08 November 2008

To My Californian Friends

This is the text, very slightly edited for blog form, of a message I included along with a link to the Courage Campaign's Repeal Prop 8 petition web-page link, and sent to some friends of mine of who live in California this afternoon.

Have already signed the petition, though, since am a Nevadan, have scant confidence that it will qualify to be placed on the petition, and rightfully so.

Nonetheless, I think that, by sending the link to them, and by including the message to them that went with it here, I can do my tiny bit for the cause of greater equality and democracy, not only in California or Nevada, but in the US as well.

Hey there!!!!

Hope you're all doing better than well out there.

Mr. Amigo and I are still alive and still kicking back here.

Anyhow, just wanted to give you a link to the Courage Campaign's Repeal Prop 8 web-page, in the hopes that you might sign the petition to repeal Proposition 8 there.

Now, you may be asking yourselves, why have I singled you out here??? Well, mainly because you live in California, and this is, at least in my opinion, an affair of no small importance to your state and its people, including yourselves.

So, you may be asking yourselves and me, "Why should I care whether or not a bunch of nancy-boys and carpet-chewers get to marry???".

OK, here's the answer: marriage rights confer, not just the right for one individual to permanently co-habit with another(if that were the case, one might as well not bother getting married at all), but confer the power of attorney in legal, medical, and financial arenas, if one of the partners involved becomes incapacitated or dies.

Well, I don't know about you, but it seems to me that that's a pretty whopping amount of rights and duties involved there, and married status carries with those a certain amount of legal protections and privileges(tax deductions, for example)not given to singles or people living outside of legally-recognised wedlock.

Civil unions, which are the proposed substitute for marriage rights for gays and lesbians, don't, as far as I know, include the same amount, if any, of those same rights, duties, privileges and protections, as does marriage, period.

One could say that civil unions are the legal equivalent of saccharine or near beer-a poor substitute that only barely approximates the look, taste and feel of the real thing, and, like all such substitutes, is at best, a poor copy of it.

Also, this fight for marriage rights for gays and lesbians is, I believe, part of a much longer, broader struggle for greater equality and democracy in this country that has taken place from the very beginning of our Republic.

How so???

Please don't forget that, when this Union was founded in 1789, only propertied European-American males above the age of 21 could vote, women's social, economic and political statuses were tied to their fathers' or husbands, and African-Americans and Native Americans had no rights whatsoever under the Constitution, and were counted as being only 3/4ths of a person in the various national and state censuses.

It took well over a century of fighting, first with Dorr's Rebellion in Rhode Island in 1838, to end the property qualification for European-American males suffrage, a brutal and bloody Civil War, and the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution before African-Americans were no longer legally regarded as mere property, the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, before women 21 years and older could vote, and the passage of the 1964 Voting Rights Act that ended the system of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means of suppressing African-American suffrage in the American South, among many other struggles, many of which continue to-day, to bring about even a partial realisation of the promise of a more perfect union, founded on liberty and justice for all.

There are those out there who have, for reasons of their own, deep-rooted antipathies towards gays and lesbians.

These reasons may be religiously, culturally or aestethically-based.

So be it.

Some of you may share some of those reasons and the feelings behind them. I don't know.

To those who do, I say this.

Your objections to homosexuality and lesbianism are yours, for reasons that best make sense to you. Fine and dandy.

What isn't fine and dandy is when those objections, in whatever form, are made into public policy and law, because they affect EVERYONE, in some way or another, in this culture, and not just the objects of one's disdain.

This isn't just not allowing some mincing bum-stuffer or bull-dyke into one's own home. That's a private area, in which one has a certain amount of discretion.

But, when one's prejudices are made into law, as Proposition 8 has been, that impacts on people whom one will never meet, let alone know, not just for to-day or in the short term, but quite possibly for generations yet to come, and it makes the legal system the enforcement arm for those prejudices, thus prostituting it in the furtherance of bigotry, and making a damned lie out of the promises made in the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the various state constitutions about equality before the law and all that.

It's the enshrining of power and privileges for one segment of the population over another, and it is wrong for many reasons, but especially because it makes(again)a DAMNED lie out of the promises made by this country to its citizens.

To let Proposition 8 stand unchallenged, one might as well endorse a return to the social orders of 1789, or 1837, 1860, 1866, 1919, or 1963, and openly, proudly, say so and mean it.

At least then, one would be entirely consistent in one's devotion to a social and political order rooted in power and privileges for some, and a good, swift kick in the arse for others.

I have one final point to cover, and that is my enjoining you to please remember that those who deny rights, privileges and responsibilities to others may, at one point in time or another, find those same things denied to them, whether "gently"(there can be no truly gentle denial of rights, privileges and responsibilities, only a less brutal one)or brutally, and the reasons, justifications and excuses for that will be just as paper-thin, and just as wrong, and wrong-headed, in so many ways, it ain't even funny.

If you'd not be a slave, don't be a master, to paraphrase a saying by Abraham Lincoln.

Any political system that calls itself a democracy, whether of the liberal, representative type found in the US and much of the developed world, or the old socialist "People's Democracies" of the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, must ensure that the rights and needs of all of its people are put first and foremost in its ideas and practises.

Those that, for whatever reasons, don't, are, at best, limited democracies, and, at worst, grotesque, lying parodies of democracies.

This recent Presidential election was, I believe, a chance for us to truly strengthen and deepen our democracy in the US.

Here's another chance, albeit on a slightly smaller stage and a different issue, for you and yours to keep on doing those in your state.

The link follows below.

I thank you for the time and trouble you've taken in reading at least some of this, and my apologies to you for its length.


Be seeing you.

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