Wednesday, May 21, 2008

RS: Chiming In

I was thrilled and delighted by the ruling in California. Like WC, however, I am distressed by the timing. And I agree with AC that equality always comes too late. For me, with this ruling, last Thursday was the first time I believed that John McCain could be elected President.

He has a disinterested and disengaged party base that ain't buyin his big bag of bullshit. I look at John McCain and, while fairly impressed with his body of service to the country and maverick spirit, have watched him sell his soul to the devil in his support of George W. Bush. It is a sad end to an otherwise fairly respectable career (for a Republican) but he's traded his credibility for goose-stepping boots, reinforced toes to tow the party line. I think he sold his soul in the promise of party support for the Presidency. To true conservatives, he has no credibility either. He can't be trusted. Coupled with the growing disgust for his predecessor, it seemed the only thing standing in the way of a Democratic win for the White House was our history of standing in our own way and tripping ourselves at the finish line.

That conservative base that doesn't much care for John McCain cares plenty about gay marriage. My family lives smack dab in the middle of where the Bible Belt meets the Tornado Belt. There's a lot of hot air that blows there year round. During the last election, members of my family received at least one call about getting out the vote for the specific goal of "preserving traditional marriage". It was not only to support a ballot initiative--that passed--but also to support George Bush. For the record history has shown that where goes Missouri, so goes the nation regarding selection of a President.

The Democratic primary campaign has, for me, been extremely exciting. People are engaged and states that normally had little voice get one. That's great--even if it may be tripping us up right here at this first finish line. My greatest fear is that the gay marriage noise may add to the madness and create a perfect storm.

I don't think there was any political mal-intent driving the timing of the decision, but I do believe there will be political ramifications that could do more harm than good, at least in the immediate term, AKA the next four years. I do believe that gas prices might trump gays in terms of overall noise, but the anti-gay lobby owns the hearts and minds of the fundamentalists who may be newly activated.

I am braced. In the meantime, I am thrilled for all those who have someone in their lives with whom they want to make a lifelong commitment and have that commitment recognized by the government. I think the Mayor of San Francisco is a mighty fine fellow and one of those brave, straight advocates that will be required to make true change happen. And this decision may ultimately make a profoundly positive and permanent difference in the life of that 14 year-old coming out of the closet. Selfishly, I hope we don't keep taking two steps back throughout my lifetime.

I am also ready and willing to be wrong. I remember cheering wildly in a crowd of gay men in San Francisco when Bill Clinton was elected. We took more than two steps back during his administration, but it doesn't erase the memory of those wild cheers. I'm cheering wildly for all you folks in California. I happened to be doing research in San Diego the day of the announcement. During introductions, one of the physicians stopped the proceedings to say that he was very proud to be from California that day. Unexpected, unsolicited and unbelievably wonderful. I just hope I get to cheer wildly at the announcement of Barak Obama's election in November. I'd take a delay in that California Supreme Court decision, though, to gain immediate protection of the US Supreme Court. Under John McCain, I shudder to think how much further back we'd be forced on the bus and trapped there well beyond the next four years.

But things happen when they happen, and maybe the only good time for a positive decision toward gay marriage is now. I have to believe that a 14 year-old coming out of the closet today is coming out in a better world than any of us emerged into and, despite the ugliness of any hate-fueled debate, she's luckier to be gay today than ever before. Honestly, aren't we all?

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