Sunday, May 22, 2011

Breaking Point

An interesting turn of events took place in my house today. As you all now, we recently adopted a new dog, Stella. She is a phenomenal dog and we all love her. Everyone, that is, except for our cat, Molly. Molly has done nothing but torture and bully Stella since she first arrived at our house last Saturday. This morning, however, something happened. Molly attacked Stella in the kitchen this morning for the umpteeth time. Business as usual. However, for the first time ever, Stella did not cower in the corner. She did not assume the fetal position. She did not avert her eyes and try to hide. No, she had finally had enough. Rather than shrinking in fear and skulking from the room, Stella stood her ground. She looked the cat right in the eye. She took a step toward the cat and bared her teeth. Had we not been there to quickly separate them, I am afraid Stella would have taught Molly a painful lesson she would have not soon forgotten.

The altercation this morning got me thinking about other things going on in our country. Last night, the Minnesota House voted 70-62 to put a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on the ballot in Minnesota in 2012. This means that my neighbors and coworkers are going to be asked to vote on the validity of my relationship. People I don't even know are going to get to vote on whether or not my thirteen-year relationship with Ruanita is “acceptable.” Whether or not my three children come from a “valid” family. How screwed up is that?! In Tennessee, the state Senate recently passed the “Don't Say Gay” bill, which will prohibit teachers and students from even uttering the words “gay” or “homosexual” in Tennessee public schools. This means gay students who are struggling to come out will be unable to discuss their issues with their guidance counselor. Gay teachers will be legally prohibited from discussing their spouses. Students with gay parents will be unable to talk about their parents at school. Obviously, the rationale for this legislation is to pretend that gay people do not exist. To make us disappear by ignoring our very existence.

So what does this have to do with my poor puppy finally standing up to my evil cat? Here how I see it. The powerful in this world will always marginalize the less powerful. The people in a position of power will push and push. They will attack the less powerful. The minority. The new-comer. Those different from themselves. They will use their position of advantage to callously dominate others. To tell others they are not worthy of respect. They are “less-than." They are reprehensible. They lack value. The powerful will continue to promote their malicious agenda. They will bully and bully for as long as they can. And they will continue to be successful. They will continue to win.

That is, until the downtrodden stand up and refuse to take it anymore. Like my dog this morning, we have a breaking point. We can only take so much. We will only cower for so long. That time has come. The time to stand up and be heard is upon us. It is time for every gay person in the state of Minnesota—and every straight ally who believes in civil right for all Americans—to stand up and voice their outrage. We must make people see that this is wrong. Plain and simple. We must not allow hate to be legislated in the state of Minnesota. We must not create a constitutionally mandated second class citizenship. We can not allow the hateful beliefs of the minority to become the law of the majority.

I believe people are basically good. They want to do what is right. They want to treat people fairly. We need to show them how unfair and unjust this legislation is. We need them to see us. To get to know us. To realize that our families are no different than theirs. I implore all of you to talk to to your friends. Talk to your families and your neighbors. Put a sign in your yard. Bring it up at school. Discuss it in your church. Let people know how this affects you personally. When we put a face on injustice, people are less inclined to ignore what is right and true and legitimate. We can defeat this.

We must defeat this.


Madgew said...

And Minnesota is supposed to be gay friendly but that might mean Minneapolis only. So sad.

Jessica said...

Great post! You've got me all whipped up and inspired over here. ;)

Shannon Ralph said...

Marge--Minnesota IS gay friendly. At least that has always been my experience. This legislation goes against everything Minnesotans believe in. So I truly believe that Minnesota can and will be the first state to defeat an initiative like this. We just have to get vocal and stay vocal about it.

Jessica--Thanks! I am pretty fired up too. Too bad you can't vote in Minnesota. :)

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