Now that we've made epic, historical strides toward equality on the racial front by electing an African-American President, a lot of people feel complacent and sated. As if racism has been eradicated. As if magically America has become the true land of (equal) opportunity. As if civil rights and human rights and equal rights weren't dealt a devastating blow and trounced on the same night that we all felt so overjoyed by how far we've come.
As you all know by now, the hatemongering Prop 8 passed in California. The Mormon Church emptied its collection plates to fight against letting two people who love each other get married (because Mormons have such a noble approach to marriage? Because heterosexuals do such a stellar job of upholding its sanctity?), and a preliminary petition has been created to strip it of its tax-exempt status. You can find out more about helping with that cause here.
In Arizona, a measure was passed that prevents couples who aren't married from adopting or fostering children. The real losers and victims in this scenario are not just the people who are openly being discriminated against, but the ones they would take in and love: the children whose chances of getting adopted or helped or loved have now been drastically diminished. Statistically, gay couples have the highest rates of taking in children with physical and emotional disabilites, so it's a double blow to those who need love the most. Is the Mormon Church going to adopt and foster these kids? Are the people who voted for it going to? If not, then they should butt the f**k out.
I'm a straight, married parent who wants nothing more for her child than for her to inherit a world that is better off than the one I inherited. This isn't happening on so many fronts--the deficit, global warming, starvation and genocide and rape and torture and exile and hate crimes and wars have consumed our country, our reserves, our economy. There are so many things we can't change, but there are some that we can. Our right to vote is still one of the most important tools we have--that and the ways in which we choose to spend our money. The people of California let everyone down in terms of not getting out the vote, but now that we're here, we have to turn our attention to what can be done next.
Complacency is the real enemy. Yes, we can imagine a better future and believe in our leader(s) once again. But we must also believe in ourselves and our own abilities to make a difference in the lives of others and in creating a better collective story for our nation. Remember what Martin Luther King said: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
The path to change is through action, not inaction. It's through daring to hope and then working to change.
Sign a petition to overturn prop 8. Donate what you can. Do what you can. Do more than you can. Go to overturnprop8.com or noonprop8.com to find out what you can do to help.
If my daughter turns to me in 15 years and tells me she's a lesbian, I don't want to have to get out a map and direct her to a state where she can be free to love whoever she loves. I want to give her the map of the United States and say, "Pick a state. Any state. This is America. You will be respected."