We had a lovely, low-key Thanksgiving: slept in, took in a movie, made nothing but reservations for dinner, and came home to have the traditional post-feast nap.
The movie we saw was Lincoln, which was excellent, and you should probably see it. My favorite bit was toward the end, as they’re debating the final vote on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that would abolish slavery forever. There is some passionate discussion about whether, in freeing the slaves, would suffrage for them be next? And then what? Women voting? As I sat there in my chair and watched the old white men on the screen guffaw, roar, and generally lose their ever-lovin’ minds in the face of considering anything as preposterous as universal suffrage, at a safe and comfortable 147-year remove, I couldn’t help but be struck at how ridiculous they seemed. So much wailing and gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair at the idea that other people were actually people and deserved to be treated as such by the law, even if individual humans were determined to cling tightly to their petrified (in all senses of the word) injustice. Not to mention that it was, and remains, incredible to me that civil rights, which are ultimately natural human rights codified, should be voted upon at all. The very idea that I, one human, gets to vote on your humanity, is baffling and despicable. There is really no other way to describe it.
And yet many people think it’s still up to them whether their friends, neighbors, and coworkers have the same rights they do in every single aspect of their lives. And if they can’t coerce the federal government into following their personal judgment, then they will try to do it state by state. There was not a single argument for keeping African slaves in bondage that hasn’t been trotted out again and again every time some oppressed group and its allies decided they were sick and tired of being oppressed, and it was high time something was done about it.
Today, it’s our GLBT population, and in 147 years, the same idiot crybabies who seem to insist on their God-given right, their freedom (in a breathtaking bit of irony) to oppress others haven’t disappeared. If anything, they seem to have grown more strident. In one light, I suppose that’s encouraging–they are no doubt screaming so loudly because they know the end is near. 4 states in this last election had marriage equality measures on the ballot–3 to allow it, and one to ban it. The 3 to allow it passed, and the the one to ban it failed, as it should have. Because reality, and the history it becomes, is forever on the side of evolution, and those who would dig in and refuse to be moved will be left behind, and then buried by the avalanche of those who come after them who hold no such prejudices and can’t understand anyone who does. We must adapt or die. We must think instead of fear, and any thinking person cannot truly think it’s okay to keep other human beings down.
And in 147 years, some woman will be sitting in her 3-D holodeck, enjoying a historical drama of 2012, shaking her head at how ridiculous we were in our angry, violent opposition to the self-evident and inevitable. With any luck or justice at all, it won’t take that long.