Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's It To You?

I have never been one to wrap myself in the American flag. Instead, I have looked askance at the injustices of our society with a jaundiced, sarcastic view and wondered, ‘What the hell is our problem?’ To elaborate, it consistently galls me this absolute obsession we as a people seem to have in making sure we have a group to hate. For some bizarre reason, it seems to make us more comfortable with our shortcomings.

Time was - less than fifty years ago in fact - we used to hang blacks from trees for looking at white women. Women have had the right to vote for less than a hundred years. Seems like the newest wave of immigrants are ostracized by those that passed through Ellis Island before them, as if to say ‘The door closed behind us, bub.’

But over time, the assimilation of these peoples, and the simple adherence to our founding principles has rendered the heinous injustices to these people more or less to the history books. Racism still exists, but at least they aren’t lynching negroes in Mississippi anymore. Women still have glass ceilings to break through, but the cracks are extremely evident – it's just a matter of time there.

So the pool of people to pick on has shrunk. But we are a creative bunch, we Americans. Don't tell us we can't do something. Don't tell ME that we are all created equal. By golly, we will find someone to turn our unjustified bigotry and anger towards. And we’ve seem to have found our latest group. Gays.

I am not gay. And I am also about the least homophobic person you will ever meet. I am firmly of the opinion that if someone can find another person to love, honor and cherish to walk hand-in-hand through this sometimes very dark dirge we call life, it matters none whether they share the same sexual organs. If two people are happy, what’s it to me.

And what’s it to you?

Really. If you are a person that is against equal rights to gays, or ever worse, harbors anger towards gays, what the hell is your problem? What is it that makes you hate two people finding love and happiness? Is this a sociopathic streak that you’re secretly fermenting towards people that seem to find a happiness that has somehow eluded you? Does everyone have to be as miserable as you? Does the idea of two people of the same sex copulating repulse you - is that it?

Or do you just need someone to hate? If so, welcome to America. You’re fitting in quite nicely.

Because you are far from alone in that neanderthal view. Laws are being passed in scores of states banning gay marriage. Now please ponder that for moment. Our legislators & by extension the people they represent feels we need laws preventing something that does not impact you in any way. If gays are allowed to marry, it does not affect your marriage or your life in even a remote way. If you're happily married, you are free to remain that way whether gays receive that same right or not. If your marriage is a mess, why not allow gays the same chance at that misery? For that matter, why are you defending something that only about fifty percent of the participants are successful at? As Anna Quindlen stated in a recent issue of Newsweek, "As for the notion that allowing gay men and lesbians to marry will destroy conventional marriage, I have found heterosexuals perfect willing to do that themselves."

Again I ask - What's it to you?

Opponents to gay marriage say its about not allowing people a loophole to receiving health insurance benefits. Well heavens no – we can’t actually have MORE people freed from the anxiety that a broken leg could mean financial ruin, can we? Others cite religious reasons and Bible passages as their justification. Well look – I’m not a Theologian, and as such do not want to delve into what this Book of Solomon says or that Book of Job says. Those that profess to know what God thinks (Here's a piece of advice: avoid these people) would say that homosexuality is a sin, punishable by eternal damnation.

That seems a bit harsh for committing an egregious act of love. But maybe that’s just me. Instead I would just offer this simple & very un-religious-trained observation over this whole ‘religion’ angle – 

What would God think? 

I believe the answer is that He (or She) wants us happy, and as such would be pleased at two people finding love and companionship. I really don’t think flesh-burning in eternity is what is in store for those who have found a life partner to live, love and laugh with simply because Tab A doesn't fit into Slot B. My guess is that God would smile at such an event.

A friend of mine says the reason for our ongoing search for a group to hate is because we are a ‘young’ country, in that we have not yet gotten through our growing pains. I can kinda hang with that. My guess is that most more ‘mature’ countries laugh at us for our teenaged impetuosity & predisposition to hate.

I see only one answer. We need to grow the hell up. There's really no need to hate anyone, and any two people that enjoy each other's company to the point that they wish to make a lifelong commitment to each other should be honored, not derided. 

And certainly not made illegal.


J. Michael said...

Thanks for this post. A couple points to further the conversation.

(1) I think you may have hit the nail on the head with the need to grow the hell up. I often wonder who has time these days to focus on hating so much.

However this is only one of the causes and only one of the solutions (albeit a big one). Afterall, Texas is older than Canada, 'eh'?

Still, it's a good point: Our country's decision making process has managed to turn a document designed for the protection of civil rights into a document that takes away rights.

(2) The point remains that in order to pull someone down, you have to hold on to the other end of the chain: you are confined by your own repression. Our country is suffering by the repression of others. (In fact, true conservatives see the economic benefits of allowing gay marriage).

(3) Christians and Muslims alike (living now in an Islamic country, I am learning a lot about the religion) have no business pressing using their religion as a tool for repressing people anymore than they did when they said mixed-race couples was against their religions. But we must keep in mind that there are a large number of Christians and Muslims that are welcoming, supportive and affirming the civil rights of Lesbians and Gays.

