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In which Matt thinks about genocide.

Hit or Miss

In which Matt thinks about genocide.

Tonight I attended a social theatre piece, Just a Word: the Genocide Project. The play raised many issues about the atrocities of recent genocides (like in Cambodia and Rwanda) across the planet and America’s typical ignorance of them. Like most good theatre, the play raised more questions than answers. One of the questions was: why does man commit genocide?

I don’t have an answer. It was really hard to think about it. I have to admit I’ve been pretty emotionally dead this past week — all because of that stupid election and the questions that remain from it. I’m cranky, I’m tired, but I remain passionate and unchanged in my support of Gore and his candidacy. I think that the fallout from the vote is creating an even greater polarization of America than existed before the election. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many grown men yelling at each other on television, arguing about the legality of confusing ballots and the “justness” of their positions.

During one of the sections of the play, the lights were turned off and the audience was reqested to let their minds wander and reflect on the subject of genocide. Of course, my mind immediately turned to the election. I began to imagine a not-so-distant future America, which had become paralyzed by political fighting and the inability to compromise and put aside partisanship. I imagined a mobilization of the U.S. Military to try to stop protests and maintain order across the country. I imagined a Bush in power who worked quietly and systematically with the Christian Right to identify a “people” opposed to their beliefs. I imagined the creation of federal policy to restrict the freedom of such a people. I imagined the rounding up of people of color and homosexuals and the forcing of them into prison and even death.

It’s a pretty silly scenario. Not too likely you may think. But wasn’t it just 60 years ago that Jews and homosexuals were put through the Holocaust? I’m sure that when it began that few people imagined it would go as far as it would. Could our present situation be just the start of a disolving of American democracy? Could a Bush presidency – one not mandated by the majority of people in this country – lead to the depriving of freedom of subset of the American public?

I hope this country can figure out the problem of how to resolve the election — and that my man Gore will emerge victorious. I doubt that a Bush presidency would be the end of the world as I know it, but I due have serious concerns about his opinions about the treatment of minorities — he’s already poo-poo-ed afirmative action and I doubt his own cabinet would include more than the token appointment of a Colin Powell or two. And in the Bush family, the women are supposed to stay in the kitchen. And do you seriously think Bush would appoint any (openly) gay men or women?

Anyway, I digress.

I’ve always been just a little afraid of being so openly gay. Even though I try to be a visible presence and resource for students, I’ve never really gone “on record” as a homosexual. Even though I disaprove of the ban on gay men donating blood, I’ve never tried (and been refused) to donate blood because I’m afraid of my social security number being entered in the Red Cross’s database as a “rejected donor.” I know it’s silly, but every so often I have these nightmares that all the gay men and women in the country will someday be rounded up and executed. A genocide. What would lead to such an action? I don’t know. But I think it could easily start with some of the anti-gay rhetoric that I hear today in American politics.

1 response so far (Respond)


Catchy title there. 🙂 To get mildly tangential, it’s funny you should mention this, considering that I was just reading this (later archived here) last night. It raises the idea that we may be genetically wired as a species to fear and destroy that which is different, thus explaining the sudden demise of other early homonids as soon a h. sapiens showed up in their neighborhoods. Scary, but interesting.

Freakho | 12 Nov 2000