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Today in My History

2000:   Advice for Tourists
2001:  The World Changed in an Instant
2002:  Come Fly with Me
2003:  If the Shoe Fits, Buy It
2004I've Gotta Be Out of My Mind

2005:  Madam Sheila

2006: The Hood
2007: When Does It Stop?

Damn Yankees

Books Read in 2008
Updated: 9/10
"I Feel Bad About My Neck" 


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Taking it Back from Iraq, Jack
Herding Cats
The Real McCain - Hoist on His Own Petard
P.A.N.T.H.E.R.S. for Palin
McCain Debates Himself

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The Grand Tour: Sue & Irene

Rominger West Winery

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Airy Persiflage

Bev's 65 x 365


(a guest entry by Ned)

9 October 2008

Fear and paperwork. The two things that rule our society more than anything else. Not necessarily in that order, but still… there are no two things that people are more obsessed with. Fear and paperwork. Fear leads to paperwork, and paperwork nurtures our fears… which generally leads to more paperwork. It’s crazy.
The day my wife and I purchased our home, the lenders, mortgage brokers, notaries and such sat us in a room in front of a huge stack of paperwork. "Sign here," they said. When I picked up that first piece of paper and began to read it they said, "If you want to read everything before you sign it, that’s your prerogative. But let me tell you now, if you don’t sign it you don’t get the house."

