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Primo Levi once said: “I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.”  Me too.

People are the most wonderful and terrible animals at the same time.  We say horrible things to one another, and we purposefully try to make each other feel like crap, and we drive as if we’re the only people who have somewhere important to be, and we talk at each other as if our feelings are the only feelings that count.  We lie and harm and trick and steal.  We fold down the corners of library book pages.  Wait a second… we burn books.  We rape.  We kill.

And at the same time, we help someone unload their groceries onto the conveyer belt, and we volunteer to help someone with a project.  We drop off meals at a stranger’s house, just because we belong to the same church.  We hug and stroke and give and envelop.  We stop to ask someone what is wrong because they’re crying.  We change our Facebook profile to show we stand in solidarity with marriage equality.

See, wonderful and terrible at the same time.

I know the wonderful exists because I witness it every day.  But sometimes my darker sensibilities emerge, and what Josh calls my Chekhovian outlook on the world takes over.  And I only see people as animals.  As terribly inhumane-to-each-other animals.  I thought it all through the last election.

These past few days have filled me with wonder.  My Facebook feed was fairly fractured during the last election, but I woke up on Wednesday morning to a sea of red profile pictures.  A large chunk of people in my feed had changed their profile picture to a red version of the HRC’s logo.  People wrote status updates about marriage equality.  I posted a quick quote from the first day of the proceedings, and everyone who commented did so with support.  Josh posted a Passover amicus brief on gay marriage that got passed around the Internet with loving approval.  Every post I read came out in favour of love, standing with marriage equality.  It was a moment to marvel at, especially as a balance to all the times when like Primo Levi, I have wondered at our inhumanity.  It is equally as awesome — the true definition of the word; inspiring awe — to witness our humanity.  In looking at how we’ve behaved as a society and asking society as a whole to fix it.

This is something I feel very emotional about.

And I felt surrounded by love.

I know there are people saying horrible things in other places.  I’m sure that if I dove into the comment section on a newspaper article, I would see words that would disturb me.  So I’m choosing to not only stand with love, but to stay inside that cocoon of love.  I know the haters are out there, but so far, they haven’t reached me.  And I don’t want to lose what I’m feeling right now by letting them in.

I don’t know how the Supreme Court will rule, or if their ruling will be enough.  That worries me, but I’ve set that aside for the moment.  What they decide is separate from what I’m bearing witness to right now.  I don’t want us to lose that fact in whatever the Supreme Court decides.  I want us to remember how we can behave when we want to.  We can have people’s humanity to people.

What I feel right now is optimism.  With a little “o.”  I feel optimistic about people.  In general.  Enough to tuck away the Chekhovian side of my personality for a moment.


1 Chickenpig { 03.28.13 at 7:59 am }

All we need is love, sweet love. Love is all we need 🙂

2 Brookes4boys { 03.28.13 at 8:15 am }

It was very eye opening to me, as well. I expected to be villified by many of my FB friends for my support of marriage equality but, instead, I realized that many of my “conservative” friends felt the same way I did. It was a happy day for me no matter the outcome

3 Katie { 03.28.13 at 8:34 am }

Well said, Mel. I cried writing my blog yesterday about this. I was overwhelmed by how much I want this to go right (or left – ha!) and over the outpouring of love I’ve seen across social media these last couple of days in support of gay marriage. Love is love, and it IS all you need. <3

4 Tigger { 03.28.13 at 10:22 am }

I was one of the first people in my feed to change their picture. When I did, I posted the “why” and how I’d love to see my wall turn red. Within a few hours, the majority of people who post regularly had changed theirs. My wall was very red. And? Absolutely no one on my feed spoke out against it. I know that I probably have people who disagree…but they were quiet, for once. I can only hope that it means THEIR feed was red too, that they realized they were in the minority for once. I am so very proud of my friends!

5 Esperanza { 03.28.13 at 11:16 am }

The thing is, we WILL get there. This might not be it (and that will be a huge disappointment) but we WILL get there. Civil rights always prevails, sometimes it just takes a little (or a lot) longer than we want.

I’m also choosing to be optimistic with a little “o”. I think that is a great way to describe it.

