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Friday, March 6, 2009

Media Palooza at the Bagle Home!

Yesterday, March 5th, oral arguments for and against Proposition 8, the ballot initiative reconfirming marriage between one man and one woman, were heard in the California Supreme Court.  Late last week, I had sent out an email inviting some friends to a viewing of the arguments at my home.  Then, I posted an event on Facebook encouraging Californians across the state to host similar viewing parties at their homes and invite the media to attend and provide a fair and balanced report on the proceedings and their effects on the public.

Well, I only heard back from three people about my viewing event.  And I understood.  It was a weekday, short notice, etc.  So, being the perpetual home body, I started to get excited for a cozy little trio and relaxed into a pleasant anticipatory state, envisioning pajamas and popcorn.

Then on Wednesday, everything hit the fan.  Literally.  Okay, not literally, but if there had been a fan in my living room, I'd probably have hit it when I opened by email inbox.  Sitting right there in front of me was a request from an LA Times reporter, who had seen the Facebook event page, to attend a viewing party in Southern California.  My mind started racing.  "I can't have a reporter here with only three people attending," I thought!  So, in an agitated state of panic, I shot off an SOS email to friends and family, asking them to forward it to their friends and family too.  I phoned everybody I knew who had connections to large email lists of friends of Prop 8.  And then I sat back, held my breath, and waited.  I didn't have to wait long.  Calls started to come in, email RSVPs, requests for location and contact information.  The response was wonderful and encouraging.

And then, horror of horrors, the unthinkable....  The LA Times reporter said, "San Diego is too far.  If you hear of anything up here, let me know."  What?!  Too far?  After I exploded a red flare into the air and rallied the troops?!  Again my mind raced.  All these people coming, expecting to execute a show of solidarity for the media, eager to represent the seven million voters of California who are anxious for Democracy to reign supreme.  What was I to do?

I did what I had to.  I seduced the local media.  I contacted Channel 10 News news, inviting them to my gathering, suggesting that, as was proper, they would definitely want to provide their viewers with a balanced representation of the people watching this event.  And, with the largest hook I could heft, I tossed out a not-so-subtle indication that the LA Times had expressed interest in attending.  Then I left the bait floating and moved on to the next station: "Dear NBC 7/39 News....the LA Times has expressed interest in attending AND Channel 10 News has been notified of the event."  And on: "Dear CBS 8 News...the LA Times has expressed interest in attending AND Channel 10 News AND NBC 7/39 News have been notified of the event."  

Dear Bagel readers, if I learned nothing else from this spectacular event, I learned that fostering competition is successful and productive.

The morning of, I was in a panic.  "Why do I do this to myself, Dan," I demanded to know?!  He watched me with a bemused expression.  I kept asking him, "How would you answer this question? And what about this?"  He tried to calm me down.  He tried to remind me that logic and reason, truth and right, favored my arguments.  He tried to assure me that I would do fine.  

He tried in vain.  

I actually slid to my knees on our faux wood floor, begging Dan to stay with me for the media palooza during which I was sure I would be purposely maligned and made to look unintelligent. Dan blushed and told me to get up, berating me for prostrating myself before him in front of our impressionable boys.  So I flashed them a grin, lightened the mood, and stayed right where I was. I didn't care.  I was desperate.  Desperate!!  I can write a decent piece of literature, articulately presenting my thoughts and beliefs, but speaking...oh man, where was my Aaron when I needed him?  Dan went to work (as he should have), and I busied my terrified self with refreshments and last-minute cleaning.

In the end, about 10-20 people came to our home.  These lovely people and their wonderful hoards of children were my saviors.  NBC and Channel 10 both came, interviewed, filmed, and chatted.  I was so impressed by the caliber of the statements and interview responses coming from the people in my home.  Every point made was inspired.  And one reporter, in particular, was very kind and encouraging, maintaining a professional persona by never sharing a direct opinion, but clearly cheering us on with eyes, expressions, and questions.  After many "refresh" attempts on the beloved Internet, we were finally able to tap into the overtaxed live feed coming from the Supreme Court and being broadcast by The California Channel online.  We watched a bit and commented, then said farewell to our new media friends.

