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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

well, I guess I'm a bastard then...

Election mother would be proud to know how much I love it.

Personally, I think democracy kicks ass as so I cast my vote annually and with great alacrity.  I take the girls so they can see the voting process and I brag openly about how cool it is to vote. I let them place my ballots in the slot to be sucked into the Great Ballot Machine and be counted and equally weighted with everyone else's. 

Voting is the great equalizer.  We each only get one vote and it doesn't matter if we are rich or poor, female or male, smart or stupid, fat or thin, democrat or republican, gay or straight, old or young.  Our votes count.

 (I am not including the George Bush fiasco in my musings here.)

Today, it dawned bright and beautiful for election day. Trish came and watched the girls for me so I could take the first shift at the petition table outside the polls, volunteering for Equality Maine to help get same-sex marriage back on the ballot. 

Now, I know that I am starting to get a repuation for being a petition pusher and I have to say, I kind of dig it.

Hampden is a notoriously conservative town with some liberal pockets (of liberal do-gooders even). I was nervous to put myself out there to complete strangers with the possibility of being shot down and taking it too strongly to heart.  In the first hour I got 38 signatures.  I figured it was about a 30% success rate. Not too bad, but still means a lot of "no" before 9 AM.
It is interesting the responses I got.  They ran the gamut. 

"No thank you."
"No, oh no."
"I don't sign petions."
"Not today, thanks."
"Of course.  I cannot believe you have to stand here and do this."
"Yes! And let's hope it passes this time."
"Coax me." (I LOVED this response. I had a 100% success rate with the coax.)
"I don't believe in that."
"I like things the way they are."
"I don't believe in marriage."

Some people ignored me.  Some saw the sign and came right up and began to sign before I could even say a word. Some shook their heads with no audible reply.

I had a wife sign and she told me she thought her husband would sign when he came out. "What's this?" he gruffed. "For same-sex marriage.  Your daughter would want you to sign that," replied the wife.  "I'm not signing that!" came his response.

I had friends, acquantainces and neighbors come up warmly and sign and ones that waved and kept walking. 

I went to work from 9-12 and then back to the polls from 12-2.  In the three total hours I was there I got 133 signatures.

For certain, the most disturbing part of my day was a man who asked me several questions about the petition and the issue at hand.  Then he leaned on my table, looked me in the eye and said about gay people, "I want to shoot those bastards."

This was a moment of glaring maturity for me.  I thought about the early heartache of the morning and the rejections and all the love and support I felt from my friends who told me to keep my chin up and the people who willingly, eagerly signed.  I could see this man standing before me for who he was- a narrow-minded, fearful individual that has probably fostered hate as a pastime for most of his life.  I didn't feel afraid or even angry.  I felt pity.

I looked him straight in the eyes, unwavering, and said, "Now you are talking directly to me as a gay person." He turned and walked away and I in no way felt that he had won anything.

We may be dependent on the popular vote to decide our marital status, but that hate and discontent and superiority does not need to penetrate into my depths. 

I am proud of the work I did today.  I said thank you and smiled to those who rejected me.  I earnestly appreciated those that signed and supported. I gave high fives, saw tons of people I know and felt like I conducted myself in exactly the way I want to be treated in this world, with love and kindness and, if not understanding, than acceptance.

And if that makes me a bastard, so be it.


Katie said...

I love that you are going the extra mile to earn your t-shirt...

Seriously, though. You ROCK for doing this! I feel pity for ppl who project such things, also. What a sad life...

Zoe K said...

BAMF! love it!

Anonymous said...

you are some kinda special! not just for this particular situation but for so many things you stand for. i truly have a respect for you that i have for few others.

love ya

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