Sweetie and I decided to drive to Oxnard yesterday to visit Costco.  For you guys in Ojai, yes, I’m a traitor for shopping anywhere but here.  OK, now that I’ve admitted my errant ways, let’s move on.

As usual, Sweetie looked at me when I suggested Costco and said “Huh, what do we need?”  I responded “Who cares, let’s just go.”  We usually visit our money at Costco in the mornings.  It was already 2pm.  But I needed a break from blogs, election news, and the maniacal stock market.  See, our trips to Costco are generally classified as social events, full of great adventure.  Including bone-headed drivers, competition for parking spaces, being run down by errant shopping carts, grazing the food kiosks, and jockeying for position at the checkout stands.  I usually pick the wrong one, just like you.

As we drove down Highway 33 I became increasingly aware of the proliferation of “Yes on Prop 8” signs.  You know, the “Let’s Discriminate Against Gays” ballot proposition.  They seemed to be increasing at an exponential rate.  Not only were they in front of churches and homes.  Now they were sprouting up in public places, along the highway and up on hills.  I visualized masked marauders driving up in the dark of night and sticking them where they should not be stuck.

Arriving at Costco, I scanned the hundreds of faces in my midst.  Was she one of the marauders?  Was he the guy who planted the sign on the public right of way?  Those two look like Prop 8 supporters…not to mention big fans of the Old Guy and the Snow Queen.  I was surrounded.

We drove home, picked up the mail, skirted around Ron’s dog in the middle of the driveway, and unloaded the spoils of our trip.  After I stowed the grocery wagon, I picked up the Ojai Valley News and scanned through it.  I always skim Dan Nelson’s religion column to see what I disagree with.  Pastor Dan reported the defacement of “Yes on 8” signs and threats made against those who support it.  He said that we should respect the rights of those who may disagree with us.  He expressed the need for tolerance.  I wondered if he was a marauder.

I checked my e-mail.  A note from Mark in response to yesterday’s blog said he hadn’t decided how he would vote on 8.  Then I called Paul to check in.  After the usual chit-chat, we launched into the election.  “I’m going to vote no on 8 but I still wonder why we can’t just leave well enough alone.  After all, they’ve got all the rights that we do.”

“Really” I said.  Just like black folks did in the public school system.  Separate but equal.


5 Responses to “Undecided”

  1. 1 Shed October 31, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Glad you’re shopping at Costco. The members in Oxnard are union — they’re represented by the Teamsters. Their union publication recommended a “no” vote on Prop 8. No doubt Wal-mart management (conservative as they are) would urge a “yes.” Shop union.


  2. 2 steven rothenberg October 31, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Pastor Dan’s comment (if correctly reported) “…they’ve got all the rights that we do” conveys perhaps the fundamental lack of understanding about this issue and underscores the feeling that many people have about gays or others who are not like them and thus shapes their views on these matters.
    Gays, or blacks, or hispanics, or women, or handicapped, or straight, or white, or people who drive 4-wheeled vehicles, or those that have blonde hair as opposed to brown, are not a “THEY” separate and distinct from your “WE”. “THEY” are simply and fundamentally just a human being just like you and you just like “THEY”.
    But because you may see them as being so different that they are almost ‘non-human’ and are in fact almost an entirely different species than yourself, it becomes easy to believe that perhaps they shouldn’t have the same rights as the ‘regular’ human race does.
    Sure, people are different. But that doesn’t make any of us any less human. Only ignorance, hate, fear, bigotry, AND TRYING TO CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES DOES THAT. Although there is so much of that in all of us as well that I suppose that ofcourse it is also a part of what it means to be human.
    Until you can learn how to view yourself from other people’s eyes, you will always perceive from an US vs. THEM mentality.

    or something.


  3. 3 Jane October 31, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    As the proud hosts of a gay wedding two week-end’s ago in the Upper Ojai, worried this might be one of the last legal ones,
    I cannot understand why anyone would want to prevent two loving human beings making a commitment to each other. Don;t we need more of this not less?

    (for Paster Dan: Sign spotted at the Lincoln Memorial “The Lord is my shepherd and he knows I’m gay”)


  4. 4 Elizabeth Bowman October 31, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Okay – only mildly related, but another entry called
    by David Sedaris


  5. 5 Anne Shrage October 31, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Steven expressed so well the “us” vs “them” mentality that leads to viewing certain people as being different from “us.” This makes it all right to treat “them” differently.

    When a group separates people by placing “them” in a different category and uses a we/they philosophy, it gives itself permission to do all manner of things: Deny “them” rights, make fun of “them,” keep “them” out, etc. Unfortunately, this High school mentality, that makes so many kids miserable in school, runs rampant in our adult community.


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