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Thursday, May 10, 2012

When personal is political

After the heartbreaking news from North Carolina, where voters overwhelmingly supported Amendment 1 and delivered the most extreme wording to ban marriage equality, came yesterday's news that the President of the United States has "evolved" on the issue and is now supportive of the issue.

The political pundits are spinning out multiple theories about the President's new stand . I'll admit, my "skept-o-meter" was working overtime.

Did the Vice President's support of marriage equality on Sunday's Meet The Press force the President's hand? Or, was it a carefully orchestrated strategy to let "Good Old Joe" take the initial heat and make it look like the POTUS had to salvage the damage?

Was it a ploy to lure the strategy of the Republican presidential race into social issues and off of the economy? Would "Mr. Fixit" bite the bait and get embroiled in the controversy?

Might it have been more politically astute to have waited until after the elections in November?

Bottom line? Who cares? It's never the wrong time to do the right thing.

Years ago, in Feminism 101, I learned from Holy Mother Betty Friedan (may she continue to raise hell from heaven) that the personal is political.

Have any doubt about that?

What's more personal than a woman's reproductive rights? Is it any wonder that it is the 'hottest topic' in the political arena?

The economy? Jobs/unemployment/underemployment? Taxes?

Yup, yup, and hell yeah.

I think the most telling thing about the President's interview was the stories he told of his own "evolution". I don't have the transcript, but I remember him talking about his daughters and their friends who have parents of the same sex. He marveled that it was such a non-issue for them and wondered aloud how he would explain to his daughters that while he was certainly welcoming and loving to these parents, he couldn't justify the denial of the same rights he and his wife enjoy as married people.

What's more, he cited his Christian faith as the motivating factor in coming to his decision. He returned to the Golden Rule and how Jesus expressed that as "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Once you hear your neighbor's story, it's hard not to love them and want the same things for them you have for yourself.

Feminism 101 meet Christianity 101.

Add a few personal stories and experiences and you have the evolution of the heart.

Remember the political slogan: "It's the economy, stupid!"?

New political slogan: "It's the story, stupid!"

That's because the personal IS political and nothing is more personal than sharing your story.

I have no doubt that, in the not too distant future, North Carolina will lead the other 29 states which presently ban marriage equality in overturning Amendment One.

Indeed, North Carolina was the first diocese in The Episcopal Church to elected an African American as a bishop (suffragan) in 1918. This was the same state which played a leading role in the Civil War. In case you need a reminder, North Carolina voted, in May of 1861, to secede from the Union to join the Confederacy.

I'm not saying that we have to wait that long for Marriage Equality. I'm saying that Marriage Equality will only come if we live our lives, anyway. Faithfully. Out. Open. Honest. With integrity and authenticity. 

It is the stories of our lives that will transform the world.

You don't even have to tell them. You just have to live your own story your own way.  Before you know it, others will get the 'message'.

There's nothing more personal - and, ultimately, political - than that.

So, let us rejoice in this wonderful, historic occasion.

For whatever political reason, the President of the United States supports Marriage Equality.  It was a personal decision with enormous political implications.

It has ever been thus.


RevMama said...

I read your blog while eating lunch, and just about spat my ham sandwich across the table when I read "Love the sinner, hate the bacon.". So little bit of ham, doesn't matter, does it? I mean, I agree that bacon is bad and all that, but surely a little piece of ham won't hurt.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

RevMama - I think you probably wanted to post this comment on "Incompatible with Scripture" but I'll take it.