When the news left, so did many of the viewing attendees and my gathering quickly became an excuse for a play date with the young mothers and their kids sticking around to discuss how the morning went.

I caught up on the oral arguments in the afternoon, absorbing the taste of victory with near euphoria.  I wrote up my reactions in a post at Pearl Diver, but in summary, I feel pleased at the indication that Democracy, the will of the people, will be upheld against grasping and trumped up charges of improper revision rather than amendment.  I am cautiously (and sometimes not-so-cautiously) optimistic.  What was extremely gratifying was watching the supreme court justices casting aside any attempt at emotional appeals by the No on 8 legal representation.
Justice Kennard to Shannon Minter: 

“Is it still your view, that the sky has fallen in as a result of Proposition 8, and that gays and lesbians are left with nothing?"

...and later...

"And what I'm picking up from the oral argument in this case is this court should willy-nilly disregard the will of the people."
It was clear that they were approaching this case with the professional reason and logic that is called for in their judicial office.  And it appears that King Solomon would have been particularly wise in responding to some of the demands made by the No on 8 forces.  This is from Brian Brown at NOM (National Organization for Marriage):
To me the most radical moment was when anti-Prop 8 lawyers actually told the court that if they don't strike down Prop 8 they should abolish marriage for EVERYONE in California.  

Wow. These are folks who really care about marriage, aren't they? I mean if it's "unconscionable"  to talk about "taking away" marriage from 18,000 same-sex couples, then how can they stand there asking the highest court in California to take away marriage from 15 million or so Californians? "My way or the highway" is not exactly the politics of tolerance, is it? As Maggie Gallagher put it, "Prop 8 opponents are going to have to accept that 'we win, no matter what, whether you like it or not' is not actually a principle in the California constitution. Gay marriage activists need to respect their neighbors' rights too."
As Anders slept and Soren tinkered, I researched, absorbed, and tried unsuccessfully to bring my body back down off the adrenaline panic that comes whenever I have to speak my thoughts rather than write them.  In the middle of reading an article and pounding out my "reactions" post, I received a phone call from the LA Times reporter wishing to conduct a phone interview.  As much as I abhor the LA Times for their clear liberal bias, I wasn't about to give this woman the opportunity to present a wholly lop-sided "story of the day" for lack of participation on my part. So I agreed.  It was short and sweet and the article in which I am quoted was not malignant.  So I am relieved.

Isn't it sad that we are so frightened of engaging our own media due to their horrific bias that was exposed during the general presidential election and specifically throughout this entire P8 debate?

Today the adrenaline and panic are subsided and what rests in their place is a tenuous yet grateful peace at the possibility that marriage and family, children and society, will be safe from redefinition and corruption for another couple of years.  The moral of the story (because, yes, morals do still exist - practiced or not) is to never stop fighting.  Though I have lost some friends and though I am certain that neither I, nor my beliefs, are popular by Hollywood's standards or by the standards of those who subscribe to the "love is all you need" mantra, I know, yes I know that I have fulfilled (am fulfilling) the dictates of my conscience as they have been instilled in me by my loving and concerned Savior.  While balancing my various life responsibilities is something I struggle with daily, I have no doubt that speaking up and speaking out is something I could never have done without the Lord's divine encouragement.  And so, I remind myself daily, in the face of the disappointment and derision of a few, that my trust is better placed in the Lord than in the approval of others.  Have you ever experienced and encountered things in your life that you know, without a shadow of a doubt, are true and right?  And in the same token, you know, without a shadow of a doubt that someone out there vehemently disagrees with you?  Well this is such an experience and such an encounter for me.  In an era when being politically correct and not hurting feelings has become more important than doing and championing what is right and good, my opinions grate on the fully-converted, PC public.  I am aware of that.  And I don't mind.  I intend to just keep on grating away until truth and right are once again placed atop the priority pile, high above fear of so-called "hate speech" reprisal.

