Nov 11, 2008

Ok, Fine. I'm getting on my soapbox!

For the last week, I have been trying desperately to post something of some sort of value. I also promised myself I wouldn't rant about the passage of Prop 8, no matter how disappointed and angry I am about it. Unfortunately for me, this has created somewhat of a blockage, and I have found it impossible to post anything since the only thing I want to post is something I promised I wouldn't. So I have broken that vow, and have now laid out my true feelings. I think this is something I have been wanting to do since November 4th.

In an earlier post I mentioned how I thought, at one time in my younger life I knew a lot. I thought I had opinions that were intelligent and well thought out. I thought my parents never knew what they were talking about. I considered myself a fine, upstanding conservative with a belief system set on a foundation of Christian values.

Now, there are some things that have not changed. For example, I still believe that I have opinions that are intelligent and well thought out (my friends may not always agree, but hey, its my opinion). There are a lot of things that have changed, though. One of these things I have learned: My parents actually do know what they are talking about. I remember as, a young man, Father started attending Toast Masters. For those unfamiliar with Toast Masters (and I hope I am explaining this correctly), it is a group that meets for the purpose of becoming better public speakers. As Father started attending this group his prowess at public speaking became evident, and I started getting a better understanding of my father as he expressed his opinions rather eloquently.

Now, maybe I was making an ass-sumption based on the fact that Father was in law enforcement. After all, anyone who knows anything about law enforcement, should know that these people tend to be fairly conservative in their beliefs. So perhaps I simply ass-sumed that Father was as well. And perhaps he was to some degree. As I said, I learned a lot about him over time and my general opinion of Father changed. I can say that I learned a lot from him. Sadly, I don't know that I can produce and memorable quotes that might one day end up on an inspirational calendar. I can, however, tell you I have learned from him a lot about being a decent human being, for which I am grateful.

Now I, myself, work in law enforcement. And still, people in this profession tend to be fairly conservative in their views. I respect that. It is their right to practice and believe as they see fit. What I have found over the last 10 years is that my opinions and beliefs are generally at odds with the majority of people I know. I am pretty sure it is because most of my values and beliefs are actually fairly liberal. This tends to leave me out of most conversations at work that involve politics (although I imagine I could go visit with the folks who work in our Mental Health department, I think we would get along just fine). And having stayed out of these conversations, I have held my tongue on more than a few occasions when I would have loved to bark at more than a few people.

There are two types of people here where I work. There are those I work with and those I work around. Those I work with are generally educated and have a belief system I can attribute to life experience, an actual education, and some sort of faith in a higher power. Those I work around, on the other hand, are generally uneducated. They have a belief system based on hate and a self serving purpose that benefits no one but themselves. So those I work around I simply ignore. I guess they have a right to believe what they want. However, I don't generally respect these opinions and simply write them off as uneducated, bigoted and simply wrong. Those I work with I have to respect, for the reasons listed previously. It is difficult for me, though, when my opinion is not respected in turn.

I was part of a conversation the other day I could not avoid. The question was posed, referring to Prop 8 (boo! hiss!), "They can do anything they want to. What can't they do that they can't do already?" So I answered back, "Can they get married?" After which, I was rebutted with something and I tuned the conversation out. I don't care to argue with my friends. Generally, we all get along and we simply leave some topics unspoken.

So now I have been stewing over the this subject for the last couple of days, and clearly I need to get it all out.

Since when do we let one person be persecuted by another in the name of religion? I am pretty sure were a group of people in another country persecuted and discriminated against by another group of people we would be up in arms claiming our high standards of tolerance and compassion should be an example to all. Bullshit.

Our standards of tolerance and compassion clearly only go so far. Apparently it is perfectly ok to enact legislation that sets a group of people apart, as "different," and make it so said legislation can keeps them apart as "different." Again, I say Bullshit.

In 1957, Little Rock, Arkansas was a hot bed of activity because 9 African Americans were going to start attending the Little Rock Central High School. In fear of this drastic change, the Governor of Arkansas actually had the school surrounded by National Guard troops in an effort to stop the integration. Eventually, they were removed by order of the federal court and replaced by the United States Army in order to provide protection for those 9 students. And so, 9 high school students made history by simply attending school. I would like to think that we, as a people in this country, have made a lot of progress since then. In many areas, we certainly have. For example, we don't see the National Guard surrounding the White House. In fact, we see that the overall vote in America has voted for our first African American president and many people celebrated in the streets at the confirmation of the President-Elect. Good for us.

Sadly, as I said before, our ideas of tolerance and acceptance apparently only go so far. Does the idea of a man and man being legally married scare us so bad that we enact legislation to legally discriminate against them? I suppose there are those that would argue against this, but I don't see it any other way. I have tried. I really have. But I can't see it any other way. We have made a legal discrimination. We might as well start putting up signs over water fountains that read "straight" and "gay." After all, we wouldn't want any straight people getting "the aids" from a dirty fountain, would we? The intolerance and ignorance of this issue astounds me.

