Now that the Election is Over: a Call to Reflection - and Action
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Well, it was one for the history books, but now its over! By the time you read this, George W. Bush will have become, deservedly or otherwise, our president. Although he won a substantial minority of the lesbigay/transgendered vote, for most of us, myself included, his election represents one that we lost. Im not surprised. The White House has been going back and forth between Democrats and Republicans long before we were born, and probably will still be long after we are gone.
Looking for a scapegoat for the results of the recent election? First of all, if you didnt exercise your right to vote, blame yourself! If you did, blame President Clinton. Im thoroughly disgusted with his lying. A share of the blame also falls to Vice President Gore. The election was his to lose, and lose it he did!
Be that as it may, we have lost a president who if not really our friend at least wanted our votes, and gained one who if not our enemy at least very much wants the continued support of folks who really dont like us! I suspect, however, in the long run the results will be relatively limited.
Despite some voices of alarm and borderline (?) paranoia raised from within our community, we are NOT going to concentration camps. Folks, Vice President Cheney has an openly lesbian daughter with whom he maintains a good relationship. The gradual move toward a more secular society will continue, and we will eventually catch up with Western Europe as a more tolerant, inclusive society. The only reason we are behind them to begin with is that Europe for centuries dumped its unwanted religious fanatics here.
Here are some suggestions for weathering the next few years. I am endeavoring to present a variety of alternatives appealing to lesbigay/trans individuals of varying theologies, ethical systems, and political affiliations. Certainly no one can do them all, but all of us can do some of them.
First of all, look out for number one. If you are living in an intolerant community which looks likely to get worse, get out! You are ultimately responsible for your own well-being. On that, I can actually agree with the Republicans. I know a gentleman in Eastern Kentucky who moved back from a pleasant life in Florida to look after his aging parents. He is now isolated and gets to listen to their hellfire preaching every day. Respect is a two-way street, folks. Help your family if you can, but not at that price!
I read once that lesbigay/trans individuals and couples control at least a quarter of the disposable income in this country. Since we tend to be urban, well-educated, and childless, I can believe it. Take some of that money and send it to your local lesbigay/trans organization. Then join the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Civil Liberties Union...If all you do is bellyache about the current political situation while doing nothing about it, dont expect me to waste my time listening to you! While our community will weather the storm, reproductive rights are probably in much more trouble. Would you be willing to give money each month to ensure that women wishing to terminate a pregnancy can afford to travel to where they may do so safely and legally? There are many minority communities outside our own who represent potential allies, and now is the time to start reaching out.
If you TRULY feel that your life is in danger, then buy a gun and bullets and learn to use your firearm responsibly and safely. You have a right to defend yourself. If it became widely know that lots of us had concealed-carry permits, you can bet the gay-bashers would think twice. OK, I just came out of the closet; Im NOT a pacifist and Im against gun control! Plus, if things get REALLY ugly, an armed community is a much less attractive target. If someone tries to deprive you of your life, liberty and/or pursuit of happiness (i.e. your constitutional rights) you have a moral right, perhaps even an obligation, to defend them, by deadly force as a last resort. I dont think well ever have to take up arms against our countrys police or armed forces come to get us, but if YOU do, then get ready! Send that martyrdom B.S. back to the churches where it came from and where it belongs!
As for the ongoing AIDS epidemic, I suspect research will continue unabated, if for no other reason than that it is rapidly moving away from being a "gay disease" in this country. In the meanwhile, protect yourself and your partner(s) by practicing safer sex, and encourage others to do likewise. Many young gay males are engaged in high-risk behavior. I recently chewed out a young "barebacker" with "if you want to kill yourself that is ultimately your right and your business, but how can you reconcile the fact you are going to take a lot of other people with you with your spiritual beliefs?" May not do much good, but I gave it my best shot.
Finally, quit supporting the bigots. If every gay or bi Catholic priest and bishop, celibate or otherwise (and before I turned Heathen I knew plenty in both categories), put down his chalice, walked away from the altar, and told why, that institution, arguably one of our biggest and most powerful enemies, would lose much of its power. If every lesbigay/transgendered member of an anti-gay religious group resigned and took his/her money, time, and talent elsewhere, those denominations would lose a LOT and get a HUGE wake-up call! My partner and I have agreed never to move to a state with an anti-sodomy law. If all of us left them and moved to where we are at least halfway appreciated, the backwaters would pay through the nose economically and culturally and more tolerant states benefit correspondingly.
Dare to live as an openly lesbigay/trans and civic-minded individual in what is still and almost certainly will remain one of historys freest and most prosperous nations, and you will not only be contributing to your own well-being, but also be passing on the precious gift of greater freedom to those who will come after us!
24 December Y2K
last modified 07/21/2003