Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Puny Hells = Small Minds

“So we shall walk barefoot on walnut shells
of withered worlds, and stamp out puny hells
and heavens till the spirits squeak
surrender: to build our bed as high as jack's
bold beanstalk; lie and love till sharp scythe hacks
away our rationed days and weeks.

Then jet the blue tent topple, stars rain down,
and god or void appall us till we drown
in our own tears: today we start
to pay the piper with each breath, yet love
knows not of death nor calculus above
the simple sum of heart plus heart”

~Love Is a Parallax, Sylvia Plath

Hello World.

What is it like today?

America, a country known for its embittered past with regard to race, has elected its first black president. The news programs summed it up nicely when they stated, “Americans have issued a mandate on race” after the election. We did, and it was beautiful. It is beautiful to see our country, once painfully divided, come together in the spirit of healing. On November 4th, the rest of the world noticed and cheered with us. The dark years of the Bush Presidency are nearly over. (68 days left!)

Some of scars of those dark years still remain. Who can forget the patient neglect at Walter Reed Army hospital, US attorney firings, the outing of a CIA agent, the “axis of evil”, an ill-conceived war based on lies, Osama bin Laden roaming free, Military Commissions Act (torture and the loss of habeas corpus), Hurricane Katrina, Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, budget deficits and greatly increased national debt, the nationalization of banks, loss of US prestige, Unilateral Executive Doctrine (presidential dictatorship), and the many attacks on women’s reproductive health?

President-Elect Obama promised swift change and Americans agreed. The election, personally, was a great relief. It’s been a long eight years. When Bush won the election in 2004, I left my parent’s house exhausted and in tears. During this election cycle, I left with tears streaming down my cheeks, exhausted, but vindicated. I walked a little taller the next day, proud of my country and our identity as a place where hopes, dreams, and opportunities are realized. Comments such as, “If could ride my bicycle to America, I would.” were heard around the four corners of the world.

Yet, in the wake of this historic election, Americans in California voted by a 52% margin to revoke a civil right already held by gays and lesbians- the right to marry. The California Supreme Court had ruled earlier that this fundamental right was to be granted to homosexuals. In response, the conservative movement in California introduced Proposition 8, an amendment designed to change the state constitution to define marriage as a bond between a man and woman only. This proposed amendment was designed to overrule the earlier California Supreme Court decision. Supporters of Prop. 8 included politicians of the “far-right” variety, and of course, most of the churches. The Mormon Church went as far as too encourage its members to do anything and everything to make sure Prop. 8 passed in church-sponsored letters/materials.


Although I was giddy as school girl when President-Elect Obama gave his acceptance speech in Grant Park, I was also deeply disappointed and angry about the Prop. 8 vote. Prop. 8 passed and on November 5th, this new amendment was added to California’s state constitution- an amendment that, I must point out, “takes away rights from others”. Readers, since when did it become acceptable to create laws that support inequality? Minority groups/oppressed groups have fought bravely and tirelessly to combat the assault on their rights for decades, and this is where we are now? So, we ask the question again,

“What is it like today?”

Today, we still battle the narrow-minded fools of yesteryear. We battle the conservative agenda which has its roots firmly entrenched in fear. Fear, which has been handily handed down from generation-to-generation in the form of hate disguised as out-worn religious values, is the enemy. The conservative movement has used religion as a shield, a reason to discriminate against and abuse others.

And readers, I’m fucking angry.

The very spiritual philosophy that these folks aspire to (treat others as you wish to be treated, love thy neighbor etc…) has been polluted by a faulty ideological prospective that requires the exact opposite. I would challenge any decent human being who voted Yes on Prop. 8 to stand in front of a gay couple and look them in the eye and tell them they deserve fewer rights than you. Tell them they are less of a human being than you. Tell them they are free to do whatever they want in the confines of their home, but to hide the rest. Show them your engagement ring, talk about your wedding plans, and the next day, go cast your vote. Check the box next to Prop. 8. Gay people aren’t worthy of the same rights as you are.

Prop. 8 received a lot of its support from churches. Unfortunately, the House of God is where these horrendous assaults against the rights of others (women’s rights/reproductive health/gay rights) are waged. This is unacceptable. This is more than unacceptable; it is hypocrisy and dark fucking shit at its finest. Spiritually, I am disgusted and disappointed with conservatives who bask in their self-righteous “light of God’s love” while demeaning and condemning others.

There are deeper issues at hand here. In places where intolerance is bred and these negative attitudes persist, it is often rationalized that I am too hard on these god-fearing conservative Christians. If they were raised with this bigotry, I am further encouraged to grant reprieve. It’s like, “Brian’s parents were such assholes. They instilled these hateful prejudices in him. Can’t you just let it go? He doesn’t know any better.”


I cannot.

Brian get your shit together. You are an adult. Wake up. Are you a decent human being or not? Are you going to live under the umbrella of your parent’s/grandparents ideas forever? This intellectual and spiritual laziness coupled with an extreme lack of self-awareness create new generations who will carry the torch of fear and hate.


Recently, the Republican Party has been moaning n’ groaning about how they have no clear leader or agenda. The GOP is in serious trouble. The party, at this point, must do a significant amount of soul-searching. They have allowed the Democrats to become the party of “unity, change, and hope”, while certain small minds within the Republican Party have dominated the political arena with their puny ideas. (Ann Coulters, O’Reilys of the world, beware!) These ideas cater to and energize the politics of division, hatred, and fear all wrapped up in a neat little bow called the conservative far-right agenda.

Hopefully, in the next few years, these regressive GOP tendencies will become a thing of the past and what will emerge will be a newly transformed Republican Party- The Republican Party that Abe Lincoln belonged to- the Party that freed the slaves.

Indeed, there is a lot work to be done. But, I am confident. It is to our benefit, as citizens, to have a two-party system. With the Republican Party in such bad shape, it will be interesting to see how the Democrats use their new found status. As Rahm Emanuel said many years ago to Tony Blair, “Don’t fuck this up.”

Yours in lefty yummy equality for all,