Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We should all be personally offended now and again.

It means that we care about something. It means we aren't going about life as zombies. As a librarian I'm happy to direct you toward topics that personally offend me when you ask for them. I don't impose my personal ideologies upon you, in fact, when I'm at the library I'm not even going to tell you WHAT I think, personally, about ANY topic - save whether that novel over there is worth your time or not. You can bait me and try your darndest to engage me in your personal belief system all you want - I won't bite when I'm at the library. Many (many) tried in this past political season. I won't even agree with you when I agree with you. It's not going to happen.

All of this is fine and well - any librarian worth her salt should do the same. And while I have no intention of turning this blog into a mouthpiece for my politics, this has always served as my outlet. I need that outlet now, but in a different way than usual. It took a week for my elation of finally voting for the winner in a presidential election to wear off and the horror, again, at the perversion of civil rights by voters to set in. I still read coverage of The Transition with joy, but that joy no longer overcomes how heartbroken I am at the fact that what amounts to personal offense overriding civil rights.

If they had voted in the 50's about integration, would it have passed?
If they had voted then about interracial marriage, would it have passed?

When I boil down freedom, the basis of our government, to its core, its very essence, I believe that a person can do whatever they want to do as long as it does not impinge on another's rights. And here's where some of you and I are bound to disagree: I do not believe that same-sex marriage is harmful to anyone. You can send me as many articles and biased studies as you want, I will never agree with you. Be personally offended all you want about the "homosexual lifestyle", but I will never believe that a gay couple's right to be legally recognized as MARRIED will negatively affect your life. You'll go on living the exact same way you did before. Your 50% chance of marital success will be the same.

We aren't supposed to legislate just because something offends us. Not when it doesn't harm. Same-sex marriage will not erode "traditional" marriage any more than interracial marriage eroded same-race marriages. Let's disregard what the talking heads tell you and what they expound in the pulpit. Let's make it personal - because it is personal. It's not abstract. THINK about what you believe and why you believe it. Make up your own mind. Consider what you would take away. And what it means to those you would directly affect because you are indirectly, personally, offended.

I know some of you reading this don't agree with me. That's ok. If you've gotten this far, I applaud you. I don't think you are the enemy. I hope you don't think I'm yours, and that we can peacefully agree to disagree on this one. Sometimes we can vote in change. Sometimes social change has to be thrust upon us.

What I'll be doing on Saturday.

It'll be my first rally/protest ever.

For my cousins.
For my friends.
For civil rights.

*"Not Equal Sign" image stolen from James Price's striking entry here.


Unknown said...

Right on Jackie! I feel the same- heartbroken really is the only word. My favorite part of this post is "THINK about what you believe and why you believe it." So meaningful and important- thank you.

Charlotte said...

good for you, Jackie!

tanita✿davis said...

Wow, Jac!
I hope the rally is everything you expect and more.

Sarah Rettger said...

The first same-sex marriages in Connecticut took place yesterday, and it was so moving to hear NPR's piece on the event. Good for you, Jackie!

Anonymous said...

So eloquent, Jackie. You rock on so many levels of the awesome scale.

I just don't get what's to be so afraid of. And what's stopping up the empathy pathways in people's brains.

1) I feel that my parents are good, caring people.
2) I know that they would vote against gay marriage.

I am unable to reconcile these two things.

I have some other thoughts, too, but I keep deleting them because they're coming out all mushy and confusey. Rather than trying to write it all out coherently, rationale included, I'll just reduce it to two unsupported statements:

It's all about empathy.

It must be getting better.

Librarianguish said...

First, I have to say that I can *hear* you saying all of this to me as I read it, and I love that!

Second, I am in total agreement with you. However, I believe that if "marriage" is truly a religious institution, then it should be recognized as such - that seems to be the big argument from the "sanctity" of marriage folks, anyways.

But note that there are a great deal of governmental, very secular "rights" that are bestowed upon couples once they tie the knot, as it were. Tax breaks, hospital visitation rights, etc. If I'm not mistaken, those have nothing to do with religion. Therefore, any loving couple that wishes to form a legal bond should be allowed to do so.

It gets very muddled, but in the end, I think people should be able to have all of the "rights" of a couple, no matter who they choose to love. Because really, isn't THAT what marriage is really about?


Mandy S. said...

this post is made of awesome!!!

Jackie Parker said...

Thanks guys, for being so supportive! It was a step into largely uncharted territory for me and my blog and I feel grateful for having such nice readers!

Anna said...

This is a wonderful post. I come from a very religious family (my grandfather is a preacher) and our religion goes against gay marriage. However, I don't see what the big problem is about it. I'm personally fine with it - whatever makes you happy, ya know?

This is a wonderful post!


Alan Gratz said...

Hear, hear. I couldn't agree with you more, Jackie. Gay rights is the civil rights battle of our generation, and these referenda prove we still have a long, long way to go.

And I too struggle with whether or not to use my author blog to talk about my politics, so I know what a decision this was for you. I applaud your courage and your conviction.

Jackie Parker said...

Thanks Hope, thank you Alan.

Alan, I don't know if there's a right way to do it or not. Sure, there's always a chance you'll turn readers off, but if they are that easily scared away, then, I don't know. In your case they probably wouldn't like your Horatio series anyway, what with those teens actin' badly.

But it would be sad if they didn't ever pick up The Brooklyn Nine, 'cause that one is timeless and for everyone. Does venturing out into middle grade change things? Does it all depend on who you want your audience to be? All these questions, and no answers.