Don’t Tell Me About Prop 8

Posted: 23 October 2008 in bitter old woman, other folks, propaganda, queerlife, you've got to be kidding

No, really. 

Maybe I’m just soaked in politics and the Prop 8 hype has sent me overboard.  You heard me.  I said hype.  It’s not that I’m not for it – voting no on Prop 8, that is.  I’m totally for?  against?  Prop 8.  I’m whatever the good gay population of the U.S. should be.  Against.  I’m for it.  Confusion aside (and I’m actually kidding about being confused.  It’s crap, Prop 8, and if you’re a California resident, you should be informed enough to vote properly.), I’m just amazed at the overblown reaction.

I don’t expect you to agree with me.  You’re probably, oh I’m totally donating to Prop 8 right now!   I hope you do.  And then I hope you match it in Connecticut and Arizona and Florida.  Because there are other states with the same challenges.  And just because we all love the glossy, golden skin and sparkling wit of California, doesn’t mean that the gay rights battles aren’t important in the rest of the country, too.   I’ll admit, I was delighted to see Ellen pony up for an anti-Prop 8 commercial.  I enjoyed the clever YouTube Mac/PC take-off starring a truly hot constitution.  But I think, for me, the turning point was the blogger effort to pull donations. 

I must not have a wide enough pool to read.  Of the 177 blogs that hit my reader, at least four of them are either participating in or promoting 8 against 8.  No, I’m not linking to it.  It’s not that I don’t support donations, I just think it’s…trendy…to hop on the Prop 8 bandwagon.  Politics are personal, complicated, powerful.  I do think it’s important to back causes you support, whether it’s financially or through personal action.  But I think it becomes trendy when, instead of supporting your own state, or the state nearest you, or the state that needs the most help (in this case, maybe Arizona?)  you throw your weight behind the cause everyone else is supporting. 

Celebrities are trendy and intoxicating, I know.  But California isn’t going to sway the rest of the country.  Massachusetts couldn’t.  Connecticut hasn’t.  They are bricks in a tower – an awesome, spectacular, glistening, perfect, wonderful, important tower – but they can’t stand alone.  The rest of the country needs the support as much, maybe more, than California with its rich, left-leaning advocates. 

Why not gather donations for a central pot to fight propositions like this in every state?  Why not fight for human rights in Arizona?  Connecticut?  Florida?  Why not focus on political movements in your own states – New York, New Jersey, Georgia – and get pro-human rights agendas moving?  Move past California (unless you live there).  And for pete’s sake, stop telling me about Prop 8.

  1. hahnathome says:

    You came up in my Google alert. I am one of the 8. Just wanted to mention a couple things. I am a Californian. This issue is very dear to me. So are a couple of other issues – including Prop 4, which I’ve also posted about. I’ve also written about FL, AZ at a blog to which I contribute with a much greater readership than mine. I’ve blogged about FL, AZ, and CT on my own blog.

    I don’t take offense to your assertion we’re doing something trendy because your opinion doesn’t matter to me unless it keeps people from donating to the cause (of their choice).

    California’s battle is greatly influential to the rest of the country and because it has shown those against us the power of those outside of its state borders. The millions and millions pouring in from out-of-state interests has shifted the potential outcome in the direction of a Yes win – it’s going to be too close to call. They’ve rallied their supporters and done excellent organizing – taking, I think, many of us off guard. To stem that tide, perhaps I needed that kick in the pants to get going with something bigger than sticking a sign in my yard.

    And, why do these out-of-state interests feel this way? Because they know that California does in fact wield great influence. The relatively small numbers of married folks in MA, etc. do not have the great potential to fan out across the US wanting those rights recognized in states without gay marriage in the numbers that California has – their towers will most assuredly crumble. That’s what scares them most. We set the bar higher for civil rights, civil liberties, and social causes. Sometimes we go overboard, but it’s pretty great being a Californian generally.

    I’m incredibly amazed at the power of the blog and its ability to help such causes. We’ve raised nearly $10,000 in 4 days. AZ, FL, and CT also have fundraising efforts going, I hope people in those states take action similar to what I have because I know it works. Like you, who seems to care so much – go for it – it can work.

    I have made donations to other causes in other states through the HRC. I will continue to do so, but this is my focus – this is my cause – and my right.

