Thursday, March 5, 2009

OPINION: PROP 8 - A TIME TO REFLECT; ARE WE DOING OURSELVES JUSTICE?

UPDATED/REVISED: As most of our LGBTQ communities await the California Supreme Court's decision on Prop 8, LGBTQ news sites and blogs have been full of stories, and comments, and discussions about it. In the meantime, stories about the repeal of DOMA, and terribly hideous stories of hate-crimes and beatings have been splashed across the blogs as well. Stories about ENDA, the repeal of "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" have garnered their fair share too, as has coverage of state-by-state coverage of the FOF and AFA and their attempts at defeating state measures that would enhance our basic human rights. Adoption rights, gay tax equality, LGBTQ parental-rights, too, have all been prominently displayed in the news and covered by the plethora of LGBTQ blogs.
And, as I read them, and study them, and ponder them, I get ANGRY. Angry because we have so far to go for many of the simple, basic rights that all else have. AND- ANGRY because if we all would take a look at the state of our status as unequal citizens of this nation; if we reflected upon how it is victories are fleeting at best; and how states can readily give us rights, then take them away; how can we and our LGBTQ communities not come to the conclusion that this strategy is all wrong? What has it gotten us? Everyday I see heartfelt discussions on which right we should be advancing first, which one is most important, and which ones "turn" it should be. I see individual state organizations fighting for one specific right, tapping the same donors that every other organization in their state have tapped, time and time again. I see the major orgs. parse out their money (as they tap the same donors state by state) to local and state mini-orgs to take on fights in their own state for their own "right" they want to fight. I see energy and time, and money thrown at causes and fights in state after state, defeat after defeat; rights granted, and then taken away by a changed legislature, or voted away by a state "proposition". And, I ask you--WHY? When did this strategy of fighting for our rights become one of separate fights, for separate rights,and in separate states become the template of success, the template that will secure our rights recognized and and explicitly stated under federal law? Where is the logic in that I can be a full-fledged citizen, with all rights granted under the constitution in one state , yet go two miles to a state that grants me little or no rights, and treats me as I am sub-human? Who was it that decided that that was the way? Who masterminded such an ill-advised, and haphazard plan to get us our FULL CIVIL RIGHTS? But, more: WHY ARE WE ACCEPTING THAT AS THE ONLY WAY? WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? As I have I tried pointing out, this strategy only serves to play into the strategies of those who wish to keep us second-class citizens. We fight the same battles over and over, and for what? They know that using that strategy is a losing one. We cannot win a war of attrition with a disjointed, un-unified, state by state, right by right strategy, that only keeps us focused on that small patch of grass ,a parcel of dirt, that does not lead us to that proverbial "PROMISED LAND" of full civil rights under the law--THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT. As we fight our segmented fights, as we settle for incremental, temporary gains, those who seek to keep us from ultimately gain our full civil rights mock us. Divide and conquer. Make them fight for scarce resources, make them fight each other for what little their is to be had. Watch them turn on one another. Watch them get distracted by the fight they are in, and lose sight of the war that really needs to be won. Watch them fight amongst themselves for their own piece of "very little", for fear that it might be taken over, or forgotten for another cause or fight. Watch them organize themselves for self-perpetuation, ensuring their own piece of the fight lives on, while forgetting what the true WAR should be about. They have designed a strategy for us. And, we use it willingly, and without questioning ourselves: DOES THIS strategy serve THEM, or US? Something lost to those of you fighting the fight, yet not seeing what the war is really about: that all those separate rights could all be incorporated, codified, covered, and included under the federal CIVIL RIGHTS ACT. With the promise and the hope, that President Obama got so many of you to believe in, as we have a democratic majority, as money and funding trails off given the economy, will all of us begin to ponder, if not consider, that there has to be a better way? Will selfish pride keep us from collectively questioning our true motives for embracing a strategy that has not worked? Will we begin to evolve to the levels of the Women's Suffrage Movement and the the SLC, and NAACP,and the SPLC and understand that it is all gained from adopting a national strategy targeted at the CIVIL RIGHTS ACT? I for one would like to know. STEVE TABAREZ

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