Thursday, November 6, 2008

What To Do About Proposition Hate

Like many of my peers on Tuesday night, I was both exhilarated at the progress our nation has made and disturbed at how far we still have to go. The election of Barack Obama to the presidency is a remarkable mandate for change and progress in this country, and marks a significant cultural shift away from the greedy aristocracy we've lived in this past decade.

However, let's not forget that people are selfish beings, and that Obama's victory can at least partially be attributed to the overwhelmingly negative situation in which Americans have found themselves. People voted for him not because they necessarily believe in progressive ideals, universal health care, increased dialogue among nations or tougher regulations on big business. Many voted for him simply because they are desperate, poor and distrusting of a system that has pounded them into the ground. Barack Obama has a much steeper hill to climb than many of us realize, and with the illegal and unethical ban of universal marriage in California, those of us hopeful for the future must first face the truth about our present.

California is seen as one of America's most liberal states, and yet over five million people decided that two human beings who love each other should not enjoy the same freedoms as everyone else because they are of the same gender. Despite the lack of any logical argument to the contrary, despite the illegality of imposing such a hindrance on our fellow citizens' civil rights, despite the lies and the bigotry from the "Yes on 8" campaign, nearly five and a half million Californians supported this measure. Just using arithmetic, this number must include at least one million Barack Obama voters. Everyone --- our work is far from over.

There are protests going on right now in the streets around my home. This is progress, but this is not enough. They will ignore you and wait until you've subsided and then it will be business as usual. We cannot stop letting them know what an injustice this is. Here are my suggestions:

1) Take the protests to the people who voted against you. West Hollywood is great, but, you know, you're kind of preaching to the choir. Why not stop by Tulare County? Two hours north of Los Angeles where 75.4% of the electorate voted for Proposition 8. What about Shasta County, up north? 69.9%. Madera County: 73.4%. Kings County: 73.7%. These are people who don't live near Los Angeles or San Francisco. They don't see you every day and know you are living, breathing humans who love just as strongly as they do. Bring the protest from Melrose to Main Street. Force these people to explain to you face to face why they are discriminating against you.

2) Write to everyone you know. If you're gay, chances are you have some straight friends. No, not just the girl you went to see The Devil Wears Prada with who hangs out with you because there's no chance of sexual tension. I'm talking about your co-workers, the people you see every day, your family, your close friends. Everyone. Chances are they're upset about the passage of Prop 8 but they're still just going about their daily lives. Let them know how it really feels to have your rights restricted. Ask them what it would feel like to know that society shuns their relationship and their families. I hate to break it to you my homosexual brothers and sisters, but we outnumber you. And we, like The Force, are a powerful ally.

3) Get a famous in-the-closet celebrity to come out. There have to be at least two or three out there, right? Not Ellen, not Rosie, names that would really blow your mind. I'm talking about Tom, Will, Kevin and Orlando. Let's hit these people right where it hurts. In their blockbuster summer movies.

This is far from over. I'm convinced that this measure will not make it near our state constitution. You almost have to laugh when people vote against the freedoms of human beings, but stand up in overwhelming numbers so that chickens can turn around without bumping each other. This is Los Angeles! Ever been to Hollywood on a Saturday night? You try turning around without hitting somebody in the ass!

*Source: Los Angeles Times (click the drop-down bar and scroll to Proposition 8 for a list of counties and how they voted.)


Files from The Crief Case said...

Hey Jonathan, I generally enjoy reading your blog because of your sense of humor and your ability to talk about subject matter where that humor is put to good use.

But this might be the best posting you have made in the history of your blog. As a heterosexual, I voted no for prop 8 for this reason: straight people are allowed to marry each other, because miserable within the confines of these relationships, and then divorce. Why shouldn't gay people be allowed the same level of misery? To be honest, the number of homosexual people I've known is a much smaller cross-section, but a large percentage of the small cross-section was much more committed to the idea of staying in one relationship long term than their heterosexual counterparts.

I'm hoping the courts handle this issue swiftly, but I will write my local congress reps, senators, and President-Elect Obama to show my displeasure about this issue.

Bottom line: thank you for a well reasoned and well written posting on a subject that needs more attention.

Susan said...

Great post, Jonathan--although I'm sorry it had to be written. What are the people who voted for Prop 8 afraid of?

Jenny Beans said...

This was a thought provoking blog, Jonathan, thank you for writing it. One of the things that really makes sense is taking it beyond what you know. We live in a really small, backwater town because it's quiet here, but many of the residents are very prejudice against any kind of change. My husband and I have always taught our daughter that people are people no matter what. Gender doesn't dictate who you fall in love with, and the color of a person's skin is no cause for a label. Unfortunately, she's come home from school every day since the election very upset with people's reaction to our having a "black" president. The kids in her 8th grade class were talking about lynchings and assassination, all an obvious reflection of their upbringing. Maybe we're comfortable with change, but these reactions just go to show that there are still millions of people who aren't. Like Susan said in her reply, I keep asking myself what on earth these people are afraid of that they have to stand in the way and decide who should be allowed to love whom. One can only hope that we see the changes that need to be made to rectify these injustices in our life time.

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