Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Forget Star Wars -- We've Got Real Wars

I was 11 when the first Stars Wars movie hit the screen. It was probably the second movie I'd ever seen in a theater. The special effects, the sounds. It was awesome, and my TV-tweaked imagination loved it. George Lucas, reportedly, was never happy with it because he believed the effects could have been better. You've gotta love an artist who is always trying to make their work better.

I haven't seen the new movie, and I must admit that I've only seen the first three movies from start to finish, so I'm behind in my Star Wars viewing. Unfortunately, there are far more interesting wars at hand, and as interesting as Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea -- oops, did I say that out loud --- are, they aren't nearly as interesting as the culture wars.

Book banning, book editing, changing the laws to fit arcane ideas of family, urban sprawl, class warfare, it's a scary cartoon-type snowball charging downhill with no signs of stopping. Remember cartoon depictions of snowballs? They'd start as tennis-sized balls, then as they roll downhill, they pick up more snow, and anything or anyone in its path. By the time the snowball reached the foot of the mountain, there were branches sticking out, and usually a pair of skis.

I have to once again express my terror that soon queer people; not just the same-sex attracted, but people in committed polyamorous relationships and opposite-sex couples with no desire to get married as well, will be forced underground somehow or rounded up and placed in re-programming camps. Think about the sheer terror of it, and think about how things are being set up to enable such enterrment. Okay, sodomy laws have been thrown out, but state laws specifically banning same-sex marriage have passed, including the barring of any benefits of marriage such as estate protection, hospital visitation, medical decision-making. Some states have banned adoption by unmarried persons or same-sex couples. And a group in California is introducing its bill that would ban:
Same-sex marriage
Foster parenting by gay couples
Second-parent adoption (a lesbian mother gives birth to a child, the non-birth parent becomes the second parent)
Health insurance
Medical leave rights (which could make the enforcement of FMLA difficult, and pave the way for its nullification)
Inheritance rights

A recent episode of "Queer As Folk" featured as one of its subplots a "Proposition 14" that if passed would void domestic partnerships, powers of attorney, gay and second parent adoptions, nullify contractual agreements such as mortgages obtained by unmarried same-sex persons, visitation rights, and health care proxies. Although fictional, it's not impossible to imagine. What the religious right doesn't want to admit is that they're not merely interested in preserving what they call traditional marriage, but their focus is the erosion of anything that makes day-to-day living for Joe Gay and Jane Lesbian possible. No job, no money. No money, no housing. No address, no applying for welfare or other government support. No government support, limited access to healthcare. Cutbacks to healthcare, eventual death. If we increasingly lose our foothold in the game of life, we eventually have to cry uncle, and give in to a heterosexual way of life. Which is pretty much what they usually accuse us of; indoctrination.

The real war isn't being fought in Iraq, although we are deep in hell in that morass. It's being fought in the name of evangelical Christianity, and who wants to argue with the Bible? Do you feel like fighting God? Consider this. I once went to a taping of "Showtime At The Apollo" which features the audience's assessment of performers. If the audience boos enough, "Sandman" Sims, a loveable hoofer in a silly costume, comes from the wings with a giant hook to drag the offender off the stage. However, few people ever boo someone who sings gospel. Even if they can't carry a tune in a bucket, no one wants to boo God.

Billy Graham's Last Crusade (it had to be capitalized because of the huge media coverage) was big news. This guy has advised Presidents, including the current clown. Supposedly, GWB stopped drinking, and devoted himself anew to his loving wife. Rev. Billy doesn't have that great a track record when it comes to non-evangelical Christians, or with non-Christians, for that matter. He's been recorded making disparaging remarks about Jews. He's skirted questions about his feelings on same-sex marriage, claiming he's more interested in matters of spirituality than of politics, while his son Franklin is a big supporter of a Constitutional banning of same-sex marriage. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Ralph Reed, all names you've heard, are all captains of the army in the war on the homosexual. And I'm betting that one of these clowns has called Tom "I know everything about everything and can't stop telling people how much I know about everything" Cruise to see if he'll offer his two cents (again) since L. Ron Hubbard wasn't exactly supportive of the gays.

And we need to wake up and pay attention. Although Canada is looking like a pretty good place to live, especially since same-sex couples can marry almost anywhere there, but I'm not Canadian. This is my home. I was born here. My African ancestors bled and died building this country. Immigrants like my Jamaican mother came here looking for a better way of life, and worked and contributed with tax money to build this country's infrastructure. It wasn't that long ago that Blacks were not only treated like sixth-class citizens, but these same evangelical firebrands preached against integration and equality, or were criminally, numbingly silent in the face of brutality, and the holocaust of lynching. Black evangelicals need to stop settling for the crumb they've been thrown, and recognize that's all they're going to get. They will not get the whole loaf. They won't even get a slice in exchange for their betrayal of Black gays & lesbians.

I'm not really sure why I'm so pissed off today, but it doesn't matter. More of us need to get pissed off. More of us need to recognize that battle lines have been drawn. What do you plan to do?

Where will you be when they come? -- Pat Parker, Poet


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