Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shame

These last few weeks have not been my proudest. My little experiment in "up with people" is a dismal, dismal failure. The stress of the election, coupled with a two-year-old who thinks that an ear-shattering tantrum is the answer to every request, and the endless conjecture about the economy has brought out the very worst in me.

This morning I flipped off a 12-year-old boy holding a "Yes on 8" sign. I wish I could say it was an accident, that I didn't see him. But I did. The finger was intended for his father, who was holding an identical sign, but when the kid stepped in front of his dad I locked eyes with him and kept my finger up. Truly shameful.

Shameful obviously because, dude, I gave the finger to a little kid. But also because: what the fuck am I flipping people off for anyway? Did I think that my gesture would somehow convince them that, hey, maybe they're wrong? Did I think that perhaps this was an appropriate alternative to intelligent discourse? I know for certain that all I actually did was convince them further that people who support basic civil rights for all people are assholes who flip off little kids.

But just for the record, here's what I should have said (and what I hope Dash will say when confronted with people who want to eliminate civil rights for anyone):

You, sir, are on the wrong side of this issue. Standing against the right to marriage for gays and lesbians is exactly like standing against interracial marriage in the '60s (hey, you know who else had laws against interracial marriage? The Nazis. And South Africa under apartheid. And us, before 1967.) That you would picket so that your neighbors--who want nothing but to love who they love and be protected by the same laws that you enjoy--would be denied those rights is cruel and not even slightly in accordance with what your Jesus Christ would do.

I pray that we can defeat your hateful proposition on Tuesday. And I pray that when your grandchildren ask you where you stood on this historic issue of basic civil rights for all people that you are ashamed to have to tell them the truth.


That's what I should have said.

But I didn't. Instead, I let the smallest, most hateful part of me take over and I likely upset a kid and enraged (rightly) his dad. And I'm ashamed of myself for it. But what I'm not ashamed of is where I stand on this issue. I am proud to know that when Dash is older and learning about the very last group to be granted basic civil rights in this country, I will be able to tell him that we were supporters. That we, in our small way--with our votes and with our voices--helped.

1 comment:

Boomer said...

Look at it this way: You have a three-hour daily commute. You have a household to run, an a-hole kid and a (sometimes) jerkstore husband. With the time constraints you're under, you have to do what you can. This was just your abridged version of a "No on 8" rally. It just so happened that at this rally, instead of holding up a sign on the corner, you held up a finger on your way past it.