|by Fay Jacobs|
|Winds of change
Gusts of wind have certainly been howling at the beach and on television.
With the line of hurricanes blowing by and the string of partisans blowing smoke on the tube it's been quite a few weeks.
Of course, my favorite storm was Hurricane Fay, spelled correctly at that. Bonnie and I had a glorious time listening to all the reports (Fay is intensifying; Fay is boomeranging; Fay is heading for Guantanamo!) but as the saying goes, it's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. I was gearing up to have great fun at Hurricane Fay's expense, not to mention columnist Fay's expense when I heard that the storm had killed a lot of people. Ditto for Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. Suddenly it's not such fun anymore. Which is just as well since there are sooo many other things to focus on from the past few weeks.
Speaking of forces of nature, I have to mention the passing of Del Martin, one of the true pioneers of lesbian rights. She and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyons, started the very first lesbian rights organization in this country, the Daughters of Bilitisnamed for a fictional friend of Sappho. As a couple, Del and Phyllis reminded me so much of my friends Anyda and Muriel, also together over half a century before they both died in 2006. I have to laugh, because Muriel always said that the term Bilitis sounded like a terrible disease and she wanted no part of it.
Together, Del and Phyllis wrote the book Lesbian/Woman published in 1972. I remember lurking in the dark, outside the Lambda Rising Bookstore in Washington, D.C. in 1978, screwing up my courage to go inside and buy the book. While the picture of 1972 lesbian life wasn't prettywomen's softball, seedy bars in bad neighborhoods and butch/femme partnerships, Del and Phyllis were the first to tell me that long-term lesbian relationships did actually exist and that a satisfying life might be possibleeven without playing softball, god forbid.
The sadness of Del's passing was assuaged a little knowing that she and Phyllis were invited to be the first legal gay union in California. A photo of the 80-somethings cutting their wedding cake looked gorgeous on the front pages of newspapers across the country. In a statement after Del died, Phyllis Lyons said, "I am devastated, but I take some solace in knowing we were able to enjoy the ultimate rite of love and commitment before she passed." Amen.
The political conventions were forces of nature on their own. I almost lost my mind listening to pundits babbling about the speeches, even stooping to babble during the speeches. I was forced to turn to CSPAN just to get some peace and quiet.
Leaving the subjects of the economy, universal health care, the economy, the Iraq mess and the economy aside, let me just focus on the potential for gay and lesbian equality, relative to the two parties.
Um, Barack and Joe are our friends. They want to get rid of that stupid "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," favor making it illegal to discriminate against us in housing and jobs, and actually believe we should be treated equallyincluding making certain we have the same rights as married couples whatever the convoluted language turns out to be.
With the dismissive back of the hand, McCain and especially Palin are against civil unions and equality rights, and think discrimination against gays in jobs and housing is just fine. Not to wish Cindy or Mr. Hockey Mom any harm, but I wonder if John or Sarah will ever have to sit, crying in the emergency room, and considered to be scum, kept from visiting their critically ill loved one? Just asking.
And how about Hillary? What part of the line, "Were you voting for me or what I stand for?" don't the gay women threatening to vote for Sarah Palin understand?
In the annals of "cutting off your nose to spite your face," this is a doozy. Let's elect a woman who doesn't want women to have a choice regarding reproduction even if it's rape or incest; a woman who voted to take back partner benefits from Alaskans; a women who wanted to ban books from the library; a women who supports "Don't Ask"; a woman who wants to teach creationism in public schools and a woman who, despite compelling evidence to the contrary, thinks Abstinence Education works. Good God, it's Phyllis Schafly in mukluks.
One bright spot can now be found weeknights at 9pm on MSNBC. Rachel Maddow, an incredibly bright, insanely clever, terribly attractive young lesbian now has her own left-leaning TV news and commentary show. I know she will be preaching to the choir, but watching her made me smile, cheer and realize I am not alone in my views. In fact, I finally understand why a brigade of dittoheads loves to listen to Limbaugh. Well, at least this is one for my side.
Meanwhile, at three in the morning when the White House phone rings with a crisis, do you want someone to answer whose top credential is field dressing a moose? Did I say that with my outside voice????I'm done now. Maybe the meteorologists were right when they described Hurricane Fay as a wide swath of gusting wind. Sorry if I've offended. But this election, not only is it the economy, stupid, it's all the rest of the issues. And I hope people vote based on them, whatever their choice.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Fryinga Rehoboth Beach Memoir and Fried & TrueTales from Rehoboth Beach. Contact her at www.fayjacobs.com.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 13 September 12, 2008