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Friday, May 4, 2012


Nobody likes a bully, especially now that the anti-bullying sentiment has reached a fever pitch in the US.  I used to gently mock the anti-bullying crowd. Where were they when I was in middle school and my nerdy friends were getting picked on and pushed around?  Bullying wasn't a big enough deal back then, I guess, and that's probably why my attitude toward the anti-bullying contingent was largely dismissive. Obviously, I wasn't pro-bully--bullies can eat shit--but I carried with me the attitude from my school days: if someone is hassling you, put your head down and move along.  We didn't have the It Gets Better campaign, but I had an inkling that one day I wouldn't have to deal with fat-headed dopes tossing snack cake wrappers into my open locker (that happened, people, and it haunts me to this day).

Then kids started killing themselves.  Maybe that's always been going on, but I'd never heard about it.  And, yeah, I'm a dad now, so, you know, I kinda get it. I don't want my daughter to be bullied when she starts school in five years or so.  I don't want Q to be taunted and teased to the point where she feels the only option is to end her own life.  She's only 10-months-old right now, but time flies.  Did you know we just "celebrated" the one year anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's assassination?  A year has passed! We're we ever so young?  But, yeah, Q will be school-aged in no time and, as a parent, I'm a little nervous about what is waiting for her when she gets off of the bus.  From what I hear though, Q is a bit of a bully at day care.  She and this other girl always fight over the same Fisher-Price telephone toy, and Q usually wins.  Apparently there are three identical Fisher-Price telephones to choose from, but they both want the one.  Babies, right?  They're so dumb.

If you live in North Carolina, like I do, you know that on May 8, our state's citizenry has the opportunity to vote for or against Amendment One, a "measure [that] would define marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman, and would ban any other type of "domestic legal union" such as civil unions and domestic partnerships."  Keep in mind, gay marriage is already illegal in NC, so Amendment One would just make sure that this bigotry would make it into the constitution.

I don't get very political or whatever on this blog, mostly because I don't follow politics that closely, but I thought it important to share my views on this issue. We here at Giant Electric Penguin are totally AGAINST this thing.  In fact, I've already early voted against Amendment One.  For me, this isn't a political issue.  This is all about basic human rights, and if you are for the continued denying of equal rights for every citizen of not only this state but the entire country, you, my friend, are a fossil and you need to get out of the way of progress.  Quite simply, if you are for Amendment One, you are a bully. Yeah, I said.  That was going to be the title of this piece originally, but I toned it down to suck people in before I hammered 'em with the truth.  POW!

I've been wanting to write this for awhile, I just wasn't sure if I could be coherent and concise.  It's probably been pretty rambly up to this point, but that's OK. So, anyway, I wasn't sure where to go with the essay, when something glorious happened.  Sean Harris happened.

I think everyone knows who Sean Harris is by now, but if you don't, here's a quick recap of his recent actions.  Harris is a pastor in Fayetteville, NC, and during a recent sermon, he advocated the beating of male children who act effeminate and the berating of female children who have the audacity to play sports.  For real.  You can listen to it right now:

Harris has since said he was joking around.  I thought jokes were supposed to be funny.  Also, I'm pretty certain at least some of the congregation didn't know you were doing a stand-up act, Pastor Harris.  Members of Harris' flock can be heard shouting "amen" after the pastor advocates knocking your kid around. For people who don't know, Christians will often audibly utter the word "amen" during a Sunday morning sermon when they agree with what the pastor is saying.  So, Pastor Harris is a bully--and in the most classic sense, since he is so gleefully reveling in acts of physical violence--and every churchgoer who agrees with him by offering up a hearty "amen" is a bully too.

And I don't want to unfairly stick it to Christians because I'm sure there are some of them who are against Amendment One--in fact, I know there are, because I know plenty of Christians--but, c'mon, the majority of these bullies who want Amendment One to pass are members of the Christian religion, right? I'm not wrong on that, right?  You don't have to answer that question, because I know I'm right. The Bible keeps coming up in these TV ads I see and that's a Christian's guidebook for everyday living, if I'm not mistaken.

This commercial is despicable on so many levels, but I'm struck by the fact that Vote FOR Marriage NC believes that because the Bible apparently says something about marriage being reserved exclusively for one penis and one vagina, that I should care.  The Bible isn't the governing document of our country.  Why does it even show up in this ad?  It is utterly irrelevant.  But I'm getting off track.  This is an essay about bullies.  Well, here's another bully for you.  Perhaps you two have already met.  His name...

Billy Graham.  You know, that 93-year-old evangelist your parents totally love. This weekend, 14 different NC newspapers will run a full page ad in which Billy Graham bullies his fans into voting for Amendment One.  Really, Billy?  Why don't you take a break.  You're 93.  You've lived a full life.  Go fishing.  Play checkers with your grandkids.  Putter around in the garage all morning.

Listen, I don't know what you're going to do on May 8.  Maybe you'll vote for Amendment One, maybe you'll vote against it.  Maybe you won't vote at all because you've got some annoying political views that nobody understands or cares about.  Whatever.  This is about human rights.  You're either for them or against them.  It's pretty simple as far as I'm concerned.  Just because, as the commercial states, 30 other states already have marriage amendments in their constitutions, doesn't mean North Carolina has to do it.  Don't be bullied by these people.  Don't be bullied by me.  Just do the right thing.


Anonymous said...

I think it's important to assume a political opponent is acting in good faith until you have evidence otherwise, so it's REALLY hard for me to say this, but it seems to me the only people who can support this amendment are the hateful bigots, the somewhat stupid, or the willfully ignorant. I really don't see a reasonable argument coming from the other side. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm becoming everything I hate. But I got to call it like I see it. So, bravo, Matt, for calling out these hateful (or just ignorant) bullies.

On a side note, does it surprise anyone that Billy Graham would be against gay marriage? People respect him because he's old and hasn't had the energy to be all "fired up" for about 30 years, but he's an old school fundamentalist. So, yeah, this is what he does.


Anonymous said...

I've been reading for a while but I've never commented until now.

Thank you for writing this one. I completely agree and, regardless of what happens with the amendment, it's nice to know others aren't buying the pro-amendment B.S.

Chuck said...

This has made the news even here in Indiana (where we get to vote on writing discrimination into our state constitution next year).

They interviewed some little twit who was handing out leaflets for Amendment 1 who said, "I believe marriage is should only be between a man and a woman."

Fine. I respect that.

But wait, you're telling me you believe your religious beliefs on marriage should be the law for me?

I don't understand those people. Why do they want to make it law for others to believe in what their religion teaches?

Don't they understand that if we allow that, then someday there will be laws made that don't allow them to practice the religion they believe?