, who spent a month in jail after running afoul of his country's hate speech laws when he gave a sermon denouncing homosexuality.

Now, if for a moment I thought the failure of Prop 8 would in any way trample on someone's freedom or religion or speech, I would be in the vanguard of those fighting against it. But it doesn't and won't. As the article stated Catholic churches haven't been forced to marry divorcees and rabbis don't have to do interfaith weddings if they don't want to. Prop 8 won't create a protected class, all it will do is allow people who love one another to claim the same government-sponsored benefits everyone else is eligible for in California .

Unlike some European countries, we don't have laws in this country against hate speech. There are hate crime laws (which I'm a little iffy on, personally), but you have to combine thoughts and speech with criminal action for them to apply.

Just like the Illinois Nazis were allowed to march in Skokie, in America you're free to to out and stand on whatever soapbox you like and announce to the whole wide world you hate fags and kikes and niggers and spics and pollacks and micks and wops and chinks and wogs and crackers and Yankees and papists and towel heads and whoever the Hell else annoys you. All you risk is the same thing the suburban Chicago Nazis risked: an ass kicking of cosmic proportions that takes place in front of a cheering audience and, perhaps, temporarily indifferent police officers.

For those of you whose jaws are still hanging open, yeah, I really did use all those nasty words. Why? Because there are people out there who do use them to hurt, many of them are the same ones who were sure that letting blacks go to the same schools and vote was sure to be the end of this country. And we all know how that worked out so far.

The quickest and surest way to bring down this country is not gay marriage. The quickest and surest way is when one segment of the population is allowed to use the democratic process to take rights away from another segment.

America is the strongest country in the world because of our differences, not in spite of them. Our differences are, in fact, what give We The People our power.


Lemmonex said...

It cannot believe I live in a country where this ( can be made. Hate speech at its worst.

LivitLuvit said...

As much as I miss my best friend from college, now living it up in West Hollywood, I completely understand why he moved somewhere so much more tolerant after we graduated. I hope someday to be a bridesmaid in his very lovely wedding.

Viva Gay Marriage!

FoggyDew said...

Lem, the electronic overseers prevent me from seeing youtube, I'll have to reserve judgement until after work.

LiLu, welcome back girl. Would you be a bridesmaid? Or would you be a groomschick? Either way, I'm sure it'll be wonderful.

Arjewtino said...

If this passes, I will finally be ashamed to be a Californian.

FoggyDew said...

Tino, What? The Dodgers' performance in the playoffs wasn't enough?

What stuns me is that this thing even has legs in Cali. I always had the impression the state was generally pretty lefty. We'll see.

LivitLuvit said...

I'd probably be a groomschick. He's a top, allegedly. But I think they all say that...

FoggyDew said...

LiLu, I was thinking they'd both be grooms but, now that you put it that way, I get your point.

FoggyDew said...

Lemmy, finally got to take a look at the clip. I disagree with you. Robb (with two "b's") and Robin have the absolute right to their opinion. I also kinda-sorta agree 2nd grade is probably a little young to be introducing the topic of gay marriage.

That said, I have the absolute right to ridicule them for their homophobia. And, in fact, I shall taunt them a second time (said with a ridiculous accent). Sunlight causes roaches to scatter and the more that is shined on idiots, the more they tend to lurk powerlessly in the shadows.

Words only have the power you grant them.

Lemmonex said...

You are right--they have the right to make it. It just disgusts me. My response was more emotional.

I don't see anything wrong with talking about marriage--gay or straight--to a second grader. Marriage is marriage is marriage.