Will You Marry Me?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a hater of television commercials.  I mean, sure, there were some good ones out there that were worth watching.  I’ve always been kind of partial to the Christmas time Coca-Cola commercials with the CGI Polar Bears.  And there have been plenty of commercials that were clever when they first came out and then just work your last nerve after they’ve been aired a few hundred times.

Green M&M has been really enjoying the M&M commercials of late with the Green M&M playing the sex kitten with the boy M&Ms melting…  Wait–  Green M&M loves the Green M&M…  Hmmmmm….  Go figure.

Anyway, for the most part television commercials have just been an annoyance to me.  I remember being younger and watching TV with Scornful Mother, who always had to have the remote control and when the commercials came on she’d start flipping through the channels.  It always annoyed me because she’d change the channel and then the show we were watching would come back on and she’d be slow to get back to it so when we did come back to it we would have missed part of the show and be lost.  That always bothered me because I don’t watch TV shows just for the sake of filling up time.  I watch them because I enjoy them and I become “invested” in them.  So to take it so lightly and miss parts of the show you actually did set out to watch bothered me.

Eventually, she stopped doing this and began muting the television on the commercials (Why do they have to be so loud anyway?) This was better because at least you could see when the show came back on, but the problem was, she’d mute the TV, put down the remote control and pick up her crossword puzzles.  She wouldn’t always notice the show came back on till I said something and then she had to put down the puzzle and pick up the remote, still dragging on the time when part of the show would be missed.

When I moved out on my own, this was one of the things I most enjoyed was the fact that I had control of the remote and didn’t have to miss out on my TV shows any longer.  Even better though was when I got my first VCR and could record my TV shows and not have to watch the commercials AND not have to wait for them to end.  This was of course only trumped by the acquisition of my first TiVo.

Today I have a DVR with two inputs so I can record two shows at once.  This, of course means I watch more TV shows because I don’t have to chose only one show per time slot.  It also means I have more to watch and always have a little bit of a backlog.  Therefore, I never watch live TV, and I’m always a day behind everyone else.  For the most part I don’t care if I’m behind.  sometimes things get spoiled for me because of it but mostly I don’t care.

All this is to say that I was a day behind the times to watch the series finale of Boston Legal, and thanks to some random blog hopping yesterday, I already found out that Denny Crane and Alan Shore got married.  I was a little caught off guard in reading this.  I have watched this show since the first episode and wile I know that these two characters have had a unique reliationship (referred to on the spoling blog as a “bromance”) and that they have professed their “love” for each other on many occasions, they are not, in fact, gay characters.  So I was prepared to be offended and annoyed by the final episode.

I will say that since my first introduction to David E Kelley in 1997 with Ally McBeal and The Practice I  have been impressed with his work and really enjoyed most of his shows.  He’s very creative and his shows are often topical.  What I’ve noticed however is that he may be cutting off his own nose to spite his face when it comes to writing about political issues during election years.  It seems like more than once one of his shows has been cancelled during a major election season.  I don’t know if Mr. Kelley would say it’s worth it to get out whatever message he’s trying to convey, or if it would be called a coincidence or what, but personally, I would have liked for some of his shows to last longer than they have even if it meant he had to tone down the messages during the times that the American People are at their most sensitive.

That being said, when I found out that Denny and Alan were going to get married on the series finale I was prepared to find the entire thing offensive.  Denny Crane is nothing if not a caricature of a real human being, and I was afraid it would turn out to be some sort of jab at those of us who are outraged at the passage of Proposition 8 in California.  And so, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the motivation behind Denny’s marriage proposal in the episode was because he didn’t want to die alone.  He didn’t want to deteriorate into dementia (Denny was in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease) without someone he loved and trusted by his side to see him through it.  Alan had long since committed to Denny to be there for him and to look after him.  And when Alan announced his desire to do some thing more philanthropic with his life Denny was only too happy to commit his considerable wealth to the cause (something that heretofore has been completely out of character for Denny.)  He wished to grant his money to Alan and his philanthropy in its entirety, instead of having a considerable portion taken away by a government that has proven it can’t handle the money effectively, through either gift or inheritance taxes.

What I feared would be an insult to the justice that is marriage equality, in fact, turned out to be an excellent argument in its favor.  The scene in the court room when the gay attorney is trying to get an injunction to prevent our heroes from marrying was an excellent commentary on the state of affairs in this country, and a great juxtaposition of the generally proffered argument against same-sex marriage.