For an example, these are ads currently running in between television commercials here in California:

Rebuttal from Euripides at the Self-Evident Truths blog:
"This commercial shows a big, two-faced problem. The problem is that homosexuals hijacked the word "gay" for themselves, created a meaning disassociated with homosexual practices, then got bent out of shape when the term was hijacked by teens to mean something else. "Hey!" the homosexuals say. "That's our word. You can't use that word for your own definition and meaning! Using that term to mean "bad" is demeaning to gays!"
[Read more here...]
Well, my friends, both those of you still sticking with this passionate soul and those of you who think I'm slightly nutso, I love you all.  This week has been a roller coaster and it's nice that it is coming to a close.  My friend, Megan, and I are going to try to sneak out of our houses tomorrow afternoon, sans kids, and enjoy a relaxing pedicure.  I really, really look forward to that, and so do my dry, cracked feet.  Now I just need to make sure I shave before I go so that I don't subject my pedicurist to a hairy leg rub.  And with that beautiful mental image imparted, I am laughing hysterically and making a mad dash for the nearest Bagel Factory exit.

Here are some news links about our gathering that you can browse while you chuckle over my furry legs:

Videos will be forthcoming as I have to go through the extremely high-tech and delicate process of...whipping out my point-and-shoot and recording segments off the TV. (Gotta love the DVR!). :0)


Laurie said...

I am continually impressed by your dedication and passion for Prop 8. You are a great example of fighting for what you believe in. Thanks.

Barbara said...

"In an era when being politically correct and not hurting feelings has become more important than doing and championing what is right and good..."

This is a great quote.
If you have lived as long as I have you know the way things were in another "time"..being PC is not all it is cracked up to be. It makes me feel like we have gone backwards in some areas.
I applaud your willingness to stand up for what is right.
The little video is a joke. We have given Hollywood to much POWER!
I get so tired of hearing young people using inappropriate language and the Lord's name in vain and looking like trash...How about we have a commercial about THAT!!!

Scott and Karin said...

Liz, you are AMAZING! You are a great example to me of someone who is sticking to their guns (convictions) no matter what! You really do inspire me, even if it's just to stick to my guns when talking to someone else about all of this. I love you! You are awesome. I was listening to Glenn Beck today on the radio while I was taking Indie to the Dr. and he said that if you've lost friends over your convictions they weren't really your friends to begin with. It still stinks when it happens though. Think of Toy Story..."You've got a friend in me, yes, you've got a friend in me." Even if we live in different states and don't see each other often, except through blogging. You are my hero!


Ranisa said...

AWESOME! Everyone above said everything else I had to say! Great Job Liz!

Scott and Megan said...

I love how the LA times title misfits the picture. I'm sorry, it looks to me like there is only one person in that photo being loud and colorful... not both. And the guy to the right looks like he can't decide... You are awesome liz... I shaved my furries too!

Erika said...

Dear Liz-
I did a google search of Liz Agle and was able to pull up all the media hits with you as a source.

I feel overwhelmed by your amazing vitality and spirit. I so admire people who put their money where there mouth is! Your children are very lucky to have a mother who not only thinks for herself but is willing to take action.

provobaileys said...

amen. thanks for all your hard work.

Marcia said...

Good Job Elizabeth. I was pleased to hear that the media was respectful. They couldn't help but feel a good spirit there with so many fine people in attendance. We prayed for you all day. Keep up the good work.

Venise said...

Congratulations to you Liz. You are absolutely amazing.

Daniel said...

I was hanging out at South Beach in Miami yesterday. There were lots of people with homosexual tendencies there. One group of not-so-manly men saw my BYU shirt and said "Mormon!" as I walked by. Makes me proud. :)

Brooklet said...

Unbelievable- all of this is unbelievable. i don't think many people have the courage, the drive, and the back bone to be so proactive in supporting their cause- what you did is really impressive. You definitely went above and beyond the call of duty!