Friday, August 24, 2012
Do you love?
Listening to Michael Franti sing "It’s not about WHO you love, it’s about DO you love" I had a personal revelation about the whole societal ugliness around marriage (in)equality.
Prior to this moment, I saw the ugliness surrounding marriage privilege as a power struggle, and honestly, I didn’t understand it. Digging down into scripture, history and culture, people spent resources (time, energy, money, social capital) well in excess of any potential gain. Prior to my moment tonight, there were only two even remotely viable rationales for this position: People actually believed the hype about why marriage inequality was bad for society (whether that stemmed from religious, cultural or historical foundations) or they stood to gain by taking the position - people would like them more if they "sided" with them.
But Michael Franti's song helped me to see the true nature of the other side of this argument. It’s not about WHO someone loves, it about THAT they love. The anger about marriage privilege is less a statement of position (or even comment) on homosexual love itself than it is an indictment to the sad state of heterosexual love.
My high-school and middle-school aged daughters have very, very few friends whose parents are the married adults with whom they live. They say to us in their whiny, melodramatic tones that “Dad, you guys are like the only parents of my friends who are still married.” It’s actually funnier than that because when they start to list parents who are still married, they’re all friendly with us. We are attracted to people who are like us, I guess.
So, society (or at least the portion of it so motivated as to devote the resources necessary to control this conversation) probably are embarrassed that someone would risk so much personally and sometimes professionally earn the right to have their commitments recognized on an even field. Just to love. This has a society who certainly appears to have collectively long ago ditched the notion of fighting for the right to love someone. It has become a totally disposable right. If this one doesn’t work out, endure a little pain and just go to the next one. The risk of relationships, family, church, professions, even in extreme cases physical danger - to gain a right that so many have willfully thrown away must seem so foreign that it is threatening and maybe embarrassing to those who have been dealt the cards, everyone else folded and they still ended up losing the hand. A statement against the rights of another person the right to love – is far and away less an criticism of homosexual love than it is a self-indictment of painfully low-self worth over having had and lost not extending too far beyond guilt or shame.
The good news is that the energy beind the argument on both sides is proof that people still understand the value of love. They just can’t bring themselves to admit their own feelings of failure. Supporting the love of those chastised for possessing what they themselves have discarded like yesterday’s newspaper is too much for them to bear.
May peace be upon their souls, I hope Michael Franti and I are wrong.
(Apologies to my heterosexual divorced friends for whom this is a difficult opinion. This is a sociological opinion, not psychological. I didn't have anyone in mind. Also apologies to those who like the less than 200 words format. I'm way over here, but couldn't distill it much further.)
Posted by Eddie Proulx