Friday, November 14, 2008

Traumatized

So I guess I will finally get to the real reason that I have been avoiding blogging and really, just being online in general for the past several days. As many of you know, I am an ardent supporter of Prop 8 in California. While I did not expect it to pass, I was thrilled that it did. In the weeks leading up to the election I tried to do what I could to discuss the issue in the circles where I have influence. I am not someone who likes to cause conflict, so for some time I have avoided political discussions with anyone but close and trusted friends, but I felt so strongly about this issue that I have been posting about it on my blog, facebook, email groups and pretty much wherever there is someone who will listen.

This was not an issue that was initially very intuitive to me. I really struggled on this. It seemed like there was a definite case to be made for allowing same-sex marriage-- was it really going to impact me? Even if it did, did I have any right to tell them they couldn't? My conclusion finally was that, YES, it was going to impact me and not only did I have the right, I had the responsibility to stand for marriage between a man and a woman. As a result, I have spent WAY too many hours researching and studying this issue (as my disastrously messy house will testify) and then writing about my conclusions on it (which you can read in other previous posts, if you are interested). Throughout the whole process, I tried to be respectful and non-argumentative in my posts, recognizing that there are many people who feel deeply about this issue on the opposite side.

I was disappointed (although not terribly surprised) at the protests following the passing of Prop 8. However, I respect the right of others to peaceably assemble and voice their opinions. (Although it does beg the question, "Where were all these protesters BEFORE the election? Aren't they a little late?") But some of the aftermath has passed outside the realm of "peaceable" in my book... Forcing closure of a house of worship? Threatening and harassing those who donated money to the campaign? Defacing property? Calling for (and getting) the resignation of a California Musical Theater official because he contributed to the campaign? Maybe I'm just strange, but these actions seem, well... intolerant. Besides that, I think it adds more credibility to the argument that if gay marriage is allowed it will cause religious persecution for "hate crimes" if religions don't recognize gay marriage as equal to heterosexual marriage. See what has happened already....

I also think it is funny that Mormons should be the main target. We were only part of the coalition. Don't you think it would be more appropriate to boycott California than to boycott Utah? Californians actually voted for the law. Besides that, the Mormon church did not donate money to the campaign. It asked its members to support it, but that's all it could do: ask. It was entirely up to the members' free will as to whether they supported it or not, either with their time or money. There was no force or coercion involved. In fact, many members publicly oppose Prop 8.

But back to me (the focus of this blog, right?).... I know that whenever you enter the political arena, you are asking for disagreement and debate. I'm OK with that. I have participated in many heated discussions and debates, some of which were enjoyable and stimulating. I guess I was wrong in two things: 1) I thought that when the polls closed, the issue would too-- that when people voted it would actually mean something. (OK, big miscalculation there.) 2) I thought that political discussion could happen without attacking the people involved in the debate.

I guess I just wasn't been prepared for personal backlash for daring to state my opinion. In the past little while I have had several unpleasant encounters online with people who feel compelled to use my stance on a political issue to attack my intelligence, my character or my spirituality. (Most of these people are also LDS, strangely enough.) This is not the same as the many people who have challenged me on the issue or debated whether my viewpoint is logical. I have no problem with someone saying, "Have you thought about this point?" or even "I respect you as a person, but politically I think you're out to lunch." There are many people I could say that same thing to: I respect and enjoy them as people, but we have very different views on political matters.

In the course of my debates I have sincerely tried to never attack a person, to be polite and to express my view without demeaning other people. I hoped that this could be a two-way street and that "tolerance" for opposing views would go for both sides. My hopes have frequently been disappointed. I have had people recently call me stupid, ask me if I can really be a Christian, tell me that I am "like a lemming" and (my favorite) accuse me of being "one of those people" who went to BYU, doesn't have any non-LDS friends and only reads the Ensign. (Humorous, given that I am trying to read 4 books concurrently because a bunch I had on hold at the library came in at the same time. Makes it hard to get to The Economist.... I have to admit that on the crime of attending BYU, I am guilty as charged.)

I like to think that I have tougher skin than this, but I have to admit that I was really shaken up. I was not expecting this, especially not the stuff from other Mormons! I like to think that people can disagree-- even vehemently-- without descending to personal attacks and rudeness. I am emotionally worn out. I am tired of being called names. I am tired of being nervous every time I open my email or log in to facebook that I will be bombarded with messages telling me how stupid and intolerant and hateful I am. I am tired of people telling me how horrible my viewpoint is without even pausing to listen to what that viewpoint is. So, even though I know the battle on this issue is far from over, I am trying to lay low for now and recover.

