Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jake vs. His Grandma: A Debate About America

I love the hell out of my grandmother. She's mouthy and tells you exactly what's on her mind. She loved a movie? She'll tell you. She thinks what you're wearing is stupid? She'll tell you. I used to go over to her house after my restaurant shift on Friday nights to watch movies and we'd get into these funny back-and-forths about me getting married and giving her great-grandchildren (in my heyday of drunken 21-year-old idiocy). She and I spent three weeks together in Australia without killing each other (though the night before we left, we sat on opposite beds and she asked if I could "stop being so fucking stupid," to which I responded with "I'll fucking kill you, Grandma!"). She's put up with a lot over the years, including one hilarious jousting match of me in my car and my brother on an electric scooter out in front of her house. So it would make sense that we don't agree on politics, and our differences have lead to some interesting family meals. I never bring it up, but I always feel it necessary to retaliate.

Well, today, when Obama finally announced his official support for same-sex marriage, the first person I thought of was my grandma. So I emailed her. Then she emailed me. And so on. She used to be a little more liberal, but she's pretty standard conservative these days. We've had a few small debates about gay marriage, though I think we were both afraid of what we'd say to each other if they went the full rounds. But, here, now in text, is the back-and-forth of a twenty-something liberal and his seventy-something conservative grandmother.

Grandma dearest,

I may not agree with Obama on many a-things, but I can tell you that he for sure secured my vote with affirming his support for same-sex marriage.



Call it something else!!

Webster says marriage is the joining of a man and woman for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family.

There is a generation gap here.

It also defines equality: the state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities.

"If you have to make a law that hurts a number of people just to prove your morals or faith, then you have no true morals or faith to prove."

I admit there's a generation gap here, but, come on, let's say I was gay. You wouldn't support my wedding because I called it marriage? You would go on telling me that I shouldn't have called it marriage? I'd be the same sort of husband or father. Whether I was straight or gay, I could maintain a family.

Call it something else, eh? So it could be like...separate but equal?

The quote--who?

It's a quote that's being passed around online. It wasn't said by any notable person, as far as I know. Honestly, I think some twenty-something did it up on an e-card and then it went viral. 

It's double talk!

I think that's part of the humor of the quote, that people vote certain ways to protect their morals, but it hurts people, which isn't so moral.

"No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people, and I have no doubt that this will be no exception." - Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York

Just wondering if you agree with the quote above. Let's say it's the year 2075. Don't you think high school students years from now are going to learn history and be embarrassed for our generations for taking so long to just pass same-sex marriage? I do. I'm sad that, in just my parents era, white kids and black kids weren't allowed to go to school together. America's a funny place.

Do you know black men could vote before women?

Many things should not have even been law (not giving women the right to vote and segregation), but we have changed those laws. 

I have just finished a book about the death penalty, especially how inhumane the gas chamber is.  And I do agree to do away with the death penalty----would I feel that way if one of my friends or family member was murdered?.  An eye for an eye? The world is not a perfect place, but we are still working on it.

Gay pride---I'm not there yet.

Received in the mail today a slur sheet about not voting for Deborah Pauley.  I find that to be absolutely dirty politics.  Do I want to vote for someone who has to bring down his opponent to gain votes?  Tell me what changes you are working on.  And I am not a fan of Deborah.

You got me on a roll, Jake.

How about Congress who changed the law that they can be buried in Arlington National Cemetery if they served in the military.  It originally was for men and woman who received the Purple Heart, Medal of Honor etc.  A regular Joe who served (and did not receive the medals mentioned) cannot be buried there,  Therefore we have Ted Kennedy buried there who many consider a murderer.  And, by the way. I am eligible to be buried there because I am the wife of a Purple Heart veteran.

Let's change the world, Jake!!!

I think it's outrageous that women couldn't vote in this country until the 20th Century. European countries were already allowing it, and we, the young edgy upstart nation, took that long. Men and women are equal in their participation in the movement of this country. Why it took until 1920 for America to finally get it is beyond me.

