this ocean will not be grasped
I wrote this hours ago, and I've debated whether or not I should post it. This is an incredibly divisive issue, and I'm sure that I will end up on more of those stupid boycott lists because of this, and that's probably not the smartest business move, considering that I have a book coming out in less than two weeks . . . but I have to stand up for my beliefs, so here it is:
When I heard that George W. Bush had called for an amendment to the Constitution that would effectively codify homosexuals as second-class citizens, I recalled something Howard Dean said recently:
In 1968, Richard Nixon won the White House. He did it in a shameful way--by dividing Americans against one another, stirring up racial prejudices, and bringing out the worst in people.
They called it the "Southern Strategy," and the Republicans have been using it ever since. Nixon pioneered it, and Ronald Reagan perfected it, using phrases like "racial quotas" and "welfare queens" to convince white Americans that minorities were to blame for all of America's problems.
The Republican Party would never win elections if they came out and said their core agenda was about selling America piece by piece to their campaign contributors and making sure that wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of a few. To distract people from their real agenda, they run elections based on race, dividing us, instead of uniting us . . .
Dean was right. Just read that again, and replace "racial prejudices" with "sexual prejudices."
I hate it when I agree with politicians, but John Kerry said what I thought as soon as I heard the news:
"This president can't talk about jobs. He can't talk about health care. He can't talk about a foreign policy which has driven away allies and weakened the United States, so he is looking for a wedge issue to divide the American people."
Personally, I don't think the government should be involved in marriage in any way. I believe that marriage is between two people who love each other, who wish to make a commitment to stay together through good times and bad. I suppose that it can also be between those people and whatever god they choose to worship, but even then . . . wouldn't it be stupid for the government to tell couples which god can bless their marriage? And who cares what sex they are?
An interesting thing has happened since San Francisco started granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples: my marriage is just fine!
That's right. Even though there are thousands of gay and lesbian couples affirming their love for and commitment to each other, my marriage -- my affirmation of love and commitment to Anne -- isn't threatened at all. As a matter of fact, the only people who can really "threaten" my marriage are . . . well . . . the two of us.
And this brings me to the first thing that's so profoundly upsetting about this entire issue: it's not about marriage, it's not about love, it's not about family, it's not about commitment. It's about hating homosexuals. It's about treating homosexuals as if they are second-class citizens. It's about dividing this country into those who support discrimination, and those who don't. It's about Karl Rove updating The Southern Strategy.
It comes as no surprise to me that, as part of that strategy, George W. Bush wants to take the Constitution, a document that is supposed to limit government and guarantee freedoms to all Americans, away from millions of our fellow citizens who are homosexual. I didn't buy the "I'm a uniter, not a divider, compassionate conservative" bullshit during the 2000 campaign, and this is just another example of Mr. Bush revealing his true colors. And this argument that it's a response to "activist judges?" That's a huge load of crap too. Mr. Bush has a lot of nerve talking about "activist judges," considering that he owes his presidency to five of them.
The president launched a war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families. And just as importantly, he launched a war to defile the most sacred document in the land. Rather than allow the contentious and difficult issue of equal marriage rights to be fought over in the states, rather than let politics and the law take their course, rather than keep the Constitution out of the culture wars, this president wants to drag the very founding document into his re-election campaign. He is proposing to remove civil rights from one group of American citizens - and do so in the Constitution itself. The message could not be plainer: these citizens do not fully belong in America. Their relationships must be stigmatized in the very Constitution itself. The document that should be uniting the country will now be used to divide it, to single out a group of people for discrimination itself, and to do so for narrow electoral purposes. Not since the horrifying legacy of Constitutional racial discrimination in this country has such a goal been even thought of, let alone pursued. Those of us who supported this president in 2000, who have backed him whole-heartedly during the war, who have endured scorn from our peers as a result, who trusted that this president was indeed a uniter rather than a divider, now know the truth.
Yes, I am shocked that I agree with Andrew Sullivan about anything, but that just illustrates how insane this idea is, and how it transcends political ideology.
Now, I have no doubt that this effort will fail. I believe that it will ultimately backfire on the Bush Administration, and contribute to his defeat in November. The United States just isn't the Theocracy that Mr. Bush wants to create.
There is a wonderful opportunity here, though, that I haven't heard anyone talk about, yet: we are now forced, as a nation, to acknowledge and confront the widespread discrimination against gays and lesbians, and I believe that Americans will unite against segregation now, just as we did during the Civil Rights movement.
I believe in America. I believe in the Bill of Rights, and the founding principals of this nation. I believe that goodness, compassion, and tolerance will triumph over hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.
And I am proud to stand up for these beliefs, whatever the consequences.