(4) These decisions impact our country in other ways. Right now there is a huge latent demand by gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, parallel to a huge number of needy children that want to be adopted.

A connection will never be made between the two so long as our country allows hatred to be a precedent.

(5) At first, I was disappointed that the demographic that supported these measures was overwhelmingly the same that was celebrating a triumph over their repression. In their triumph, they managed to repress another population.

I got very angry, but now I realize that this is the result of the many LGBT Rights movements ignoring minorities while trying to 'pave the way'. We should have seen this coming. How many gay rights organizations, community centers, bookstores, neighborhood associations, and other gay groups are typically wealthy, white, gay men? Most. Let that be a lesson to us to reach out better.

(6) I remember being proud to know that my parents were not a part of the extreme, irrational racism of the last generations, fifty years ago. I know that your son will be proud to know when he grows up that his dad was not a part of the archaic, hateful, backwards people who take pure joy in making others miserable.

When you speak out, when you use inclusive language, when you stand up to bigotry, even when you put a blog up, you send a very clear message to people who you don't even realize are listening. You affect people's lives in a great way.

All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you will never erase those words. (Harvy Milk)

D. (Just D) said...

Good writing, Jerry and Michael. I really have very little to add, as you have captured most of my own beliefs on this subject, but I do have a couple points to contribute.

Being born and raised in the South, believe me, I'm familiar with the Bible. I'm not religious myself, and take care not to trample the religious beliefs of others. However, I would gently remind Christians (and others) that while the Bible does make a couple small mentions of homosexuality, this is the same book that instructs menstruating women to live outside the village during the "time of their impurity." It is the same book that, rather than condemning slavery, suggests that if one is a slave he should just be a darn good one. And if you want to be picky about it, find yourself a Red Letter Edition of the KJV and read the red letters. Jesus never spoke a word about homosexuality, but he spoke a lot of words about love.

As for the young and immature attitude of our country, I have faith. When we see greater levels of tolerance and acceptance in Europe about matters sexual, it is because Europe has been around a while and looks at things from a larger perspective. We've only been around a couple hundred years or so as a sovereign nation, while Europe has endured centuries of war, plague, revolution, Renaissance. They had their growing pains and periods of hate too. (See: Crusades) Now those days are in the past, and we'll mature too. The American Culture is still largely a work in progress.

Finally, as to the allegation that gay marriage undermines the institution, frankly I must respectfully LMFAO. Straight people have been making a mockery of marriage since the first "I do."

Gary V. said...

Unfortunately it is human nature to have something do "look down upon." Something to make us feel better about ourselves, or some common ground that certain cliques or people can share mutual ground on by believing they are better than the "others."

The only hope we have is for life to be discovered on another world out there in the universe. That way us Earthlings can band-together and hate the inhabitants of Planet-X.

Carrie said...

I dont usually offer an opinion..but here it goes. I believe that hate exists equally in every country all over the world. Hate knows no continental boundaries. The difference is...our country...our media with its "in your face" style tend to sensationalize hatred be it sexual orientation, race or religion...keeping the hate machine going..perpetuating it. In every society there are those that rise above it and there are those that feed on it. Well..that is my 2 cents and with this and a starbuck gift card, you can get an awesome cup of coffee...back to work for me :)

TommyStiletto said...

Well stated, sir.
Will you marry me?

Dan said...

What's it to me ??

I suppose I could just ignore homosexuals and their lifestyle and just go on about the task of living my own life, but that seems to be easier said than done in it's own right.

"We're queer, we're here, we're in your face" !!

I don't recall if that ACTUAL QUOTE is from QueerNation or GLAAD or one of the other pro homosexuality groups, however it is a pretty good indicator of how militant some of them choose to be.

So ignoring them is kinda out the window.

Yes, the lifestyle disgusts me.

Yes, the lifestyle is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.

Yes, the bible is quite clear on the matter.

Yes, God wants us all to be happy, but certain things we choose to do fail to make Him happy, and as a result also fail to meet the requirements for His Kingdom.

That's enough of the Yes items, let's move on to the No's shall we?

No, I don't hate homosexuals.

No, I don't support their agenda.

No, I don't view the homosexual rights folks as a group who simply wants gay men and women to be left alone to the privacy. I view them more as seeking to infinitely expand the bounds of what behaviors and lifestyles our society will accept or condone.

...and to that last bit, I don't just say no, but HELL NO !!

Jerry B said...

Dan...militant? Really?

What, are they picketing down your street, are they recruiting you into their way of life?

Well first off, don't worry. You can't catch 'gay.' It's not a disease. You're born that way.

Secondly, perhaps what you're perceiving as 'militant' others would view as demanding equality - much like blacks, women & other minorities before them. We are a nation of haters, as I stated in my initial story. You, sadly, are one of that collective.

It's just a shame that we as a people have to be that way.