I've never served in the military, but I hold a high place in my respect list for those who have. War is a terrifying, brutal landscape that I have a hard time wrapping my head around. Fighting overseas is an incredible dedication to this country and its citizens. I agree that it's quite a change from a cemetery for those awarded with the nation's highest honors to one for all of those who have served, but a soldier is still a man or woman of guts to me, and a cemetery dedicated to the military is fine by me. Obviously, there's a huge difference between a highly decorated career soldier and a kid who served for one tour, but both are unfathomable to me. Ted Kennedy did serve, but he also used his father's connections to get out of Korea, from what I understand, so I might agree with you in that instance. 

Dirty politics are bogus. They'll forever be a part of the system, and I'll forever wish them not to be. However, politicians should point out flaws in policy accordingly. They just shouldn't rely so heavily on it. There's only a slight difference between attacking an opponent and reasonably arguing against what they bring to the table. But that can't be the only thing. That's a negative campaign, and it's why the Democrats bothered the shit out of me years ago. They were just "anti-Bush" instead of being "pro-anything." It was incredibly lazy. They're a much stronger party, as I think Obama is a reasonable and articulate figurehead and the Democrats aren't so lost anymore. Right now, Romney and Obama should both me telling the country what they believe in and what they support while adding their critiques of and objections to their opponent's polices. I don't want both of them just point out what the other person's doing wrong. I want them to add in a lot of what they'll both do right. I think they're doing an ok job of that so far.

As for gay pride, I have gay friends and gay coworkers, and it's crazy to me to look at them and think, "There are actually people out there that are actively donating millions of dollars to make sure you never get married." Entire groups are trying to propose this idea that gay culture will ruin or takeover the country. One Million Moms, some group of batshit crazy people, tried to get Ellen Degeneres kicked off of JC Penney's advertisements because she would instill the wrong family values to kids. Are they serious? Is there anyone more delightful and nicer to people than Ellen?  It's things like that which bother me so much. This is systematically campaigning against gay culture. Hollywood does up these stupid bogus stereotypes of gays and lesbians as some kind of army of shallow sex maniacs. It's bullshit. It's uneducated bullshit. It makes for cheap laughs and I can't believe people actually buy into that kind of insanity. Also, nobody is choosing to be gay. Nobody is choosing a lifestyle of being bullied and getting the shit kicked out of them at school. I can't all of a sudden choose to be attracted to men, just as a gay man can't choose to be attracted to women. That should be the end of the argument. It's just who you are as a person. Why do people think being gay is this really cool subculture that people are just deciding to be a part of as if it's some hip passing trend? Do you know how awful bullies are to gay teenagers? And then they get into adulthood, a world filled with informed and intelligent fully grown adults, and they get to hear, "We figured if you got married, it would ruin our marriage." How? How does a gay marriage somehow ruin the sanctity of other marriages? How are people this self-involved? I don't want that for the future. I want a country that says you're a man or a woman and you can marry a man or a woman. Also, people who say, "Oh, well, what's next? People marrying pets?" Somebody should punch them in the head. That's one of the dumbest things ever spoken in the English language. I don't want to deprive people of happiness over terminology. I think it's insane that straight marriages can legally last a day and gay partners that have been monogamous for two decades don't get to be hitched. I honestly think that's one of the most awful things I've ever heard. If this is the issue of my generation, I hope to hell we get it right soon.

I'm sorry for this rant. You certainly didn't invite this and I apologize for rambling like this. The North Carolina thing really pissed me off yesterday and I'm just so happy to have the leader of this country say that he approves of gay marriage today. I'm prouder to be an American today than I was yesterday.

We are on a roll----let's continue this tonight!!

We are! But I think I started this up through e-mail because I feel political talk takes the good vibes out of the room whenever the family gets into it. But I'm looking forward to celebrating Blair's birthday at your house! Woo!

Also, I don't think it needs to be said, but I'll say it anyway: despite us disagreeing on most political issues, I'll always consider you one of the smartest, sweetest, coolest people around, and I love you dearly. Thanks in advance for having us over tonight and always being willing to feed me.

You are the best......

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