Out of fear of continuing to rent for the rest of my life, I stopped reading and started signing. Six years later, I still don’t know what I signed. But I "own" a house, so whatever.
In one of the ultimate acts of fear in my lifetime, a handful of scaredy-cats flew a couple of planes in to the World Trade Center. And when those towers came toppling to the ground, all that remained in the sky were millions of pieces of paper - all with words on them that were apparently important enough to print out and keep on hand – drifting through the air like snowflakes being carried away in the breeze.
The resulting fear has led to so much paperwork it’s mindboggling. And the paperwork has done nothing but create more and more fear to the point that our nation seems to have gone insane. We’ve allowed our leaders to create paperwork that limits our freedoms. We’ve allowed them to create paperwork that has bankrupted the nation. We’ve even allowed them to create paperwork that authorizes unspeakable acts of violence none of us would ever consider doing ourselves. All in the name of giving us a false sense of safety from things we have little or, in most cases, zero control over.
It’s crazy. And it certainly doesn’t look like the world I signed on to when I was born in to it.
Currently, a relatively small group of well-meaning people have placed a piece of fear legislation for our consideration on the ballot this upcoming election. I’m talking about Proposition 8. That’s the one where they want to put an amendment in the California Constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. In other words, they want to create paperwork that excludes some human beings because they fear what might happen if they don’t. And they want it to be the law of the land.
If you are like me, you are so sick of hearing about this subject you’ve considered several ways to take your own life. But here I am, alive and frustrated… being forced to consider it because people are so unable to lighten up, and I fear what the paperwork will do to my loved ones if I actually did take my own life.
I’ve heard all the arguments on both sides ad-nauseam and I know in my gut that this proposition is a bad idea. It does nothing but put up more walls. It divides us as human beings. It nurtures fear and it ignores love.
Frankly, I have an impossible time understanding how people who claim to be devoted to God don’t see it. God is supposed to be of unconditional love. God is infinite. God is inclusive. Proposition 8 is the opposite of all these things. It is unloving, it is limiting, and it is exclusive.
Supporters are so blinded by their fear of the unknown that they throw love out the door in favor trying to control things they really have no control over. Because what most of these people want more than anything is for gay to go away. They want it to not exist. Sure, these days they may articulate it differently… their rhetoric has changed with the flow of the tides. But very fact that places like Exodus International continue to exist is a testament to it. And since they know in their heart of hearts that gay isn’t going away, they do the only thing they can think of: control the paperwork.
Supporters will argue that the conscience of California spoke when a small percentage of Californians passed Proposition 22 so many years ago. But from where I sit, that’s irrelevant because it’s not the case. I know this for a fact because I didn’t vote for or against Proposition 22. I abstained. My conscience was not represented one way or the other. And yes, I do realize it was my own choice, but it doesn't change the fact that I am a born-and-raised Californian, and I grow tired of this small percentage of the state claiming to represent all of us.
When Proposition 22 reared its ugly head I had people from all sides trying to get me on board. But when I stepped back and looked at it objectively, I realized it changed nothing. The day before Prop 22 passed, the state was not issuing marriage licenses to gay people. The day after it passed, the state was not issuing marriage licenses to gay people. Nothing changed. Prop 22 was little more than a symbolic gesture to give a little affirmation to people who fear homosexuality. It felt childish to me. It felt like I was watching a bunch of first graders banding together to pick on the kid with glasses. All Prop 22 did was to give a small percentage of Californians comfort in knowing they aren’t the only bullies in class.
I had more than enough of that back when I was in elementary school so I chose not to participate. I abstained. But I am very confident that if everyone in California had gone to the voting booth and filled out their paperwork to reflect their honest feelings about gay marriage, Prop 22 would have been defeated by a huge margin. But it didn’t matter anyway because nothing changed. And there was no reason to believe that defeating it would have changed anything. I didn't see any point in giving this exercise in futility any of my energy.
But now something has changed. The Supreme Court has ruled that excluding a minority of society from certain rights and benefits simply because they are sexually hardwired differently is unconstitutional. And they are correct about it. It says so right there in the paperwork.
The people who fear homosexuality don’t like that one bit. So they find themselves with two choices: face their fears or change the paperwork. It saddens me greatly that they have chosen the latter. Not only because now I have to get off my butt and vote, but because I expect more from them.
The Yes on 8 campaign has recently begun running a media blitz on TV with a misleading ad full of inaccuracies designed to strike at the heart of people’s fears. Never mind the fact that the information is dishonest, what’s important is to make you afraid of gay marriage.
The ad begins with the image of Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco, standing in front of a crowd celebrating equality for all. He opens his hands and shouts "this door is wide open." The implication being, of course, that gay marriage opens the door for all sorts of crazy things you should be afraid of. I’ve heard the argument so many times I want to explode: Gay marriage opens the door for incest marriage, pedophile marriage, bigamy, and even the possibility of people being able to marry their dog.
I feel it’s important to point out that the rationale is crazy. Because if the rationale is that gay marriage opens that door, then the FACT is that straight marriage started it. If it weren’t for straight marriage, we wouldn’t be talking about gay marriage. So if the door truly is open for bestiality marriage, then it’s straight marriage’s fault, not gay marriage’s fault.
If you’re sitting there thinking that my rationale is ridiculous, you’re correct. Because this whole thing is ridiculous. The economy is collapsing, our young men and women in uniform are dying left and right fighting an un-winnable war, our prisons are bursting at the seams for no reason other than to beef up the coffers of the prison-industrial complex, millions of families can’t afford healthcare, many can't even afford food, and we’re arguing over whether or not two people of the same sex have the right to say "I do" and fill out a form that allows them the security of knowing that the law can’t cheat them out of the promises and commitments they have made to each other.
I’d go on about the inaccuracies and untruths of the rest of the Yes on 8 advertisement, but it’s not really the point. The point is about giving in to fear, rather than embracing love… which is exactly what the Yes on 8 campaign would have us do.
A recent article in the Bee profiled a Sacramento minister who was wrestling with a sermon he was preparing to give. He knew it was a sensitive subject, but felt it important to talk to his congregation from the pulpit about how supporting Prop 8 does not mean we can’t have love in our hearts for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. But I’m not really buying what he’s selling. I believe the reason he found it difficult to prepare is because he unconsciously knows deep in his heart that it’s an impossible position to take. How can one represent a God of unconditional love by taking a position that requires conditions? It’s a form of emotional abuse: "You are not good enough as you are. You are not worthy. But I love you."
I do not see how that is a loving message at all. It does nothing more than give lip service to the idea of love. It is not an act of love. If it were your spouse saying these things to you, you would either remove yourself from their life, or you would be a person with very low self-esteem.
I’m not here to try to convince anyone to change their beliefs. I realize all too well that it’s a losing battle. However, my problem begins and ends when somebody tries to legislate their beliefs in such a way that excludes all human beings from sharing equally. Proposition 8 is not about equality. It’s not about love. It’s the opposite of equality, it’s the opposite of love, and it’s the opposite of everything I was taught that the United States of America represents.
Fear and paperwork. It’s ruling our lives and I am a person who strongly wishes that human beings could overcome it. Gay marriage is only one example. Ever since that tragic event on the morning of September 11, 2001 our nation has embraced fear as never before. And all we seem to be able to do about it is build more walls to keep love out. It’s very, very sad, and my own fear is what the future holds if we stay on this course.
Make no mistake about it. If Prop 8 passes, fear wins again… and love loses. And that is the opposite of God wants for us.
Peace, love and all that mother jazz

Tomorrow's entry will be late...no it's not Cousins Day, but it's Pinata Women day.  Char is picking me up in the morning and we're spending the night at Jeri's house. 


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