Tom Gregory

To Lynch a Mockingbird

Friday, October 31, 2008 permalink

Today Adrian and Brandon, both aged 28, were married. They met nine years ago when Adrian's mother introduced her "out" son to the "nice boy in the optical shop". They've been sharing their lives ever since. Their world is laughter, style, optimism, and work. Home is a pleasant apartment shared with a cat, small dog and neighbors who embrace joy and smart conversation over bigotry.

Brandon was raised an Indiana evangelical. His family didn't attend today's notary-nuptials. High talk in the church kept his mother away from the "embarrassment of a damned, sinful son." The church shuns Brandon. Congregants who hate believe they get a golden ticket to heaven if God hates Brandon too. The sting of hypocrisy has left Brandon full of insight from the church's "pious" stand.

Adrian's mother had long ago emigrated with her husband from Argentina. Yesterday she flew down from Portland to attend the modest ceremony in a Van Nuys courthouse. It was Norman Rockwell. Two people standing together for their future, standing up against the zealots, as the clock ticks towards Tuesday's election when Prop 8 may revoke their right to marry.

When the courts ruled for marriage equality. America's judicial system was speaking out for the rights of the minority. Putting civil rights to a vote is un-American. The electorate should not be voting for this wasteful "mob-appeal" state proposition. We are witnessing a modern day lynching being played out in the ballot box.

In the 1962 film version of Harper Lee's masterpiece To Kill A Mockingbird, the image of an ideal childhood -- crayons, marbles, whistles, and coins linger across the screen, opening 1948's depression-era tale about hate, prejudice, fear, and the stupidity of mob rule over the law of the land. When the film burned onto the silver screen it emotionally exposed the incendiary racism that holds America down even today.

More than an American Classic, British librarians ranked the book ahead of the Bible as one "every adult should read before they die." The film is a flawless tale about the courage to rise up against the mob and toss aside unfounded fear. By the end of the flick, the battle is lost but the story should teach each of us that war against our own countrymen should stop.

To Kill A Mockingbird, is a message in a bottle from another generation. Empathy, understanding, love and a life fully lived with hope and equality are rights Americans have fought for throughout history. In a show of solidarity, the opponents of Prop 8 have dug deep into their wallets to fight against the tyranny of churches that would rather shun than accept.

For eight years Americans have endured hate, fear and war against countries, theologies, and her own citizens. Under Barack Obama America will rebuild her reputation. Intelligence and hope can usurp fear; desperate anger will be left for miserable people who have been left behind waiting for their rapture.

Prop 8 has wasted millions of useful dollars for hate. Imagine what a loving church could have done with such funds! Opponents of Prop 8 are giving money for the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Proponents of Prop 8 think 50% plus1 can overturn judicial prudence. America's courts are better than Prop 8. Mob-rule has run wild through America before; eventually rights have their day in court." In Mockingbird, Atticus Finch rises to say, "in this country our courts are the great levelers, in our courts all men are created equal", he continues, "maintaining that ideal, is a "living, working, reality."

Today Brandon and Adrian fought for equality with a pen and promise, God knows Americans shouldn't have it any other way.