where the fuck were you when we needed you?

This comment on a recent photo essay in LAist about the No on 8 protest sums up exactly what’s going on in my mind.

What Ross hinted at is that yes, goddam it, where was this mass energy when we needed it? We’ve been living in a conservative, er, cesspool for years, yet for some reason, most people I know felt no compulsion to come down and help man the phones to prevent this from getting on the ballot, which is where we should have stopped it cold, or to rally opposition to it once it got there. Politics only works for the side of good if we’re proactive, not reactive. It’s so much easier to fight against a bad law if it never gets passed.

I would go one step further and say, seriously, shame on you if you are able-bodied and capable and didn’t at least try to help with this cause.  That goes double for all my homo friends who didn’t bother to help out.  Though I understand that many of y’all may not want to get married, at this juncture or in the foreseeable future, all your rights as equal citizens with equal protections are in grave danger now that Proposition 8 has passed.  And not only yours, but the rights of gays in other states–not just to marry, but, say, to teach kids, or coach little league, or leave a living will with their partner–are all going to be affected by this.  This was a litmus test for the rest of the country, as the Mormon church well knew, and as this bill goes, so too goes the public perception about the law’s role in curtailing queer equality.  Or any equality.

So, if you didn’t help out, you fucked up!  I’m not saying that the protests are not important, because better late than never, I guess.  But next time, open your damned eyes and try to swat away the flies of injustice before they lay their eggs in your face.

Update: There’s a silver lining here.  Apparently the hateful supporters of this bill were just as dumb about donating money as we were dumb about not donating time.

4 thoughts on “where the fuck were you when we needed you?

  1. Hmmm…I don’t think ex post facto finger pointing really fosters progress. I feel awful, yes, about the times you called me and I didn’t make it out to canvass and avoid getting this prop on the ballot. But I did wonder about the efficacy of such effort, as it seems religious nuts always get their fascist measures on ballots (in any state). Women’s reproductive rights are usually the first things to get legislated and put on a ballot, so of course the gay marriage thing (because it’s even more controversial than abortion at the moment) was going to get on the ballot, too. Being a woman I know what it’s like to have one’s rights legislated and open for vote almost every time there is an election.

    I think people really need to be educated about homosexuality — bottom line. It’s not a lifestyle choice and that’s something so many don’t seem to understand. Until that changes, the gay rights movement might be stuck in the mud. However, one silver lining to this whole Prop 8 debacle is the momentum and awareness (even post election) that has come about after the election. Obviously the gay rights movement didn’t have it together enough beforehand, but maybe now things will change. Looking forward, rather than backward…

  2. My original comment is a bit rambling, but basically I want to iterate that education regarding homosexuality is what I consider to be the fundamental crux of the Prop 8 issue. Campaigning to not get Prop 8 on the ballot is like putting a bandaid on a hatchet wound, or trying to medicate a symptom rather than cure the root illness. That’s just my $.02.

    I donate and volunteer for animal rights causes. To the delight of animal rights activists, Prop 2 passed. So does that mean my cause is more organized and did a better job than your cause? Not at all — it’s really a signifier of just how much people need to be educated on homosexuality IMO. But marketing and ad targeting did have a lot to do with it. The anti-Prop 8 movement did a godawful job of (not) marketing to black voters. One commercial using a black narrator voice-over doesn’t cut it! I also heard that the No On 8 campaign approached the California Labor Federation only a week or so before the election. The Labor Fed. unanimously voted to oppose Prop 8 and said they would’ve jumped on board much earlier in the campaign had they been approached.

    I guess nobody knew how much help you guys actually needed. That may be the bottom line. But I think to discourage folks (via the “look, I told ya so!” attitude) from acting up in dissent post-Prop 8 is irresponsible and short-sighted. That attitude also serves to splinter a community that needs solidarity right now more than ever.

  3. Yeah, I agree that the Prop. 8 folks were unorganized, and in some ways, they made volunteering far more of a chore than it had to be. I went down to the call center and was told each time to call my list of personal friends, even when I’d called that same list the week before and knew I’d have a much better chance talking to someone on their own lists. Just for an example.

  4. Gnat, I think my problem was less with people like yourself, who are politically active already and strained in what they can do, and more with people who had a very strong vested interest in gay rights and equality yet didn’t lift a finger. I mean, I get that this is a hectic time politically. Some people also preferred to work the Obama phone banks versus the No on 8 phone banks, and I don’t blame them for taking their volunteer time and prioritizing it where they thought it would help. I actually felt very guilty about Prop. 4, an equally deserving bill that I felt I was steering people away from focusing upon by my Prop. 8 activism.

    What broke my heart though about Prop. 8 was hanging out with my gay friends during the whole build-up towards election, and having them say “fuck marriage, I don’t care.” Or worse, one time one of the phone bankers next to me was talking to a gay couple who HAD been legally married (I think in Massachusetts) who couldn’t come down to help at all to save the institution they personally enjoyed. Not that people have to be gay or be married to care about gay marriage–even I feel at fault for not doing more.

    I think I was just venting, and didn’t mean to call out my friends, many of whom were very politically active this season. But bejeezuz, I just feel like about a million people in this state didn’t expend the mental energy to even think about the issue of gay marriage until suddenly the chapel door was closed to same-sex couples. The spontaneous protests now are great, even necessary. I just hope people remember next election cycle to have those massive rallies BEFORE the election.

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