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In Which North Carolina Changes its Nickname to “The Derp State.”

(Nota Bene: This started out as a comment on Feisbuk, but has grown into what you see below)

Oh, North Carolina. What the hell were you thinking?

This is America. As a country, we promote ourselves as the land of the free and the home of the brave. We have a statue in one of our most prominent waterways declaring our willingness to accept the world’s most desperate and hopeless. We are a country whose heroes of yore demanded liberty or DEATH. Not “Liberty or whatever works for the nice white Conservative Christians.”

We are a country called America, populated by AmeriCANS.

Increasingly, however, I cannot help but note that certain sectors of our society – corporations; religious wingnuts; those who fear science, or religions outside their own, or anything that falls outside their tiny sphere of experience – that are trying to make us into AmeriCAN’Ts.

All across this country, there are movements afoot to limit or destroy the rights of women and minorities. These movements say, “We the People” REALLY means “We the Rich White Protestant Dudes,” or “We the Religious Extremists Who Trade in Fear and Deceit to Secure and Maintain our Base of Power,” or even “We the Willfully Ignorant.” They say that this country has rights only for those who are male enough, or straight enough, or white enough, or Christian (whatever that term means to people willing to make others suffer in the name of their faith) enough, and those who fail to hit all the check boxes can go suck an egg.

I’m tired of it. Aren’t you?  Aren’t you tired of people who refuse to THINK, but instead operate off the worst possible combination of Calvinist apathy, ignorance and unenlightened self-interest? Aren’t you tired of hearing arguments recycled today that were used to support racist laws and policies before and during the birth of the Civil Rights movement?

This America they want to create – an America of “no’s,” and “Can’ts” and “Family Values” that actively ignore any family not straight out of “Leave it to Beaver” – is not the America I know and love. This is a country that is about finding freedom – freedom of choice; freedom of religion (or FROM religion, if that’s your bag); freedom of love. Freedom to embrace life and liberty and to pursue happiness, in whatever form you like, so long as you’re not harming anyone else. That’s MY America. I’m an AmeriCAN.

Everything about North Carolina’s Amendment One says “AmeriCAN’T.” Despite an existing ban on gay marriage, North Carolina wanted to amend their constitution, just in case “activist judges” got up to some hijinks and decided that equality, rather than bigotry, should be the law of the land. Of course, in doing so, there were some casualties – namely, the civil rights of any couple not legally married (and their families).  What kind of casualties? How about basic hospital access? Domestic abuse protections? How about the fact that the everloving STATE gets to decide what makes a “family?”

Just how free are those in the “land of the free” when inequality is institutionalized? Where is the bravery in denying others the right to live and love? Where is the morality in fighting for an amendment that lessens the rights of women, of children, of unmarried couples (gay and straight)?

This is the sort of rank hypocrisy that makes me suspicious of any claim made by someone in favor of “small government.” I don’t need a government so small it fits in my house and my bedroom (or, for that matter, in my downstairs business).

If you’re not up to speed, you can get the details by reading this very informative PDF from the folks at “Protect ALL NC Families.”

This amendment was passed amid loud cries of dissent from BOTH parties (even those who actively fight against equality for LGBT people stressed that this Amendment was bad for families) as well as even louder cries of voter fraud. If you suspect you’ve been a victim of voter fraud, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report it. The power to undo this thing lies not in the hands of the dusty old bigots who seek to tighten their grip even as life and influence slip away; it is in this and subsequent generations. Generations who know that love is love, and that for any marriage to be “traditional and biblical,” somebody better be sold into indentured servitude and goats or camels better be changing hands.

So speak up, people. Make your voice heard, whether you live in NC or not. That’s what I’m doing, because I’m an AmeriCAN.

How about you?

 

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