11.07Milestones, Political Apathy, Prop 8
I have so much social frustration right now. Aside from the landslide win of Barack Obama, this has been an aggravating week for America. I feel the need to vent. Hold on to your pants.
Milestones and Political Apathy
I’ve heard a lot of nonsense this week about how people are making too big a deal about Obama being the first black president. Most of it comes from the naive viewpoint that his race is ideally irrelevant and how any progressive nation should just view him as a person and not an African-American. That’s all well and good, but blowing off a milestone of this magnitude is more a response to not wanting to deal with the sociopolitical structure of our nation.
From this point forward, since this particular die has been cast, race becomes a non-issue in politics. This doesn’t signal a perfect America or the end of racism. This isn’t a shining moment because suddenly butterflies are erupting from cotton candy cloud. But it’s important. Obama’s election is the moment in which change begins to happen, but not just the kind he built his platform around. Every child’s history book going forward will suddenly show possibility and hope. A type of equality that changes the protocol of 232 years of American politics.
I didn’t vote for Obama because he was black. And despite insistence to the contrary, most people didn’t. While I don’t agree with everything Obama stands for, I felt he was the most qualified candidate for the position and stood a better change of leading us closer to an America I’m more interested in living in. I’m glad he won on those grounds alone. For the actual campaign and election, I couldn’t care less what color he was. But now that he stands as our first black president, that should be recognized and celebrated. Obama’s election is a milestone. Pretending it’s not is apathetic and showcases a lack of understanding of the very structure of America and the struggles it has taken to even to get to this point.
That being said…
Prop 8 And Backwards Motion
I have yet to see a compelling reason for California Proposition 8, which was actually listed on the ballot as Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. We have actually been through an election in which a proposition designed to eliminate rights was approved. This is horrifying, Stone Age thinking.
Step away from the actual issue for a moment. I’ll get to that shortly. Let’s look at the fact that this amendment proposal was put out to strip away a right that had already been granted. On a civil rights level, this is a social atrocity. Rights have been taken away and people were okay with it. At this point, let’s take away minority voting rights. Why not? What’s the difference? Let’s get some racial segregation going again, too. I’m sure minorities pose just as much of a threat to the organizations who backed Prop 8 as those horrible, society-threatening gays do. Rights were taken away. Rights. How does that happen in 2008? We’re never going to get the flying cars and sassy robot maids that The Jetsons promised us if we keep moving backwards.
A lot of the pressure for Prop 8 came from religious groups who feel same-sex unions threaten the sanctity of marriage and the very foundation of society (like the state of Massachusetts, which has broken down and completely stopped working since legalizing gay marriage in 2004). What it really comes down to is a threat to their way of belief and there’s a feeling that their sense of society will crash down around them if two people of the same gender marry. The ability for religious groups to back an initiative to affect state legislature is frightening. As a citizen, you may think that gay people doing their gay thing is icky or whatever, but what purpose is served by not letting them have the same basic rights as you? What’s the harm in marriage being an institution between two people, not two people of opposing genders?
I will actively and openly listen to opinions on either side of this issue. I will not accept answers that deal with the religious nature of marriage because they are irrelevant. A lot of weddings happen in churches, but you’re not married until your local government signs off on it. I will not accept answers that involve homosexuality as “wrong” or a “sin” because believe what you will…sinners get married all the time. I need a valid, rational, secular argument on the other side of this because until I get one or until this situation is resolved, I am angry and will actively seek ways to turn the tide.