Friday, November 14, 2008

Pressure Valve

I’ve been trying to move on from Proposition 8, really; or at least I hoped to. It’s not been easy; there are lasting changes. In my extended family, there are now serious fissures to the point where legal documents have been changed and our holiday celebrations are probably not going to ever be what they once were. There’s probably no sense in focusing on that, though; it’s done and not by me.

I really have been trying to put it behind us in our personal lives and move on with it in our politically lives, but it's not happening; to put it behind us now seems to mean that it would merely be chasing us.

For example, the boys were with my dad the other day and my dad got into an argument with a LDS man about Prop 8. Goodness only knows how my dad can find a way into such debates with strangers but he’s a vocal advocate, and has never been the type of man to back away from the good fight. He heard this guy talking bad about our families, and my dad spoke up for us. I guess this guy eventually said that we are not a family, we are not married, that we are mentally ill, and that our boys wouldn’t be alive if not for a “real family”, and, sadly, I know this because that’s what Brian related to me about the incident. It’s tough to hold a calm face wile adsorbing something so horrible; thank goodness we were talking while I was driving. Brian also said this man said he loved us; that absolves the guy, huh? I’m sure it made him feel better, but what an awful lesson to teach about “love”.

We just talked about how silly some people can be. We talked again about how most families are like us in their love and dedication and daily life, but also how we’re different in the boy/girl ratio; he brought up how other families are different for their divorce, again, and we talked again about that…

For the first time, though, I had to really have a conversation with him about the people who don’t like our family’s difference. I couldn’t honestly deny that he heard right; he was sure of what he heard. Some people don’t think we’re a family, but, as I told him, we know what’s in our hearts and they do not.

This was probably the first time I had to go into the fact that adults can be cruel too, about anything. So far adults in his world have been above even the petty name-calling you’d see in 1st graders. They have only been friendly to him and us, as far as he knew. But that bit of innocence has been lost now and the fact that adults can be cruel and just for stuff like biological sex is now loose in his ever churning mind, as it is for too many children in this world.

Furthermore, I’m glad we have my father’s support but am troubled that grandpa didn’t get the boys out of there before such careless words for our family were used. You just cannot argue with most of the people who are against our rights without them saying something cruel about our families, and they’ll even feel they’re being civil while they do it. I wish I had talked about this with my dad before; I just assumed he knew what this battlefield was like and I shouldn’t have. It’s bizarre and maybe it was unexpected to my dad that they’ll ask for our civility and respect without giving it, nevertheless we still need to protect our kids and so I ended up having to have a strange talk with my parents. Fortunately they are some of our best friends as well as parents and they understood, but I hated to have to say that there are times to retreat from defending us.

I’m glad for once, though, to say Alan listens to such talk between adults as intently as he listens to being asked to clean his room. Though Brian pays close attention, I’m also glad to say he seems to regard this encounter like one would regard a crazy guy on the street yelling at a fire hydrant. But how long until one of our opponents goes beyond this point with our kids there, a point which is already well past common decency?

I’m back in defensive mode again, nonetheless. I’m feeling like this can’t be put behind us; as others have said, something has changed. From here on the pressure will only build as our families grow and make their way through the schools; it will build as our children marry your children. It will build until something breaks, but no one will stop fighting for their family, and maybe no one will stop fighting for a faith that another man's family should be legally less than theirs. I just worry when something gives, it won't be pretty.

Okay, I'm upset and I'm officially at the rambling point. But just consider the white powder incident, the burning of an anti-prop 8 sign, acts of vandalism on the anti-8 side. Consider words like this, from Ron Prentice, chairman of, meant to mislead minorities into fighting each other:

"Tragically, some opponents of Prop. 8 who claim to cherish tolerance and civil rights are unabashedly trampling on the rights of others. Protests and boycotts have taken place against a Hispanic restaurant owner in Los Angeles, African American religious leaders in the Bay Area, and a musical theater director in Sacramento, among many others."

For the record Mr. Prentice, free speech, marching in public streets, and even boycotts are not violations of your rights. You know that, though, don't you? This is just some PR game for you. You're not saying the civil rights movements of times past were conducted by those who "claim to cherish tolerance and civil rights" but were "unabashedly trampling on the rights of others" with their boycotts and protests, right? If we were to, say, vote to make your marriages illegal, you'd have a case, but this is just a shameful attempt to stoke hatred and get groups that have been traditionally held down to hold each other down.

I mean, just look at how ugly it is both when you zoom in and out. How does it find an end? And is this calming down or revving up? Wish I knew.


Amanda said...

Oh, I feel for you beyond measure. I had my own little breakdown yesterday when I found out a good friend of mine, who had always stuck up for marriage rights before, decided to follow the prophet and turn against all of her gay friends. I know some people have said it's time to give up, but it's not. I can't put this behind me, and it doesn't even directly affect my family.

