Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Amazon Trail: Voting Rights

By Lee Lynch

I went to bed last night feeling all warm and fuzzy and secure. Governor Sarah Palin, in her debate with Senator Joe Biden, reassured viewers that, although she believed that gay people have no right to legitimize our relationships with marriage, she has no objection to us visiting our partners in a hospital. Even better: she would tolerate us.

Tolerate us? Tolerate? As if were are somehow lesser than non-gays, as if we are some unfortunate, inexcusable, toxic blight on the earth who should be suppressed or even eradicated, but who she thought she could, as the price of winning all the power and wealth victory would bestow on her, manage to co-exist with our distasteful gay selves.

Not that Senator Biden was much better, insisting that although he and his running mate agree gays have no right to civil marriage, somehow we are guaranteed all the rights enjoyed by non-gay couples.

Where in heck do these or any straight Americans get off thinking they have some sort of authority to condemn or condone a mammoth group of people for making choices different from theirs? Make that singular, for making one choice: to be true to our natures by choosing same gender life companions.

How dare they patronize our drag shows and vote against letting the performer/queens marry their partners? How dare they laugh at the jokes of Ellen Degeneres and give her awards and great TV ratings when in the next breath they threaten to rescind her right to formalize and strengthen her relationship? Isn't this another form of white face and step and fetchit?

Doesn't it occur to these pitifully uneducated non-gays that they are sitting in judgment on us? That their dogmatic arrogance has no place in a democracy which, by definition, considers all its citizens equal? It is absolutely frightening that the Republicans are counting on Palin to attract people who condemn us for being gay. Today I saw a quotation from Jesus engraved on a sidewalk outside the public library that followers of Christ might do well to take to heart: "For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it."

Goodness knows we need someone to save us all from the plunder of our nation that has occurred in the last seven plus years. The current administration was voted in, twice, partly by people who believed Bush and Cheney would keep us gays down on the farm. While they try to right economic and foreign policy wrongs, how do Obama and Biden propose to represent all the people when so many of us are, in their minds, apparently less-than: less than heterosexual citizens, shunted off on a religious side track for those who don't matter.

This election is a lot bigger than our gay lives. Not that I expect Senator Obama to have an easy time reversing the damage done in the name of greed and power. It would have been incredibly exciting to vote for a woman, to defend her, as we did Senator Clinton, against outrageous impersonations and questions of competency because a woman candidate might be a working mother. It is sad that we can't vote for the woman the big boys selected to run for Vice President because she has so many dangerous, dangerous opinions that threaten everyone's freedom.

We are not a faceless issue; we are real live Americans. Ms. Palin and her followers can keep their insulting tolerance, which is nothing but a smoke screen for their fear of difference, their damning judgementalism and their unkind intentions.

Fortunately gay people are not powerless over our status in our own country. We can vote. To ignore that privilege is to hand our rights, present and future, over to candidates who practice bigotry or are all too willing to trade full recognition of our humanity for the votes of bigots. Nothing we will do this fall is as important as voting.

Copyright Lee Lynch 2008

Lee Lynch is the writer of more than a dozen dyke books, among them "Sweet Creek", as well as book reviews, articles, feature stories and a syndicated column. You can read more about Lee here . You can check out her Lee's Myspace page . And visit Lee's Tripod homepage. Lee's most recent book, The Butch Cook Book, Edited by Lee Lynch, Sue Hardesty and Nel Ward, is now available at:http://www.butchcookbook.com/.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home