I am an amoeba in a world full of boxes.
I am a nerd, a coffee snob, a knitter, a writer, a photographer, an artist, a musician, a lover of literature, a lover of people, a lover of Truth, a seeker of Knowledge, a fighter, a lone wolf, a terrified twenty-something, a fractured mind, a strong soul, loyal to a fault, socially phobic, philosophically inclined, and frequently paradoxical.
These are my thoughts.
As I sit here staring at my absentee ballot and watching/listening to the love of my life debate marriage equality and the definition of free speech on the internet, I feel compelled to talk politics myself.
Friends, family, and strangers on the internet who may run across this blog and are voting in Minnesota, here’s the deal. I cannot tell you how to vote. That is the beauty of this democratic system: we all get to vote according to our own consciences. What I can ask you to do is to think, hard, about why you are voting the way you are, particularly if you are planning to vote “yes” on either of the proposed amendments to the Minnesota state constitution.
I have already outlined some of my personal reasons for voting against the voter ID amendment, but let me reiterate what I just said above to highlight what ultimately is the issue at hand: the beauty of this democratic system is that, provided we have not done something to render ourselves ineligible, we all get to vote. In the end I don’t care about the specific numbers: if this amendment disenfranchises even ONE otherwise eligible voter, I am against it. I cannot in good conscience support amending the state constitution to remove anyone who is otherwise legally eligible from participating in their government. We take away each other’s voices in enough other ways. This does not need to be one of them.
As far as the marriage amendment goes: yes, this is a personal issue for me. My partner, my boifriend, the love of my life, with whom I am living in a wonderfully loving, supportive, committed relationship, is a person I cannot legally marry in the state of Minnesota (or in the state of Illinois, which is where we recently relocated to, or in the majority of the rest of the United States). While we don’t have any plans for marriage anytime in the immediate future, there are certain legal benefits to government-recognized marriage (especially in terms of what rights we would have if one of us for whatever reason was hospitalized or worse) that our heterosexual friends at similar places in life can look forward to but that we cannot. So there are huge personal and sentimental reasons why I think the marriage amendment is a bad idea. But even bigger than those is the fact that it is completely unnecessary. There is already a law on the books in Minnesota prohibiting “same-sex marriage.” If the proposed marriage amendment is defeated, no progress has been made in terms of non-heterosexual marriage being recognized. It just means we haven’t taken a step backwards in the journey toward marriage equality. If the proposed amendment passes, it simply becomes one more hoop that people in non-heterosexual relationships have to jump through to have the same legal recognition as heterosexual relationships.
So, friends, family, and strangers on the internet, I am voting “no” on both proposed amendments to the Minnesota state constitution. Because this is America, and in America, we do not amend our constitution to take away people’s rights. If we are going to amend the constitution, it should be to protect our rights, not to remove them. Am I particularly concerned because both amendments have the potential or guaranteed effect of removing my own rights in particular? Of course. But I’m also thinking of my friends, and the members of my communities that I don’t even know, who are going to be affected by these amendments if they pass. These people are not nameless, faceless statistics. They are actual living, breathing human beings who deserve every ounce of respect every other human being deserves, including yourself. Taking away people’s rights is a dehumanizing act, and when we dehumanize others, we ultimately lose a piece of our own humanity.
Don’t devalue the lives of your fellow citizens. Please, for the sake of our collective humanity, at least consider voting “no.” Twice.