Is it just me or should we be deeply concerned about the state of our social and political systems when chickens are gaining rights faster than homos? I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that chickens have had a long standing solid movement: Everything wants to taste like them, they have had Jim Henson and other prominent members of Hollywood as a long time advocates and promoters, and when you think ‘free range,’ what do you think? You think CHICKEN. And folks, that is some serious branding. So, good for chickens. I am just as passionate about their rights as the rest of California, as we should be. All animals deserve a level of justice and fair treatment, right?
But still, I am deeply bothered by the election results in California (and elsewhere but I am trying to focus on my upsets one and a time here). And after spinning things around and around in my head for a few days I think I’ve found the root source to my deepest place of concern:
Until Tuesday I had assumed that my struggle for equal rights was being funded, mobilized, battled, and batted down by this abstract entity of cross-toting, religious zealots that spend their time yelling to the sky in tongue while mobilizing against the queers with grand venom as a mere distraction to get people like baby W in office. BUT I had never ever, ever considered that the folks that are creating measures and voting against my ability to receive basic human rights were the blue people?!? The liberal, Obama supporting, Whole Food shopping, shade-grown coffee drinking, cloth grocery bag toting, recycle everything to save this planet for our children promoting, freer range chicken voting folks. Ever.
So when I realized this my head did a few flips and when it fell back onto my body and reattached itself I had a few new things to consider: I am obviously a tad more naïve than I would wish to admit; I obviously need to refocused my eyes and no longer safely consider the Obama bumper sticker as an auto-ally; it is unhealthy to ignore how disgusted I am with the people’s ability to abuse my life through government power; and I no longer have any clue as to who I am up against.
Measure 8 (and the other few homo-hating measures that I will emotionally sort through later) was a political hate crime. AND IT PASSED. AND I AM PISSED.
Although I was jumping up and down on Tuesday night, screaming YES WE CAN at the top of my lungs with the rest of the ecstatic Seattleites who took to and over the streets until the wee hours of Wednesday morning, I woke up, read the results and was totally pissed off. I kept asking myself, “who in the world?” until eventually the question went from rhetorical to literal. And that’s when the hurt began to penetrate.
I have no solutions. No plan. No idea where the emotional, community, political and legal repair will come from. Per my usual, I put on a thicker skin before I read the results, just in case, but that sort of blow cut right through to that soft little place that can usually take it easy because it is well protected and rarely gets hit. And it was shattered.
Wednesday morning I read the results of measure 8, hopped on the same old crowded bus to go to work and ended up crammed in next to a man, who, after bumping into another man at a jolted stop, began to rant and rave with a sweaty, red face that he was going to kill that fucking faggot if he so much as looked at him again- that if any homo looked him in the eyes he’d kill them. He repeated this chant several times, and each time he would emphasize louder than the last, and I mean any fucking homo.
I know he saw me as he got on the bus and as he continued to yell I continued to tuck into myself as much as I could, to prepare. I kept anticipating him punching me in the back of my head each time he said it, and I mean any fucking homo, but it never came.
It was 8:45 a.m. in Seattle Washington, one day after Barack Obama was elected president, and I was stuck on a crowded bus, on a stopped highway, next to a man yelling about how fucking queer motherfuckers are all deranged animals, and it is our human duty to kill deranged animals. Don’t let them suffer. Fucking kill them.
He was one of 100 people stuck on that bus and he was the only one that said a word that entire commute.
I was terrified.
And all of a sudden every little abstract attack on homos that I constantly but safely read about on paper or online was now standing right next to me, threatening to kill me over eye contact.
I believe in Barack Obama. I have renewed faith in the voice of the people and our political system. I feel empowered by our ability to apologize to each other and the whole world with our decisive presidential decision. And I am deeply humbled, in a very literal way, that we, the people of United States of America, as a collective, want greater things, want hope and change, prosperity, freedom and the ability to believe that anything is possible right now… for some.