Pony: The fags, the fear, and other-centredness
So I only cried once yesterday, and that was at the end of the Jon Stewart Daily Show, when the "moment of zen" was footage of gay couples getting married, crying, embracing.
I heard someone defend her stance against gay marriage, saying: "it's *ours*" and my blood ran cold. Because I could get my head around an intolerance for 2-minute celebrity bender weddings (though personally I could care less). But I just can't wrap my head around the shrill disdain for gay monogamy.
In the buildup top the election I read compulsively, scoured the news, watched more documentaries in the past six months than I have seen in my whole life. All to ensure that my terrified notions about the right-wing phenomenon was not stemming from prejudice, but solid facts.
And Kerry did his homework too. He had facts, statistics and an earnestness that would have done the Canadian Parliament proud. But the important voters did care about or understand the numbers. They wanted more charisma and more Jesus. As for me, I am exhausted. All these fact dissolve in the face of despair. What amendment # was that they wanted to repeal? Are Iraqis 58 more times likely to die a violent death since 2002 or 58%? Guuuuuuh.
As for the cultural divide? I don't know it so intimately from up here, though I hear that some people think that pro-wrestling is real. And I hear that some states are starting to think that they might have more in common with Canada than their own countrymen.
I know that us-and-them mentality is I can't see beyond the divide just yet.
Last night I was at my friend's launch of her book of poetry. She had driven all the way from Halifax with her boyfriend. I went to see Emily who is never afraid to laugh at the funny lines of serious poetry readings. I looked around the warmly-lit bar, with people reading words that were funny, beautiful, and sometimes inscrutable, at all the wrinkled raincoats and reading glasses and I wanted to cry (this is a recurring theme this week). I wanted to wrap my arms around that moment. I felt that we had survived something.
A friend of mine sent my this Martin Luther King quote: "I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up."
Someone commented that my life will be the same in the next four years under Bush as it would have been under Kerry, so I should just stop worrying. But it is incorrect to think that what is happening in the US, in Iraq or to the environment is not happening to me. To us.
When I heard Jane Jacobs speak last year, she said:
"Pick something that makes you angry, and work to affect change."
We can't hold all the facts and issues in our head, but we can make sure we are not ignorant. And we can work for something we believe in (today I think I want to work on media literacy - something to compete with the 'ooo...shiny'approach to voting/consumption). And maybe use this sad rage to be other-centred for a while.