ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar! LarryNocella.com

25Nov/08Off

Exactly how vigilant is eternally vigilant again? (or, Yet another partially educated opinion on the passage of Prop 8)

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, Thomas Jefferson once said. Live long enough and you can't help but agree with the statement. The problem is, agreeing with it and fully understanding its implications are separate. Being eternally vigilant sounds like a lot work without a day off. Exactly how vigilant are we talking here?

I'm afraid Jefferson's wise observation means we have to occasionally attend boring political meetings or carry a sign in the street. It means we have to read the news, or worse watch it, or make tedious calls from a campaign office. It means no matter how much fun we're having, sometimes we have to stop, and volunteer for a second job that doesn't pay, so we can take part in a movement to fight some wankers who are trying to outlaw gay marriage, or videogames, or books, or whatever.

Some might think that within that "whatever" I include guns. I suppose it could, but I find it a never-ending source of irony that the people most vocally terrified their freedoms are going to be taken are the ones who run out and stock up on guns, at the same time voting for Republicans who rob them blind and lock them in the cage of poverty. Analogies to describe the situation are equally surreal. It's like pointing all your weapons at the front door, while leaving your money stash outside on the back porch with the door wide open. Gun Nuts have admirable drive but a poor sense of direction.

Pay attention, Gun Nuts! What is the primary obstacle when you seek to go from point A to point B? What most often blocks your freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness? Is it someone you need to shoot? No. It's money. So should you shoot money? Cease fire, soldier! You can't blast your way out of the poor house, and as for bullets, you can sweat 'em but you can't eat 'em.

But enough of all this sky-high abstract talk. Let's get specific. Let's talk about eternal vigilance as it refers to Prop 8 which just passed in California, attempting to deny gays the right to marry.

If all of those who worked hard for the No on Prop 8 (pro-gay) movement would forgive a marginally educated opinion (since there is such a shortage of those!) let me say that the success of Prop 8 seems to be in part due to a lack of vigilance on all of us freedom lovers.

It's easy to say that from 3,000 miles away (as I live on the opposite North American coast) but I don't count myself blameless. Here's the score: 1.) Despite the zillions of liberal organizations that send me email asking for money every day, I barely heard of Prop 8 until the election was right on top of us. 2.) When I finally did hear of Prop 8, I heard that the Mormon church from Utah was donating a lot to the anti-gay effort. As a supporter of the other side from out of state, I was never contacted to lend financial support. 3.) I set aside the issue in favor of working for Obama because I found it hard to believe an anti-gay measure would pass in the state that holds two gay capitals: Hollywood and San Francisco.

That makes me part of the problem. Of course maybe it was simply a devious strategy by anti-gay wankers, in that they timed Prop 8 at the same time they knew all the liberal energy would be working pro-Obama.

Psychotic extremists have an advantage over us cool people who want to live and let live. Extremists don't care if their Friday night is spent sealing envelopes, or preparing bombs, or something equally uncool. Extremists are eternally vigilant... for opportunities to be assholes. We need to be just as relentless in stopping them, even if that means doing the boring stuff mentioned earlier.

So, for this past election, as great as we all did, we have to do better. There's still work to do to achieve equality for our fellow human. Let's get to it. Obama's elected, because that campaign and its supporters took nothing for granted.

Despite my critique, let's not waste too much time on blame. Maybe Prop 8 just got beat in a close race. I just want to make sure we remember that if we take something for granted, we'll soon have nothing left to take for granted. Not as poetic as Jefferson's quote, but just as true.

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Larry Nocella is the author of the novel Where Did This Come From? available on Amazon. For more info, visit his website at http://www.larrynocella.com/.

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