They Really Believed What They Wrote

I’ve waited a few days to write this. I’m trying to be semi-polite. It would have been hard at the point of impact…

I do Facebook. There’s a group that I’m a member of that is made up of a mixed bag of writers, artists, free-spirits, and the random grumpy old man Op/Ed blogger…also, it seems at least one person that entirely missed the point *sigh* I received this note “ just want you to know my recent article has nothing to do with your friend. I really do wish her the best. But, the way this is going about is all wrong” and then a blog post about how if someone wanted to get married they should go to a state that allows it. It was couched in the assumption that the blogger didn’t care what people did as long as the blogger wasn’t forced into dealing with it. It said that we should allow states to deprive citizens of their rights because it was a “slippery slope” leading to polygamy, incest, and marrying “refrigerators and goats”. Also, there was some mention of “deformed kids”. *sigh*

*****

Ok, so, yeah, I took it personally. I still do. I will tomorrow, next week, and next year *sigh* I mean, I don’t take stupid personally. They just can’t help it. I do take the idea that we are allowed to vote someone, Z, into second-class citizenship personally. I do take the idea that you would name me in a link so that you could say “nothing to do with your friend” personally. I take the idea that you think that you think that Z is a “slippery slope” because she wants the same rights that you demand, personally. I take the idea that you think the Constitution that protects your right to post some inane nonsense about marrying livestock and appliances shouldn’t protect one of the people I love personally. What? You thought by saying “nothing personal” that it wasn’t?

In all fairness, the blogger did say this ” But my beliefs are mine and yours are yours and guess what? We don’t have to agree with each other. What we do have is freedom of speech and the freedom to disagree and walk away. That is it. We do not have the freedom to force our beliefs and opinions on others.”…then the blogger went on to say what they wanted was more important than treating all citizens equally.

You see, the Constitution is very non-specific about who is granted “equal protection” when it makes that point. It says “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” There are no exceptions listed in the words “any person”. It doesn’t specify gender, orientation, race, or faith. It uses the word “citizens”.

We don’t have a Constitutional right to not be exposed to things we disagree with. I’m allowed to be offended. I am not allowed to tell you that you can not do what you’re doing because it offends me. *caveat, I am not talking about criminal acts, merely legal acts by adults* I can not tell the author of the blog I’m writing about to not publish because it offends me. I can write a response. I can remove that person from the group that I choose to have contact with.

****

I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. The author would argue that Charles Effing Manson is allowed to get married because he’s straight and that doesn’t re-define marriage. They would say that I, an ex-addict, am allowed to get married because I’m straight. They’d maintain that a 90 year old man is allowed to marry an 18 year old woman that wants his money because they are straight but, that if Z finds a woman she loves, she is not allowed to get married? That her desire to be married would be invalid because she’s gay? Hunh? At what point did we get to judge who has a valid reason to get married? At what point do we decide that someone else’s relationship or inner workings of their household, assuming no crimes committed, are our place to restrict?

*****

The author concludes with this comment “So Veruca go forth and get your goose. I just want you to take a minute and think about the repercussions, the end game, what your wants mean for the rest of us.” I would pose the same thing back to the author. When you set forth the “slippery slope” of deciding that some citizens are less worthy of rights than others, you endanger yourself. It has been less than a hundred years since women were given the right to vote in the USA. Are you willing to risk that? Loving v Virginia was in 1967, are you willing to tell interracial couples that their choice is invalid? Are you willing to stipulate that someone is not allowed to marry outside of their own religion? Better yet, are you willing to allow someone else to dictate those things to you? Are you willing to let a majority view vote away your rights? Are you willing to bet that you and your children will always be the majority and, therefore, safe from persecution? The Constitution was designed to protect minorities from oppression by majorities. It protects basic rights. It forces states to apply laws equally. It gives us a framework that enables us to pray as we wish, love as we wish, speak as we decide to, associate with whomever we choose, to peaceably assemble, and a myriad of other things. It DOES NOT allow us to deprive others of those rights. It doesn’t say “any person except…”

******

Yes, I did take it personally. I will always do that. I get frustrated when someone makes Z a “them” or one of “those people”. I will, every time, respond when someone directs that toward me or Z. She’s not one of those. In fact “those people” are not those. They are humans with the same strengths and weaknesses as any other human. They are women, men, and transgender. They are people that merely want to live their lives without being dictated to by someone’s innate prejudices and fears. They are citizens. They are sisters and brothers. They are loving and worthy of love. They are us.

