As we all know, it's a sad day for liberal America. Eleven states passed gay marriage bans (even Oregon!), Congress is firmly Republican territory, and we have Bush in the White House for four more years.
Josef and I last night went to an Election Day get-together at our friend Ryan's house, and we had a good time. Needless to say, when I first arrived, the immediate item of business was getting me good and tipsy, because that's how I had planned for this all along. We met some wonderful, liberal people, and we had a nice time talking about how absolutely idiotic Republicans are. On the bright side of things, we had some very nice results for some of our local Portland, Oregon elections, including mayor and city council.
But I digress. When we left Ryan's house last night, it was clear that Oregon's same-sex marriage ban was going to pass, and that Bush was going to be winning the White House, barring some unforseen--fortunate--catastrophe. On the drive home, I went on a drunken rant about things, and as I had expected, I started crying. Perhaps crying isn't the correct word; I was weeping. Sobbing. I haven't cried this much in I don't know how long. It was a very sad night.
Upon waking up with an unfortunate hangover, I decided that things had to be done. I casted my vote. I volunteered my time and energies into this election. I talked with people. I was an activist for Kerry, for gay marriage, and all that good stuff. Things didn't work out how we would have liked, though. So that means I have to personally take things to the next step. There are several steps that Josef and I will both be taking, and I hope you'll consider that, too:
Step #1: Money, money, money. Here's the deal, kids. We have the power to vote every day of our lives, and it's with every dollar we spend. America is NOT supportive of us or our way of life, nor do they consider us equal to them (if you dispute that, look at how all the anti-gay initiatives passed; if you still don't see it, you're a Republican). Our civil duty now is to support those around us who are going to support us in return. That means supporting gay/gay-friendly merchants as much as you can. That means supporting gay/gay-friendly causes like the AIDS Walk. That means supporting gay/gay-friendly charities and boycotting those who are not friendly. The American Red Cross, for example does not allow gay men who have had sex with another man--which is all of us gay men--to donate blood. Why? It comes from an antiquated fear that only gay men had AIDS, and they refuse to change that policy.
Step #2: Socialize, socialize, socialize. Or in some cases, don't. Over half of America is against us, kids. I'm usually a very tolerant guy, but this is just ridiculous. I refuse to be the modern poster gay man any longer. I'm finished educating people. With the way things are going now, people are saying loud and clear that they don't WANT to be educated, thus this current trend to conservatism. In that case, I don't want to have anything to do with these people. They don't want to listen to my stories. To OUR stories. These people don't give a shit about what happens to us. We have *NOTHING* to learn from them except their "traditional" values, and those "traditional" values are not in our best interests. That is why we must do everything in our power NOT to have anything to do with these people.
Step #3: Bitch, bitch, bitch. I just saw W's acceptance speech a few minutes ago, and of course, I'm disgusted. He talks of hope, a new opportunity, and all that jazz, but what he speaks of is exactly what we DON'T have going into this election. I've lost all hope. I've lost the opportunity to get married to the love of my life. As GLBT Americans, we are the disenfranchised bastard children of our country. The only power we have until the next election is to do two things: hold Bush accountable for what he's done (or not done), and bitch as much as we can when shit hits the fan, because let's face it kids, it will. Big time.
Step #4: Just do it! Now's the time to get involved with local politics. As I've pontificated before, local politics affect us *directly* the most, and so we need to start doing what we can to make each of our lives enjoyable, not something to begrudgingly get through. There are lots of great opportunities--especially in Metro areas--to get involved, and I'd suggest doing it. Volunteer somewhere. Help make a difference in your life, and if not for you, then for someone you love.
Kids, we're in for a rough ride. The Republicans say that they're going to reach out to us. But what they REALLY mean to say is they're going to try and convince us that they're right and we're not. Period. The only way they're ever going to make any progress is if they realize that they DO NOT have the monopoly in morality, plain and simple. Just like them, we have a vested interest in our society's morals. Once they realize that, in fact, we don't have an "agenda" other than trying to achieve equality, then we can start to make progress. But we must stand firm in our positions, because they are right, and we are right for believing in them.
I'll invoke the words of Thomas Jefferson, an all-around respected founding father of our once-great country: The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time. At the same time, the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.
Truly powerful words from someone who, I'm confident, is spinning in his grave seeing what's gone on in this country. Keep in mind, we are not looked at as equal citizens. We are looked at as a populace to be dealt with, not a populace to live harmoniously with. We must do everything within our power to make sure that we are not trampled all over these next four years. I highly suggest finding (peaceful) ways to revolt, because we are, indeed, in a culture war. I've heard of at least one individual who's not going to pay taxes because he feels that since he's not equally being treated as a heterosexual, upper-middle class, white man, he ought not to pay for a government that is so against him. You're all creative people, find something to fight with in this culture war and use it. Fight with your money, your words, your non-violent actions. But for everybody's sake, fight.