As a woman who will be turning the age of 60 in less than a month, one would think I would have a fine grasp on my life, wouldn’t one? And as an out and activist lesbian who writes a weekly column, one would think I could find the appropriate words for every situation I find myself in, wouldn’t one?
Lately, this has not been my experience.
I find myself in a position of knowing what is right for me, and yet not knowing how to get my point across with style and grace and not come off sounding pissy and self-serving.
Allow me to try to explain…
As a woman and as a lesbian, this Presidential Election is a clear choice between what is right and what is wrong for me. President Obama is what is right; for women (me), for the gay community (me), for the citizens of the United States of America (me). Period. End of story.
Each and every one of us should vote our conscience and in doing such, this is where the problem lies with me and those who choose to vote Republican in this particular Presidential Election. For me, I take it personally when someone I know and who knows me is choosing to vote against my being equal to them in every sense of the word. It’s personal to me that you believe that I’m somehow less valuable than you – that my life isn’t quite as important as yours. You may say: “Barb, I most certainly don’t feel that way,” but a vote for this Republican ticket most certainly says that you indeed do feel that way.
And how exactly am I to feel about you casting a vote against me? Seriously, what am I to do with this smack-down of my civil and human liberties? You tell me how I’m supposed to treat someone who votes to make sure I will be kept as the “less-than” status for at least four more years – perhaps longer. Am I to treat you with the same disdain with which you are treating me with your vote? Am I to wish the same inequalities for you and your family that you are voting for me and my family?
I’d like to think I could just shut you out of my life – and in some instances this is exactly what I have done, but… I’m not sure this is really the right thing to do. How do we reach people with the truth when we shut them out of our lives? How do we make people understand that the gay community is simply a community of human beings who simply want to live our lives as free and equal Americans if we cut out everyone who chooses to vote against us? Will this not just prove the point that we are pissy and self-serving? Will that simply not keep us divided and uncommunicative?
Then again – how can I have any respect for someone who knowingly votes against me? How do I keep you in my life when I know your vote went to keep me from having the same civil liberties as you? That your vote went to make sure women don’t get equal pay for equal work. That you voted for a man who has no desire to allow women to make their own decisions about health-care and abortions, and that you care little for the environment and the arts and look at the elderly and disabled veterans as moochers and victims. How do I find any redeeming qualities in your vote?
This is where my firm grasp on my life tends to slip a little. I know full well who I am; I’m out and proud and make no excuses or exceptions for that. But, I also understand that we all have differences, and we all see the world with different eyes. Still, I’d like to believe that human dignity is something every one of us would see clearly through every set of eyes. I could be wrong, but I still have hope.
The one thing constant about life is that is just keeps going. We will all survive this election, some of us better than others depending on the outcome. Either way, if you vote Republican and we come in contact with one another – I’ll be asking you face to face why you believe I’m not equal to you, and why you believe I don’t have the same right to everything this life has to offer as you do. Don’t start by telling me your vote wasn’t anything personal against me – for it most certainly was – Start by telling me why your human dignity is more important than mine. I’ll try not to be pissy and self-serving, but I can’t guarantee anything…