Mr, Kelley, I offer my apologies for doubting your intentions.  Certainly I should have known better.  And I offer my gratitude for another job well done.  I look forward to our next meeting in the airwaves and in the interim — Denny Crane!

It’s Time!

Well, I took my week.  I took my week to pout and rant and stew.  And then I talked about it.  With my therapist.  She helped put things into perspective.  A perspective I guess I really already had but sometimes it’s nice for someone else to help see it.

This week has been a struggle for me to accept the outcome of the vote on Proposition 8, because it was personal to me.  For the first time in my life, it was personal to me.  It’s the first time that such a bill has been on the ballot, in the state where I lived, while I was not in UTTER AND COMPLETE DENIAL!!

I realized while discussing this with her that it had hit me so hard because it made things “real” for me.  In the same sense as “if I don’t actually tell anyone that I’m gay, it’s not real.  But as soon as I tell someone I am, it becomes real.”  You see, I’ve been around for others of these types of measures.  I’ve watched from the side lines and hoped for the best outcome while not being too worried about it because, “It doesn’t affect me anyway.”  I’ve watched as once again the hope for equality was snatched away like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and I’ve been disappointed at the narrow-minded hate that seems to abound.  But I’ve known that it wasn’t about me and it wouldn’t change my life and so I could distance myself and be unmoved.

I’m used to that feeling so when Proposition 8 came about and I watched the process taking place, I was caught unprepared for the outcome.  I watched from the side lines.  I hoped for the best outcome.  I didn’t worry about it.  And I watched as defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory…  And I was affected.  I was hurt.  I was offended.  Dare I say it, I was devastated.  Because this time, personal, it was!  This time I’m not in denial.  I’m not hiding who I am from myself.  I know that I’m a part of the community that was under attack.  Of course I took it personally!  Of course I felt like it was a slap in the face.  Of course I wanted to see something done about it.

So I did something about it.  Last night I became a member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).  I bought an equality car magnet which I will proudly place on my bumper so that every one will know that I’m here.  That I’m a part of their community and that I can’t be held back.  I bought an equality pendant on a leather cord which I will proudly display around my neck so that everyone will know that I’m in the room.  I’m in their space.  And that I’m not giving them the gay bug, or cooties.  I’m just here.  I bought an equality key chain which will bare my house and car keys and will be visible for all to see (I don’t put my keys in my pocket.)  And I bought an equality watch so that every time I look at the time, every time I’m asked for the time I’ll be reminded of just what time it is!  It’s time for Equality!  It’s time for fairness.  It’s time to be treated like a full citizen of this almost great nation of ours.  It’s time!

Soon, I’ll register to volunteer with the HRC.  I’ll help plan the annual dinner.  I’ll help plan community events.  I’ll help spread the word and get to our legislators.  And someday, maybe, if I’m brave enough, I’ll help plan Pride events as well.

No longer am I going to hide my true self.  No longer am I going worry about being noticed looking at an attractive man.  No longer am I going to lower my voice when I talk about my sexuality with the few people who do know, for fear of being over heard.  Let them over hear!  Let hem know that we are among the masses!

I know I still have a long way to go.  I know I still need to be more social.  I know I need to find a way to meet more gay people, and make some gay friends, and, dare to dream, a boyfriend!  I know I still need to fully embrace who I am and what I want and no longer be afraid of discovery and shame.  I am working on that.  I will do that.  I will be proud of myself.  I will live openly and with courage.  I will do my part to further our cause and I will not be side lined by hateful, fearful, ignorant people who can’t see my value in the world.

This is my time.  OUR time! And from today, I will make something of it!  It’s time!

Seven Days? Really? Only Seven Days?

I can hardly believe it’s been only seven days.  Only seven days since one of the greatest history making moments in my life time, the election of our first “black” President.  I have to use the quotes.  It’s not that I don’t see the historic value of what happened.  It’s just that, to me, Barack Obama isn’t a “black” President.

Really, Barack Obama is 50% African, and 50% American.  (Hmmm.  I never thought of that before this moment.  I guess I can safely call him an “African American” without having the terminology grate against me.  I have a hard time calling black people “African American” because the vast majority of them have never set foot in Africa and neither have several generations of their ancestors.  And because the “politically correct” terminology changes from one day to the next and I don’t see how “black” can be offensive unless you’re just looking for an excuse to be offended.)  But from the moment the results were in and he was our new president I couldn’t help feeling like all the hoopla was a little bit of a farce.  This man is not “black

A day or two after the election, I saw something on the TV.  A handful of gang banging, pants sagging, puffy coat wearing, bandanna displaying, gold tooth flashing hoodlum type young black males, showing their exuberant enthusiasm that finally, “we will be represented.”  And all I could think was, “He doesn’t represent YOU!”  Barack Obama is an educated, well spoken, contemplative, sophisticated, only HALF Black man.  Something those boys on my TV screen will never have the capacity to understand.

