My Darling Kleinheider has written a rebuttal to all my criticism of the past couple of days*, and in the interests of fairness, I point you to it.
He says one thing, though, which I feel I must address:
Brittney and Aunt B. seem to take political thought rather personally as though it were some affront to them personally or their loved ones.
I want to talk about it, just a second, because it reminds me of the time when W. stumbled upon male privilege. In other words, it’s not as if y’all aren’t familiar with the concepts that drive the kinds of feminist philosophies that Brittney and I share in common, even if you can’t name them. That pleases me.
So, yes, sweet Kleinheider, Brittney and I do take political thought rather personally. We don’t run around advocating a worldview that teaches, in part, that the personal is political just because it looks good on posters. We do it because we believe it.
I can’t speak for Brittney, but god damn! What other reason is there to care about things like gay rights or confronting racism or fighting sexism or whatever except that the stakes are so high and affect people we love?
Why would anyone give two shits about politics if you didn’t know that your very freedoms were at stake?
And once you know that they are, that it’s your ability to live free and happy up for discussion, how can you not be passionate and angry and heart-broken?
Kleinheider, here’s the thing. I think you’re incredibly smart and deeply thoughtful. Even when I disagree with you, I respect that you’ve reached your position after a great deal of consideration.
And, right or wrong, I consider myself your peer and think that you consider me as such as well.
And I’d like to believe that, if you knew I was suffering, you’d not purposefully add to it.
I have friends who are gay, some of my oldest, dearest friends in the whole world are gay. And I love them like you love old friends and my friends want what most people want, to find someone to settle down with and make a family with, even if that family is just the two of them. They want to be able to care for each other fully. They want to leave things to each other when they die. They just want the security that comes from being married.
And they can’t have that.
Yes, they can set up all kinds of legal contracts and such to try and replicate what marriage already automatically does, but there have been many challenges to those contracts and many times the courts have held that they weren’t binding.
I haven’t ever been in love, not enough to say, “Yep, I will be on your side for the rest of my life.” But if that ever happens, society has put a mechanism in place to legally assure that my wish to be a family with my husband is respected.
My friends have no such guarantee. And my heart aches for them about it. They can’t ever look at their lover and say, “I will take care of you until the end of time” and know they aren’t inadvertently lying.
How can I stand by while my friends are unhappy?
Ugh. Sorry. I feel like I’ve gotten a little off-track. This is what it feels like to me–like my dear friend has come to me with a deep cut in her leg and asked me to help her fix it. As I’m bandaging it up, you come along and stick your finger right in the wound.
What the fuck?
No, you don’t know her. She doesn’t matter to you. But you know me and you know she’s important to me. So, why would you do that?
You are free to create whatever kind of marriage with a woman that you want. You can even work to make sure that whatever church you belong to doesn’t ever perform or recognize gay marriages as legitimate. You can even think that they’re a sham and a perversion.
But you can’t ask me to not take it personally when you attack gay marriage. Those are my friends you’re talking about. One of them suffered with me through some of the worst shit I’ve ever been through and I would walk through burning sand if she needed it.
How can I not take this personally? Conservatives are leading a movement to pass an amendment to the Constitution that would enshrine in the very bones of our country the idea that the love my friends feel for their lovers is less legitimate than the love that you or I would feel for our spouses. What a grievous insult to the people I love.
So, to hear you speak out against gay marriage while that nonsense is going on? I can’t not take it personally.
And it’s frustrating to me that you, this thoughtful, smart person, seems to have settled on this knee-jerk “oh, it’s gross and unnatural” response to the issue.
*Though I note that he’s left my fawning over the suggestive shadow in his pants unaddressed…