It’s been a hot minute, and sometime soon I’ll explain why, but I’m afraid what I have to say can’t wait for pleasantries, because it isn’t pleasant.
Over the weekend, two people near and dear to my heart tied the knot. They’ve been together since my freshman year of college, and to see them grow as individuals and a couple has been a blessing. You won’t find two people more devoted to each other the world over, with so much capacity for love, appreciation and kindness in their hearts.
They are also two men.
I’ve come to a point in my life where, if you have a problem with my friends being married, then you are no friend of mine. Because, frankly, if you’re against a love like that, I don’t want to know you.
Perhaps these are harsh words, but it’s a harsh reality we’re facing today. Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll. This is a woman who thinks one can “pray the gay away,” and that the battle over gay marriage is not about rights and humanity, but about “protecting” our children from a culture of predators. She consistently revises history for her own purposes, misrepresents her own history to suit her campaign needs, and has zero understanding of how fiscal policy is set and executed. Her qualifications for holding the highest office in the nation include blocking women from entering abortion clinics, and home schooling her children to protect them from being brainwashed by the anti-Biblical, anit-parents, and anti-education oriented educators.
Speaking of the Bible… Bachmann also supports some of the most radical Conservative Christian thinkers out there- people like Francis Schaeffer, who called for a violent overthrow of the U.S. government if Roe v. Wade were not reversed. She believes that we need to bring the nation back to its Biblical roots- despite the fact that those roots are a figment of her imagination used to mask the Deist reality of the Founding Fathers.
She even went so far in 2008 as to call for a return to McCarthyism- stating on air that there should be an investigation into Congress to find out who was “un-American.” I remember watching those statements live in horror. The fact that this woman is still being discussed today makes me naseous.
Yes, this is the woman who came out of a rather terrifying Republican debate smelling of roses. That is utterly terrifying to me.
I don’t want Bachmann to win, but my problem goes well beyond the R (or Tea Party, if you want to get specific) that follows her name. I have very close friends who are ardent Republicans. Hell, most of my family members are Republicans. But if steel sharpens steel, I am willing to engage them on political issues for the sake of furthering understanding of public policy and social issues with a goal of better solutions in the end. I take issue with the fact that this woman spews hate and misinformation on a regular basis under the guise of patriotism.
There is nothing patriotic about hate.
As I look through the joyous photos from my friends’ civil union, I am moved to tears. On one hand, my happiness for these two wonderful human beings knows no bounds. On the other hand, the fact that there are people out there who, not only scorn their love for each other, but actively seek to discredit it in the eyes of the law, makes me fearful for the future they- and we- face tomorrow.
Despite this, and the crappy economy, and the social inequities, and the degraded environment, and a slew of other imperfections I’m just too agitated to get into right now, I love my country. I love it because it houses so many of the people I love; because it was built by the champions of rugged individualism; and because its faults are only surpassed by the opportunities it presents. It is an imperfect but richly wide open country. As much as I want to pack up and move to Canada (or Norway, actually) some days, I won’t.
I am an American, and I believe in love. I’m not going anywhere. And let me make this crystal clear- if someone tries to undermine the love I’ve been so blessed to stand witness to- whether its the love of my newlywed friends, my dearest near and far, or those that they care about- I will fight to protect it. Because that is the patriotic thing to do.