Saturday, April 25, 2009

Clapping for Blasphemy

Last week’s legislative hearing in Augusta on same-sex marriage got a lot of attention, but there were a few stories from the hearing the mainstream media refused to cover.

I was there, and unlike your pretty boy TV news anchors and your write-it-before-it-happens daily newspapers, I’m not afraid to deliver the truth.

And the truth is, people on both sides of the issue accidentally applaud the wrong speaker the exact same way.

Perhaps you know the feeling. You aren’t really paying attention, probably thinking about how that pizza slice isn’t really agreeing too well with the Mountain Dew that washed it down, but you’re in the habit of smacking your paws together when you hear other people do it.

More than once did the suit-encrusted Mormon sitting two seats down from me catch himself applauding the latest homosexual at the microphone demanding equal rights. After three or four seconds, he would realize what he was doing and start rubbing his fingers, as if the whole applause thing was just a warm-up for that, then he would glance around furtively to see if anyone had noticed him clapping for blasphemy.

Then he would fold his hands in his lap and adopt a stern, disapproving expression, as if he was internally outraged at what had just been said.

I saw five different people on both sides of the issue perform this exact same routine, myself included. It was a long hearing.

It’s true: despite spirited debate over this contentious issue, people at the hearing had way more in common than the media would have you believe.

The sight of homophobic Baptists waiting 25 minutes in the same line with butch lesbians for the same grease-soaked slices of pizza and the same overpriced nachos ($4.50 a serving!) was quite moving.

People on both sides were probably surprised to see that Augusta now has a third exit off the Interstate. Who knew?

(It’s about time, really. It’s our state capital, for crying out loud. Even Newport has three exits.)

Of course, there were a few examples of differences between the two camps.

The Equality Maine people, who support same-sex marriage, organized their troops into a giant red-clad army of hippie tolerance. Groups of educated, articulate, speakers, including people representing various professional organizations (i.e. The American Pediatrics Society, The Maine Psychiatrists Association, etc.), used personal anecdotes and scientific data to support their arguments.

On the other side, people had darn few teeth.

That may seem mean, but it’s true. About 25% of the people packing the Civic Center opposed the same-sex marriage bill, and they were almost all senior citizens or people who looked like the closest they’d ever come to a toothbrush was a pine branch hitting them in the face while they were searching the woods for something to shoot.

And I’d like to be able to tell you what they actually said, but I couldn’t quite hear over all the Bible-thumping.

Of course, the biggest underreported story of the day was that there were actually quite a few children at the hearing, and none of them left any gayer than when they came in.

Aren’t you glad journalists with integrity, like me, are here to bring you the real story?



1 comment:

derek said...

When I was reading the teeth bit I thought were going in a "their arguments had no teeth" direction. Instead you went for the low blow. Having lived in "the other Maine" for about 20 years of my life I had to laugh.

The serious point is that appearance does matter. It's nice to have respectable looking folks to back you up.