Activism, Apathy and the Futile Pursuit of Happiness

I know, it’s been far too long since I’ve blogged, and I’m sure the five of you who regularly read this are now onto bigger and better blogs. Oh well.

We have entered into a new Dark Age.

For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be an American. I would happily move to Canada or any other country that has stepped beyond the new Dark Age and understood and accepted the fact that who my heart chooses to love does not make me a bad, evil or undesireable person.

I was delighted when Barack Obama won. I believed in his message of hope and change, “Yes We Can.” Then he announces that he’s asked Rick Warren to give the invocation to his inauguration. I’m sorry, I’m with TammyLynn on this one. Barack, if you’re going to have Warren up there to be a “voice for open discussion” then, as she says, you damned well better have some of those cowards with the pointy white bedsheets on stage too. They offer other voices and certainly cause discussion. Bastards.

Oh, and let’s talk about Prop 8. I just saw “Milk.” I, like so many of the post-Stonewall generation am woefully ignorant of my own cultural history. I knew of the “Twinkie Defense” and in an abstract way knew that it was related to a murder case. I didn’t know that it was about the murder of Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk. I also didn’t know just how close Prop 6 was  to our own Prop 8. My God, even the wording of the right-wing arguments was the same! “Protect families”. What the hell is wrong with you people?

How are my CIVIL RIGHTS interfering with your family? How the hell is my LEGAL RIGHT to live and love as a citizen of this country (to which I proudly served in the USAF and have faithfully paid my taxes for more than 20 years) fucking with your family? How? Now the people who put Prop 8 on the ballot want to nullify those marriages that were performed between May and Nov. 4th. I have been married to my partner of nine years for a total of 126 days. Have you felt the tremors? Has your family fallen apart? Yeah, I thought not.

Rick Warren considers homosexual behavior the same as he does incest and bestiality. His is the outlook of ignorant and medieval thinkers. I wish upon Rick Warren and his bigoted, thoughtless, mindless, lemming-like followers a gay son. A lesbian daughter. A flaming, flamboyant, sexy-as-hell queen. A solid, athletic, hair slicked back butch.

I am a product of my generation. I am a consumer. I have more than one iPod, I have a Mac laptop, and I spend money at Christmas. I don’t know how to be an activist. I was born in the late 60’s, a child in the 70’s and a teen in the 80’s. I really don’t know how to start a grassroots movement.

But I feel it is time to do as Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein: follow the money. I think we need to take a page from Harvey Milk’s book and hit them where it counts, in the checkbook. Not for a day – that ‘s useless. Not for a week – that’s a token. But for good.

Support gay-owned businesses, support gay-friendly (openly…as in, they have a sign that says they proudly welcome gay business). Boycott anyone…anyone…who is not or does not. For good.

Look at business statement. Look at company statistics. Shop your conscience. Get it done. Make your money work for a cause.

Tonight: trying to figure out how to make a difference.

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2 Comments on “Activism, Apathy and the Futile Pursuit of Happiness”

  1. […] Activism, Apathy and the Futile Pursuit of Happiness « Pol’s Weblog […]

  2. Shannon says:

    Hi Pol, I found your blog from the GW message boards and since we post in the same thread I get curious about the peeps around there and will often follow links in sigs to know more than just the s/n 🙂

    I debated writing a comment at all, because it is your blog and I don’t want to in any way step on toes, but then I did see you were a professor and I thought, surely we could have a discussion without it devolving into name calling and such.

    I s’pose the main reason I wanted to was to perhaps break a few stereotypes I found in this particular post that I hope perhaps I can clarify. I am nervous in posting this because I don’t want to make an enemy. I just want to be a voice from the other side of the discussion.

    It’s not out of ignorance that people (such as myself) disagree with the idea of gay marriage. It’s just that our understanding of marriage in contrast to yours is so radically different there can be no room for compromise. It’s a fundamental difference that can be traced all the way back to the very arguments made between those of the Enlightenment and those of the Reformation. Unfortunately, in the many generations that have since passed, we have, on each side, forgotten our roots and so unfortunately those (like Rick Warren) that I may share an similar opinion with, do not understand *why* they hold that opinion, they just do.

    As a Christian my entire understanding of everything is that God is the center of all things. This isn’t a “the Bible says” defense – it is the core of my understanding of the very universe. Marriage is not a civil right because it was not first implemented by society but by God (now, you can consider me foolish and backwards for believing God and/or the Bible, but that is an entirely different discussion). Therefore, to my ears, gay marriage is the equivalent of someone holding up a stainless steel fork and declaring that it is, in fact, gold. No matter how much it is raged against and posted on signs and laws passed, it’s still stainless steel. This is because the definition does not originate with us, but with God, something absolute and outside of us.

    Now contrasted, we have the pro-gay marriage argument which is rooted in the idea that marriage is an institution designed by common society (this is more of the humanist/evolutionary/Enlightment POV, whereas the previous is a POV from the Reformation, which interestingly enough was an answer to the Enlightment). Therefore, it makes perfect sense that if morality and marriage are defined by society that we should simply be able to redefine those standards as society changes. Thus, marriage does become a civil right. But see how the very precepts of the understanding of society are so vastly different that there is virtually no common ground on which to stand.

    So now one might argue that we cannot impose our beliefs another person, but then oddly, we live in a democracy which is based on… the will of the people. In the clash of morality, especially of this magnitude, we each have to vote our conscience. We have to vote on our understanding of the universe and how it is run. I don’t consider you stupid for fighting for gay marriage, I understand why you do it and I don’t begrudge you the right to protest those laws which you consider unfair, but likewise, I must support the laws that match my conscience. That is the messiness of democracy.

    On the final, personal note, I have no personal moral problem with the concept of civil unions. This is where our differences in the understanding of the world comes into play. To someone pro-gay marriage this is just semantics, but for me, it is everything. It is not that I think gay marriage will somehow devalue my marriage. It’s that asking me to redefine marriage is asking me to throw out my entire understanding of the universe (of which I have personally researched, struggled with, and chosen through my own sweat and tears) – an understanding I believe to be true. Just as you would be doing with yours to concede my point. I’m not here to ask you to change your mind, only demonstrate that we are not all hate-mongers hellbent on destroying people.

    I have gay/transgendered friends – I hate seeing anyone treated poorly – no matter who they are and I would defend any one of them. It is not easy for me to hold a position that I know causes them pain, but they understand that my paradigm is so vastly different…

    I suppose I’m rambling now. I hope I have not angered you. I see from your post that this is an issue very dear to you and it is never easy to discuss something so deeply personal that has been thrust into the public forum so grotesquely. While we may not agree and while you may perhaps think less of me for my opinion, my hope was to demonstrate that my viewpoint is not out of hate or a desire to keep people hidden or to not allow people to live and pursue happiness as they see fit. You must stand for the things you believe in, as must I, but I would sincerely hope that we could do so remembering that we are both human and we are both struggling in a world that is not easy to navigate and thereby extend to each other courtesy and good faith.

    Best of luck to you.