I don’t mean to belittle his heritage.  That’s not my point at all.  But the reality is, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.  They’re usually based in some amount of reality.  And the reality is that Barack Obama is not a “stereotypical black man”.  I hope you don’t think that makes me racist, because it doesn’t.  But if you come away from this with the idea in your head that it does, well…  I think that’s something I can live with.

There’s no end in sight to the overblown propagandization of the monumental accomplishment that is the election of our first Black President and I am sincerely glad to have been a part of that accomplishment.  I really do see the greatness of that accomplishment and certainly would rather have it this way versus the alternative.  I am not sorry that Barack Obama is going to be our next President.  But by the same token, I am not a disciple of the Obama movement.  Certainly there were better options out there.  I still, to this day believe that Hillary was the right person for the job.  That she should have been our 44th President and that if a woman was going to hold that office in the next two decades it would be she.

I’m constantly reminded of the Saturday Night Live sketch from earlier this season with “Sarah Palin”, played by Tina Fey, and “Hillary Clinton”, played by a quite pregnant Amy Poehler.  The ladies were delivering a joint press conference (the “I can see Russia from my house.” sketch).  “Sarah” made a comment about knowing that “Hillary” agrees that it’s time for a woman in the White House, to which “Hillary” lost all composure and said, “Noooooo.  I didn’t want a woman in the White House!  I wanted ME in the White House.”  It was of course an extremely humorous moment but it also spoke volumes, in my opinion, to the status of this nation!  Are we ready for a woman in the White House?  I don’t know.  I’d like to think so, but I’m just not sure.  Were we ready for Hillary Clinton in the White House and more specifically in the Oval Office?  I say, without a doubt, yes.  Then again, the facts don’t seem to support my assertion so perhaps I’m wrong.  I know I was ready, but I may be alone.

It is equally hard, if not harder to believe that it’s been only one week since the devastating news that indeed, I have been stripped of a right that, honestly, up until earlier this year, I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.  The right to fall in love with the man of my dreams and fulfill that dream by marrying him, just like my sister was able to do with the man of her dreams.  Just like Unsvelt Girl Who Runs and TV Addicted Mom, and just like the vast majority of the rest of the world.

I still find the irony of the situation equal parts amazing and disgusting!  It seems as though Proposition 8 was approved, at least in part, because of the record number of Black voters that turned out for this election.  Let’s face it.  There’s a decent chance that Barack Obama would not have been elected if not for the record number of Black voters that turned out to vote in this election and yet, based on the polling data, these are the same voters that voted in favor of Proposition 8.  The reason given?  That they didn’t see the correlation between the discrimination that they face periodically and that their ancestors faced on a daily basis, and the discrimination that is now to be heaped upon me and thousands like me.

If you’ve read this blog much in the past you probably know that I am an “average white boy.”  (Although Green M&M says, “If you got a drop, your black, honey.”  Which I guess probably means that I, the original average white boy, am also black.  I got a little bit of everything in me going way back!  At one of her sisters parties a long time ago, I was referred to buy a drunk back guy as a “light skinded brother” so who knows.)  They don’t come much more average than I.  The thing that makes me not average, not part of the majority?  The thing that makes me a part of the minority set?  The fact that I’m gay.  Currently, gay individuals are still a minority.  We probably always will be.  But because this percentage of Black voters who were part of the exit polls couldn’t see how I was being discriminated against in the same way that they are, or that their parents or grandparents were, they voted to take away my rights and put me in that minority position.

There’s a youtube video from Kieth Olbermann:

that has made the rounds on the internet today, that I must say I’m quite impressed with.  But one of the things that struck me the most was this.  In his commentary, Olbermann says, that forty odd years ago Mr. and Mrs. Obama would not have been allowed to marry in 16 of the states of this great nation of which their son would grow up to hold the highest office.  Roughly a third of the country, just 40 years ago.  And the body they have to thank for that freedom is the California Supreme court and yet, seven days ago that same race of people made a major contribution toward stealing away those same rights from the likes of me.

