Monday, November 09, 2009

Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner

When you're an opinionated blowhard like myself you often - believe it or not - check your feelings at the door when you engage in political debate. You gird your loins by smiling politely and resting your chin in the space between your thumb and index finger, clenching your jaw and such when the person in front of you says things like, "look, I love you but I won't support gay marriage," or, "honey, it's a religious issue. Do you see where I'm coming from?"

And my answer to this, if I were a hothead in anddition to a blowhard, would be "Why, yes, I do see where you're coming from. And if you weren't my mom, or dad, or a friend who I really like most of the time, I'd love for you to go back there, forever, and get the hell out of my life." But I'm almost 30 and I do yoga and at this point I figure the people and demons in my life are there for a reason and I might as well play nice with them.

Or should I? Or should we, LGTB Americans, put up with the polite rancor of a nation that continues to dash our rights while passin the bread and butter across the dinner table? Can we comprpomise and make allowances for people who claim to like us but then, in states like California and Maine, vote to tear apart our relationships?

I hate to think that I'm becoming one of these militant Democrats who can't be civilized and accept other people's point of view. But when Republicans are voting in a single block to thwart my rights there's little to nothing that I'm willing to agree on with these people. I'll remain conservative in my opinion on self-determination and personal accountability, but it is becoming harder for me to play nice with a party that thinks my citizenship is debatable.

Friends and family, of course, are another mess. In political debate one often talks about winning hearts and minds, so for me, it's especially heartbreaking that I can't win over some of the people I care most about. Do I shut them out? Do I remain intransigent and force them to see it my way? Or do I allow myself to bend and hope that my flexibility will win them over? I doubt that will work but even I can't force myself to tow such a hard line with those I love. At least for now.


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Anonymous said...

Dear GCL,
From your 52 year old fan in the Loire Valley!
Tough questions!
Please continue to write, it makes me feel better about this world and the changes that are possible.
Oh by the way, I had the same conversation with my partner of 22 years today. Doesn't change! Good to see we are not alone.
Basically, at the end of the day, speak your peace! No shout IS the right thing to do?

Anonymous said...

I think the approach of the gay community has been all wrong. I think it should have been more evolutionary to build a sympathetic political base. Civil unions first, then the couple could have a wedding ceremony in a friendly church. With civil unions, the country would have had a chance to accept gay partnerships. Gay marriage first created a red flag in many religious groups. Ie...the Mormons just supported gay rights in Salt Lake step at a time rather than all or nothing.


Anonymous said...

The truth is that MARRIAGE is not a guaranteed constitutional right to anyone. We allow states to make laws that regard marriage and they decide who can and can not be married.

Where people try to cling to it as a right is where it says in the Declaration of Independence that we are entitled to the "pursuit of happiness." That can be used to pretty much advocate any position.

The push should be for civil unions not marriage. The majority of people are for civil unions, and if the gay community would stop fighting over a word the fight would have been won already.

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