Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Confessions of a Liberal Mind

Last Friday night, I had dinner with Caroline at Lucky Cheng's, an "interesting" restaurant in the East Village famous for its all-transsexual ensemble of waitresses. Although the restaurant only managed to garner a 9 out of 30 for food on the most recent Zagat's, I agreed to go with Caroline because I figured no one really goes there for the food anyways. It was a good thing that she called ahead and made a reservation for us since the place was packed with people waiting for tables.

After we sat down, it took me quite a while to find something that looked remotely palatable from the Asian fusion menu (I've always defined Asian fusion as Asian cuisine fused with shit). When our waitress Kasia, an Asian transsexual whose manly voice was somewhat incongruent with her voluptuous body, came to take our order, Caroline asked for a vegetarian entree but also ordered curry chicken soup. I ordered the vegetarian miso soup and quipped, "I'm usually the meat eater." To which Kasia replied, "Oh honey, I got plenty of meat if that's what you want!"

After we talked about the usual stuff, the topic turned to politics. Caroline revealed that she would probably vote for Bush come November because she is both socially and fiscally conservative. The socially conservative part seemed reasonable, so I asked her why the fiscal conservative side of her would support Bush given our looming $500 billion budget deficit. Her answer wasn't very convincing because I don't even remember what it was. Then she said she voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, which totally baffled me since Nader was the most liberal candidate and should not have appealed to Ms. College Republican President here.

I gave her some reasons that I won't be voting for the Republicans in the near future:

1. The social issues

* I'm very happy with all the gay marriages that are taking place in San Francisco right now. I think it's fucking awesome that these gay couples are finally gaining official recognition of their relationships, however brief that recognition may be. Frankly, I find it ludicrous that in this day and age we are still even debating whether gays and lesbians should be "allowed" to marry. Why shouldn't the state recognize the consensual bond between two adults in love just because of their sexual orientation? What exactly are the conservatives trying to protect by prohibiting gay marriage? The "sanctity of marriage"? I want to vomit every time I hear that argument. Is marriage as an institution really sacred if Britney Spears in a drunken stupor can get hitched in a gaudy Vegas wedding chapel and then get a quick divorce after she came to her senses? There are Hollywood stars who have had more failed marriages than I have shoes and yet no one is proposing a Constitutional amendment to limit the number of "holy" matrimonies in which a heterosexual could partake. Half of my friends, including Caroline herself, come from divorced homes. In what way would gay marriages threaten or destroy heterosexual marriages? It's not as if there is some constant for the number of marriages allowed in the universe so that an increase in homosexual marriages leads to an automatic reduction in heterosexual marriages. We heterosexuals can continue to fuck, marry and divorce as we please. What exactly is the problem here?

Should we tell this lesbian couple, who have been together for 51 years, sorry, you can't visit each other in the hospital if one of you is sick because you don't have next-of-kin visitation rights? Should we deny law-abiding citizens the 1400 federal and state legal rights (on average) that come with marriage just because some people happen to believe, however strongly, words in a book that might or might not have come from some omnipotent power that may or may not exist? I will give a damn about what the Catholic Church thinks after its priests stop molesting little kids.

What exactly is so harmful about two consenting adults taking a vow "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, 'til death do us part"? I'm not going to have a heart attack or die from cancer and the polar ice caps won't all melt if all the gay people in Chelsea get married, which they can't as of now. There has been absolutely no evidence to suggest that children growing up in a homosexual household are any worse off than those raised in hetero households.

Claims from the right about a "homosexual agenda" and gays wanting "special rights" piss me off almost as much as the "sanctity of marriage." Gays and lesbians don't want to be different from us! They want the same rights as we do! In that sense, civil union is a total cop out. Allowing homosexual couples to have some or all of the benefits of marriage only through civil unions amounts to "separate but equal." In my mind, there is no difference between banning interracial marriage and banning gay marriage. A gay person is born gay the same way I'm born Chinese. He or she should not be forced to get "cured" to appease Bible humpers just as I shouldn't get cosmetic surgery to make me more pleasing to the eyes of white supremacists. To say that a gay person should not have the right to marry another gay person because they are "sinners" is like saying I can't marry some white girl because I'm a member of the inferior mongoloid race. If anti-miscegenation laws are unconstitutional, then anti-gay marriage laws must surely be struck down as well.

Caroline said she believes that the ultimate purpose of marriage should be procreation. Does that mean every couple should undergo infertility testing before they are allowed to marry? (The Chinese government used to require this). Does that mean people beyond the age of fertility should be barred from marriage? Actually, while she was saying that, I thought, so it's totally fine for you to be amused and entertained by these transsexuals, but it's not ok when they are ready to settle down and want to have families like you or me? I held my tongue.

Damn, I can't believe I wrote so much just on gay marriage. I will continue this multi-part "confession" later because I need to go to bed soon.