I hate politics. I hate the name calling and the not dealing with the issues and I hate that someone has to lose. But the hatred and vitriol of this particular election season really has my dander up. And no, I'm NOT talking about the two bozos running for president.
I'm talking about Prop 8 here in California. Prop 8 would revoke the right of homosexuals to marry.
The ads the Yes on 8'ers have run on television are vile and nothing more than hate mongering. The thing that amazes me is, if you replaced the word homosexual or gay with "black" or "Mexican," all those civil rights groups would be so up in arms. Are gay people the last frontier of people we can hate?
In addition, Yes on 8 folks have even stooped to extortion! They sent letters to business who donated to the No on 8 campaign and basically told the business owners they "had" to donate an equal amount to Yes on 8 or be "outed" in the press! When did we take away people's right to choose to support a bill or not???
You may think it strange that a straight conservative woman would be on the No on 8 side. I have my wonderful mom to thank for that.
I watched my mom struggle with the racism she was taught as a child; her parents were farmers that came of age in the 1900s. But, her big open heart and generosity shocked me when it came to gay people. My grandmother had a homosexual brother and while they never talked about his situation, he was loved. Maybe that's where my mom learned what she has taught me...
As a kid, there were a couple of "funny" boys in my high school. We secretly made fun of them and I know our actions were hurtful. But, in high school, you just try to fit in. There is very little thinking for yourself.
My senior year, my mother took a job on the road and I was on my own. There were two young men that worked with her in their late 20s. One (I'll call him Randy) of them was gay. That summer, they were stationed in Biloxi for a few weeks and I went down to hang in my mom's beach side hotel room and sun by the pool. That grew old after a day and I decided to go to Ship Island. Neither Mom nor I were concerned about me being on a very public island by myself but both of "the boys" were rather worried about me. They each took a vacation day to escort me around Biloxi! Randy and I spent the day on Ship Island together. I was impressed with his quick wit and kindness.
Shortly after I moved to California, Randy died of AIDS. Randy's parents had disowned him years before, but when they learned of his impending death, they showed up at the hospital. Randy had been with the same partner for more than a decade, but now his partner was not welcome at the hospital. Randy was comatose and his family spoke for him.
After his death, his parents laid claim to his home. In spite of the partner having lived there for years, he had no rights. In spite of a will leaving everything to this man, he had no rights.
My mother spent many long hours on the phone with this man who she had only met in passing. He would call her crying as Randy lay dying. My mother offered to let this man move in with her to get on his feet (he had left his job when Randy took ill.)! She offered him money; he refused it.
Years later, he would tell her that it was her kind voice and support that kept him alive after losing Randy. When I tell her how much I admire the way she handled this situation, she brushes it off: "It takes so little to be kind to someone."
After witnessing firsthand someone lose their home, be removed from their partner's deathbed and made to feel powerless; after watching my mother open up her heart, wallet and home, there is no way I can support this proposition.
I will never understand how what goes on in the privacy of someone's home hurts another couple's marriage. The yes group is also resorting to fear tactics stating that schools will teach gay marriage. I was never taught squat about marriage in school and I doubt it's different today. And, you see gay people everywhere! Do you think the kids don't notice? have questions? need to feel comfortable talking about it?
Proponents are claiming the real issue is that Californians (not me) voted against gay marriage and then three judges threw out that vote. And by voting yes on 8, we are telling judges they can't do away with the people's will.
But when the people are wrong, we need somebody willing to tell us that. I would imagine back in 1863, there were still plenty of plantation owners who voted to keep slavery. Thank goodness, someone told them they were wrong. Thank goodness these judges saw the light and I pray that, this time, California voters will too!