my two cents:
233 odd years ago, a bunch of landed white male gentry came together to create a document of such exceptional depth and flexibility that it continues to be the glue that holds one of earth's greatest societies together. that declaration, and the bill of rights that accompanied it, were so perfectly balanced as to allow for the creation of a non-monarchical country that has managed to last with little internal strife for all those years.
but. and it's a pretty big but.
at the same time, there was a flaw. the document was solipsistic. it was created by people who could only conceive of themselves as having grievances of merit. the grievances may have been universal, and were claimed as such, but most of the universe was defined as not having a vested interest in those very universal rights. if you were black, you had 3/5 of a grievance. if you were a woman, no grievance worth discussing at all. and while the poor landless folk were not going to be sent to debtor's prison, they nonetheless were not part of the universe these men considered as relevant. to read hamilton and madison and jefferson with this ex post facto knowledge can give one a bit of a headache. why didn't they get it? they were shutting the vast majority of the country out of their "universal" claims.
well, they created a mechanism, a series of mechanisms in fact, that allowed for that universe to expand, to become ever more embracing of the rest of those who would call themselves americans. first, more white men were embraced. then, with a little imbroglio black men managed to get a piece of the pie. and then we figured out how to make "the fairer sex" part of the franchise. i certain don't mean to belittle the brave men and women who fought and fought and fought and often died to make these things happen--they managed to do so in the context of that same document, and the idea of america survived. we again went back to the well to gives african americans the true franchise, and absorbed one wave of immigrants after another. and still we survived, and prospered. maybe even BECAUSE of these things we prospered.
we are near the end of the road. the franchise has been extended to almost everyone in our country. we have a few more details to iron out before we finally become the best version of what we always should have been--the country of inclusion, the country that draws strength from our difference as long as we all accept those things that those men wrote 233 years ago that bind us together. we are here. the time is now. our gay brothers and sisters need us to extend that franchise, to embrace them with both arms, and they need us to do so today and tomorrow and every day until november 5th, when that embrace can turn into the most joyful hug imaginable.
my sister is gay, and she has no interest in getting married, despite being in a long term relationship with a wonderful woman, and despite living in massachusetts where she to marry is her right. that is her choice, and she can make it freely. what could possibly be more beautiful than that? let's give our gay friends, gay colleagues, gay relatives and fuck it, while we're up, our gay enemies that exact same right: the right to say "I do", or, for that matter, "I don't" just like those of us who are straight get to do. let's extend that franchise until we can't extend it anymore, and then let's go about making the idea of america as perfect as we possibly can. all of those americans who are gay are just as american as those who aren't, and they cannot and must not face the kind of discrimination that has been their lot for far too long. i look forward to those hugs on november 5th--i think i will head down to santa monica blvd. and san vicente and throw a few around myself.
this post is for laura, my sister, who i love most dearly.