Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I almost didn't vote AGAINST Amendment One

Let me be clear.  I voted against Amendment One.  The Amendment is discriminatory and wrong on many levels.  I never would have voted for it, but I almost didn't vote against it.  Here's why:

* You can't take a stand half way!
All of the sudden, people started coming out of the woodwork, ready to talk a lot and raise their voices to fight against prejudice and discrimination.  Where were these people when Melody Ann was told she couldn't get a job at Kmart because "we're not hiring people like you?"  Where were these people when Raeshawn and I were being verbally attacked by a police officer because he had dreads and I was challenging the officer's words?  These people are up in arms because of discrimination, yet they discriminate against people of color and lower socioeconomic backgrounds all the time.  They are coming out to take a stand, yet they're not willing to stand in the line at the Family Dollar or Quick and Easy on Freedom Drive.  They are shouting words of liberty, yet they'd never think of putting themselves in a situation where they'd be shouting cheers for their children as they play on a team at a school like West Charlotte High school.  They wouldn't dare send them there.  These folks are posting signs in their front yards; yards that have fences and security systems to keep every stranger away.

*Church and State
Who cares what the state does?  We aren't the state.  We are the church!  The church can and should recognize marriage.  The church and and should provide care and resources to her body.  The church could, if she wanted to, provide an environment of support, nurture, and even benefits to her people if the people really invested in the church.

*Church People (And I'm one of them)
They talk, but they don't act.  They point to the problems, but don't fathom themselves as the solution.  They pray prayers that they could answer if they tried.

* Privileged people (And I am one of them)
People of privilege took up this issue.  (That always makes me leery.)  And they get angry when others do not.  What they don't realize is that others got a whole lot more to worry about than voting and politics.  Some people are ignorant because no one of privilege has taken the time to educate them.  Some people aren't educated because no one of privilege has stooped so low as to learn a new language and speak within a different set of cultural norms.  Why didn't some people vote against?  Because they live in a different world than you do; speak a different language, worry about different issues.

*The people you care about (Am I one of them?  Is my neighbor one of them?)
When you were standing up and shouting out, you were paying close attention to Brooks and Pat, two middle class white ladies who love one another.  I like them too.  I think they are important.  But you forgot to mention Mary Ann and Nate or Joe and Shondella.  They aren't married for several reasons.  Social services benefits are better for them when they aren't married, church people have turned them off and away, no one is married in their family and they don't even know all the steps how or why to get married.  These people have faces too, just like Brooks and Pat.  But you don't see them.  You don't know them.  You refuse to venture to where you might see them unless maybe you might ignore their faces as they bus your table or mow your lawn.

Why now?  Why weren't you shouting before?  Is it out of convenience?  The safety in numbers? 

*Self Righteousness (of which I have a tremendous amount, unfortunately)
"Look at me.  I am radical.  I am taking a stand.  I say things to stir people up.  I want to be very public in my proclamations.  Everybody, see and pay attention to the fact that I say I believe this way."  That kind of mess gets annoying.

But, I did vote AGAINST and will hope that the good fight will be not just against the Amendment, but against all these other things as well.

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