Tuesday, November 6, 2012
A Little Personal Perspective
As I was driving home last night from work, longing for the election to be over just so that I don't have to listen to it anymore, I was struck by a memory. The car in front of me, in fact, most cars that I see, had no indicator showing their presidential or political leanings. I do not have any political indicators on my vehicle, either. I don't know why it struck me particularly, but I realized that part of the reason I don't talk about politics and don't show my leanings publicly is fear. This line of thinking was surprising in some ways, but it was an opportunity to look back and see how much things have changed and/or how little. In 1992, there was a ballot measure (Measure 9), which was basically an fear-based attack on the LGBTQ community. At the time, I was much more active in the gay community - working with AIDS/HIV organizations, hanging out in the bars, interpreting drag shows, etc. So, when Measure 9 came down the pike, I immediately put a bumper sticker on my car - "No on 9". Simple, effective. And I was followed by cars for miles, people screamed obscenities at me, flipped me off, agressively tailgated me and finally, someone dented my car. While I can't be sure that all of this behavior was directly related, much of it was. It was a fearful time. One of Roby's neighbors was followed home from the bar and beaten almost to death. After that, my political leanings have been fairly silent. I may agree with someone or say something insignificant to a friend or someone I'm close to, but for the most part, I am not comfortable sharing that part of my life. As I was reflecting on this past of mine, these strange and seemingly unrelated things (the measure then and the election now), I realized that I still feel a sense of fear and reluctance to showcase my political beliefs. As a society, it seems that we are far less equipped to have civil discourse when we disagree. Everything becomes so extreme and it flies in the face of my desire to avoid conflict when possible. No brilliant revelation - just thought I would share some perspective as it came to me during my lengthy commute last night.