It was not my intention for this post to be yet another political rant, for in truth I am a political know nothing. I’m just amazed to find that it has been ONLY seven days since this historic, but nonetheless tragic day took place.  It feels like an eternity to me.  I’ve been through so much in the seven days since.  And yet, really, I haven’t been through anything.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008, was a rough day for me already.  I was late for work, as usual, having overslept, as usual, and barely arriving at work in time for my 9:30 Tuesday Morning Torture Session, otherwise known as my departments staff meeting, as usual.  It wouldn’t be so bad by itself, it’s just that we have been having literally the same meeting for the last six years.  The agenda never changes.  Douche Bag is just as flippant and ignorant and oblivious as ever.  Country Dumbkin is just as late as ever, and just as disruptive as ever.  The agenda doesn’t change, and Unsvelt Girl who Runs (who at the rate she’s going will need a new moniker soon) and I continue to stare at the table and wait for the agonizing hour to end.  It always ruins our days and makes us want to jab our eyes out with our pens.

Deb, my therapist, had advised me, via voice mail, that there is a poling place near her office, and that I may need to allow myself a little extra travel and parking time (there is only street parking near her office) before our appointment.  So I had to leave work early to fight the traffic and the parking problems.  I am a Permanent Absentee Voter so I didn’t have to worry about fighting the lines at the polls, thank God!

I wish I could point out some particularly offensive events of that day.  I’m sure their were some, it’s just that there’s nothing out of the ordinary about it so I don’t remember anything in particular.

I went to my weekly therapy appointment where I asked what I felt was a simple question, “What good does it do me to know why I feel the way I do if it doesn’t make it stop happening?”  I didn’t like her answer, or anything else, much, about our visit.  I realize that happens sometimes and I’m not contemplating ending our relationship.  I’m just really tired of this stage of things and I’m ready to move on and I feel like I don’t know how to do that.  And sometimes I feel like she holds the key and just isn’t sharing.

After therapy I came home and turned on the TV.  I honestly felt like I already knew the outcome.  There was virtually know way Obama was not going to win and when I got home and turned on the tube it was already 207 electoral votes for Obama to 134 electoral votes for McCain and we were only minutes away from the West Coast Polls closing.  I was disappointed to find that no one was talking about Prop 8 yet.  I knew the out come of this one too.  I was just praying that, there but for the grace of God, I would be wrong.  And then the reports started coming in.  And Prop 8 was passing and I could feel my future slipping away.

But more than losing my future, I could feel my present slipping away.  I could feel all the confidence and certainty I had built up over the last two years dwindling.  I was being told by 52% of the voters of California that it was not OK for me to be the person I was born to be.  The person that God has made me.

A snippet of a song keeps going through my head, and while it doesn’t completely fit, the chorus and the sentiment of the singers does.  It’s from a scene in Rent when Maureen and Joanne are breaking up at their engagement party:

Take me for what I am
Who I was meant to be
And if you give a damn
Take me baby, or leave me.

So often I feel this way and want to scream this to so many people, especially in my family, but after last Tuesday, I felt like 52% of the state of California was saying back to me, “Yeah, thanks.  Given the option?  I think I’ll leave.”

I stayed home from work on Wednesday.  I did it in part because I stayed up way to late watching the returns and just hoping that by some miracle the numbers would turn around and we’d begin to see the “No”s climb before ultimately defeating the measure.  That, as you know, did not happen.  So I stayed home because I was up until the middle of the night praying for a miracle.  I also stayed home because I was, honestly and truly pouting.  I may be 33 yeas old, but I couldn’t help myself.  I stayed home to pout because I just couldn’t face anyone.  I couldn’t bare to pretend that I was fine and that all the shit that would absolutely be dished out on me at work didn’t matter.  I was hurt and depressed and I had to stay home and pout and cry and rage and generally be a sore loser.  Even now, as I think about it, I’m angry and I have tears that well up behind my eyes just begging to come out.  Because I feel impotent to make a change.  Unable to get through to anyone, and a thousand times less sure of myself and my orientation than I was on Monday, November 3, 2008.

The rest of the work week was pretty average except I couldn’t get over my hurt and anger, perhaps I still haven’t.  And then Friday.

On Friday, while I was “working” (which probably amounted to writing my all about Eve post, Vengeful Mother popped up on my computer screen, via Instant Message and said, “Why don’t you come home for Thanksgiving.”  I was completely on the spot, caught off guard and utterly speechless.  I have no desire to go to VM‘s house or spend any one on one time with her ever again.  I love her but I can’t tolerate being with her and I’m just not ready, not strong enough, to stand on my own while being around her and experiencing the vitriol and judgement that she spews.  I had to say no, but how?  So I told her as little of the truth as I had to, in order to put it to an end.  “I can’t.  I don’t really have the money, other people in my office already have the time off, and I have a prior existing engagement.”  Fortunately, it was over at that.

