I'm sorry. I really am. I know most of you will forgive me, but I may alienate some people. I don't like doing that--I really don't, but what's that quote by Martin Luther King Jr.? Our lives begin to end the day we stay silent about the things that really matter? Yeah. That.
One of the issues going on the California Ballot tomorrow is Proposition 8. Proposition 8 would make gay marriage illegal. Now, the thing here is that a similar ballot already passed in California--and the California Supreme Court overturned it.
I have no problem with them doing this.
I've been teaching the Declaration of Independence for the last week--Thomas Jefferson's original version vs. the one that the committee eventually passed. Did you know that big HONKING chunks of Jefferson's original work were cut out in the one that finally got ratified? Uh-huh. Including a paragraph and a half expounding on what a total shit the king was for instituting the evils of slavery to the new colonies. Mmm-hmm. Do we know WHY that section was ripped out, leaving slavery as a big fat canker sore bleeding our country for the next 88 years? Anyone? Mmmm-hmmm. Because the mob-rule of economics prevailed. More votes for keeping slavery in than for removing it, and so, well, an entire race was SCREWED, and racism is cheerfully propagated for the next 200+ years. My point?
The mob does not always know what is right.
Yup. You heard me. Democracy is checks and balances, and the reason we put people in the supreme court is because we assume (hope, pray, beg) that their devotion to reason and law will balance the complete proliferation of fuckheads who vote out of fear, bigotry, and the short-sighted devotion to all things the day before yesterday and no things five years from now.
It's a thin hope, but I think it was rewarded when they voted down the first law against gay marriage. The mob voted, reason prevailed.
Well, the mob is back. They are on every street corner waving signs funded by the religious right and screaming 'Honk if you want traditional family back!' (As a member of a traditional family, I'm wondering what makes these people think it ever went extinct. I'm also wondering what makes my family so much more interesting or valid than anybody else's family. I am reasonably certain that the kid in my class two years ago who was being raised by the two dads had a lot less dirt in his corners and dressed better than my children. Just sayin'.)
The signs are EVERYWHERE.
For a while I wondered, you know, why the YES signs were so much more prevalent than the NO signs, if the NO side was winning. Then my husband (who is a little more economically savvy than I am) explained that there was church funding in the YES corner. Well of course there was. And who is going to fund the NO side, really? I mean, it's not like gay couples have any more money than straight couples to go out, print up a shitload of signs that say YES I HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXIST, and then stand on street corners looking bewildered, beleaguered, and (well, I would be anyway) PISSED OFF!
So there you go. The mob again. Trying desperately to rule.
And for what? I mean, I've attended church with my English credentials intact--I've always said that many people's first crack at interpreting literature was church, where the pastor gives the scripture then the sermon based on whatever part of the scripture he damned well pleases. I've heard the one bit of scripture--one, mind you--where Jesus actually addresses homosexuality, and, uhm, I really wasn't impressed.
I mean, my pastor wasn't a great interpreter--at least the last guy wasn't. He was a very sweet man with a lot of faith but not a lot of imagination, and his sermons tended to boil down to, "So, what Jesus was saying was that he IS the savior. Jesus is the SAVIOR. JESUS is the savior." Uhhm...yeah. I listened to those scriptures with my thinking ears on, and there was more to it than that.
Jesus was in an absolutely shitty political position. He arrived, the people IN his camp wanted a warrior, the people OPPOSED to him wanted to prove he was a fraud, and Jesus--well, it appears he mostly wanted us to be decent to each other.
