Fight for Tradition – Against Prop. 8

I cried this morning as I passed a Proposition 8 protest.  I tried to hide my tears and the quiver in my voice from my daughter as she cheered for the No on Prop. 8 protestors.  I would have cheered if I had not been crying.  I honked the car horn instead, joining a noisy parade of other cars honking as we passed.  I was proud that the fight continues and even gains strength still.

I have listened lately to the Prop. 8 supporters cry foul because the Prop. 8 opponents will not just give up and go home, because the Prop. 8 opponents are protesting loudly and continuously and because there has been retaliation against Prop. 8 supporters.  As I listen, I am tempted to get out my violin and play the sad song that should be the soundtrack of their cries.  I have no sympathy. 


Please do not get me wrong, I do not condone any violent retaliation, but I cannot condemn those who boycott, picket and protest. 


I know a very strong supporter of Prop. 8, who I will not identify here in any way.  She believes homosexual behavior is a sin and homosexuality itself is an evil to be fought.  She believes it is appropriate to boycott gay-owned businesses and I have known her to refuse to do business with many local merchants for that reason alone.  She has also tried to persuade me to do the same.  She has offered me support in various aspects of my life, but only on the condition that I support her religious, moral and political views.  I have always believed it to be her right to live by her values, boycott people whose lifestyles she abhors, attempt to persuade others to her views, and to provide her support only where she believes it will support her own agenda.  I actually admire her, as one of the very few people I know who lives according to her stated principles.  She has integrity, misguided though I believe it to be. 


I disagree completely with her agenda.  I abhor that she writes letters to the editor that I find hateful.  I abhor that she videotapes even the spectators at gay pride parades (never minding that, by doing so, she becomes one as well) so that she can keep track of those whom she must boycott.  I abhor that she has forced her grandchildren to attend protests with her even when they disagree with her position or have so little understanding of the issues to even hold a position.  I abhor that she believes her views are the one true and correct view that all people should live by and attempts to force her views on others.  I abhor her lack of tolerance.  And yet, I admire her integrity and I can agree to disagree with her.  


For decades, I have watched the Prop. 8 supporter I know boycott, picket and protest against homosexuality, without a trace of remorse for her actions.  For decades!  And, it has not been only her.  Homophobes have not just given up on the issues; they have boycotted, picketed and protested.  They have retaliated in their own, sometimes even violent, ways.  And, they have condoned a society that allows even young school children to insult each other by calling each other fag or gay or lesbo.  Not an eyebrow is raised when these words are bandied about as pejorative terms as lightly as such innocuous terms as dweeb and dork. 


Is it any wonder, after decades of discrimination and abuse, a fleeting success in obtaining equal rights and the stripping away of those rights by the majority, that there is now a powerful backlash?  What amazes me is that the Prop. 8 supporters, who imposed their discrimination for decades, are complaining after only 10 days.  Please forgive my pettiness, but what wimps! 


My favorite of the comments I have seen so far is this from Andrew Pugno, the lawyer and spokesperson for the Yes On 8 campaign:  “This activity shows great disrespect for the will of the voters.” “It also shows religious intolerance,” he said, adding that his Catholic church was vandalized.    Forgive my bluntness, but a very slim majority that forces the minority to live according to its religious views by adopting its definition of marriage is hardly showing religious tolerance.  The disrespect here is that the majority really believes they should have the right to impose their will, establish their religious views as the law of the land and then play victim when the oppressed minority complains.
My family’s personal tradition and this country’s political tradition is one of fighting for what is right.  The revolution, the civil war and even, to a certain extent, the current war in Iraq (I know I’ll live to regret publishing those words) have been violent backlashes against injustices.  The civil rights movements of the last century were backlashes against injustice.  Had the revolutionaries given up and gone home at the first lost battle, we would not be a country today.  We would not have the freedoms that the Prop. 8 supporters are attempting to take away through the tyranny of their hateful majority. 


My ancestors committed treason so that we might have a better society.  That is our tradition.  That is the tradition I will support. 


I challenge all Prop. 8 opponents to be traditional – continue to fight for what is right!  Please try to do it in a way that respects the rights of even those who would deny the fundamental truth that we are all equal, but do it.  Take to the streets, the steps of city halls, the steps of the Capitol, and blogospheres.  Boycott, picket, protest and chant.   Be loud.  Drown out the crying of the wimps.  Do not give up and go home.  My daughter deserves the better society our ancestors fought for.  Let’s give it to her.  And, let’s set an example of doing what is right even when it is difficult, because who knows what injustice she will be fighting against in the future and she just might need a tradition of strength to call upon. 


1 Comment

  1. Hazumu Osaragi said,

    November 16, 2008 at 3:25 am

    In grade school and junior high, I was a bully-magnet due to my inherent and ultimately un-hide-able femininity. Until 6th grade, I ran from confrontations, but I was caught and teased-tortured-terrorized-beaten anyway.

    One rainy day, I couldn’t avoid the bully clique as they walked by me in the crowded hall during recess. As each passed, they would sneak-punch me hard. The clique’s low man on the ladder got ‘brave’, and began wailing on me openly. I lost it and, in a focused rage, turned him from aggressor to aggressed. It took two teachers to pull me of him.

    For two years, I did not back down from fights. I avoided them if possible, but if the opponent ‘insited’, I obliged. I won at least two thirds of the fights. Those I lost, the ‘winner’ paid for wit some sort of mark. “The pussy gave you a fat lip!” “But I gave him a black eye…” “But the pussy GAVE YOU A FAT LIP!!!! (ha ha ha…)”

    I received a spanking from the principal for each fight. It taught me that the principal was a hypocrite. I also learned that I could not trust the other adults to protect me, or even take my side in the altercations. I believe some secretly felt that an effeminate boy ‘deserved’ the attention, and were secretly hoping it would ‘beat the gay out’ of me.

    After two years, the fights and challenges finally ended. So did the name-calling, and a majority of people actually showed me respect. Those that thought otherwise knew to keep it to themselves.

    When we advanced from junior high to high school, I appeared instantly on the radars of the bullies from the other junior high schools, and experienced three weeks of probing from them.

    But the probing fell off and disappeared during the fourth week. A friend told me years later the bullies from my school had told the new bullies about my performance in junior high, and the new bullies decided I wasn’t worth it.

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