But Friday was just a long, hard day and it culminated in my shameful humiliation on Craigslist and my disgust with myself on Saturday.  What I haven’t previously stated is that I was up until nearly 4:00 in the morning pursuing my demise and I had to get up on Saturday morning to go and spend the day with Green M&M to whom I would be loathe to say anything about my Craigslist extravaganza.

Yesterday, already feeling like I’d lived a lifetime (albeit a bad one) in the seven days past, I was on Facebook and saw something that I think is telling, and that upsets me.  Not long after I made the, in my opinion, monumental error of setting up a Facebook profile I located an old high school friend of mine who I haven’t seen since the summer after graduation and have had very limited interaction with.  I made the effort to reconnect with her this time around and have been feeling guilty because I have been procrastinating answering her “How have you been.  Hope everything is good.” e-mail because I don’t know what to tell her.  I don’t know how honest to be with her.  And then today I saw this, “RNJ is really tired of seeing the commercial advertising the TLC show on the so-called ‘pregnant man.’  That’s not a man, it’s a woman dressed up as a man. Nasty.”  That makes it seem pretty clear to me that I can’t talk to her about what’s real about me.  And I can’t help feeling just a little more rejected by the world around me.

Seven Days?  Really?  It’s only been seven days?

The Low Road

Last night history was made.  Fifty-two percent of the voters in the State of California have voted to legalize discrimination against a whole segment of our population.  A segment of which, I am a part.  I’ll be honest.  I’m truly surprised at how I’m affected by this.  I didn’t think it’d be so hard on me.  In my heart I knew this would happen and yet seeing it has really hurt me.

I hoped and prayed (yes, prayed!) that Proposition 8 would fail and that the people of California would recognize that marriage equality should stand.  That they’d understand that two men being married or two women being married, would have no effect on the “sanctity” of their own marriage, despite their own marriages 50% or greater chance of ending in divorce.  But, I felt it, in my heart, or in my spirit, or in the force, or whatever you want to call it, I felt it and I knew that Prop 8 would pass.  So I should have been prepared for it and not be so hurt by it.

This is my third post regarding this subject since last night and in the first two I took the high road.  It was a short trip!  I’m done with that.  So if you prefer the high road, you may want to stop reading this post now.

THIS IS BULL SHIT!!!  All you hateful, fearful people out there who voted in favor of proposition 8 are shits!  Every one of you.  You should, each and every one of you, be forced to wear a scarlet Y on your chests (if it were up to me it’d be branded on your foreheads, but I’d settle for the scarlet Y) so that everyone else can identify you and then you should all be EQUALLY mistreated.

You should be forced to drink from a separate drinking fountain, to ride in the back of the bus.  You should not be allowed to sit at the lunch counter and you should have to stand silently off to the side with your hat in your hands and your head down.  Your children should be taken away from you and your marriages should be annulled!

Am I over reacting?  Maybe.  But what’s the difference?  I am not a “flaming queen”.  To most people, if you and I stood next to each other, the thought that I might like to pack fudge, or smoke pole, wouldn’t even come to mind.  To me, that’s just one simple way of pointing out that you and I are the same!  So why should you be entitled to a different set of rights than I?

You may believe that what I do is wrong.  You know what?  That’s OK.  I’ve got plenty of people in my life who feel the same way.  One of them even gave birth to me.  You don’t have to approve of my lifestyle, or what you perceive to be my choices, but that doesn’t give you the right to determine what I should and should not be allowed to do.  Do you not know that you are violating the very moral precepts that you are claiming to uphold?  The Bible tells you to hate the sin, but love the sinner.  The Bible tells you to “judge not, lest ye be judged.”  The Bible tells you to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

And if the Bible isn’t enough for you, how about the principles upon which this country was founded.  Our Founding Fathers specifically set up this country with Separation of Church and State in mind.  They came here from a country who’s religion dictated the government and how people were treated and they wanted to escape it.  Separation of Church and State means that your religious views should not have an impact on our laws.  I wouldn’t even mind if churches were allowed to refuse to marry a gay couple because it violates their moral belief system…  Oh wait, THEY ARE.

