Today on September 11, as I drove into the business district of town, I could see up ahead, high above the line of cars in front of me, an American flag was waving. So immediately I felt comforted and proud that someone had made an effort to demonstrate the significance of this date.
In the distance I could see the young man holding the flag. He was wearing a business suit and was using the flag to capture the attention of the cars and pedestrians passing by. Later I learned that this man was part of a group who had traveled for several hours, just to stand with the flag on this street corner.
Traffic crept up a little, and now I could see there were a few more men in suits, and they were holding up a banner. So I figured that along with the flag, this banner was intended to remind people of those who died in the twin towers seven years ago today.
But as I got closer, I could see that the flag was not intended to remind me of September 11, and this group of young men had not come to my town to pay tribute to the fallen victims of a terrorist attack. Because the man waving the flag was also holding a sign. And the sign read: “Honk for traditional marriage.”
On a day when all Americans should be united in our grief, I thought this group demonstrated nothing more than their insensitivity. And although I know the election over gay marriage inspires strong emotions, I was shocked and dismayed to see the flag inserted into the debate, especially on this particular day.
This sure was a wake up call that there is another election going on here in California besides the one that everyone is talking about. And this other election also stirs up strong passions that rival the intense feelings between Republicans and Democrats. And when moose mania fades a little, possibly the battle over gay marriage will loom larger in the minds of voters.
As the bitter battle is fought over the direction our country will go in the future, when I saw the flag today I couldn’t help thinking of our past. The fact that America was founded as a place that represented freedom. A place that represented tolerance. All that stuff about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I know I’m not alone in believing we’re moving backwards down a very slippery slope. Once the “base” of the Republican party was built along religious lines, the lines between church and state are blurring. And although God’s laws haven’t changed, the rules of the political game keep changing. Like right now.
Why is it that the religious right will accept a pregnant teenager who breaks “God’s law”—-and yet will not accept consenting adults who do the same thing? Where exactly do they draw that line?
Someone drew that line right down the center of the street today. And very few people were honking.