Civics lesson on our street corner

This woman thinks she’s protecting families, marriage, and free speech:

This woman thinks she's protecting families

With her church friends who were out on the street corner by my house this morning, waving their signs that say “Yes on Prop 8”. That’s what she told me.

My friend Squid came to my door, breathless, her kids in the car. “You have to go out there. I can’t do it today… Twitter it, call people…”

So Moomin and I made signs. They said “No on Prop 8 !!!!!” and “Equal Rights for All Families”, and “No Homophobia”. Moomin drew hearts on his. I drew pink triangles and a rainbow.

No on Proposition 8

And got our rainbow flag.

No on Proposition 8

No on Proposition 8

While we colored our signs we talked about history, and the first Pride marches. I told him about Loving vs. the State of Virginia and how that was fought and won in the Supreme Court, so that our government has a law that people with different skin color can marry each other legally.

Obviously this is not the same battle. But it does have similarities. The opponents of interracial marriage used the same arguments about God, the Bible, destroying the fabric of society, and so on. Those were arguments to explain away and cover up their racism and bigotry. And now, in this similar fight, religion is the cover story for hatred. In my opinion this is a misuse of a person’s religion and a dishonor to it. We didn’t go into that, because I would get too muddled and angry.

In fact, I didn’t have a good explanation for Moomin as to why anyone would fight against other people’s rights, other than, “privilege” – they have it, and they want to keep it, and that means, they have to take it away from someone else.

It takes my breath away. These people! In my neighborhood! Right on my street with their signs and their hatred and misinformation. How dare they. There’s no way I’m going to let that pass without doing something. I’ve donated money. But I’ll go put my body out there with a sign so that people driving by don’t feel alone in their disagreement and outrage. So that they have something to cheer.

We went out to the corner a block from my house at El Camino and Jefferson, where there’s heavy traffic.

On our way to the corner, three groups of people stopped us to approve of us, saying “Thank god! I was just thinking of doing something like that!” We got high fives from neighbors and from complete strangers.

There were about 8 or 9 “Yes on 8” supporters on the 4 corners, with printed signs. Our signs, home made signs, were so much better!

People rolled down their windows to give Moomin and I the thumbs up, honking and saying “right on!” and then booed and yelled “NO ON 8” to the others. Their thumbs would go up for us – down for the homophobe bigots.

A mom in their little group, with her kid about Moomin’s age, greeted me by name. Sorry lady. I don’t know you. Apparently you know me. Maybe you’re in my son’s school or his old school or maybe we were in the Moms’ Club these last 8 years. I don’t know who you are.

I don’t understand the minds of these people. Why they’d go out of their way to deny other people the civil rights they enjoy. What is in their minds and hearts? What is wrong with these folks?

“Marriage is only between a man and a woman,” the woman in the photo above told me and my 8 year old. “We want to protect families, and free speech.” Moomin said, “Excuse me. Actually, I don’t get it. You’re voting to make a law that people can’t get married. How is that protecting families again?!” and he made a little “you’re nuts” circle by his head.

One lady at a stop light rolled down her window. She was very old and her hair was done in a sort of 40s updo, obviously done on rollers. She was dressed beautifully. I thought she might smile at us. But no – “I feel sorry for you,” she said, frowning and looking like she was going to spit, like she smelled something bad. “You just aren’t right.”

Another man pulled up, got out of the car, and thanked us for our obviously spontaneous effort. “I just wanted to stop and shake your hand. Thank you. Thank you for doing this.” He shook my hand, then Moomin’s.

We couldn’t stay out long, as I was too tired to keep sitting up. We came back by way of the grocery store, where we met two lesbian families with their children, who complimented our signs. Many people talked to us in the store. In the checkout line, an older lady, so bent over she could barely look straight ahead while she walked, carefully picked up the end of my rainbow flag from where it was trailing and tucked it up so it wouldn’t get dirty. She patted my shoulder. For once I didn’t mind being patted.

I spent most of the rest of the day in bed and did not get the projects done that I intended to do. I didn’t clean up the house, and didn’t work with Moomin on his school project or play games with him. We both just laid in bed reading most of the day. I took a long nap. I hoped that was okay – how I meant the day to be, vs. what it was. And I wonder what he’ll remember of this and other times I’ve asked him to be an activist with me? And what he’ll think later in life? I felt so proud of him, coming with me, making the signs, actually shaking his fist at the folks across the street, and talking with me about what he thought. It’s something I’m very proud to share with him.

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