Anyway you slice it I only hear you telling me that God doesn’t approve of what I do therefor the governments job is to make sure I can’t do it.  THAT’S WRONG!  On many levels, that’s wrong, but I’ll address it just from church and state.  The religious view may be that I’m a sinner, and that I’m going to hell.  I don’t believe that, as I, too, am a Christian, but I respect your right to believe it.  But unlike you, I’m not trying to take away your right to believe it.  My right to marry, however, is not different from yours on a legal front.  And trust me.  Your marriage is on two fronts.  You may be married in the eyes of the church.  You may have had your wedding in a church, or at least a religious ceremony, but you are also married in the eyes of the law, separately from the church.  That’s what your marriage license is all about.

So what’s the harm in my having a legal marriage?  What’s the harm in my planning a lavish wedding ceremony (not to be held in your church)?  What’s the harm in my making a considerable contribution to the states flailing economy by having my wedding in California and spending all my wedding money here in this state?  You have your wedding in your church with your religious piety and I’ll have my wedding in a park or in a back yard or in the little gay bar on the prairie for all I care, but it should still be a LEGAL MARRIAGE.

You know, I will admit that I’m a little surprised by my vitriol on the subject and the way in which it’s been expressed thus far.  The truth is, I’m far less angry than I am hurt.  Cut so deeply, shaken to my very core.  You see, I’m 33 years old.  I’m what I call “newly gay”.  I’m technically still a “gay virgin”.  I don’t have any relationship prospects.  Shit I don’t even have any gay friends.  I’m completely alone and usually feeling pretty sorry for myself because of it.  And I honestly doubt that I will ever have an opportunity to be impacted directly by whether or not Gay Marriage is actually legal.  That would require me to have relationships and to find a man I want to share my life with.  Probably not an easy task.  And while, I’m sure most people will say that I’m taking this too personally, or just plain wrong, I can’t help but feel like this decision is a personal affront.

You see, for most of my life I convinced myself that I believed that gay is wrong.  I convinced myself that I wasn’t gay.  I convinced myself that there were other, perfectly logical, and morally acceptable, reasons why i felt the way I did.  It has taken a lot of prayer, and research, and self exploration and meditation and work to reach a point where I no longer believe that gay is wrong.  I no longer am in denial of the things that I know are true about myself, and I no longer HATE MYSELF for feeling the way I do.  And yet in spite of all that, it doesn’t take much to shake my resolve.  It doesn’t take much for me to question myself.  And I’ll admit that a big part of the Prop 8 battle, for me, was the idea and the hope that just maybe, in a very public, enormous way, society at large would tell me, “Hey.  We believe in you.  We agree with you.  You’re OK, just the way you are.”  Lord knows I need to hear that last part, over and over again.

So there you have it.  I knew, before the first returns came in that Prop 8 was going to pass.  I hated it, and I hate (just a little bit) the people that voted for it, but I knew it.  I guess I’m not really angry that it passed.  I’m not really angry that so many ignorant people out there don’t understand why it was wrong, even if they think it is “moral”.

I’m angry because for the bazillionth time in my life, I’m being reminded, slapped up side the head with the proof that, I must not be OK.  And It hurts.

An Open Letter to 52% of the Voters of the State of California

Dear 52% of the Voters of the State of California-

I want to thank you!

I want to thank you for recognizing that I am every bit as much of a human being as you are!

I want to thank you for finally acknowledging that Separation of Church and State means that even if you don’t agree on a moral level that I should be entitled to marry the man of my dreams, you at least realize that yours is a religious perspective and not a political one and therefor decided to grant me my fundamental human rights to marry the man I love.

I want to thank you for recognizing the direction this country is heading, catching up with the rest of the world, and agreeing to consider me equal, deserving of all the same rights as you.

I want to thank you for voting to defeat this hate mongering proposition to take away my rights to marry the man of my dreams, because you realize that whatever your personal opinion of marriage might be, this issue is much bigger than you or me, and therefore you MUST vote to maintain those rights for all Californian’s regardless of sexual orientation.

I want to thank you for all of these things…

Sadly, I can’t.

The Very Most Important Election

I hate a cliche.  Always have, and at this time of every fourth year, one of my least favorite cliche’s gets heavy rotation.  “This very important election.”  I hear it all the time, and it so rarely seem true.

This week-end I was watching Saturday Night Live (love it) hosted by Ben Affleck (love him) and he made that statement in his opening monologue (loved it – He’s a curse to any candidate he endorses so he’s endorsing McCain) and it made me stop and think.

