Monday, November 17, 2008

Reflections on a Demonstration

The Husband (I really should give him a name) and I participated in the Contra Costa County Join the Impact rally on Saturday in Walnut Creek. I was pretty amazed at the turnout, I must say. The website has links to photos, which at some point should include a fair number taken by The Husband.

The organizer, Brittney, said she was expecting about 50 people. What she got was almost 500 people of all ages coming together to show their support for equality. It was quite a sight to see. I think my favorite was a quite elderly gentleman with a cane and a sign reading "Protect All Marriages." I felt bad that I didn't have a chair to offer him, but he was there with his sign through the whole rally.

And so many families. Mothers and fathers with little kids in strollers and backpacks. Grandparents and parents demonstrating for their gay children and grandchildren. Teenagers standing strong for their parents. Incredible.

I can't even really call it a protest. Spirits were high, there was so much laughter and support, even through the righteous anger. These folks were demonstrating-demonstrating their love, their compassion, their strength, their promise. It was incredibly moving and I spent the whole morning with my eyes leaking, damn it.

Most people who passed by were either supporting or non-committal. Only a few were cranky. One fellow was very concerned for our souls and was walking up and down the street saying "God created Adam and Eve, not Eve and Steve." I'm not sure he was really representative of the opposition, though.

One man showed up with a sign saying that our real goal is your children's minds. In a way he's right, I guess. I want to break his monopoly on brainwashing kids to heteronormativity. Equal Opportunity Brainwashing, I say! The back of his sign read "Spoiled Brats." I'm unclear as to whom that referred. I'm guessing us.

The person I found most interesting was the man who ended up stopped at the red light. When he stuck his "thumbs down" sign out his open window, folks started asking him why he supported taking people's rights away. All he could say was an amazed "You guys lost. You're LOSERS!" like he couldn't believe it.

So here's what I find interesting about this gentleman. First, he seems to have a strange idea of how democracy works--like just because something's been voted on, it's now set in stone. Does he really not realize that if we voted on it once, we can vote on it again?

Second, I have to wonder what kind of world a person lives in where the worst thing they can think of to call someone is a loser. Really? A loser? I'm a feminist, a liberal, and a drama geek. Does he really think I've never been called a loser before? Does he really think that if he points out that we lost that we'll go "Oh, shit! He's right! We'd better just go home and forget about equal rights 'cause 52% of the voters of California said Teh Gheys aren't good enough for marriage"? What's that all about?

Anyway, I was so proud of my county and of the affluent white suburb of Walnut Creek. I didn't think the town my friend Rachel refers to as "Blonde Ponytail Land" had it in them, but I was wrong. Damn it, my eyes are leaking again.

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