So because, originally, of agonistes
, I follow the blog for a Washington State independent alternative newspaper pretty closely. ( http://slog.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/
) It is the home paper and editorial baby of Dan Savage, original home of the It Gets Better Project, their national coverage of progressive issues (especially gay rights and campaigns) is good, and Charles Mudede is... frequently baffling but a must-read. A lot of you read Slog too, I don't know why I'm explaining this.
Consequentially, I am pretty much unnecessarily aware of Washington State local politics, including their ongoing marriage equality struggle. (It looks pretty close to passing the legislature, at which point carpetbagging national orgs will drag it into a referendum, which it may or may not pass.) They only just got their last needed vote for the legislature, and she said it was because not of rhetoric or any heavy-handed plays by either side, but because of kindness and real human stories and her own conscience. They had a pretty good article
about that, too, about how when marriage equality is seen as a movement of love and the opposition is seen as motivated by baseless hatred, it wins.
Now the legislator is question is getting bombarded by hateful phone calls by the national entities, intent on making her take back her vote. Seems counterproductive
. But it got me thinking. These tactics, the article I linked says, aren't working anymore; people aren't scared to vote their conscience anymore, and it has become clear that this about love, and the opposition is about hate.
What it got me thinking about it is this: people aren't scared anymore because they know they aren't standing alone. Standing alone with your conscience when you know you are going to lose is a lot harder than standing together with other righteous people. And it has become clear who is for love and who is for hate because people--people who were
standing alone against these tactics and knew they didn't have any support coming--stood up for love, and got all of the hate full in their faces.
It is amazing how much progress we have seen on this issue in the last few years; gay rights has become a taboo subject rather than a race to the right in even the most virulent of the endless Republican primary debates. And these stories brought home to me, really, how much of that is because of brave people who stood up and modeled love in the face of hate. And kept doing it until there were too many people to kill, to harass, to threaten into silence; until their threats became venomless and counterproductive. Obviously, as the It Gets Better Project and other current events prove, that struggle isn't over by a long shot, both for good and evil. But--I don't know. Seeing these stories unfolding made me think of this, and it moved me to make this post to say that I respect and honor the people who were that kind of brave, more than I know how to say.
(And it also is clear now, that that bravery--love against hate, unbent and unbroken and ultimately triumphant even when crushed utterly--is the heart and soul of the "Christian" values my parents tried to give me. Which prepares me for the next time this subject comes up with one of them.)