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Integrity or Selfishness?

Well, I’m about to do it again.

I’m going to talk about politics. God, I’m really starting to hate politics….

As I mentioned earlier in Why I Am Voting NO On Amendment 2 In Florida, we attended a rally to oppose the “Protection of Marriage” (Anti Gay Marriage) amendment and got all fired up. I defiantly put a sign in my yard that declares my feelings about it. I’ve talked to people in the street and have even volunteered to go talk to people in the voting lines tomorrow on election day.

Today I read an open letter from the group that originated this amendment. They have gone to great lengths and spent a lot of money to get their issue to this point. In turn, those who are opposed have also been forced to spend a great deal to fight it.

There are people on both sides of the issue who are dismayed at the amount of money being thrown around when there are so many other problems that need to be addressed. All of them are right — and all of them are wrong.

Yesterday we went to a Greyhound rescue event with our little 11-year-old buddies and their Girl Scout troop. It was one of their service projects and we had a terrific time. They’re great with the dogs after practicing so much with ours and it was wonderful to see them learning about how to give back.

When we got home, the girls came over to our house to see what we had won in the gift basket raffle, and one of them asked what the sign in the front yard was about. My response was the one that I’ve been rehearsing as I talk to people in anticipation of election day. I explained to her that, say, one of her grandparents died and they found somebody new that they became companions with, someone who could help them with medical decisions, and other important things that two people help each other with when they live together or are committed to each other in a significant way. I said that it was sort of like being married, but that they either couldn’t get married or chose not to. They still needed to be able to be legally recognized for their importance to the other person. I don’t know if my little pal understood all this or not, but I did my best.

The open letter in favor of amending the constitution to make sure that marriage is absolutely between a man and a woman so that “liberal activist judges” couldn’t interfere and decide otherwise, was chastising us opponents for shamelessly using seniors to further our agenda. The reality, they said, is that there are only about 6-8 benefits that domestic partners share compared with more than a thousand that married people have. In some of the blogs I’ve read on the issue, the supporters of the amendment have taken issue with the use of firefighters, police officers, and educators being used to promote our opposition, saying that they will remember this the next time the fire or police departments call asking for donations.

The reality is that if we talk about the real issue that this amendment is trying to apply to our Florida Constitution, the buzz words “GAY MARRIAGE” carry a whole different significance for many. The comparisons with California and Massachusetts where same-sex marriage has become possible have brought forth all sorts of scary horror stories that people are being warned against. I suppose the fact that I don’t even know what they are shows that they may not be terribly significant.

So what is this push for gay marriage really all about? I don’t actually know anyone who is so anxious about getting married. Most of us never expected it to be an option so we haven’t even entertained the idea. Do we really need the benefits of marriage? Quite honestly, I don’t even know what they are. We are legally able to draw up living wills, etc., that allow us to assign power of attorney, medical and legal, and leave our assets to each other. The only thing I think of that is a major issue is pensions. Most of them do not pass on to anyone other than a spouse.

When I place a sign in my yard, am I declaring my integrity or my selfishness? If I can’t talk about what the issue is really about, is that integrity? Is my desire to be eligible for a pension selfish? Or have the authors of this amendment truly been short-sighted in seeing the real effects this might have on a much wider population than they intended?

There is a fine line between healthy discretion and cowardice. As I have read the nasty rhetoric on the Internet, that repository of cowardly discourse, I have tried to maintain my integrity by being honest about who I am without overtly throwing it at people, trying not to hide my life when it becomes convenient or uncomfortable. But all of this makes me feel selfish, like I am constantly thinking about myself when I really want to be thinking of others.

Though we have not had “the discussion” with our neighbors, they know who we are, what we are. But on some level, unless I say it out loud, a part of me is still hiding. There are people in our society, who stand to benefit from a monumental change in our political system, who cannot hide. Their skin color, or their accent, or their dress tell the world who they are, and still they stand proud in the face of derision.

But I… I have the choice to hide who I am, and that’s what challenges my integrity. Would I be invited to participate in Girl Scout activities if I were “too” honest? I was a Girl Scout once, and according to the Girl Scout law:

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

I will leave the sign in my yard and tomorrow when I am talking to people in line, I will tell them what this amendment is really about — an attempt to bar civil rights from a group of people who were once Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, are church goers and members of their community, who would like the opportunity to continue the honesty that we were taught growing up. I wonder if this will make them more comfortable than telling them that we’re a bunch of deceptive liars who don’t have the integrity to live up to our own agendas.

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Categories: Politics
  1. November 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    You go, girl!! It will all be over soon, and your blood pressure should return to something resembling normal.

  2. Cheryl
    November 5, 2008 at 2:25 am

    Fighting for civil rights is ALWAYS a noble cause.

  3. November 5, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    hey you, this has nothing to do with this post that you put up, only that it was about politics so i thought it would make sense. anywho i completely agree that there need to be a reform in thought throughout this entire country and that reform has to be that there is some thought. i tend to think that 80% of the public who vote, vote from their ass as opposed to their head, republicans and democrats alike. i would be more than glad to cite some sources on my numbers that post was just fiery and obnoxious so i wasn’t being a writer so much as a mouthpiece.

    i gotta tell you, if shit doesn’t change in the next 10 years i may have to try to become the youngest president of the united states, do exactly as reagan did and get out and live in the prosperity of the following 25 years, until someone screws it up. but hopefully it doesn’t come to that because to be perfectly honest, i don’t like politicians or big government. although if i were president, i could make it my highest priority to do away with big government. read my new post and see what i’m talking about.

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