For a while now, I have done my best to remain silent about the state of American politics. The battlefield continues to leave men and (especially) women bloodied and broken, and the strangest thing about it is that people don’t seem to care. As I’ve attempted to distance myself from my own personal investments in the process, that’s what has truly amazed me: the divisive nature of social politics injected into our every day lives seems to have crippled our ability to look at the people that are being effected. These are our neighbors, friends, families, members of our congregations, colleagues, and communities.
Consider the two men in the video.
Those of you close to me know that the gay marriage issue is not one that holds any particularly strong meaning for me. While a gay man, society’s recognition of my decision to bind myself to someone I love just doesn’t factor largely in my list of concerns. To me, the right to marry who I choose is a civil-rights issue, but really only important for that reason. But the ‘gay marriage issue’ gets at something deeper, and this video demonstrates that. What does it say about us as a society when we would deny happiness to two people who only want to love one another? What more does it say about us when archaic social stigmas would force them into living apart for at least ten years for no other reason than society doesn’t recognize their commitment to each other?
This is why I am a ‘liberal.’ It’s not because I believe that either of the political parties that exist at this stage in our nation’s history are any better or worse in dealing with the budget or foreign affairs; it’s because I don’t have time to care about that. I could more easily sort out my opinions about whose financial platforms, stances on corporate regulation, or tax legislation I preferred if I didn’t have to worry about my rights and opportunities being limited, or my safety being compromised.
I understand that not everyone has those same concerns. I understand that it’s difficult to care about something that doesn’t directly affect you or people that you’re close to. But the sad thing is, and I’m sorry to say this, the state of politics right now and your decision to participate in the process or not, reflects upon the way that I can relate to you. Because while you may be more concerned with the way that tax legislation changes how much money you bring home, or what you see is the failure of our current president to ‘fix’ the economy and create more jobs, I would gladly give up everything I own to live in a world where no one could tell me I couldn’t marry and be with the love of my life, or visit them in the hospital if they were dying, or be guaranteed justice if they were attacked or murdered simply for being who they were born to be.
I don’t care about the ‘religious’ arguments surrounding issues like homosexuality, abortion, or how you teach your kids that the world was made. I don’t care what your religion is: how can any, any human being look at these two men and deny them the ability to just love each other? How can any, any human being support the government-mandated rape of their mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends? In what religion (and I guarantee you can’t name one) is the goal to create an atmosphere of mistrust, divisiveness, and hatred? While they all might disagree on how to get to the end result, it is always community, support, peace, and love.
The truth of the matter is that none of us should be all that concerned with the state of the economy, our tax brackets, or our stances on corporate regulation. They are all important issues, to be sure, but until we can step back and come together to support one another, none of those issues will ever be properly addressed anyway.
The state of American politics has turned into a place where our abilities to maintain autonomy over our own bodies and commit ourselves to whoever we choose is suddenly up for public debate. In the name of politics and religion, we make war over — what? Who deserves to be happy? Who deserves to live a life not ruled by fear?
It really is that simple. Why? Why do we do it? There is no reason. Watch the video. Look at those two men. What are they asking for? Do you think they want money? Government assistance? Tax breaks? Seriously. What are they asking for? What kind of world do we live in where an entire nation can somehow fear what might happen if they are allowed to love one another? I ask you, what does that say about us as people?
I don’t want to make political decisions based on questions like these. I want to worry about the economy, taxes, and public services just as much as everyone else does. The problem is, I can’t afford to. And until I can, politics will continue to influence the level at which you and I can connect. It might not seem fair — it isn’t fair. But as is proved by the video and everything that I’ve mentioned, life isn’t fair.
I know by writing this, I might upset people. I hate that I have to. But really consider what you’re asking when you tell me that I should be able to look past it. Really think for a moment. While you may be worried about the economy, I’m worried about my ability to be with my future partner as they lay dying in the hospital; I’m worried about candidates supporting re-criminalization of homosexuality; I’m worried about the state deciding it has the right to order surgeons to rape women. The money, the economy means nothing to me. We’re not even having the same conversation.
So to those I love whom this offends, I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not. I’m sorry that things have to be this way, but I didn’t make that decision. I’m not saying all this because I want to be a jerk, or because I don’t respect your goals or desires, but because I, we, need your help, and maybe this will help people understand.
So, please, help us.