Those of you not living in the Great State of South Carolina may not be dreading next Tuesday as much as I am. Or maybe it is next Tuesday night, or maybe next Wednesday, but probably just next Tuesday.
Some of you may even be crossing your fingers in advance of election day, hopeful that some incumbent or another in your state will get the big thanks-for-the-memories boot. I am not particularly worried about that, though. I have long since given up hoping that Democratic challengers will have their day in the state I have come to call home.
But what I am really dreading is what I am nearly certain will be the passing of Amendment 1. You can read a pretty decent summary of the provision and the hatred and intolerance it will write into our state constitution here.
There have been opinion pieces and letters back and forth in the G-ville News for the past several weeks. The PP even wrote a pretty good letter (not published yet--in true G-News fashion, it will probably be published next Wednesday).
So why am I so certain? Not just because this entire region is held firmly in the grasp of baptofascists. Not even just because we tend to be a redder than red state. But partly because it was only in my first year of living here that interracial marriage became legal.
I clearly remember driving to work one day in the first week or so of my first year of teaching here, and getting disgusted by a long exchange of homophobic "humor" on a radio show. I changed the station, only to land on another such exchange. Where have I landed, I wondered in despair, trying not to arrive at the office in tears.
A lot has changed since then, although not as much as I might hope. There has been a lot more willingness to discuss BGLT topics on campus, and our university non-discrimination clause now even mentions sexual orientation. I remember being warned when I was first here about members of my department making thinly veiled threats to other members about revealing their orientation to unfriendly administrators. People speak more openly now. You still hear plenty of jokes about queers, and all too many people are comfortable snickering at them, but still. It's better.
Tuesday may be a big reminder that it is not that much better. The PP keeps trying to point to signs that the tide is turning, even here. He even tries to read the drive for this amendment as a sign that things are changing. But it's a constitutional amendment, I remind him. The constitution!
If you know anyone here in SC, or if you live in SC, or if there is a similar provision on your ballot this election day, please get your ass, or your friend's ass to the polls.