January 11th, 2005

wichita

the rally

The rally yesterday was really cool, but way too short, especially considering the fact that we drove 2.5 hours to topeka (and 3 hours back, because it was icy). Yes, the freezing rain made for pretty awful protest weather. After we got parked, unloaded our cars, and assembled flags and poles (the poles were too long to fit in our trunks so we had to break stuff down) we stook for about, oh hell, 10 MINUTES and then someone yelled, "We're going inside the capital to the inner rotunda for speakers, all signs and poles must be left outside." Dang it! My signs were beautiful... I'd made a 9 foot rainbow striped banner that said FREEDOM in 24" letters, and it had to be put away? I was very upset.

Inside was chaos. The capitol building has this huge rotunda, and we were underneath that on the bottom levels. On the next two levels, fundamentalists were hearing their own speakers, and looking down on us. Whenever news cameras pointed their way they'd start praying.

We listened to speakers for about 30 minutes, then went to a nearby church for box lunches and mingling, but my car opted to just leave because the weather was getting bad. And that was that. We drove home through the ice and fog and got in around 7:00.

I feel bad. I feel bad for Kansas and the future of human rights in every state. I feel bad for my religion, because people are using it to gain power for themselves. they're finding enemies and pointing towards them and telling followers, "Those are the people responsible for the moral decay of our culture. Join me and fight them to protect your children and families." And they're following. It's happened in every generation, they use the same speeches and quotes. It's a desecration of everything I believe in... love, freedom, truth and independence. They're using my government and my religion, and soon we'll live in a society where it's perfectly okay to treat people like second class citizens because they're "icky".

Good news is that lots of press types were there, and we got to give our press release to many different people and I was even interviewed by a guy from the AP, which is way cool. News coverage when I got back was pretty dismal... I guess the fundies said that they wanted to push the amendment through the senate on Thursday, in one day, with no committees, no debates, no time for people to think about what they're really voting on. All the language used to outlaw any possible legal agreement that could resemble marriage could cause a lot of harm, and who's going to stand up and realize that when 90% of the population thinks it's "just" a marriage ban?

I'm finding it very difficult to digest today.