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.
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.