6 nonsequiturchica { 03.28.13 at 11:43 am }

I loved seeing all of the red on my FB feed. The tide has finally turned!!

7 Ellen { 03.28.13 at 1:01 pm }

Independently came to the same shocked conclusion: total support across my friend base. The election was a tough time, as I have friends all over the map (literally and figuratively), but on this topic, my wall was uniformly red.

8 loribeth { 03.28.13 at 1:34 pm }

I’m glad to hear so many people are seeing so much red among their friends. Only a half dozen of mine have changed their profile pics to the red logo — and strangely enough (or perhaps not, lol), most of them are online friends. ; ) Posting mine (& also a couple of opinion pieces on Justice Kagan’s remarks) was a bit of a stretch for me, as I try not to express strong political opinions on FB too often… I have some very conservative American cousins in my family (I’ve had to hide the feeds from a couple of them). So far, the only comments have been supportive, thankfully.

9 It Is What It Is { 03.28.13 at 1:54 pm }

I love, love, love the groundswell of support. There is a quickening of the universe as the collective consciousness rises to elevate everyone to the same standing.

We would not be here at this time but for this president.

10 Stupid Stork { 03.28.13 at 6:14 pm }

Ha! I just wrote about this too… I was pleased as punch about all the red on my wall – particularly people who if I would’ve taken a blind guess a few days ago, I would’ve thought would’ve been on the other side. (Nothing pleases me more than people doing things that make me feel like I’m too cynical).

It seems to slowly but steadily being taken out of the ‘politics’ category and put in the ‘right or wrong’ category where it belongs.

11 Myndi { 03.28.13 at 7:47 pm }

Oh, I wish I were feeling even a little “o” of optimism right now. My entire family, and my husband’s family, are very conservative, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised that only four of my IRL friends, and as many of my virtual friends, were actively showing support.

That said, I suppose I should be pleased that I got no negative response to any of the posts of support I put up. That no one verbally eviscerated me despite their very own strong feelings to the opposite. Then again – I only got one response at all. And it was a very interesting response.

My FIL, who is Mormon and very conservative, said that though he didn’t agree with people’s choices (I opted not to argue this point), he also didn’t think we as a society had a right to legally prevent them from making those choices, that they would have to face the consequences of their choices later on.

Part of this response upset me, I think for obvious reasons, but what I chose to focus on is that he at least agrees that everyone should have equal rights, in every respect. I’m glad that, despite his opinions, he can separate his personal beliefs from the argument. It is a step in the right direction.

12 Mali { 03.28.13 at 8:33 pm }

I did have to laugh that you threw in “fold down the corners of library books” as some of the terrible things that happen! Yes. I hear you. But seriously, I have seen terrible things happen in the world (for one, I was a close onlooker to the Cambodian peace process), but like you I also love seeing the kindnesses, and take heart from that. I have a post brewing about that – I think it is time I wrote it.

I haven’t changed my FB photo (I have a policy of not switching profiles or photos or statuses), or written a post, but my gay FB (and IRL) friends know (beyond doubt) that I stand with them. I do follow US politics with great interest, but don’t feel I can really comment too much. (Though believe me, I talk/rant a lot with husband/friends who are interested!).

It’s interesting. A same-sex marriage bill is going through our parliament at the moment, too, but with very little fanfare. It is expected to pass without difficulty (came through the committee stage with more than 2 for 1 support). I’m still worried though, so I’m writing to my MP just in case. After all, as you say, love is love.

13 Ann Z { 03.28.13 at 10:23 pm }

I felt much the same way. I worried about what I’d see on my facebook feed – worried most of all for my friends for who have to hear this country debate about their love. I normally don’t change my facebook profile pic, but I wanted to do so to leave some small reminder that I stood with them. And I was so pleasantly surprised to see so much of my feed show these equal signs. I know for sure that many in my facebook feed are against marriage equality, but there were quite a few friends that surprised me by changing their picture or sharing pictures, and very, very few unpleasant comments. It was a nice change of pace (and I too, decided not to read any comments on any news articles).

14 Tiara { 03.29.13 at 6:56 am }

Love this post

15 Battynurse { 04.06.13 at 3:36 pm }

Great post.

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