This really is a very important election.  In my opinion, the most important election in my life time.  There is so much on the line right now.  So much is at stake.  Especially here in California, and especially to those who are like me, gay, and desiring equality!

You see, I’ve never put much stock in elections before.  I vote, because I’m “supposed to” and because I’m a Permanent Absentee voter and if I don’t vote in every election, I’ll lose that status and have to reapply.  But up until this year I’ve voted on issues and offices based on some very simple factors.

For office, if I don’t know anything about the people, I vote for the Democrat.  If I don’t know anything about the office, or if there’s more than one Democrat I vote for the incumbent and if there’s no incumbent I vote for the person whose current title sounds like they’d be most likely to do well in the office they’re seeking.  For instance, on this ballot I had the choice of two individuals to elect for judge.  Once was a “public interest attorney” the other was a “deputy district attorney.”  I don’t know anything about either of these candidates and I hope never to set foot before another judge and therefore wasn’t really going to be overly affected by the outcome of this one.  Therefore, I thought for exactly 2.0876 seconds and decided that a “public interest attorney” as likely to be more fair and less jaded than a “deputy district attorney.”  Settled.

Issues?  What’ll it cost me?  What’ll it cost the state?  Does it make good financial sense?  I almost never vote in favor of bond issues.  I can’t condone paying 95% interest on a loan, any way you slice it.  There was one bond issue on my ballot that was for $998 Million with a payback of the principle plus $995 Million.  If you ran your personal finances that way you’d be homeless on the street in a matter of weeks.  The payback on this measure was something like $67 Million dollars a year for however many years and I can’t help thinking, “We could do twice as much if we used that $67 Million dollars to pay cash for whatever purpose its serving and just parse out the project over a few years.”  Seems like simple economics to me (and I’m an idiot when it comes to math and finance.)

I rarely vote in favor of School initiatives because, call me a bad person, but I don’t have children, and don’t think I ever will and I don’t want to pay even more money out for something that doesn’t benefit me.  I pay too much as it is.

This year I didn’t vote in favor of anything that gets it’s funding from property taxes because frankly, I don’t think we as citizens can really afford it.  Things are bad enough without piling on more taxes, fees and levies.  I will vote in favor for something that I think is a worthwhile initiative (usually something I’ll benefit from) and it’s funded by a fraction of a cent sales tax because I figure it’s more fair.  Everyone pays a share and it’s for a good cause (if it’s not, I don’t vote for it.)

Most years, the things we’re asked to vote for are silly, let’s-find-more-ways-to-spend-money-we-don’t-have initiatives.  I vote because I must.  I hardly call those “important elections”.

But this year, I agree.  This is an important election.  The country is in the worst shape it’s been in since the great depression…  Or so I’m told.  I’m too young to know that.  What I do know is, it’s in the worst shape it’s been in my life time!  I think (again idiot at math and finance) that we’re on the brink of a financial collapse and that we have our Government as a whole, and our President in particular to thank for it.  Something MUST be done!

And yet, that in itself isn’t enough to make this an important election.  This will be an historic election for sure!  By the end of this day we will either have our first black president or our first female in executive office.  Either way, we’re taking a huge step toward truer equality on a national level.  That’s awesome.  But the historical outcome is a given.  Still not “important”.

For the first time in my voting career, I’m asked to vote on something that really matters.  Not just another shall-we-waste-your-money initiative.  Not just another who should be in office for the next 2-4 years ballot.  Not just another transportation initiative or how-shall-we-deal-with-teenage-pregnancy initiative.  This year, I’m voting on something that impacts me directly and personally!  I don’t get much more average, so I never had to worry too much about discrimination until I came to terms with being gay.

Suddenly, discrimination is a real fact in my life.  If I ever fall in love and want to share my life with someone, will I be able to make it a legally binding commitment with all the rights and privileges that go with it.  CPA Sis and Mr. Fixit, Dead Beat Dad and Gigi the Homewrecker, and so many others.  They’re married.  They share all their financial and legal obligations.  They can speak for each other in medical situations.  If one of them dies the other will not lose anything besides their loved ones.  In the case of CPA Sis and Mr. Fixit if something were to happen to CPA Sis, Mr. Fixit wouldn’t have to worry about having their children taken away from him.

Now I’m no where near having any of that in my life.  Not sure if I ever will, and not really sure how much of it I want.  But what I am sure of is that I do not want to be told that I’m not allowed to have those things because I’m somehow a substandard human being.

