Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fuck You, California

Hey, let's all be happy Barack won, at least for a minute. It's nice. I'm officially not pissed at Ohio anymore, and I'm ready to forgive Virginia for that whole secession thing. Florida, however - you got us in this mess to begin with, you've still got a ways to go to get off my shit list.

But before we let the warm & fuzzies overwhelm us, let's focus our attention on California. Now, I think I've mentioned this before, but I grew up in California. Spent the first two decades of my life in California. My parents still live in California, my best friends too. Hell, I'd like to return to California again myself, hopefully sooner rather than later.

But maybe not quite so much now. There are a number of reasons I am ambivalent about living in Massachusetts, but one reason I am proud to live here is that we're not afraid to give equal marriage rights to all citizens. I would have thought before yesterday that California, being almost as progressive as Massachusetts in most respects, would follow suit. But no.

It's not like I need to tell gay people to keep fighting - obviously they're going to do that whether or not they receive my papal imprimatur. But I think it behooves everyone else to keep up the invective. A while ago I heard one of these pro-discrimination wingnuts on the radio, talking about Prop 8, saying that all of the setbacks to their reactionary "movement" came as a result of the fact that the opposition succeeded in defining the struggle as essentially a civil rights struggle, which necessarily painted the "defenders of traditional marriage" into the unenviable rhetorical inevitability of being bigots. I thought this was an incredibly perceptive comment from an ideological perspective not exactly known for incredibly perceptive leaps. It's 100% true, although not in the way the undoubtedly intended: they are bigots, pure and simple. Talking around the problem or being conciliatory or trying to hew a path to moderation won't work. Racism and sexism didn't become topics of serious national conversation until minority and feminist groups had successfully redefined the terms of struggle in such a way as it became obvious to a growing majority that opponents of equal rights and equal protection were bigots and chauvinists. Sure, the argument became shrill, the opposition was fierce, but progress was made.

So, I say: use every opportunity possible to loudly decry the results, and don't hesitate to use the most incendiary language possible. It's a question of bigotry, pure and simple, accompanied by its usual lackeys, hatred and fear. Monday was a setback, true, but not a permanent one - time and inevitability is on the right side. Let's hope the state of California gets sued by every one of the 18,000 couples married to date. I'm not a lawyer but I know that it's going to get ugly - and I for one hope it does. With the wind at our back it's time to wage our own culture war - a war for common sense, decency and equality.

Shame the bigots, and shame the children of the bigots. Because if you cast a vote in favor of Prop 2 in California, you are a bigot. There is no way around this, and we are going to keep screaming it in your face until you realize it.

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