*sigh*

I still can’t get past the original bit, perhaps it’s fatigue or, perhaps because I wonder about what would make them think I would let it slide or, perhaps because I’m protective of Z I can’t seem to let it go. What were they thinking when they implied “nothing personal, I just don’t think your friend is worth as much as I am”? Did they think that I’d just say, “It’s ok. I recognize that a person I love is unworthy of the same rights as you. That she’s really not important to me”. Here’s a hint, Z isn’t a blood relation yet, she’s family. Given a choice, I’d put her rights in front of mine. She earned hers, I was born into mine.

I’ve beaten this horse into the ground. I don’t know if the author of the blog I’m responding to will ever read this. I don’t really care. I do know that I couldn’t let it pass without a response. This was it.

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11 comments

  1. Thank you for taking this on. I know of the blog you speak. I get very emotional when trying to defend against those kinds of words and then my logic flies out the window. You stated the facts and then planted the seeds to change a mind. Your words contain both logic and love!

  2. Somehow I missed the entire thing. I’m also guessing the original post has been removed because I can no longer find it. But! You know I am 100% on your side when it comes to things like this. Thank you for speaking out, and just to reaffirm my stance, you did it a lot more civilized than I would have…

  3. If I had written the blog the day I saw it, my response would have been a profanity-laced diatribe. I had to calm down. I have the capability of being a complete asshole when I become protective of Z. We, Z and I, are trying the hearts and minds thing. I’m glad she never saw the original post. *sigh* Vickie, you know that I write for Z to keep my perspective focused. Sharon, that is not to discount anyone else. Just that as long as it is personal, I am able to stay passionate.

  4. Miller, this was well written and sensibly constructed. I admit, myself, that at the time i was hesitant on what to do. I see that the pause allowed you both to sort out the matter, and I’ve thanked you on Facebook, but would like to do so again here. My thanks, friend. But you do get to call yourself an Artist now.

    1. Well, hell. Y’all call me an artist. Z calls me one. I’m not going to use the word but, I’ll quit arguing the point. Thanks for the compliment. Anyway, the situation was resolved. Even better, the person I was responding to learned from it. That gives us, me and Z, hope. It means my words and her inspiration can have an impact. That made the stress worthwhile. One heart at a time is the way things are changed.

  5. The lady in question has some serious issues when it comes to her understanding of what the Constitution says and how it should be interpreted… I think you’ve made it very clear how much that kind attitude towards other human beings will be tolerated by people who understand that the world belongs to everyone.

    I’m glad she ended up apologizing. I would be even more glad, if she ever truly understood why some of her views are so purely inhumane.

  6. And I will start with quotes:
    “Better yet, are you willing to allow someone else to dictate those things to you? Are you willing to let a majority view vote away your rights? Are you willing to bet that you and your children will always be the majority and, therefore, safe from persecution?”

    “They are people that merely want to live their lives without being dictated to by someone’s innate prejudices and fears. They are citizens. They are sisters and brothers. They are loving and worthy of love. They are us.”

    I have no problem with the LGBT wanting the right to marry, I do have a problem with the LGBT being able to FORCE a business owner, or Pastor to go against their personal beliefs and cater the event, bake the wedding cake, or perform the ceremony or risk losing their business, or State issued credentials to perform weddings.

    I have a problem with granting one group a “right” while removing other “rights” from other groups. If it is equality that is desired then make it EQUAL, you cannot gain equality by removing more than you add! Asking to be treated equally while demanding the removal of that same equality from others only lessens the whole.

  7. No one is advocating forcing pastors to perform weddings that go against their beliefs. My pastor refused to perform mine because my wife and I lived together before we were married. We found a different church. In the wedding cake case, if you run a for profit business and are open to the public, refusing service for ANY reason is discrimination. Period. There is no right to discriminate. It is no different than refusing to bake a cake for a Hindu wedding saying “it’s against my religion”. You are a paramedic. Would you refuse to treat a crash victim because they were gay? It is exactly the same thing. If you serve the public, you serve all the public. A church is a voluntary association and could be considered a “private club” and, by extension, not liable to be forced to do something that violates it’s rules.

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