While we ate I told her that I'd been pretty involved in the gay rights movement lately. I didn't think she'd care much, because she's one of those really typical non-political types you meet who are more concerned with diary prices than who's president. Very live-and-let-live, I guess. Hell, she's like I used to be. Anyway, I told her we were fighting the marriage amendment, and she's like, "The what?"
I told her that it was a constitutional ban on marriage, and we're fighting it, and she got lost in all the double negatives. Anytime you say you're in a group that doesn't want a ban, it sounds like they do want what the ban is against, but that's not the case here. So I went through the history of everything. Here's about what I said:
Same-sex marriage has been illegal in Kansas since 1867. (to which she asked, "What, it was legal before that?" and I explained that government probably didn't care much before that and no one had ever thought to define it legally as being between one man and one woman. But I digress.) Recently some crazy liberal judges in other states, mostly on the coasts, have looked at the way things are and said, "Our state constitution says we treat people fairly. This marriage law isn't fair. It's unconstitutional!" So the conservatives aimed to make it constitutional.
Then she's like, "Make discrimination constitutional?"
and it killed me, right there, because I hadn't used the d-word in the entire conversation, and there she went jumping to a conclusion that's almost too liberal for me. I'd been really careful. We were told that that argument, about discrimination, doesn't get anywhere because people are so damn sick of being politically correct or hearing what group is whining about being discriminated against. Even I have trouble with the argument. But here was this totally normal middle-of-the-road Kansan who made it herself. A fellow engineer, who thinks logically, who hates politics, but who sees it. It just took a few minutes of explination.
And that's what kills me. Every night on the news, the anchor asks, "Will the constitutional amendment pass? OR..." and then they show footage of two guys in tuxedos making out. Like if we don't pass this amendment, that bans marriage and civil unions and everything, all the men in Kansas will immediately stop what they're doing and start tounging one another. And that's what wins: the image. Who likes to see that? Nobody. So they'll vote yes... yes, we like our men straight. yes, we like our weddings normal. yes, we feel uncomfortable around gay people.
Our side has to explain everything. And when we do get a chance to talk, it's amazing how many people we convince. Our argument makes sense!
But their picture does. And it makes sense faster. There are millions of people like my friend at work who won't even vote on this because they don't hear the message, and with six weeks to the vote, we don't have time to get it to them. I'm just depressed. Convincing her was almost bad for me, because I saw how easy it is when someone listens.
america is difficult.