During the women’s march in D.C., we weren’t allowed to bring large bags, poles, or balloons. This was part of the security agreement that the march organizers had reached with the city in order to be granted the march permit.
However, not everyone followed these rules. Soon, people with metal poles had giant signs that said “HOMO SEX IS SIN” and “AIDS: JUDGEMENT OR CURE” The people with signs, who were all men, had bullhorns shouting at the crowd, making it impossible to hear the program speakers for the women’s march.
As we were all squished in there, people were muttering and casting side glances at the people with the homophobic signs. Then someone started to chant “Love Is Love! Love Is Love!” and others joined in. People with smaller signs encircled the homophobic signs and talked to the people with bullhorns. Then we could hear the speakers gathered for the women’s march.
I don’t know what happened to the love people or to those with the homophobic signs; we were slowly pushed another way. I know that love won the day, however, as all the people gathered were brought by love for their country, their families, their bodies, and their rights. And I know that love wins.
Some folks write love off as sappy nonsense, puffery designed to make us feel good but gets very little done. Yet, when movements are grounded in a great love, I have seen hope stay alive in dangerous times and the impossible achieved.
For example, in 2013, the state of Minnesota turned over a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Statewide bans on same-sex marriage were very difficult to overturn, despite lobbying, visiting representatives, ads, and passionate Facebook posts. What made the difference in Minnesota was a door to door campaign, and a call campaign. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people and their loved ones simply went and talked to people. They didn’t talk about politics or their rights. They just asked “Can I tell you about my family?” And they showed them pictures of their parents. Of their friends. Of their kids, and their partners. They showed the entire state how much they truly loved each other.
In a news article documenting how love won in the state of Minnesota, someone remarked how those on the side of love saying they were on the side of history, but he was worried about being on the ‘side of eternity’. (http://www.startribune.com/in-historic-vote-minnesota-senate-approves-same-sex-marriage/207231321/)
And I want to tell him what I know, which is being on the side of love is being on the side of eternity, again and again. For the spirit of life that runs through all of us is begotten from a love that we all belong to, age after age.