Our Townby Ryan Anderson
At first my emotions were on the sensationalist level (“BE AN ACTIVIST AND GO TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THIS….”). Now that I [had] time to be collective about this, I am just saddened by the level of bigotry exuding in Nebraska. Maybe my peers are correct to tell me that there is no hope for me here?! I always scoffed at that notion because Nebraska is my home and I have such a huge affection for my home. However the bigots in this state truly do make me second guess that I am worthy of being an ordinary tax-paying citizen of America. And that is why I am distraught about this situation. Why must I be demonized in the place I call “home?”-Luke Peterson (college student and Member of the Nebraska LGBT Democratic Caucus, with permission)
And who can blame them? If the wingnuts leading this anti-homosexual crusade really believed their rhetoric (that gay marriage is a threat to civilization itself, that gay adoption is a pox upon the children) there would be no need to silence this discussion. Those confident of their positions don't shy away from debate, they embrace the opportunity to respond and persuade.
But the anti-gay rights movement isn't about discussion; isn't about debate. It isn't really about anything. It's a senseless and classless attempt to use the law to bully a population that makes some people uncomfortable.
And it's worked. Discrimination is enshrined in our state constitution. It is a cornerstone of our campaign rhetoric. It is the undeniable, unquestionable, fundamental truth of Cornhusker politics.
But it is not Nebraska. Not the Nebraska I know. And not the place I call home.
Look, America is not an ethnic nation or a tribal nation. It is a creedal nation, and we belong to that community because we subscribe to that creed: that "all men are created equal" and, in Nebraska, "Equality Before the Law". That is our creed, and hence this is our home.
It is not the bigots that must go, it is their bigotry. And it is not us progressives that don't belong; it is our fears and our doubts. We can't afford them, and we cannot allow the bullies that final victory: to elbow us out, to disappear us into another community, another state, another country. To surrender to them a state and a creed that they don't deserve.
I understand the feelings of hopelessness, of feeling lost in a place called "home". But we need to stick together, and we need to celebrate each small success. The Congressional candidate who boldly challenges the Federal Marriage Amendment. The Mayor who advocates a "live and let live" community. The state party that cares enough to cover these issues, prominently, on the front page of their website.
Someday soon these triumphs (small as they are) will have to translate into victory at the ballot box. And for that, we will need every person who loves this state to fight for it. But let's try to remember: this isn't about taking over, and it's not about 'taking it back'. Because you don't have to take what is already yours.
You need only to remember, and to remind.