Thursday, March 28, 2013

Let Your Flag Fly

It's time to talk about social justice in America. Not politics or religion, but justice.

Earlier this week, I changed my Facebook icon to a red-and-pink equals sign. Why? Because I support marriage between consenting adults in America. And then I saw a number -- a handful -- too many! -- supposedly thoughtful individuals poo-poo on that choice of mine to act. These weren't even individuals who disagreed with my politics, if you want to call marriage a type of politics, which (for the record) I've believed for the past decade that government should get out of marriage and leave it to religion, handing out only civil unions to deal with the intricacies of health care, custodial, and survivorship rights.

These were people who decided to poo-poo on my choice to fly a flag because that flag appeared on Facebook and Facebook flags can only be "empty gestures." In some cases going so far as to say they are "liberal empty gestures." Implying that conservatives somehow don't use Facebook in a similarly empty manner.

If anyone wants to poo-poo on my flag-flying actions, then you have my pity, but not my admiration.

Is it an "empty" social media gesture? No. It's not. I vote -- and have voted regularly since I was 18. I take action to educate on the issues before I go to the polling station. I donate money to political/social causes even though I'm in such a position courtesy of grad school and teaching at a large university without a Full Faculty position as to qualify me for public health care assistance -- which I don't accept. I've stood up for my gay and lesbian friends since I was a teenager in high school when I told my social group that it was not right to "out" one of our friends no matter what they "thought" him to be; that we should respect what he vocalized, not repeat our own assumptions, because he had his reasons for choosing to say what he did no matter what we "suspected." (Something which he later, personally, thanked me for. Something which I wish I could have done for so many other young men and women in this country had I had the chance.)

Or are my flag-flying actions, as others say, a "worthless" gesture because so many people "don't know what it means"? I hope that action + ignorance, generates discussion and awareness among those who don't know. Who want to know. Who need to know. Who need to see their walls turn pink and red and ask, what the heck is that? NPR news reports statistics that claim, based on population age, in ten years the majority of eligible American voters will favor gay marriage. (And youth have registered and voted in OVERWHELMING numbers for the past five years. I don't expect that to change.) It's time to talk about the inevitable.

And for all of those who continue to think that my actions -- my delight in seeing the majority of my FB wall turn pink and red -- is "empty." I say three things: (1) You're cynical and pessimistic: how can I possibly hold you in my heart the way I hold hope for the future in my heart? (2) When George Takei asks you to do something that is within your means and abilities, you do it; you wear your nerd-badge with pride. And (3) you're wrong. You're wrong because you assume. You aren't willing to look case-by-case, you're only willing to make assumptions based on the lowest common denominator of human behavior. This individual act, my actions, are a truth. If you can't see that based on your assumptions or cynicism, or pessimism, then you are, simply, wrong about me.

If you want to send me a Facebook friend request, I'm

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