The downfall of this country?

Excuse me, KETK-NBC; your privilege is showing:

“What do you think; the acceptance of homosexuality, pushed hard by the gay activists: will it be the downfall of this country?”

Of all the comments, I’d like to discuss these few:

One caller claimed that “We the people” doesn’t mean anything anymore.  Well, “We the [white, male, moneyed, propertied, privileged (I’d add straight, too, but they didn’t have our terms and I’m not one to project labels)] people” is what the founding fathers meant when they wrote it.  “We the people” didn’t include races other than those considered white at the time.  “We the people” didn’t include women.  “We the people” didn’t include people who did not / could not own property.  “We the people” did not include slaves, who were considered property (not people).  “We the people” didn’t include the poor.  “We the people” meant a select few.

Who the United States considers to be part of “the people” has changed over the years since the phrase was first used.  The voice on the phone saying “We the people means nothing” sounds like a woman (I realize I am making an assumption here); she herself would not have been part of the people.  She could not have voted less than a century ago.  She has her rights, so she seems to have no reason to consider that others who are denied rights are justified in wanting the same rights she has.  By way of progress, this country has become increasingly accepting of all the individuals and groups that make up “the people,” but we are not there yet.  We are not all equal in this country.  And if true equality with be the country’s “downfall,” then for what are we aiming?  To remain a land of liberty and just for all a few?  Some?  If this country wants to remain as unequal as possible forever, count me out.  And if equality is the downfall, then I’ll join that “fall” quite gladly (seems I’m already a rather established part of it anyway).    

Another called said: “Homophobia is the new racism.”  I often struggle with comparisons of Alphabet Soup issues and race issues.  However, I will say this.  Society constructs identities.  Once upon a time, Jews and Italians were not considered white.  Asians counted as white.  A person could count as white in one state, cross state lines, and become black, due only to laws defining who was white and who was black.  If you can cross state lines and change races, how can race be real?  And yet, we attach an entire power system to it.  That power system changes over time.  The system the United States has established, right from its founding, that “We the people” are the white ones (and the rich and the male and the…).  I say all of this for two reasons: first, to point out that racism still exists because the system still exists; second, because Alphabet Soup people are discriminated against by similarly socially constructed systems that set up binaries and attach hierarchies to them.  

All sorts of statistics are thrown about not only in this newscast but in our day-to-day life by all sides of most every issue.  Alphabet Soup issues are no exception.   Sources are twisted all about to say what we want them to.  The Christian Right uses the Bible, for example.  This newscast mentions reports that 1 in 10 teenagers have a same-sex partner.  First of all, what does that even mean? Jimmy is in a relationship with Jonny on Facebook?  Jane kissed Jill under the bleachers at the football game?  How do you even come up with questions that get accurate data?  Everyone has their own determination of what counts as a relationship and teenagers are no exception to that rule. I realize it’s harder to get data on who is identifying as gay because many teens are questioning, and the lines are slowly blurring such that it’s become a little tiny bit less necessary to put everyone in a box people don’t want to put themselves in a box, etc…  But I digress. 

Quick Alphabet Soup history lesson: it’s a lot cooler to be gay than it was ten years ago, yet people are still killing themselves because of homophobia (so imagine our world ten years ago!).  Did we all get gayer?  Highly doubtful as far as I’m concerned.  We just learned that it’s okay a little more here and there.  This generation of kids has a lesbian couple on Grey’s Anatomy, Kurt on Glee, Modern Family, people telling them that It Gets Better.  The society that’s been constructed around heterosexual as “normal,” defined by its opposite, homosexuality, as “abnormal,” thinks “the people” have gone gay.  Likely “corrupted” by activists, inspired by President Obama*, etc.

Here’s what I think: We’re not getting gayer.  We being liberated to be our true selves.  What this nation calls “equality” is getting increasingly more equal.  That’s what we call progress, my friends.  

Towards the end of the newscast, the speaker says: “We’re talking about what the facts are.”  Well, maybe someone’s facts, but I guess that’s all “facts” really can be.  If it’s the truth, who is it the truth according to?  Even the answer to the posed question, “will [homosexuality] be the downfall of this country?,” has more than two answers:  “Yes.”  “No.”  “It depends.”  “Yes, it will be the downfall of [my right-wing homophobic racist sexist version of] this country.”  “What do you mean by downfall; do you mean it will break down the oppressive systems we’re currently operating under?”  And so on.

Facts are truth.  Truths are facts.  But KETK-NBC’s truths aren’t my truths, so are they facts…?  You see, the fact is, I’m not so sure.

So what do I think; the acceptance of homosexuality, pushed hard by the gay activists: will it be the downfall of this country?

Well, I am a gay activist.  I accept homosexuality.  And the rest of the Alphabet Soup and then some.  And I’m pushing for others to do the same. 

If by downfall of this country we mean ruin, obliteration much like the effect of an atomic bomb, well, no.

If by downfall of this country we mean the downfall of its oppressive systems (homophobia, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism…), the placing of one better off than the other again and again and again based on almost every possible aspect of their identity, then I can only hope it will be.

*Obama on the Issue: Gay Rights

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