“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” my mother used to say.


Tough times in my home state these days.  The wait for that “nice thing” to say keeps getting longer and longer.  

Surely a silver lining will become evident in the clouds over us (dueling recriminations: homophobe! racist! bigots, all! meanwhile the powers that be at the LDS and the Knights of Columbus lean back, and smile).  Lordy at times it feels like not just hard rain, but frogs and locusts are coming down.  

All on this Obama parade, the one that we’ve waited lifetimes for, ferchrissakes.  

The phrase “Eyes on the Prize” came to me when looking at this image above.  From the point of view first of my son, and then me.  Only my daughter knows what she’s got her eye on.

Here’s Mavis Staples rendering that movement classic with a tensil strength hard to match in other recordings of it. Gird your loins (or heart, or whichever) for the camera’s unblinking eye on white violence against black Americans fighting for their civil rights.  A useful reminder for some, inspiration for the rest of us (i.e., O President-elect, My President-elect).

My country ’tis of thee.


From the Queers United list of Prop 8 Protests and Rallies, cities with events planned this week (as of wee hrs Monday AM; all CA unless noted): Palo Alto, San José, San Mateo, Belmont, Redwood City, Phoenix AZ, Rancho Cucamonga, Saint Paul MN, Redlands, Santa Monica, Fresno, San Francisco, San Diego, Encinitas, New York NY, Irvine, La Jolla, NATIONWIDE, San Franciscco, New York NY.

8 thoughts on “Empty”

  1. I’ve been thinking of another song by the Staple Singers this week, Just Another Soldier (and, yes, I’m embarrassed to say I first heard it on The L Word).

    “Hate is my enemy…I have to fight it day and night. Love is the only weapon with which I have to fight”.

  2. You know, I’ve been surprised at how personally I took the passage of Prop 8. Before it passed, I was opposed for so many reasons: I was personally involved on behalf of my many recently married friends, but I felt most opposed at more a cerebral level – the desecration of the constitution and of the basic tenets of fair democratic society; the fundamental wrongness of taking rights away that hurt no one; the violation of the separation of church and state, and the disingenuous, dishonest and plain old sloppy thinking that was being used by the yes on 8 people.

    On election night, I was trying to be hopeful and a little optimistic about how Prop 8 would turn out, and meanwhile trying to feel fully the hope and joy about Obama’s victory and what it might mean for the whole planet.

    But Wednesday morning, I felt so incredibly betrayed and angry. Angry at my supportive but ultimately complacent straight friends, angry at strangers on the street – which of you voted against me? Angry at myself – could I have done more, given more money, handed out more fliers? Even angry at chickens, for crying out loud, for winning 1.3 million more Californians to their cause than voted to protect our civil rights. And unspeakably, deeply furious at the (religious) people who lied lied lied to push this through.

    All this anger – it’s not a familiar or comfortable place to be! I wish I could be more empty, or at least drain some of the anger away and replace it with something else – hope, resilience, perspective. But it hasn’t happened yet.

    I’ve decided to leave my “No on 8” yard sign up until it completely disintegrates.

  3. I guess I don’t get it. This shouldn’t be an issue that people vote on. It’s basic human rights, right? We don’t vote on allowing people of different races to marry so why this? I’m disgusted by this and ashamed of being a Roman Catholic. The KOC is made up of a bunch of dottering old fools stuck in the 50s. I was pleased that Obama won the election but I was a bigger fan of Hillary. However none of the main stream dems have the fortitude to stand up for gay rights. It truly is disappointing.

    By the way, I’m straight & married (12 years today!) with 2 adopted daughters. I love reading your blog as you write so eloquently. I want you to know how sorry I am that this didn’t have a different outcome.

  4. I took down the No on 8 thermometer from my blog today, not because I was not proud of how much money was raised (a pittance from me and mine, true, but still a big ol’ chunk of change it was, pun not intended) but because it had “we did it!” written across the top. And we didn’t.

    No. Strike that. We did. The Prop 8 opposition did everything it needed to do and it did it well. It should have been enough. We are not to blame that it was not.

  5. I’m right there with you, but I don’t know what else to do. I live in Florida and was crushed when Prop 2 passed. Apparently, we have a history of not passing Props in FL, but for some reason, they decided this one was worth passing.

    I want to know what I can do other than give money, blog, and tell everyone I know that it is wrong. I wrote a post about my feelings last week, but other than that, I’m lost in knowing what can be done.

  6. A good friend of mine worked on a very well-known democratic Senator’s relection campaign back in ’04, back when it felt like the whole world was going crazy. Because Bush got elected again. And the Senator he worked for got ousted by some brand-new Republican kid on the block.

    M friend was very depressed (who wasn’t in 2004?) but, he took it very personally since he had also worked for Edwards who of course, also lost. Anyway, he was at the Senator’s farewell “celebration” gathering, and had stepped outside for a smoke to console himself. He found himself standing there with the Senator himself, and he (having had a few beverages) started telling him how disappointed he felt, how much his country felt like a different one than he had started out loving. How much time he felt had been wasted.

    This Senator said something I will never forget – he said that although it was hard to swallow right now, to keep his head held up high because we were RIGHT. We’re right. Democrats will come back around again, the world will keep on evolving because we’re right, and the issues that we stand for are right.

    A little bit conceited on his part, perhaps, but it provided me and my friend both with alot of comfort…knowing that the world would come around again–and it did.

    And so it will with this. Keep fighting…we (You!) are right. It will win out eventually.

  7. We are not to blame, no.

    And I am confident it will be found unconstitutional.

    Still, I come out of this with two primary thoughts:

    1) I hear a message from communities of color, and from GLBTQ people of color, that we needed to do more outreach in those communities. This is not to blame ANYONE for prop 8’s getting passed (except the people from all communities who voted for it, and the bigoted organizations who supported it so much — I’m thinking especially of the so-called Christian LDS and Catholic churches).

    2) I hear a need for ongoing support.

    So here is my question: What organization is doing the best outreach work, especially the best outreach work in a wide range of communities?

    Those of you who know the various groups far better than I do can let me know, and I will sign up to make a regular (small, but regular) monthly donation to that organization.

    We *will* win this.

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