Religions around the country have poured millions of dollars into a campaign to make this discrimination legal. I don't know that anyone can deny that this whole proposition is based on the biblical definition of marriage as being between man and wife. I don't understand why it is we are letting religion influence our government. We have changed our state constitution to reflect a religious intolerance. Have we actually taken a 232 year step backwards? I don't claim to be a historian, but I'm pretty sure one of the things that was firmly decided when the Continental Congress convened, was the separation of church and state. The Church of England ruled American government with an iron fist. We wanted to get away from that. I don't deny that there are many references to religion in the documents that were forged to "form a more perfect Union," there were many people there who were religious and good people. But that isn't the argument here. The argument here is our union has become less perfect.

Again, we have made legal a discrimination based on people that others see as "different." We might as well be surrounding churches that are happy to perform gay and lesbian marriages with armed troops because we are scared we might be affected, as straight people, in a negative manner.

I know people who were personally effected by this proposition. They are good and fine people. They don't deserve to be told that, although they love each other, are committed to each other and have been for years, they can't be married. I would urge anyone with a differing opinion to look someone in the eye and tell them they can not be happy because you view it as different and wrong. Don't look at them as a person of a different religion, that doesn't matter. Don't look at them as a person who lives an alternative lifestyle. Look at them as they are, human beings. Tell these human beings you refuse to allow them to be happy, and that you prefer to rate them as less than normal because of their difference from your own life. Now our friends have been told all these things, but lucky for you were able to hide behind the curtain of a voting booth.

So in conclusion, I say this: If you believe that as a man or a woman, marrying a person of the same sex is wrong, then simply don't do it. Is there a need (other than a religious need) to enact a legislation in order to force this opinion on others? Not as far as I know.

To those who I know who were hurt by this, I am truly sorry. I support you. I can't say that I always have been supportive, and of that I am ashamed. However, I can say that for a long time I have been supportive, I always will be, and of that I am proud.


  1. Good for you for speaking up! I wish I could say we agree on this issue, but I hope that I'm not labeled as a "bigot" because I supported prop 8. I almost feel like I've been "reverse discriminated" against because of my belief that a "marriage" is a sacred union between a man and a woman and it's primary purpose is for procreation. But, that's just my opinion and I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I'm glad that you had the courage to speak your mind and I completely respect your opinion about it. We will just have to agree to disagree! :) (And if I didn't like gay people, I wouldn't love Project Runway as much as I do!)

  2. Oops! Above comment was written by me... I didn't realize mom was logged into google when I sat down to read your blog!

    Mom, by the way, was very proud of you for voicing your views on the blog... good for you for speaking up!

  3. Christy is right, Dad and I are very proud of your thoughtful response. Dad was touched by your comments about him. We never cease to be amazed by what we learn about our children from their blogs! We love you loads!
    Love Mom and Dad

  4. Bravo, my friend, bravo! I think it's important for people to speak their conscience on this issue. And it does take courage to speak it when you know people close to you are of a differing opinion. It's easy for me to shoot my big mouth out, here out near Berkeley, I'm just preaching to the choir.

    I do believe the tide is turning on this. We just need to be patient.

  5. People seem happy that you were willing to “speak your mind” however, sometimes those very same people will be pissed that you did if you differ from their opinion. They may then say, “keep your opinions to yourself” as if you no nothing of what you speak. Saying this, I too am glad you can voice your opinion; it is one of the great constitutional rights. By the way, so it goes for Nazi radicals preaching hate in our streets and handing out propaganda during their rallies. Now we hate the state for allowing that, don’t we? Don’t get me wrong, I hate those guys, but if it were to be made illegal would we be discriminating against their beliefs? The separation of church and state in my opinion was to protect against historical accuracies such as the Roman Inquisition. We do not have one church leading the nation any longer, but that does not mean the biblical basis, which our country was founded, should be uprooted. The foundation of this country was based on the biblical beliefs. If you break down the foundation, the structure will fall. I don’t dislike gay people at all, in fact I think they know themselves better than most people do, but I don’t like anybodies beliefs pushed me as if I must accept them. I will accept the person, but not their belief. If I do that, I compromise my own. Can’t have it both ways.

  6. I always try to be appreciative of others and their comments. The only think that irks me is the anonymous voice with such a strong opinion. While I welcome comments from anyone, I will require some sort of name in the future.

    I understand a lot of where you are coming from Anon. And while I don't agree with everything you said, fortunately for me and you, we are allowed to have our separate opinions and still coexist in this crazy place we call America.

    As for the rest of us? I certainly would never refer to my sister as a Bigot. We all have touchy feelings about this issue, and I certainly wouldn't have put it out for the world to see if I didn't think I was tough enough to hear someone else's point of view.

    So thanks guys, for making your thoughts known.

  7. I have not stopped by for a while and was so glad to see this post from you. We have the exact same feelings as you, and we seemed to be the "black sheep" of Nics family for voting no on prop. 8! Thank you for the post, it was great to read!! I did a little post on it and got not one comment! So good for you!


You went to all the trouble to get yourself here, you might as well say something about it.

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