6 comments:

Jacki said...

It's taking me time to recoveer too- and I didn't even participate as much as you! I really appreciated the posts you had about it- particularly your mom's email- they helped me sort some things out. Thanks!

libhom said...

The Mormon Church itself gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Yes on 8. There is a lot of misinformation coming from the LDS to avoid scrutiny of their actions.

Rebecca said...

It is so hard to take it all in, but it's to be expected I guess. At least we have our own little stress-release outlet!

Chelly said...

Hi there! I know you don't have a clue who I am but can I just give you a big hug first? ((((((hugs))))) I am a friend of Jadie's and I came across your blog while I was reading hers. I so appreciate your post and let me tell you, I sympathize with you completely! We have recently started our own pro-life organization (you are more than welcome to take a look at my blog for more info on the current "fight" ahead) but, while I was certainly expecting there to be contention between myself and those who disagree with me~ I honestly was not prepared for the open hostility. It's been....difficult to say the least. While I have yet to experience that hostility from people in the church yet, I have run into alot of apathy which has been tough~ I can only imagine how hard that must be for you to be attacked by people that share your faith~especially on an issue that our faith supports so strongly. Just doesn't make sense to me! I'm sorry you've had to go through that~ but I applaud you for standing up~ it's scary and it does seem to paint a big red target on you. It seems that the only "freedom of speech" people are interested in is only that which agrees with their view. And with prop 8 I really don't understand the extent of the hostility, seeing as how the homosexual community hasn't lost a single right as a result of it. They merely did not GAIN a title. They did not obtain the right to redefine what so many hold sacred. It makes me so sad to see our temples being treated so disrespectfully~ big ouch. We're in OR and have not seen that kind of demonstration here~ but it is on the news. Im sorry you're caught in the middle of it all. I was thinking this morning how it's been a while since we've really had our mettle tested as a church. *bracing self* :o)

And to respond to libhom's comment about "misinformation" coming from our church to "avoid scrutiny of their actions" It's simply not true. It's just not all that sinister as some would like to believe. Sometimes people have beliefs that they hold sacred~ that matter enough to them to stand up and fight for (and the members of our church certainly did so respectfully) . Just as those who believe strongly that gay marriage should be legalized. We have not in any way shape or form infringed on their right to express or fight for their views and yet that same respect has not been shown to those who feel differently. I happen to be very well acquainted with my church, and there is nothing subversive or oppressive about it. You may choose to feel differently but it might be worthwhile to consider what you are basing those opinions on. The majority of our meeting last Sunday was about treating the gay community with love and respect even though we disagree with their view. It is important for everyone in this great country to stand up for what they believe in~ but ultimately, it is We the People who decide, by our votes, what is the majority view. If you happen to be in the minority, that sucks. (sorry, couldnt find a better word!) We happen to know what that feels like to a very large degree~ not just throughout our history, but here and now. And as far as dollar amounts go...it takes money to support a cause. How has it suddenly become criminal or shameful for Americans to donate their own hard earned money to help further a cause they feel strongly about? I believe Obama spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million dollars to support just ONE infomercial and hundreds of millions on his entire campaign~ and he sure supports alot of things that I am passionately against~ and yet no one is asking where that money came from. The hypocrisy and blatant double standards that are rampant in our society are causing so much harm to our country.

Anyway~ back to the original poster (sorry I don't know your name and sorry for "crashing" your blog) but I support you, I salute you and I wish you peace and comfort and that the storm will subside soon for you. I'm just getting ready to pull my raincoat on and head out into one myself! *yikes!*
Take care!
~Michelle

K kid said...

Sources, libhom? I can say my house payment is funded by Big Bird, but you gotta have sources for claims like that be credible. There is always a money trail. Any source that I can find (USAToday and other major news sources) says that the church itself did not donate any money. Even sources attempting to identify how much individual church members donated (such as "mormonsfor8.com") are iffy at best, given that anybody can send them an email "identifying" donors who they think are Mormon... hardly foolproof.

Jennifer said...

K-kid--oh my gosh! I had no idea you had been through such an experience. And so unfairly targeted, in my view. In the couple of political conversations we've had (online and off) I have found you to be very willing to listen to other viewpoints, and I've found your posts to be well thought-out and intelligent. I'm so sorry about the personal trauma. Yikes. You don't deserve it.