How can I be so influential, so powerful yet feel so, oh I don’t know, regular-like? I apparently have the capability, by my mere existence coupled with my love for another woman, to undermine the very underpinnings of our society! Armageddon! “The Call!” Fasting and praying and gnashing of teeth and, I would assume, rending of garments will occur. They love me! They love my actions not. They love me. They love my love…not. Or something like that. Funny, I don’t feel the love. I just don’t. The guy in that video for The Call, with his Monster Truck Rally voice, he wants people to be afraid. Afraid of me and my kind.
Of course, I am fully aware of the perceived threat that certain people see when we homos want to get hitched. We are “the other,” and every fear movement needs an Other. Tag, I'm it. Sincere-looking folk in an ad act out a potential scenario if Proposition 8 is not passed. “I learned in school today that I can marry another princess!” says the excited little girl, to the consternation of her mother. In another, a child holds a book titled “King and King,” with a fairytale looking cover. Presumably this is about two kings who go into battle against one another, but somehow, during the heat and sweat of battle, their eyes meet though the slits of their armored helmets and they fall madly in love. They meet secretly behind the barracks at night and at midday they frolic among the flowers in nothing but their nightshirts. All of this undoubtedly culminates in a grand wedding when the two kings can finally come out, so to speak, and profess their love. Oh the horror.
So a few days ago I received my third Yes on 8 call. Like the first two it was a voice mail message from a live person. This one had the number in my missed calls directory. Should I call her back and give her a stinging yet rational verbal thrashing, my inner voice asked? It was 10:45 at night but I had seen a flyer earlier in the day for an anti-Obama rally to be held at the local Democratic HQ. The headline on the flyer said “Obama Supports the Murder of Children.” This was emailed to me from a local 40 Days for Life organizer. I had signed up for opposition emails and quickly learned that instead of feeling smug and clever, the emails I received simply fueled my tinderbox of anger and outrage. Then I saw the video from “The Call,” the fundamentalist movement that features huge gatherings of True Believers in stadiums, whipped into frenzied ecstasies of Jesusmania by manipulative megalomaniacs. Apparently, because of me, the fate of the nation is at stake. I pushed the call back button on the phone...
A woman answered and, head throbbing, I asked for “Anne.” “This is Anne...” said a tentative voice. I proceeded to tell her how I had received three (Three!) calls urging me to vote for Prop 8, that it was personally offensive to me and to please remove me at once from her list of numbers, madame! As I prepared to reload, she meekly said “Oh, I...I'm sorry, I didn't know...” Dammit. Thwarted by her lack of enthusiasm for engaging me in a lively debate in which she would be hopelessly overpowered by my superior intellect and reasoning, I ratcheted down a bit. “You know, this proposition has nothing to do with teaching children about marriage. There is no requirement to teach marriage of any kind, so that's not honest.” “I don't..I'm not really familiar with the politics...so...” WTF? “OK, well, you know, I don't understand why you feel gay marriage is a threat to your marriage. My parents are straight, my sisters too and they are very secure in their relationships and sense of family. They support me and whoever I want to marry. Don't you feel secure enough, is that why you want to make these calls?” “I guess I never thought of that...I don't know; I'm sorry...” Damn. I proceeded to explain that this initiative was personally upsetting to me, and hurtful. She apologized again. Where was the wrath, the hellfire raining down? I was a little disappointed. I was itching for a fight. We said goodnight, hung up. Weird. I felt sort of sorry for her, for a minute or so. She was clearly a sheep, following the staff of her church leader who probably handed his flock a script and sent them on their holy mission to save the US of A.
It's possible that I am not giving this woman enough credit for her true beliefs. Just because she seemed human and sensitive and a little dim does not mean that her actions are not dangerous. It is sheep like this who go into the voting booths, who carry out the orders of their charismatic (read: intimidating) leaders. They may be even more dangerous because they are the next door neighbor, the coworker we yuk it up with at break time or someone we chat with while on the bus. Unassuming, like a sleeper cell. That is how they think about gay and lesbian people. That we are laying in wait for their children, that we will corrupt the nation and destroy “their” way of life. The obvious thing, to me and so many like me, is that all we really want is the same way of life. To go to work, enjoy our friends and families, chat with our neighbor about the weather, have a beer while watching TV and walk our dog each night. Some of us even go to churches that welcome us, relationships and all. Is something so mundane worth fighting for? Of course. That is why one-on-one dialogue is so important. Like with Anne. Maybe I didn't change her vote. But if I made her doubt her commitment to eliminating my right to live the same kind of life as everyone else, well, that's a start.