giovedì, novembre 06, 2008

I now pronounce you unsympathetic

The Dutch intimidate me. But, as I've mentioned before, in the sort of way that makes me wish they ran the world. That's on my mind this morning not only because those crazy beautiful fuckers are talking about building islands to make their country bigger, and not only because it looks as though a mate of mine here is moving to Amstelveen, which rocks because then we can crash with him in Amstelveen, and not only because we're going to Amsterdam in a couple of weeks to see the Fleidermaus and some marionettes for my 30th birthday, but also because a high proportion of my acquaintance from the Netherlands are gay men, and I've seldom heard people express themselves so clearly about their animosity with certain kinds of ethnic groups as they do, because those gay men sometimes feel in physical danger from these ethnic groups whilst walking down the street being obviously gay, and now this morning MSNBC is blaming blacks and Latinos for getting rid of same-sex marriage in California.

In terms of those statistics or polling numbers or whatever out of California, it's really interesting, the way it's partly instinctual to think any socially marginalized group is automatically going to feel sympathy for and supportive of other socially marginalized groups. But it's also a completely unreasonable thing to think, because let's face it: if marginalized groups all felt sympathy for each other, they wouldn't fucking be marginalized anymore, would they?

The whole process makes me impatient. I'm a big believer in direct democracy, but I can't help but feel that matters of legal and familial obligations like marriage or adoption should be left for courts and religious groups to decide - it beggars belief that something so civil should be decided by political processes. That's like asking for a referendum on McDonald's being liable if I burn my twat by spilling one of their coffees on her. Marriage is either a legal contract or a religious sacrament with a direct bearing on the contracted parties, and not on the wider community - that's all it fucking well is - it's not stockpiling machine guns, for fuck's sake - and that means either religious figures should decide within their own religious community or that judges should decide for the secular community. Especially in a place like the States, that's blessed with civil law. Maybe I'm full of shit and I'd be cheering on another victory for direct democracy if California had voted the way that I'd sort of wanted it to. I doubt it though. I'm actually not that keen on gay marriage. I think it would strengthen an institution that outlived its usefulness, but not its iniquities, when women were given legal status as humans. Anyways, in this case it really doesn't matter what I think. That's sort of my point.

In a torturous sort of way this all comes back to the Netherlands in my head, where gay marriage has been legal since 2001, and civil unions for some time before that, and adoption laws are more or less straightened out (all through the political process, necessary as they're still having a Napoleonic hangover - but whatever, it seems to work for them), and there are no political parties on either side of the spectrum even mentioning taking these rights away again, and you can have a character like Pim Fortuyn dominate the political landscape for awhile, and then get murdered, apparently partly because of the way he laid into Islam, and whose party can sort of win the election after he dies . . . Super-gay, and not marginalized. Not at all. The splits are different and there are no illusions about mutual support among minority groups.

What's my point? I don't have one. It's just so interesting how things get so different from one democracy to another, from one developed country to another. And now I have to go keep writing about the economic meltdown at work.

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