Edward Hopper, Sunday, 1926
I normally shy away from politics on this blog. Political discussions can so often devolve into counterproductive, divisive rants. And anyways, the focus of my blog is about my creative journey as an artist, not politics.
But today I’ve decided to write about something political, not because I am changing the focus of my blog, but because this is something that does effect my creative journey.
Yesterday, in my home state of North Carolina which I love, discrimination was written into the state’s constitution.
How does this effect my creative journey? Well, as I sit here composing this post, I feel a deep sadness in my soul…a sadness I have felt since last night when I saw on WRAL’s website that the amendment had passed. Normally, in the evening before going to bed, I spend some time on one of the writing/drawing projects I am working on (here, here, here, here, and here). Last night I sat at my drawing table, staring at a blank sheet of art paper, and felt…well, empty.
Being marginalized by 60% of the state you live in—for simply being the person God made you—is a horrible feeling. I questioned whether I had anything of value to contribute…to my art project, to my family, to my community, to my state…and on and on.
But before going on any further about how this ugly piece of legislation has effected me on a personal level, I want to talk a bit about it on the broader, big-picture level: Amendment 1 is an heinous thing; there are so many things wrong with it—it’s hard to even know where to begin. I guess I can start with the fact that same-sex marriage is already illegal in this state, so this Constitutional Amendment is really just the equivalent of a bully at the beach kicking sand in people’s faces.
It is also ludicrous for civil rights to be put up to a popular vote. In a nutshell: where would the African American community be in this country if this had happened in the 60s?
And then there is the fact that supporters of the amendment use the Bible as their justification, as evidenced in this quote from a CBN article:
“It’s not a right that they have. God designed marriage between one man, and one woman. That’s it,” said Diane Bridgeman, a supporter of traditional marriage.
Let me make clear that I am not anti-Christian. I am, in fact, a Christian myself. However, if we as a nation start passing laws based on the Christian bible, how is this any different than Sharia Law? (Not to mention that pesky Matthew 7:1 thing, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”…) Our laws should respect all religions, as our country is made up of all religions, as well as non-believers, too. And anyways, how do same-sex unions effect those who, because of their religious beliefs, are opposed to them? Unions recognized by the government are separate from those recognized by churches.
I posted a bit about all this on Facebook, and rather than try to re-write it here, I’ll just copy it:
I think I will start a religion. And according to this religion, short people are an abomination to God. Therefore, laws must be passed to deny short people equal rights, including the right to marry. And it doesn’t matter whether you follow my religion or not…I think laws should be passed to MAKE you follow the rules of my new religion. Oh, and short people must, on the average, pay more in taxes than everyone else, even though they have less rights.
Wait, you say…that’s crazy. Why are you picking on short people…they’re just born that way, right?
Exactly. So all of you who may have voted FOR the amendment, I encourage you to look deep in yourself and remember this: the marginalization of any group of people is a dangerous thing. Sooner or later it could be you (yeah, I’m looking at YOU, short people).
I later added:
Apparently only 34% of the voting population could be bothered to vote. I amend my Amendment statement above: all of you who voted FOR the amendment, or didn’t bother to vote at all because you thought it had nothing to do with you, remember this: the marginalization of any group of people is a dangerous thing. Sooner or later it COULD be you.
But anyways, all of what I am saying here has been said (and said better) by so many in the past several months.
So, once again returning to all this at the personal level, to have a piece of legislation that singles you out, identifies you as in some way subhuman, is a horrible, horrible feeling. It makes you question your self-worth. It demoralizes you in a way that is hard to put into words…it’s easier to put into pictures (such as the Edward Hopper painting Sunday, that gives you sense of sadness and isolation). You ask yourself questions:
Did anyone in my family, or anyone close to me, vote for this? And if so, do they really feel that I am not worthy of the same love, acceptance and respect as them? I try to contribute to my community. I believe we are all on this planet together, and I do try to do what little things I can to make it as pleasant a ride for everyone as possible. Is it wrong to simply want the same in return?
Is it wrong for me to feel a touch of bitterness about attending other people’s weddings, when I am denied the right to have one myself? To have to smile and congratulate them and buy them gifts, all the while knowing that this is a joy that I am denied, for no other reason than being in the minority? After all, I have been with my partner for nearly ten years. That’s longer than many marriages I know of. We could talk about Kim Kardashian here, but I don’t want to beat that dead horse.
I had someone once say to me, “You are not being denied the right to marry. You can always marry a woman. It’s your right.” Is this what the “sanctity of marriage” is supposed to be about? Promoting a marriage without love, a union based completely on appearances? Promoting a lie that would not only hurt me, but an innocent other? Is this what a kind and loving God would really want?
I am not a glass-half-empty person. And I still do still believe that the glass is half-full. But sometimes…sometimes I can’t help but to feel a little bruised. No one likes to be treated as a political football. It’s dehumanizing…and what’s worse, it’s dehumanizing in the name of God.
Thank you for listening.