I've made my religious ambiguity fairly public. I've got a lot of different, radical, probably blasphemous ideas about religion, but if you check the holy book (if you don't have one on hand, I understand there are a lot of them in hotels. Because a lot of sacred things happen there, I don't know!) I think you'll find that Jesus was repeatedly being accosted with questions asking him to define the RULES OF RELIGION. As in, Hey, Jesus--what is the RULE OF RELIGION for prostitutes. His response was, well, the nice lady washing my feet with her hair deserves compassion and respect. They didn't particularly like that. And then there was, Hey, Jesus, what is the RULE OF RELIGION for someone who violates the Sabbath for healing. And jesus said, uhm, well, I just healed someone on the Sabbath, was that bad? And so on. The guy was repeatedly being asked to put the articles of his faith into a nice labeled box, complete with color coding and file markings--you know, X offense will get you so many years in hell, and Y offense will get you so many MORE years in hell, and if you complain, you'll never get out, and we'll take away the amenities.
The thing that was cool about Jesus was that his responses were pretty ambiguous, but they usually boiled down to the following basic concept:
TREAT YOUR FELLOW HUMAN BEING WITH RESPECT AND COMPASSION AND YOU PRETTY MUCH CAN'T GO WRONG.
And, yeah. Again, I'm not exactly a poster girl for church and most churchgoers probably think I'm going to hell, but, uhm, I think that's why they crucified him.
The mob said, "We can not deal with someone who does not quantify good and evil. It scares us to decide how to be nice to somebody we don't understand. Compassion without some sort of extrinsic reward does not compute. KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL."
So, uhm, yeah.
I sat in my chair yesterday with the sliding glass door open, listening to the mob screaming and the horns honking in the rain. The noise was coming from over a mile away. It occurred to me:
These people, these 'Christian people' were the same people who would crucify Christ all over again.
They want their good and evil quantified. Christ made ONE (translated, out of context) remark about same-sex relationships being like blending fiber (while probably wearing blended fiber himself, mind you!) and the fearful, the 'put my good in one box and evil in the other' people, said, "Aha! That means it's evil!"
They ignored a crapload of Gospels in which the poor guy literally DIED to tell us that treating people with compassion and dignity was pretty much key to the whole shebang and said, "No, seriously, the key is, not shagging someone with my same genitalia."
Now these people screaming outside on the corner of Sunrise and Greenback in the rain are probably a mixed bunch. Some of them may be deeply moral, highly thoughtful people who have searched their souls for the answer and have decided to simply rely on the religious traditions they find comfort in to make their decision for them.
But you can bet your ass, some of them will come home, kick the dog, slap the wife, and eat an orphan's kitten for breakfast, then defend that particular lifestyle choice with, "Well, at least I'm not a faggot."
And it doesn't matter--because once they started screaming for blood, once they called upon their government to shit on human rights, they ceased to become individuals and became a mob, and just like the mob 2000 years ago they have forfeited compassion and human dignity in favor of prejudice, bigotry, and destruction.
And it's not like they SEE what damage they're doing. Odds are, if they feel that strongly about it, they don't have a big assortment of gay friends. (Okay, SOMEONE is coming out of the woodwork to prove me wrong on that one. If I can concede that it can happen, will you concede, "Okay, but not often?") And many of them probably don't have to stand in a classroom with an adolescent screaming things like "FUCKING FAGGOTS NEED JUST DO WHAT'S FUCKING RIGHT" and explain that hate speech is wrong and discrimination is illegal. I mean, if the government says it's okay to be a narrow minded bigot, why isn't it okay to scream hate-speech or beat up the poor skinny kid minding his own business who just LOOKS like he might be gay? Our students don't see the difference, and, well, if mom and dad devoted so much time for eliminating rights for these people, well, beating the shit out of them can't be such a bad thing. So for a lot of this mob, they get to scream for blood and shit all over the constitution and basic human rights and not see the wreckage they leave in their wake. They can just cast a vote and be smug that they have done their 'Christian' duty.
Uhm, yeah. Human race hasn't learned much in 2000 years, has it.
Holy Goddess, merciful God, forgive us, once again, for leading your innocent children to slaughter.
(Okay, folks--next post will be favorite refrigerator magnet sayings or something light and definitely not political and not religious. Again, my apologies, especially if I have offended anyone-- Amy)