  2. backlist says:

    I’m delighted that someone who is IN California is trying to make a difference. I think my ire is at the bloggers who aren’t supporting issues in their own states so that they can hop on the Prop 8 bandwagon. I’m the first to admit that I’m politic-ed out and, quite probably, wrong about California’s immense power to change the world. I lived in San Francisco. It’s my soul’s home. I want to believe it. But I don’t want it to be an excuse for upping blog stats, ignoring more conservative states that could REALLY use the financial help, and abandoning unpopular causes. That said, I’ll take a second to support Uncouth Heathen over at She isn’t in California but donated anyway and for personal cause. Thank goodness she had the right to offset some of the damage. I hope I have the opportunity to do the same in Virgina someday.

  3. riese says:

    Well, you know, we tried to get 102 bloggers together for No on 102, but there just weren’t enough trendy people available.

    By accusing no on 8 supporters of choosing their cause out of a desire to be “trendy,” you are undermining the platform itself. The last thing we should be doing right now is eating our own — it’s this kind of divisiveness and name-calling that has been the undoing of Civil Rights groups throughout this century. It’s not productive and it’s not helpful.

    Certainly the fact that I can’t sponsor a child in every country that needs help shouldn’t stop me from sponsoring one.

    It’s insulting — and perhaps, more revelatory of your feelings than of ours — to assume that anyone involved in this effort has chosen it because it is “trendy.” It was started by California residents and as a New Yorker, I have heaps of friends in California. If I don’t end up living here in a few years, I’ll probably end up living there, ’cause that’s where my industry is. My best friend lives there so I’ve been aware of the cause for a long time now. But that’s not really the point.

    Because Los Angeles is in California, you’re going to have a big Hollywood involvement. That supports the other side too — they have actual people to attack personally in California in a way that’s not so simple in other, less visible states. I think we should do our best to see this as a good thing. California is a big state, with a lot of votes, and they can set trends for the rest of the country — the state is so gigantic and diverse that its opinions represent more of a slice of the overall population than the population of smaller states (even NY, the one I live in, or Michigan, the one I’m from) really can.

    If we start pointing fingers and name-calling when people do band together for a specific cause and generate power for it, we are making the taking of such stands increasingly intimidating. Gay rights and women’s rights activists especially are intimidated by the pressure to be wholly inclusive but supporting every single cause that falls under a larger umbrella just isn’t realistic or practical. All we can really do is try to funnel as much strength as we realistically can into the specific causes in specific states that are, for whatever reason, near & dear to us, and hope that similar grassroots efforts take place for other specific causes. We’ve all linked to Prop 102 and Prop 2 websites and mentioned their causes. It’s the little things — feeding one child is better than feeding no children, yes? — that get the ball rolling for the bigger things. As long as no cause is supported at the expense of other causes, I don’t see how it’s even possible to be upset at anyone for doing what they can for one specific cause.

    So please. Now, more than ever, we need to be unified and supportive of everyone to the best of our abilities. Encouraging divisiveness and questioning motives doesn’t get us anywhere except upset. Let’s not let the divisions within a larger community be the downfall of this movement, too.

    Also, my trendy haircut grew out in like April, so I’m totes not even trendy anymore, I’m just like everyone else. Jeez. Ok gotta go ride my bicycle to the vegan supermarket now to go see my friends with the bangs and the rock and roll. Damn the man, save the empire!

  4. backlist says:

    Props for riding your bike! I stand by my statements, but recognize that the sensitivity of the situation makes it hard to see things objectively. I’m delighted you’re supporting Prop 102 -unfortunately, I think there are far too many people who don’t pay attention unless a celebrity says they should. After having lived in places where expressing an opinion would get you killed, let alone be seen as divisive, I’m particularly glad we’re both able to exercise the right to express ours.

  5. It boggles my mind that no one is SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS:

    “It is NOT acceptable to have a fundamental right UP FOR A VOTE.”

    “It is NOT acceptable to have FUNDRAISERS to either PURCHASE a civil right OR to EXCLUDE American families FROM a civil right.”

    “Children are hurt by Marriage Inequality.”

    (the Christian Right thinks their children will be “traumatized” when faced with the REALITY of the existence of LGBT families; they have no idea what cruel traumas their family COULD experience if they lacked the rights & protections of civil marriage).

    Oh yeah, and also “No Taxation Will Happen UNTIL Representation”.

  6. backlist says:

    John, I absolutely agree.

  7. riese says:

    Yeah, I see what you’re saying, though I stand by my comments too … 🙂

    But it is also kinda cool that we’re at a place in culture where celebrities will come out at all, let alone come out for a cause — and that straight celebs will pitch in too. I dunno. I think that’s kinda magical as well.

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