The person keeping me updated on North Carolina's marriage amendment is a friend who is a straight, white man, with no other reason to oppose the amendment than being a decent human being. And it makes me happy that he cares about us gays, and single ladies, and couples for whom "it's complicated." Overall the North Carolina situation leaves me with not quite fear or sadness, but a deep feeling of heaviness. As a historian, I believe in the human capacity for change, love, forgiveness, and transcendence, but I also know that we allow terrible things to happen. "Never again," is a wish, not a promise, because it always happens again, just not in exactly the same terrible form. If you were a Jew in Germany in 1932, or a Pole of any sort in 1938, a Sarajevian in 1991, or Rawandan in 1993, you didn't know how bad it would get. You lived in a modern country, your neighbors were good people, and then things fell apart. I don't say this to be overly dramatic and argue that North Carolina's vote on marriage starts us on the march to genocide, but it is smart to consider the ultimate goals of your enemies. I suspect that the gay haters, like the haters before them, don't know exactly what they want. They don't want to kill us, but they do want us to disappear, and that is dangerous. I also believe in the strength of America to hold its self together. For all the craziness of this nation, maybe because of it, we are resilient.
My NC friend points me toward data showing that most NC voters don't actually know what voting Yes on One means. Is ignorance better than principled homophobia? I have no idea.
I can't say that becoming a (gay) mom has made me more of an activist, I don't think I have the constitution for activism, sadly. But, being a mom has raised the stakes of politics for me. This blog post expresses many of the same feelings I've had as the political and the personal have become hopelessly intertwined. After I gave birth to Ladybug, I was put under for a multi-hour surgery, followed by the loopiness of a mag sulfate/morphine cocktail. Badger went to the NICU and held LB, cuddled her, and took pictures. I'm haunted by the fact that that experience, in many states, is a privilege doled out by the hospital and not a right. Under NCs Amendment 1, could our LB have spent her first hours alone with no mother's touch or voice. If she had been sick, would she have died alone?
I tell myself "be the river." The river just flows. It moves on without anger or bitterness, because it is made to flow. I hope that queer families are the river washing gently over those who oppose us.