I'm a fourth generation Californian. We're a somewhat rare beast, really. Californians tend to be the butt of many American jokes, and we've gotten somewhat of a bad rap over the years. Sometimes, we deserve a little ridicule. But most of the time, it's just short-sightedness on the part of others. I don't always agree with a lot of the policies and choices California makes, but I've always felt that the decisions were based on good intentions. They may not be, in my humble opinion, the right choices, but I usually recognize that they are driven by some sense of fairness, justice, and "simple right." No matter how ill-conceived I may think the results of those sentiments are, I have always been able to see it.
This week, we Californians had the opportunity to make history. We had a chance to lead the way in a fight for equality, compassion, right & wrong. We were asked to step up and take a stand against inequality. But when the time came, we Californians, as a whole, let ourselves be guided by hate, bigotry, and discrimination. My fellow statesmen went to the ballot boxes and opted to take away the fundamental and equal rights of an entire class of people. They based their decision not on any logic, nor on any sense of fairness. There was no underlying injustice to be prevented by its passage, or greater good to be protected by accepting this wrong. Instead, it was pure self-righteousness, closed-mindedness, and unadulterated bigotry.
Proposition 8's passage does not affect me directly. While I am secure enough in my sexuality to acknowledge when another man is good looking, at no time have I ever been attracted (romantically or sexually) to one. Prop 8 will not restrict my freedom, rights, or options. Yet at the same time it has a profound affect on me as a person. For the first time that I can remember, I am truly ashamed to be a Californian. To live in a state that has made the conscious choice to deny equal treatment and rights to an entire class of people simply because they "don't agree" is embarrassing. It is disheartening. It is depressing.
There is still a (slim) chance that our courts and legislature will be able to prevent this great injustice. I can only hope that they have the intestinal fortitude to do so.
Posted at 11/7/2008 8:59:47 pm by PhilM