Today, North Carolina passed a horribly phrased law with implications far beyond a state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. For those who don’t know, Amendment One will prohibit all domestic partnerships other than marriage between a man and a woman from being recognized. This could negate domestic violence protections for unmarried couples, strip children of single parents from healthcare, and introduce the possibility that widowed seniors may lose their pension, Social Security, and healthcare. But for some reason, I’m numb to the outcome and its reactions. I’m not even sure why.
Perhaps it’s the fact that the vast majority of people are unaware of these implications, perhaps it’s the fact that opponents of the amendment campaigned in divisive and offensive ways that hindered my enthusiasm for the cause (exhibit a: the photo at the top of this post), or perhaps it’s the fact that I’m cynical towards the half of my facebook newsfeed that’s “devastated” over a civil rights issue.
Part of me is thrilled to see so much political engagement, however shallow it is, especially towards a cause that one generation ago would have been deemed extreme. But at the same time, if people were truly concerned about civil rights, they would have started equally aggressive campaigns for when the Wake County school board essentially resegregated a school district that used to be a nationwide model for diversity. They would have petitioned the proposed bills that would criminalize Sharia, practically making it illegal to be a practicing Muslim. They would have voiced their opposition to the repeated attempts to pass xenophobic laws that unjustly split the families of undocumented immigrants — families like that of Santiago Garcia.
I recognize that there is a lot of homophobia in this country, but my heart and my anger and my frustration is mostly about injustice going on in the undocumented community. Whether or not gays can marry—for me this is not a priority. To me, a priority is whether my mom is going to be OK, whether my dad is going to be OK.
I guess my issue with the craze around Amendment One is that most people don’t seem to care much about anything other than self-congratulatory “activism.” (Case in point: the appearance of anti-“amendment-one”-themed parties in trendy downtown districts.) I can’t wait to see the day that issues that are equally deserving of people’s involvement, particularly those pertaining to people of color, receive as much attention as this campaign did. And I just hope that the energy surrounding it continues to other worthy causes after the trend dies out.