Being kind of ok with America for once


Rally for Marriage Equality

Rally for Marriage Equality (Photo credit: vpickering)

I generally have little faith in most everyone/everything. Statistics suggest that my generation tends to lean toward the liberal (or at least, the Democrat), but we probably (according to a poll I haven’t conducted) also lean toward the distrusting. George W. Bush as the first US President we can really remember? Not a great starter. You can only stomach one “Mission Accomplished” banner before you start getting pretty skeptical.

But after the Supreme Court rulings against The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, my dismal outlook, the one that had me depressed/convinced that Mitt Romney would somehow “magically” win and immediately release a swarm of mind-control robot aliens who would implant chips into our (and our pets’) brains, lightened up ever so slightly, to this specifically multifaceted shade:

Thiihoexcited I am!!

I am honestly that surprised and excited—I don’t care at all how illegible or dumb that rainbow font looks.

I’ll admit there are, sometimes, some America-related developments that get me somewhat jazzed. I sign maybe 1/5 of those endless online petitions Obama‘s email intern sends me, but after Prop 8 passed in 2008, the slow/almost stagnant movement on any women’s rights (excepting superheroes like Wendy Davis), and the revolting refusal of many government officials to take practical stands against gun violence, I’ve developed a severe case of apathy, one that doesn’t even make me want to move to Canada. It just makes me want to do nothing and develop an even more intense hatred of “The West Wing” (I will watch you. And I will hate you).

But I’m getting a twinge of Restless Leg Syndrome over SCOTUS’s decisions this time around, especially since NYC Pride is this weekend and it is obviously going to be the physical manifestation of the feeling you get when you look at a rainbow (That manifestation is not actually a rainbow. It’s completely different. There’s glitter involved).

I do not identify as LGBTQIA, but I heavily identify as an ally (which is not the “A” in LBGTQIA. “A” is for “Asexual.” Get it right.). I won’t regale you with a full history of “how many gay friends I have,” because that’s facile and pretty much any girl on any given New York corner will happily do that for you. She really will.

As an extremely liberal feminist born in the 90s, I’m still very green as a voter, but I’m acutely aware of the two political causes I have felt most personally attached to since whenever I started caring (4th grade? 5th grade?): women’s reproductive rights and marriage/overall civic equality.

When I first began learning about US government and read The Constitution, America had a wonderful revolutionary sheen because, you know, it was really seriously intensely revolutionary. Being born to a pair of “ex-“hippies didn’t really help with establishing a sense of political reality. I thought it was going to be Boston Tea Parties and Woodstock forever, man!

Then Bush was elected. Then 9/11. Then Iraq. Then a lot of other things. I do realize I haven’t been alive as long as most, but this whole business of “being able to stand reading the news” is very tiring. I already cut out television news. I can’t stomach it anymore.

Proposition 8 really devastated me. I had taken up marriage equality as my favorite political pet project (You know, as a minor who couldn’t vote.) I wasn’t really prepared to dive headfirst into all that uteri talk just yet. I didn’t even want to talk about my own. Nonetheless, it was the first time I thoroughly felt the need to engage with a political discourse and, in my opinion, problem. This was America! Kumbaya! Cheerio! Anal sex (Don’t ask why I was more comfortable discussing this than my own gonads. My therapist will worry about that.)! Yay!

Not so yay. Obviously DOMA had passed in 1996 and hadn’t budged, but it appeared that, on a state-by-state basis, supporters/smart people would be able to wear down the haters’ resolve. Prop 8 sounded an ostensible death knell on that potential hope, at least to my ears. Even as other states began to pass marriage equality bills, I could only really halfheartedly wave my rainbow flag because I was just waiting for some big mean judge to stomp in and tell everyone the rave was over. States could pass bills, but Supreme Courts could overrule them, and who knew what the Federal Government would do to make things worse.

Clearly, this has caused me to be a very morose young American who would like to see her LGBTQIA friends and family be with whomever they want, as well as have complete control of her most irritating organ (If there’s a man who wants to house it for me, I would totally go for that.). Very little has made me think either of these dreams could soon become realities, not after something so ludicrous and despicable as Prop 8 passed. Politics, shmolitics.

But that changed a little bit today. When SCOTUS closed up shop yesterday, I, as usual, had zero faith in them doing the right thing today. Again, I was waiting for Mitt to storm in with his robots. And yes, all the brain chips would turn everyone into really boring heterosexual people, and no one will believe in the female orgasm and women would get pregnant every time they had sex.

Thank. Not. God. I was wrong! I’m not going to torture myself with “The West Wing” anymore and pay attention to real politics again, because apparently it isn’t a hopeless cause. I guess I was/am still too green to realize just how molasses-esque the speed of progress and government can be, but I am also too young to give up all faith in government. Most of the time, living in this country does frustrate me to no end. I wish that it didn’t. I hope so dearly that, in my lifetime, the United States will make huge strides for civic equality and individual rights, and even more beyond that.

For a while, I really was convincing myself that it wasn’t possible to make any progress towards this, but I’m realizing that I have to adjust my expectations, however painful doing that may be. I am sincerely heartened by the downing of DOMA and Prop 8. They do not create immediately sweeping changes, but they signify a great change in national and political mindset, one that can only push forward necessary legislation for marriage equality. I will watch carefully as the discourse and legislation unfurls in the next months and years, and I know have a slightly larger grain of hope that similar movement will happen for women’s rights.

I’m never going to brag about being the greatest or most patriotic American, but it’s stuff like what SCOTUS did today that does make me want to bleed a little red, white, and blue. But only for/around certain people. And I really would rather it be rainbow.

Has anyone looked into changing the Stars & Stripes to the Stars & Rainbow? I mean officially. Anyone? I can do it.

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