As an emotional guy with a short temper, I can clearly relate to those gay activists who angrily demonstrated in cities across the country yesterday as they had all across California in the immediate aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8.
Like those protesters, I too have had to contend with some difficult feelings in the wake of electoral disappointment. Of course, in my case, it was Democratic victories across the nation. I’m sure many others on the right experienced similar emotions.
It is easy to give into our emotions. And sometimes giving in helps us deal with difficult situations. But, it’s not always productive. Indeed, more often than not it can be quite destructive.
When I reflect on the times I let my anger get the best of me in the past twelve days, moments when I snapped at or ignored friends, I wish I had exercised greater self-control, as do many who sometimes say or do something based on a momentary impulse. Yet, the activists who protested yesterday turned their anger into a mass movement as manifested by the myriad rallies yesterday.
We all have to learn to understand our emotions and learn to contain them when they prevent us from moving ahead in life. That appeals to political movements as it applies to individuals. I might be more sympathetic to the rallies had they been held before the election in order to persuade people to vote, “No.”
(That said, some of the protesters’ antics might have had the opposite effect.)
The issue should be channeling that activity into a productive endeavor. Take a gander at the current discourse on the right. The subhead, for example, of Karl Rove’s piece in Newsweek applies to gay marriage advocates as much as it applies to the conservatives he is addressing: “We’ve been walloped in consecutive elections*, but we can’t just dwell on the past. The future is already here.”
As the future is already here, we need be forward-looking to face it. And the demographics look good for the repeal of Proposition 8. Just as they look good for holding the line on federal spending and containing (if not constricting) the size of the federal government.
The goal must be to develop strategies to effect those changes, not to wallow in our misery.
*The consecutive elections for gay marriage advocate would be the passage of every intiative seeking codify the definition marriage as the union of one man and one woman.