Proposition 8 in California seeks to change our State constitution, with an amendment that will reduce a Californian’s ability to express love and devotion. I once wrote a Red State-Blue State play, in which several of the central characters were gay. Someone close to me — a heterosexual woman of intelligence and thoughtfulness — asked me why the play needed a gay slant. And it’s because homosexuality is the last sanctioned prejudice in our country.
That was my great flash of awareness at a previous campaign’s Republican National Convention, as I heard the vitriol and apparent glee with which gay people were –dare I say? — liberally attacked and condemned. This year the condemnation has become more veiled (”We accept them, but not their right to marry.”) but its just as entrenched and organic to one faction’s core ethos. It’s funny to think that there’s a group of people who gain a part of their identity by hating a part of mine. And while it’s no longer (openly) sanctioned to target African-Americans and Jews, Klansmen and Neo-Nazis still gather. There will always be someone out there to hate something about all of us.
The interesting thing about America — at least, up until the Bush Administration’s “Patriot Act”ivities started reducing our rights — is that we are a country founded on disobedience. And while I don’t criticize how my forefathers expressed their disobedience — rather, I am filled with admiration — I sense it’s time to modify the approach. Not to get too “California” about this, but similar vibrations attract to each other. And if you hate something hateful, on the subtler lever you’re contributing to the hate-cause; it’s only the contrasting energy that can actually create a real difference.
So what does that mean regarding Prop 8? Of course energy should get focused toward its vanquishment, and disobedience toward manifestos of hate should be encouraged. However, I am suggesting an intangible-seeming shift in the “attack.” I heard several election-years ago that same-sex marriage was a foregone conclusion — that it would unquestionably be a reality eventually. That was my moment of exhale. And I am willing to allow grace to replace red-in-the-face in my actions toward that goal.
No one who knows me — or has read me — would argue that I don’t know how to rant. But — in my saner moments — I know it’s an indulgence rather than a tool. I started this post by describing Proposition 8 as intending to reduce the ability to express love and devotion. But that was inflammatory, just as most everything that comes out of the Palin/McCain mouth is inflammatory. The quieter, authentic truth is that no one and nothing can reduce or impinge anyone’s ability to express love and devotion. How will you disobey those who think they can?