I’m so proud of this state, and of the supreme court, the Republican, conservative supreme court for recognizing that we are not being treated as equals, that we are substandard, and for doing something about it.  Right now, as I’m typing this I’m allowed to be legally married to another man, in the state of California.  What’s at stake today, is whether or not I’ll still be allowed this time tomorrow.

What could be more important than that?

A Political Rant from a Political Know Nothing

I generally try to stay away from political rants on this blog, because I don’t fancy myself any kind of expert on anything and I don’t really feel like the average person has any interest in what I have to say on that front.  If you’re easily offended or easily riled by political discussions, perhaps it’s best if you skip over this post, lest your opinion of me be effected.

That being said…

Within my own family there’s quite a dividing line when it comes to political perspectives, beliefs and opinions.  I’m a Democrat.  I’m pretty liberal.  I believe very strongly that my religious beliefs should not come into play in my politics.  On the other hand Vengeful Mother and to a somewhat lesser degree CPA Sis are both conservative Republicans who think that their morals should dictate their politics.  The concept of Separation of Church and State is foreign to them.  But let’s be honest.  Separation of Church and State is foreign to most Republicans.

Right now, in my home state of California, there is considerable debate and controversy over Proposition 8, the Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Act. As a gay man who has never wanted to live the stereotypical promiscuous gay lifestyle, but rather find one man to settle down with and share my life, I pray that Proposition 8 fails, that same-sex marriage remains legal in California, and more importantly that it spreads to the rest of the country.  Republicans however, are latching onto this issue as if it will make or break the stability of the nation.  Because after all, how people live their personal lives in the privacy of their own homes is going to cause either the proliferation of this nations financial and moral value, or the utter and complete collapse, based on whether they are allowed to be legally married.

From what I can tell, a great portion of the Republican political platform centers around religion and morals.  As I’ve said, I’m not a political expert, but this seems like the polar opposite of “Separation of Church and State.”  This sounds to me like Church run State…

Hmmm…  Church run State…  What is it that the words call to mind…  Ah.  I’ve got it.  THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND!!! It’s been a good many years since I graduated from high school, and even longer since I studied this period in American History, but I do believe the purpose behind the American Revolution, in the first place, was to avoid being persecuted over religious beliefs.  To live in a country that allowed religious freedom and that separated the business of government from the morals of personal existence.

Republicans (and Vengeful Mother) like to argue that this nation was founded on Christian Values, and they’re not wrong.  But this nation was founded on a whole lot more than that.  It was founded on personal liberties, equality, and justice for all.  Justice FOR ALL.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I know that it would make me very HAPPY to be able to fall in love and marry the man of my dreams.  To be able to live a happy LIFE free of the persecution and judgment of Conservative Republicans and Christians in general who feel they have the right to treat me differently, just because the person I love happens to have the same genitalia as I.  To be able to experience and enjoy all the personal LIBERTY that our forefathers intended for “We the People.”

In the last eight years, Georgie Boy has been so focused on forcibly installing democracy around the world (You will be free whether you like it or not!), and defining morals for our nation (Marriage shall be defined as being between one man and one woman.) that he’s forgotten to be the President.  He’s allowed the oil industry to rape our nation financially while making zero effort to solve the problem (’cause he’s making just as much money as the next oil magnate) and he’s destroyed the progress that was made toward reducing the national deficit by spending American tax dollars on a war that no one wants, and most recently by “bailing out” an economic downturn that resulted from poor over-site of the banking industry in the first place.  And as we’ve seen in the last 72 hours, that “bail-out” has done not one lick of good.

During his eight years in office, President Clinton, managed to reduce, by nearly a third, the damage done to our national debt by Presidents Regan and Bush Sr.  And in the following eight years, President Bush Jr. completely undid every bit of that progress.  And he still has four months.  How much more damage will he do?

So the question is, given the track record of our presidents over the last 28 years do we really want another Republican President who will continue to run this country’s finances into the ground and will continue with a war that serves no purpose, and will work to deny the basic human rights of an entire segment of our population, or do we want a president who will work to end this war, and repair the economic failures brought upon us by the current administration?  I wish I could argue that he’d also work to provide the freedoms and equality that we deserve, but he’s made no such promises.  At least we can be assured he won’t work so hard to take them away.

I don’t know that either of the options that have been presented to us are particularly ideal.  We need a president and other government leaders who remember what this country was all about and who will work hard for justice and equality for all, and leave it up to us to decide what is morally or ethically right.

Or, if we want to return to the ways of our ancestors…

Well, maybe we could petition the queen to take us back…  Those Princely boys are none to shabby to look at after all.