Scott said...

Interesting how someone who believes that the welfare of children is of the utmost importance can stand right in front of a kid and tell him that his family is a sham and that his parents are insane.

I keep trying to convince myself that these idiots are the vocal minority and that most members of the Church are kinder and more compassionate, but the more stories like this I hear the harder it gets to make myself believe it. said...

Hmm, Brians perceptive isn't he?

To be honest, I wouldn't know what to say or do but what has ignited in me is actually finding out more on a historical level about the Mormons.

Obv because I'm not American and Britain is very, very conservative BUT not fundemental. Heck and DOH!-of course this was why your forefathers left!

I'm being slow...but anyhow, i'm going to get researching because it would be interesting to undetstand this religion-that may even see itself as a race...?(very nordic looking) but also that soooo many people are Mormons!? And it's structure? It incites such faithfullness and loyalty...not like Chritianity which can be worshipped a little here...a little there...

But with Mormons; you have ALL sorts who will do everything for the church-be it 'normal folk' or 'hollywood actors from indie controversial films (the guy from napoleon dynamite-who knew!)...

Is it like budhism...? Have a beauty? a comforting way of life?

Like I said, I'm from the UK-so I may seem clueless but there's more to me knowing the basics of American religion then truly understanding a way of life for a type of people..

Scot-by any chance have a thesis lying around??


Guy said...

Oh, Scot, my heart ached and eyes watered at the thought of your boys having to experience that and lose that bit of innocence. The other night Emma woke up from a terrible nightmare, having dreamed that her daddies and the daddies of her closest friends, twin boys her age, had been "stolen" from them. She's been waking up with bad dreams and crawling in bed with us far more since the election, somehow sensing the precariousness our families feel right now, I believe.So sad. :(

Ophidimancer said...

While I don't condone the violence and vandalism, how can people not understand that it's OUR FAMILIES that are under attack here and that this can make us a bit edgy?

How deluded can people be to think that we'd somehow see this as "the best"

robert said...

I too have been researching Mormon theology and the sociological issues which contribute to a desire to belong to such an institution in spite of its rhetoric and actions. It does appear that the family bonding in the Church creates a strength of faith which makes leaving the institution much, much harder than other Christian denominations. I think this contributes to some peoples' perspectives that it is a "cult". I could not imagine staying in such a faith if I were Scott. But, of course, I'm not. And I respect his reasons for obedience whatever they me be...but if it hurts his children, I do not see a future there.

Scot said...

(Doh! My spouse should never use my computer :-). Anyway...)

I'm sorry about your friend amanda.

"I know some people have said it's time to give up, but it's not. I can't put this behind me, and it doesn't even directly affect my family."

That's just it. There's no giving up.

Scott, it is odd; at least he said "mentally ill" which wasn't in the boys' list of familiar terms.

"Heck and DOH!-of course this was why your forefathers left! "


I posted, here, a bit on what I think others interacting with the LDS on a political level for the first time should know, for what it's worth.

"Scot-by any chance have a thesis lying around??"

Yeah, but they're extremely long and tedious, having more to do with chemistry than politics. :-)

Guy: "The other night Emma woke up from a terrible nightmare, having dreamed that her daddies and the daddies of her closest friends, twin boys her age, had been "stolen" from them."

Oh Guy, that's gotta hurt. I'm glad our boys haven't really grasped what it could mean in the other side's belief that we shouldn't even be our children's parents.

I occasionally have a similar dream though; but in mine I was sent to prison and the children were sent to the women's prison... you know, so that they could have a mom.

"how can people not understand that it's OUR FAMILIES that are under attack here and that this can make us a bit edgy?"

You know, at first I thought their surprise at the response was just some PR position. But I'm beginning to wonder if those spokes people genuinely do not see what they are doing to our families.

This made me think of a good chunk of my past (and I will ramble :-)). I spent a couple years as what one might call a fundamentalist skeptic, actively trying to debunk every supernatural belief I could find from astrology, to biblical infallibility, to dowsing in the people I knew (e.g.). But the problem I found is that many people don't believe in, say, astrology because it's true or they have proof; they do it because it works. It doesn't predict the future in the sense a scientist would say astrology works, but it gives them what they want for their lives, a calming sense of understanding and control. I used to enjoy that from the supernatural too. So I decided that, in my personal life, I'd try to only confront the beliefs of others when I saw them producing harm outside of the person holding them.

I suspect now that a person could be LDS or an astrologist or whatever and enjoy what they get from it without letting it spill over into creating harm in the lives of others. I know those who do so. Specifically, regardless of if the LDS faith is true or no, I think Scott and his wife are good people who can hold such a faith responsibly. I think they are exceptional in that regard. I just wish this was one of those times when it made no sense to debate the supernatural with the average adherent.