Apropos the riot in Vancouver, one of the writer’s prompts I got sent to me asked if anything could ever induce you to riot or at least publicly protest. I don’t know that anything at all could ever compel me to riot, least of all a sporting event. Even a very serious social or political issue wouldn’t drive me to it. Rioting is so barbarous and dangerous. Besides, I’m really not the kind of person to publicly protest at all. I’d rather go about my business and only express my political/moral views to the few people I feel comfortable with.
I usually assume that my effect on the world wouldn’t be significant enough to make a difference by protesting or even campaigning, anyway. And frankly, I’m embarrassed to put my views out into the open. But I always vote, and I am more than willing to discuss and/or debate my views with other people as long as they respect my views as valid, don’t call names, don’t make me feel like an idiot, and don’t take it personally. I enjoy learning about other people’s points of view and sharing my own, and I’m totally comfortable with agreeing to disagree, good people can have opposing views and both still be good people. But I usually avoid controversial topics with people who I think may not agree with me because I’m afraid they will verbally attack me, they will never let it go, or I just don’t want to get into it. If I feel strongly about a topic I can’t help jumping into a conversation and sharing my two cents, but with certain people who I know won’t follow my debating etiquette criteria, I try not to.
Despite my squeamishness at having my opinions exposed, there is one time that I did become politically active and that was in support of Prop 8. Prop 8 was a proposition in support of a constitutional amendment defining marriage in California as being between one male and one female. I have friends that are very dear to me who are homosexual and/or transgender and I love them very much. I want them to be happy and I want them to have all the rights and advantages that they want and deserve. But the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints came out publicly asking members of the church to vote in favor of prop 8 and to become involved in the campaign as much as possible, including giving financially if we could. And since I believe the Prophet to have the power to speak directly for the Lord, that does it for me. By the way, the church does encourage legislation giving gay couples all the rights of married couples. They just want the God-ordained institution of marriage preserved.
I had never put so much as a bumper sticker on my car let alone a politically controversial one. I certainly had never posted campaign signs, called people I didn’t know to ask them about their political views, gone door to door handing out literature, picketed on street corners, or given money to a campaign. But I did all those things with prop 8. I even put the prop 8 logo as my profile picture on Facebook. That one was hard for me because I worried that people who I cared about might be offended. But I felt I had to do my part to encourage others who might be on the fence about the issue to vote for what I believe God thought to be right.
I’ve been called a Hater, a Fascist, and a F—ing Bigot, among other things. Prop 8 or “Prop Hate” as some have called it is not about hating gays and the phrase “God hates gays” couldn’t be further from the truth. Once when I was picketing, the picketers from the opposing side on the opposite street corner had a sign that said, “Your Kid is Gay,” Like we were supposed to feel insulted by that. Several of the people there with me that day have family and friends and yes, even children who are gay. So what?
That was the only time that I have ever put myself out there to be scrutinized for my beliefs and it wasn’t fun. Although I was proud to be standing up for my beliefs.
So it’s unlikely that I would ever publicly protest something, let alone riot. Unless, of course, God Himself requires it of me.